On Another’s Sorrow.
There is a strong religious theme running throughout this poem. Black
uses the idea of sorrow to show, and how we deal with it to show the
difference between humans and God. He does this by splitting the poem
into two halves and looking at how a person and then God would deal
with sorrow. Blake asks several questions, as it is in first person at
this point I feel that it is Blake asking the questions, which are,
‘Can I see another’s woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief,
And not seek for kind relief?’
This is an example of Blake’s use for the rhetorical question, which
stirs thoughts of how we cope with sorrow, which is shown when he
asks, if I can not feel sorrow when I see another feeling sorrow?, and
when I see another feeling grief can I not go and find relief from it?
He answers this with ‘no it can never be.’ This then leads the reader
to ask themselves where he will find this relief.
Blake then in the second half of the poem shows that God is the one
who you can seek relief in and who is there to help in times of
sorrow. He wirtes,
‘And can he who smiles on all…
And not sit both night and day
Wiping all out tears away…
Oh no! Never can it be.’
This quote clearly illustrates that ‘he who smiles on all,’ who is
God, cannot not wipe the tears away, therefore saying that God is so
loving that he has to help. As Blake is clearly very religious his
work seems to take on an almost takes on the tone of propaganda
towards religion. He uses phrases like,
‘Oh! He gives us his joy,
That our grief he may destroy.’
The use of the exclamation mark adds a sense of excitement to the
phrase. Also it makes it stand out more as a statement of fact which
gives it authority, so necessary for propaganda to be effective. There
are many reasons to...