Study Guide

Auguries of Innocence Tough-o-Meter

By William Blake

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(7) Snow Line

Most people who enjoy poetry could probably read "Auguries" and find something to like. Parts of it are appealingly straightforward: "A dog starv'd at his master's gate / Predicts the ruin of the state." (9-10). But the poem gets extremely difficult, even impenetrable, at points—and then the reader really does need a guide (or needs to have obsessed over Blake for a few years). For instance, what does "The caterpillar on the leaf / Repeats to thee thy mother's grief" mean? (37-38). Yeah, it's striking—but what's going on? (Psst—it's apparently some Garden of Eden thing.) That's where the scholars and Shmoop pages come in, gang. We're helpful like that.

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