, Research Paper
To Love or not to Love
In William Blake?s ?The Clod and the Pebble,? the Clod of Clay and the Pebble have opposing views of love. The Clod sees love from an optimist?s view while the Pebble sees love from a pessimist?s point of view.
The Clod of Clay sings his verse about love; ?So sung the Clod of Clay? (347). This gives a sense of jubilation. The idea of song is associated with happiness and glee. This gives the impression that the Clod is happy and that the things of which he is singing are also happy.
The Clod of Clay is also described as ?Trodden with the cattle?s feet? (347). The Clod has been stepped on, though he does not seem to mind. The Clod is very optimistic. He knows that his purpose is to be stepped on. He doesn?t resent his place in the world. He can see past his purpose and find meaning in his life beyond his job.
The Clod?s song about love says love is a wonderful and beautiful thing. He says ?Love seeketh not itself to please, / Nor for itself hath any care? (347). The Clod is saying love is selfless. When a person is in love, he or she desires only to make his partner happy. A person in love wants only the things that his partner desires. The Clod sings, ?But for another gives its ease? (347). This means someone in love is willing and does give up his simple life of being alone and dealing only with his own needs to share his life with the one he loves.
When the Clod says ?And builds a Heaven in Hell?s despair? (347) he means that love can overcome anything. Love, in the midst of pain and suffering, can build a grand palace of happiness and hope.
The Pebble in the brook has a totally different opinion of love. He sees love in the opposite way the Clod sees love.
The pebble warbles his verse about love, ?But a Pebble in the brook / Warbled out these metres met? (347). This means, in general, to sing, but it is more like a yodel. This does not sound like the song of the Clod. It is not nearly as jubilant.
The Pebble lives in the brook. He lives in clear, fresh, moving water. The Pebble enjoys a life that is more peaceful than the Clod?s. The Pebble, though living a life of comfort, is a pessimist. He resents his place in the world. He does not understand that being a pebble in a brook is his purpose in life and is his position in the universe.
The Pebbles warble about love says love is a dismal and dreary thing. He says ?Love seeketh only Self to please, / To bind another to its delight? (347). The Pebble is saying love is selfish. When a person is in love, he or she desires only to be made happy by his partner. A person in love is only looking for the ways in which his partner could fulfill his desires. The Pebble warbles, ?Joy in another?s loss of ease? (347). This means someone in love expects his partner to give up her simple life of being alone to share it with him. He expects to have an undisturbed life.
When the Pebble says ?And builds a Hell in Heaven?s Despite? (347), he means that love disturbs a peaceful life. He is saying that love, in the midst of happiness and hope, brings pain and suffering. The Pebble only sees how love can break hearts when they are so vulnerable. Love can make a person helpless, weak, and powerless.
The Clod of Clay is an optimist who sees love as a wonderful thing that brings happiness and joy to a couple. The Pebble is a pessimist who sees love as a dismal illusion that only brings heartache and pain.
Blake William. ?The Clod and the Pebble.? The Conscious
Reader. Caroline Shrodes, et al. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1998. 347