A Divine Image, William Blake – An Analysis


Oh god. Maybe literally! Isn’t this the fella who saw the Divine in everything??? I’m not sure I’m able for this…

Gut Reaction
Um. Abandon all hope now, for we are mere humans?

What does it all mean?
…to err is to human…we are not godly…

Cruelty has a Human Heart
…only people are cruel…

And Jealousy a Human Face
…and only humans get jealous…

Terror the Human Form Divine 
…we terrorise in the image/name of God? Huh. Been thinking that for years…

And Secrecy, the Human Dress 
Ooh I like that! We dress up our secrets, put on a face, carefully select the people in our lives we feel we can tell all to…

The Human Dress, is forged Iron 
Um. We…hide behind the armour we create for ourselves to protect from people we don’t trust?

The Human Form, a fiery Forge. 
Our bodies? Appearances? are the result of blood, sweat and tears at the gym or athletic cake-eating?
The very act of existing is hard work and a good life hard-earned?

The Human Face, a Furnace seal’d 
Um. A mask? Forged out of life’s (mis)adventures? Lined with years of love, laughter and worries?
Without emotion to protect against being hurt? Rather than a blank slate ready for whatever emotion others etch on it, carved of stone so nobody can know what we are thinking?

The Human Heart, its hungry Gorge.
Greedy, always seeking more? Craving love and recognition? Gorge? The word itself evokes thoughts of gorging, over-eating, but gorge itself a cavernous, bottomless expanse but with narrow, restrictive sides. So is the heart never ending in its capacity? Do we fall too quickly in love without finding if there is a bottom to this gorge? Do we think we are following the ‘rules’?

Form – the vaguely technical stuff
Division and order
2 stanzas of four lines, using iambic pentameter, open couplets and alliteration.

A bit…. I don’t know. Talk-downy. But making of the sense a little.

Suggested rhyme scheme

Masculine rhyme with mostly run on lines. Strong repetition of ‘human’.

Similes and metaphors
Forged iron, fiery forge, furnace seal’d….all very masculine and speaking of hard toil. A body of strength created at the hand of Blake’s God? Impenetrable?
Gorge – hmm. Steep-sided valley…. A guide? Path? That the heart follows out of some sort if sense of purpose or doing the ‘normal’?

Author’s relationship with their subject
Authoritarian. Seems to like to distinguish very definitely the infallibility of people versus that of his Creator.

Other points of view (ideas from other sources)
A Divine Image, not to be confused with The Divine Image!
Is it…depressing? That Blake’s talent wasn’t recognised until after his death? Or just the way of things?
‘…a fiery forge…’ Image of hell juxtaposed with images of heaven throughout the rest of the poem?
Humanity is flawed and without hope?

Signing off
Is Blake saying, now then, lads and lasses, you might have been created in the image of the Almighty but you are not god. You are a poor photocopy with all sorts of errors and mistakes. But you’re alright really I suppose.
I don’t feel as negative about this as some appear to. If we’re always aspiring to an unattainable goal then we set ourselves to fall again and again. But. If we just recognise we are imperfect, well. We can try to be the best we can be and should be happy enough with that.


William Blake

The Blake Archive

When I read this I think of the song… Infallible


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