Background and Suggestions for Taking Notes as you Read

William Blake was a Romantic poet and British painter who lived during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in London. His poems Songs of Innocence and Of Experience (1794) portray "the two contrary states of the human soul." This song, from Experience, is spoken from the perspective of someone who is older and perhaps even embittered by the disappointments he or she experiences in life (from the perspective of "experience.")

As you read, first summarize what Blake says directly in this poem. What is the difference between expressing anger and hiding it, especially if the "foe" is poisoned by (dies from) one's anger whereas the friend is fine? Now, look not at what the poem says but rather at how it describes anger. Anger = __________ in this poem? What physical kind of thing (something one can water, something that can grow) is anger being seen as?

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