"The Garden of Love"
What seems represented by the “garden of Love”? Is it important that the speaker is familiar with it?
Why may the poet have chosen a 3-stanza structure? What is the effect of this? Are there some irregularities in line length or rhyme, and if so, what have these been chosen to emphasize?
What is represented by the “Chapel” and “Priests”? Would an eighteenth-century (dissenting) chapel have been led by a “priest”? If not, what do you think is the speaker’s point?
Based on this poem, does the poet have an affirmative view of the conventional religion of his day? Are the views expressed in this poem consistent with Blake’s political views as seen in his other poems?
Is the theme of this poem anticipated by its title, “The Garden of Love”? What is the effect of delaying the reader’s perception of the garden’s condition until later?
What Biblical story would this poem have suggested to Blake’s readers? How does Blake’s poem alter/contrast with the original?
“The Sick Rose”
What are important features of the poem’s form? How does its apparent simplicity reinforce its theme?
In the context of Blake’s other poems of innocence and experience, how do you interpret “The invisible worm/ That flies in the night /In the howling storm”?
Could there be other interpretations?
How would the poem have been changed if we knew what kind of rose became sick, or where it was located? Would you describe this poem as realistic? Symbolic? Allegorical?
“A Poison Tree”
What is the point of this parable? Why do you think it is presented in the first person?
Is it important that the quarrel between former friends is portrayed as occurring in a garden? What are some associations of the “apple bright”?
Who and what are to blame for the death which results? What does the poet seem to mean by “deceitful wiles”?
Can you think of a Biblical quotation which conveys a meaning similar to this poem? (e. g., “Be ye angry and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”)
Is the poem’s meaning clarified by the fact that the poem was originally titled, “Christian Forbearance”? If so, how?