Father Of Night

The song works as a summary of themes and motifs of the album, unifies them, and draws attention to the interconnections between the songs.  Nearly every word or concept is to be found in another song, and quite often in several. Examples from the first verse alone are father (pa), night, day, taketh (take), darkness, bird (birdies), rainbows, sky, loneliness (lonely), pain (tears), love and rain.

The ‘Father’ would seem to be God, but the sense is ambiguous. ‘Father’ could equally refer to the god of Blake’s ‘Tyger’, which is the cause of negative as well as positive things, and could just as well be the devil, as the traditional, all-loving Christian God. It would depend whether the expression ‘Father of loneliness and pain’, for example, is taken to mean ’cause of loneliness and pain’ or ‘someone who consoles when people are afflicted by loneliness and pain’ That the traditional God is at least in part intended is indicated by the perhaps reverential use of archaic, biblical verb forms – ‘taketh’, ‘teacheth’, ‘shapeth’, and the positive things attributed to him. That a devil-god is intended is indicated by the painful things attributed to him.

The language is also simplistic, mirroring the childlike language of Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence’. God is presented anthropomorphically as teacher, builder, shaper and turner. This childlike language would suggest that the positive view of God is in fact an inaccurate one. In the light of this, the line ‘Who dwells in our hearts and our memories’ is ambiguous. It’s unclear whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing to have such a god at one’s core.

In the final line, ‘Father of whom we most solemnly praise’, ‘of whom’ might seem an ungrammatical alternative for ‘who’. This would mean we praise such a God. Taken literally, however, the person we ‘most solemnly praise’ would be his son – i.e. Christ. The important thing about God would not be that he is equally the cause of good and bad, but that he is the cause of Christ.

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