The Voice of The Ancient Bard: Poem - Summary and Analysis

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The Voice Of Ancient Bard

Youth of delight! come hither
And see the opening morn,
Image of Truth new-born.
Doubt is fled, and clouds of reason,
Dark disputes and artful teazing.
Folly is an endless maze;
Tangled roots perplex her ways;
How many have fallen there!
They stumble all night over bones of the dead;
And feel — they know not what but care;
And wish to lead others, when they should be led.

Summary and Analysis


      In "The Voice of the Ancient Bard" we find a prophetic utterance similar to that of the Introduction. The Bard here stands as the harbinger of a new era of Truth in which all the retarding evil powers such as reason, Vile, craft and doubt are absent. This poem is a poem of hope and no hue of distress is visible. This is a little ode celebrating the triumph of truth. It has bisibly some lineament of the 'Songs of Innocence'.

The Bard here stands as the harbinger of a new era of Truth in which all the retarding evil powers such as reason, Vile, craft and doubt are absent.
Ancient Bard


      The Ancient Bard hails the happy young men and asks them to come to him and behold the new-born image of truth on a Spring morning. The sun has emerged bright from the dispiriting clouds of doubt, reason, hot disputes and crafty teasing. The poet goes on to generalise a universal truth of endless errors. He says that folly or the tendency to err puts one in an endless maze of further consequences. Its entangled network of complications ensnares us and leaves us exhausted. Many have fallen prey to it and stumbled in utter darkness over the bones of the dead. They have gained only care and anxiety as their gift. But the most foolish thing is that they wish to guide others when they themselves are in need of guidance.

      The poet invites the young men to see and feel the manifestation of Truth in the activities of nature. He has to call them because the young men of Experience are not in touch with nature, and the day-break produces neither sensory nor any everlasting impetus on their mind. Their natural instincts are withered. But this is not the temper of the poem up to its end. In the concluding stanzas the poet tells us about the confusing maze of errors and foibles in which humanity plods at large. The "bones of the dead' reminds us of the insignificance and invalidity of traditional religious follies which are at the core of the lines in Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell:

"Drive your cart and your flow over the bones of the dead,


Everything possible to be believed is an image of truth."

The Bard - a Harbinger:

      The ancient Bard trumpets out the message of a new-born image of truth which may illuminate the whole world. He invites the young men and spurs them on to enjoy and applaud the day-break in which the poet finds the bright image of the upcoming truth. Blake's idea behind this is, as it has been worded by himself, to bring the young men into an awareness of the eternal golden age in which Imagination and Truth predominate over all the other virtues. It is these young men who are to frame it up. He exhorts them to give up the way of dry logie and reasoning, crafty ways of arguments and also to preclude all the doubt that. if kept inside. may breed and give birth to new perturbing offshoots. He discourages the following of traditional etiquette and the errors and misapprehensions which may engulf the human soul and check its freedom.

Beware of the 'Tangled roots':

      The poet warns the young men against the endless maze of folly. He deplores doubting, reasoning, disputing and artful teasing. Doubt, according to the poet, engenders confusion which brings us ultimately to utter disaster. Blake opposes man's reasoning nature because it obscures truth. When he mentions 'reason' he means false reasoning and culpable logic. He gives prominence to man's power of imagination which helps him know the hidden truth of unknown things. Dark is attributed to dispute which may mislead us. Such disputes are to be avoided for a sound judgement and evaluation of things. Similarly, the poet deprecates tricky and unjust ways of questioning because it vexes and upsets our mind and leads us nowhere at all. The poet says that once we are in the claws of folly or error, we are tossed into a train of ensuing errors until we are completely torn as under.

A Vague Idealism:

      The Bard in 'The Voice of the Ancient Bard' invites the young men and displays the image of truth. But he leaves it at that and does not define that image. Therefore the new-born image of truth turns out to be a vague idealism blended With the poet's feelings of elation and optimism for the future. Though the poet says that the clouds of doubt and reason have fled his ideas, as are seen in the following lincs deal with the vexing elements of 'endless maze of folly', 'bones of the dead' and so on.

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