The Poems of William Blake

The Poems of William Blake Summary and Analysis of How Sweet I Roam'd From Field to Field


The speaker here is a young girl who is seduced by the love of a “prince.” Before she concedes to his seduction, everything in the world is “sweet,” “fair,” and “pleasurable.” Yet after the speaker is “caged” and her innocence has been taken from her, there is no turning back and the lover “plays” with her heart in a sadistic and tormenting manner.


Perhaps the most incredible thing about “How Sweet I Rom’d” is contextual: it was written before Blake was even fourteen years old! The poem features a mix of both genital sexuality and cultural references as agents to represent repression and means of expression as a hormone-driven youth. In the start, the amorous roamer is free to “roam” and “taste” at will and without pain until she is finally entrapped by love. This courting of the prince creates and caters to an uncompromising desire to act on love, physically, which results in the caging of the speaker. By the end, the speaker desires “to be heard” singing, but is instead teased sexually (sporting, playing, stretching out golden wing) and “mocked” for her “loss of liberty.”

The speaker’s liberty lost has a double meaning; the innocence to roam freely and ignorantly, tasting everything without cause and effect has been taken from her as she is now aware of the harm love can do, and the exposure to feel love while living among the social oppression to not act naturally upon love’s instincts and desires to copulate. In the first line of stanza three, we get Blake’s repeated reference of dew, the period before the break of day when she is still innocent. As the day moves on, the innocent is brought into the world, and transformed to a trapped creature of experience.