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Word Count: 1,754
The Schoolboy and this extract from Byrons epic Don Juan are concerned with the theme of learning Blake regards formal schooling as confining and destructive to a childs nature whereas Byron ridicules and shows the ineffectuality of strict puritan education The Schoolboy comprises six stanzas of five lines with a strict ABABB rhyme scheme The rhythm is iambic the natural speech pattern loose tetrameter and trimeter representing the childs struggle against the confinement of school The schoolboy is the speaker of the first three stanzas but the voice then changes to that of an adult appealing on behalf of the children The entire poem is composed in the present tense which gives it a sense of immediacy Blake begins his poem by presenting the reader with a pastoral idyll The child who rises in the summer morn 11 and with whom the sky-lark sings 14 is part of nature which provides such sweet company 15 This general bliss is also compounded with the use of positively charged words such as love 11 sweet 14 and the satisfied exclamation of Oh 15 On reading the words aloud the mouth widens to form a smile The But of the second stanza alerts the reader that this gentle happiness is to be broken But to go to school in a summer morn 21 echoes the opening line of the poem and in so doing draws attention to the differences between the two The singing is now sighing and this is reflected by the tone which becomes heavy and listless 25 The school itself is personified as it drives all joy away 22 Blake uses the word joy on three occasions here and again in the fourth and fifth stanzas In each case the joy is equated with the natural state and is taken away by the constraints of school The trochee of under 28 reflects the slump of the childs spirit when forced to attend
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