The School Boy by William Blake
First stanza .. I love to rise in the ……. What sweet company!
Meaning .. Summer in England is a pleasant time. The boy wakes up in the summer morning and hears the birds making their characteristic usual sounds from the branches of the trees. He hears a hunter from a distance through the horn he makes. He sees the skylark singing overhead, and instantly gets attracted towards it. He is so enchanted with the bird’s sounds that he feels as if he is singing in unison with him. A great sense of joy feels his heart.
Second stanza .. But to go to school ………………..sighing and dismay
Meaning..He is very reluctant to go to school, because the life there is dreary and colorless. The teacher is stern and humorless. The children feel suffocated in the depressing environment of the class room. They fret and wince in their seats anxiously waiting for the school to be over.
Third stanza .. Ah, then at times ……….. with the dreary shower.
Meaning .. Yet, the boy sits through the lessons in the class with no interest or excitement. The classes appear unduly long, because he can not take any interest in them. The environment appears boring, and dull. He finds no delight in the text books, and the class rooms appear so uninteresting. The teacher teaches with his usual manner, but the boy finds the teaching very painful to endure.
Fourth stanza … How can the bird ………………forget this youthful spring?
Meaning … The boy thinks of a bird that has been caught from the wild, and put in a cage. Such a bird loses its natural exuberance and energy inside the crammed cage. It can, therefore, not sing in its own jesting way. Similarly, a child, when under the fearful eye of a stern teacher, can never be like his original self. His innate tendencies to be cheerful and agile are lost under the looming stare of the teacher. The poor child’s inborn tendencies to be playful and observant are clipped.
Fifth stanza .. O! father and mother ………………….sorrow and cares’ dismay
Meaning … The boy imagines the plight of a flowering plant that has been ravaged by a storm. Its buds have been plucked, its flowers have been blown away by a strong wind, and the tender plant stands bereft of its beautiful flowers and buds. Such a plant is symbolic of sorrow, and dismay.
Sixth stanza .. How shall the summer arise ……. Blasts of winter appear?
Meaning … With plants stripped of their blossoms, It would be impossible to see fruits in summer. The summer, in turn, will lose its thrill and joy. No one can gather the fruits from the trees, as they have been stripped of their flowers and buds. The winter will come with its unforgiving harshness. The transition from summer to winter will thus not be smooth. It will be painful for all of us.
Question and answer … [To be posted later]