AG: The next one I’ve never done to music:
“The Angel” – ” I Dreamt a Dream! what can it mean?…”
That’s a really interesting rhythm – “I Dreamt a Dream! what can it mean?” – See, it’s not “I DREAMT a DREAM what CAN it MEAN?” – Duh-dah duh-dah duh-dah – But it’s “I DREAMT a DREAM! WHAT can it MEAN?” Because you have to say “What!” when you say “what.”
“I Dreamt a Dream, what can it mean?/And that I was a maiden Queen/Guarded by an Angel mild;/Witless woe, was ne’er beguil’d!/ And I wept both night and day/And he wip’d my tears away/And I wept both day and night/And hid from him my hearts delight/. So he took his wings and fled:/ Then the morn blush’d rosy red:/I dried my tears & armd my fears,/With ten thousand shields and spears./ Soon my Angel came again:/ I was arm’d, he came in vain:/For the time of my youth was fled/And grey hairs were on my head.
I wonder what that means? It’s a dream. And it’s a maiden queen, so it’s a virgin, guarded by an angel. And the angel here would be, what? Would it be an angel from heaven and hell which would be a guardian moralistic protector? But apparently the angel was a suitor, in this case. I think he’s using the angel now in different ways, using the angel now for the good guy instead of the bad guy here. “Hid from him my heart’s delight”. (And) “So he took his wings and fled”.
“I dried my tears & armd my fears,/With ten thousand shields and spears.” – “Shields and spears” are generally in Blake the symbol for thoughts (and) thought-forms, defensive and protective thought-forms, like “To find the Western path/Right thro the Gates of Wrath/I urge my way/Sweet Morning leads me on/With soft repentant moan/I see the break of day/The war of sighs & spears/Melted by dewy tears/Exhales on high..”
So “the war of sighs and spears”, or “ten thousand shields and spears” would be the protective veil of aggressive, fearful thought. Anxiety.
“I was arm’d, he came in vain” – so the whole life passed without contact. I read something about this recently. (Harold) Bloom might have something. Let’s go on, though.
to be continued