Language and Poetic Devices


The language used by William Blake in the poem “The Sick Rose” is old-fashioned English, which is typical for the late 1700s, when the poem was published. For example, the poem uses the old forms of certain words, such as “thou” (l. 1) instead of “you”, “art” (l. 1) instead of “are”, and “thy” (l. 5) instead of “your”.

When it comes to the choice of words, the dark atmosphere and rising tension are created with the help of adjectives such as “invisible” (l. 2), “howling” (l. 4), and “dark secret” (l. 7). The adjectives have negative meanings and hint at an unstoppable process – the rose’s decay. On the same note, nouns like “night” (l. 3) and “storm” (l. 4) influence the reader’s mood and create a sense of impending disaster. 


The p...

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