From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (June 2009)|
A Poison Tree is a poem written in 1794 by the poet William Blake as a part of his collection of poems, Songs of Experience. Although it is one of Blake's less known poems, it is full of meaning and is sometimes considered to be one of his finest poems.
I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I watered it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears:
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night.
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.
And into my garden stole,
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see;
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.
William Blake was an English Dissenter and Dissenter members broke away from the Anglican Church. Dissenters believed that the policies of the Anglican Church were wrong and so opposed it. Blake began writing a collection of poems called Songs of Experience to protest the Anglican Church's policy of stifling "sinful" emotions in people, such as anger and frustration. A Poison Tree is a good example of this because it shows how Blake believed that stifling anger would only cause the anger to grow. In fact, Blake even decided to call the original draft of a Poison Tree, "Christian Forebearance." However, the English government did not tolerate the radical actions of the English Dissenters and they persecuted them.
The poem has been set to music several times including by Benjamin Britten, Greg Brown, Blur. In the B-Side to Blur's single "Girls and Boys", "Magpie", the lyrics are the poem. Finnish group Rajaton has arranged it for acappella and released it on their album Boundless.