The Wildflower’s Song by William Blake is a three-stanza poem that embraces an ABAB rhyme scheme to paint a verbal portrait of “a Wild Flower” who happily existed in the midst of a “forest.” That “Flower” found peace and comfort within its grounded, simple approach to life, and that goodness was so grand that even the “scorn” it faced could not bring it down. This “Wild Flower” then is a metaphor to reveal to the reader that the simple concepts of life and a strong set of good priorities are enough to overlook the ridicule of onlookers and to find happiness in life.
The Wildflower’s Song Analysis
As I wandered the forest,
The green leaves among,
I heard a Wild Flower
Singing a song.
The Wildflower’s Song embraces first-person perspective within the first line, meaning that the narrator is telling the story from his own perspective. By embracing the situation as his own, the story becomes a first-hand account that has not been passed among people before it reaches the reader. While this tale is fictitious, it still feels more solid since the narrator is reporting things as his own findings.
What the narrator says happens within this first stanza is that he “wandered the forest” and “heard a Wild Flower [s]inging a song.” This concept leaves no doubt that the story is fictional, or at best a metaphor of some sort, since “a Wild Flower” could not perform such a task. The word choice of the first line backs up this concept since the narrator has chosen to label his journey as “wander[ing].” As that particular verb comes with creativity and uncertainty, like the “wander[er]” does not know exactly where he is going but is keeping his eyes open, the situation is elevated into a scenario that feels more like a daydream. That daydream was clearly vibrant and strong since there were “green leaves among” the area. That color choice allows the reader to know that things were well and thriving wherever this narrator had “wandered.”
Another detail of significance is that all of the nouns are kept to very basic forms. There is no name given to “the forest,” and all the reader could know about the visual scenery revolves around those “green leaves.” The “Wild Flower,” though the capitalization of those letters grant it a higher level of significance, is not given any other description either. The reader cannot know its color, species, size—only that it is “Wild.” Likewise, there is no indication about what kind of “song” was being delivered, even though that detail could sway the meaning of the poem. If the “Wild Flower” were “[s]inging a [sad] song,” that would have created a moroseness to saturate the poem in place of a happy atmosphere that a more upbeat “song” could supply.
It seems the narrator is only concerned with offering the audience the most basic of details, and that concept could be a hint to the poem’s theme. Perhaps to embrace life’s true enjoyment, the right simple things need to be held close, and the reserve the narrator shows in handing over information reflects that concept.
The choice of rhyme scheme for this poem also reflects that concept since the ABAB approach mimics the action of skipping, as in the rhyme for the first line skips over the second to get to its matching third. This concept of skipping and a “forest” creates feelings of childhood, joviality, and imagination that can be achieved by simple details—like daydreaming and “[s]inging.”
‘I slept in the earth
In the silent night,
I murmured my fears
And I felt delight.
The “song” of the “Wild Flower” begins in this second stanza, and the concepts of metaphor or daydream continue through these lines since not only can a “Flower” not “[s]ing,” but it certainly cannot “murmur…fears” or experience “delight.” Still, these were the things the “Wild Flower” proclaims in its “song.”
Even within the surreal atmosphere of having a “Flower” tell such a story of doing things out of its reach, there is a simplicity in the “song” that reflects the happiness that can be found through unpretentious things. For instance, the “Wild Flower” “slept in the earth [i]n the silent night,” which is as grounded and basic as a circumstance could be. This “Flower” was literally rooted into “the earth,” and it was surrounded by a peaceful quietness as it slumbered. The “Flower” “felt” so comfortable in that situation that it was able to express its “fears” in a “murmur” that mirrored the quiet, and that confiding into the “silent night” allowed that “Flower” to have its share of “delight.” In addition to the notion of happiness coming from grounding and peace then, the reader can also see that the common action of talking out “fears” to someone trusted can bring them to a point of recovery and betterment.
There is no time distinction, furthermore, between the action of telling “fears” and experiencing “delight.” The “Flower” did not say that he expressed those “fears” in order to feel “delight,” but combined that idea with a simple “and.” That method of combining could hint that embracing such comradery and connection—just in knowing that someone exists to confide in—can lead to that “delight.” It is the process and the truth that matter, and those prospects are grounded, simple concepts to make life enjoyable.
‘In the morning I went
As rosy as morn,
To seek for new joy;
But oh! met with scorn.’
The “Flower[s’]” song continued to address what happened “[i]n the morning.” At that point, the “Flower” “went [a]s rosy as morn,” which indicates that it “felt” refreshed and renewed from its time spent in “night” with “the earth.” Like a sunrise delivers a fresh start of a new day, this “Wild Flower” was ready to embrace the newness in front of it that followed its “silent night.” The reason for this venture was simple as well, that it was “seek[ing] for new joy.” There is no indication of what would bring this “Wild Flower” that “new joy,” but once again, the details are treated as unnecessary. The point made is that the “Wild Flower” was rejuvenated and looking for happiness.
Unfortunately for this “Flower,” that “new joy” was not what was found. Instead, it found “scorn.” This is likely connected to the notion that “Wild Flower[s]” can be seen as inferior plants that are not chosen or sophisticated. They surface wherever they will, and there is little monetary value to be had from them. That kind of unruliness and simplicity can be seen as lesser qualities that could spark “scorn.”
Even with enduring that “scorn” though, the “Flower” did not seem overly upset by it. In fact, its reaction was as simple as the rest of its tale, so much that it gave no subject for what was “met with scorn.” The combination of that missing subject and the casual proclamation of the simple, “But oh!” creates a scenario where it seems the “Flower” saw this dilemma as an unfortunate reaction, but one that was not strong enough to stop its happiness. This is evident because neither the recipient or the provider of the “scorn” was mentioned by name. If the “scorn” had been enough to sway the “Flower[‘s]” mood, more information would have been provided. As it stands, it was too insignificant to grant a full sentence to.
Overall, the poem speaks of the joy that can come with simplicity and being grounded in the things that matter. By keeping the right priorities and a good mind frame, beauty can be found in the less polished parts of life, and with that idea in mind, there is no need to let “scorn” hinder a positive attitude that is linked to good things. This “Wild Flower” is a representation of a thriving, enduring mindset that can be achieved through those right priorities—that even with “scorn,” there can be “joy.”
About William Blake
William Blake was an artist in numerous fields, including painting in addition to his poetry. He was born in 1757, and he was known for his political views as well as his artistic expertise. Through education, apprenticeship, and life experience, he molded his talent and opinions to leave the world with a collection of art to his credit. He passed away in 1827.