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Joe's Cafe, 24/7 pit stop for ESL learners and teachers | December 2007
Egg's off, bacon's off, bread's off, tea's off. English is on though.

The Sick Rose

O Rose, thou art sick!

The invisible worm,

That flies in the night,

In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed

Of crimson joy;

And his dark secret love

Does thy life destroy.

William Blake 1757-1827

So the question is: What is “the invisible worm that flies in the night”?

Joe | Wednesday, December 12th, 2007 | Filed under Poetry

18 Responses to “The Sick Rose”

  1. hanane says:

    It is AUTUMN and its wind. yes or no?

  2. Kelsang says:

    I’m listening to the sound of a flute
    Everyday at Subway Station.
    It inspires in me both joy and sorrow at the same time
    Today he is not there
    I became weary and disheartened.

  3. Katherine says:

    We find here an allusion to male-female relationship. She is a rose, and has “the bed of crimson joy”. And he is “the invisible worm”, flying “in the night”. It’s interesting that he, “the worm”, destroys the “sick” rose’s life, and his love is “dark secret”. Our English Literature lecturer told us about this poem, and we were really surprised that the poem alluded to defloration…

  4. Jimmy's story says:

    “We are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glow worm”

    Winston Churchill

  5. Linda k Hollywood says:

    The invisible worm that flies in the night. I think
    this could mean that he attack his victims at night
    going around almost stalking them and talking them
    back to…..
    The howling storm is the act of sex.
    The women howling from being…..
    The bed of crimson joy.Is mean The actual bed where of the virgin has of blood.
    Good Luck
    Linda K (Hollywood)

  6. Beth B. says:

    Those English literature professors always have their mind in the gutter… William Blake is simply talking about blight that damages his beautiful roses:
    Botrytis infections (a type of blight) are favored by cool, rainy spring and summer weather usually around 15C (60F). Gray mold can be particularly damaging when rainy, drizzly weather continues over several days.

  7. Katie says:

    This my fav poem ever!!

  8. jojo says:

    how can i listening

  9. Mr.master says:

    I have no home..
    No money no car..
    But I have everything..
    Because I have a frined indeed..
    In the dark night..
    I have a light indeed..
    I never be scared..
    Because I have a true friend..
    If the all people against me..
    I never run away..
    Because I have a real friend.

  10. reem says:

    i think that its his soul

  11. razan says:

    how can

  12. jamie says:

    A father and daughter relationship is supposed to be about togetherness, love and talking about your problems but some fathers are deadbeats dads who doesn’t care about thier daughters and don’t respect their ex wife and get a girlfriend and exspects his children to accept her but those children will die before they accept that woman who is destroying the fathers and daughters relationship is so bad how the father isn’t feel bad about what he did i should know it happened to me and i came out a little bit weaker because i couldn’t stand up to my father

  13. ammulu says:

    poems are very nice!

  14. سینا .sina says:

    invitation

  15. Xiaoyi says:

    Hollywood’s comment is quite novel,and I like it!

  16. svetlana says:

    Thank you for the short but unforgettable list of poems in english.I wish it was longer.

  17. John says:

    The poem alludes to syphilis, it was, sadly, a very widespread disease in eighteenth century London with no cure until the discovery of penicillin in the twentieth century. Yes, the “crimson bed of joy” does indeed refer to the female sexual organs, whether we like it or not. Blake was very aware of the darker side of London life (”and so the youthful harlot’s curse/blasts the new-born infant’s tear/and blights with plagues the marriage hearse”); a true visionary in a rational age.

  18. Bushra Al-meshal says:

    The poem begins with apostrophe “O ROSE” and he personifies it by calling it sick. At one level it’s about flowers and insects and how the worm spoil the beauty of flower. At another level the rose stands for beautiful women who are corrupted by illicit relationship. The form for this poem is two quatrains rhyme ABCB . it’s middle English language and taken from William Blacke “ song of Experience” . The them is anything is beautiful and its indulges in corruption brings ruin and death.

    Figurative Speech :

    O Rose : apostrophe
    Art sick : personification ( addressing unloving thing to a living thing, the ability to be sick)

    Worm : symbol for corruption .
    Night: symbol for something hiding, secret and dark.
    Howling storm : something bad .
    Crimson joy: refer to both sexual pleasure and shame .

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