William Blake On Joy & Suffering

Man was made for joy & woe;

And when this we rightly know,

Thro’ the world we safely go.

Joy & woe are woven fine,

A clothing for the soul divine.

William Blake From “Auguries of Innocence”.

Featured image:

“When the Morning Stars Sang Together”

[Book of Job, no. 14]

ca. 1804–7
Pen and black ink, gray wash, and watercolor, over traces of graphite
11 x 7 1/16 inches (280 x 179 mm)


6 thoughts on “William Blake On Joy & Suffering

  1. erikleo

    Blake idea of ‘contraries’ is essential for understanding his complex mythology. He wasnt just saying there is sorrow and joy in life; anyone can tell that! He was saying (among other things) sorrow can be transcended and that ‘evil’ is within us all but unless we recognise this we project it onto others.

  2. Rowena Post author

    Thanks for clarifying that for me, Erik. As much as I love and get his poems, some of his points are difficult to grasp, particularly trying to work them out at home by myself.
    It’s taken me a long time to realise that it’s not so much what happens to us but how we respond which is the key. This has helped me focus more on managing my response than fixating on what’s gone wrong.

  3. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much for that, Erik. I’ll have to get back into that. I really did want to grapple with Blake to his very depths but my writing is very prolific and diverse. I am taking that manuscript away with me to edit on our long car trips. So, should be getting back to it very soon and will apply your advice. Many thanks!
    xx Rowena

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