The major exponent of English Romanticism, William Blake is considered an icon among the best poets. He was not only an extraordinary poet but also an amazing artist, engraver, and visionary. His poems had the most common thematic strands ranging from slavery to racism, religion to poverty, and corruption to innocence. Some of the best poems of William Blake are listed below.
A Poison Tree is one of the best poems by William Blake. It was published in 1794 during the mature years of Blake. The poem is distinct as it talks about personal anger, its presentation, and its musical rhyme scheme. The poet is true that when we express anger, it subsides and when we do not, it continues to increase and become a poison tree. The rhyme scheme of a friend – end, foe – grow from the first stanza as AABB continues even in the last stanza. Some of the best verses of the poem are as follows.
This short poem of just two stanzas was first published in 1789. It was written in the same year as it was published. The poem has themes of innocence, use of metaphors, and rhyme scheme. Blake calls forth the Little Lamb, using the Christian symbol, to show that he has reached the Creator through that Lamb and then informs the readers that he is also equal to Lamb, the Christ. The rhyme scheme in both the stanzas is almost the same. The grand diction studded with archaic pronouns of thee and thou show biblical touch. The best verses of this poem are as follows.
- Little Lamb who made them.
- Making all the Vles rejoince.
- Dost thou know who made thee?
This poem was also published in 1789. Its theme, rhyme scheme, and similes make it one of the best poems of the 18th century. The major beauty of the poem lies in the innocent voice of the child, dichotomy of the evil and good, and the binary of colors. The boy starts the story of his wild birth, his changed color, and his mother’s teachings. The entire narrative of the boy revolves around his clarification that he is of the same lot and that he and the white boy are not different. The poem also has some Christian undertones. Some of the best verses of the poem are as follows.
Written in 1808 in the preface to his epic about Milton, Blake beautifully put his thoughts about Jerusalem and the arrival of Christianity in England in this poem. The Biblical undertones of the holy Lamb, God, and Jerusalem have made this poem to be ranked fourth in this ranking. However, the interesting thing about the poem is its rhetorical questions in which the poet questions the arrival of Christianity in England. The poet thinks that all of his negative emotions are arrows and that his mental conflict keeps him awake about it. The best verses of this poem are as follows.
- And did those feet in ancient time / Walk upon England mountains green.
- Bring me my Bow of burning gold.
- I will not cease from Mengal Fight.
This poem about London was written in 1794. It is because it presents the city of London and Londoners with beautiful visual images that the reader can see them walking before the eyes. The poem opens with the poet saying that he has seen every street of the city including its popular river, the Thames, but everything is wearing a poor look. Therefore, he thinks that there is a fear in the voice of every man, child, and even the city corners. However, it happens in the third stanza that he mentions the chimney sweepers, the boys, who used to sweep chimneys in those days. Some of the best verses of the poem are as follows.
- I wander thro’ each charter’d street.
- In every cry of every Man / In every voice; in every ban.
- However, the Chimney-sweepers cry.
This short poem by William Black first appeared in 1794 in his popular book, Songs of Experience. This poem baffles the readers in that the sick rose is due to love or the work. This baffling theme has made it one of the best poems of William Blake. However, just two stanzas with each having four verses have made this poem worth reading that such a mysterious theme has been placed in it. The use of a beautiful rhyme scheme too has added to its beauty. Some of its best verses are as follows.
- O Rose though art sick.
- That flies in the night.
- Does thy life destroy.
One of the best poems of William Blake, The Tyger appeared in Songs of Experience in 1794. It is among the best poems of William Blake because of its simple theme, beautiful rhyme scheme, and seductive tone. The poem not only calls the tiger but also inquires about the reason for its beauty packed in such a fearful body. Then he asks a series of rhetorical questions and comes to the same point that nobody should come to this burning figure or they will burn themselves. The use of rhetorical questions has made it a mysterious poem. Some of the best verses of this poem are as follows.
- Tyger tyger, burning bright / In the forests of the night.
- What dread hand? & what dread feet.
- Did he smile his work to see?
The Little Boy Found
This short poem was published in 1789 in his book, Songs of Innocence. The poem is one of the best for the theme of being found out or caught and the way a mother treats her child and expresses her selfless love. The poem starts with the line that the boy was lost in the fen and when his mother came to know about this loss, she started crying. However, as soon as his father brought him home, she overflows with joy. This beautiful expression of joy brings this poem among the best ones. Some of the best verses of this poem are as follows.
- The little boy lost in lonely fen.
- He kissed the child & by the hand led.
- Her little boy weeping sought.
This short poem was published in 1789. However, its impact has been very strong. It often reinforces the sense of positivity and optimism. The major theme is the innocent child who narrates the poem. The child opens the pome saying “I have no name” with the addition that his name is Joy. The same goes in the second stanza with anaphora of “Sweet joy” as well as a good rhyme scheme. Some of the best verses of this poem are as follows.
- i am but two days old.
- Sweet joy befall thee!
- Thou dost smile / I sing the while.
This poem is also taken from the Songs of Innocence written in 1789. This poem comprises just two stanzas with each having four verses written in iambic pentameter with an ABAB rhyme scheme. Thus making it one of the best of Blake’s poems. The poet starts the poem with the sweetness of a lot of the shepherd as the poet says that it moves from place to place to graze from morning to evening. However, it is quite innocent and this innocence has won the poet’s heart. Some of the best verses of this poem are as follows.
- How sweet is the Shepherd’s sweet lot.
- From the morning to the evening he strays.
- He is watchful while they are in peace.