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and did those feet in ancient time
And did those feet in Ancient Time
  • Milton is an epic poem by William Blake, written and illustrated between 1804 and 1810. Its hero is John Milton, who returns from Heaven and unites with Blake to explore the relationship between living writers and their predecessors, and to undergo a mystical journey to correct his own spiritual errors.
  • Milton was Blake's longest published poem to date, and was printed in Blake's characteristic combination of etched text and illustration supplemented by watercolour.

Write down 3 images/metaphors that reveal positive things about Melbourne

Write down 3 images/metaphors that reveal negative changes

discuss and annotate
Discuss and Annotate

In pairs annotate and discuss the poem’s meaning. Consider:

  • Who is the poem about?
  • What is being said about the state of England? (Contextual issue)
  • What does the speaker hope to see happen?
  • What poetic devices can you identify?

1. Discuss your ideas with another pair

2. Look at the handout – use it to add to your annotations

3. Make notes in your work book. Write a brief summary of the main ideas and the main poetic devices.

use your annotations to form some notes
Use your annotations to form some notes…
  • Write 5 sentences about the imagery within the poem – including quotes.

(What is the image, what does it imply, how does it convey Blake’s views and values?)

Eg. Blake’s use of natural imageryenables him to emphasise what he saw as the purity of the mountains green and pleasant pastures.

The innocence of the Lamb of God juxtaposed to the Satanic Mills reveals Blake’s criticism……

The strong adjective of Satanic used to describe the mills…


Write 5 statements about the rhyme and rhythm

Eg. Blake’s utilisation of an abab rhyming scheme results in an even rhythm, yet one which develops in pace as the speaker’s determination and conviction to save Britain becomes stronger.

By the third stanza the beat hits a crescendo as the speaker’s repetition of me and my …..

  • Is the beat synonymous with the sounds of the industrial revolution? Or the sounds of soldiers marching? The sounds of an excited heart beat?

Write 5 sentences about symbols in the poem

The dominant symbol of Jerusalem builded here symbolises that once England was….

The Lamb of God symbolises….

The Sword…in my hand is symbolic of

The speaker’s determination to rebel the negative changes to his society are symbolic in his Arrows of desire …

now put it together
Now put it together…

Look at your notes on how to start an analysis.

Write your first paragraph. Include:

  • Poem titles
  • Speaker
  • Tone
  • Key ideas
  • Main similarity/difference

Remember you don’t have to write about everything.

how do i structure it
How do I structure it???!

Remember – there is no right or wrong way!

Some people pick out the key ideas whilst annotating, and base their analysis between the poem around them.

Key Idea – similarities/differences in both poems – how they are presented through poetic devices.

Other people like to structure their response around poetic devices and then discuss the key ideas.

Poetic device – similarities/differences – what it represents in both poems

sample opening paragraph

William Blake’s London and Did these feet in Ancient time use a narrative structure to reveal Blake’s criticism of the Industrial Revolution on the communities and people of England. London has a continuous critical and despondent tone as Blake condemns the lack of compassion in the upper classes with their chart’d streets and the chart’d Thames, which enables them to procure increased wealth. He reveals a tone of contempt for the aristocracy through the melancholy metaphor of the sigh of soldiers blood down palace walls, instilling his views that they were the cause of much suffering.The use of a despondent tone as the observer repetitively considers the marks of weakness, marks of woe emphasises the notion that people felt there was no chance of change. Ancient Feet conveys a tone of anguish, anger and defiance. It is with a tone of disbelief that he questions ……. The tone then changes to one of anger as he demands……

where to next
Where to next???
  • You could continue on with this first paragraph – there is a lot more you can add about how the tones are developed, providing numerous examples.
  • It might be easier to continue with your analysis of tone and join it with your analysis of imagery
  • What do these images symbolise?
  • What views/values is Blake revealing through them?
  • What images from both poems convey similar/different meanings?

2. Symbols – what key symbols can you discuss?

Eg. The symbols of the Arrow and Sword

The Biblical symbol of the Lamb of God reveals Blake’s perceived inncocence and ideal of the England of old….

3. Metaphors – Blake’s metaphoricalBlackning Church has the condemning connotation that….


Then you could move onto the structure and the rhyme/rhythm patterns.

  • Comment on how rhyming pattern and its effect – fast, slow, smooth, disjointed, angry, gentle – how does it reflect the mood of the speaker, and Blake’s ideas?
  • The rhyming pattern of London stays the same – what does this imply about the state of London?
  • The rhyming pattern of Ancient Feet is similar, but the pace speeds up in the last 2 stanzas – what impact does this have?