«To The Evening Star» – Analysis

The last post I made was about our presentation on ‘Soldier, Rest’, and now, in connection to the presentations each group had to make, we have to choose a stanza or a set of lines of one of the Romantic poems which OUR GROUP HAS NOT DELIVERED A PRESENTATION OF. Copy it and paste it here and show its connection with the hypothesis the class has harboured:

«The poems share a criticism to the industrial, urban, rational and bellicose society of the 18th century».


I chose the following set of lines from «To The Evening Star»:

The fleeces of our flocks are cover’d with
Thy sacred dew: protect them with thine influence!
This set of lines were taken from the poem «To The Evening Star» by William Blake and they denounce the society of the 18th century in different ways.

Firstly, as we analysed in class, we realised that there are different elements of sexuality present in the poem. In these lines, the use of the word ‘dew’, makes reference to semen. And this opposes the morals of the 1700s since people only had sex at night as it was thought to go against morality. But in this case, William Blake is conveying it in a positive and natural way by portraying through it the finding of inspiration and knowledge. By using these images of fertility he is challenging society.

Secondly, there are images connected to nature. ‘Flocks’ and ‘dew’ are both visual images for the reader to have nature present by imagining sheep and wet grass. William Blake through these images shifts the focus away from the reality and from the industralization of the world to nature, since during Enlightenment less importance was given to nature. Consequently, he is reinforcing the importance of nature against society and criticising the irrelevance attributed to mother earth during that time.

Finally, ‘fleeces of flocks’ is a Christian imagery since in the Bible, the innocent people are depicted as sheep. This imagery criticises the society’s mentality since the poem is appealing to Venus, the evening star, who is the goddess of love, sex and fertility from the Pagan tradition. Therefore, this represents the Romantics support of pantheism, which was the belief in more than one god, and denounces society’s close mindedness.