Summary of ‘The Schoolboy’ by William Blake
I love to rise in a summer morn,
When the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the sky-lark sings with me.
O what sweet company!
But to go to school in a summer morn,
O it drives all joy away!
Under a cruel eye outworn.
The little ones spend the day
In sighing and dismay.
Summary: In the poem, the poet describes the innocence and tenderness of childhood. Here he highlights that children naturally love and enjoy summer morning, birds’ chirping, huntsman’s horn and sky-lark’s song. But school going children cannot enjoy these because they have to go to school early and pass a long time in school in sighing and dismay. The school also deprives the children from all joys.
Ah! then at times I drooping sit,
And spend many an anxious hour,
Nor in my book can I take delight,
Nor sit in learning’s bower,
Worn thro’ with the dreary shower.
How can the bird that is born for joy,
Sit in a cage and sing.
How can a child when fears annoy.
But droop his tender wing,
And forget his youthful spring.
Summary: Here the poet expresses the boredom and anxiousness of a school boy who gets no delight from the school and learning environment. Actually, he wants to live in a youthful joy but he cannot. Rather, he has to suffer from fear and anxiety. Then the poet compares the school boy with a bird in a cage. As a bird does not like to stay in a case, a child also does not like an unfriendly environment of any traditional school which creates joyless school life.
O father & mother if buds are nipped,
And blossoms blown away,
And if the tender plants are stripped
Of their joy in the springing day,
By sorrow and care’s dismay.
How shall the summer arise in joy
Or the summer fruits appear?
Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy
Or bless the mellowing year,
When the blasts of winter appear?
Summary: Here the poet addresses the parents to be considerate to their children. According to his view, if buds are nipped and blossoms blown away, both will dry in an early time. Similarly, if the children are deprived of their joy and they are sent in a cruel environment, they will get a joyless life. Actually, summer has no happiness without summer fruits. Similarly, joyless school life takes away all their happiness and brings winter in their life.
Grateful to: Anupam Publication