Ashley Edmonds

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Faith In Night

The poem “Night”, published in 1789 by English poet William Blake, was written with the purpose of enlightening about the existence of protective forces, and the inevitable evils of mankind. “Night” comes from the 1789 collection Songs of Innocence and of Experience, which is portrays the two contrary states of man “innocence” and “experience”. Like other poems in the collection “Night” suggests an ever going struggle between the holy and evil. Some might argue that the underlining point Blake tries to portray is as humans we all need to be protected, that people need some kind of protector. There is also the argument of sleep, that the poem in a whole is representative to the need for sleep. How sleep is the “innocent”, where people are protected, and the awake being the “experience” or “evil”. Although these are the suggested meaning I think “Night” also suggests a Christianic relationship between mankind and an all knowing God.

In the first three stanzas presents a sense of peace and guidance. In these stanzas Blake implies the need for guidance by guardian angels. I believe this represents the beginning relationship between man and God. For example in the third stanza,
 “They visit caves of every beast,
To keep them all from harm;
If they see any weeping.
That should have been sleeping
They pour sleep on their head
And sit down by their bed.”
Blake uses “they”, which to me is implying the existence of Gods angels. I also see this representing sleep as the everlasting sleep, or death, and angels sent to persuade mankind to believe.

However, in the fourth stanza Blake challenges the faith of man. Wolves and tigers, representing the demons of life, try to break the faith of others. With these challenges the guardians try to protect, but in the end the decision is up to those who need protecting. In all I see the forth stanza as being symbolic to the life relationship with God. Meaning, how we decide to live in means of faith while on earth.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”  —2 Corinthians 5:10 
 Appearing before judgment is what I believe the last two stanza signify. Blake uses a lion to represent God and in the end whoever passes through judgment, and has their sins washed away can come lay beside the holy in peace. For example:
"And by his health, sickness.
Is driven away,
From our immortal day.

And now beside thee, bleating lamb.

I can lie down and sleep;
Or think on him who bore thy name."
The 1789 poem “Night” to me represents the steps of life through Christ. I also believe "Night" is a good representative of the struggle one might face and the reward of an afterlife for overcoming these challenges.  The struggle starts with a beginning of innocence and choosing to be guarded or protected. After experience in life demons and other evils come to challenge ones faith. All stages leading to the end of life as one knows and being born again after judgment.


  1. Ashley, I really like the video you included in your post. Also, you do a very good job of closely analyzing the poem and focusing on the specific parts of the poem that led you to your conclusions and then explaining the reasoning behind your interpretation.

  2. I really enjoy watching the video it was different than just a plain picture. Also you did a really good job analyzing the poem and getting your argument across. But I did notice you didnt have any sources citied in the text. But overall I enjoyede reading your analyzes.

  3. I agree with you that the poem Night represents the steps of life though Christ, but I disagree the the lion to represent God. I don't know what different between the lion and and the tiger. But I don't think they represent God. I think they represent the sinner and trying to got salvation.

  4. the videos background music reminded me of Indian ritual music. the clarification of your analysis was far better than what i wrote for mine. it makes since that the steps of life would represents that of Jesus Christ.