The Fly – William Blake – Analysis

The Fly

Little Fly,
Thy summer’s play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink, and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength and breath
And the want
Of thought is death;

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.

William Blake (1757 – 1827)

A five-stanza poem with a dancing careless rhythm that fits well with the ending in the last lines, the first four stanzas are ‘abcb’ and the final stanza ‘aabb’. The short lines reflect the nature of passing life and the poem itself perhaps produced from a passing thought when disturbed by an annoying fly.

The subject is life, nature, existence and death with a comparison between the fly and man. Blake controls the life of a fly that came to close just as fate, God or luck could equally determine the fate of Blake.

The poem concerns thought and action. Thoughtless action can cause death. Will some blind hand deal with Blake in the same way that Blake deals with the fly?

Thought always motivates action no matter how fleeting a thoughtless response. Thought dominates life. If life is totally in the mind then it is a happy life free from worry when the mind is so developed.

William Blake on Wikipedia

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