Blake’s Night Thoughts by Jeremy Tambling (auth.)

By Jeremy Tambling (auth.)

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By Jeremy Tambling (auth.)

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18, K. 211). If ‘my Rose turn’d away with jealousy’ 36 Blake’s Night Thoughts she has learned it from this Father, and from the subject of that poem who displays it in desiring to ‘tend’ the rose tree in the silent of the night (time, and mode, of possessiveness, but at the moment when possession disappears). ‘Tending’ produces ‘turning’. The ‘I’ thinks possessionally (the word ‘my’ dominates), hence he excludes the flower, not out of sexual failure, but desiring to stabilize himself through the Other in the night: a form of jealousy over what he possesses because his possessions define him.

27 ‘The Clod & the Pebble’ Following ‘Never pain to tell thy love’ comes ‘The Clod & the Pebble’ draft (E. 793, E. 19, K. 162, K. 211). As ‘deceit to secresy confin’d . . forges fetters for the mind’ (E. 472, K. 175), so secrecy – male or female, for this poem avoids gender ascriptions – is here possessive: Love seeketh not Itself to please, Nor for itself hath any care; But for another gives its ease, And builds a Heaven in Hells despair. So sang a little Clod of Clay, Trodden with the cattles feet: But a Pebble of the brook, Warbled out these metres meet.

And I smil’d ‘In the Silent of the Night’ 41 night after night’ in ‘Infant Sorrow’ (E. 28, K. 166), with its variants: priests by night / priests by day; serpents in the night / holy men by day; serpents in the day underneath the vines, and serpents in the night, who ‘embraced my mirtle bright’. Night and day, day and night are integral to ‘The Angel’ and ‘My Pretty Rose-Tree’. Perhaps they are implied in ‘The Clod & the Pebble’. Day and night appears in the two ‘Nurse’s Songs’ and in ‘A Little Girl Lost’ where ‘the curtains of the night’ – perhaps seen in the illustration to ‘Infant Sorrow’ (Songs of Experience) – contrast with ‘rising day’.

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