Once a dream did weave a shade
O’er my angel-guarded bed,
That an emmet lost its way
Where on grass methought I lay.
Troubled, wildered, and forlorn,
Dark, benighted, travel-worn,
Over many a tangle spray,
All heart-broke, I heard her say:
‘Oh my children! do they cry,
Do they hear their father sigh?
Now they look abroad to see,
Now return and weep for me.’
Pitying, I dropped a tear:
But I saw a glow-worm near,
Who replied, ‘What wailing wight
Calls the watchman of the night?
‘I am set to light the ground,
While the beetle goes his round:
Follow now the beetle’s hum;
Little wanderer, hie thee home!
On a surface level this is an innocent dream Blake had while he was sleeping in his bed. Which was about a Mother Ant (emmet) and her little children who was lost for some time. Even though the Ant was at despair for a while; a glow-worm and beetle finally aids her to find her dear little ones, and there you see a happy family reunion…
If I was to decipher Blake’s metaphors; then I think the Mother Ant is a human, and children could be represented as goodness in him or purity, the Father Ant could be the human’s friend/partner/spouse may be…and the glow-worm & Beetle – be the Angles sent by God.
So what Blake was probably trying to say was – A human in his journey of life, when loose the goodness at his heart, may eventually grow out to be at great despair. Unfortunately in these difficult circumstances, even a true friend may not know how to help him through – besides feeling sorry. But the time he ‘realize’, that he have lost the ‘sense of being courteous’ and when begins to repent about it..
God hears him…perhaps he always did, but he just wanted the human to understand its value by himself. He then sends his trusted Angels to guide the human back (just like how a dear Father would rush to save his Son at state of misery) and help him find what he lost once.
I like this poem because–reminds me that I am always looked after and that during my darkest hours of life.. I have Angels send by God; guiding my conscience to walk the right path..
“What wailing wight calls the watchman of the night?’ – Such a re assurance…