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Full text of "The poetical works of William Blake"

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Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 



http://www.archive.org/details/poeticalworksofw01blak 



THE POETICAL WORKS OF 
WILLIAM BLAKE 




'X 



JuxuL tSteetrir- &7Ufrawia Co. 



1PJ-182J. 



THE 

POETICAL WORKS 

OF 

WILLIAM BLAKE 

EDITED AND ANNOTATED BY 

EDWIN J. ELLIS 



IN TWO VOLUMES 
VOL. I. 



' Seeking the eternal, which is always present to the wise.' 
'Vala,' Night IX., line 170. 



LONDON 
CHATTO & WINDUS 
1906 



A 11 rights reserved 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

PRELIMINARY xiii 

POETICAL SKETCHES— 

To Spring 3 

To Summer 3 

To Autumn . 4 

To "Winter 5 

To the Evening Star 5 

To Morning 6 

Fair Elenor 6 

Song : How sweet I roamed 8 

Song : My silks and fine array .... 9 

Song : Love and harmony combine ... 9 

Song : I love the jocund dance .... 10 

Song : Memory, hither come ..... 11 

Mad Song 11 

Song : Fresh from the dewy hill 12 

Song : "When early Morn walks forth ... 12 

To the Muses 13 

Gwin, King of Norway ...... 14 

An Imitation of Spenser 17 

Blind-Man's Buff 19 

King Edward the Third 21 

Prologue for Edward the Fourth .... 44 

Prologue to King John 44 

A "War Song 45 

The Couch of Death 46 

vii 



BLAKE'S POEMS 



POETICAL SKETCHES— continued. 

Contemplation .48 

Samson 50 

Notes 55 

SONGS OF INNOCENCE— 

Introduction 63 

The Shepherd 64 

The Echoing Green 64 

The Lamb ........ 65 

The Little Black Boy 65 

The Blossom 66 

The Chimney-Sweeper 67 

The Little Boy Lost 68 

The Little Boy Found 68 

Laughing Song 68 

A Cradle Song 69 

The Divine Image 70 

Holy Thursday 71 

Night 71 

Spring 73 

Nurse's Song .74 

Infant Joy 74 

A Dream 75 

On Another's Sorrow 75 

SONGS OF EXPERIENCE— 

Introduction 77 

Earth's Answer ....... 78 

The Clod and the Pebble ..... 78 

Holy Thursday 79 

The Little Girl Lost 79 

The Little Girl Found 81 

The Chimney-Sweeper 83 

Nurse's Song 83 

The Sick Rose 83 

The Fly 84 

The Angel . 84 



CONTENTS ix 

PAGE 

SONGS OF EXPERIENCE— continued. 

The Tiger 85 

My Pretty Rose Tree 86 

Ah Sunflower 86 

The Lily 86 

The Garden of Love 87 

The Little Vagabond 87 

London 88 

The Human Abstract 88 

Infant Sorrow 89 

Christian Forbearance ...... 89 

A Little Boy Lost 90 

A Little Girl Lost 91 

ToTirzah . 92 

The Schoolboy 92 

The Voice of the Ancient Bard .... 93 

Notes 94 

IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL— 

Daybreak . 105 

Mammon 105 

Riches 106 

Opportunity 107 

Night and Day 107 

The Will and the Way 107 

Barren Blossom 108 

Cupid 108 

Love's Secret 109 

The Birds .109 

Young Love 110 

Seed-Sowing ........ 110 

The Defiled Sanctuary Ill 

The Two Voices Ill 

The Wild Flower's Song 112 

The Golden Net ....... 112 

Smile and Frown 113 

The Marriage Ring 114 

The Fairy ........ 114 



x BLAKE'S POEMS 

PAGE 

IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL— continued. 

Theological Ironical Fragment .... 115 

Long John Brown and Little Mary Bell . . . 115 

Mary 116 

William Bond 118 

The Crystal Cabinet 120 

Broken Love 121 

Notes 123 

The Mental Traveller 126 

The Grey Monk 129 

Note 131 

THE GATES OF PARADISE, ETC.— 

Introduction to the Gates 135 

The Keys of the Gates . . . . . .136 

Epilogue 137 

Auguries of Innocence 138 

Scoffers 142 

Idolatry 142 

For a Picture of the Last Judgment . . 143 

To Mrs. Anna Flaxman 144 

To Mr. Butts 144 

To Mrs. Butts .147 

'Los the Terrible' 147 

Miniatures ......... 150 

Gallantries and Mockeries 151 

The Island in the Moon . . . . . 154 

Resentments ......... 165 

The Everlasting Gospel 191 

La Fayette 206 

Notes 207 

Blake's Earliest Explanation ..... 212 

On Homer's Poetry ....... 216 

On Virgil 217 

Notes 220 



CONTENTS xi 

PAGE 

THE PROPHETIC BOOKS— 

The Ghost of Abel 221 

The Book of Thel 227 

Notes 235 

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell .... 237 

Notes 254 

A Song of Liberty 267 

Notes 268 

Tiriel 273 

Notes 292 

Visions of the Daughters of Albion . 297 

Notes 310 

America : A. Prophecy 317 

Notes 333 

The Book of Urizen 341 

Notes 358 

Europe : A Prophecy ...... 365 

Notes ... 378 

The Book of Ahania 389 

Notes 398 

The Book of Los 403 

Notes 410 

The Song of Los 417 

Notes 421 

The Laocoon : An Explanation .... 433 

Milton 437 

Notes 539 



HOW BLAKE'S WORK HAS COME TO US 

When Blake died in 1827 at seventy years of age, he left 
poetic work behind him in three different states. Some of it 
was still in manuscript ; some had been printed in ordinary 
type, and some had been printed with his own hands from 
copper and zinc plates on which he had first written in a kind 
of italic letter with a dark varnish ; then, having placed the 
plates in a bath of acid till all the parts not protected by this 
varnish were bitten away, he had rolled ordinary printing 
ink over the lines thus left in high relief, and so had been 
enabled to obtain copies by simply placing paper over the 
plates and passing them through a press. This process was 
his own. 

His manuscripts are very inaccurate. The actual words 
are generally well written and "properly spelled, but there are 
hundreds of lines in which wrong words have been left un- 
erased. Blake had an aversion to going over his work and 
removing errors. The mere idea often made him nervous and 
ill-tempered to such a degree that he became quite unfitted for 
the task. He was even afraid, when in this state, that he 
should injure his work in attempting to correct it, and his 
text is therefore almost as full of slips of the pen as of poetry. 
He wrote at a great pace, many lines at a time, and in a 
perfect fever of poetic excitement. His earliest work, the 
'Poetical Sketches,' was published by his friends. He seems 
never to have read the proof s. His engraved work has fewest 
errors and misplaced or redundant words. He could not 
improvise ivith the varnish on metal as quickly as with the 
pen on paper. There is hardly any emendation necessary for 
these, such as his other ivork, whether earlier or later, so 
frequently requires. The paging of the books, hotvever, is not 
always the same, and he seems to have sometimes forgotten his 
own intention in this matter. 

We must always remember that whatever else Blake tvas, he 
was the only man of whom we have any knowledge at all who 
ever invented what may properly be called a myth. The 
allegories of the Elizabethan period and l Pilgrim's Progress' 
belong to another order of symbolism. His myth is of value 



xiv BLAKE'S POEMS 

for its beauty and its dramatic picturesqueness. It also has 
a philosophy at its back which it will take us all many years 
yet to estimate justly. But if the whole world had only one 
volcano that was not extinct, or only one tree that was not a 
fossil, that volcano and that tree would be of value to geologists 
and botanists much as Blake is of value to mythologists. We 
have living knowledge of him, and of no other man of his kind. 
His myth has not come to us completely. Much was lost, 
and a great deal which cannot be replaced was deliberately 
destroyed by the friend to whom he left the manuscripts that 
were in his hands when he died. The remainder consists of 
poems and rhapsodies written at odd times during nearly half 
a century without a connected system or a drawn-up and 
arranged plan. That such a system can be found in them, 
and such a plan drawn from them, is in itself a testimony to 
the vigour and sanity of his mind which nothing can set 
aside. 



BLAKE'S PORTRAITS 

We know now fairly well what manner of man we should 
have seen had we lived when Blake was still going about 
among us, a part of the daily life of our world. Not only 
the big, square jaw, the short, eager-breathing nose, and 
the immense rounded forehead, whose curves looked like the 
full-shaped muscles of an athlete, are knoicn to us now by the 
portraits, but we can see him in the living expression that 
spoke out the soul before the first word was uttered. We can 
see the man of his race and of his time, the eighteenth century 
Irishman of good descent — his father was bom O'Neil before 
his grandfather took the name of Blake ivith a wife to whom it 
belonged, — and we can see the man of genius, for this face is 
positively flaring with life, conscious of power and of its own 
proud exuberance and generous giving out of mental wealth. 
It is resentful to the unappreciative, grim to the incompetent, 
kind to the simple, and savage to the pretentious. 

We know also that if we had seen him while living, we 
should have seen with his greatness something of his evident 
deficiencies — his half-educated scrappiness, his lack of the 
judicial spirit, and of any sympathetic mental patience. We 
should have understood his hasty adoption of new words that 
caught his fancy, and his vivacious incapacity to control his 
otvn genius, or to do justice to other kinds of genius that were 
repugnant to him. 



BLAKE'S PORTRAITS xv 

We should have seen in him the living spirit of rebellious- 
ness, crowned with fidelity, so long as fidelity and partisan- 
ship were the same thing. We should have seen him incapable 
of saving, incapable of serving, and incapable of fearing. 

But when all was balanced, we should have seen a man to 
love with some wonder, yet always to love; and to revere with 
some regret, yet always to revere. 

And the man we should have seen was the man that truly' 
was ; for of hypocrisy, deception, or even of reasonable reserve 
this face had no fragment, no suggestion, and no possibility. 

And, last of all, we should have seen a face not easy to 
record in one picture — the face of two portraits at least. 

Fortunately we have these two portraits of Blake; and of 
that on which the shadow of will, of pride, and of rebellion 
lies most deeply, we have several. 

In Quaritch' s facsimile edition ; in Gilchrist's ' Life ' 
(Macmillan) ; in Yeats's selections (Laurence and Bullen) 
and in Perugini's (Methucn), we have altogether more than 
half a dozen portraits from original and trustworthy sources. 

Tatham's drawing in the Quaritch edition shows Blake 
from the stem and fierce side of his character. The long- 
lipped yet thin mouth, wide and sad, is held close with 
determination. The corners go downwards, the whole line 
of the lips forming a low-crowned arch, the line of stern and 
permanent sorrow. The eyes glitter and burn with a fanatic 
light. The brow-lines are seen not to have come by accident, 
nor without their full equivalent of mental and personal 
experience. The wide, open nostril and the wide, open ear 
seem to have been carved by a sculptor's imperious and un- 
flinching hand to show how well he knew that the spirit 
that breathes and the spirit that hears needed a free passage 
for inspiration and life — for the air of this world and the 
messages of the other. A t first this seems an exaggeration in 
the portrait, but the photographs taken from the cast made 
from Blake's head for Devi-lie the phrenologist, show that it 
is not so. In the Works (Quaritch) and in Perugini's Selec- 
tions (Methucn) this cast is given, once in profile, once three- 
quarter face, from photographs. It is even more stern and 
uncompromising than Tatham's portrait, and the closed eyes 
do not suggest either sleep or blindness. 

To turn to Linnell's portrait, engraved for Gilchrist and 
photographed from the original ivory for Yeats, is turning 
from fierceness to sweetness, from anger to happiness, from 
war to love. 

The face is dimpled all over, right up into the temples, with 

the kindliness and innocence of the smile, in which kindness is 

the informing and moulding power. There is very little 

amusement and absolutely no sarcasm or derision in it. 

vol. i. b 



xvi BLAKE'S POEMS 

There is a curious look as though the man were smiling and 
whistling at the same time, as people smile and whistle to 
little pet birds. 

What has happened to the face to change it so much ; and, 
above all, what has become of the great, long, slit-like mouth ? 
The upper lip used to be slightly pressed forward, as though 
air were blotvn behind it, which bowed it above the thin, long, 
sad red line in a curve just the reverse of the Greek line of 
beauty. In lips of Cupid's bow form, a smile widens 
and flattens the red part, bid in Blake's the opposite is 
what happens. A smile shortens the mouth. The line takes 
two new curves, one upward, just on each side of the 
central point, which now descends a hair' s-breadth, and again 
one at each corner, where is now a slight rise. The Cupid's 
bow form has come in the act of smiling — the very action that 
obliterates it in a face of Greek beauty. The result of this 
shortening of a mouth while the other lines of the face show 
that it is smiling, is to give that whistling look, that appear- 
ance of addressing the smile along with little shrill sounds of 
endearment, to a bird. 

To understand such a change in a face, it must be seen. 
Yet it is almost unknown outside Ireland. Even there it is 
not common in anything of the perfection which Blake's face 
possessed as an example of its paradoxical charms ; but it is 
well known, and is as distinctively Irish as were Blake's open 
nostril, large flashing eyes, and the square jaw, wide mouth, 
short nose, and round head. 

In Tatha.m's portrait, the depression below the under lip 
and above the large chin is sudden and deeply carved. In 
LinnelVs it is flatter, and as if water-worn. This also is a 
change belonging to the passage from a serious to a smiling 
look, and it occurs as part of the same movement, while the 
nostril grows more oval and less defiant. 

The portrait given as frontispiece to this volume, made up 
as it is from all the others, has neither the advantages nor the 
disadvantages of such a picture as must have been drawn from 
life. It represents a man of extremes at neither one nor other 
of his extreme moments. If two of Blake's own favourite 
terms may be used for art-criticism, this may be said to be 
neither a Spectre portrait, like Tatham's, nor an Emanation 
portrait, like LinnelVs. It shows the man — perhaps as he 
listens to what some visitor was saying — passing from one 
stage to the other ; and it is intended by the editor, who has 
made it for this purpose and has no other apology to offer for 
it, as a key by which the mystery of the transition may be 
unlocked. 



PERSONAL IMPRESSION OF BLAKE xvii 



PERSONAL IMPRESSION OF BLAKE 

Blake's personality, as it impressed all those who came near 
him, has come down to us without the discussions that perturb 
our enjoyment of his work, and free from the miscomprehen- 
sion that followed his poetry for so long, and alone caused 
the theory that he was a madman. No one who knew him 
thought him mad except Mr. Crabbe Robinson, who tried to 
understand him without taking the trouble to understand 
Swedenborg first. The greatest of his modern critics — D. G. 
Rossetti and Mr. Swinburne — always felt that he was sane, 
even if they could not prove it. 

He was not only sane, but urbane. His politeness to every 
one, whether above or below him in social standing, only failed 
three times, and then it gave place to indignation, not to 
raving : once when he obliged his wife to apologise to his brother, 
who handsomely and lovingly repudiated the apology; once 
when he suspected a circus proprietor of being cruel to a boy ; 
and once when he bodily turned a soldier out of his garden 
before knowing that the gardener had asked him into it. 

He felt much wrath at different times against more than 
one person, but there is no record that it broke the firmness of 
his personal bearing, during his years of manhood. 

Of those who in later days felt the charm of Blake's person- 
ality, Gilchrist, his biographer, has done most to cause it to 
come down as a valuable and pleasant influence to our own 
day. If there were nothing else than this personal impression 
to be got out of his book, it would be one of the best worth 
having and best worth remembering of biographies. Its author 
held firmly that Blake knew what he meant himself, and that 
some one would come some day and explain him. In fact, it 
was to a direct challenge (omitted since the first edition) to say 
what the poem 'To the Jews' meant in 'Jerusalem,' page 27, 
that the present editor owed so long ago as 1870 his own first 
impulse to investigate, and the first substantial results of in- 
vestigation. 

As an account of Blake's personality, no one could hope to 
improve on Gilchrist, but there is no space to quote a whole 
volume here. 

Mr. Swinburne in the essay, in which he also calls for an 
interpreter, and avoivs his belief that there is sane matter for 
interpretation, has a few sentences, picturesque and stimulat- 
ing, that are worth recalling now. He describes Blake as — 

' A man perfect in his vjay and beautifully unfit for walk- 
ing in the way of any other man. . . . No one, artist or poet ' 



xviii BLAKE'S POEMS 

(he continues), ' of whatever school, who had any insight, or 
any love of things noble and lovable, ever passed by this man 
without taking away some pleasant or exalted memory of him. 
Those with whom he had nothing in common but a clear, kind 
nature, and sense of what ivas sympathetic in men and accept- 
able in things — those men whose work lay quite apart from his 
— speak of him still with as ready affection and as full re- 
membrance of his sweet or great qualities as those nearest and 
likest him. There was a noble attraction in him which came 
home to all people with any fervour or candour of nature in 
themselves. ' 

Mr. Swinburne also adds much to this that, being criticism, 
has had its day, but the personal tribute remains as fresh 
and living as when it was written. Notwithstanding a note 
that is near, yet not too near to apology, in a writer who did 
not really understand why ' grave errors' are not — in the 
Prophetic Books, at any rate — the things that they seem to be, 
the closing lines of Mr. Swinburne's three hundred pages of 
essay are too fine and still too appropriate to be allowed, to pass 
unrepeated — 

' If it should now appear to any reader that too much has 
been made of slight things, and too little said of grave errors, 
this must be taken well into account : that praise enough has 
not yet been given, and blame can always be had for the ask- 
ing ; that when full honour has been done and full thanks 
rendered to those who have done great things, then and then 
only will it be no longer an untimely and unseemly labour to 
map out and mark down their shortcomings for the profit and 
pleasure of their inferiors and our own ; that however pleasant 
for common palates and feeble fingers it may be to nibble or 
pick holes, it is not only more profitable, but should be more 
delightful, for all who desire or who strive after any excellence 
of mind or of achievement to do homage wherever it may be 
due ; to let nothing great pass unsaluted or unenjoyed ; but as 
often as we look backwards among past days and dead genera- 
tions, with glad and ready reverence to answer the noble 
summons — "Let us now praise famous men and our fathers 
who were before us." Those who refuse them that are none of 
their sons; and among all those "famous men and our 
fathers," no names seem to demand so loudly as theirs who, 
while alive, had to dispense with the thanksgiving of men. To 
them, doubtless, it may be said, this is now more than ever in- 
different ; but to us it had better not be so. And especially 
in the works and in the life of Blake there is so strong and 
special a charm for those to whom the higher ways of work arc 
not sealed ways, that none will fear to be too grudging of 



BLAKE'S PHILOSOPHY xix 

blame or too liberal of praise. A more noble memory is 
hardly left us, and it is not for his sake that we should 
contend to do him honour. ' 



BLAKE'S PHILOSOPHY 

Blake's philosophy was religion to him, as theirs tvas to the 
Pagans ; and it is the subject of all his poetry, as theirs was 
to the myth-making teachers of the Pagans; and unless we 
know something about it we cannot read a page of his writing, 
however beautiful the melody or imagery of it may be, without 
feeling that all our pleasure is spoilt. One of two opposite 
thoughts will constantly assert itself and take away our 
enjoyment, and, with our enjoyment, our intelligent apprecia- 
tion. Either we shall know, with irritated humility, that we 
are not understanding what was meant by the author ; or ive 
shall fall back on the usual resource of the ignorant, and 
conclude that the author did not understand what he meant 
himself. 

The latter theory was used freely whenever a difficulty 
occurred by every reader and critic of Blake, very much to 
the comfort of their otvn minds, but very little to the help of 
the public, all the way from Blake's own time, through the 
Gilchrist, Rossetti, and Swinburne period of criticism, and 
only became obsolete after the appearance of the Quaritch 
edition ten years ago. Dr. Garnel alone endeavoured to 
revive it after that date to conceal his own invincible in- 
capacity to understand Blake's manner of writing even after 
it was explained to him. 

In these volumes the present editor has taken up again the 
system of comparing passage with passage in Blake himself, 
which led to the obtaining of the clue that is developed in that 
edition. 

But a word of introduction, without references, giving the 
summing up of the whole matter, may be of help to those who 
have not the time to perform this task. 

As is the case with each of us, Blake's philosophy was the 
offspring of a union between his education and his personal 
peculiarities. When speaking of his philosophy, of coiirse we 
mean his habitual conviction on the question of what is good 
and what is bad, what is real and what is illusory, among the 
anass of experiences and ideas that go to make up life. 

His education was that of a child to whom the fundamental 
ideas of Swedenborg are presented daily as entirely true and 
not startlingly eccentric, and of a youth who acquired a 



xx BLAKE'S POEMS 

mental dwelling-house of eighteenth century rationalistic 
materialism, and added it to their foundation. 

Then he began to read the Bible for himself, continued to do 
so ' day and night ' all his life, and picked up a little of the 
current critical knowledge as he read ; but very soon he struck 
out a new path of interpretation in harmony with Sweden- 
borgianism and Rationalism, and weaving in the Berkeleyan 
view of matter, and a good deal of Gnosticism into this, he 
formed his own theory of things, and having once formed this 
he held to it, worked for it, lived for it, and died exultingly 
in the enthusiasm of it. 

His personal peculiarities, which, as he slowly and imper- 
fectly learned, were not possessed by him in the average and 
normal degree in which people about him, possessed the same, 
included a capacity of seeing through people and visions of 
people, while aivake, as only hypnotically influenced nervous 
constitutions enable most persons to do, unless they are assisted 
by modern methods of producing fluorescence medicinally, and 
so illuminating the interior of their own or other physical 
bodies. 

This clairvoyant capacity he believed to be not a physically 
developed, if abnormal and interesting nervous gift, as the 
people called 'psychics,' and others have so fully shoivn it to 
be, but a means of grace, a medium of brotherhood, a basis of 
religious and immortal hope — as it may be presumed this 
bodily gift is in actual fact on the way to really becoming. 
Such development would be a miracle less wonderful and more 
to be expected than childbirth. Blake was probably only a 
pioneer of an army whose methods are hardly yet understood 
by the inhabitants of the country which it is invading. He 
preached visions as others preach whatever they consider 
necessary to salvation, but he was always careful to add that 
there was no personal and egotistic permanence in it, but 
'self-annihilation' and eternal brotherhood, which would 
develop into unity, and so become Humanity. This he called 
the fading away of the mortal in improved knowledge. 

This ultimate Humanity was revealed, symbolically, in one 
man, he held, namely Christ, whose bodily person (the real 
chief of sinners) was Jesus. Christianity consisted in under- 
standing this, and in being aroused to faith, love, and action 
by it. We cannot doubt that if Marcus Aurelius had read 
Blake, he would have believed every word. 

Corporeally Blake was exceptionally strong. He spent his 
whole life in wasting his strength in nervous excitement, and 
undermining it by lack of fresh air and exercise, with over- 
much sedentary labour. If he left off work for a while, he 
could walk thirty miles without training, as a matter of 



BLAKE'S PHILOSOPHY xxi 

course, and great physical power is revealed in his verse, his 
drawings, and his very handwriting. 

Like some who are thus vigorous, he had also a super- 
abundance of physical passion. He takes account of this, and 
demands at first indulgence, then forgiveness for it. But he 
very soon gave up even in idea all egotistic demands other 
than the demand to do his spiritual duty. Still, he always 
to the end insisted on one liberty — that of being allowed to 
transform passion through the alchemy of the imagination 
and turn it all into inward light — into the helium (gold, he 
called it) of the mind. That all could, and should do the 
same, that Art was the process, and universal brotherhood 
and Christian love, with no more war and covet the result, he 
never doubted. 

But repression of the body by morality, leading to hypocrisy 
and impurity ; repression of the imagination by rationalism, 
or sense, leading to ambition and combat; and the loss or 
extinction of clairvoyance, of sympathy and of brotherhood, re- 
sulting from the egotism engendered by such repression, was 
to Blake the Antichrist and the enemy. 

This enemy he knew, in his own day, as ' moral virtue,' and 
he could not denounce it too much. The only moral virtue 
he admitted was artistic industry, and this he showed in his 
own life. ' Self-annihilation,' by which he meant sense- 
annihilation, was to be its final and eternal result. We were 
to reach it by multiplication and development of senses, as Los 
rose into regeneration, or unity, after falling into generation, 
or division. The story of this, promised in the opening of 
' Vala,' is related in all the 'Prophetic Books,' so called for 
that reason. 

In the matter of that decency which is an avoidance of light 
laughter at passionate love, Blake was as far ahead of his age as 
in imaginative designing, philosophy, and poetry. But this is 
not surprising. Jests that degrade human passion are not 
common among those ivho have it greatly along with other great- 
ness, but among boys who have not understood it or attained 
to it, men who are deficient in it, or who are goaded by the 
upside down modesty that is more shy of seeming to be better 
than their neighbours than of any other undecorum, and among 
those who have fallen into the vindictive ribaldry of senility. 

Apart from what is personal, it is necessary to understand 
what is formal in Blake's philosophy if we are to follow his 
meaning. 

The latter part of page 12, the former half of page 13 of 
■'Jerusalem,' being known practically by heart, and the 
explanatory scraps between pages 32 and 37 sought out and 
read with the opening paragraphs in pages 53, 59, 60, 64, 65, 



xxii BLAKE'S POEMS 

6G, 69, 71, and all the last eight or ten pages of the 
same poem — a firm foundation may be obtained for under- 
standing the rest. But in 'Jerusalem' almost all is ex- 
planation, the mass being poetic explanation. The poetry 
is apt to distract the attention of the mind from the task of 
seizing the skeleton of the idea until this is firmly grasped by 
the joints which are found in the more laboured and prosaic 
passages. The prose prefaces to the four chapters rather add 
to the difficulty until the language of the myth is understood 
by seeming too separate from it to belong to it, but all turns out 
to be one philosophic myth in the end. 

The story of the four Zoas, which, in the Quaritch edition, 
is traced in a chapter of references through the chief books, 
is briefly this : — 

The origin of the world is a mental activity, condensing and 
contracting and identifying — condensing into tangibility and 
identifying into variety. This produces what we call existence. 
Blake did not call the process evolution, but he meant the same 
thing. Before, and while it is producing individuals, it 
appears in broader divisions. One resembles our intellect, 
that by trying to control us and stand above our emotions 
becomes an evil. Its effeminate side is a dream. Call it 
Urizen, call its feminine Ahania ; consent to read the analysis 
of the thought in mythic form, and you are at one with the 
first quarter of life, or first life, or ' Zoa,' if 'you please. The 
South, Gold ; the Sun, the Eyes ; Fire, the Zenith, are among 
convenient symbols that further suggest its qualities. 

The emotional part of life — older than the life of any one of 
us — is the enemy and rival of this power, and also seeks to 
tyrannise over us. Call it Luvah; call its material side 
Vala; call its fiery form Ore ; give it for further symbols the 
East, Silver, Air ; let it seek to rule by rising into the Sun; 
give it the Nostrils for organ ; give it the Centre or Heart for 
region, and poetry will tell its philosopihic story. Give it and 
all the others names of cities, and of elementary spirits ; keep 
their places coherent ; give them for symbols Height and Depth 
as ever contrary to Length and Breadth. 

But there is, since the world was made by a word (logos), the 
' Parent ' or verbal po wer. We knoxo it too well in dumb nature 
as Vegetation. Call it Tharmas ; give it the region of sunset — 
"West ; give it Brass for metal, Water for element, the Tongue 
for organ ; add any poetic adjunct you please so long as it is 
coherent, and it will tell its tale. Despair is its male form, 
Hope its female. Watch it try to tyrannise over us by its evil 
side — Uncertainty. Give it and take from it Outwards as a 
•motion, and Accident or Chance as a power. 

Finally, sec in the night the dark labour of the mind and 



BLAKE AND VISION xxiii 

the dark labour of mind we call matter. Give it the Ear 
that receives the word as Organ, and Generation as func- 
tion. Give it Earth as element, the Nadir as place, Iron 
(magnetically attractive) as metal. Call it Urthona ; see in it 
the revelation o/Time ; call him Los — reverse of Sol, and Space ; 
call her his female part ; give to his revelation and his emotion 
good powers friendly to man. See Ore himself as their sun, 
and make Los no tyrant, but a prophet — the source of all our 
knowledge of good. See him in the darkest hour before dawn t 
write his philosophy as a sun-myth ; follow the course of the 
sun ; keep the zodiac in your mind as a hint for plot ; then 
sum up all the religious history of the world and call it the 
' Covering cherub ' of the final and only religion, that which is 
taught us by Imagination (the body of the Saviour in our 
minds), and re-entering the bosom of God in a mass by brother- 
hood, since none of us can get there alone, defeat the tyranny 
of the four Zoas, quarters, or moods, or powers of life ; and, 
then whoever does this has himself lived through ichat Blake 
•writes, and can read it. 



BLAKE AND VISION 

Blake's own advice to an artist, ' Cultivate imagination to 
the point of vision,' shows that he meant something by ' vision ' 
that was not the same as ' imagination, ' but was its legitimate 
offspring. All the senses are believed to be developments of the 
sense of touch. Their uses could not have been foreseen by any 
one who had only their undeveloped origin. The question 
whether imagination or Vision can present us with truth or 
not, is very much like the prehistoric question whether sight 
or hearing could present us with truth or not, as it might 
have been asked while these were still developing. 

Blake hoped, and his hope was scientifically justifiable, that 
all men would one day be as gifted as himself in visionary 
faculty. Not only would it then be accepted, as ordinary 
sight is now, and used as a means to bring truth to the mind, 
but we should have a ready means of finding out when it was 
likely to deceive us by comparing notes. We all know well 
that illness, prejudice, and the mixture of the two that is 
imitated by hypnotic suggestion, deceive us about objects of 
sight. 

Vision may also be made to bring an untrue report to the 
mind. We have Blake's acknowledgment of this in his paper 



xxiv BLAKE'S POEMS 

explaining his 'Vision of the Last Judgment' (' Works,' vol. ii. 
p. 393) :— 

'The Greeks represent Chronos, or Time, as a very aged 
man. This is fable ; but the real vision of Time is an eternal 
youth. I have, however, somewhat accommodated my figure 
of Time to the common opinion, as I myself am also infected 
with it, and I see Time aged, — alas ! too much so.' 

The use of the word infected here helps to explain Blake's 
use of the word ' disease ' elsewhere. 

He was only at his best in ' vision ' in his most energetic 
moments. Under depression, the idleness of the mind, under 
doubt of the validity of imagination, forced even on him by 
the pressure of imaginative minds around him, and under 
influences that diverted and perverted when it did not destroy 
the best qualities of the visionary life, the visions were no 
longer those ideal 'gifts of the Holy Spirit' which he cultivated 
as a religious duty. 

In 'Jerusalem,' the very first page contains this, in the 
appeal to ' perverted Man' not to turn away down the 'dark 
valleys ' of unimaginative life — 

' Thy nurses and thy mothers, thy sisters and thy daughters, 
Weep at thy soul's disease, and the Divine Vision is 
darkened.' 

' The Divine Vision ' was Divine in a double manner. It 
was of deific origin, and its result was to be brotherhood. 

This also is a hope scientifically justified by the greater 
facilities for brotherly sympathy to be found among men who 
are united by delighting together in beautiful sights, as artists 
and Alpinists do, than when shut off as those are who are blind 
from birth, or who do not delight in beauty, except when it 
belongs to what they may personally possess, boast of, or enjoy — 

'When souls mingle and join through all the fibres of 

Brotherhood, 
Can there be any secret joy on earth greater than this ? ' 

as Blake says near the close of the poem that opened with the 
appeal to throw off the ' soul's disease.' 

The resemblance between our difficulty when using visionary 
sight as it is, and that which we should experience in employ- 
ing ordinary sight as it would be if there were as feiv men in 
the world gifted with this as there are now gifted with visionary 
sight, is so close that one will almost explain the other. 



THE PASSIONS xxv 

Long before the value of this comparison is exhausted as a 
means of psychological explanation, in fact almost as soon as 
its utility is first perceived, it enables us to throw aside all the 
undue and foolish excitement that is apt to cling about the 
word ' vision ' used in this emphatic and religiously poetic, or 
poetically religious, sense. We are enabled to put it into its 
right place in the general history of human development, and 
to deal with its best results with safety and with delight, while 
not allowing ourselves to be reduced to despair when the few 
owners of it show an occasional lack of sense of proportion. 
Proportion is, of course, one of the last results of brotherhood, 
and needs many generations of brothers to give it the authority 
of tradition. 



THE PASSIONS 

( Under this name a version of the following fragment, not 
identical with what here follows, appeared after the present 
collection was in type. It is probably among Blake's earliest 
pieces of writing, produced along with the 'Samson,' after 
first reading 'Milton,' though Mr. Rossetti has suggested that 
it might possibly be as late as 1785, though not later. ) 

Then she bore pale Desire, 

Father of Curiosity, — virgin young ;— 
And after, leaden Sloth, 

From whom came Ignorance, who brought forth 
Wonder. 
5 These are the sexless gods which come from fear ; 

For gods like these nor male nor female are, 

But single are pregnate, or if they list, 

Together mingling bring forth mighty powers. 

She knew them not ; yet they all war with Shame, 
And strengthen her weak arm. 

But Pride awoke, nor knew that Joy was born, 
And taking poisonous seed from her own bowels 

In the monster Shame infused. 
Forth came Ambition, crawling like a toad ; 



xxvi BLAKE'S POEMS 

15 Pride bears it in her bosom, and the gods 
All bow to it. So great its power is 
That Pride, inspired by it, prophetic saw 
The kingdoms of the world and all their glory. 

Giants of mighty arm, before the Flood, 
20 Cain's city built with murder. 

Then Babel mighty reared him to the skies — 

Babel with a thousand tongues. 
Confusion it was called, and given to Shame. 

This, Pride observing, inly grieved to see, 
25 But knew not that the rest was given to Shame 
As well as this. 
Then Nineveh, and Babylon, and Tyre, 
And even Jerusalem, the Holy City, 
Was shown ; 
30 Then Athens' learning, and the pride of Greece, 
And, further from the rising sun, was Rome, 

Seated on seven hills, 
The mistress of the world — emblem of Pride. 
She saw the Arts their generous treasures bring, 
35 And Luxury his bounteous table spread. 

But now a cloud o'ercasts, and back to the East, 
To Constantine's great city empire fled 

Ere long to bleed and die, 
A sacrifice done by a priestly hand. 

40 So, once, the Sun his chariot drew back 
To prolong a good King's life. 
The cloud o'erpassed, and Rome now shone again, 
Mitred and crowned with triple crown. Then Pride 
Was better pleased : she saw the world fall down 

45 In adoration. 

But now full to the setting Sun, a Sun 

Arose out of the Sea. 
It rose, and shed sweet influence o'er the earth. 
Pride feared for her City, — but not long, 



THE PASSIONS xxvii 

50 For looking steadfastly, she saw that Pride 
Reigned here. 

Now direful pains accost her, and still pregnant, 
Till Envy came, and Hate, from progeny. 
Envy hath a serpent's head of fearful bulk, 

55 Hissing with a hundred tongues. Her poisonous 
breath 
Breeds Satire — foul contagion — from which none 
Are free. O'erwhelmed by ever-during thirst, 
She swalloweth her own poison, which consumes 
Her nether parts, from whence a river springs. 

60 Most black and loathsome through the land it runs, 
Rolling with furious noise ; but at the last 
It settles in a lake called Oblivion. 

'Tis at this river's fount 
Where every mortal's cup, at birth, is mixed. 
65 My cup is filled with Envy's rankest draught ; 
A miracle, no less, can set me right. 
Desire still pines but for one cooling drop, 

And 'tis denied. 
While others in Contentment's nest do sleep, 
70 It is the cursed thorn wounding my breast 
That makes me sing. 
However sweet, Envy inspires my song. 
Prickt by the fame of others, how I mount, 
And my complaints are sweeter than their joys ; 
75 But, oh ! could I at Envy shake my hands, 
My notes should rise to meet the newborn day ! 

Hate, meagre hag ! ever sets Envy on. 
Unable to do aught herself alone, 
She, worn away, a bloodless demon sits : 
80 The Gods all bow and serve her at her will. 
So great her power is, 
Like Hecate, she binds them to her law. 
Far in a direful cave she sits unseen, 
Closed from the eye of day, — to the hard rock 



xxviii BLAKE'S POEMS 

85 Transfixt by Fate, — she works her witcheries, 
And when she groans she shakes the solid ground. 
Now Envy she controls with numbing trance, 
And Melancholy sprang from her dark womb. 

There is a Melancholy, O how lovely 'tis ! 
90 When heaven is dwelling in the heavenly mind, 
For she from heaven came, and where she goes, 
Heaven still doth follow her. She brings true joy 
Once fled, and Contemplation is her daughter. 
Sweet Contemplation ! 
95 'Tis she who brings Humility to Man. 

'Take her,' she says, ( and wear her in thy heart, 
Lord of thyself, then thou art Lord of all.' 
'Tis Contemplation teacheth how to know, 
Re-seating Knowledge on his throne, once lost, — 

100 How lost, I '11 tell. But stop the motley song ! 

I '11 show how Conscience came at first from Heaven. 
But oh ! who listens to his voice on earth ? 
'Twas Conscience who brought Melancholy down, — 
Conscience who first was sent, a guard to Reason, — 

IO S Reason, once shining fairer than the light. 
For Knowledge drove sweet Innocence away ; 
And Reason would have gone. Fate suffered not ; 
Then down came Conscience with his lonely band. 

And now the song goes on, telling how Pride 
110 Against her Father warred and overcame. 
Down his white beard the silver torrents roll, 
And swelling sighs burst forth, — his children all 
In arms appear to tear him from his throne. 
Black was the deed, — most black. 
1x5 Shame in a mist sat round his troubled head, 
And filled him with pale confusion. 
Fear as a torrent wild roared round his throne : 
The mighty pillars shake. 

Now all the gods in blackening ranks appear, 
120 And like to a tempestuous thundercloud 
Pride leads them on. 



THE PASSIONS xxix 

Now they surround the god and bind him fast ; — 
Pride bound him, then usurped o'er all the gods. • 
She rode on high upon the swelling wind, 
125 And scattered all who durst oppose her will. 

But Shame opposing fierce 
And hovering o'er her in the darkening storm, 

She brought forth Rage. 
And Shame bore Honour, and made league with Pride. 
13° Meanwhile Strife, Mighty Prince, was born, — for Envy, 
In direful pains him bore, then brought forth Care. 
Care sitteth on the wrinkled brow of Kings ; 
Strife, shapeless, under thrones, like smould'ring fire 
Sits, or in buzz of cities flies abroad. 
*35 Care brought forth Covet, eyeless and prone to th' 
Earth, 

And strife brought forth Revenge. 

Hate, brooding in her dismal den, grew pregnant, 
And bore both Scorn and Slander. 

Scorn waits on Pride, but Slander flies around 
14° The world to do the evil work of Hate, 
Her drudge and elf. 

But Policy doth also drudge for Hate 
As well as Slander, and oft makes use of her, — 
Policy, son of Shame. 
145 Indeed, Hate controls all the gods at will. 

Then Policy brought forth both Guile and Fraud. 
These gods, last named, live in the smoke of cities 

On dusky wing, 
Breathing forth clamour and destruction. 
150 Alas, in cities, where 's the man whose face 
Is not the mask to 's heart ? 

Pride made a goddess fair, or image rather, 
Till Knowledge gave it life ; 'twas called Self-love. 
The gods admiring, loaded her with gifts, 
155 As once Pandora. She 'mongst men was sent, 
And worser ills attended her by far. 



xxx BLAKE'S POEMS 

Conceit and Policy do dwell with her, 
By whom she had Mistrust and cold Suspicion. 
Then bore a daughter — Emulation, 
160 Who married Honour ; 

And all these follow her around the world. 

Go see the city, friends joined hand in hand, 
Go see the natural tie of flesh and blood, 
Go see more strong the ties of marriage-love, 
l6 5 Thou scarce shall find but Self-love stands between. 



Such appears to have been this early fragment as Blake 
thought he had written it. His perception of what he meant 
was always so much stronger than his perception of what he 
wrote, that all through life he constantly was liable to the 
misfortune of calling Dick (if one may say so) when he 
meant Harry, and then if Harry did not come, feeling 
aggrieved. Where it is obvious that Harry was meant, the 
substitution is here made. In other poems a little doubt may 
sometimes be felt, but the present work offers few such instances, 
and gives fairly evident indications of its oian intention. 

Even to the editor who prepared it for its first public 
appearance (in the August number of the Monthly Review, 
1903), it was evident that Blake had not written the piece as 
he meant it to be read, for he had put it down as prose with no 
verse-division indicated at all. Those who study the version 
in the Review where this defect is supplied will sec that mere 
versifying reveals many small errors while correcting one great 
one, and that the versifying itself is open to revision. While 
treating this to occasional mending, an attempt is made here 
to go further on the same path and take the necessary steps 
to enable the raider to enjoy Blake's poem without being 
harassed by the stuttering and stammering of the pen with 
which he marred it. Probably his own car heard it much more 
as it is now printed than as he left it in MS., for he 
seldom aroused, his senses to the necessary attentiveness for 
discovering what he had put on paper. When he had the ex- 
perience of hearing himself sing his own songs, as in the case of 
some lyrics that he sang to his friends, he escaped the per- 
petual slips that annoy us in most of his pages. Strong power 
of enthusiasm, such as that which produced the central Nights 



THE PASSIONS 



of 'Vala,' would carry him a long way without error; and 
perhaps the repeated consideration necessary for engraving, as 
in 'Thel ' or the ''Visions,' had an arousing effect, in early life, 
that was spoiled when his ear became trampled with argument, 
as in the ' Jerusalem ' period. 

The following words being removed from the present version, 
namely — 



In line 5, sexless 


In line 105, shining 


„ 7, or 


„ 108, gone 


„ 16, is 


,, 110, And now 


„ 24, to see 


„ 117, pale 


,, 29, was shown 


121, And . . . to 


,, 34, generous 


,, 125, on high 


,, 64, at birth 


,, 126, her will 


,, 77, ever 


,, 128, o'er 


„ 78, alone 


,, 131, for Envy 


,, 79, she . . . sits 


,, 133, of Kings 


,, 81, bow and 


,, 135, sits 


,, 82, binds 


,, 139, both 


,, 86, and 


,, 141, evil 


,, 90, dwelling 


,, 143, also 


,, 95, 'Tis . . . ivho 


147, Then... both 


,, 99, re-seating knowledge 


,, 152, to's 


„ 101, at first 


,, 154, gave it life 


„ 102, on earth 


„ 159, cold 


„ 104, who first 





and after their removal the re-instatement of the following- 
Line 2, a (before virgin), ever (before young), 
, , 27, costly (before Tyre), 
,, 28, was shown (after Jerusalem), 
,, 69, downy (before nest), 
,, 79, But (at beginning of line), 
„ 82, fabled (before Hecate), doth bind (before them), 
,, 85, and here (before she), 
,, 98, knowledge truly (before how), 
,, 99, And re-instates him on (at beginning of line), 
,, 108, followed, but (before Fate), 
„ 132, Envy (before in, and before brought), 
,, 134, sitteth (before under), of Kings (end of line), 
,, 135, the (before buzz), 
,, 152, unto his (before heart), 
,, 154, animated it (before 'twas), 
,, 160, called (before Emulation), 

will, if the poem be now completely copied out as so many 
VOL. I, C 



xxxii BLAKE'S POEMS 

prose pages, enable us to see what the MS. of Blake ivas when 
he left it. 

Perhaps a tithe of this labour loill convince any one that 
it had better be left undone, though the means to do it are here 
offered that no one may feel that the editor has disguised 
instead of emending his author. 



VALUE AS INTERPRETATION 

Blakds ideas and symbols were so persistent, like his 
designs, of which he writes that they are 

' Re-engraved time after time, 
Ever in their youthful prime,' 

that this early sketch helps to explain writings of a quarter of 
a century later. 

It explains also his way of looking at the real relationship 
betiveen various ' states of the human soul ' when it is re- 
membered that they were, to him, permanent things {like the 
gods), and were also like countries into which we enter, and 
through which we pass while travelling along our paths of 
life. We can see how naturally, when writing myth later on, 
he called them by fancy names, and treated their origins as 
paternity, their changes as personal events, and their 
results and detailed effects as children. His myths then are 
seen not to tell of mere unprofitable vagaries of fairy-tale 
monsters, made to employ an over-fluent poetic habit of 
writing, but to contain a psychology as the ancient myths did. 

Blake saio after writing this poem, that to continue to describe 
these gods (or moods and states) with personal adjectives, 
attributing to them also personal actions — like procreation — 
could not rightly be done while he called them by their prose 
navies — shame, pride, etc. He must give them mythic names. 
He did so, and it is the giving of these navies that made him 
become a myth-writer, for he at once perceived that each name 
grew to mean a great deal more than the idea from which it first 
sprang. To attempt to sort up the Zoas and the ungencrated 
sons of Los, or even those that went through the gates of Reuben, 
under words like Pride, Shame, Fear, etc., xvould be to make 
nonsense instead of suggestiveness of half what he wrote about 
them. Yet if we forget that the invention of his ideal personages 
icas only the next stage in mental development after that which 
enabled him to see the vitality and vital narrative in the gene- 
ration of the moods, we lose the use of this 'Poetical Sketch.' 



VALUE AS INTERPRETATION xxxiii 

But the notes here have no room for an interpretation of 
Blake, and only aim at giving useful hints as to what mood of 
our own minds to seek in, or what habit of his pen to study, or 
portion of his books to read when interpreting suggestions are 
desired. 

' Reason once fairer than the light ' is of course the germ of 
the idea to be called Urizen presently, and the Melancholy, that 
Conscience (first set as his guard) brought down, is partly the 
parent idea of Ahania, who afterwards had visions that were 
full of ivisdom, though Urizen cast her down and cast her out, 
when he became 'fouled in Knowledge's dark prison-house. 1 

Conscience is not, in Blake's language, the attribute which 
our newspapers teach us to attribute especially to Non- 
conformists. He has himself said in a prose paragraph that 
he means by it Innate Science, by which he seems to have meant 
transcendental intuition, or the faculty that Swedenborg 
called the ' celestial man. ' This explains the last line of ' Vala. ' , 

The lake called Oblivion afterwards revealed itself as the 
lake called Udan Adan in 'Jerusalem,'' into which man 
should cast his selfish reasoning power that teaches him to be 
separate from his fellow man, and that Blake calls his 
' spectre.' 

The passage about Knowledge driving Innocence aivay 
helps to show Blake's idea of Knowledge, as meaning the source 
of argument, the ' knowledge of good and evil.' Argument is 
symbolised by the sexual warfare, and must be read with this 
later dictum — 'Innocence dwells with wisdom, but not tvith 
ignorance.' 'Conscience,' or 'innate science,' is, of course, 
not 'ignorance.' 

In the passage where ' the song goes on telling how Pride 
against her father warred,' we see into that part of Blake's 
mind where the foundation of the myth of Urizen and the 
Net of Religion was laid. Shame and Pride are both Rahab 
afterwards, and the binding fast done by the spirits (or 
gods) of the thunder-cloud is the enrooting round Urizen of the 
Tree of Mystery. There are (we shall learn) two clouds, that 
of blood and that of human souls. The blood-cloud (Rahab's 
red cord in the window) is now sending out its ' bands of in- 
fluence ' against Urizen — now the Father of Pride. Rahab is 
herself the Tree, and Shame is part of her Mystery. 

But so paradoxical are the generations of these human' 
qualities that they act just as living people do who, when their 
families are of the nobility or gentry, and have self-admiring 
thoughts about their name and order, that make nine out of 
ten of them brave, delicate, kind, and true, and the tenth the 
blackest of black sheep. That is because 'Men they seem to 
one another.' See ' Vala,' Night VIII., line 119, and Blake's 



xxxiv BLAKE'S POEMS 

notes to Swedenborg, printed in 'The Real Blake,' published 
also by Mr. Grant Richards. 

In this poem the qualities change their sexes at will. 
Shame ' opposing ' and 'hovering o'er ' fructifies, as a male, 
Pride, who is female, and who consequently had issue — she 
' brought forth Rage.' Shame becomes female, bears ' Honour,' 
and 'makes league with' Pride, the two fusing once more into 
what will later on be the state called Rahab. Such is the 
result of the amazing liberty of mind that we have in consider- 
ing these symbols, after allowing to them the qualities described 
in the opening lines here — qualities that are natural in snails, 
perhaps, who are all Hermaphrodites, but inconceivable except 
in a mystic sense if applied to human beings. But if we keep 
the mystic sense close before us — that is to say, keep thinking of 
the actual facts of human states underlying the type, while 
not forgetting the appearance of the type — we shall not lose our 
ivay. Blake did not lose his, though there seem to be here and 
there contradictions at first sight; for example, it will be seen 
later that the 'spectre 5 is a guard, in ' Jerusalem,' and that 
an emanation, 'Leutha,' is a guard in ' Milton.' 

The Song of Experience called ' To Tirzah,' and the 
whole of the Prophetic Books,' especially 'Jerusalem,' are 
elaborations of the story of Shame and Pride, of which a 
portion is found in this early and fragmentary poem. 



POETICAL SKETCHES, Etc. 



VOL. I. 



POETICAL SKETCHES 

1753 

TO SPRING 

O thou with dewy locks, who lookest down 
Through the clear windows of the morning, turn 
Thine angel eyes upon our western isle, 
Which in full choir hails thy approach, O Spring ! 

The hills do tell each other, and the listening 
Valleys hear ; all our longing eyes are turned 
Up to thy bright pavilions : issue forth, 
And let thy holy feet visit our clime ! 

Come o'er the eastern hills, and let our winds 
Kiss thy perfumed garments ; let us taste 
Thy morn and evening breath ; scatter thy pearls 
Upon our lovesick land that mourns for thee. 

Oh deck her forth with thy fair fingers ; pour 
Thy soft kisses on her bosom ; and put 
Thy golden crown upon her languished head, 
Whose modest tresses were bound up for thee ! 

TO SUMMER 

O thou who passest through our valleys in 
Thy strength, curb thy fierce steeds, allay the heat 
That flames from their large nostrils J Thou, O 
Summer, 



4 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Oft pitchedst here thy golden tent, and oft 
Beneath our oaks hast slept, while we beheld 
With joy thy ruddy limbs and nourishing hair. 

Beneath our thickest shades we oft have heard 

Thy voice, when Noon upon his fervid car 

Rode o'er the deep of heaven. Beside our springs 

Sit down, and in our mossy valleys, on 

Some bank beside a river clear, throw thy 

Silk draperies off, and rush into the stream ! 

Our valleys love the Summer in his pride. 

Our bards are famed who strike the silver wire : 
Our youth are bolder than the southern swains, 
Our maidens fairer in the sprightly dance. 
We lack not songs, nor instruments of joy, 
Nor echoes sweet, nor waters clear as heaven, 
Nor laurel wreaths against the sultry heat. 

TO AUTUMN 

O autumn, laden with thy fruit, and stained 
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit 
Beneath my shady roof; there thou mayst rest, 
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe, 
And all the daughters of the year shall dance ! 
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers. 

'The narrow bud opens her beauties to 
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins ; 
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and 
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve, 
Till clustering Summer breaks forth into singing, 
And feathered clouds strew flowers round her head. 

'The Spirits of the Air live on the smells 

Of fruit ; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round 

The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.' 

Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat ; 

Then rose, girded himself, and o'er bleak hills 

Fled from our sight ; but left his golden load. 



POETICAL SKETCHES 



TO WINTER 



O winter ! bar thine adamantine doors : 
The north is thine ; there hast thou built thy dark 
Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs, 
Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car. 

He hears me not, but o'er the yawning deep 
Rides heavy ; his storms are unchained, sheathed 
In ribbed steel ; I dare not lift mine eyes 
For he hath reared his sceptre o'er the world. 

Lo ! now the direful monster, whose skin clings 
To his strong- bones, strides o'er the groaning rocks : 
He withers all in silence, and in his hand 
Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life. 

He takes his seat upon the cliffs, — the mariner 
Cries out in vain. Poor little wretch, that deal'st 
With storms ! — till heaven smiles, and drives the 

monster 
Yelling beneath Mount Hecla to his caves. 



TO THE EVENING STAR 

Thou fair-haired Angel of the Evening, 

Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light 

Thy [own] bright torch of love — thy radiant crown 

Put on, and smile upon our evening bed ! 

Smile on our loves ; and, while thou drawest the 

Blue curtains of the sky, scatter thy dew 

On every flower that shuts its sweet eyes [now] 

In timely sleep. Let thy west wind sleep on 

The lake ; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes, 

And wash the dusk with silver. — Soon, full soon, 

Dost tbou withdraw ; then the wolf rages wide, 

And then the lion glares through the dun forest. 

The fleeces of our flocks are covered with 

Thy sacred dew : protect them with thine influence ! 



BLAKE'S POEMS 



TO MORNING 



O holy virgin, clad in purest white, 
Unlock heaven's golden gates, and issue forth ; 
Awake the dawn that sleeps in heaven; let light 
Rise from the chambers of the east, and bring 
The honeyed dew that cometh on waking day. 
O radiant Morning, now salute the Sun, 
Roused like a huntsman to the chase, and with 
Thy buskined feet appear upon our hills. 



FAIR ELENOR 

The bell struck one, and shook the silent tower 
The graves give up their dead : fair Elenor 
Walked by the castle-gate, and looked in : 
A hollow groan ran through the dreary vaults. 

She shrieked aloud, and sunk upon the steps, 
On the cold stone, her pale cheeks. Sickly smells 
Of death issue as from a sepulchre, 
And all is silent but the sighing vaults. 

Chill Death withdraws his hand, and she revives : 
Amazed she finds herself upon her feet, 
And, like a ghost, through narrow passages 
Walking, feeling the cold walls with her hands. 

Fancy returns, and now she thinks of bones 
And grinning skulls, and corruptible death 
Wrapt in his shroud ; and now fancies she hears 
Deep sighs, and sees pale, sickly ghosts gliding. 

At length, no fancy, but reality 
Distracts her. A rushing sound, and the feet 
Of one that fled, approaches. — Ellen stood, 
Like a dumb statue, froze to stone with fear. 



POETICAL SKETCHES 7 

The wretch approaches, crying : ' The deed is done ! 
Take this, and send it by whom thou wilt send ; 
It is my life — send it to Elenor: — 
He 'a dead, and howling after me for blood ! 

' Take this/ he cried ; and thrust into her arms 
A wet napkin, wrapt about ; then rushed 
Past, howling. She received into her arms 
Pale death, and followed on the wings of fear. 

They passed swift through the outer gate ; the wretch, 
Howling, leaped o'er the wall into the moat, 
Stifling in mud. Fair Ellen passed the bridge, 
And heard a gloomy voice cry f Is it done?' 

As the deer wounded, Ellen flew over 

The pathless plain ; as the arrows that fly 

By night, destruction flies, and strikes in darkness. 

She fled from fear, till at her house arrived. 

Her maids await her ; on her bed she falls, 
That bed of joy where erst her lord hath pressed. 
' Ah woman's fear! ' she cried, f ah cursed duke ! 
Ah my dear lord ! ah wretched Elenor ! 

1 My lord was like a flower upon the brows 
Of lusty May ! Ah life as frail as flower ! 
O ghastly Death ! withdraw thy cruel hand ! 
Seek'st thou that flower to deck thy horrid temples ? 

' My lord was like a star in highest heaven 
Draw n down to earth by spells and wickedness ; 
My lord was like the opening eyes of Day, 
When western winds creep softly o'er the flowers. 

' But he is darkened ; like the summer's noon 
Clouded ; fall'n like the stately tree, cut down ; 
The breath of heaven dwelt among his leaves. 
O Elenor, weak woman, filled with woe !' 



BLAKE'S POEMS 

Thus having spoke, she raised up her head, 
And saw the bloody napkin by her side, 
Which in her arms she brought ; and now, tenfold 
More terrified, saw it unfold itself. 

Her eyes were fixed ; the bloody cloth unfolds, 
Disclosing to her sight the murdered head 
Of her dear lord, all ghastly pale, clotted 
With gory blood ; it groaned, and thus it spake : 

' O Elenor, behold thy husband's head, 
Who, sleeping' on the stones of yonder tower, 
Was reft of life by the accursed duke : 
A hired villain turned my sleep to death. 

' O Elenor, beware the cursed duke ; 
Oh give not him thy hand, now I am dead. 
He seeks thy love ; who, coward, in the night, 
Hired a villain to bereave my life.' 

She sat with dead cold limbs, stiffened to stone ; 
She took the gory head up in her arms ; 
She kissed the pale lips ; she had no tears to shed ; 
She hugged it to her breast, and groaned her last. 



SONG 

How sweet I roamed from field to field, 
And tasted all the summer's pride, 

Till I the Prince of Love beheld 
Who in the sunny beams did glide. 

He showed me lilies for my hair. 
And blushing roses for my brow ; 

He led me through his gardens fair 
Where all his golden pleasures grow. 

With sweet May-dews my wings were wet, 
And Phoebus fired my vocal rage ; 

He caught me in his silken net, 
And shut me in his golden cage. 



POETICAL SKETCHES 

He loves to sit and hear me sing, 

Then, laughing, sports and plays with me ; 
Then stretches out my golden wing, 

And mocks my loss of liberty. 



SONG 

My silks and fine array, 

My smiles and languished air, 

By love are driven away ; 
And mournful lean Despair 

Brings me yew to deck my grave : 

Such end true lovers have. 

His face is fair as heaven 

When springing buds unfold ; 

Oh why to him was't given, 
Whose heart is wintry cold ? 

His breast is love's all-worshipped tomb, 

Where all love's pilgrims come. 

Bring me an axe and spade, 

Bring me a winding-sheet ; 
When I my grave have made, 

Let winds and tempests beat : 
Then down I '11 lie, as cold as clay. 
True love doth pass away ! 



SONG 

Love and harmony combine, 
And around our souls entwine, 
While thy branches mix with mine, 
And our roots together join. 

Joys upon our branches sit, 
Chirping loud and singing sweet ; 
Like gentle streams beneath our feet, 
Innocence and virtue meet. 



10 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Thou the golden fruit dost bear, 
I am clad in flowers fair ; 
Thy sweet boughs perfume the air, 
And the turtle buildeth there. 

There she sits and feeds her young, 
Sweet I hear her mournful song ; 
And thy lovely leaves among 
There is Love ; I hear his tongue. 

There his charming nest doth lay, 
There he sleeps the night away ; 
There he sports along the day, 
And doth among our branches play. 



SONG 

I love the jocund dance, 

The softly breathing song, 
Where innocent eyes do glance, 

And where lisps the maiden's tongue. 

I love the laughing vale, 

I love the echoing hill, 
Where mirth does never fail, 

And the jolly swain laughs his fill. 

I love the pleasant cot, 

1 love the innocent bower, 
Where white and brown is our lot, 

Or fruit in the mid-day hour. 

I love the oaken seat 

Beneath the oaken tree, 
Where all the old villagers meet, 

And laugh our sports to see. 

I love our neighbours all — 
But, Kitty, I better love thee ; 

And love them I ever shall, 
But thou art all to me. 



POETICAL SKETCHES 11 



SONG 

Memory, hither come, 

And tune your merry notes : 
And, while upon the wind 

Your music floats, 
I '11 pore upon the stream 
Where sighing lovers dream, 
And fish for fancies as they pass 
Within the watery glass. 

I '11 drink of the clear stream, 
And hear the linnet's song, 

And there I '11 lie and dream 
The day along : 

And, when night comes, I '11 go 

To places fit for woe, 

Walking along the darkened valley 

With silent Melancholy. 



MAD SONG 

The wild winds weep, 
And the night is a-cold ; 

Come hither, Sleep, 
And my griefs enfold : 

But lo ! the morning peeps 

Over the eastern steeps, 

And the rustling beds of dawn 

The earth do scorn. 

Lo ! to the vault 

Of paved heaven, 
With sorrow fraught, 

My notes are driven : 
They strike the ear of night, 

Make weep the eyes of day ; 
They make mad the roaring winds, 

And with tempests play. 



12 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Like a fiend in a cloud, 

With howling woe 
After night I do crowd 

And with night will go ; 
I turn my back to the east 
From whence comforts have increased ; 
For light doth seize my brain 
With frantic pain. 

SONG 

Fhesh from the dewy hill, the merry year 
Smiles on my head, and mounts his flaming car ; 
Round my young brows the laurel wreathes a shade, 
And rising glories beam around my head. 

My feet are winged, while o'er the dewy lawn 

I meet my maiden risen like the morn. 

Oh bless those holy feet, like angels' feet ; 

Oh bless those limbs, beaming with heavenly light ! 

Like as an angel glittering in the sky 
In times of innocence and holy joy ; 
The joyful shepherd stops his grateful song 
To hear the music of an angel's tongue. 

So, when she speaks, the voice of Heaven I hear ; 
So, when we walk, nothing impure comes near ; 
Each field seems Eden, and each calm retreat, 
Each village, seems the haunt of holy feet. 

But that sweet village where my black-eyed maid 
Closes her eyes in sleep beneath night's shade 
Whene'er I enter, more than mortal fire 
Burns in my soul, and does my song inspire. 

SONG 

When early Morn walks forth in sober grey, 
Then to my black-eyed maid I haste away. 



POETICAL SKETCHES 13 

When Evening sits beneath her dusky bower, 
And gently sighs away the silent hour, 
The village bell alarms, away I go, 
And the vale darkens at my pensive woe. 

To that sweet village where my black-eyed maid 

Doth drop a tear beneath the silent shade 

I turn my eyes ; and pensive as I go 

Curse my black stars, and bless my pleasing woe. 

Oft, when the Summer sleeps among the trees, 
Whispering faint murmurs to the scanty breeze, 
I walk the village round ; if at her side 
A youth doth walk in stolen joy and pride, 
I curse my stars in bitter grief and woe, 
That made my love so high, and me so low. 

Oh should she e'er prove false, his limbs I'd tear 
And throw all pity on the burning air ! 
I 'd curse bright fortune for my mixed lot, 
And then I 'd die in peace, and be forgot. 



TO THE MUSES 

Whether on Ida's shady brow, 
Or in the chambers of the East, 

The chambers of the Sun, that now 
From ancient melody have ceased ; 

Whether in heaven ye wander fair, 
Or the green corners of the earth, 

Or the blue regions of the air 

Where the melodious winds have birth ; 

Whether on crystal rocks ye rove, 
Beneath the bosom of the sea, 

Wandering in many a coral grove ; 
Fair Nine, forsaking Poetry ; 



14 BLAKE'S POEMS 

How have you left the ancient love 
That bards of old enjoyed in you ! 

The languid strings do scarcely move, 
The sound is forced, the notes are few ! 



GWIN, KING OF NORWAY 

Come, Kings, and listen to my song. — 
When Gwin, the son of Nore, 

Over the nations of the North 
His cruel sceptre bore ; 

The nobles of the land did feed 

Upon the hungry poor ; 
They tear the poor man's lamb, and drive 

The needy from their door. 

'The land is desolate ; our wives 

And children cry for bread ; 
Arise, and pull the tyrant down ! 

Let Gwin be humbled ! ' 

Gordred the giant roused himself 

From sleeping in his cave ; 
He shook the hills, and in the clouds 

The troubled banners wave. 

Beneath them rolled, like tempests black, 
The numerous sons of blood ; 

Like lions' whelps, roaring abroad, 
Seeking their nightly food. 

Down Bleron's hill they dreadful rush, 
Their cry ascends the clouds ; 

The trampling horse and clanging arms 
Like rushing mighty floods ! 

Their wives and children, weeping loud, 

Follow in wild array, 
Howling like ghosts, furious as wolves 

Jn the bleak, wintry day. 



POETICAL SKETCHES 15 

' Pull down the tyrant to the dust, 

Let Gwin be humbled,' 
They cry, ' and let ten thousand lives 

Pay for the tyrant's head ! ' 

From tower to tower the watchmen cry 

' O Gwin, the son of Nore, 
Arouse thyself ! the nations, black 

Like clouds, come rolling o'er ! ' 

Gwin reared his shield, his palace shakes 

His chiefs come rushing' round ; 
Each like an awful thunder-cloud 

With voice of solemn sound : 

Like reared stones around a grave 

They stand around the King ; 
Then suddenly each seized his spear, 

And clashing steel does ring. 

The husbandman does leave his plough 

To wade through fields of gore ; 
The merchant binds his brows in steel, 

And leaves the trading shore ; 

The shepherd leaves his mellow pipe, 

And sounds the trumpet shrill ; 
The workman throws his hammer down 

To heave the bloody bill. 

Like the tall ghost of Barraton 

Who sports in stormy sky, 
Gwin leads his host as black as night 

AVhen pestilence does fly, 

With horses and with chariots — 

And all his spearmen bold 
March to the sound of mournful song, 

Like clouds ground him rolled, 



16 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Gwin lifts his hand — the nations halt ; 

' Prepare for war ! ' he cries. 
Gordred appears ! — his frowning brow 

Troubles our northern skies. 

The armies stand, like balances 
Held in the Almighty's hand ; — 

' Gwin, thou hast filled thy measure up : 
Thou 'rt swept from out the land.' 

And now the raging armies rushed 

Like warring mighty seas ; 
The heavens are shook with roaring war, 

The dust ascends the skies ! 

Earth smokes with blood, and groans and 
shakes 

To drink her children's gore, 
A sea of blood ; nor can the eye 

See to the trembling shore. 

And on the verge of this wild sea 

Famine and death do cry ; 
The cries of women and of babes 

Over the field do fly. 

The King is seen raging afar, 

With all his men of might ; 
Like blazing comets scattering death 

Through the red, feverous night. 

Beneath his arm like sheep they die. 

And groan upon the plain ; 
The battle faints, and bloody men 

Fight upon hills of slain. 

Now death is sick, and riven men 

Labour and toil for life ; 
Steed rolls on steed, and shield on shield, 

Sunk in this, sea of strife J 



POETICAL SKETCHES 17 

The God of War is drunk with blood, 

The earth doth faint and fail ; 
The stench of blood makes sick the heavens, 

Ghosts glut the throat of hell ! 

Oh what have kings to answer for 

Before that awful throne, 
When thousand deaths for vengeance cry, 

And ghosts accusing groan ! 

Like blazing comets in the sky 

That shake the stars of light, 
Which drop like fruit unto the earth 

Through the fierce burning night ; 

Like these did Gwin and Gordred meet, 

And the first blow decides ; 
Down from the brow unto the breast 

Gordred his head divides ! 

Gwin fell : the sons of Norway fled, 

All that remained alive ; 
The rest did fill the vale of death, — 

For them the eagles strive. 

The river Dorman rolled their blood 

Into the northern sea ; 
Who mourned his sons, and overwhelmed 

The pleasant south country. 



AN IMITATION OF SPENSER 

Golden Apollo, that through heaven wide 

Scatter'st the rays of light, and truth's beams, 

In lucent words my darkling verses dight, 

And wash my earthy mind in thy clear streams, 
That wisdom may descend in fairy dreams, 

All while the jocund Hours in thy train 
Scatter their fancies at thy poet's feet ; 

And, when thou yield'st to Night thy wide domain, 

Let rays of truth enlight his sleeping brain. 

VOL. I. B 



18 BLAKE'S POEMS 

For brutish Pan in vain might thee assay 

With tinkling sounds to dash thy nervous verse, 

Sound without sense ; yet in his rude affray 
(For Ignorance is Folly's leasing nurse, 
And love of Folly needs none other's curse) 

Midas the praise hath gained of lengthened ears, 
For which himself might deem him ne'er the worse 

To sit in council with his modern peers, 

And judge of tinkling rhymes and elegances terse. 

And thou, Mercurius, that with winged bow 
Dost mount aloft into the yielding sky, 

And through heaven's halls thy airy flight dost throw, 
Entering with holy feet to where on high 
Jove weighs the counsel of futurity ; 

Then, laden with eternal fate, dost go 

Down, like a falling star, from autumn sky, 
And o'er the surface of the silent deep dost fly : 

If thou arrivest at the sandy shore 

Where nought but envious hissing adders dwell, 
Thy golden rod, thrown on the dusty floor, 

Can charm to harmony with potent spell ; 

Such is sweet Eloquence, that does dispel 
Envy and Hate, that thirst for human gore ; 

And cause in sweet society to dwell 

Vile savage minds that lurk in lonely cell. 

O Mercury, assist my labouring sense 

That round the circle of the world would fly, 

As the wing'd eagle scorns the towery fence 
Of Alpine hills round his high aery, 
And searches through the corners of the sky, 

Sports in the clouds to hear the thunder's sound, 
And see the winged lightnings as they fly ; 

Then, bosomed in an amber cloud, around 

Plumes his wide wings, and seeks Sol's palace high. 

And thou, O Warrior maid invincible, 
Armed with the terrors of Almighty Jove, 

Pallas, Minerva, maiden terrible, 

Lov'st thou to walk the peaceful, solemn grove, 



POETICAL SKETCHES 19 

In solemn gloom of branches interwove ? 
Or bear'st thy regis o'er the burning field 

Where like the sea the waves of battle move ? 
Or have thy soft, piteous eyes beheld 

The weary wanderer through the desert rove? 
Or does the afflicted man thy heavenly bosom move ? 



BLIND-MAN'S BUFF 

When silver snow decks Susan's clothes, 
And jewel hangs at th' shepherd's nose, 
The blushing bank is all my care, 
With hearth so red, and walls so fair. 
' Heap the sea-coal, come, heap it higher ; 
The oaken log lay on the fire. ' 
The well- washed stools, a circling row, 
With lad and lass, how fair the show ! 
The merry can of nut-brown ale, 
The laughing jest, the love-sick tale, — 
Till, tired of chat, the game begins, 
The lasses prick the lads with pins. 
Roger from Dolly twitched the stool ; 
She, falling, kissed the ground, poor fool ! 
She blushed so red, with sidelong glance 
At hobnail Dick, who grieved the chance. 
But now for Blind-man's Buff they call ; 
Of each incumbrance clear the hall. 

Jenny her silken kerchief folds, 
And blear-eyed Will the black lot holds. 
Now laughing stops, with ' Silence, hush ! 
And Peggy Pout gives Sam a push. 
The Blind-man's arms, extended wide, 
Sam slips between :- — e Oh woe betide 
Thee, clumsy Will ! ' — But tittering Kate 
Is penned up in the corner strait ! 
And now Will's eyes beheld the play ; 
He thought his face was t'other way. 



20 BLAKE'S POEMS 

' Now, Kitty, now ! what chance hast thou ? 

Roger so near thee trips, I vow ! ' 

She catches him — then Roger ties 

His own head up — but not his eyes ; 

For through the slender cloth he sees, 

And runs at Sam, who slips with ease 

His clumsy hold ; and dodging round, 

Sukey is tumbled on the ground. — 

' See what it is to play unfair ! 

Where cheating is, there's mischief there.' 

But Roger still pursues the chase, — 

f He sees ! he sees ! ' cries softly Grace ; 

'O Roger, thou, unskilled in art, 

Must, surer bound, go through thy part ! ' 

Now Kitty, pert, repeats the rhymes, 

And Roger turns him round three times, 

Then pauses ere he starts. But Dick 

Was mischief-bent upon a trick : 

Down on his hands and knees he lay 

Directly in the Blind-man's way, 

Then cries out ' Hem ! ' — Hodge heard, and ran 

With hood-winked chance — sure of his man ; 

But down he came. — Alas, how frail 

Our best of hopes, how soon they fail ! 

With crimson drops he stains the ground ; 

Confusion startles all around. 

Poor piteous Dick supports his head, 

And fain would cure the hurt he made. 

But Kitty hasted with a key, 

And down his back they straight convey 

The cold relief : the blood is stayed, 

And Hodge again holds up his head. 

Such are the fortunes of the game ; 
And those who play should stop the same 
By wholesome laws, such as — All those 
Who on the blinded man impose 
Stand in his stead ; as, long agone, 
When men were first a nation grown, 



POETICAL SKETCHES 21 

Lawless they lived, till wantonness 
And liberty began to increase, 
And one man lay in another's way ; 
Then laws were made to keep fair play. 



KING EDWARD THE THIRD 

Persons 

King Edward. Sib Thomas Dagworth. 

The Black Prince. Sir Walter Manny. 

Queen Philippa. Lord Audley. 

Duke of Clarence. Lord Percy. 

Sir John Chandos. Bishop. 

"William, Dagivorth's man. 

Peter Blunt, a common soldier. 

Scene I. — The Coast of France. 
King Edward and Nobles before it. The Army. 



O Thou to whose fury the nations are 

But as the dust ! maintain Thy servant's right. 

Without Thine aid, the twisted mail, and spear, 

And forged helm, and shield of beaten brass, 

Are idle trophies of the vanquisher. 

When confusion rages, when the field 's in flame, 

When cries of blood tear horror out of heaven, 

And yelling Death runs up and down the ranks, 

Let Liberty, the chartered right of Englishmen, 

Won by our fathers in many a glorious field, 

Innerve my soldiers ; let Liberty 

Blaze in each countenance, and fire the battle. 

The enemy fight in chains, invisible, heavy ; 

Their minds are fettered ; how can they be free? 

While, like the mounting flame, 

We spring to battle o'er the floods of death ! 

And these fair youths, — the flower of England, 

Venturing their lives in my most righteous cause,- 



22 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Oh sheathe their hearts with triple steel, that they 
May emulate their fathers' virtues ! Thou, 
My son, be strong ; thou fightest for a crown 
That death can never ravish from thy brow, 
A crown of glory — From thy very dust 
Shall beam a radiance, to fire the breasts 
Of youth unborn ! Our names are written equal 
In Fame's wide-trophied hall ; 'tis ours to gild 
The letters, and to make them shine with gold 
That never tarnishes : whether Third Edward, 
The Prince of Wales, Montacute, Mortimer, 
Or ev'n the least by birth gain brightest fame, 
Is in His hand to whom all men are equal. 
The world of men are like the numerous stars 
That beam and twinkle in the depth of night, 
Each clad in glory according to his sphere ; 
But we, that wander from our native seats 
And beam forth lustre on a darkling world, 
Grow large as we advance ; and some perhaps 
The most obscure at home, that scarce were seen 
To twinkle in their sphere, may so advance 
That the astonished world, with upturned eyes, 
Regardless of the moon, and those once bright, 
Stand only for to gaze upon their splendour. 

\_He here knights the Prince and other young Nobles. 
Now let us take a just revenge for those 
Brave Lords who fell beneath the bloody axe 
At Paris. Noble Harcourt, thanks, for 'twas 
By your advice we landed here in Brittany, 
A country not yet sown with destruction, 
And where the fiery whirlwind of swift war 
Has not yet swept its desolating wing. — 
Into three parties we divide by day, 
And separate march, but join again at night : 
Each knows his rank, and Heaven marshal all. 

[Exeunt. 



POETICAL SKETCHES 23 

Scene II. — English Court. 

Lionel, Duke of Clarence, Queen Philippa, 
Lords, Bishop, etc. 



My Lords, I have by the advice of her 
Whom I am doubly bound to obey, my parent 
And my sovereign, called you together. 
My task is great, my burden heavier than 
My unfledged years ; 

Yet with your kind assistance, Lords, I hope 
England shall dwell in peace : that, while my father 
Toils in his wars, and turns his eyes on this 
His native shore, and sees commerce fly round 
With his white wings, and sees his golden London 
And her silver Thames, thronged with shining spires 
And corded ships, her merchants buzzing round 
Like summer bees, and all the golden cities 
O'erflowing with their honey in his land, 
Glory may not be dimmed with clouds of care. 
Say, Lords, should not our thoughts be first to com- 
merce ? 
You, my Lord Bishop, commend agriculture i* 



Sweet Prince, I know the arts of peace are great 

And no less glorious than those of war, 

Perhaps more, in the philosophic mind. 

When I sit at my home, a private man, 

My thoughts are on my gardens and my fields, 

How to employ the hand that lacketh bread. 

If Industry is in my diocese, 

Religion will flourish ; each man's heart 

Is cultivated and will bring forth fruit : 

This is my private duty and my pleasure. 

But, as I sit in council with my prince, 

My thoughts take in the general good of the whole, 

And England is the land favoured by Commerce ; 

For Commerce, though the child of Agriculture, 



24 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Fosters his parent, who else must sweat and toil, 
And gain hut scanty fare. Then, my dear Lord, 
Be England's trade our care; and we, as tradesmen 
Looking to the gain of this our native land. 



my good Lord, true wisdom drops like honey 
From off your tongue, as from a worshipped oak ! 
Forgive, my Lords, my talkative youth, that speaks 
Not mei-ely from my narrow observation, 

But what I have concluded from your lessons. 
Now, by the Queen's advice, I ask your leave 
To dine to-morrow with the Mayor of London. 
If I get leave, I have another boon 
To ask, — the favour of your company. 

1 fear Lord Percy will not give me leave. 



Dear Sir, a prince should always keep his state, 

And grant his favours with a sparing hand, 

Or they are never rightly valued. 

These are my thoughts : yet it were best to go : 

But keep a proper dignity, for now 

You represent the sacred person of 

Your father ; 'tis with princes as with the sun ; 

If not sometimes o'erclouded, we grow weary 

Of his officious glory. 

CLARENCE 

Then you will give me leave to shine sometimes, 
My Lord ? 

lord (aside) 

Thou hast a gallant spirit, which I fear 
Will be imposed on by the closer sort. 



Well, I '11 endeavour to take 

Lord Percy's advice ; I have been used so much 

To dignity that I'm sick on't. 



POETICAL SKETCHES 25 

QUEEN PHILIPPA 

Fie, fie, Lord Clarence ! you proceed not to business, 

But speak of your own pleasures. 

I hope their lordships will excuse your giddiness. 

CLARENCE 

My Lords, the French have fitted out many 
Small ships of war that, like to ravening wolves, 
Infest our English seas, devouring all 
Our burdened vessels, spoiling our naval flocks. 
The merchants do complain, and beg our aid. 



The merchants are rich enough ; 
Can they not help themselves ? 

BISHOP 

They can, and may ; but how to gain their will 
Requires both our countenance and help. 



When that they find they must, my Lord, they will : 
Let them but suffer awhile, and you shall see 
They will bestir themselves. 

BISHOP 

Lord Percy cannot mean that we should suffer 
Disgrace like this. If so, we are not sovereigns 
Of the sea, — our right, a right that Heaven gave 
To England, when first at the birth of Nature 
She in the deep was seated ; Ocean ceased 
His mighty roar, and, fawning, played around 
Her snowy feet, and owned his awful Queen. 
Lord Percy, if the heart is sick, the head 
Must be aggrieved ; if but one member suffer, 
The heart doth fail. You say, my Lord, the 

merchants 
Can, if they will, defend themselves against 
These rovers : yet this is a noble scheme, 
Worthy the brave Lord Percy, and as worthy 
His generous aid to put it into practice. 



26 BLAKE'S POEMS 



Lord Bishop, what was rash in me is wise 

In you ; I dare not own the plan. 'Tis not 

Mine. Yet will I, if you please, 

Quickly to the Lord Mayor, and work him onward 

To this most glorious voyage ; on which cast 

I '11 set my whole estate, 

But we will bring these Gallic rovers under. 

QUEEN PHILIPPA 

Thanks, brave Lord Percy ; you have now the thanks 
Of England's Queen, and will, ere long, of England. 

[Exeunt. 

Scene III. — At Cressy. 
Sir Thomas Daqworth and Lord Audley meeting. 



Good-morrow, brave Sir Thomas ; the bright morn 
Smiles on our army, and the gallant sun 
Springs from the hills like a young hero leaping 
Into the battle, shaking his golden locks 
Exultingly : this is a promising day. 

DAGWORTH 

Why that, my good Lord Audley, I don't know. 
Give me your hand, and now I '11 tell you what 
I think you do not know. Edward 's afraid 
Of Philip. 

AUDLEY 

Ha, ha ! Sir Thomas ! you but joke ; 
Did you e'er see him fear ? At Blanchetaque, 
When almost singly he drove down six thousand 
French from the ford, did he fear then ? 

DAGWORTH 

Yes, fear. 
That made him fight so. 



POETICAL SKETCHES 27 



By the same reason I might say 'tis fear 
That makes you fight. 

DAGWOBTH 

Mayhap you may. Look upon Edward's face, 
No one can say he fears ; but, when he turns 
His back, then I will say it to his face ; 
He is afraid : he makes us all afraid. 
I cannot bear the enemy at my back. 
Now here we are at Cressy ; where to-morrow ? 
To-morrow we shall know. I say, Lord Audley, 
That Edward runs away from Philip. 

AUDLEY 

Perhaps you think the Prince too is afraid ? 

DAGWORTH 

No ; God forbid ! I am sure he is not. 

He is a young lion. Oh, I have seen him fight 

And give command, and lightning then has flashed 

From his eyes across the field : I have seen him 

Shake hands with Death, and strike a bargain for 

The enemy ; he has danced in the field 

Of battle, like the youth at morris-play. 

I 'm sure he 's not afraid, nor Warwick, nor none, 

None of us but me, and I am very much afraid. 



Are you afraid, too, Sir Thomas ? I believe that 
As much as I believe the King 's afraid : 
But what are you afraid of? 

DAGWORTH 

Of having my back laid open ; we must turn 
Our backs to the fire, till we shall burn our skirts. 



And this, Sir Thomas, you call fear ? Your fear 
Is of a different kind, then, from the King's ; 



28 BLAKE'S POEMS 

He fears to turn his face, and you your back. 

I do not think, Sir Thomas, you know what fear is. 



Enter Sir John Chandos 



Good morrow, Generals ; I give you joy : 
Welcome to the fields of Cressy. Here we stop 
And wait for Philip. 

DAGWORTH 

I hope so. 

AUDLEY 

There, there, Sir Thomas ; do you call that fear ? 

DAGWORTH 

I don't know ; perhaps he takes it by fits. 
Why, noble Chandos, and you, look you here- 
One rotten sheep spoils always the whole flock ; 
And if the bell-wether is tainted, I wish 
The Prince may not catch the distemper too. 



Distemper, ha ! Sir Thomas ! What distemper ? 
I have not heard. 

DAGWORTH 

Why, Chandos, you are a wise man, 

I know you understand me ; a distemper 

The King caught here in France of running away. 

AUDLEY 

Sir Thomas, you say you have caught it too. 

DAGWORTH 

And so will the whole army ; 'tis very catching, 
For, when the coward runs, the brave man totters. 
Perhaps the air of the country is the cause. 



POETICAL SKETCHES 29 

I feel it coming upon me, so I strive against it ; 
You yet are whole ; but after a few more 
Retreats, we all shall know how to retreat 
Better than fight.— To be plain, I think retreating 
Too often takes away a soldier's courage. 



Here comes the King himself: tell him your thoughts 
Plainly, Sir Thomas. 

DAGWORTH 

I 've told him this before, but his disorder 
Has made him deaf. 



Enter King Edward and Black Prince 



Good morrow, Generals ; when English courage fails, 

Down goes our right to France ; 

But we are conquerors everywhere, and nothing 

Can stand before our soldiers ; each is worthy 

Of a triumph. Such an army — heroes all — 

Ne'er shouted to the heavens, nor shook the field. 

Edward, my son, thou art 

Most happy, having such command : the man 

Were more than base who were not fired to deeds 

Above heroic, having such examples. 



Sire, with respect and deference I look 
Upon such noble souls, and wish myself 
Worthy the high command that Heaven and you 
Have given me. When I 've seen the field a-glow, 
And in each countenance the soul of war 
Curbed by the manliest reason, I 've been winged 
With certain victory ; and 'tis my boast, 
And shall be still my glory, I was inspired 
By these brave troops. 



30 BLAKE'S POEMS 



All Generals. 



DAGWORTH 

Your Grace had better make them 



Sir Thomas Dagworth, you must have your joke 
And shall, while you can fight as you did at 
The Ford. 

DAGWORTH 

I have a small petition to your Majesty. 

KING 

What can Sir Thomas Dagworth ask 
That Edward can refuse ? 

DAGWORTH 

I hope your Majesty cannot refuse so great 

A trifle ; I 've gilt your cause with my best blood. 

And would again, were I not now forbid 

By him whom I am bound to obey : my hands 

Are tied up, all my courage shrunk and withered, 

My sinews slackened, and my voice scarce heard ; 

Therefore I beg I may return to England. 



I know not what you could have asked, Sir Thomas, 
That I would not have sooner parted with 
Than such a soldier as j'ou, and such a friend : 
Nay, I will know the most remote particulars 
Of this your strange petition ; that, if I can, 
I still may keep you here. 

DAGWORTH 

Here on the fields of Cressy we are settled 
Till Philip springs the timorous covey again. 
The wolf is hunted down by causeless fear ; 
The lion flees, and fear usurps his heart, 
Startled, astonished at the clamorous cock ; 
The eagle, that doth gaze upon the sun, 



POETICAL SKETCHES 31 

Fears the small fire that plays about the fen. 

If, at this moment of their idle fear, 

The dog doth seize the wolf, the forester the lion, 

The negro in the crevice of the rock 

Doth seize the soaring eagle ; undone by flight, 

They tame submit : such the effect flight has 

On noble souls. Now hear its opposite : 

The timorous stag starts from the thicket wild, 

The fearful crane springs from the splashy fen, 

The shining snake glides o'er the bending grass, 

The stag turns head, and bays the crying hounds ; 

The crane o'ertaken fighteth with the hawk ; 

The snake doth turn, and bite the padding foot. 

And if your Majesty 's afraid of Philip, 

You are more like a lion than a crane : 

Therefore I beg I may return to England. 



Sir Thomas, now I understand your mirth, 
Which often plays with wisdom for its pastime, 
And brings good counsel from the breast of laughter. 
I hope you '11 stay and see us fight this battle, 
And reap rich harvest in the fields of Cressy ; 
Then go to England, tell them how we fight, 
And set all hearts on fire to be with us. 
Philip is plumed, and thinks we flee from him, 
Else he would never dare to attack us. Now, 
Now the quarry 's set ! and Death doth sport 
In the bright sunshine of this fatal day. 

DAGWORTH 

Now my heart dances, and I am as light 
As the young bridegroom going to be married. 
Now must I to my soldiers, get them ready, 
Furbish our armours bright, new-plume our helms ; 
And we will sing like the young housewives busied 
In the dairy. Now my feet are wing'd, but not 
For flight, an 't please your grace. 



32 BLAKE'S POEMS 



If all my soldiers are as pleased as you, 
'Twill be a gallant thing to fight or die ; 
Then I can never be afraid of Philip. 

DAGWORTH 

A raw-boned fellow t'other day passed by me ; 
I told him to put off his hungry looks — 
He said, ' I hunger for another battle.' 
I saw a little Welshman, fiery-faced ; 
I told him he looked like a candle half 
Burned out ; he answered, he was ' pig enough 
To light another pattle.' Last night, beneath 
The moon I walked abroad, when all had pitched 
Their tents, and all were still ; 
I heard a blooming youth singing a song 
He had composed, and at each pause he wiped 
His dropping eyes. The ditty was, ' If he 
Returned victorious, he should wed a maiden 
Fairer than snow, and rich as midsummer.' 
Another wept, and wished health to his father. 
I chid them both, but gave them noble hopes. 
These are the minds that glory in the battle, 
And leap and dance to hear the trumpet sound. 



Sir Thomas Dagworth, be thou near our person ; 
Thy heart is richer than the vales of France : 
I will not part with such a man as thou. 
If Philip came armed in the ribs of death, 
And shook his mortal dart against my head, 
Thou 'dst laugh his fury into nerveless shame ! 
Go now, for thou art suited to the work, 
Throughout the camp ; inflame the timorous, 
Blow up the sluggish into ardour, and 
Confirm the strong with strength, the weak inspire, 
And wing their brows with hope and expectation : 
Then to our tent return, and meet to council. 

[Exit Dagworth. 



POETICAL SKETCHES 33 



That man's a hero in his closet, and more 

A hero to the servants of his house 

Than to the gaping world ; he carries windows 

In that enlarged breast of his, that all 

May see what's done within. 



He is a genuine Englishman, my Chandos, 
And hath the spirit of Liberty within him. 
Forgive my prejudice, Sir John ; I think 
My Englishmen the bravest people on 
The face of the earth. 



Courage, my Lord, proceeds from self-dependence. 
Teach every man to think he 's a free agent, 
Give but a slave his liberty, he'll shake 
Off sloth, and build himself a hut, and hedge 
A spot of ground ; this he '11 defend ; 'tis his 
By right of Nature. Thus being set in action, 
He will move on to plan conveniences, 
Till glory fires him to enlarge his castle ; 
While the poor slave drudges all day, in hope 
To rest at night. 



Liberty, how glorious art thou ! 

1 see thee hovering o'er my army, with 

Thy wide-stretched plumes; I see thee lead them on ; 

I see thee blow thy golden trumpet while 

Thy sons shout the strong shout of victory ! 

O noble Chandos, think thyself a gardener, 

My son a vine, which I commit unto 

Thy care. Prune all extravagant shoots, and guide 

The ambitious tendrils in the path of wisdom ; 

Water him with thy clear advice, and Heaven 

Rain freshening dew upon his branches ! And, 

O Edward, my dear son ! think lowly of 

vol, i, c 



34 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Thyself, as we may all each prefer other — 
'Tis the best policy, and 'tis our duty. 

[Exit King E»waiu>. 



And may our duty, Chandos, be our pleasure. — 
Now we are alone, Sir John, I will unburden 
And breathe my hopes into the burning air, 
Where thousand Deaths are posting up and down, 
Commissioned to this fatal field of Cressy. 
Methinks I see them arm my gallant soldiers, 
And gird the sword upon each thigh, and fit 
Each shining helm, and string each stubborn bow; 
And dance to the neighing of our steeds. 
Methinks the shout begins, the battle burns : 
Methinks I see them perch on English crests, 
And roar the wild flame of fierce war upon 
The thronged enemy ! In truth, I am too full ; 
It is my sin to love the noise of war. 
Chandos, thou seestmy weakness ; for strong Nature 
Will bend or break us : my blood, like a springtide, 
Does rise so high to overflow all bounds 
Of moderation ; while Reason, in her 
Frail bark, can see no shore or bound for vast 
Ambition. Come, take the helm, my Chandos, 
That my full-blown sails overset me not 
In the wild tempest. Condemn my venturous youth 
That plays with danger, as the innocent child, 
Unthinking, plays upon the viper's den : 
I am a coward in my reason, Chandos. 



You are a man, my prince, and a brave man, 

If I can judge of actions ; but your heat 

Is the effect of youth, and want of use : 

Use makes the armed field and noisy war 

Pass over as a cloud does, unregarded, 

Or but expected as a thing of course. 

Age is contemplative ; each rolling year 

Brings forth her fruit to the mind's treasure-house ;- 



POETICAL SKETCHES 35 

While vacant youth doth crave and seek about 
Within itself, and findeth discontent, 
Then, tired of thought, impatient takes the wing, 
Seizes the fruits of time, attacks experience, 
Roams round vast Nature's forest, where no bounds 
Are set, the swiftest may have room, the strongest 
Find prey ; till, tired at length, sated and tired 
With the changing sameness, old variety, 
We sit us down, and view our former joys 
With distaste and dislike. 



Then, if we must tug for experience, 
Let us not fear to beat round Nature's wilds, 
And rouse the strongest prey : then if we fall, 
We fall with glory. I know well the wolf 
Is dangerous to fight, not good for food, 
Nor is the hide a comely vestment ; so 
We have our battle for our pains. I know 
That youth has need of age to point fit prey, 
And oft the stander-by shall steal the fruit 
Of the other's labour. This is philosophy ; 
These are the tricks of the world ; but the pure soul 
Shall mount on native wings, disdaining little sport, 
And cut a path into the heaven of glory, 
Leaving a track of light for men to wonder at. 
I 'm glad my father does not hear me talk ; 
You can find friendly excuses for me, Chandos. 
But do you not think, Sir John, that, if it please 
The Almighty to stretch out my span of life, 
I shall with pleasure view a glorious action 
Which my youth mastered ? 



Age, my Lord, views motives 
And views not acts ; when neither warbling voice 
Nor trilling pipe is heard, nor pleasure sits 
With trembling age, the voice of Conscience then, 
Sweeter than music in a summer's eve, 
Shall warble round the snowy head, and keep 



36 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Sweet symphony to feathered angels, sitting 

As guardians round your chair ; then shall the pulse 

Beat slow, and taste and touch, sight, sound and 

smell, 
That sing and dance round Reason's fine-wrought 

throne, 
Shall flee away, and leave him all forlorn ; 
Yet not forlorn if Conscience is his friend. 

[Exeunt. 

SCENE IV. — Tn Sib Thomas Dagworth's Tent. 
Dagwobth, and William his man. 

DAGWORTH 

Bring hither my armour, William. 
Ambition is the growth of every clime. 

WILLIAM 

Does it grow in England, sir ? 

DAGWORTH 

Ay, it grows most in lands most cultivated. 

WILLIAM 

Then it grows most in France ; the vines here 
Are finer than any we have in England. 

DAGWORTH 

Ay, but the oaks are not. 

WILLIAM 

What is the tree you mentioned ? I don't think 
I ever saw it. 

DAGWORTH 

Ambition. 

WILLIAM 

Is it a little creeping root that grows in ditches ? 



POETICAL SKETCHES 37 

DAGWORTH 

Thou dost not understand me, William. 
It is a root that grows in every breast ; 
Ambition is the desire or passion that one man 
Has to get before another, in any pursuit after glory ; 
But I don't think you have any of it. 



Yes, I have ; I have a great ambition to know 
everything, sir. 

DAGWORTH 

But, when our first ideas are wrong, what follows 
must all be wrong, of course ; 'tis best to know a 
little, and to know that little aright. 



Then, sir, I should be glad to know if it was not 
ambition that brought over our king to France to 
fight for his right. 

DAGWORTH 

Though the knowledge of that will not profit thee 
much, yet I will tell you that it was ambition. 



Then, if ambition is a sin, we are all guilty in 
coming with him, and in fighting for him. 

DAGWORTH 

Now, William, thou dost thrust the question home ; 
but I must tell you that, guilt being an act of the 
mind, none are guilty but those whose minds are 
prompted by that same ambition. 



Now, I always thought that a man might be guilty 
of doing wrong without knowing it was wrong. 



38 BLAKE'S POEMS 

DAGWORTH 

Thou art a natural philosopher, and knowest truth 
by instinct ; while reason runs aground, as we have 
run our argument. Only remember, William, all 
have it in their power to know the motives of their 
own actions, and 'tis a sin to act without some reason. 



And whoever acts without reason may do a great 
deal of harm without knowing it. 

DAGWORTH 

Thou art an endless moralist. 



Now there 's a story come into my head, that I will 
tell your honour, if you'll give me leave. 

DAGWORTH 

No, William, save it till another time ; this is no 
time for story-telling. But here comes one who is as 
entertaining as a good story. 

Enter Peter Blunt. 



Yonder 's a musician going to play before the King; 
it's a new song about the French and English. And 
the Prince has made the minstrel a squire, and given 
him I don't know what, and can't tell whether he 
don't mention us all one by one ; and he is to write 
another about all us that are to die, that we may be 
remembered in Old England, for all our blood and 
bones are in France ; and a great deal more that we 
shall all hear by and by. And I came to tell your 
honour, because you love to hear war-songs. 

DAGWORTH 

And who is this minstrel, Peter, dost know ? 



POETICAL SKETCHES 39 



Oh ay, I forgot to tell that ; he has got the same 
name as Sir John Chandos that the Prince is always 
with — the wise man that knows us all as well as your 
honour, only ain't so good-natured. 

DAGWORTH 

I thank you, Peter, for your information, but not 
for your compliment, which is not true. There 's as 
much difference between him and me as between 
glittering sand and fruitful mould ; or shining glass 
and a wrought diamond, set in rich gold, and fitted 
to the finger of an Emperor ; such is that worthy 
Chandos. 



I know your honour does not think anything of 
yourself, but everybody else does. 

DAGWORTH 

Go, Peter, get you gone ; flattery is delicious, even 
from the lips of a babbler. [Exit Peter. 

WILLIAM 

/ never flatter your honour. 

DAGWORTH 

I don't know that. 



Why you know, sir, when we were in England, at 
the tournament at Windsor, and the Earl of Warwick 
was tumbled over, you asked me if he did not look 
well when he fell ; and I said no, he looked very 
foolish ; and you were very angry with me for not 
flattering you. 

DAGWORTH 

You mean that I was angry with you for not flatter- 
ing the Earl of Warwick. [Exeunt. 



40 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Scene V. — Sir Thomas Dagworth's Tent. 

Sir Thomas Dagworth. To him enters Sir Walter 

Manny. 

sir walter 

Sir Thomas Dagworth, I 've been weeping now 
Over the men that are to die to-day. 

DAGWORTH 

Why, brave Sir Walter, you or I may fall. 

SIR WALTER 

I know this breathing flesh must lie and rot, 

Covered with silence and forgetfulness. 

Death wons in cities' smoke, and in still night, 

When men sleep in their beds, walketh about. 

How many in walled cities lie and groan, 

Turning themselves about upon their beds, 

Talking with Death, answering his hard demands ! 

How many walk in darkness, terrors round 

The curtains of their beds, destruction still 

Ready without the door ! How many sleep 

In earth, covered over with stones and deathy dust, 

Resting in quietness, whose spirits walk 

Upon the clouds of heaven, to die no more ! 

Yet death is terrible, though borne on angels' wings. 

How terrible then is the field of death, 

Where he doth rend the vault of heaven, and shake 

The gates of hell ! 

O Dagworth, France is sick ! the very sky, 

Though sunshine light it, seems to me as pale 

As the pale fainting man on his death-bed, 

Whose face is shown by light of sickly taper. 

It makes me sad and sick at very heart ; 

Thousands must fall to-day. 

DAGWORTH 

Thousands of souls must leave this prison-house, 
To be exalted to those heavenly fields 



POETICAL SKETCHES 41 

Where songs of triumph, palms of victory, 

Where peace and joy and love and calm content, 

Sit singing in the azure clouds, and strew 

Flowers of heaven's growth over the banquet-table. 

Bind ardent hope upon your feet like shoes, 

Put on the robe of preparation ! 

The table is prepared in shining heaven, 

The flowers of immortality are blown ; 

Let those that fight fight in good steadfastness, 

And those that fall shall rise in victory. 

SIR WALTER 

I 've often seen the burning field of war, 

And often heard the dismal clang of arms ; 

But never, till this fatal day of Cressy, 

Has my soul fainted with these views of death. 

I seem to be in one great charnel-house, 

And seem to scent the rotten carcases ; 

I seem to hear the dismal yells of Death, 

While the black gore drops from his horrid jaws : 

Yet I not fear the monster in his pride — 

But oh ! the souls that are to die to-day ! 

DAGWORTH 

Stop, brave Sir Walter ; let me drop a tear, 

Then let the clarion of war begin ; 

I'll fight and weep, 'tis in my country's cause ; 

I '11 weep and shout for glorious liberty. 

Grim War shall laugh and shout, bedecked in tears, 

And blood shall flow like streams across the meadows, 

That murmur down their pebbly channels, and 

Spend their sweet lives to do their country service : 

Then England's green shall shoot, her fields shall smile, 

Her ships shall sing across the foaming sea, 

Her mariners shall use the flute and viol, 

And rattling guns, and black and dreary war, 

Shall be no more. 

SIR WALTER 

Well, let the trumpet sound, and the drum beat ; 



42 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Let war stain the blue heavens with bloody banners ; 

I '11 draw my sword, nor ever sheathe it up 

Till England blow the trump of victory, 

Or I lie stretched upon the field of death. [Exeunt. 



Scene VI. — In the Camp. 

Several of the Warriors met at the King's Tent with a 
Minstrel, who sings the following Song : 

O sons of Trojan Brutus, clothed in war, 
Whose voices are the thunder of the field, 
Rolling dark clouds o'er France, muffling the sun 
In sickly darkness like a dim eclipse, 
Threatening as the red brow of storms, as fire 
Burning up nations in your wrath and fury ! 

Your ancestors came from the fires of Troy 
(Like lions roused by lightning from their dens, 
Whose eyes do glare against the stormy fires), 
Heated with war, filled with the blood of Greeks, 
With helmets hewn, and shields covered with gore, 
In navies black, broken with wind and tide : 

Landing in firm array upon the rocks 

Of Albion ; they kissed the rocky shore ; 

'Be thou our mother and our nurse,' they said ; 

' Our children's mother, and thou shalt be our grave, 

The sepulchre of ancient Troy, from whence 

Cities shall rise, thrones, arms, and awful powers. ' 

Our fathers swarm from the ships. Giant voices 
Are heard from all the hills, the enormous sons 
Of Ocean run from rocks and caves ; wild men, 
Naked and roaring like lions, hurling rocks, 
And wielding knotty clubs, like oaks entangled 
Thick as a forest, ready for the axe. 

Our fathers move in firm array to battle ; 
The savage monsters rush like roaring fire ; 



POETICAL SKETCHES 43 

Like as a forest roars with crackling flames, 
When the red lightning, borne by furious storms, 
Lights on some woody shore ; the parched heavens 
Rain fire into the molten, raging sea. 

The smoking trees are strewn upon the shore, 
Spoiled of their verdure. Oh how oft have they 
Defied the storm that howled o'er their heads ! 
Our fathers, sweating, lean on spears, and view 
The mighty dead : giant bodies streaming blood, 
Dread visages frowning in silent death. 

Then Brutus spoke, inspired ; our fathers sit 

Attentive on the melancholy shore : 

Hear ye the voice of Brutus — 'The flowing waves 

Of time come rolling o'er my breast,' he said; 

' And my heart labours with futurity. 

Our sons shall rule the empire of the sea. 

' Their mighty wings shall stretch from east to west. 
Their nest is in the sea, but they shall roam 
Like eagles for the prey ; nor shajl the young 
Crave to be heard ; for plenty shall bring forth, 
Cities shall sing, and vales in rich array 
Shall laugh, whose fruitful laps bend down with ful- 
ness. 

' Our sons shall rise up from their thrones in joy, 
Each buckling on his armour ; and the dawn 
Shall be prevented by their swords gleaming. 
Evening shall hear their song of victory ; 
Their towers shall be built upon the rocks, 
Their daughters sing, surrounded with their spears. 

' Liberty shall stand on cliffs of Albion, 
Casting her blue eyes over the green sea ; 
Or towering upon the roaring waves, 
Stretching her mighty spear o'er distant lands ; 
While with her eagle wings she covereth 
Fair Albion's shore, and all her families.' 



44 BLAKE'S POEMS 



PROLOGUE 

Intended for a Dramatic Piece of King Edward 
the Fourth 

Oh for a voice like thunder, and a tongue 

To drown the throat of war ! When the senses 

Are shaken, and the soul is driven to madness, 

Who can stand ? When the souls of the oppressed 

Fight in the troubled air that rages, who can stand ? 

When the whirlwind of fury comes from the throne 

Of God, when the frowns of His countenance 

Drive the nations together, who can stand ? 

When Sin claps his broad wings over the battle, 

And sails rejoicing in the flood of death ; 

When souls are torn to everlasting fire, 

And fiends of hell rejoice upon the slain, 

Oh who can stand ? Oh who hath caused this ? 

Oh who can answer at the throne of God ? 

The Kings and Nobles of the land have done it ! 

Hear it not, Heaven, thy ministers have done it ! 



PROLOGUE TO KING JOHN 

Justice hath heaved a sword to plunge in Albion's 

breast ; 
For Albion's sins are crimson-dyed, 
And the red scourge follows her desolate sons. 
Then Patriot rose ; full oft did Patriot rise, 
When Tyranny hath stained fair Albion's breast 
With her own children's gore. 
Round his majestic feet deep thunders roll ; 
Each heart does tremble, and each knee grows slack. 
The stars of heaven tremble; the roaring voice of war, 
The trumpet, calls to battle. Brother in brother's 

blood 
Must bathe, rivers of death. O land most hapless ! 



POETICAL SKETCHES 45 

O beauteous island, how forsaken ! 

Weep from thy silver fountains, weep from thy gentle 

rivers ! 
The angel of the island weeps ; 
Thy widowed virgins weep beneath thy shades. 
Thy aged fathers gird themselves for war ; 
The sucking infant lives, to die in battle ; 
The weeping mother feeds him for the slaughter. 
The husbandman doth leave his bending harvest. 
Blood cries afar ! The land doth sow itself ! 
The glittering youth of courts must gleam in arms ; 
The aged senators their ancient swords assume ; 
The trembling sinews of old age must work 
The work of death against their progeny. 
For Tyranny hath stretched his purple arm, 
And ' Blood !' he cries: ' The chariots and the horses, 
The noise of shout, and dreadful thunder of 
The battle heard afar ! ' 
Beware, O proud ! thou shalt be humbled ; 
Thy cruel brow, thine iron heart is smitten, 
Though lingering Fate is slow. Oh yet may Albion 
Smile again, and stretch her peaceful arms, 
And raise her golden head exultingly ! 
Her citizens shall throng about her gates, 
Her mariners shall sing upon the sea, 
And myriads shall to her temples crowd ! 
Her sons shall joy as in the morning — 
Her daughters sing as to the rising year ! 



A WAR SONG 

TO ENGLISHMEN 

Prepare, prepare the iron helm of war, 
Bring forth the lots, cast in the spacious orb ; 
The Angel of Fate turns them with mighty hands, 
And casts them out upon the darkened earth ! 
Prepare, prepare ! 



46 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Prepare your hearts for Death's cold hand ! prepare 
Your souls for flight, your bodies for the earth ! 
Prepare your arms for glorious victory ! 
Prepare your eyes to meet a holy God ! 

Prepare, prepare ! 

Whose fatal scroll is that? Methinks 'tis mine ! 
Why sinks my heart, why faltereth my tongue ? 
Had I three lives, I'd die in such a cause, 
And rise, with ghosts, over the well-fought field. 
Prepare, prepare ! 

The arrows of Almighty God are drawn ! 
Angels of Death stand in the louring heavens ! 
Thousands of souls must seek the realms of light, 
And walk together on the clouds of heaven ! 
Prepare, prepare ! 

Soldiers, prepare ! Our cause is Heaven's cause ; 
Soldiers, prepare ! Be worthy of our cause : 
Prepare to meet our fathers in the sky : 
Prepare, O troops that are to fall to-day ! 

Prepare, prepare ! 

Alfred shall smile, and make his heart rejoice : 
The Norman William, and the learned Clerk, 
And Lion-Heart, and black-browed Edward with 
His loyal queen, shall rise, and welcome us ! 
Prepare, prepare ! 



THE COUCH OF DEATH 

The veiled evening walks solitary down the western 
hills, and silence reposed in the valley. The birds of 
day were heard in their nests, rustling in breaks and 
thickets, and the owl and bat flew round the darken- 
ing trees. All is silent when Nature takes her repose. 
In former times, on such an evening, when the cold 
clay breathed with life, and our ancestors who now 
sleep in their graves walked on the steadfast globe, 



POETICAL SKETCHES 47 

the remains of a family of the tribes of Earth, a 
mother and a sister, were gathered to the sick-bed 
of a youth. Sorrow linked them together, leaning 
on one another's necks alternately, like lilies ; drop- 
ping tears in each other's bosom they stood by the 
bed like reeds bending over a lake when the evening 
drops trickle down. 

His voice was low, as the whisperings of the woods 
when the wind is asleep, and the visions of Heaven 
unfold their visitation. 

' Parting is hard, and death is terrible. I seem to 
walk through a deep valley, far from the light of 
day, alone and comfortless. The damps of death fall 
thick upon me. Horrors stare me in the face. I 
look behind : there is no returning. Death follows 
after me. I walk in regions of death where no tree 
is, without a lantern to direct my steps, without a 
staff to support me. ' 

Thus he laments through the still evening, till the 
curtains of darkness were drawn. 

Like the sound of a broken pipe the aged woman 
raised her voice : — ' O my son ! my son ! I know but 
little of the path thou goest ! But lo ! there is a 
God that made the world. Stretch out thy hand to 
Him.' 

The youth replied, like a voice heard from a 
sepulchre : — ' My hand is feeble ; how should I 
stretch it out ? My ways are sinful ; how should I 
raise mine eyes ? My voice hath used deceit ; how 
should I call on Him who is Truth ? My breath is 
loathsome ; how should He not be offended ? If I 
lay my face in the dust, the grave opens its mouth 
for me. If I lift up my head, sin covers me as a 
cloak. O my dear friends ! pray ye for me. Stretch 
forth your hands that my helper may come. Through 
the void space I walk between the sinful world and 
eternity. Beneath me burns eternal fire. O for a 
hand to pluck me forth ! ' 

As the voice of an omen heard in the silent valley 
when the few inhabitants cling trembling together, 



48 BLAKE'S POEMS 

as the voice of the Angel of Death, when the thin 
beams of the moon give a faint light, such was this 
young man's voice to his friends. 

Like the bubbling waters of the brook in the dead 
of night the aged woman raised her cry and said : — 
v O voice that dwellest in my breast, can I not cry 
and lift my eyes to Heaven? Thinking of this, my 
spirit is turned within me into confusion. O my 
child ! my child ! is thy breath infected ? So is 
mine. As the deer, wounded, by the brooks of 
water, so the arrows of sin stick in my flesh, the 
poison hath entered into my marrow.' 

Like rolling waves upon a desert shore, sighs 
succeed sighs. They covered their faces and wept. 

The youth lay silent, his mother's arm under his 
head. He was like a cloud tossed by the winds, till 
the sun shine, and the drops of rain glisten, the 
yellow harvest breathes, and the thankful eyes of 
villagers are turned up in smiles ; the traveller that 
hath taken shelter under an oak, eyes the distant 
country with joy. Such smiles were seen upon the 
face of the youth. A visionary hand wiped away his 
tears, and a ray of light beamed around his head. 
All was still. The moon hung not out her lamp, and 
the stars faintly glimmered in the summer sky. The 
breath of night slept among the leaves of the forest. 
The bosom of the lofty hill drank in the silent dew, 
while on his majestic brow the voice of angels is heard, 
and stringed sounds ride on the wings of night. 

The sorrowful pair lift up their heads. Hovering 
angels are around them. Voices of comfort are heard 
over the couch of death, and the youth breathes out 
his soul with joy into eternity. 



CONTEMPLATION 

Who is this that with unerring step dares to tempt 
the wilds where only Nature's step hath trod ? 'Tis 
Contemplation, daughter of the grey Morning. 



POETICAL SKETCHES 49 

Majestical she steppeth, and with pure quill ou every 
flower, writeth Wisdom's name. Now, lowly bend- 
ing, whispers in mine ear : — ' O man ! how great, 
how little thou ! O man ! slave of each moment, 
Lord of Eternity, seest thou where Mirth sits on the 
painted cheek ? Doth it not seem ashamed of such a 
place and grow immoderate to brave it out ? O what 
an humble garb true joy puts on ! Those who want 
Happiness must stoop to find it. It is a flower that 
grows in every vale. Vain, foolish man that roams 
on lofty rocks, where 'cause his garments are swollen 
with wind he fancies he is grown into a giant ! Lo, 
then, Humility. Take it, and wear it in thine heart. 
Lord of thyself, then thou art lord of all. Clamour 
brawls along the streets and destruction hovers in the 
city's smoke, but on these plains and in these silent 
woods true joys descend. Here build thy nest ; here 
fix thy staff. Delights blossom around. Number- 
less beauties blow. The green grass springs in joy, 
and the nimble air kisses the leaves. The brook 
stretches its arms along the silent meadow ; its silver 
inhabitants sport and play. The youthful sun joys 
like a hunter roused to the chase. He rushes up the 
sky and lays hold of the immortal coursers of the 
day : the sky glitters with the jingling trappings. 
Like a triumph, season follows season, while the airy 
music fills the world with joyful sounds.' 

I answered, ' Heavenly goddess ! I am wrapped 
in mortality. My flesh is a prison ; my bones the 
bars of death. Misery builds over our cottage roofs, 
and Discontent runs like a brook. Even in childhood 
sorrow slept with me in my cradle. He followed me 
up and down in the house when I grew up. He was 
my schoolfellow. Thus he was in my steps and in 
my play till he became to me as a brother. I walked 
through dreary places with him, and in churchyards, 
and I oft found myself sitting by sorrow on a tomb- 
stone. ' 



50 BLAKE'S POEMS 

SAMSON 

Samson, the strongest of the sons of men, 
I sing ; how he was foiled by woman's art ; 
By a false wife brought to the gates of death. 
O Truth, that shinest with propitious beams, 
Turning our earthly night to heavenly day, 
From presence of the Almighty Father, thou 
Visitest our darkling world with blessed feet, 
Bringing good news of Sin and Death destroyed. 
O white-robed Angel, guide my timorous hand 
To write as on a rock with iron pen 
The words of truth, that all who pass may read. 

Now Night, the noontide of the damned spirits, 

O'er silent earth spreads her pavilion, 

While in dark counsel sat Philistea's lords ; 

And where strength failed, black thoughts in ambush 

lay. 
Their helmed youth and aged warriors 
In dust together lie, and Desolation 
Spreads his wings o'er the land of Palestine : 
From side to side she groans, her prowess lost, 
And the land seeks to hide her bruised head 
Under the mists of night, breeding dark plots. 
For Dalila's fair arts were tried in vain ; 
In vain she wept in many a treacherous tear. 
Go on, fair traitress, do thy guileful work ! 
For know, ere once again the changing moon 
Her circuit hath performed, thou shalt o'ercome 
And conquer him, by force unconquerable, 
And wrest his secrets from him. Call thine arts, — 
Alluring arts, and honest-seeming brow — 
Love's holy kiss, and the transparent tear. 
Put on fair linen, that with the lily vies, 
Purple and silver, and neglect thine hair 
To seem more lovely in thy loose attire. 
Put on thy country's pride, false eyes of love, 
Decked in mild sorrow, and sell thy lord for gold. 



POETICAL SKETCHES 51 

For now upon her sumptuous couch reclined 
In gorgeous pride she still entreats, and still 
She grasps his vigorous knees with her fair arms. 
'Thou lovest me not ! Thou art War, thou art not Love ! 

foolish Dalila ! O thou weak woman ! 

It is Death, clothed in the flesh thou lovest, 

And thou hast been encircled in his arms ! 

Alas, my Lord, what am I calling thee ? 

Thou art my God ! To thee I pour my tears, 

For sacrifice I, morn and evening, pour. 

My days are covered with sorrow, shut up, darkened, 

By night I am deceived. 

Who says that thou wast born of mortal kind ? 

Destruction was thy father ; a lioness 

Suckled thee ; thy young hands tore human limbs 

And thy young throat was gorged with human flesh ! 

Come hither, Death. Art thou not Samson's slave ? 

'Tis Dalila that calls, — thy master's wife. 

No, stay ; and let thy master do the deed. 

One blow of that strong arm would ease my pain ; 

Then should I lie at quiet, and have rest. 

Pity forsook thee at thy birth ! O Dagon 

Furious, and all ye gods of Palestine, 

Withdraw your hand ! I am but a weak woman. 

Alas, I am wedded to your enemy ! 

1 will go mad and tear my crisped hair ! 

I '11 run about and pierce the ears o' the gods ! 
O Samson, hold me not : thou lovest me not ! 
Look not upon me with those deathful eyes ; 
Thou would'st my death, and death approaches fast. 

Thus in false tears she wept and bathed his feet, 
And thus she day by day oppressed his soul. 
He seemed a mountain : on his brow the clouds : 
She seemed a silver stream, his feet embracing. 
Dark thoughts rolled to and fro within his mind 
Like thunderclouds troubling the sultry sky. 
His visage was troubled, and his soul distressed. 
' Though I tell all my heart, what need I fear ? 
Though I should tell this secret of my birth, 



52 BLAKE'S POEMS 

The utmost may be warded off, as now.' 

She saw him moved, and thus resumed her wiles : 

' Samson, I am thine ; do with me what thou wilt ; 

My friends are enemies ; my life is death ; 

I am traitor to my nation and despised ; 

My joy is given into the hands of him 

Who hates me, and his bosom's wife deceives. 

Thrice hast thou mocked me, and grieved my soul. 

Didst thou not tell me with green withes to bind 

Thy nervous arms, and even after that, 

When I had found thy falsehood, with new ropes 

To bind thee fast? I knew thou didst but mock. 

Alas, when in thy sleep I bound thee thus, 

To try thy truth I cried, ' ' The Philistines 

Be on thee, Samson !" By suspicion woke, 

How didst thou rend away the feeble ties ? 

Thou fearest nought ! What hast thou need to fear ? 

Thy bones are made of brass — thy sinews iron. 

Ten thousand spears are like the summer grass ; 

An army of mighty men as flocks in the vales. 

What canst thou fear ? I drink my tears like water : 

I live on sorrow. O worse than wolves and tigers, 

What givest thou me, such trifles being denied ? 

But oh ! at last thou mockest me, to shame 

My over-fond inquiries, telling me 

To weave thee to the beam by thy strong hair. 

I did even that to try thy truth, but when 

I cried, " The Philistines be on thee ! " then 

I did bewail that Samson loved me not. ' 

He heard her voice : he sat and inward grieved ; 

He saw and loved the beauteous suppliant, 

Nor could conceal aught that might her appease. 

Then, leaning on her bosom, thus he spoke : — 

' O Dalila, doubt no more Samson's love, 

For that fair breast was made the ivory palace 

Of my inmost heart where it shall lie at rest, 

For sorrow is the lot of all men born. 

For care was I brought forth, labour is my lot, 

Nor matchless might, wisdom, nor gifts enjoyed 



POETICAL SKETCHES 53 

Can from the heart of man his sorrow hide. 

Twice was my birth foretold from heaven, and twice 

A sacred vow enjoined me I should drink 

No wine, nor eat of any unclean thing. 

For holy unto Israel's God I am, 

A Nazarite, even from my mother's womb : 

Twice was it told, that it might not be broken. 

" Grant me a son, kind Heaven," Mauoa cried ; 

But Heaven refused. Childless he mourned, but 

thought 
His God knew best. Lonely, though not obscure, 
In Israel he lived, till age came on : 
His flocks increased, and plenty crowned his board ; 
Beloved, revered. But God had other joys 
In store. YY r as burdened Israel his grief? 
The son of his old age should set her free. 
The venerable sweetener of his life 
Received the promise first from Heaven. She saw 
The maidens play, and blessed their innocent mirth ; 
She blessed each new-joined pair ; but now from her 
The long-desired deliverer shall spring. 
Pensive, alone, she sat within the house, 
When busy day was fading, and calm evening, 
The time for quiet contemplation, rose 
From the forsaken east, and drew heaven's veil — 
Pensive she sat, and thought on Israel's grief, 
And, silent, prayed to Israel's God ; when lo ! 
An angel from the fields of light come down 
Entered the house. His form was manhood's prime, 
And from his brow terrors shot through the shade. 
But mild he hailed her : " Hail, O highly favoured ! ' 
Said he ; "thou shalt conceive and bear a son, 
And Israel's strength shall be upon his shoulders. 
He shall be called Israel's deliverer. 
Now drink no wine, nor eat of unclean things, 
For he shall be a Nazarite to God." 
Then, as a neighbour when his tale is told, 
Departs, his blessing leaving, so went he. 
She wondered with exceeding joy, nor knew 
He was an angel. Manoa left his fields 



54 BLAKE'S POEMS 

To sit at home and take his evening's rest, 

The sweetest time that unto mortal man 

God doth allot. He sat and heard with joy 

And praised God, who Israel still doth keep. 

The time rolled on, Israel groaned, oppressed : 

The sword was bright, the ploughshare rusted still, 

And hope grew feeble, ready to give place 

To doubting. Then Manoa prayed : " O Lord, 

Upon the hills the wolf doth tear Thy sheep, 

Oppression lays his rod upon our land : 

Our country is ploughed with swords and reaped in 

blood. 
Echoes of slaughter reach from hill to hill. 
Instead of peaceful pipe, the shepherd bears 
A sword. The goad is turned into a spear. 
O when shall our Deliverer come ? Behold, 
The Philistine riots upon our flocks ; 
Our vintage gathered by an enemy's band : 
Stretch forth Thy hand and save !" Thus prayed 

Manoa. 
The aged woman walked into the field, 
And lo ! the angel came again, now clad 
As a traveller, fresh risen on his journey. 
She called her husband, who thus talked with him : 
<c O man of God," said he, "thou com'st from far ! 
Let us detain thee ; we prepare a kid 
That thou mayst eat, and tell thy name and way, 
That we may honour thee, thy words being true." 
The angel said, " My name is Wonderful. 
Inquire no more : it is a secret thing; 
But if thou wilt, make offering to the Lord." ' 



HOW THE 'POETIC SKETCHES' ARE 
EDITED HERE 

These ' Poetic Sketches ' are here printed in the same 
order as in the little volume published by Blake's friends, 
with only his initials on the title-page, in the year 1783. 
The two prose fragments called ' The Couch of Death ' 
and ' Contemplation ' are reproduced in the places then 
chosen for them, just as they were there printed. They would 
not perhaps be considered at the present day to have any 
right to inclusion among poetic works, even as 'sketches.' 
'Samson,' which follows them, is evidently a poem. Yet it 
was printed at the end of this volume as prose. A good many 
of the lines were imperfect. While sorting them up as verses, 
it has been necessary to do for Blake what he cannot be held 
blameless for not endeavouring to do for himself, and verbal 
emendations have been made. The original text is still 
obtainable through Mr. Quaritch's facsimile, and elsewhere. 
But those who desire to compare it with the present text, with- 
out putting down this volume, can do so by the following : — 

For the last line but one of the first paragraph read, — 

'To write as on a lofty rock with iron pens,' 

which, however fine as a line, is evidently not in the metre of 
the poem. 

In the second paragraph almost every line has an annoying 
and careless slip left in, and the total effect is so worrying that 
it may safely be said that no one but a student would willingly 
go through it in its unamended form. On the other hand, no 
one can read with any pleasure a poem of Blake's that has been 
touched up by some one else unless he knows just what it would 
have been if not so treated. The following is the unrestored 
reading of the second paragraph, only divided into lines, the 
words as in the original : — 

Now Night, noontide of damned spirits, 
Over the silent earth spreads her pavilion, 

55 



56 BLAKE'S POEMS 

While in dark counsel sat Philistia's lords, 

And where strength failed black thoughts in ambush lay. 

Their helmed youth and aged warriors 

In dust together lie, and desolation 

Spreads his wings over the land of Palestine ; 

From side to side the land groans, her prowess lost, 

And seeks to hide her bruised head 

Under the mists of night, breeding dark plots. 

For Dalila's fair arts have long been tried in vain, 

In vain she wept in many a treacherous tear. 

' Go on, fair traitress, do thy guileful work ; 

Ere once again the changing moon 

Her circuit have performed, thou shalt o'ercome 

And conquer him by force unconquerable, 

And wrest his secret from him. Call thine alluring arts 

And honest-seeming brow, 

The holy kiss of love, and the transparent tear ; 

Put on fair linen that with the lily vies, 

Purple and silver ; neglect thy hair.' . . . 

The continuation needs no amendment, and has none, till 
the line 

O foolish Dalila ! O [thou] weak woman, 

in which, as will be noted, the editor has inserted the omitted 
word ' thou.' Nine or ten lines further comes, — 

a lioness 
Suckled thee, thy young hands tore human limbs, 
And thy young throat was gorged with human flesh, 

but the last line of this sentence exists in the original thus — 

And gorged human flesh, 

which, of course, is neither sense nor verse, as hands cannot 
gorge. In the line, — 

Come hither, Death ! Art thou not Samson's slave, 

the original has ' servant ' for the last word. The rest of this 
paragraph has no emendation. But in the next are many 
slips, hardly two lines together being free from them. Here is 
the uncorrected original, — 

Thus in false tears she bathed his feet, 
And thus she day by day oppressed his soul, 



NOTES 57 

He seemed a mountain, hia brow among the clouds, — 

She seemed a silver stream his feet embracing. 

Dark thoughts rolled to and fro in his mind 

Like thunderclouds troubling the sky. 

His visage was troubled, his soul was distressed. 

'Though I should tell her all my heart, what can I fear? 

Though I should tell the secret of my birth, 

The utmost may be warded off as well when told as now. ' 

She saw him moved and thus resumed her wiles — 

' Samson, I 'm thine : do with me what thou wilt, 

My friends are enemies ; my life is death ; 

I am a traitor to my nation and despised. 

My joy is given into the hands of him 

Who hates me, using deceit to the wife of his bosom. 

Thrice hast thou mocked me and grieved my souL 

Didst thou not tell me with green withes to bind 

Thy nervous arms, and after that, 

When I had found thy falsehood, with new ropes 

To bind thee fast ? I knew thou didst but mock me. 

Alas, when in thy sleep I bound thee with them 

To try thy truth, I cried, "The Philistines 

Be on thee, Samson ! " Then did suspicion wake thee : 

How didst thou rend away the feeble ties ! 

Thou f earest nought : what shouldst thou fear ? 

Thy bones are made of brass, thy sinews are iron ; 

Ten thousand spears are like the summer grass : 

An army of mighty men are as flocks in the valleys — 

What canst thou fear ? I drink my tears like water ; 

I live upon water ! Oh worse than wolves and tigers, 

What canst thou give me when such a trifle is denied ? 

But oh ! at last thou mockest me to shame 

My overfond inquiry ! Thou toldest me 

To weave thee to the beam by thy strong hair ; 

I did even that to try thy truth, but when 

I cried "The Philistines be upon thee," then 

Didst thou leave me to bewail that Samson loved me not. 

He sat and inward grieved. 

He saw and loved the beauteous suppliant, 

Nor could conceal aught that might appease her : 

Then leaning on her bosom, thus he spoke : 

' Hear, oh Dalila, doubt no more of Samson's love, 

For that fair breast was made the ivory palace 

Of my inmost heart, where it shall lie at rest, 

For sorrow is the lot of all of woman born. 

For care was I brought forth, and labour is my lot, 

Nor matchless might, nor wisdom, nor every gift enjoyed 

Can from the heart of man hide sorrow. 



58 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Twice was my birth foretold from heaven, and twice 

A sacred vow enjoined me that I should drink 

No wine, nor eat of any unclean thing, 

For holy unto Israel's God I am, 

A Nazarite even from my mother's womb. 

Twice was it told, that it might not be broken. 

'Grant me a son, kind Heaven !' Manoa cried, 

But Heaven refused. Childless he mourned, but thought 

His God knew best. In solitude, though not obscure, 

In Israel he lived till venerable age came on ; 

His flocks increased, and plenty crowned his board, 

Beloved, revered of man. But God had other joys 

In store. Is burdened Israel his grief ? 

The son of his old age shall set it free. 

The venerable sweetener of his life 

Receives the promise first from Heaven. She saw 

The maidens play and blessed their innocent mirth ; 

She blessed each new-joined pair ; but from her 

The long-desired deliverer shall spring. 

Pensive, alone, she sat within the house, 

When busy day was fading, and calm evening 

Time for contemplation rose 

From the forsaken east and drew the curtains of heaven. 

Pensive she sat and thought on Israel's grief, 

And silent prayed to Israel's God, when lo, 

An angel from the fields of light 

Entered the house ! His form was manhood in the prime, 

And from his spacious brow shot terrors through the evening 

shade ! 
But mild he hailed her — ' Hail, highly favoured ! ' 
Said he, ' for lo, thou shalt conceive and bear a son, 
And Israel's strength shall be upon his shoulders, 
And he shall be called Israel's deliverer ! 
Now therefore drink no wine, and eat not any unclean thing, 
For he shall be a Nazarite to God.' — 
Then, as a neighbour when his evening tale is told 
Departs, his blessing leaving, so seemed he to depart. 
She wondered with exceeding joy, nor knew 
He was an angel. Manoa left his fields 
To sit in the house and take his evening's rest from labour, 
The sweetest time that God has allotted to mortal man. 
He sat and heard with joy, 
And praised God who Israel still doth keep. 
The time rolled on, and Israel groaned, oppressed, 
The sword was bright, while the ploughshare rusted, 
Till hope grew feeble and was ready to give place 
To doubting ; then prayed Manoa — ' O Lord, 



NOTES 59 

Thy flock is scattered on the hills ! The wolf teareth them. 

Oppression stretches his rod over our land, 

Our country is ploughed with swords, and reaped in blood ! 

The echoes of slaughter reach from hill to hill ! 

Instead of peaceful pipe the shepherd bears 

A sword ; the ox-goad is turned into a spear ! 

O when shall our Deliverer come ? 

The Philistine riots upon our flocks, 

Our vintage is gathered by bands of enemies ! 

Stretch forth Thy hand and save.' — Thus prayed Manoa. 

The aged woman walked into the field, 

And lo, again the angel came ! clad 

As a traveller fresh risen on his journey. 

She ran and called her husband, who came and talked with 

him. 
' O Man of God,' said he, ' thou comest from far ! 
Let us detain thee while I make ready a kid, 
That thou mayst sit and eat and tell us of thy name and 

warfare, 
That when thy sayings come to pass, we may honour thee.' 
The Angel answered, ' My name is Wonderful : 
Inquire not after it, seeing it is a secret, 
But if thou wilt, offer an offering unto the Lord.' 

So ends the last piece in the Poetical Sketches. It began as 
a fine piece of Miltonic verse with a slip here and there. It 
went on, still Miltonic, but with many slips. Finally, after 
a long struggle betvieen the style of the Biblical authorised 
version of a Hebrew poem and that of true English blank verse, 
the catchiness of the Biblical ended by so overmastering the car 
of the young poet, that only enough Miltonic intention was 
left to injure, without transforming, the prose original. Yet 
the English poem is there, and the incrustations that cling 
round it, as shells might cling to and disguise a statue long 
lost at sea, need but careful chipping away, no feature of the 
hidden art being injured, and there is a beautiful work after 
all. 



Taking now the Songs in order as they are printed. In the 
first line of the second verse of ' To Summer,' the xoord ' do ' is 
inserted after 'hills.' A syllable of some kind is needed. This 
emendation was made long ago by Mr. D. G. Bossetti. 

In the first line of the second poem, ' To Autumn,' the word 
' thy,' apparently dropped accidentally by Blake, is restored 
after 'with.' 



60 BLAKE'S POEMS 

The last two lines tvere printed in the original 

Then rose, girded himself, and o'er the bleak 
Hills fled from our sight, but left his golden load. 

We are left to guess whether the oversight was Blake's own 
or the printer's. 

In ' To Winter, ' the last three lines in the original are left 
in the following state — 

Cries in vain. Poor little wretch that deal'st 
With storms : till heaven smiles, and the monster 
Is driven yelling to his caves beneath mount Hecla. 

In ' To the Evening Star, ' two conjectural words are added 
where the lines showed startling and unexpected gaps. They 
are own, the second word of the third line, and now, the last 
of the seventh line. D. G. Rossetti, in Gilchrist's Life of 
Blake, has mended the lines by printing ' brilliant ' for 
'bright,' and ' closes' for 'shuts.' But this is substitution, 
and the operation, though indicated by the state in which 
Blake left his verse, is more heroic than the gentle addition of 
a needed syllable. 

In 'To Morning,' the useful stop-gap word 'now' is here 
conjecturally supplied to the middle of the third line from 
the end, where Blake unaccountably omits it. 

The name in ' Fair Elcnor ' is so spelled by Blake. This 
and the remaining poems of this group are exactly reproduced 
from the 'Poetical Sketches ' as printed in 1753, with the excep- 
tion of the Edward III., in which there are a few verbal 
emendations — none at all in the finest speeches. The incorrect 
text of the original edition is exactly reproduced ivithout 
emendation or comment in the selections from Blake published 
in a cheap volume by Lawrence and Bullen, with Introduc- 
tion bv Mr. J. B. Yeats. 



SONGS OF 
INNOCENCE AND OF EXPERIENCE 

SHOWING THE TWO CONTRARY STATES 
OF THE HUMAN SOUL 



61 



SONGS OF INNOCENCE 

1789 
The Author and Printer — W. Blake 

INTRODUCTION 

Piping down the valleys wild, 
Piping songs of pleasant glee, 

On a cloud I saw a child, 
And he laughing said to me : 

' Pipe a song about a Lamb ! ' 
So I piped with merry cheer. 

' Piper, pipe that song again ' ; 
So I piped : he wept to hear. 

' Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe ; 

Sing thy songs of happy cheer ! ' 
So I sang the same again, 

While he wept with joy to hear. 

'Piper, sit thee down and write 
In a book that all may read.' 

So he vanished from my sight ; 
And 1 plucked a hollow reed, 

And I made a rural pen, 

And I stained the water clear, 

And I wrote my happy songs 
Every child may joy to hear. 



64 BLAKE'S POEMS 



THE SHEPHERD 



How sweet is the Shepherd's sweet lot ! 
From the morn to the evening he strays ; 
He shall follow his sheep all the day, 
And his tongue shall be filled with praise. 

For he hears the lambs' innocent call, 
And he hears the ewes' tender reply ; 
He is watchful while they are in peace, 
For they know when their Shepherd is nigh. 



THE ECHOING GREEN 

The sun does arise, 

And make happy the skies ; 

The merry bells ring, 

To welcome the spring ; 

The skylark and thrush, 

The birds of the bush, 

Sing louder around 

To the bells' cheerful sound ; 

While our sports shall be seen 

On the Echoing Green. 

Old John, with white hair, 
Does laugh away care, 
Sitting under the oak, 
Among the old folk. 
They laugh at our play, 
And soon they all say, 
'Such, such were the joys 
When we all — girls and boys— 
In our youth-time were seen 
On the Echoing Green.' 

Till the little ones, weary, 
No more can be merry : 



SONGS OF INNOCENCE 65 

The sun does descend, 
And our sports have an end. 
Round the laps of their mothers 
Many sisters and brothers. 
Like birds in their nest, 
Are ready for rest, 
And sport no more seen 
On the darkening green. 



THE LAMB 

Little Lamb, who made thee, 
Dost thou know who made thee, 
Gave thee life, and bade thee feed 
By the stream and o'er the mead ; 
Gave thee clothing of delight, 
Softest clothing, woolly, bright ; 
Gave thee such a tender voice, 
Making all the vales rejoice? 

Little Lamb, who made thee? 

Dost thou know who made thee ? 

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee; 
Little Lamb, I '11 tell thee : 
He is called by thy name, 
For He calls himself a Lamb. 
He is meek, and He is mild, 
He became a little child. 
I a child, and thou a lamb, 
We are called by His name. 

Little Lamb, God bless thee ! 

Little Lamb, God bless thee ! 



THE LITTLE BLACK BOY 

My mother bore me in the southern wild, 
And I am black, but oh, my soul is white ! 

White as an angel is the English child, 
But I am black, as if bereaved of light. 

VOL. I, E 



66 BLAKE'S POEMS 

My mother taught me underneath a tree, 
And, sitting down before the heat of day, 

She took me on her lap and kissed me, 
And, pointing to the East, began to say : 

e Look on the rising sun : there God does live, 
And gives His light, and gives His heat away, 

And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive 
Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday. 

f And we are put on earth a little space, 

That we may learn to bear the beams of love, 

And these black bodies and this sunburnt face 
Are but a cloud, and like a shady grove. 

' For, when our souls have learned the heat to bear 
The cloud will vanish, we shall hear His voice, 

Saying, ' ' Come out from the grove, My love and 
care, 
And round My golden tent like lambs rejoice." ' 

Thus did my mother say, and kissed me, 
And thus I say to little English boy. 

When I from black, and he from white cloud free, 
And round the tent of God like lambs we joy. 

I '11 shade him from the heat till he can bear 
To lean in joy upon our Father's knee ; 

And then I '11 stand and stroke his silver hair, 
And be like him, and he will then love me. 



THE BLOSSOM 

Merry, merry Sparrow ! 
Under leaves so green 
A happy Blossom 
Sees you, swift as arrow, 
Seek your cradle narrow, 
Near my Bosom. 



SONGS OF INNOCENCE 67 

Pretty, pretty Robin ! 

Under leaves so green 

A happy Blossom 

Hears you sobbing, sobbing, 

Pretty, pretty Robin, 

Near my Bosom. 



THE CHIMNEY-SWEEPER 

When my mother died I was very young, 
And my father sold me while yet my tongue 
Could scarcely cry c Weep ! weep ! weep ! weep ! ' 
So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep. 

There 's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head, 
That curled like a lamb's back, was shaved ; so I 

said, 
f Hush, Tom ! never mind it, for, when your head's 

bare, 
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair. 

And so he was quiet, and that very night, 

As Tom was a-sleeping, he had such a sight ! — 

That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and 

Jack, 
Were all of them locked up in coffins of black. 

And by came an angel, who had a bright key, 
And he opened the coffins, and set them all free ; 
Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing, they 

run, 
And wash in a river, and shine in the sun. 

Then naked and white, all their bags left behind, 
They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind ; 
And the angel told Tom, if he'd be a good boy, 
He'd have God for his father, and never want joy. 



68 BLAKE'S POEMS 

And so Tom awoke, and we rose in the dark, 
And got with our bags and our brushes to work. 
Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy and 

warm : 
So, if all do their duty, they need not fear harm. 



THE LITTLE BOY LOST 

' Father, father, where are you going? 

Oh do not walk so fast ! 
Speak, father, speak to your little boy, 

Or else I shall be lost.' 

The night was dark, no father was there, 

The child was wet with dew ; 
The mire was deep, and the child did weep, 

And away the vapour flew. 



THE LITTLE BOY FOUND 

The little boy lost in the lonely fen, 

Led by the wandering light, 
Began to cry, but God, ever nigh, 

Appeared like his father, in white. 

He kissed the child, and by the hand led, 

And to his mother brought, 
Who in sorrow pale, through the lonely dale, 

The little boy weeping sought. 



LAUGHING SONG 

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy, 
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by ; 
When the air does laugh with our merry wit, 
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it ; 



SONGS OF INNOCENCE 69 

When the meadows laugh with lively green. 
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene ; 
When Mary and Susan and Emily 
With their sweet round mouths sing ' Ha ha he ! ' 

When the painted hirds laugh in the shade, 
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread : 
Come live, and be merry, and join with me, 
To sing the sweet chorus of ' Ha ha he ! ' 



A CRADLE SONG 

Sweet dreams, form a shade 
O'er my lovely infant's head ! 
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams 
By happy, silent, moony beams ! 

Sweet Sleep, with soft down 
Weave thy brows an infant crown ! 
Sweet Sleep, Angel mild, 
Hover o'er my happy child ! 

Sweet smiles, in the night 
Hover over my delight ! 
Sweet smiles, Mother's smiles, 
All the livelong night beguiles. 

Sweet moans, dovelike sighs, 
Chase not slumber from thine eyes ! 
Sweet moans, sweeter smiles, 
All the dovelike moans beguiles. 

Sleep, sleep, happy child ! 
All creation slept and smiled. 
Sleep, sleep, happy sleep, 
While o'er thee doth mother weep. 

Sweet babe, in thy face 
Holy image I can trace ; 
Sweet babe, once like thee 
Thy Maker lay, and wept for me : 



70 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Wept for me, for thee, for all, 
When He was an infant small. 
Thou His image ever see, 
Heavenly face that smiles on thee ! 

Smiles on thee, on me, on all, 
Who became an infant small ; 
Infant smiles are His own smiles ; 
Heaven and earth to peace beguiles. 



THE DIVINE IMAGE 

To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love, 
All pray in their distress, 

And to these virtues of delight 
Return their thankfulness. 

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love, 

Is God our Father dear ; 
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love, 

Is man, His child and care. 

For Mercy has a human heart, 

Pity, a human face ; 
And Love, the human form divine ; 

And Peace, the human dress. 

Then every man, of every clime, 
That prays in his distress, 

Prays to the human form divine : 
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace. 

And all must love the human form, 
In heathen, Turk, or Jew. 

Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell, 
There God is dwelling too. 



SONGS OF INNOCENCE 71 



HOLY THURSDAY 

'Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean, 
Came children walking two and two, in red, and blue, 

and green : 
Grey-headed beadles walked before, with wands as 

white as snow, 
Till into the high dome of Paul's they like Thames 

waters flow. 

Oh what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of 
London town ! 

Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their 
own. 

The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of 
lambs, 

Thousands of little boys and girls raising their in- 
nocent hands. 

Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice 

of song, 
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven 

among : 
Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the 

poor. 
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your 

door. 



NIGHT 

The sun descending in the west, 
The evening star does shine ; 
The birds are silent in their nest, 
And I must seek for mine. 

The moon, like a flower 

In heaven's high bower, 

With silent delight, 

Sits and smiles on the night. 



72 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Farewell, green fields and happy grove, 
Where flocks have ta'en delight, 
Where lambs have nibbled, silent move 
The feet of angels bright ; 
Unseen, they pour blessing, 
And joy without ceasing, 
On each bud and blossom, 
And each sleeping bosom. 

They look in every thoughtless nest 
Where birds are covered warm ; 
They visit caves of every beast, 
To keep them all from harm : 
If they see any weeping 
That should have been sleeping, 
They pour sleep on their head, 
And sit down by their bed. 

When wolves and tigers howl for prey, 
They pitying stand and weep ; 
Seeking to drive their thirst away, 
And keep them from the sheep. 

But, if they rush dreadful, 

The angels, most heedful, 

Receive each mild spirit, 

New worlds to inherit. 

And there the lion's ruddy eyes 
Shall flow with tears of gold : 
And pitying the tender cries, 
And walking round the fold : 

Saying : e Wrath by His meekness, 

And, by His health, sickness, 

Are driven away 

From our immortal day. 

' And now beside thee, bleating lamb, 
I can lie down and sleep, 
Or think on Him who bore thy name, 
Graze after thee, and weep. 



SONGS OF INNOCENCE 73 

For, wash'd in life's river, 
My bright mane for ever 
Shall shine like the gold, 
As I guard o'er the fold.' 



SPRING 

Sound the Flute ! 
Now 'tis mute ! 
Birds delight, 
Day and Night, 
Nightingale, 
In the dale, 
Lark in Sky, — 
Merrily, 
Merrily, Merrily to welcome in the Year. 

Little Boy, 
Full of joy ; 
Little Girl, 
Sweet and small ; 
Cock does crow, 
So do you; 
Merry voice, 
Infant noise ; 
Merrily, Merrily to welcome in the Year. 

Little Lamb, 
Here I am ; 
Come and lick 
My white neck ; 
Let me pull 
Your soft Wool ; 
Let me kiss 
Your soft face ; 
Merrily, Merrily we welcome in the Year. 



74 BLAKE'S POEMS 



NURSE'S SONG 

When the voices of children are heard on the green. 

And laughing is heard on the hill, 
My heart is at rest within my breast, 

And everything else is still. 
'Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down, 

And the dews of night arise ; 
Come, come, leave off play, and let us away, 

Till the morning appears in the skies.' 

' No, no, let us play, for it is yet day, 

And we cannot go to sleep ; 
Besides, in the sky the little birds fly, 

And the hills are all covered with sheep.' 
1 Well, well, go and play till the light fades away, 

And then go home to bed.' 
The little ones leaped, and shouted, and laughed, 

And all the hills echoed. 



INFANT JOY 

' I have no name ; 
I am but two days old.' 
What shall I call thee ? 
f I happy am, 
Joy is my name.' 
Sweet joy befall thee ! 

Pretty joy ! 

Sweet joy, but two days old. 

Sweet j oy I call thee : 

Thou dost smile, 

I sing the while ; 

Sweet joy befall thee ! 



SONGS OF INNOCENCE 75 



A DREAM 

Once a dream did weave a shade 
O'er my angel-guarded bed, 
That an emmet lost its way 
Where on grass methought I lay. 

Troubled, wildered, and forlorn. 
Dark, benighted, travel-worn, 
Over many a tangled spray, 
All heart-broke, I heard her say : 

' Oh my children ! do they cry, 
Do they hear their father sigh ? 
Now they look abroad to see, 
Now return and weep for me.' 

Pitying, I dropped a tear : 
But I saw a glow-worm near, 
Who replied, ' What wailing wight 
Calls the watchman of the night ? 

' I am set to light the ground, 
While the beetle goes his round : 
Follow now the beetle's hum ; 
Little wanderer, hie thee home ! ' 



ON ANOTHER'S SORROW 

Can I see another's woe, 
And not be in sorrow too ? 
Can I see another's grief, 
And not seek for kind relief? 

Can I see a falling tear, 
And not feel my sorrow's share ? 
Can a father see his child 
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled ? 



76 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Can a mother sit and hear 
An infant groan, an infant fear ? 
No, no ! never can it be ! 
Never, never can it be ! 

And can He who smiles on all 
Hear the wren with sorrows small, 
Hear the small bird's grief and care, 
Hear the woes that infants bear — ■ 

And not sit beside the nest, 
Pouring- pity in their breast, 
And not sit the cradle near, 
Weeping tear on infant's tear ? 

And not sit both night and day, 
Wiping all our tears away ? 
Oh no ! never can it be ! 
Never, never can it be ! 

He doth give His joy to all : 
He becomes an infant small, 
He becomes a man of woe, 
He doth feel the sorrow too. 

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh, 
And thy Maker is not by : 
Think not thou canst weep a tear, 
And thy Maker is not near. 

Oh, He gives to us His joy, 
That our grief He may destroy : 
Till our grief is fled and gone 
He doth sit by us and moan. 



SONGS OF EXPERIENCE 

1794 
The Author and Printer — W. Blake 

INTRODUCTION 

Hear the voice of the Bard, 

Who Present, Past, and Future sees ; 

Whose ears have heard 

The Holy Word 

That walked among - the ancient trees ; 

Calling the lapsed Soul, 

And weeping in the evening dew ; 

That might control 

The starry pole, 

And fallen, fallen light renew ! 

'O Earth, O Earth, return ! 

Arise from out the dewy grass ! 

Night is worn, 

And the morn 

Rises from the slumbrous mass. 

1 Turn away no more ; 

Why wilt thou turn away? 

The starry floor, 

The watery shore, 

Are given thee till the break of day. ' 

V 



78 BLAKE'S POEMS 



EARTH'S ANSWER 

Earth raised up her head 

From the darkness dread and drear, 

Her light fled, 

Stony, dread, 

And her locks covered with grey despair. 

e Prisoned on watery shore, 

Starry Jealousy does keep my den 

Cold and hoar ; 

Weeping o'er, 

I hear the father of the ancient men. 

e Selfish father of men ! 

Cruel, jealous, selfish fear ! 

Can delight, 

Chained in night, 

The virgins of youth and morning bear ? 

' Does spring hide its joy, 

When buds and blossoms grow ? 

Does the sower 

Sow by night, 

Or the ploughman in darkness plough ? 

1 Break this heavy chain, 

That does freeze my bones around ! 

Selfish, vain, 

Eternal bane, 

That free Love with bondage bound. ' 



THE CLOD AND THE PEBBLE 

'Love seeketh not itself to please, 

Nor for itself hath any care, 
But for another gives its ease, 

And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair. 



SONGS OF EXPERIENCE 79 

So sang a little clod of clay, 

Troddeu with the cattle's feet, 
But a pebble of the brook 

Warbled out these metres meet : 

' Love seeketh only Self to please, 

To bind another to Its delight, 
Joys in another's loss of ease, 

And builds a Hell in Heaven's despite.' 



HOLY THURSDAY 

Is this a holy thing- to see 
In a rich and fruitful land — 

Babes reduced to misery, 

Fed with cold and usurous hand ? 

Is that trembling cry a song ? 

Can it be a song of joy ? 
And so many children poor? 

It is a land of poverty ! 

And their sun does never shine, 
And their fields are bleak and bare, 

And their ways are filled with thorns : 
It is eternal winter there. 

For where'er the sun does shine, 
And where'er the rain does fall, 

Babe can never hunger there, 
Nor poverty the mind appall. 



THE LITTLE GIRL LOST 

In futurity 

I prophetic see 

That the earth from sleep 

(Grave the sentence deep) 



80 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Shall arise, and seek 
For her Maker meek ; 
And the desert wild 
Become a garden mild. 

In the southern clime, 
Where the summer's prime 
Never fades away, 
Lovely Lyca lay. 

Seven summers old 
Lovely Lyca told. 
She had wandered long, 
Hearing wild birds' song. 

' Sweet sleep, come to me 
Underneath this tree ; 
Do father, mother, weep ? 
Where can Lyca sleep ? 

' Lost in desert wild 
Is your little child. 
How can Lyca sleep 
If her mother weep ? 

' If her heart does ache, 
Then let Lyca wake ; 
If my mother sleep, 
Lyca shall not weep. 

\ Frowning, frowning night, 
O'er this desert bright 
Let thy moon arise, 
While I close my eyes.' 

Sleeping Lyca lay 
While the beasts of prey, 
Come from caverns deep, 
Viewed the maid asleep. 



SONGS OF EXPERIENCE 81 

The kingly lion stood, 
And the virgin viewed : 
Then he gambolled round 
O'er the hallowed ground. 

Leopards, tigers, play 
Round her as she lay ; 
While the lion old 
Bowed his mane of gold, 

And her bosom lick 
And upon her neck, 
From his eyes of flame, 
Ruby tears there came ; 

While the lioness 
Loosed her slender dress, 
And naked they conveyed 
To caves the sleeping maid. 



THE LITTLE GIRL FOUND 

All the night in woe 
Lyca's parents go 
Over valleys deep, 
While the deserts weep. 

Tired and woe-begone, 
Hoarse with making moan, 
Arm in arm, seven days 
They traced the desert ways. 

Seven nights they sleep 
Among shadows deep, 
And dream they see their child 
Starved in desert wild. 

Pale through pathless ways 
The fancied image strays, 
Famished, weeping, weak, 
With hollow, piteous shriek. 



82 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Rising from unrest, 
The trembling woman pressed 
With feet of weary woe ; 
She could no further go. 

In his arms he bore 

Her, armed with sorrow sore ; 

Till before their way 

A couching lion lay. 

Turning back was vain : 
Soon his heavy mane 
Bore them to the ground. 
Then he stalked around, 

Smelling to his prey ; 
But their fears allay 
When he licks their hands, 
And silent by them stands. 

They look upon his eyes, 
Filled with deep surprise ; 
And wondering behold 
A spirit armed in gold. 

On his head a crown, 
On his shoulders down 
Flowed his golden hair — 
Gone was all their care. 

' Follow me,' he said ; 
' Weep not for the maid ; 
In my palace deep, 
Lyca lies asleep.' 

Then they followed 
Where the vision led, 
And saw their sleeping child 
Among tigers wild. 



SONGS OF EXPERIENCE 83 

To this day they dwell 
In a lonely dell. 
Nor fear the wolvish howl 
Nor the lion's growl. 

THE CHIMNEY SWEEPER 

A little black thing among the snow. 
Crying ' weep ! weep ! ' in notes of woe ! 
1 Where are thy father and mother ? Say ! ' — 
'They are both gone up to the church to pray. 

' Because I was happy upon the heath, 
And smiled among the winter's snow, 
They clothed me in the clothes of death, 
And taught me to sing the notes of woe. 

' And because I am happy and dance and sing, 
They think they have done me no injury, 
And are gone to praise God and his priest and king, 
Who make up a heaven of our misery. ' 

NURSE'S SONG 

When the voices of children are heard on the green, 

And whisperings are in the dale, 

The days of my youth rise fresh in my mind, 

My face turns green and pale. 

Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down, 

And the dews of night arise ; 

Your spring and your day are wasted in play, 

And your winter and night in disguise. 

THE SICK ROSE 

O rose, thou art sick ! 

The invisible worm, 
That flies in the night, 

In the howling storm, 



84 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Has found out thy bed 
Of crimson joy, 

And his dark, secret love 
Does thy life destroy. 



THE FLY 

Little Fly, 
Thy summer's play 
My thoughtless hand 
Has brushed away. 

Am not I 
A fly like thee? 
Or art not thou 
A man like me? 

For I dance, 
And drink, and sing, 
Till some blind hand 
Shall brush my wing. 

If thought is life 

And strength and breath, 

And the want 

Of thought is death ; 

Then am I 
A happy fly, 
If I live, 
Or if I die. 



THE ANGEL 

I dreamt a Dream ! What can it mean ? 
And that I was a maiden Queen 
Guarded by an Angel mild : 
Witless woe was ne'er beguiled ! 



SONGS OF EXPERIENCE 85 

And I wept both night and day, 
And he wiped my tears away ; 
And I wept both day and night, 
And hid from him my heart's delight. 

So he took his wings, and fled ; 
Then the morn blushed rosy red. 
I dried my tears, and armed my fears 
With ten thousand shields and spears. 

Soon my Angel came again ; 
I was armed, he came in vain ; 
For the time of youth was fled, 
And grey hairs were on my head. 



THE TIGER 

Tiger, Tiger, burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry? 

In what distant deeps or skies 
Burnt the fire of thine eyes? 
On what wings dare he aspire? 
What the hand dare seize the fire ? 

And what shoulder and what art 
Could twist the sinews of thy heart? 
And, when thy heart began to beat, 
What dread hand and what dread feet? 

What the hammer? what the chain? 
In what furnace was thy brain? 
What the anvil ? what dread grasp 
Dare its deadly terrors clasp ? 

When the stars threw down their spears, 
And watered heaven with their tears, 
Did he smile his work to see? 
Did he who made the lamb make thee ? 



86 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Tiger, Tiger, burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry ? 



MY PRETTY ROSE TREE 

A flower was offered to me, 

Such a flower as May never bore ; 

But I said, ' I 've a Pretty Rose tree,' 
And I passed the sweet flower o'er. 

Then I went to my Pretty Rose tree, 
To tend her by day and by night ; 

But my Rose turned away with jealousy, 
And her thorns were my only delight. 



AH SUNFLOWER 

Ah Sunflower, weary of time, 

Who countest the steps of the sun ; 

Seeking after that sweet golden clime 
Where the traveller's journey is done ; 

Where the Youth pined away with desire, 
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow, 

Arise from their graves, and aspire 
Where my Sunflower wishes to go ! 



THE LILY 

The modest Rose puts forth a thorn, 

The humble Sheep a threat'ning horn : 

While the Lily white shall in love delight, 

Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright. 



SONGS OF EXPERIENCE 87 

THE GARDEN OF LOVE 

I went to the Garden of Love, 

And saw what I never had seen ; 
A Chapel was built in the midst, 

Where I used to play on the green. 

And the gates of this Chapel were shut 
And ' Thou shalt not' writ over the door; 

So I turned to the Garden of Love 
That so many sweet flowers bore. 

And I saw it was filled with graves, 

And tombstones where flowers should be ; 

And priests in black gowns were walking their 
rounds, 
And binding with briars my joys and desires. 



THE LITTLE VAGABOND 

Dear mother, dear mother, the Church is cold ; 
But the Alehouse is healthy, and pleasant, and warm. 
Besides, I can tell where I am used well ; 
Such usage in heaven will never do well. 

But, if at the Church they would give us some ale, 
And a pleasant fire our souls to regale, 
We 'd sing and we 'd pray all the livelong day, 
Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray. 

Then the Parson might preach, and drink, and sing, 
And we'd be as happy as birds in the spring ; 
And modest Dame Lurch, who is always at church, 
Would not have bandy children, nor fasting, nor 
birch. 

And God, like a Father, rejoicing to see 

His Children as pleasant and happy as He, 

Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the 

barrel, 
But kiss him, and give him both drink and apparel. 



88 BLAKE'S POEMS 



LONDON 



I wander through each chartered street, 
Near where the chartered Thames does flow, 

A mark in every face I meet, 

Marks of weakness, marks of woe. 

In every cry of every man, 

In every infant's cry of fear, 
In every voice, in every ban, 

The mind-forged manacles I hear : 

How the chimney-sweeper's cry 

Every blackening church appals, 
And the hapless soldier's sigh 

Runs in blood down palace-walls. 

But most, through midnight streets I hear 

How the youthful harlot's curse 
Blasts the new-born infant's tear, 

And blights with plagues the marriage-hearse, 



THE HUMAN ABSTRACT 

Pity would be no more 
If we did not make somebody poor, 
And Mercy no more could be 
If all were as happy as we. 

And mutual fear brings Peace, 
Till the selfish loves increase ; 
Then Cruelty knits a snare, 
And spreads his baits with care. 

He sits down with his holy fears, 
And waters the ground with tears ; 
Then Humility takes its root 
Underneath his foot. 



SONGS OF EXPERIENCE 89 

Soon spreads the dismal shade 
Of Mystery over his head, 
And the Caterpillar and Fly 
Feed on the Mystery. 

And it bears the fruit of Deceit, 
Ruddy and sweet to eat, 
And the Raven his nest has made 
In its thickest shade. 

The Gods of the earth and sea 
Sought through Nature to find this Tree, 
But their search was all in vain : 
There grows one in the Human Brain. 



INFANT SORROW 

My mother groaned, my father wept : 
Into the dangerous world I leapt, 
Helpless, naked, piping loud, 
Like a fiend hid in a cloud. 

Struggling in my father's hands, 
Striving against my swaddling-bands, 
Bound and weary, I thought best 
To sulk upon my mother's breast. 



CHRISTIAN FORBEARANCE 

I was angry with my friend : 

I told my wrath, my wrath did end. 

I was angry with my foe : 

I told it not, my wrath did grow. 

And I watered it in fears 
Night and morning with my tears, 
And I sunned it with smiles 
And with soft, deceitful wiles. 



90 BLAKE'S POEMS 

And it grew both day and night, 
Till it bore an apple bright, 
And my foe beheld it shine, 
And he knew that it was mine, — 

And into my garden stole 

When the night had veiled the pole ; 

In the morning, glad, I see 

My foe outstretched beneath the tree. 

A LITTLE BOY LOST 

Nought loves another as itself, 

Nor venerates another so, 
Nor is it possible to thought 

A greater than itself to know. 

And, father, how can I love you 
Or any of my brothers more ? 

I love you like the little bird 

That picks up crumbs around the door. 

The Priest sat by and heard the child ; 

In trembling zeal he seized his hair, 
He led him by his little coat, 

And all admired the priestly care. 

And standing on the altar high, 
Lo, what a fiend is here ! said he : 

One who sets reason up forjudge 
Of our most holy mystery. 

The weeping child could not be heard, 
The weeping parents wept in vain : 

They stripped him to his little shirt, 
And bound him in an iron chain, 

And burned him in a holy place 

Where many had been burned before ; 

The weeping parents wept in vain. 

Are such things done on Albion's shore ? 



SONGS OF EXPERIENCE 91 



A LITTLE GIRL LOST 

Children of the future Age, 

Reading this indignant page, 

Know that in a former time 

Love, sweet love, was thought a crime. 

In the Age of Gold, 

Free from winter's cold, 

Youth and maiden bright, 

To the holy light, 

Naked in the sunny beams delight. 

Once a youthful pair, 

Filled with softest care, 

Met in garden bright 

Where the holy light 

Had just removed the curtains of the night. 

Then, in rising day, 

On the grass they play ; 

Parents were afar, 

Strangers came not near, 

And the maiden soon forgot her fear. 

Tired with kisses sweet, 

They agree to meet 

When the silent sleep 

Waves o'er heaven's deep, 

And the weary, tired wanderers weep. 

To her father white 

Came the maiden bright; 

But his loving look, 

Like the holy book, 

All her tender limbs with terror shook. 

Ona, pale and weak ! 

To thy father speak ! 

Oh the trembling fear ! 

Oh the dismal care ! 

That shakes the blossoms of my hoary hair. 



92 BLAKE'S POEMS 



TO TIRZAH 

Whate'er is Born of Mortal Birth 
Must be consumed with the Earth, 
To rise from Generation free : 
Then what have I to do with thee ? 

The Sexes sprang - from Shame and Pride, 
Blowd in the morn, in evening died ; 
But Mercy changed Death into Sleep ; 
The Sexes rose to work and weep. 

Thou, Mother of my Mortal part, 
With cruelty didst mould my Heart, 
And with false self-deceiving tears 
Didst bind my Nostrils, Eyes, and Ears, 

Didst close my Tongue in senseless clay, 
And me to Mortal Life betray. 
The Death of Jesus set me free : 
Then what have I to do with thee ? 



THE SCHOOLBOY 

I love to rise in a summer morn, 
When the birds sing on every tree ; 

The distant huntsman winds Lis horn, 
And the skylark sings with me : 
Oh what sweet company ! 

But to go to school in a summer morn, — 

Oh it drives all joy away ! 
Under a cruel eye outworn, 

The little ones spend the day 

In sighing and dismay. 

Ah then at times I drooping sit, 
And spend many an anxious hour ; 

Nor in my book can I take delight, 
Nor sit in learning's bower, 
Worn through with the dreary shower. 



SONGS OF EXPERIENCE 93 

How can the bird that is born for joy 

Sit in a cage and sing ? 
How can a child, when fears annoy, 

But droop his tender wing, 

And forget his youthful spring ? 

Oh father and mother, if buds are nipj>ed, 

And blossoms blown away ; 
And if the tender plants are stripped 

Of their joy in the springing day, 

By sorrow and care's dismay, — ■ 

How shall the summer arise in joy, 
Or the summer fruits appear ? 

Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy, 
Or bless the mellowing year, 
When the blasts of winter appear ? 



THE VOICE OF THE ANCIENT BARD 

Youth of delight ! come hither 

And see the opening morn, 

Image of Truth new-born. 

Doubt is fled, and clouds of reason, 

Dark disputes and artful teazing. 

Folly is an endless maze ; 

Tangled roots perplex her ways ; 

How many have fallen there ! 

They stumble all night over bones of the dead ; 

And feel — they know not what but care ; 

And wish to lead others, when they should be led. 



THE PRESENT ARRANGEMENT OF THE 
'SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE' 

These poems were collected and engraved by Blake with 
illustrations and decorative setting of his own. Figures and 
fragments of landscape were drawn with the same varnish 
used for ivriting the songs. The whole page was bitten with 
acid at once, in the manner already described, and printed at 
one printing. The ink used for this was of a dull brick-red, 
or yellowish broivn. Black lines were added by hand after- 
wards in places, and the whole was tinted in light washes 
with water-colours. The pages were nowhere left colourless, 
and the poems were seen through pale rainboxcs, or through 
cloudy fumes of transparent flame-colours mixed with purple 
or dark blue, where a gloom ivas needed in places to heighten 
the delicacy of the sky-colours of dawn-like paleness elsewhere. 
The collection ivas not always exactly the same, but nearly so. 
The set here followed was chosen by Blake in his old age, and 
coloured with unusual elaboration and care. 

There is not the alteration of a single word in the text, the 
ungrammatical plurals or singulars in the smiles and beguiles 
of the first Cradle Song, the word ' bosom ' tvhere the two words 
'breast did' should have been in the last stanza but one of 
' The Little Girl Lost, ' and one or two more slips, such as 
' blowd ' in the poem ' To Tirzah, ' are reproduced exactly. 

They are so few and so easy for the reader to alter im- 
promptu as he goes along, that it ivas thought that the gain of 
correction would not have justified the loss of the historical 
value to be obtained from a complete view of the Songs just as 
Blake engraved them. They ivcre, at the time, his highest 
achievement of accuracy, and have remained what they also 
were from the beginning, his most popular work. 

Some other verses exist, written originally for these songs, 
including two stanzas preceding the ' Garden of Love ' in 
Gilchrist, but not so engraved by Blake ; and two Songs of 
Experience, 'A Divine Image' and 'A Cradle Song,' counter- 
parts to the Songs of Innocence of the same name, were intended 
SI 



NOTES 95 

by Blake for inclusion, and were included, but are absent 
from his own last collection, here followed. 
But as they must not be lost, here they are — 



THE THISTLES AND THORNS 

I laid me down upon a bank, 

Where Love lay sleeping : 
I heard among the bushes dank, 

Weeping, weeping. 

Then I went to the Heath and the Wild, 
To the Thistles and Thorns of the Waste, 

And they told me how they were beguiled, 
Driven out and compelled to be chaste. 



A DIVINE IMAGE 

Cruelty has a human heart, 
And Jealousy a human face, 

Terror the human form divine, 
And Secrecy the human dress. 

The human dress is forged iron, 
The human form a fiery forge, 

The human face a furnace sealed, 
The human heart its hungry gorge 



A CRADLE SONG 

Sleep, sleep, beauty bright, 
Dreaming in the joys of night, 
Sleep, sleep, in thy sleep, 
Little sorrows sit and weep. 

Sweet babe, in thy face 
Soft desires I can trace, 
Secret joys and secret smiles, 
Little pretty infant wiles. 

As thy softest limbs I feel, 
Smiles as of the morning steal 
O'er thy cheek and o'er thy breast 
Where thy little heart doth rest. 



96 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Oh the cunning wiles that creep 
In in thy little heart asleep, 
"When thy little heart shall wake, 
Then the dreadful lightnings break. 

From thy cheek and from thine eye, 
O'er the youthful harvests nigh, 
Infant wiles and infant smiles, 
Heaven and earth of peace beguiles. 

This last verse was not engraved at all. Here is the first 
instance of the symbol of the harvest. Blake wrote female 
twice and altered the word into infant in the last line but one. 

There is a verse belonging to the ' Tiger ' which was also 
omitted by Blake when engraving. It followed verse 3, and 
continues the sentence there left unfinished. 

Could filch it from the furnace deep, 
And in thy horrid ribs dare steep ? 
In what clay or in what mould 
Were thy eyes of fury rolled ? 

There is a line in the middle of this stanza, ' In the well of 
sanguine ivoc,' which Blake inadvertently did not cross out. 
In the preface to Quaritch's facsimile of the Songs, the present 
editor mistakenly included it in the sentence. 

There exist in manuscript, though crossed out, verses that 
amount to practically a complete second version of the song. 
They have been printed elsewhere. The present stanza seems 
merely to have been left out to give room for a drawing, after the 
first three verses were already on the plate. Perhaps Blake did 
not notice that he left his third verse by this omission in the state 
of a broken sentence. Perhaps he noticed and did not care. 
It is just possible that he thought that the reader ivould look 
on some such completing words as could twist the sinews of it? 
as implied in ivhat ivas already said if nothing else were put 
to take their place and give another turn to the phrase. 

The Song of Experience called ' London ' was also retouched 
vn manuscript. The word ' chartered ' twice repeated is an 
afterthought. ' Dirty ' was the first version. This song seems to 
have been deprived of its last verse, which is found in the MS. as 
a separate poem, ivith the title ' An Ancient Proverb.' These 
are the lines — 

Remove away that blackening church, 
Remove away that marriage hearse, 
Remove away that man of blood, — 
You '11 quite remove the ancient curse. 



NOTES 97 

This short song seems to have been written as a sequel to 
1 London ' at the time when the word ' chartered ' was foisted 
into its text. It was not engraved. 

THAMES AND OHIO 

Why should I care for the men of the Thames, 
And the cheating waters of chartered streams, — 
Or shriek at the little blasts of fear 
That the hireling blows into mine ear ? 

Though born on the cheating banks of Thames, 
Though his waters bathed my infant limbs, 
The Ohio shall wash his stains from me : 
I was born a slave, but I go to be free. 

The following, only existing in pencil, written among the 
pages which contain many of the songs, seems to have escaped 
by accident, or by being written too late, from inclusion 
among them. It has no title. It might be called 

THE CHAIN OF DECEIT 

Love to faults is always blind, 

Always is to joy inclined, — 

Lawless, winged, unconfined, 

And breaks the chains from every mind. 

The souls of men are bought and sold 
In milk-fed infancy for gold, 
And youth to slaughter-houses led, 
And beauty for a bit of bread. 

Deceit to seeming love inclined, 
Most cruel is when most refined, — 
To everything but interest blind, 
And forges fetters of the mind. 

The first two stanzas only of this have been printed by Mr. 
Yeats, who calls it 'Freedom and Captivity.' It is almost 
illegible. The present editor reads the difficult and obscure 
words somewhat differently from Mr. Yeats and from Mr. 
Bossetti, though even now he has no absolute certainty that the 
words love inclined in the first line of the last verse, and cruel 
is when most in the second, are really Blake's. They are 
the best conjecture he can make. 

Following the two verses engraved that make up the whole 
yoi,, i. <j 



98 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Song of Experience called ' Infant Sorrows,' are the following 
in manuscript : — 

{Not engraved.) 

3 
And I grew day after day, 
Till upon the ground I lay, 
And I grew night after night, 
Seeking only for delight. 

4 
And I saw before me shine 
Clusters of the wandering vine, 
And many a lovely flower and tree, 
And beyond, a myrtle tree. 

5 
But a priest with holy look, 
In his hands a holy book, 
Pronounced curses on my head 
And bound me in a myrtle shade. 

6 

I beheld the priests by night : 
I beheld the priests by day : 
They embraced my myrtle bright, 
Underneath my vine they lay. 

7 
Like to holy men by day, 
Underneath the vines they lay : 
Like to serpents in the night, 
They embraced my myrtle bright. 



So I smote them, and their gore 
Stained the roots my myrtle bore, 
But the time of youth is fled, 
And grey hairs are on my head. 

There are retouchings of this. A new verse 3 was schemed 
later, and written at the end, for use as numbered. 

When I saw that rage was vain 
And to sulk would nothing gain, 
Turning many a trick and wile, 
I began to soothe and smile, 



NOTES 99 

To suit this new verse 3, some words in the standing verse 3, 
which would now have to be made verse 4, were altered, — grew 
in the first line to soothed ; and the same word, where it recurs 
in the third line, to smiled. 

An attempt was made to get rid of the myrtle. In the 
standing verse 4, And beyond a myrtle tree was altered to 
Stretched their blossoms out to me ; but the first form of the 
line shows the place of the poem in Blake's thoughts at the time. 
In verse 5, But a priest was changed into My father then. 
Verse 7 is overlooked, and the plural form of serpents and men 
left untouched, while in verse 8, Them and their is changed to 
him and his. 

Blake's own disapproval of these changes is seen in the fact 
that he abandoned the verses, and did not engrave them. But 
they help us to understand other poems. The two verses ' In 
a Myrtle Shade,' usually printed among ' Ideas of Good and 
Evil,' are all that is left of another portion or version of this 
poem, full of recomposed (one can hardly say corrected) 
lines. 

Both are to be read with the last verse of ' Earth's Answer,' 
in which the ' Father ' here spoken of is identified. It must 
never be forgotten that Blake was always a convinced Christian 
of the early type, once orthodox, but counted as heretical since 
the day when Gnosticism was decreed heresy by the Church. 

The following rejected verses follow the two that make up the 
poem ' In a Myrtle Shade,' and connect it with ' Infant 
Sorrow ' : — 

Oft my myrtle sighed in vain 
To behold my heavy chain ; 
Oft my father saw us sigh, 
And laughed at our simplicity. 

So I smote him, and his gore 
Stained the roots my murtle bore : 
But the time of youth is fled 
And grey hairs are on my head. 

But, unable apparently to disentangle the two poems, they 
were abandoned by their author. An editor who should, 
on his own authority, substitute the words ' the priests ' for 
' my father ' in the first of these two verses would enable it 
to be used in ' Infant Sorrow ' as it stands, notwithstanding 
the unexpected allusion to the chain, which will be taken 
rightly as another form of the winding serpent and the 
swaddling-clothes, all companion symbols of one idea under 
several aspects, 



100 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Here are the two verses making the separate poem— 
IN A MYRTLE SHADE 

To a lovely Myrtle bound, 
Blossoms showering all around, 
Oh how weak and weary I 
Underneath my Myrtle lie. 

Why should I be bound to thee, 
Oh my lovely Myrtle Tree ? 
Love, free love, will not be bound 
To any tree that grows on ground. 

In this final form it was probably intended, but never 
engraved, as a companion or counterpart to ' Infant Sorrow,' 
also reduced to two verses only when actually engraved. 

The two following songs, not usually associated with the 
collection, are evidently early in date, and bear internal 
evidence of having been rejected when the 'Songs of Innocence' 
were first made up. 



SONG BY A SHEPHERD 

Welcome, little stranger, to this place, 
Where joy doth sit on every bough, 

Paleness flies from every face, 
We reap not what we do not sow. 

Innocence doth, like a rose, 
Bloom on every maiden's cheek. 

Honour twines around her brows, 
The jewel health adorns her neck. 



SONG BY AN OLD SHEPHERD 

When silver snow decks Silvia's clothes, 

And jewel hangs at shepherd's nose, 

We can abide life's pelting storm, 

That makes our limbs quake if our hearts be warm. 

Whilst Virtue is our walking staff 

And Truth a lantern to our path, 

We can abide life's pelting storm, 

Which makes our limbs quake if our hearts be warm. 



NOTES 101 

Blow boist'rous wind, stern winter frown, 

Innocence is a winter's gown. 

So clad, we '11 abide life's pelting storm, 

That makes our limbs quake if our hearts be warm. 

This also can have been nothing but a ' Song of Innocence, 
written, as it was, among others engraved in the same manu- 
script volume, but perhaps rejected as being composed too late 
for the first section, and having no place in the second. It is 
usually printed with the following conjectural title : — 

THE LAND OF DREAMS 

Awake, awake, my little boy ! 
Thou wast thy mother's only joy. 
Why dost thou weep in thy gentle sleep 1 
Awake, — thy father doth thee keep. 

Oh what land is the land of dreams ? 

What are its mountains and what are its streams ? 

Oh Father, I saw my mother there, 

Among the lilies, by waters fair. 

Among the lambs clothed in white, 

She walks with her Thomas in sweet delight. 

I wept for joy : like a dove I mourn : 

Oh when shall I again return ? 

Dear child, I also by pleasant streams 
Have wandered all night in the land of dreams, 
And though calm and warm the waters wide, 
I could not get to the other side. 

Father, Father, what do we here, 
In this land of unbelief and fear 1 
The land of dreams is better far, 
Beyond the light of the morning star. 

The last fragment which was designed for the 'Songs,' but 
not included, is the following, bearing a title that leaves no 
doubt at all : — 

MOTTO FOR SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND 
EXPERIENCE 

The Good are attracted by men's perceptions, 

And think not for themselves, 
Till Experience teaches them to catch 

And cage the fairies and elves. 



102 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Then the Knave begins to snarl, 

And the Hypocrite to howl, 
And all his good friends show their private ends, 

And the eagle is known from the owl. 

' The cage ' will be recognised from an early ' Poetical Sketch,' 
and in ' The Island in the Moon ' later on. The fairies — in 
the sense of minor spirits whose inspiration leads to love and 
marriage — will be met again. 

Here we may leave the most popular of Blake's volumes with 
the reminder that the two sections of which it is made up were 
written five years apart, 1789 to 1794, and that between these 
dates Blake's Myth — the main invention of his life — began to 
grow up in his mind, and more than one of the ' Books ' which 
here follow toas composed. Traces of them are to be found more 
often than at first appears in the songs, and without familiarity 
with their stories a great deal will pass not fully understood or 
enjoyed. 



IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 



103 



IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 

An incomplete collection not made up into a volume by 
Blake. The date seems to range from 1794 till nearly 1800. 
No single piece can be stated with certainty to have been 
destined for it, and the contrasts were not sorted in pairs. 
The following were most probably to have been reserved for 
selection; — 

DAYBREAK 

To find the Western Path 
Right through the gates of wrath 

I urge my way : 
Sweet morning leads me on ; 
With sweet, repentant moan 

I see the break of day. 

The war of swords and spears 
Melted by dewy tears 

Exhales on high ; 
The sun is freed from fears 
And with soft, grateful tears 

Ascends the sky. 



MAMMON (Gilchrist's Title) 
THE TWO THRONES (Mr. Yeats's Title) 

I rose up at the dawn of day. 
e Get thee away ! get thee away ! 
Pray'st thou for riches ? Away ! away ! 
This is the throne of Mammon grey.' 

105 



106 BLAKE'S POEMS 

I said, ( This sure is very odd, 
I took it to be the throne of God. 
Everything else besides I have, 
It's only riches I can crave. 

e l have mental joys and mental health, 
Mental friends and mental wealth. 
I 've a wife that I love and that loves me, 
I 've all but riches bodily. 

' I am in God's presence night and day, 
He never turns His face away. 
The Accuser of Sins by my side does stand, 
And he holds my money-bags in his hand. 

' For my worldly things God makes him pay, 
And he 'd pay for more if to him I would pray. 
And you may do the worst you can do ; 
Be assured, Mr. Devil, I won't pray to you. 

' Then if for riches I must not pray, 
God knows it 's little prayers I need say. 
So, as a church is known by its steeple, 
If I pray, it must be for other people. 

' He says, if I don't worship him for a god, 
I shall eat coarser food and go worse shod ; 
But as I don't value such things as these, 
You must do, Mr. Devil, just as God please.' 



RICHES 

Since all the riches of this world 

May be gifts from the devil and earthly kings, 
I should suspect that I worshipped the devil 

If I thanked my God for worldly things. 

The countless gold of a merry heart, 
The rubies and pearls of a loving eye, 

The idle man never can bring to the mart, 
Nor the cunning hoard up in his treasury. 



IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 107 



OPPORTUNITY 

He who bends to himself a joy 
Does the winged life destroy ; 
But he who kisses the joy as it flies 
Lives in eternity's sunrise. 

If you trap the moment before it's ripe, 
The tears of repentance you '11 certainly wipe ; 
But, if once you let the ripe moment go, 
You can never wipe off the tears of woe. 



NIGHT AND DAY 

Silent, silent Night, 
Quench the holy light 
Of thy torches bright ; 

For, possessed of Day, 
Thousand spirits stray 
That sweet joys betray. 

Why should joys be sweet 

Used with deceit, 

Nor with sorrows meet ? 

But an honest joy 
Doth itself destroy 
For a harlot coy. 



THE WILL AND THE WAY 

I asked a thief to steal me a peach : 

He turned up his eyes. 
I asked a lithe lady to lie her down 

Holy and meek, she cries. 



108 BLAKE'S POEMS 

As soon as I went, 

An Angel came. 
He winked at the thief, 

And smiled at the dame ; 

And, without one word spoke, 
Had a peach from the tree. 

And 'twixt earnest and joke 
Enjoyed the lady. 



BARREN BLOSSOM 

I feared the fury of my wind 

Would blight all blossoms fair and true, 
And my sun it shined and shined, 

And my wind it never blew. 

But a blossom fair or true 

Was not found on any tree ; 
For all blossoms grew and grew 

Fruitless, false, though fair to see. 



CUPID 

Why was Cupid a boy, 

And why a boy was he ? 
He should have been a girl 

For all that I can see. 

For he shoots with his bow 

And a girl shoots with her eye, 

And they both are merry and glad, 
And laugh when we do cry. 

Then to make Cupid a boy 
Was surely a woman's plan, 

For a boy never learns so much 
Till he becomes a man. 



IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 109 

And then he 's so pierced with cares 
And wounded with arrowy smarts, 

That the whole business of his life 
Is to pull out the heads of the darts. 



LOVE'S SECRET 

Never seek to tell thy love, 
Love that never told can be ; 

For the gentle wind doth move 
Silently, invisibly. 

I told my love, I told my love, 
I told her all my heart, 

Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears. 
Ah ! she did depart ! 

Soon after she was gone from me, 

A traveller came by, 
Silently, invisibly : 

He took her with a sigh. 



THE BIRDS 



Where thou dwellest, in what grove, 
Tell me, fair one, tell me, love ; 
Where thou thy charming nest doth build, 
O thou pride of every field ! 



Yonder stands a lonely tree : 
There I live and mourn for thee. 
Morning drinks my silent tear, 
And evening winds my sorrow bear. 



110 BLAKE'S POEMS 



thou summer's harmony, 

1 have lived and mourned for thee ; 
Each day 1 moan along the wood, 
And night hath heard my sorrows loud. 



Dost thou truly long for me ? 
And am I thus sweet to thee ? 
Sorrow now is at an end, 
O my lover and my friend ! 



Come ! on wings of joy we '11 fly 
To where my bower is hung on high ; 
Come, and make thy calm retreat 
Among green leaves and blossoms sweet. 



YOUNG LOVE 

Are not the joys of morning sweeter 

Than the joys of night ; 
And are the joys of vigorous youth 

Ashamed of the light ? 

Let age and sickness silent rob 

The vineyard in the night, 
But those who burn with vigorous youth 

Pluck fruits before the light. 



SEED-SOWING 

' Thou hast a lapful of seed, 
And this is a fair country. 
Why dost thou not cast thy seed, 
And live in it merrily ? ' 



IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 111 

' Shall I cast it on the sand, 

And turn it into fruitful land ? 

For on no other ground can I sow my seed 

Without tearing up some stinking weed.' 



THE DEFILED SANCTUARY 

I saw a chapel all of gold 
That none did dare to enter in, 

And many, weeping, stood without, 
Weeping, mourning, worshipping. 

I saw a serpent rise between 
The carved pillars of the door, 

And he forced and forced and forced, 
Till he the golden hinges tore, 

And along the pavement sweet 
Set with pearls and rubies bright, 

All his shining length he drew, 
Till upon the altar white 

He vomited his poison out 

On the bread and on the wine ; 

So I turned into a sty, 

And laid me down among the swine. 



THE TWO VOICES 

I heard an Angel singing 
When the day was springing 
' Mercy, pity, and peace, 
Are the world's release.' 

So he sang all day 
Over the new-mown hay, 
Till the sun went down, 
And haycocks looked brown. 



112 BLAKE'S POEMS 

I heard a Devil curse 

Over the heath and the furze : 

e Mercy could be no more 

If there were nobody poor, 

And pity no more could be 

If all were happy as ye : 

And mutual fear brings peace. 

Misery's increase 

Are mercy, pity, peace.' 

At his curse the sun went down 

And the heavens gave a frown. 



THE WILD FLOWER'S SONG 

As I wandered in the forest 
The green leaves among, 

I heard a wild-flower 
Singing a song. 

' I slept in the earth 
In the silent night ; 
I murmured my thoughts, 
And I felt delight. 

' In the morning I went, 

As rosy as morn, 
To seek for new joy, 

But I met with scorn. 



THE GOLDEN NET 

Beneath a white-thorn's lovely may 
Three virgins at the break of day. — 
' Whither, young man, whither away, 
Alas for woe ! alas for woe ! ' 
They cry, and tears for ever flow, 



IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 113 

The first was clothed in flames of fire, 

The second clothed in iron wire ; 

The third was clothed in tears and sighs 

Dazzling bright before my eyes. 

They bore a net of golden twine 

To hang upon the branches fine. 

Pitying I wept to see the woe 

That love and beauty undergo — 

To be clothed in burning fires 

And in ungratified desires, 

And in tears clothed night and day ; 

It melted all my soul away. 

When they saw my tears, a smile 

That might heaven itself beguile 

Bore the golden net aloft, 

As on downy pinions soft. 

Over the morning of my day. 

Underneath the net I stray, 

Now entreating Flaming-fire, 

Now entreating Iron-wire, 

Now entreating Tears-and-sighs. — 

Oh when will the morning rise ? 

In the MS. 'Iron ivire' loas at first written ' Siveet desire.' 

SMILE AND FROWN 

There is a smile of Love, 

And there is a smile of Deceit, 

And there is a smile of smiles 
In which these two smiles meet. 

And there is a frown of Hate, 
And there is a frown of Disdain, 

And there is a frown of frowns 
Which jou strive to forget in vain 

For it sticks in the heart's deep core 
And it sticks in the deep backbone. 

And no smile ever was smiled 
But only one smile alone. 

VOL. I. H 



114 BLAKE'S POEMS 

(And betwixt the cradle and grave 
It only once smiled can be), 

That when it once is smiled 
There's an end to all misery. 



THE MARRIAGE RING 

Come hither, my sparrows, 
My little arrows, 
If a tear or a smile 
Will a man beguile, 
If an amorous delay 
Clouds a sunshiny day, 
If the tread step of a foot 
Smites the heart to its root, 
'Tis the marriage ring 
Makes each fairy a king. 

So a fairy sang ; — 

From the leaves I sprang. 

He leaped from the spray 

To flee away, 

But in my hat caught 

He soon shall be taught. 

Let him laugh, let him cry 

He's my butterfly ; 

For I 've pulled out the sting 

Of the marriage ring. 



THE FAIRY 

A fairy leapt upon my knee 

Singing and dancing merrily. 

I said, ' Thou thing of patches, rings, 

Pins, necklaces, and such like things, 

Disgracer of the female form. 

Thou pretty gilded poisonous worm !' 



IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 115 

Weeping he fell upon my thigh — 
And thus in tears did soft reply, 
' Knowest thou not. Fairies' Lord, 
How much by us contemned, abhorr'd, 
Whatever hides the female form 
That cannot bear the mortal storm ? 
Therefore in pity still we give 
Our lives to make the female live, 
And what would turn into disease 
We turn to what will joy and please.' 



THEOLOGICAL IRONICAL FRAGMENT 

' I will tell you what Joseph of Arimathea 
Said to my Fairy : was it not queer ? 

Priestly — Bacon ? What, are you here ? 
Come before Joseph of Arimathea, 

Listen patient, when Joseph is done 

I'll make a fool laugh at a Fairy's fun.' 



LONG JOHN BROWN AND LITTLE 
MARY BELL 

Little Mary Bell had a fairy in a nut, 
Long John Brown had the devil in his gut ; 
Long John Brown loved little Mary Bell, 
And the fairy drew the devil into the nutshell. 

Her fairy skipp'd out, her fairy skipp'd in, 
He laughed at the devil, saying ' Love is a sin.' 
The devil he raged and the devil he was wroth, 
And the devil entered into the young man's broth. 

He was soon in the gut of the loving young swain, 
For John eat and drank to drive away love's pain, 
But all he could do he grew thinner and thinner, 
Though he eat and drank as much as ten men for his 
dinner. 



116 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Some said he had a wolf in his stomach day and 

night, 
Some said he had the devil, and they guessed right, 
The fairy skipped about in his glory, love and 

pride, 
And he laughed at the devil till poor John Brown 

died. 

Then the fairy skipp'd out of the old nutshell, 
And woe and alack for pretty Mary Bell, 
For the devil crept in when the fairy skipp'd out, 
And there goes Miss Bell with her fusty old nut. 



MARY 

Sweet Mary, the first time she ever was there, 
Came into the ballroom among the fair ; 
The young men and maidens around her throng, 
And these are the words upon every tongue : 

' An angel is here from the heavenly climes, 
Or again return the golden times ; 
Her eyes outshine every brilliant ray, 
She opens her lips — 'tis the month of May.' 

Mary moves in soft beauty and conscious delight, 

To augment with sweet smiles all the joys of the 

night, 
Nor once blushes to own to the rest of the fair 
That sweet love and beauty are worthy our care. 

In the morning the villagers rose with delight, 
And repeated with pleasure the joys of the night, 
And Mary arose among friends to be free, 
But no friend from henceforward thou, Mary, shalt 
see. 



IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 117 

Some said she was proud, some called her a whore, 
And some when she passed hy shut-to the door ; 
A damp cold came o'er her, her blushes all fled, 
Her lilies and roses are blighted and shed. 

f Oh why was I born with a different face ? 
Why was I not born like this envious race? 
Why did Heaven adorn me with bountiful hand, 
And then set me down in an envious land ? 



' To be weak as a lamb and smooth as a dove, 
And not to raise envy, is called Christian love ; 
But, if you raise envy, your merit's to blame 
For planting such spite in the weak and the tame. 

f I will humble my beauty, 1 will not dress fine, 

I will keep from the ball, and my eyes shall not 

shine ; 
And, if any girl's lover forsake her for me, 
I '11 refuse him my hand, and from envy be free.' 

She went out in the morning attired plain and neat ; 
f Proud Mary's gone mad,' said the child in the 

street ; 
She went out in the morning in plain neat attire, 
And came home in the evening bespattered with 

mire. 

She trembled and wept, sitting on the bedside, 
She forgot it was night, and she trembled and cried ; 
She forgot it was night, she forgot it was morn, 
Her soft memory imprinted with faces of scorn ; 

With faces of scorn and with eyes of disdain, 
Like foul fiends inhabiting Mary's mild brain ; 
She remembers no face like the human divine ; 
All faces have envy, sweet Mary, but thine. 



118 BLAKE'S POEMS 

And thine is a face of sweet love in despair, 
And thine is a face of mild sorrow and care, 
And thine is a face of wild terror and fear 
That shall never be quiet till laid on its bier. 

To understand what portion of Blake's own life and art is 
impersonated under the name ' Mary' who might be called 
the ' Spirit of Spontaneity,' compare not only the later stories 
of ' Thel ' and ' Oothoon, ' but the ' Wild Flower's Song ' and 
the few lines given beloio under the title 'A Cry,' and taken 
from Blake's letter to Mr. Butts, August 1803. 



WILLIAM BOND 

I wonder whether the girls are mad, 

And I wonder whether they mean to kill, 

And I wonder if William Bond will die, 
For assuredly he is very ill. 

He went to church on a May morning, 
Attended by fairies, one, two, and three ; 

But the angels of Providence drove them away, 
And he returned home in misery. 

He went not out to the field nor fold, 
He went not out to the village nor town, 

But he came home in a black black cloud, 
And took to his bed, and there lay down. 

And an angel of Providence at his feet, 
And an angel of Providence at his head, 

And in the midst a black black cloud, 

And in the midst the sick man on his bed. 

And on his right hand was Mary Green, 
And on his left hand was his sister Jane, 

And their tears fell through the black black 
cloud 
To drive away the sick man's pain. 






IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 119 

'Oh William, if thou dost another love, 
Dost another love better than poor Mary, 

Go and take that other to be thy wife, 
And Mary Green shall her servant be. ' 

' Yes, Mary, I do another love, 
Another I love far better than thee, 

And another I will have for my wife : 
Then what have I to do with thee ? 

( For thou art melancholy pale, 

And on thy head is the cold moon's shine, 
But she is ruddy and bright as day, 

And the sunbeams dazzle from her eyne.' 

Mary trembled, and Mary chilled, 

And Mary fell down on the right-hand floor, 
That William Bond and his sister Jane 

Scarce could recover Mary more. 

When Mary woke and found her laid 
On the right hand of her William dear, 

On the right hand of his loved bed, 
And saw her William Bond so near ; 

The fairies that fled from William Bond 
Danced around her shining head ; 

They danced over the pillow white, 

And the angels of Providence left the bed. 

' I thought love lived in the hot sunshine, 
But oh he lives in the moony light ! 

I thought to find Love in the heat of day, 
But sweet Love is the comforter of night. 

' Seek Love in the pity of others' woe, 
In the gentle relief of another's care. 

In the darkness of night and the winter's snow, 
With the naked and outcast,— seek Lovethere.' 



120 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Some truth may be found in the attempt to interpret this 
poem in 'Gilchrist,' — the enlarged edition, vol. ii. p. 87. 
' Day' and 'sunshine' mean also poetic life, and 'night' and 
' moonshine ' merely personal emotion. 



THE CRYSTAL CABINET 

The maiden caught me in the wild 
Where I was dancing merrily ; 

She put me into her cabinet, 

And locked me up with a golden key. 

This cabinet is formed of gold, 

And pearl and crystal shining bright, 

And within it opens into a world 
And a little lovely moony night. 

Another England there I saw, 
Another London with its Tower, 

Another Thames and other hills, 
And another pleasant Surrey bower. 

Another maiden like herself, 

Translucent, lovely, shining clear, 

Threefold, each in the other closed, — 
Oh what a pleasant, trembling fear ! 

Oh what a smile ! A threefold smile 
Filled me that like a flame I burned ; 

I bent to kiss the lovely maid, 
And found a threefold kiss returned. 

I strove to seize the inmost form 

With ardour fierce and hands of flame, 

But burst the crystal cabinet, 
And like a weeping babe became : 



IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 121 

A weeping babe upon the wild, 
And weeping woman pale reclined. 

And in the outward air again 

I filled with woes the passing wind. 

The key to the explanation of this poem is in 'Jerusalem,' 
page 70, line 25. There seem to be only two maidens mentioned, 
yet they give a threefold smile. It is made up of the smile of 
the first, then that of the second, then that of the tivo combined. 



BROKEN LOVE 

My Spectre before me night and day 
Like a wild beast guards my way. 
My Emanation far within 
Weeps incessantly for my sin. 

A fathomless and boundless deep ; 
There we wander, there we weep ; 
On the hungry, craving wind, 
My spectre follows thee behind. 

He scents thy footsteps in the snow, 
Wheresoever thou dost go, 
Through the wintry hail and rain. 
When wilt thou return again ? 

Dost thou not in pride and scorn 
Fill with tempests all my morn, 
And with jealousies and fears, 
Fill my pleasant nights with tears? 

Seven of thy sweet loves thy knife 
Has bereaved of their life. 
Their marble tombs I build with fears 
And with cold and shadowy tears. 

Seven more loves weep night and day 
Round the tombs where my loves lay, 
And seven more loves attend at night 
Around my couch with torches bright. 



122 BLAKE'S POEMS 

And seven more loves in my bed 
Crown with vine my mournful head. 
Pitying and forgiving all 
Thy transgressions, great and small. 

When wilt thou return and view 
My loves, and them to life renew ? 
When wilt thou return and live ? 
When wilt thou pity as I forgive ? 

Never, never I return. 
Still for victory I burn. 
Living, thee alone I'll have, 
And when dead I '11 be thy grave. 

Through the Heaven and Earth and Hell 
Thou shalt never, never quell, 
I will fly and thou pursue, 
Night and morn the flight renew. 

Till I turn from female love 
And root up the infernal grove, 
I shall never worthy be 
To step into Eternity. 

And I to end thy cruel mocks 
Annihilate thee on the rocks, 
And another form create 
To be subservient to my fate. 

Let us agree to give up love 
And root up the infernal grove„ 
Then shall we return and see 
The worlds of happy Eternity. 

And throughout all Eternity 
I forgive you, you forgive me. 
As our dear Redeemer said : — 
This the wine and this the bread. 



IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 123 

The order of the stanzas here used is not the same as that 
employed in ' Gilchrist,' and in the ' Aldine,' for which there 
is no authority. It is Blake's finally chosen order as directed 
in the MS. book. The poem has no title. Mr. Yeats calls it 
'Spectre and Emanation.' 

The poem is extremely difficult to edit correctly, as Blake 
changed his mind while writing it, and again while number- 
ing the stanzas. No. 1 is always No. 1, and presents no 
difficulty. There are three called No. 2. The first, mis- 
takenly used as such in the Quaritch edition as Ifo. 2, is 
this — 

A deep winter, dark and cold, 
"Within my heart thou didst unfold ; 
A fathomless and boundless deep — 
There we wander, there we weep. 

The second is the No. 2 finally chosen by Blake, and properly 
placed by Mr. Yeats in the Lawrence and Bullen edition. 

The third is lata — 

What transgressions I commit 
Are for thy transgressions fit, 
They thy harlots, thou their slave, 
And my bed becomes their grave. 

This appears as the ninth in ' Gilchrist.' In the MS. book 
it is followed, on the remote part of the page where it is 
written, by this, — not numbered at all, — given as the fourth in 
' Gilchrist,' loith Uvo lines taken off and two others substituted 
from another stanza erased by Blake — to be presently quoted 
here. 

Poor, pale, pitiable form, 

That I follow in a storm, 

Iron tears and groans of lead 

Bind around my aching head. 

This and the previous stanza seem to have been once in- 
tended by Blake to be used as part of a short poem of three, 
whose first was this, beside which a No. 1 can be faintly 
made out — 

O'er my sins thou dost sit and moan — 
Had thou no sin of thine own ? 
O'er my sins thou dost sit and weep, 
And lull thine own sins fast asleep. 



124 BLAKE'S POEMS 

/( is given as the seventh in ' Gilchrist. Returning to the 
main track of the poem, we find that the stanza No. 2 at first 
written, before any were numbered, and never numbered at 
all, still remains on the page of MS. exactly under the 
original No. 1, legible, though boldly crossed out. It is this — 

thou 

This weeping she shall ne'er give o'er, 

thee 

I sin against her more and more, 
And never will from sin be free, 
Till she forgives and comes to me. 

The general erasure is thus seen to have been decided on 
after the first two lines had received a verbal alteration, and 
before the last was changed to fit them, so that it was no 
longer worth while to change it. The editor of ' Gilchrist ' 
does so on his own responsibility, and gives the last couplet, 
thus amended, as the last of the fourth stanza of his arbitrary 
and un-Blakcan arrangement. 

Under it Blake's MS. shoivs rvhat was at first his third 
stanza, all crossed out now. It bears both the number 6 and 
5 — first 6, then 5 — put in afterwards, and both crossed out, 
and is as follows — 

Thou hast parted from my side, 
Once thou wast a virgin bride, 

true love 

Never shalt thou a lover find, 
My Spectre follows thee behind. 

The last line of this seems to have inspired the stanza 
numbered 2, and used as such in ' Gilchrist ' and here. 

Stanza 3 in the present text is so numbered by Blake, though 
he first numbered it 6, and crossed that out. It ivas the fourth 
actually ivritten. It is third in ' Gilchrist ' also. 

There is another which Blake has numbered 3, and afterwards 
9 — the 3 not being crossed out — by inadvertence — which seems 
to have been intended for a moment to follow number 3, as a 
sort of answer to it, but a stanza at another part of the page, 
numbered first 6, then 4, both numbers crossed out, was chosen 
finally, and lines drawn from it to a place just above stanza 5, 
with the direction written betiveen them that it was ' to come 
in ' there. It is given as fourth in this text, and sixth in 
' Gilchrist. ' 

The fifth in this text bears the number 5 in Blake's MS., and 
previously bore numbers 7 and 4, both crossed out. It un- 
accountably appears as tenth in ' Gilchrist.' 

The sixth in this text bears that number in MS., and pre- 



IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 125 

viously had the number 8, twice written and twice crossed out. 
It is eleventh in ' Gilchrist.' 

The seventh in this text is marked 7 in MS., and also bore 
the numbers 4 and 6, both crossed out. It is twelfth in 
'Gilchrist.' 

The No. 4 is given four times in the MS. One stanza, 
written just after that beginning ' a deep winter dark and 
cold,' bears it, and also the number 3, but was all struck out 
with a bold line, and appears neither in this text nor in 
' Gilchrist.' It has its own value for purposes of interpreta- 
tion, as we learn from it that the warmth of the poet' s passion, 
and not coldness or infidelity, teas accounted to him as 'sin' 
— a most illuminating revelation. 

Here at last is the crowded out stanza that ivas to have 
served either as 3 or 4 — 

"When my love did first begin, 
Thou didst call that love a sin, 
Secret trembling night and day, 
Driving all my loves away. 

To conclude. The eighth in this text is so marked in the 
MS. The stanza had borne the numbers 10 and 7, both 
crossed ot(t. It is thirteenth in 'Gilchrist.' The ninth here 
given bears that number in MS., as above stated, and also the 
number 3, apparently — not crossed out. It is quietly omitted 
in 'Gilchrist-.' The tenth here bears no other number in MS. 
It also is omitted on his own responsibility by the editor of 
'Gilchrist,' who similarly concealed the existence of stanzas 
11, 12, and 13, which bear no other numbers in the MS., 
having been written after the fluctuating resolutions of the 
author became fixed. 

Stanza \i—the last — also bears no other number, and ter- 
minates the poem here as in ' Gilchrist, ' whose fourteenth it 
also is, which gives an air of spurious authenticity to a 
version which nothing can justify. Its very title (followed 
here because now so well known) loses most of its justification 
ivith the omission of the verses 12 and 13. 

A study of these variorum readings betrays the fact that the 
bride is the 'Emanation' of the poet, and sometimes more, 
as ivas Enitharmon, the 'vegetated mortal wife of Los ; his 
Emanation, yet his wife till the sleep of death is past. ' — 
'Jerusalem,' p. 14, I. 14. ' Sleep of death' means unimagin- 
ative experience. 

A phrase from this poem in 'Jerusalem,' page 17, line 3, 
places it in the myth, and places the myth in Blake's life. 



126 BLAKE'S POEMS 



THE MENTAL TRAVELLER 

1 travelled through a land of men, 
A land of men and women, too, 

And saw and heard such dreadful things 
As cold earth-wanderers never knew. 

For there the babe is born in joy 
That was begotten in dire woe, 

Just as we reap in joy the fruit 
That we in bitter tears did sow. 

And if the babe is born a boy 

He's given to a woman old 
Who nails him down upon a rock, 

Catches his shrieks in cups of gold. 

She binds iron thorns about his head, 
She pierces both his hands and feet, 

She cuts his heart out at his side 
To make it feel both cold and heat. 

Her fingers number every nerve, 
Just as a miser counts his gold ; 

She lives upon his shrieks and cries, 
And she grows young as he grows old. 

Till he becomes a bleeding youth, 
And she becomes a virgin bright ; 

Then he rends up his manacles 

And binds her down for his delight. 

He plants himself in all her nerves, 
Just as a husbandman his mould, 

And she becomes his dwelling place 
And garden fruitful seventyfold. 



IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 127 

An aged shadow, soon he fades. 
Wandering round an earthly cot, 

Full filled all with gems and gold 
Which he by industry has got. 

And these are the gems of the human soul, 
The rubies and pearls of a lovesick eye, 

The countless gold of the aching heart, 
The martyr's groan and the lover's sigh. 

They are his meat, they are his drink, 
He feeds the beggar and the poor ; 

To the wayfaring traveller 
For ever opens his door. 

His grief is their eternal joy, 

They make the roofs and walls to ring, 
Till from the fire upon the hearth 

A little female babe doth spring. 

And she is all of solid fir, 

And gems and gold, that none his hand 
Dares stretch to touch her baby form, 

Or wrap her in his swaddling band. 

But she comes to the man she loves, 
If young or old, or rich or poor ; 

They soon drive out the aged host, 
A beggar at another's door. 

He wanders weeping far away, 

Until some other take him in ; 
Oft blind and aged-bent, sore distressed, 

Until he can a maiden win. 

And to allay his freezing age 

The poor man takes her in his arms ; 

The cottage fades before his sight, 
The garden, and its lovely charms. 



128 BLAKE'S POEMS 

The guests are scattered through the land, 
For the eye altering, alters all ; 

The senses roll themselves in fear, 
And the flat earth becomes a ball. 

The stars, sun, moon, all shrink away, 
A desert vast without a bound : 

And nothing left to eat or drink, 
And a dark desert all around. 

The honey of her infant lips, 

The bread and wine of her sweet smile, 
The wild game of her roving eye 

Do him to infancy beguile, 

For as he eats and drinks he grows 
Younger and younger every day, 

And on the desert wild they both 
Wander in terror and dismay. 

Like the wild stag, she flees away, 
Her fear plants many a thicket wild ; 

While he pursues her, night and day, 
By various arts of love beguiled. 

By various arts of love and hate, 
Till the wild desert 's planted o'er 

With labyrinth of wayward love, 

Where roam the lion, wolf, and boar. 

Till he becomes a wayward babe, 
And she a weeping woman old ; 

Then many a lover wanders here, 
The sun and stars are nearer rolled. 

The trees bring forth sweet ecstasy 
To all who in the desert roam, 

Till many a city there is built, 

And many a pleasant shepherd's home. 



IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 129 

But when they find the frowning babe, 
Terror strikes through the region wild ; 

They cry : ' The babe ! the babe is born ! ' 
And flee away on every side. 

For who dare touch the frowning form, 
His arm is withered to the root ; 

Bears, lions, wolves, all howling fly, 
And every tree doth shed its fruit. 

And none can touch that frowning form, 

Except it be a woman old ; 
She nails him down upon a rock, 

And all is done as I have told. 

The above text is not from original source. The editor has 
not seen the MS. — an admission accidentally and erroneously 
added to the chapter on 'Broken Love ' in the Quaritch edition. 



THE GREY MONK (Mr. Ykats's Title) 
THE AGONY OF FAITH (Mr. Gilchrist's Title) 

c I see, I see,' the Mother said, 
'My children will die for lack of bread ! 
What more has the merciless Tyrant said?' 
The Monk sat him down on her stony bed. 

His eye was dry, no tear could flow, 

A hollow groan bespoke his woe, 

He trembled and shuddered upon the bed : 

(At length, with a feeble cry, he said) : 

' When God commanded this hand to write 
In the shadow hours of deep midnight, 
He told me that all I wrote would prove 
The bane of all that on earth I love. 

' My brother starved between two walls, 

My children's cry my soul appals, 

I mock at the rack, the griding chain, 

My beut body mocks at their torturing pain. 

VOL, I. I 



130 BLAKE'S POEMS 

e My father drew his sword in the north, 
With his thousands strong he is marched forth ; 
My brother has armed himself in steel, 
To revenge the wrongs thy children feel.' 

But vain the sword and vain the bow, 
They never can work war's overthrow ; 
The hermit's prayer and the widow's tear 
Alone can save the world from fear. 

The hand of vengeance sought the bed 
To which the purple tyrant fled ; 
The iron hand crushed the tyrant's head, 
And became a tyrant in his stead. 

Until the tyrant himself relent, 
The tyrant who first the black bow bent, 
Slaughter shall heap the bloody plain, 
Resistance and war is the tyrant's gain. 

But the tear of love and forgiveness sweet, 
And submission to death beneath his feet ; 
The tear shall melt the sword of steel, 
And every wound it has made shall heal. 

For the tear is an intellectual thing, 
And the sigh is the sword of an awful king, 
And the bitter groan of a martyr's woe 
Is an arrow from the Almighty's bow. 

This poem is found in the MS. book, where it forms part of 
a longer piece, containing in all about twenty stanzas. Some 
of them merely fragments, some were numbered by Blake, and 
removed, leaving the remainder to form a separate poem. The 
first four bore the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and are to be found now 
where Blake transferred them, namely in the preface to the 
third chapter of ' Jerusalem. ' The fifth and sixth stanzas of 
the piece there found were written sideways, as an after- 
thought, on the same page as the rest of the poem in the MS., 
and then the last stanza of the piece here given was numbered 
7, and added to them, so it was used twice over, with the 
trifling change of ' the tear ' into ' a tear, ' where engraved in 
the 'Jerusalem,' 



NOTE ON SOURCES OF POEMS 131 



NOTE ON SOURCES OF POEMS 



' A small autograph collection ' of Blake's verses is referred 
to in vol. ii. of Gilchrist's ' Life, ' p. 84, as the source of some 
of the poems that are there printed. The present editor has 
made search for it, but can obtain no information. It was 
used by the editor of the Aldine edition, but since this it has 
practically been lost. Mr. Rossetti, Mr. Gilchrist, and Mr. 
Bell are alike unable to say what has become of it, and such 
clues as they have given conjecturally have not so far led to dis- 
covery — January 1904. The only important poem in this 
collection is the ' Mental Traveller,' erroneously interpreted in 
' Gilchrist ' and in the ' Aldine ' as representing ' under a very 
ideal form the phenomena of gestation and birth.' To the 
reader ivho has been through ' Vala ' and ' Jerusalem ' it will 
need no interpretation. 

Also lost is an original copy of the 'Poetical Sketches' 
which Blake used as a note-book, since 'a few short pieces' 
were found by Mr. Heme Shepherd — he does not say ivhich — 
when this copy was lent to him — he does not say by whom. 



THE GATES OF PARADISE, AUGURIES 
OF INNOCENCE, PROVERBS, VERSES 
FROM LETTERS, MINIATURES, 
GALLANTRIES, RESENT- 
MENTS, ETC. 



133 



FURTHER IDEAS 

(of Good and Evil) 

Introduction, Keys, and Epilogue to 

THE GATES OF PARADISE 

e For Children ' 

(Engraved 1793) 

With AUGURIES OF INNOCENCE, VERSES 
FROM LETTERS, Etc. 

' The Gates of Paradise ' is the title of a set of small engrav- 
ings, some of which have been reprinted in Gilchrist's 'Life.' 
A man drowning, one walking quickly near trees, a boy knock- 
ing down a Cupid like a butterfly with his hat, a caterpillar 
loiih a baby's face, some one wishing to mount to the moon, 
and other scattered fancies. There is no coherence in them. 
The verses here following were to serve as explanation. 
Sketches for the engravings occur in the centres of the pages 
of the manuscript book, and it must remain doubtful whether the 
title given since to the poems of various kinds virittcn on the 
margins was not really designed by Blake for the engravings. 
The sixteenth line of the ' Keys of the Gates ' gives colour to the 
suggestion. However this may be, Blake did not print the 
ivords ' Ideas of Good and Evil ' at the head of these lines, nor 
did he cross them out, but left them, covering a ivholc page of 
his book, to the mercy of posterity, along ivith the mass of un- 
sorted poetry that he wrote after them during a period of 
between ten and fifteen years. 

INTRODUCTION TO THE GATES 

Mutual forgiveness of each vice, 
Such are the Gates of Paradise, 

135 



136 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Against the Accuser's chief desire, 
Who walked among the stones of fire, 
Jehovah's fingers wrote the Law : 
He wept ; then rose in zeal and awe, 
And, in the midst of Sinai's heat, 
Hid it beneath His Mercy-Seat. 
O Christians ! Christians ! tell me why 
You rear it on your altars high. 



THE KEYS OF THE GATES 

The caterpillar on the leaf 
Reminds thee of thy mother's grief. 
My Eternal Man set in repose, 
The Female from his darkness rose ; 
And she found me beneath a tree, 
A mandrake, and in her veil hid me. 
Serpent reasonings us entice 
Of good and evil, virtue, vice. 
Doubt self-jealous, watery folly, 
Struggling through Earth's melancholy. 
Naked in air, in shame and fear, 
Blind in fire, with shield and spear, 
Two horrid reasoning cloven fictions, 
In doubt which is self-contradiction, 
A dark hermaphrodite I stood, — 
Rational truth, root of evil and good. 
Round me, flew the flaming sword ; 
Round her, snowy whirlwinds roared, 
Freezing her veil, the mundane shell. 
I rent the veil where the dead dwell : 
When weary man enters his cave, 
He meets his Saviour in the grave. 
Some find a female garment there, 
And some a male, woven with care, 
Lest the sexual garments sweet 
Should grow a devouring winding-sheet. 
One dies ! alas ! the living and dead ! 
One is slain, and one is fled ! 



FURTHER IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 137 

In vain-glory hatched and nursed, 
By double spectres, self-accursed. 
My son ! my son ! thou treatest me 
But as I have instructed thee. 
On the shadows of the moon, 
Climbing through night's highest noon : 
In Time's ocean falling, drowned : 
In aged ignorance profound, 
Holy and cold, I clipped the wings 
Of all sublunary things : 
And in depths of icy dungeons 
Closed the father and the sons. 
But, when once I did descry 
The Immortal Man that cannot die, 
Through evening shades I haste away 
To close the labours of my day. 
The door of Death I open found, 
And the worm weaving in the ground : 
Thou'rt my mother, from the womb ; 
Wife, sister, daughter, to the tomb : 
Weaving to dreams the sexual strife, 
And weeping over the web, of life. 



EPILOGUE 

TO THE ACCUSER, WHO IS THE GOD OF THIS WORLD 

Truly, my Satan, thou art but a dunce, 

And dost not know the garment from the man ; 
Every harlot was a virgin once, 

Nor canst thou ever change Kate into Nan. 
Though thou art worshipped by the names divine 

Of Jesus and Jehovah, thou art still 
The son of morn in weary night's decline, 

The lost traveller's dream under the hill. 



138 BLAKE'S POEMS 

AUGURIES OF INNOCENCE 

(Not printed or engraved by Blake. Date about 1793-4.) 

To see a world in a grain of sand, 

And a heaven in a wild flower, 
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, 

And eternity in an hour. 

The following were perhaps meant to be called 'Auguries of 
Innocence ' also. Mr. Heme Shepherd, who seems to have had 
access to Blake 's manuscript of the piece, thinks so, as does Mr. 
Mossetti. Mr. Shepherd's text is here followed blindly, as he is 
more generally strict than Mr. Bossetti. Mr. Yeats' 's suggestion 
to call the couplets 'proverbs ' is not adopted, as there is no 
Blakean authority for it, and it might add a difficulty of re- 
ference on account of the ' Proverbs of Hell, ' Blake's own title 
for a section of the ' Marriage of Heaven and Hell. ' 

i A Robin Redbreast in a cage 

Puts all Heaven in a rage. 

s A dove-house filled with doves and pigeons 

Shudders Hell through all its regions. 

I A dog starved at his master's gate 

Predicts the ruin of the state. 

\ A horse misused upon the road 

Calls to heaven for human blood. 

; Each outcry of the hunted hare 

A fibre from the brain doth tear. 

i A skylark wounded on the wing 

Doth make a cherub cease to sing. 

T The game-cock clipped and armed for fight 

Does the rising sun affright. 

J Every wolf's and lion's howl 

Raises from Hell a human soul. 

) The wild deer wandering here and there 

Keep the human soul from care. 

i The lamb misused breeds public strife, 

And yet forgives the butcher's knife. 



FURTHER IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 139 

ii The bat that flits at close of eve 

Has left the brain that won't believe. 

12 The owl that calls upon the night 
Speaks the unbeliever's fright. 

13 He who shall hurt the little wren 
Shall never be beloved by men. 

14 He who the ox to wrath has moved 
Shall never be by woman loved. 

15 The wanton boy that kills the fly 
Shall feel the spider's enmity. 

16 He who torments the chafer's sprite 
Weaves a bower in endless night. 

17 The caterpillar on the leaf 
Repeats to thee thy mother's grief. 

18 Kill not the moth nor butterfly, 
For the last judgment draweth nigh. 

19 He who shall train the horse to war 
Shall never pass the Polar Bar. 

ao The beggar's dog and widow's cat, 

Feed them and thou shalt grow fat. 

21 The gnat that sings his summer's song 
Poison gets from Slander's tongue. 

22 The poison of the snake and newt 
Is the sweat of Envy's foot. 

23 The poison of the honey-bee 
Is the artist's jealousy. 

24 The prince's robes and beggar's rags 
Are toadstools on the miser's bags. 

25 A truth that's told with bad intent 
Beats all the lies you can invent. 

26 It is right it should be so ; 
Man was made for joy and woe ; 

27 And, when this we rightly know, 
Through the world we safely go. 



140 BLAKE'S POEMS 

38 Joy and woe are woven fine, 

A clothing for the soul divine. 

29 Under every grief and pine 
Runs a joy with silken twine. 

30 The babe is more than swaddling-bands 
Throughout all these human lands. 

31 Tools were made, and born were hands, 
Every farmer understands. 

32 Every tear from every eye 
Becomes a babe in eternity ; 

33 This is caught by females bright 
And returned to its own delight. 

34 The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar, 
Are waves that beat on heaven's shore. 

35 The babe that weeps the rod beneath 
Writes revenge in realms of death. 

36 The beggar's rags fluttering in air 
Do to rags the heavens tear. 

37 The soldier armed with sword and gun 
Palsied strikes the summer's sun. 

38 The poor man's farthing is worth more 
Than all the gold on Afric's shore. 

39 One mite wrung from the labourer's hands 
Shall buy and sell the miser's lands, 

40 Or, if protected from on high, 
Shall that whole nation sell and buy. 

41 He who mocks the infant's faith 
Shall be mocked in age and death. 

42 He who shall teach the child to doubt 
The rotting grave shall ne'er get out. 

43 He who respects the infant's faith 
Triumphs over hell and death. 

44 The child's toys and the old man's reasons 
Are the fruits of the two seasons. 



FURTHER IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 141 

45 The questioner who sits so sly 
Shall never know how to reply. 

46 He who replies to words of douht 
Doth put the light of knowledge out. 

47 The strongest poison ever known 
Came from Caesar's laurel-crown. 

48 Nought can deform the human race 
Like to the armour's iron brace. 

49 When gold and gems adorn the plough, 
To peaceful hearts shall Envy bow. 

50 A riddle, or the cricket's cry, 
Is to doubt a fit reply. 

51 The emmet's inch and eagle's mile 
Make lame philosophy to smile. 

52 He who doubts from what he sees 
Will ne'er believe, do what you please. 

53 If the sun and moon should doubt, 
They 'd immediately go out. 

54 To be in a passion good you may do, 
But no good if a passion is in you. 

55 The whore and gambler, by the state 
Licensed, build that nation's fate. 

56 The harlot's cry from street to street 
Shall weave old England's winding-sheet. 

57 The winner's shout, the loser's curse, 
Shall dance before dead England's hearse. 

58 Every night and every morn 
Some to misery are born ; 

59 Every morn and every night 
Some are born to sweet delight ; 

60 Some are born to sweet delight, 
Some are born to endless night. 

61 We are led to believe a lie 

When we see with, not through the eye, 



142 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Which was born in a night to perish in a night 

62 When the soul slept in beams of light. 

God appears and God is light 

63 To those poor souls who dwell in night ; 

But doth a human form display 

64 To those who dwell in realms of day. 

SCOFFERS 

These lines, the stanzas on Idolatry, and the Dedication 
for the Picture of the Last Judgment belong to the mood and 
almost to the date of the Felpham letters ; they belong to no 
sorted collection. 

Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau, 
Mock on, mock on ; 'tis all in vain ; 

You throw the sand against the wind, 
And the wind blows it back again. 

And every sand becomes a gem, 

Reflected in the beams divine ; 
Blown back, they blind the mocking eye, 

But still in Israel's paths they shine. 

The atoms of Democritus 

And Newton's particles of light, 

Are sands upon the Red Sea shore 

Where Israel's tents do shine so bright. 



IDOLATRY 

If it is true, what the Prophets write, 

That the Heathen Gods are all stocks and stones, 
Shall we. for the sake of being polite, 

Feed them with the juice of our marrow bones? 

And, if Bezaleel and Aholiab drew 
What the finger of God pointed to their view, 
Shall we suffer the Roman and Grecian rods 
To compel us to worship them as Gods ? 



FURTHER IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 143 

They stole them from 

The Temple of the Lord, 
And worshipped them that they might make 

Inspired art abhorred. 

The wood and stone were called the holy things, 
And their sublime intent given to their kings ; 
All the atonements of Jehovah spurned, 
And criminals to sacrifices turned. 



FOR A PICTURE OF THE LAST JUDGMENT 

DEDICATION 

The caverns of the Grave I 've seen, 
And these I showed to England's Queen ; 
But now the caves of Hell I view, — 
Whom shall I dare to show them to ? 
What mighty soul in beauty's form 
Shall dauntless view the infernal storm ? 
Egremont's Countess can control 
The flames of hell that round me roll. 
If she refuse, I still go on, 
Till the heavens and earth are gone ; 
Still admired by noble minds, 
Followed by Envy on the winds. 
Re-engraved time after time, 
Ever in their youthful prime, 
My designs unchanged remain ; 
Time may rage, but rage in vain ; 
For above Time's troubled fountains, 
On the great Atlantic mountains, 
In my golden house on high, 
There they shine eternally. 



144 BLAKE'S POEMS 

To my Dear Friend 
MRS. ANNA FLAXMAN 

ENCLOSED IN A LETTER FROM MRS. BLAKE TO HER, 
SEPTEMBER 1800 

Some years divide these verses from those that close the 
' Auguries,' hut the last lines of these are a natural intro- 
duction to the letters of this period. 

This song to the flower of Flaxman's joy ; 
To the blossom of hope, for a sweet decoy; 
Do all that you can, or all that you may, 
To entice him to Felpham and far away. 

Away to sweet Felpham, for heaven is there ; 
The ladder of angels descends through the air ; 
On the turret its spiral does softly descend, 
Through the village then winds, at my cot it does end. 

You stand in the village and look up to heaven ; 
The precious stones glitter on flight seventy-seven ; 
And my brother is there ; and my friend and thine 
Descend and ascend with the bread and the wine. 

The bread of sweet thought and the wine of delight 
Feed the village of Felpham by day and by night ; 
And at his own door the bless'd Hermit doth stand, 
Dispensing unceasing to all the wide land. 



TO MR. BUTTS 

WRITTEN FROM FELPHAM, OCTOBER 2, 1 800 

To my friend Butts I write 
My first vision of light, 
On the yellow sands sitting. 
The sun was emitting 



FURTHER IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 145 

His glorious beams 
From heaven's high streams. 
Over sea, over laud, 
My eyes did expand 
Into regions of air, 
Away from all care ; 
Into regions of fire, 
Remote from desire : 
The light of the morning 
Heaven's mountains adorning. 
In particles bright, 
The jewels of light 
Distinct shone and clear. 
Amazed and in fear 
I each particle gazed, 
Astonished, amazed ; 
For each was a man 
Human-formed. Swift I ran, 
For they beckoned to me, 
Remote by the sea, 
Saying : ■ Each grain of sand, 
Every stone on the land, 
Each rock and each hill, 
Each fountain and rill, 
Each herb and each tree, 
Mountain, hill, earth, and sea, 
Cloud, meteor, and star, 
Are men seen afar. ' 



I stood in the streams 
Of heaven's bright beams, 
And saw Felpham sweet 
Beneath my bright feet, 
In soft female charms ; 
And in her fair arms 
My shadow I knew, 
And my wife's shadow too, 
And my sister and friend. 
We like infants descend 



146 BLAKE'S POEMS 

In our shadows on earth, 

Like a weak mortal birth. 

My eyes more and more, 

Like a sea without shore, 

Continue expanding, 

The heavens commanding, 

Till the j ewels of light, 

Heavenly men beaming bright, 

Appeared as one man, 

Who complacent began 

My limbs to infold 

In his beams of bright gold ; 

Like dross purged away 

All my mire and my clay. 

Soft consumed in delight, 

In his bosom sun-bright 

I remained. Soft he smiled, 

And I heard his voice mild, 

Saying : * This is my fold, 

O thou ram horned with gold, 

Who wakest from sleep 

On the sides of the deep. 

On the mountains around 

The roarings resound 

Of the lion and wolf, 

The loud sea and deep gulph. 

These are guards of my fold, 

thou ram horned with gold ! ' 
And the voice faded mild, — 

1 remained as a child ; 
All I ever had known 
Before me bright shone : 
I saw you and your wife 
By the fountains of life. 
Such the vision to me 
Appeared on the sea. 



FURTHER IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 147 

TO MRS. BUTTS 

(From the same letter. ) 

Wife of the friend of those I most revere, 
Receive this tribute from a harp sincere ; 
Go on in virtuous seed-sowing on mould 
Of human vegetation, and behold 
Your harvest springing to eternal life, 
Parent of youthful minds, and happy wife. 



< LOS THE TERRIBLE ' 

(From a letter to Mr. Butts dated Felpham, Nov. 22, 1802.) 

With happiness stretched across the hills 
In a cloud that dewy sweetness distils, 
With a blue sky spread over with wings, 
And a mild sun that mounts and sings ; 
With trees and fields full of fairy elves, 
And little devils who fight for themselves, 
(Remembering the verses that Hayley sung 
When my heart knocked against the root of 

my tongue,) 
With angels planted in hawthorn bowers, 
And God Himself in the passing hours ; 
With silver angels across my way, 
And golden demons that none can stay ; 
With my father hovering upon the wind, 
And my brother Robert just behind, 
And my brother John, the evil one, 
In a black cloud making his moan ; 
(Though dead, they appear upon my path, 
Notwithstanding my terrible wrath ; 
They beg, they entreat, they drop their tears, 
Filled full of hopes, filled full of fears ;) 
With a thousand angels upon the wind, 
Pouring disconsolate from behind 
To drive them off, — and before my way 
A frowning Thistle implores my stay. 



148 BLAKE'S POEMS 

What to others a trifle appears 

Fills me full of smiles or tears ; 

For double the vision my eyes do see, 

And a double vision is always with me. 

With my inward eye, 'tis an old man grey ; 

With my outward, a thistle across my way. 

' If thou goest back,' the Thistle said, 
' Thou art to endless woe betrayed ; 
For here does Theotormon lour, 
And here is Enitharmon's bower, 
And Los the terrible thus hath sworn, 
Because thou backward dost return, 
Poverty, envy, old age, and fear, 
Shall bring thy wife upon a bier ; 
And Butts shall give what Fuseli gave, 
A dark black rock and a gloomy cave.' 
I struck the thistle with my foot, 
And broke him up from his delving root. 
' Must the duties of life each other cross ? 
Must every joy be dung and dross ? 
Must my dear Butts feel cold neglect 
Because I give Hayley his due respect? 
Must Flaxman look upon me as wild, 
And all my friends be with doubts beguiled ? 
Must my wife live in my sister's bane, 
Or my sister survive on my Love's pain ? 
The curses of Los, the terrible shade, 
And his dismal terrors, make me afraid.' 

So I spoke, and struck in my wrath 
The old man weltering upon my path. 
Then Los appeared in all his power : 
In the sun he appeared, descending before 
My face in fierce flames ; in my double sight, 
'Twas outward a sun, — inward, Los in his 

might. 
1 My hands are laboured day and night, 
And ease comes never in my sight. 



FURTHER IDEAS OF GOOD AND EVIL 149 

My wife has no indulgence given, 

Except what comes to her from heaven. 

We eat little, we drink less ; 

This earth breeds not our happiness. 

Another sun feeds our life's streams ; 

We are not warmed with thy beams. 

Thou measurest not the time to me, 

Nor yet the space that I do see : 

My mind is not with thy light arrayed ; 

Thy terrors shall not make me afraid.' 

When I had my defiance given, 
The sun stood trembling in heaven ; 
The moon, that glowed remote below, 
Became leprous and white as snow ; 
And every soul of man on the earth 
Felt affliction and sorrow and sickness and 

dearth. 
Los flamed in my path, and the sun was hot 
With the bows of my mind and the arrows of 

thought : 
My bowstring fierce with ardour breathes, 
My arrows glow in their golden sheaves. 
My brother and father march before ; 
The heavens drop with human gore. 

Now I a fourfold vision see, 
And a fourfold vision is given to me ; 
'Tis fourfold in my supreme delight, 
And threefold in soft Beulah's night, 
And twofold always. May God us keep 
From single vision, and Newton's sleep ! 



150 BLAKE'S POEMS 



MINIATURES 



Under this sub-title are grouped for the first time the few 
very short pieces, chiefly quotations, that contain beauty 
without irony. They are of dates, not always ascertainable, 
ranging from 1795 to 1804. 



Ah, luckless babe, born under cruel star, 
And in dead parents' baleful ashes bred, 

Full little reckest thou what sorrows are 
Left for the portion of thy livelihead ! 



The Angel who presided at my birth 

Said, — 'Little Creature, formed for joy and mirth, 

Go love, without the help of anything on earth.' 



The Sword sang on the barren heath, 
The Sickle in the fruitful field : 

The Sword he sang a song of death, 
But could not make the Sickle yield. 



O Lapwing, that fliest around the heath, 
Nor seest the net that is spread beneath ; 
Why dost thou not fly among the corn-fields? 
They cannot spread nets where a harvest yields 



I walked abroad on a snowy day, 
I asked the soft Snow with me to play ; 
She played and she melted in all her prime ; 
And the Winter called it a dreadful crime. 



MINIATURES 151 



Abstinence sows sand all over 

The ruddy limbs and flaming hair ; 

But desire gratified 

Plants fruits of life and beauty there. 



The look of love alarms, 
Because 'tis filled with fire, 

But the look of soft deceit 
Shall win the lover's hire : 

Soft deceit and idleness, 

These are beauty's sweetest dress. 



GALLANTRIES AND MOCKERIES 

Here are grouped the very short pieces that are amorous, 
but yet are not without some intention of sarcasm or derision. 
Four of the quatrains have titles in the MS. book, as printed 
here. 



If e'er I grow to man's estate, 

O give to me a woman's fate ! 

May I govern all, both great and small, 

Have the last word, and take the wall ! 



Her whole life is an epigram, 

Smart, smooth, and nobly penned, 

Plaited quite neat to catch applause, 
With a strong noose at the end. 



If you play a game of chance, 
Know before you begin, 

If you are benevolent 
You will never win. 



152 BLAKE'S POEMS 



THE QUESTION ANSWERED 



What is it men in women do require ? 
The lineaments of gratified desire. 
What is it women do in men require ? 
The lineaments of gratified desire. 



An old maid early, e'er I knew 
Ought but the love that on me grew, 
And now I am covered o'er and o'er, 
And wish that I had been a whore. 



O, I cannot, cannot find 

The undaunted courage of a virgin mind ; 

For early I in love was crost, 

Before my flower of love was lost. 



MERLIN S PROPHECY 



The harvest shall flourish in wintry weather, 
When two virginities meet together. 
The king and priest must be tied in a tether, 
Before two virgins can meet together. 



When a man marries a wife, 
He finds out whether 

Her elbows and knees are only 
Glued together. 



GALLANTRIES AND MOCKERIES 153 

ON THE VIRGINITY OF THE VIRGIN MARY AND 
JOHANNA SOUTHCOTT 

IX 

Whate'er is done to her she cannot know ; 
And if you ask her she will swear it so. 
Whether 'tis good or evil, none's to blame ; 
No one can take the pride and none the shame. 

IMITATION OF POPE AND COMPLIMENT TO 
THE LADIES 



Wondrous the gods, more wondrous are the men, 
More wondrous, wondrous still the cock and hen. 
More wondrous still the table, stool and chair, 
But ah ! more wondrous still the charming fair. 



Let us approach the sighing dawns 

With many pleasing wiles. 
If a woman does not fear your frowns, 

She will never reward your smiles. 

XII 

To Chloe's breast young Cupid slily stole, 
But he crept in at Myra's pocket-hole. 



Grown old in love from seven till seven times seven, 
I oft have wished for hell, for ease from heaven. 

(A Postscript labelled Stanza V, and originally intended 
to close the poem called l Cupid ' printed above on page 
108.) 

XIV 

'Twas the Greek's love of war 

Turned Cupid into a boy, 
And woman into a statue of stone, 

And away flew every joy. 



THE ISLAND IN THE MOON 



This was Blake's most sustained attempt at mere mockery, 
apart from resentment, a word here to be used further on to 
group the splenetic fragments of doggerel and epigram which 
he wrote later in life with some personal heat, and mainly to 
relieve his feelings. The 'Island in the Moon' was begun as a 
book — a real printable attempt at sarcasm. In a long rambling 
series of Platonic dialogues, interspersed with songs, evening- 
parties in literary drawing-rooms are represented and ridi- 
culed. The work breaks off as it drifts into a higher poetic 
vein, some of the ' Songs of Innocence ' being found in the last 
pages. This dates it, and had the verses of the earlier scenes 
been intended as poetry in earnest, they should have been 
placed in this collection next after the ' Poetical Sketches.' 

The manuscript is in the library of Mr. Fairfax Murray, 
by whose kindness the first printed account of it appeared in 
Quaritch's edition of Blake's Works. He has permitted the 
present production of all the rhymed portions. The Platonic 
dialogue also, as far as it goes, deserves one day to be printed 
in its entirety. 



MR. QUID'S FIRST SONG 

Little Phoebus came strutting in 
With his fat belly and his round chin. 
What is it you would please to have ? 

Ho ! Ho ! 
I won't let it go at only so so ! 
Honour and Genius is all I ask, — 
And I ask the gods no more. 

Chorus, by the \ No more ! No more ! 
Three Philosophers. J No more ! No more ! 

154 



THE ISLAND IN THE MOON 155 

MR. QUID'S SECOND SONG 



When old corruption first begun. 

Adorned in yellow vest, 
He committed on flesh a whoredom — 

O, what a wicked beast ! 



From there a callow babe did spring, 
And old corruption smiled 

To think his race should never end, 
For now he had a child. 



He called him Surgery, and fed 
The babe with his own milk. 

For flesh and he could ne'er agree : 
She would not let him suck. 



And this he always kept on mind, 
And formed a crooked knife, 

And ran about with bloody hands, 
To seek his mother's life. 



And as he ran to seek his mother 
He met with a dead woman. 

He fell in love and married her : 
A deed that is not common. 



She soon grew pregnant, and brought forth 

Scurvy and spotted fever. 
The father grinn'd and skipt about, 

And said, — ' I 'm made for ever ! 



156 BLAKE'S POEMS 



( For now I have procured these imps 

I'll try experiments.* 
With that he tied poor scurvy down, 

And stopt up all its vents. 



And when the child began to swell, 

He shouted out aloud, — 
' I 've found the dropsy out, and soon 

Shall do the world more good.' 



He took up fever by the neck, 

And cut out all its spots ; 
And thro' the holes which he had made 

He first discovered guts. 



EPITAPH 

{Quoted or composed by Mr. Steelyard.) 

Hear then the pride and knowledge of a sailor, 
His sprit-sail, fore-sail, main-sail, and his mizen : 
A poor frail man, — Got wot I know none frailer, 
I know no greater sinner than John Tailor. 



MISS GITTIPIN'S SONG 

i 

Phcebe dressed like beauty's queen, 
Jellicoe in faint pea-green, 
Sitting all beneath a grot, 
Where the little lambkins trot. 



THE ISLAND IN THE MOON 157 



Maidens dancing ; — lovers sporting ; 
All the country folks a-courting, 
Susan, Johnny, Bob and Joe, 
Lightly tripping on a row. 



Happy people, who can be 
In happiness compared to ye? 
The pilgrim, with his crook and hat, 
Sees your happiness complete. 



AN ANTHEM 



1st voice, Mr. Suction. 



So the bat with leathern wing 

Winking and blinking, 

Winking and blinking, 

Winking and blinking, 
Like Dr. Johnson. 

2nd voice, Mr. Quid. 

O ho, said Dr. Johnson 

To Scipio Africanus, 
If you don't own me a philosopher, 

I '11 kick your Roman * * * * 

1st voice, Mr. Suction. 

Ah ha, to Dr. Johnson, 

Said Scipio Africanus, 
****** my Roman petticoat, 

And kiss my Roman * * * * 

( The asterisks are not Blake's. They represent an indecorous 
suggestion and a Latin word rhyming with 'Africanus.') 



158 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Grand Chorus. Want matches ? 
Yes, yes, yes. 
Want matches ? 
No! 



MRS. NANNICATCHPOL'S SONG 

I cry my matches as far as Guildhall ; 
God bless the Duke and his aldermen all. 



MR. STEELYARD'S SONG 

As I walked forth one May morning 
To see the fields so pleasant and gay, 
Oh there did I spy a young Meadow-sweet, 
Among the violets that smell so sweet, 

Smell so sweet, 

Smell so sweet, 
Among the violets that smell so sweet. 



MISS GITTIPIN'S SECOND SONG 

A frog he would a-wooing ride, 
Kitty alone, — Kitty alone ; 

This frog he would a-wooing ride, 
Kitty alone and I. 

Sing, cock, I carry Kitty alone, 
Kitty alone, Kitty alone, 
Kitty alone and I. 



THE ISLAND IN THE MOON 159 



THE JOVIAL MAN'S ITALIAN SONG 



Fra ra so bo ro, 

Fa ra bo ra, 

Fa ra za ba rara boro, etc. 



MR. QUID'S THIRD SONG 



Hail, Matrimony, made of love, 
To thy wide gates how great a drove 
On purpose to be yoked do come, 
Widows and maids and youths also, 
That lightly trip on beauty's toe, 
Or sit on beauty's b . . . 



Hail, finger-footed lovely creatures, 
The females of our human natures, 
Formed to suckle all mankind. 
'Tis you that come in time of need : 
Without you we should never breed, 
Or any comfort find. 



For if a damsel's blind or lame, 
Or Nature's hand has crooked her frame, 
Or if she's deaf, or is wall-eyed, 
Some friend or iover she shall find 
That panteth for a bride. 



The universal poultice this 
To cure whatever is amiss, 



160 BLAKE'S POEMS 

In damsel or in widow gay, 

It makes them smile, it makes them skip, 

Like birds just cured of the pip, 

They chirp and hop away. 



Then come, ye maidens, come, ye swains. 
Come and he cured of all your pains 
In Matrimony's golden cage. 



MR. OBTUSE ANGLE'S SONG 



To be or not to be 

Of great capacity, 

Like Sir Isaac Newton, 

Or Locke, or Doctor South, 

Or Sherlock upon Death, — 

I 'd rather be Sutton. 



For he could build a house 
For aged man or youth 
With walls of brick or stone ; 
He furnished it within 
With whatever he could win. 
And all his own. 



He drew out of the stocks 
His money in a box, 
And sent his servant 
To Green the bricklayer, 
And to the carpenter, 
He was so fervent. 



THE ISLAND IN THE MOON 161 



The chimneys were three score, 
The windows many more, 
And for convenience 
He sinks and gutters made, 
And all the way he paved, 
To hinder pestilence. 



Was not this a good man, 
Whose life was but a span, 
Whose name was Sutton — 
Like Locke, or Doctor South, 
Or Sherlock upon Death, 
Or Sir Isaac Newton ? 



MR. STEELYARD'S SONG 

This city and this country has brought forth many 

Mayors 
To sit in state and give forth Laws out of their old 

oak chairs, 
With face as brown as any nut with drinking of 

strong ale — 
Old English hospitality, O then it did not fail. 

With scarlet gowns and broad gold lace, would make 

a yeoman sweat ; 
With stockings rolled above their knees, and shoes 

as black as jet ; 
With eating beef and drinking beer, O they were 

stout and hale — 
Old English hospitality, O then it did not fail. 

Thus sitting at the table wide the Mayor and the 

Aldermen 
Were fit to give laws to the city : each eat as much 

as ten. 

YQL. I. X* 



162 BLAKE'S POEMS 

The hungry poor entered the hall to eat good beef 

and ale — 
Good English hospitality, O then it did not fail. 



MR. OBTUSE ANGLE'S SONG 

This song is here omitted, as it will be found under the 
title 'Holy Thursday' among the 'Songs of Innocence,' 



MRS. NANNICANTRIP'S SONG 

This song also omitted, as it will be found under the title 
' The JVurse's Song ' among the ' Songs of Innocence. ' 



MR. QUID'S SONG 

This will be found under the title ' The Little Boy Lost ' 
among the ' Songs of Innocence. ' 



TILLY SALLY'S SONG 

Oh I say, Joe, 
Throw up the ball, 
I 've a good mind to go 
And leave you all 

To bowl the ball in a t d, 

And to clean it with my handkecher, 
Without saying a word ! 

That Bill 's a foolish fellow, — 
[A line here absolutely obliterated in the MS. ] 
He has given me a black eye ; 
He does not know how to handle a bat 
Any more than a dog or cat. 
He has knocked down the wicket 
And broke the stumps, 
And run without shoes to save his pumps. 



THE ISLAND IN THE MOON 163 

MISS GITTIPIN'S SONG 



Leave, O leave me to my sorrow, 
Here I '11 sit and fade away 
Till I 'm nothing but a spirit, 
And I love this form of clay. 



Then if chance along this forest 

Any walk in pathless ways, 

Through the gloom he '11 see my shadow, 

Hear my voice upon the breeze. 

MR. SCOPPREL'S SONG 

There 's Doctor Clash 
And Signor Falasarole, — 
Oh, they sweep in the cash 
Into their purse bowl. 

Fa mi sol ! fa mi pol ! 
Great A, little a, 
Bouncing B ! 
Play away, play away : 
You 're out of the key. 

Musicians should have 
A pair of very good ears 
And long fingers and thumbs, 
And not like clumsy bears. 

Fa me sol, fa sol la sol, 
Gentlemen, gentlemen, 
Rap, rap, rap ! 
Fiddle, fiddle, fiddle ! 
Clap, clap, clap. 
Fa me sol ! fa me sol J 



164 BLAKE'S POEMS 



MR. SIPSOFS SONG 



A crowned king 

On a white horse sitting, 

With his trumpet sounding 

And banners flying ; 

Through the clouds of smoke he makes his way. 

And the shout of his thousands fills the heart 

with rejoicing and victory, 
And the shout of his thousands fills the heart 

with rejoicing and victory. 
Victory ! Victory ! 'Twas William the Prince of 

Orange. 

[The manuscript breaks off suddenly in the middle 
of a page.] 



RESENTMENTS 



{The dates of these are all from about 1800 to 1808. The titles 
when in parentheses are conjectural. The rest are Blake's. ) 

(AFTER TOO MUCH 'KLOPSTOCK') 

(Unfinished; no title. Not decent in lines three and four. 
The rest of the gaps are where the manuscript is totally 
illegible or obliterated by Blake.) 

When Klopstock England defied, 
Up rose William Blake in his pride 
For old Nobodaddy. . . . 

Then swore a great oath that would make 

heaven quake, 
And called aloud to English Blake. 
Blake was away. His body was free 
At Lambeth beneath the poplar tree. 
From Lambeth then shouted he, 
And . . . three times three. 
The moon at that blushed fiery red ; 
The stars threw down their spears and fled. 

Astonished felt the intrippled turn, 

And all his bowells began to yearn, 

His bowells turned round three times three, 

And locked in his soul with a golden key, 

That from his body it never could be 

Till the last j udgment. . . . 

Then again old Nobodaddy swore 

He never had seen such a thing before 

165 



166 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Since Noah was shut in the ark, — 
Since Eve first ... her hell-found spark, 
Since 'twas the fashion to go naked, 
Since the old . . . was created, 



TO NOBODADDY 

Why art thou silent and invisible, 

Father of Jealousy ? 
Why dost thou hide thyself in clouds 

From every passing eye ? 

Why darkness and obscurity 

In all thy words and laws, 

That none can eat the fruit 

But from the wily serpent's jaws ? 

Or is it because Jealousy 

Gives Feminine applause ? 



LACEDEMONIAN INSTRUCTION 

Come hither, boy : what see you there ? 
A fool caught in a religious snare. 



AN ANSWER TO THE PARSON 

Why of the sheep do you not learn peace ? 
Because I don't want you to shear my fleece. 



TO GOD 

If you have formed a circle to go into, 

Go into it yourself, and see what you would do. 



RESENTMENTS 167 

(A CRY) 

(From a letter, August 1803.) 

Oh why was I born with a different face ? 
Why was I not born like this envious race? 
If I look, each one starts : if I speak I offend ; 
Then I 'm silent and passive and lose every friend. 

Then my verse I dishonour, my pictures despise, 
My person degrade, and my temper chastise ; 
And the pen is my terror, the pencil my shame ; 
All my talents I bury, and dead is my fame. 

I am either too low, or too highly prized. 

When elate I'm envied ; when meek I'm despised. 



(AN ALTERNATIVE) 

Great things are done when men and mountains meet; 
These are not done by jostling in the street. 



MR. STOTHARD TO MR. CROMEK 

For Fortune's favours you your riches bring, 
But Fortune says she gave you no such thing. 
Why should you be unfaithful to your friends, - 
Sneaking and backbiting, and odds and ends ? 



MR. CROMEK TO MR. STOTHARD 

Fortune favours the brave — old proverbs say — 
But not with money — that is not her way : 
Turn back, turn back, you travel all in vain ; 
Turn through the iron gate, down sneaking lane. 



168 BLAKE'S POEMS 



ON F AND I- 



I found them blind, I taught them how to see, 
And now they know neither themselves nor me. 
'Tis excellent to turn a thorn to a pin, 
A fool to a bolt, a knave to a glass of gin. 

TO F . (Flaxman) 

You call me mad, 'tis folly to do so, 
To seek to turn a madman to a foe. 
If you think as you speak, you are an ass, 
If you do not, you are but as you was. 



(HAYLEY AGAIN) 

When H y finds out what you cannot do, 

That is the very thing he'll set you to. 

If you break not your back 'tis not his fault, 

But pecks of poison are not pecks of salt. 



ON HAYLEY 

To forgive enemies H does pretend 

Who never in his life forgave a friend, 
And when he could not act upon my wife, 
Hired a villain to bereave my life. 



TO H . (Hayley) 

Thy friendship oft has made my heart to ache 
Do be my enemy for friendship's sake. 



ON H , THE PICK THANK. (Hayley) 

I write the rascal thanks till he and I 

With thanks and compliments are quite drawn dry. 



RESENTMENTS 169 



(? STOTHARD) 



Some men created for destruction come 
Into the world, to make the world their home. 
For they are vile and base as e'er they can, 
They'll still be called, The World's Honest Man. 



ON S . (Stothabd) 

You say reserve and modesty he has, 

Whose heart is iron, his head wood, and his face brass. 

The fox, the owl, the beetle, and the bat, 

By sweet reserve and modesty get fat. 



(PROTESTS) 



Some people admire the work of a fool, 
For it's sure to keep your judgment cool : 
It does not reproach you with want of wit ; 
It is not like a lawyer serving a writ. 



My title as a genius thus is proved, 

Not praised by Hayley or by Flaxman loved. 



And in melodious accents I 
Will sit me down and cry I ! I ! 

(CROMEK SPEAKS) 

I always take my judgments from a fool, 
Because his judgments are so very cool. 
Not prejudiced by feelings great or small 
Amiable state : he cannot feel at all. 



170 BLAKE'S POEMS 



(A HINT) 



The errors of a wise man make your rule 
Rather than the perfections of a fool. 



(ART SCHOOL WORK) 

The cripple every step smudges and labours 

And says : f Come, learn to walk of me, good 

Neighbours.' 
Sir Joshua in astonishment cries out, 
See what great labour ! pain in modest doubt ! 
(His pains are more than others, there's no doubt, 
He walks and stumbles as if he crep (sic) 
And how high finished is every step ! 
Newton and Bacon ! Being badly nursed, 
He 's all experiment from last to first. 

(? TO HAYNES) 

The Sussex men are noted fools, 
And weak in their brain pan. 

I wonder if H the painter 

Is not a Sussex man ? 

(? HAYNES) 

Madman, I have been called. Fool, they call thee. 
I wonder which they envy, thee or me ? 

TO H- . (? Haynes) 

You think Fuseli 's not a great painter. I 'm glad. 
This is one of the best compliments he ever had. 

(? HAYNES OR HAYLEY) 

Op H 's birth there was the happy lot ; 

His mother on his father him begot. 



RESENTMENTS 171 



(REYNOLDS) 

Can there be anything more mean, 
More malice in disguise ; 
Than praise a man for doing what 
That man does most despise? 
Reynolds lectures exactly so 
When he praises Michel Angelo. 



(STOTHARD) 

S- , in childhood, upon the nursery floor, 

Was extreme old and most extremely poor. 
He has grown old, and rich, and what he will. 
He is extreme old, and extreme poor still. 



TO NANCY F . (Flaxman) 

How can I help thy husband's copying me? 
Should that make difference 'twixt thee and me ? 



TO CR . (Cromek) 

A petty, sneaking knave I knew. 
Oh, Mr. Cromek, how d' you do ? 



CR . (Cromek) 

Cr loves artists as he loves his meat. 

He loves the Art — but 'tis the art to cheat. 



172 BLAKE'S POEMS 

ON THE GREAT ENCOURAGEMENT GIVEN BY 
THE ENGLISH NOBILITY AND GENTRY 

to correggio, rubens, rembrandt, reynolds, 
Gainsborough, Catelaine, Ducrowe, 

AND DlLBURY DoODLE 



As the ignorant Savage will sell his own wife 

For a button, a buckle, a bead, or a knife, 

So the wise savage Englishman gives his whole fortune 

For a smear, or a squall, to destroy pictures or tune. 



Give Pensions to the learned pig, 
Or the hare playing on a Tabor ; 
Bunglers can never see perfection 
But in the journeyman's labour. 



And I call upon Colonel Warble 

To give these rascals a dose of caudle. 



(ARTIST MADMEN) 

All pictures that 's painted with sense and with thought 
Are painted by madmen, as sure as a groat. 
For the greater the fool is, the pencil more blest, 
As when they are drunk they always paint best. 
They never can Raphael it, Fuseli it, or Blake it, 
If they can't see an outline, pray how can they make it? 
When men will draw outlines begin you to jaw them; 
Madmen see outlines, and therefore they draw them. 



RESENTMENTS 173 

ENGLISH ENCOURAGERS OF ART 

Cbomek's Opinion put into Rhyme 

If you mean to please everybody you will 

Set to work both ignorance and skill. 

For a great multitude are ignorant, 

And skill to them seems raving and rant. 

Like putting oil and water into a lamp, 

'Twill make a great splutter with smoke and damp. 

For there is no use, as it seems to me, 

For lighting a lamp, when you don't wish to see. 

(Later) 
You say their pictures well painted be, 
And yet they are blockheads, you all agree. 
Thank heaven I never was sent to school 
To be flogged into following the style of a fool. 

(THE WASHERWOMAN'S SONG) 

I washed them out, I washed them in : 
And they told me it was a great sin. 

(FROM A LOST BOOK) 

Delicate hands and heads will never appear 

While Titian, etc., — as in the Book of Moonlight, 1. 5. 

(The editor has inquired, without success, for any trace of 
this lost Book. It is not mentioned again by Blake, and this 
fragmentary allusion only remains to show us that — though it 
has been doubted — Blake really intended these sad epigrams 
for publication. ) 

TO I D 

You all your life observed the golden rule, 

Till you're at last become the golden fool. 

I sport with fortune, merry, blythe and gay, 

Like to the lion sporting with his prey. 

You have the hide and horns which you may wear ; 

Mine is the flesh — the bones may be your share. 



174 BLAKE'S POEMS 

(HINTS FOR ARTISTS OR THEIR FRIENDS) 



When you look at a picture you always can see 
If a man of sense has painted he. 
Then, never flinch, but keep up a jaw 
About freedom, and Jenny sink awa' ! 
As when it smells of the lamp, all can 
Say all was owing to the skilful man. 
For the smell of water is but small : 
So e'en let ignorance do it all. 



When I see a Rembrandt or Correggio, 

I think of crippled Harry or slobbering Joe, 

And then I say to myself, are artists' rules 

To be drawn from the works of two manifest fools? 

Then God defend us from the arts, I say, 

Send battle, murder, sudden death, we pray. 

Rather than be such a human fool 

I 'd be a hog, a worm, a chair, a stool. 



Call that the public voice which is their error 
Like to a monkey peeping in a mirror, — 
Admire all his colours, warm and brown, 
And never once perceives his ugly form. 



Anger and wrath my bosom rends, 
1 thought them the errors of friends ; 
But all my limbs with warmth do glow, 
I find them the errors of the foe. 



At a friend's errors anger show, 
Mirth at the errors of a foe. 



RESENTMENTS 175 



I 'vk given great provision to my foes, 

And now I '11 lead my false friends by the nose. 



These are Idiots' chiefest arts, 

To blend and not define the parts. 

To make out the parts is the wise man's aim, 

But to loose them the fool makes his foolish aim. 



The swallow sings in courts of kings, 
That fools have their high finishings, 
And this the Prince's golden rule, 
The laborious stumble of a fool. 



(FRIENDSHIPS) 



The only man I ever knew 

Who did not almost make me spue 

Was Fuseli : (He was) both Turk and Jew. 

And so, dear Christian (friends), how do you do ? 



Oh, this is being a friend just in the nick, 
Not when he's well, but waiting till he's sick. 
He calls you to his help,— but you 're not moved, 
Until by being sick his wants are proved. 

in 

You see him spend his soul in prophecy. 
Do you believe it a confounded lie, 
Till some bookseller, and the public tame, 
Proves there is truth in his extravagant claim ? 



176 BLAKE'S POEMS 



Isn't it atrocious for a friend you love 
To tell you anything that he can't prove ? 
And 'tis most wicked in a Christian Nation 
For any one to pretend to inspiration. 



False friends cry fie! on friendship: you shan't sever; 
In spite we will be greater friends than ever. 



(THE SUMMING-UP) 

He 's a blockhead who wants a proof of what he 

can't perceive, 
And he 's a fool who tries to make such a blockhead 

believe. 



TO F . (? Flaxman) 



I mock thee not, though I by thee am mocked, 
Thou call'st me madman, but I call thee blockhead. 



You don't believe : I won't attempt to make ye. 
You are asleep ; I won't attempt to wake ye. 
Sleep on, sleep on, while in your pleasant dreams 
Of Reason, you may drink of Life s clear streams, 
Reason and Newton : they are quite two things, 
For so the swallow, and the sparrow sings. 



Reason says ' Miracle ! ' Newton says ' Doubt, 
Ay, that 's the way to make all nature out. 
Doubt, doubt, and don't believe without experiment ; 
That is the very thing that Jesus meant 
When He said, "Only believe, believe and try ; 
Try, try, and never mind the reason why. 



RESENTMENTS 177 

(SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS) 



Sir Joshua praises Rubens with a smile 

By calling his the ornamental style, 

And yet his praise of Flaxman was the smartest 

When he called him the ornamental artist. 



But, sure, such ornament we well may spare, 
As crooked limbs or filthy heads of hair. 



Sir Joshua praises Michael Angelo — 
'Tis Christian charity when knaves praise so — 
But 'twould be madness, all the world would say, 
Should Michael Angelo praise Sir Joshua. 
Christ used the Pharisees a rougher way. 



No real style of colouring now appears, 
But advertising in the Newspapers. 
Look here, you '11 see Sir Joshua's colouring ; 
Look at his pictures : all has taken wing. 



The villain at the gallows tree 
When he is doomed to die, 

To assuage his bitter misery 
In virtue's praise does cry. 



So Reynolds, when he came to die, 

To assuage his bitter woe, 
Thus aloud did howl and cry : 

' Michael Angelo ! Michael Angelo ! ' 



178 BLAKE'S POEMS 



When Joshua Reynolds died 
All Nature was degraded. 
The King dropped a tear 
Into the Queen's ear, 
And all his pictures faded. 



FLORENTINE INGRATITUDE 

Sir Joshua sent his own portrait to 

The birthplace of Michael Angelo, 

And in the hand of the simpering fool 

He put a dirty paper scroll. 

And on the paper — to be polite — 

Did — ' Sketches by Michael Angelo ' write. 

The Florentines said, ' 'Tis a Dutch-English-bore ; 

Michael Angelo's name writ on Rembrandt's door.' 

The Florentines call it an English fetch ; 

Michael Angelo never did sketch. 

Every line of his has meaning, 

And needs neither suckling nor weaning. 

Giotto's circle or Apelles' line 

Were not the work of sketchers with wine^ 

Nor of the city clerk's running hand fashion, 

Nor of Sir Isaac Newton's calculation, 

(Nor of the city clerk's idle futilities 

Which sprang of Sir Isaac Newton's great abilities. ) 

It will set his Dutch friends all in a roar 

To write ' Michael Angelo' on Rembrandt's door. 

But you must not bring in your hand a lie 

If you mean the Florentines should buy. 

(Postscript) 

These verses were written by a very envious man 
Who, whatever likeness he may have to Michael 
Angelo, 
Can never have any to Sir Jehoshuan. 



RESENTMENTS 179 



TO THE ROYAL ACADEMY 

A strange erratum in all the editions 
Of Sir Joshua Reynolds' lectures, 

Should be corrected by the young gentlemen, 
And the Royal Academy Directors. 

Instead of Michael Angelo 

Read Rembrandt, for it is fit 
To make mere common honesty 

Of all that he has writ. 



(PATRONAGE) 
To come in ' Barry : A Poem. 
(This poem has not yet been found.) 



I asked my dear friend Orator Prig, 

'What's the first thing in oratory?' He said: 'A 

great Wig.' 
' And what is the second ? ' Then dancing a jig 
And bowing profoundly, he said : ' A great Wig.' 
' And what is the third ? ' Then he snored like a pig, 
And thrust out his cheeks, and replied : ' A great Wig.' 



So, if to a painter the question you push, 

' What 's the first part of painting ? ' he 'd say, ' 1 

paint brush.' 
' And what is the second ? ' with most modest blush 
He '11 smile like a cherub, and say, ' A paint brush.' 
'And what is the third ? ' He will bow like a rush, 
With a leer in his eye, and reply, f A paint brush.' 



Perhaps this is all that a painter can want, 

But look yonder ; that house is the house of Rembrandt. 



180 BLAKE'S POEMS 



O dear mother Outline, of wisdom most sage, 
'What's the first part of painting?' She said, 

'Patronage.' 
' And what is the second — to please and engage ? ' 
She frowned like a fury, and said, 'Patronage.' 
' And what is the third ? ' She put off old age, 
And smiled like a Syren, and said, ' Patronage.' 



(A SARCASM) 

That God is colouring, Newton does show, 
And the devil is a black outline all of us know. 



(THE TWO ARTS) 

Some look to see the sweet outlines 

And beauteous forms that love does wear. 

Some look to find out patches, paint, 
Bracelets and stays and powdered hair. 



TO VENETIAN ARTISTS 

Perhaps this little fable may make us merry. 

A dog went over the water without a wherry. 

A bone which he had stolen he had in his mouth, 

He cared not whether the wind was north or south. 

As he swam he saw the reflection of the bone. 

This is quite perfection — generalising tone ! 

Snap ! snap ! — and lost the substance and shadow too. 

He had both these before. Now how d' ye do ? 

Those who have tasted colouring, love it more and more. 



(PATRIOTIC ART) 

' Now Art has lost its mental charms, 
France shall subdue the world in arms. 



RESENTMENTS 181 

So spoke an Angel at my birth, 

Then said — ' Descend thou on the earth. 

Renew the Arts on Britain's shore 

And France shall fall down and adore. 

With works of art her armies meet, 

And war shall sink beneath thy feet. 

But if thy nation arts refuse, 

And if they scorn the immortal muse, 

France shall the arts of Peace restore 

And save thy works from Britain's shore.' 



TO ENGLISH CONNOISSEURS 

You must agree that Rubens was a fool, 
And yet you make him master of your school, 
And give more money for his slobberings 
Than you will give for Raphael's finest things. 

Raphael sublime, majestic, graceful, wise, — 
His executive powers must I despise ? 
Rubens low, vulgar, stupid, ignorant, 
His executive powers must I grant? 



(ON THE CHRIST OF REUBENS) 

I understood Christ was a carpenter, 
And not a brewer's servant, my good sir. 



(THE STYE OF REUBENS) 

Swelled limbs with no outline that you can descry, 
That stink in the nose of the passer-by, 
But all the pulp washed, painted, finished with labour, 
Of a hundred journeymen : — How do you do, good 
neighbour? 



182 BLAKE'S POEMS 

A PRETTY EPIGRAM FOR THE ENCOURAGE- 
MENT OF THOSE WHO HAVE GREAT 
SUMS IN THE VENETIAN AND FLEMISH 
OOZE 

Nature and Art in this together suit, 
What is most grand is always most minute. 
Rubens thinks tables, chairs, and stools are grand, 
And Raphael thinks a head, a foot, a hand. 

(THE SEQUEL) 
Raphael, sublime, majestic, graceful, wise — 
His executive powers must I despise? 
Rubens — low, vulgar, stupid, ignorant — 
His powers of execution must I grant? 
Go send your children to the slobbering school 
To learn the laborious stumble of a fool. 

(THE CONTRAST) 
Rubens was a statesman and a saint. 
Deceptions ? And so I '11 learn to paint. 

(A RESOLUTION) 

Having given great offence by writing prose, 

I '11 write in verse as soft as Bartoloze. 

Some blush at what others can see no crime in, 

But nobody sees any harm in rhyming. 

Dryden in rhyme cries ' Milton only planned.' 

Every fool shook his bells throughout the land. 

Tom Cook cut Hogarth down with his clean graving : 

Thousands of connoisseurs with joy ran raving. 

Thus Hayley, on his toilet seeing the soap, 

Cries — ' Homer is very much improved by Pope.' 

Some say I've given provision to my foes, 

And now I lead my false friends by the nose. 

Flaxman and Stothard, smelling a sweet savour, 

Cry — ' Blakefied drawing spoils painter and engraver,' 

While I, looking up to my umbrella, 

Resolved to be a very contrary fellow, 






RESENTMENTS 183 

Cry, looking quite from circumference to centre, 

'No one can finish so high as the original inventor.' 

Then poor Schiavonetti died of the Cromek, 

A thing that 's tied about the Examiner's neck. 

This is my sweet apology to my friends, 

That I may put them in mind of their latter ends. 



(SOME EPITAPHS) 



Come, knock your heads against this stone, 
For sorrow that poor John Thompson 's gone. 



I was buried near this dyke, 

That my friends may weep as much as they like. 



Here lies John Trot, the friend of all mankind, 
He has not left one enemy behind. 
Friends were quite hard to find, old authors say, 
But now they stand in everybody's way. 



(A POSTSCRIPT TO POPE'S COUPLET) 

When France got free, Europe 'twixt fools and knaves 
Were savage first to France, and after, slaves. 



(A WARNING) 

I am no Homeric hero, you all know, 

I profess not generosity to a foe. 

The generous to enemies promote their ends, 

And becomes the enemy and betrayer of his friends. 



184 BLAKE'S POEMS 

ADVICE TO POPES WHO SUCCEEDED THE 
AGE OF RAPHAEL 

Degrade first the arts, would you nations degrade ; 
Hire idiots to paint with cold light and hot shade ; 
Give high price for the worsts leave the hest in 

disgrace, 
And with labour of idleness fill every place. 

A WARNING 

When nations grow old, 

The arts grow cold, 

And commerce settles on every tree ; 

And the poor and the old 

Can live upon gold, 

For all are born poor. (Aged sixty-three.) 

(ENEMIES AND IRONY) 



Cosway, Fraser, and Baldwin of Egypt's lake, 
Fear to associate with Blake. 
This life is a warfare against evils ; 
They heal the sick, he casts out devils. 
Hayley, Flaxman, and Stothard are also in doubt 
Lest their virtue should be put to the rout. 
One grins, another spits and in corners hides, 
And all the virtuous have shaved their b sides. 

(HIS TITLE) 

My title as a Genius thus is proved, 

Not praised by Hayley nor by Flaxman loved. 



RESENTMENTS 186 



Key to the characters in the following doggerel — 
conjectured. Not Blake's own. 

Death (in a disguise), . . Blake. 

Bob Screwmuch (the Man of Men), Robert Cromek. 

Felpham Billy, . . . William Hayley. 

Quibble, ..... Hayley's Lawyer. 

Billy's Dragoon, . . . Schofield. 
Jack Hemp — called 'Yorkshire 

Jack,' ..... John Flaxman. 

Cur, ...... Stothard's Lawyer. 

Daddy — 'Jack Hemp's Parson,' . Dr. Malchin. 

The souls of Stothard and Blake: their works of 
art on the ' Canterbury Pilgrims.' 

{The beginning is lost. There is only this fragment.) 

Stothard (loq. ) And his legs covered it like a long fork 
Reached all the way from Chichester to York, 
From York across Scotland to the sea, — 
That was a Man of Men, as seems to me. 
Not only in his mouth his own soul lay, 
But my soul also would he bear away. 
Like as a pedlar bears his weary pack, 
He would bear my soul buckled to his back. 
But once, alas ! committing a mistake, 
He bore the wretched soul of William Blake, 
That he might turn it into eggs and gold, 
But neither back nor mouth those eggs could hold. 
His under jaw dropped as those eggs he laid, 
And all my eggs are addled and decayed. 
O that I never had seen William Blake, 
Or could from Death Assassinette (sic) awake ! 
W r e thought — alas, that such a thought could be ! — 
That Blake would etch for him and draw for me, 
For 'twas a kind of bargain Screwmuch made, 
That Blake's design should be by us displayed, 



186 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Because he makes designs so very cheap. 

Then Screwmuch at Blake's soul took a long leap. 

'Twas not a mouse, 'twas Death in a disguise. 

And I, alas ! live to weep out my eyes. 

And Death sits laughing on their monuments 

On which he's written — 'Received the contents.' 

But I have writ, so sorrowful my thought is, 

His epitaph, for my tears are aquafortis. 

'Come, Artists, knock your head against this stone, 

For sorrow that our friend Bob Screwmuch'sgone.' 

And now the muses in me smile and laugh, 

I '11 also write mine own dear epitaph ; 

And I '11 be buried near a dyke, 

That my friends may weep as much as they like — 

' Here lies Stothard, the Friend of all Mankind, 

Who has not left one enemy behind.' 



The fragment ends here. It is satisfactory to be able to 
gather, by the fact that the epitaphs were cut out of it and 
written separately to be exhibited (without even the nick- 
names here used) for their own wit, that Blake gave up the 
idea of publishing this. A last fragment from the same note- 
book : — 



The Examiner, whose very name is Hunt, 

Called 'Death' a madman; trembling for the 

affront, 
Like trembling hare, he sits on his weekly paper 
On which he used to dance and shout and caper. 
And — Yorkshire Jack Hemp, and Quibble blushing 

saw — 
Clapped Death into the corner of his jaw, 
And Felpham Billy rode out every morn, 
Horseback with Death, over the fields of corn, 
Who, with iron hand, cuff'd in the afternoon 
The ears of Billy's lawyer and dragoon. 
And Cur, my lawyer, and Daddy, Jack Hemp's 

parson, 
Both went to law with Death to keep our ears on. 



RESENTMENTS 187 

For now to starve Death we had laid a plot 
Against his price ; but death was in the pot. 
He made him pay his price, — alack-a-day ! 
He knew both law and gospel better than they. 



Was I angry with Hayley who used me so ill, 
Or can I be angry with Felpham's old mill ? 
Or angry with Flaxman, or Cromek, or Stothard, 
Or poor Schiavonetti whom they to death bothered, 
Or angry with Malchin, or Boydel, or Bowyer, 
Because they did not say, 'O what a beau ye are !'? 
At a friend's errors anger show, 
Mirth at the errors of a foe. 



(TWO LAST FRAGMENTS) 

(No date to be ascertained with any certainty. The key to 
the personal allusions and the bad English is lost.) 

When you look at a picture you always can see 

If a man of sense has painted he. 

Then never flinch but keep up a jaw 

About freedom and Jenny sink away ; 

As when it smells of the lamp all can 

Say it was owing to the skilful man, 

For the smell of water is but small, 

So e'en let ignorance do it all. 



Great men and fools do often me inspire, 
But the greater fool the greater liar. 



188 BLAKE'S POEMS 

After this period, personality, unsweetened by imagination 
or poetry or symbolism,, vanishes from Blake's writing, and 
all the rest was in a higher vein. He experienced revulsion of 
feeling when, after these misunderstandings, Hayley came for- 
ward, finding he was in trouble, and stood by him, and risked 
and spent money and character and peace for him while he 
was under trial on a false accusation of treason. This taught 
him, through gratitude and compunction, to be rid for ever of 
resentment, as a dangerous and foolish mood, best avoided, 
whether justified apparently at the moment or not. The 
'Epigrams,' however, must be well known and remembered 
constantly by any reader who wishes to enjoy and understand 
the inner meaning of the 'Everlasting Gospel,' and much of 
the 'Milton, ' 'Jerusalem, ' and ' Vala. ' They are the fiotsam and 
jetsam, the wreckage of once living troubles and excitements 
from ivhose death these poems arose, as in a new and better 
world. 

Of the titles given here to these fugitive rhymes collected 
under the editorial sub-heading 'Resentments,' those in 
parentheses are proposed for use merely because titles are con- 
venient for reference. Those not printed in parentheses are 
Blake's own, as they stand in his MS. book. 



THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL 



169 



THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL 



The probable date of most of this poem is 1810. But it was 
not all written at once. Part seems a little earlier. 

In Qilchrist's 'Life,' vol. ii. p. 96, a poem is printed called 
The "Woman taken in Adultery, described as Extracted from a 
Fragmentary Poem entitled ' The Everlasting Gospel.' 

This extract begins with twelve lines, to be referred to here 
in their place. They are not, properly, part of the poem at 
all. There should be fourteen lines to this first section, if it is 
to be understood as Blake meant it, but the third and fourth 
are quietly removed without any mark made to show that they 
had been dropped. This deceives the reader, because a few 
asterisks and a blank space later on seem to indicate where the 
first omission occurs in the straightforward and continuous 
presentation of the poem. 

The portion which follows appears to be a continuation, an 
extract from some longer work. There are forty -two lines of 
it. But once more the reader is deceived. In Blake's MS. 
this portion has fifty-seven lines. The suppressed sixteen are 
dropped out, some here, some there, and not a sign is made. 

The Aldine Edition of Blake's Poems appeared next with a 
much fuller and less misleading text. But even this is not 
free from very serious garbling. Had any indication of its 
alterations been given, or had it been entitled a selection or 
arrangement from the original, no complaint could have been 
made. But a footnote professed to give the poem in full. 

There are omissions, divisions, and rejoinings in it that are 
not marked, and that were neither necessary nor justifiable. 

Both as a key to much of Blake's mystical and symbolic 
method, and as a contribution to his biography, the poem is of 
very great interest and value. Not the least use was made of 
it in Gilchrist's 'Life' or in the Aldine Edition from either 
point of view, and the reader was not permitted to see a text 
that might have enabled him to do for himself what the editors 
and biographers had not done for him. 

This seems almost incredible, but neither Mr. Gilchrist nor 
the brothers Bossetti ever knew what the poem was about. In 

191 



192 BLAKE'S POEMS 

their treatment of it they were guided by mere fancy or per- 
sonal taste, working without comprehension and in a patron- 
ising spirit. 

It is true that Blake never properly prepared the original 
manuscript for the printer. He wrote it by Jits and starts, 
filling with it irregular blanks accidentally left in an already 
someivhat crowded note-book. He only partly sorted the frag- 
ments in any coherent order. Marginal numbers written by 
him against the lines here and there show that he made an 
attempt to do so, but his directions are not complete ; they do 
not include all the sections of the poem, and therefore a 
coherent and complete text, based on the authority of the 
author himself, is not to be obtained. The intervention of an 
editor is absolutely necessary if the poem is to be given to the 
public. 

But as in both the first two attempts to present it, whether for 
Mr. Macmillan by Mr. D. G., or for Mr. Bell by Mr. W. M. 
Rossetti, the reader had been treated with little frankness, and 
the author tvith little scrupulosity, the present editor, acting 
with Mr. Yeats, took an opposite course in the Quaritch 
edition of Blake's works. In this, vol. ii. pp. 42-60, all that 
could be found in Blake's MS., and all that could be con- 
jectured about the order of the lines and their date, was given 
so that the reader might at last edit the poem for himself, and 
come to his own conclusion both as to its order of composition 
and as to its meaning. In this way the feeling of distrust 
tvith which any one would have turned to a fresh form of the 
poem arranged by a new editor was avoided. This unsorted 
revelation of all the material of the poem having once been 
made did not need to be repeated, and on the next printing 
of the ' Everlasting Gospel ' a fresh attempt to get it into some 
sort of order which would have been approved by Blake, even 
if not originally intended by him, was certain to be 'made. 

For this task the account of the MS. , and the very full pre- 
sentment of its matter in the Quaritch edition, was practically 
sufficient. But though the original had been returned to its 
owner in America, a MS. copy made by the present writer 
remained, in which the arrangement of the lines was exactly 
reproduced, whether written in sequence, in reverse order, or 
sideways, whether tvith or without marginal numberings. The 
value of this consisted partly in the way in which the insertion 
of the fragments among other matter in the book offered hints 
by which their order and dates could be inferred. 

It happened that the next editor to whom the duty of dealing 
with the question fell was Mr. Yeats. To him the present 
editor passed his copy, as he records in a note, and he 
arranged from it the form of the poem printed by Messrs. 



THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL 193 

Lawrence and Bullen. In his editorial observations Mr. 
Teats says of it : — 

1 This poem is not given in full in the present book ; for it 
is not possible to do so without many repetitions, for Blake 
never made a final text. The ms. book contains three 
different versions of a large portion of the poem, and it is not 
possible to keep entirely to any one of them without sacrificing 
many fine passages. Blake left, however, pretty clear direc- 
tions for a great part of the text-making, and these directions 
were ignored by Mr. Rossetti.' 

Mr. Yeats also says of his own method of editing the poem 
that it omits 

'. . . a few fragmentary lines here and there, of whose 
place no indication is given,' 

adding that they are all to be found in the complete Quaritch 
edition. 

The present editor cannot now touch the work of his former 
collaborator without here paying a tribute to the ability with 
which his arrangement is made, and the conscientiousness 
with which it is described in the notes. Mr. Yeats was 
guided by considerations of readability and of space, and he 
viorked with a knowledge that he must needs produce a result 
a little short of perfection, because no critical skill and no 
poetic insight could make an ideally coherent and consecutive 
poem out of the material Blake left. WTiat Mr. Yeats did in 
his arrangement was never done so well before, and it is hardly 
to be supposed that it will be done any better by any one work- 
ing after him under similar conditions. 

In the present volumes the first consideration that guides 
the editor is completeness. Here therefore now follow the 
isolated fragments which were omitted, without disingenuous 
concealment, by Mr. Yeats. 

The first appears to have been intended as the opening of a 
sustained paragraph like those that have a similar style of 
commencement. It, however, went no further, and whatever 
caused the interruption, Blake did not resume the subject, and 
preferred to drop the lines. 

They are as follows : — 

' Did Jesus preach doubt, or did he 
Give any lessons in philosophy, 
Charge visionaries with deceiving 
And call men wise for not believing ? ' 

This was written in pencil, sideways, and in the same 
vol,, i, n 



194 BLAKE'S POEMS 

pencil, at the top of that page which contains the long passage 
beginning 'Was Jesus chaste,' we read, 

'This was spoken by my Spectre to Voltaire, Bacon,' etc., 

a note which probably only referred to the quatrain. 

Later in the poem is another quatrain, squeezed in sideways, 
as Blake was reading over his first draft of the portion, 
'Was Jesus humble,' etc. It is omitted from the fairer copy — 

' He who loves his enemies hates his friends, 
This surely is not what Jesus intends ; 
He must mean the mere love of civility, 
And so he must mean concerning humility.' 

Another fragment, in a slightly different metre, is found on 
a page containing no part of the MS. of the rest of ' The Ever- 
lasting Gospel.' Though written in tivo long lines, it perhaps 
is more naturally to be printed as a quatrain with a reitera- 
tion imbedded in it — 

' Nail his neck to the cross, 

Nail it with a nail : 
Nail his neck to the cross, 

Ye all have power over his tail.' 

There is another quatrain belonging to no part of the poem 
in particular. Its handwriting suggests that it was composed 
separately in an outburst of indignation one day when Blake 
had been turning over the leaves of his MS. : — 

1 "What can be done with those desperate fools 
Who follow after the heathen schools ? 
I was standing by when Jesus died. 
What they called Humility, I called pride.' 

All these quatrains are essentially separate poems, though 
they help the main subject, and could all be woven into the 
text with a little straining. To do so would somewhat violate 
literary propriety, as nautical propriety ivould be violated if 
we collected the sprit-sails of a ship and solved them on to the 
main-sail. 

Another fragment is more puzzling — 

' Seeing this false Christ, in fury and passion, 
I made my voice heard all over the nation. 
What are those,' etc, 



THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL 195 

So it breaks off. It seems by its handwriting and its place 
on the page to have been written immediately after the passage 
that begins ' Was Jesus chaste, ' and ends ' That never was 
meant for man to eat.' We have only the fragment, and it is 
not improbable that it was the opening of a long passage, now 
lost, that %vas written on a separate piece of paper, there being 
no room for it on the page, already crowded with other notes, 
sketches, and fragments of the poems. Blake often wrote bits 
belonging to long poems on separate scraps. This one may 
have been the opening of a portion lost through being written 
in this manner. 

The key to the meaning of the entire poem is perfectly 
simple. To comprehend it we need only remember that in 
Blake's view of the Christian doctrine, the Second Person of 
the Trinity voas, before all things, the Logos, a word which 
he translated Human Imagination, for without this, for us 
at least, 'was not anything made that was made.' Jesus of 
Nazareth lived and died to offer to the world a moving 
symbol, an allegorical figure not of marble, or of literary 
descriptive phrases, not of art or poetry, but of the same stuff 
as ourselves, if, indeed, it be not an error to look on ourselves 
as made of any stuff other than that of dreams. 

It was in connection with this portion of his Christianity 
that Blake found the life of any imaginary or poetic personage, 
even if invented entirely by himself, to have a sacredness such 
as v>e all attribute to human life, and it logically followed that 
to kill such a personage was a ' murder.' He used the word 
during his life, both in writing and conversation, in this non- 
popular and purely technical sense, more than once. He uses 
' adultery ' in a similarly symbolic manner. 

He wrote ' The Everlasting Gospel ' when raging against 
Stothard, whose design illustrating Chaucer's Canterbury 
Pilgrims was made under an arrangement with Cromek the 
publisher, with the intention of rivalling that on which he was 
engaged. He looked on the publisher's action as wicked, and 
on Stothard as unimaginative. Stothard' s view of imagination 
in its ' logos ' aspect — that is to say, his ' vision of Christ ' — 
was different in every way from Blake's own. In the dedica- 
tion of the poem to Stothard, the reference to the nose must be 
read with the remembrance that Blake held body to be a part of 
mind, made by mind, if perceived only by the five senses. 

Probably Blake saw later on that it was out of keeping w-ith 
the higher intention of his poem to write of the nose in this 
personal and hasty manner, and it is conceivable that he 
dropped the whole of the dedication from his poem for the sake 
of the second and third line, which Mr. Yeats omits with a, 
note, and the editor of ' Gilchrist ' without one. 



196 BLAKE'S POEMS 

This dedication was not labelled with any such word as 
' Proem,' ' Introduction, or ' Preludium,' and we find no 
place for it in the body of the work. Here it is : — 

' The Vision of Christ that thou dost see 
Is my vision's greatest enemy. 
Thine has a long hooked nose like thine, 
Mine has a snub nose like mine. 
Thine is the Friend of All Mankind, 
Mine speaks in parables to the blind. 
Thine loves the same world that mine hates, 
Thy heaven-doors are my hell-gates. 
Socrates taught what Melitus 
Loathed as a nation's bitterest curse, 
And Caiaphas was, in his own mind, 
A benefactor to mankind. 
Both read the Bible day and night, 
But thou read'st black where I read white.' 

In actual drawings Blake so far modified his 'vision of 
Christ ' as to lengthen the nose at least to the conventional pro- 
portion. Changing his will, he changed his vision. He always 
asserted that vision was, and should be, subject to will. Will 
alone, of all human attributes, must not be subjugated, though 
it may be improved and varied by inspiration 'of the Holy Ghost, 
or by the advice of a friend.' In this doctrine of the power 
of the will over vision, we find a refutation of the theory that 
Blake was mad, though he never himself put it forward for 
the purpose of vindicating his sanity. Compare 'Jerusalem,' 
p. 44, II. 1-20, and p. 92, I. 12. 

Blake seems to have begun to write the present poem merely 
as a plea, with Biblical sanction, for a wrathful and violent 
mood of mind under injuries. He was probably roused to it 
by being addressed (in some verses) by Hayley as 'gentle, 
visionary Blake. ' It has therefore no claim to the title that 
belongs to the second form of it only. 

The poem was therefore as much an outcome of resentment 
as most of the epigrams, or as the ' Screwmuch ' lines. But 
Blake's mind was in the act of liberating itself from the merely 
personal mood and rising to the imaginative. Or, in his 
way of understanding Biblical language, he was leaving the 
Satanic and entering the Christian state. To preach this and 
its only way of attainment, namely, by considering sin from 
so high a point of view that our minds can meet it with for- 
giveness, was actually and precisely the 'Everlasting Gospel.' 
He therefore gave this title to the remaining fragments, and 
dropped Part I. out of his scheme. In the writing of this 
first form of the poem, the appearance of the MS, suggests that 






THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL 197 

it was copied all at once into the MS. book after all the rest, 
from some scraps outside, in which the words themselves and the 
fact that they were outside, suggest that they must have formed 
an earlier and now rejected poem. Then the MS. book began 
to be used to jot down a new composition on the same subject. 

Readers wishing to follow Mr. Yeats' s treatment of this can 
do so by omitting the first twelve lines of it, and placing the 
remainder between the line ' When the soul slept in beams of 
light ' and ' Was Jesus chaste, or did he ' of the still frag- 
mentary second part. The only drawback to this arrangement 
is that it disguises the changes of mood under which Blake 
wrote by weaving a first mental impulse among the second 
thoughts that arose out of it and one complete poem among the 
fragments of another. The advantage of presenting as many 
'fine passages ' as possible from the author's MS. in the 
semblance of a single composition is rather dearly purchased. 
We lose a real and personal comprehension of the author him- 
self, which the present, or as it may be called the biographical, 
method of printing enables us to retain. 

Some differences may be seen between the text and that 
arranged by Mr. Yeats in the order of the lines in the second 
form of the poem that begins ' Was Jesus humble.' They are 
of secondary importance, and have been made unwillingly 
after much revision. 

First Form : without Title 



Was Jesus gentle, or did He 
Give any marks of gentility ? 
When twelve years old He ran away, 
And left His parents in dismay. 
j When after three days' sorrow found, 

Loud as Sinai's trumpet's sound, — 
' No, earthly parents, I confess 
My heavenly Father's business. 
Ye understand not what I say, 

10 And, angry, force me to obey.' 

Obedience is a duty, then, 
And favour gains with God and men. 
John from the wilderness loud cried ; 
Satan gloried in his pride. 

15 'Come,' said Satan, 'come away ; 

I '11 soon see if you obey. 



198 BLAKE'S POEMS 

John for disobedience bled, 

But you can turn the stones to bread. 

God's high king and God's high priest 
20 Shall plant their glories in your breast, 

If Caiaphas you will obey. 

If Herod you with bloody prey 

Feed with the sacrifice, and be 

Obedient ; fall down, worship me.' 
25 Thunders and lightnings broke around, 

And Jesus' voice in the thunders sound. 

' Thus I seize the spiritual prey. 

Ye smiters with disease make way. 

I come, your King and God, to seize. 
3° Is God a smiter with disease ? ' 

The God of this world raged in vain, 

He bound old Satan in His chain, 

And, bursting forth, His furious ire 

Became a chariot of fire. 
35 Throughout the land He took His course, 

And traced diseases to their source. 

He cursed the scribe and Pharisee, 

Trampling down hypocrisy. 

Where'er His chariot took its way, 
4° The gates of Death let in the day, 

Broke down from every chain a bar, 

And Satan in his spiritual war 

Dragged at His chariot-wheels. Loud howl'd 

The God of this world. Louder rolled 
45 The chariot-wheels, and louder still 

His voice was heard from Zion's hill, 

And in His hand the scourge shone bright. 

He scourged the merchant Canaanite 

From out the temple of his mind, 
50 And in his body tight does bind 

Satan and all his hellish crew ; 

And thus with wrath He did subdue 

The serpent bulk of Nature's dross, 

Till He had nailed it to the cross. 
55 He took on sin in the virgin's womb, 

And put it off on the cross and tomb, 

To be worshipped by the Church of Rome. 



THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL 199 

Final Version ; first use of Title 

Lines 3 and 4 are written in later. Line 26 ended a para- 
graph, and line 47 was next, until Blake wrote in all that 
noio comes between, covering a pencil sketch with them. The 
interpolation was to have ended at line 34. The next arc 
re-numbered, and rearranged puzzlingly among themselves. 
Then the lines 41 to 44 were added, and the insertion was to 
have ended there ; but lines 45 and 46 were crammed in along 
the margin at the last moment. 

Was Jesus humble, or did He 

Give any proofs of humility ; 

Boast of high things with a humble tone, 

And give with charity a stone ? 
5 When but a child He ran away, 

And left His parents in dismay. 

When they had wandered three days long 

This was the word upon His tongue : 

' No, earthly parents, I confess 
io I am doing My Father's business. ' 

When the rich learned Pharisee 

Came to consult Him secretly, 

Upon his heart with iron pen 

He wrote, 'Ye must be born again.' 
15 He was too proud to take a bribe ; 

He spoke with authority, not like a scribe. 

He says, with most consummate art, 

' Follow me : I am meek and lowly of heart,' 

As that is the only way to escape 
20 The miser's net and the glutton's trap. 

He who loves his enemies hates his friends. 

This surely was not what Jesus intends, 

But the sneaking pride of heroic schools, 

And the scribes' and Pharisees' virtuous rules; 
25 But he acts with honest triumphant pride, 

And this is the cause that Jesus died. 

He did not die with Christian ease, 

Asking pardon of His enemies. 

If He had, Caiaphas would forgive : 
30 Sneaking submission can always live. 



200 BLAKE'S POEMS 

He had only to say that God was the Devil, 
And the Devil was God, like a Christian civil. 
Mild Christian regrets to the Devil confess 
For affronting him thrice in the wilderness. 

35 Like to Priestley, and Bacon, and Newton, 

Poor spiritual knowledge is not worth a button. 
But thus the Gospel St. Isaac confutes, 
' God can only be known by His attributes.' 
He had soon been bloody Caesar's elf, 

40 And at last he would have been Caesar himself. 

And as for the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, 
Or Christ and His Father, it's all a boast, 
Or pride and fallacy of the imagination, 
That disdains to follow this world's fashion. 

45 To teach doubt and experiment, 

Certainly was not what Christ meant. 

What was He doing all that time, 

From ten years old to manly prime ? 

Was He then idle, or the less, 
5° About His Father's business ? 

Or was His wisdom held in scorn, 

Before His wrath began to burn, 

In miracles throughout the land, 

That quite unnerved the (?) seraph hand ? 
55 If He had been Antichrist — creeping Jesus — 

He 'd have done anything to please us : 

Gone sneaking into synagogues, 

And not used the elders and priests like dogs, 

But humble as a lamb or ass, 
60 Obeyed Himself to Caiaphas. 

God wants not man to humble himself. 

That is the trick of the ancient elf. 

This is the race that Jesus ran : 

Humble to God, haughty to man. 
65 Cursing the rulers before the people, 

Even to the temple's highest steeple. 

And when He humbled Himself to God, 

Then descended the cruel rod. 

If thou humblest thyself thou humblest Me. 
7° Thou also dwellest in eternity. 



THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL 201 

Thou art a man. God is no more. 

Thy own humanity learn to adore ; 

For that is my spirit of life. 

Awake, arise to spiritual strife, 
75 And thy revenge abroad display, 

In terrors at the last judgment day. 

God's mercy and long sufFering 

Are but the sinner to justice to bring. 

Thou on the cross for them shall pray, 
80 And take revenge at the last day. 

Jesus replied in thunders hurled, 

' I never will pray for the world ; 

Once I did so when I prayed in the garden. 

I wished to take with Me a bodily pardon. 
85 Can that which was of women born, 

In the absence of the morn, 

When the soul fell into sleep, 

And archangels round it weep, 

Shooting out against the light, 
9° Fibres of a deadly night, 

Reasoning upon its own dark fiction, 

In doubt, which is self-contradiction? 

Humility is only doubt, 

And does the sun and moon blot out, 
95 Roofing over with thorns and stems 

The buried soul and all its gems. 

This life's five windows of the soul 

Distort the heavens from pole to pole, 

And leads you to believe a lie, 
100 When you see with, not through the eye, 

Which was born in a night to perish in a night, 

When the soul slept in beams of light.' 



Was Jesus chaste, or did He 
Give any lessons in chastity ? 
105 The Morning blushed fiery red. 

Mary was found in adulterous bed. 

Earth groaned beneath, and Heaven above 

Trembled at discovery of love. 



202 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Jesus was sitting in Moses' chair, 
no They brought the trembling woman there. 

Moses commands she be stoned to death. 

What was the sound of Jesus' breath ? 

He laid His hand on Moses' law. 

The ancient heavens in silent awe, 
115 Writ with curses from pole to pole, 

All away began to roll. 

The Earth trembling and naked lay 

In secret bed of mortal clay. 

On Sinai fell the hand Divine, 
120 Putting back the bloody shrine, 

And she heard the breath of God 

As she heard by Eden's flood. 

' Good and evil are no more ; 

Sinai's trumpets cease to roar. 
I2 S Cease, finger of God, to write ; 

The heavens are not clean in Thy sight. 

Thou art good, and Thou alone ; 

Nor may the sinner cast one stone. 

To be good only, is to be 
13° As God or else a Pharisee. 

Thou Angel of the Presence Divine, 

That didst create this body of mine, 

Wherefore hast thou writ these laws 

And created Hell's dark jaws ? 
135 My presence I will take from thee, 

A cold leper thou shalt be, 

Though thou wast so pure and bright 

That Heaven was not clean in thy sight ; 

Though thy oath turned Heaven pale, 
14° Though thy covenant built Hell's jail ; 

Though thou dost all to chaos roll 

With the serpent for its soul. 

Still the breath Divine does move, 

And the breath Divine is love. 
145 Mary, fear not. Let me see 

The seven devils that torment thee. 

Hide not from my sight thy sin, 

That forgiveness thou mayst win. 



THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL 203 

Has no man condemned thee ? ' 

15° ' No man, Lord.' ' Then what is he 

Who shall accuse thee ? Come ye forth, 
Fallen fiends of Heavenly birth 
That have forgot your ancient love 
And driven away my trembling dove. 

155 You shall bow before her feet ; 

You shall lick the dust for meat, 
And though you cannot love, but hate, 
You shall be beggars at love's gate. 
What was thy love ? Let me see it. 

160 Was it love, or dark deceit ? ' 

' Love too long from me has fled. 
'Twas dark deceit to earn my bread. 
'Twas covet, or 'twas custom, or 
Some trifle not worth caring for, 

165 That they may call a shame and sin ; 

Love's temple that God dwelleth in, 
And hide in secret hidden shrine 
The naked human form divine 
And render that a lawless thing 

^7° On which the soul expands her wing. 

But this, O Lord, this was my sin, 
When first I let the devils in, 
In dark pretence to chastity, 
Blaspheming love, blaspheming Thee. 

175 Thence rose secret adulteries, 

And thence did covet also rise. 
My sin thou hast forgiven me. 
Canst thou forgive my blasphemy ? 
Canst thou return to this dark hell, 

180 And in my burning bosom dwell? 

And canst thou die that I may live, 
And canst thou pity and ' forgive ' ? 
Then rolled the shadowy Man away 
From the limbs of Jesus to make them his 
prey, 

185 An ever-devouring appetite, 

Glistering with festering venoms bright, 



204 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Saying, — c Crucify this cause of distress. 
Who don't keep the secret of holiness ! 
The mental powers by disease we bind, 

19° But he heals the deaf, the dumb, the blind. 

Whom God hath afflicted for secret ends, 
He comforts and heals and calls them friends. 
But when Jesus was crucified, 
Then was perfected His galling pride. 

x 95 In three days he devoured his prey, 

And still devours this body of clay. 
For dust and clay is the serpent's meat 
That never was meant for man to eat. 



Was Jesus born of a virgin pure 

200 With narrow soul and looks demure ? 

If He intended to take on sin 
His mother should an harlot have been, 
Just such a one as Magdalen 
With seven devils in her pen. 

205 Or were Jew virgins still more cursed, 

And with more sucking devils nursed? 
Or what was it that he took on 
That he might bring salvation ? 
A body subject to be tempted, 

210 From neither pain nor grief exempted, — 

Or such a body as might not feel 
The passions that with sinners deal ? 
Yes, but they say he never fell. 
Ask Caiaphas, for he can tell. 

215 He mocked the Sabbath, and he mocked 

The Sabbath's God, and he unlocked 
The evil spirits from their shrines, 
And turned fishermen to divines, 
O'erturned the tent of secret sins, 

220 And all its golden cords and pins ; 

'Tis the bloody shrine of war, 
Poured around from star to star, — 
Halls of justice, hating vice, 
Where the devil combs his lice. 



THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL 205 

225 He turned the devils into swine 

That he might tempt the Jews to dine ; 
Since when a pig has got a look 
That for a Jew may be mistook. 
' Obey your parents.' AVhat says he ? 

230 ' Woman, what have I to do with thee ? 

No earthly parents I confess, 
I am doing my father's business.' 
He scorned earth's parents, scorned earth's God, 
And mocked the one and the other rod ; 

235 His seventy disciples sent 

Against religion and government, 
They by the sword of Justice fell, 
And him their cruel murderer tell. 
He left his father's trade to roam 

240 A wandering vagrant without home, 

And thus he others' labours stole 
That he might live above control. 
The publicans and harlots he 
Selected for his company, 

245 And from the adultress turned away 

God's righteous law that lost its prey. 

POSTSCRIPT 

I am sure this Jesus will not do 
Either for Englishman or Jew. 



The editor offers this as a mere guess at Blake's own 
arrangement, after constantly studying the MS., which is 
written in a mass of scraps, the later portions often preceding 
the earlier, yet betraying themselves as not intended to be taken 
first. 



206 BLAKE'S POEMS 



LA FAYETTE 

This short poem stands alone in Blake's work. It belongs to 
no series or collection. It seems to have been intended for ' The 
French Revolution,' a Book referred to by Blake as written, 
but of which nothing is known noxo but its title, and the bare 
fact mentioned in ' Gilchrist ' that it was printed and is lost. 

1 

Fayette beside King Lewis stood, 
He saw him sign his hand, 
And soon he saw the famine rage 
About the fruitful land. 

2 
Fayette liked the Queen to smile 
And wink her lovely eye. 
And soon he saw the pestilence 
From street to street to fly. 

3 
Fayette beheld the King and Queen 
In tears of iron bound, 
And mute Fayette wept tear for tear 
And guarded them around. 

4 
' Let the brothels of Paris be opened 
With many an alluring dance, 
To awake the pestilence through the city,' 
Said the beautiful Queen of France. 

5 
The King awoke on his couch of gold 
As soon as he heard these tidings told : 
' Arise and come, both fife and drum, 
And the famine shall eat both crust and 
crumb,' 



BLAKE'S OWN IDEA OF GOOD AND EVIL 207 



The Queen of France just touched this glohe, 
And the pestilence darted from her robe ; 
But our own good Queen quite grows to the ground, 
And a great many suckers grow all around. 

7 

Who will exchange his own fireside 
For the steps of another's door? 
Who will exchange his wheaten loaf 
For the links of a dungeon floor ? 

Blake often altered his mind about what verses he considered 
best to select as a final text of this poem. In the Quaritch 
edition an attempt is made to give all that he wrote, much as 
they came from his mind, the purpose being there mainly inter- 
pretative. Here a single principle is followed. Only such 
verses are printed as were never at any time crossed out by 
Blake in the manuscript. These, as will be seen here, form, 
in 'La Fayette, ' a coherent symbolic poem —six verses of parable, 
and one of suggestive, though equally figurative, interpreta- 
tion. It must be supposed to be the author's definitive and 
final text. The personages of the story are figures representing 
moods of the human mind. If it is reread in the light of the 
Prophetic Books, and the analogies between Luvah (ivho was 
once imprisoned by Vala in the furnaces of affliction) and 
Urizen, with Fayette and the King of France are noted, an 
idea of ivhat Blake saiu in it may be obtained. 

The metals here are also used as in the Prophetic Books — 
iron (love), and gold (intellect). So are the tears (nets), pesti- 
lence (the deadly sin of mental idleness leading to materialistic 
deception and the mixed mood called harlotry), the own fire- 
side (the natural heart), and so forth. 

In the 'Resentment ' epigrams this symbolic use is not to be 
found, and wherever it is absent the writing stands outside 
Blake's real life's work. 



BLAKE'S OWN IDEA OF GOOD AND EVIL 

Underneath all the fluctuating moods caused by his hopes, 
fears, troubles, and quarrels, a thread of coherence may be seen 
(0 bind Blake's fury, if we keep his chief moral beliefs always 



208 BLAKE'S POEMS 

in sight. Blake held that Good is Existence and Fellowship, 
Evil is Illusion and Egotism. He had beyond this a number 
of particular beliefs of which this is the foundation. 

To begin with, he was philosophically convinced that our 
apparently real world exists for us merely by a ' contraction ' 
of our mind from the mind of God, of which it is a part. 
This contraction causes an appearance, but does not produce 
a fact. Therefore God cannot exist in it and outside us. 

The simplest practical illustration of what this means may 
be found if we consider that we should never know the shape of 
anything by looking at it if we did not see it in perspective. 
Yet if we forget for a moment that perspective is no fact, but a 
disguise caused by limitation of visuality, we make just such 
a mistake as a child does when, on looking down a tunnel, it 
thinks the further end no bigger than its hand. 

The All-seeing Eye, of course, does not see in perspective. 
It sees the inside of a box, the outside, the top, and the bottom 
at once — a manner of beholding so very uncontracted that if 
we could see a box in the same manner, we should not even 
perceive that it was a box at all. 

Mind being unknown to us except as human, from which we 
conjecture all other, above or below, one of Blake's names for 
the Complete or Divine Mind was Humanity. For the most 
contracted or personal form, so long as this does not lead to 
illusion — to the child's error about the perspective of a tunnel — 
he took the name Adam,. For illusion, from which we are 
never quite free now, he took the name of the great deceiver — 
Satan. 

Besides perception, always tempting us to error, by leading 
through narrow to mistaken personality, there is ' Imagina- 
tion' always inviting us to truth. For this Blake took the 
name of the Saviour, or Humanity free from Adam' s narrow- 
ness or Satan's falseness. That we shall enter into this, he 
considered was what Scripture means when it says we shall 
1 meet the Lord in the air.' 

Meanwhile we must remember that there are aspects of each 
of these realities or names that are full of vivid feeling. These 
emanate from them as Eve from the side of Adam. If separated 
altogether, the ' Emanation ' leaves the personality a most 
abominable thing — Blake found for it the name 'Spectre.' It 
is life icithout love, yet with the desire of power and possession 
constituting a side of love. 

The Emanation of the Man was the feeling, which the Son 
Himself has compared to the desire of a hen to gather together 
her chickens under her wing. Blake called it after the town 
which has stood for the greatest and longest felt desire of re- 
union that a long scattered race has shown in the ivorld's 
history. He named it 'Jerusalem.' In most of its aspects. 



BLAKE'S OWN IDEA OF GOOD AND EVIL 200 

especially in the form called friendship, we all have to do with 
it. Asive rise and expand, it becomes indistinguishable from 
the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, also discernible in Desire. 

The Emanation of Adam is the contracted side of the same 
feeling. It is found in the true Feminine, affectionate and 
fruitful, wherever this is. It is Eve, in relation to Adam, 
but in other relations it has other names. It is constantly 
tending to evil, as the Emotion or Emanation of Contraction 
must. The emotion of smallness felt when the further end of 
a tunnel is seen would be evil if it checked our hope of going 
doivn the tunnel and kept us fixed in despair. 

The Feminine is thus closely related, to the Satanic (the 
Deceptive). The philosophy of this is, of course, familiar to 
us through the story of the Garden of Eden. The mystic 
symbol Virgo-scorpio repeats it. In ' Vala, ' Blake gives it in 
poetry. 

Satan's own Emanation is the False, or Opaque Feminine, 
the feelings that deceitfully mix themselves with ideas, thereby 
falsifying them. This is usually called, by Blake, ' Rahab.' The 
fatal mixture is referred to wherever harlotry is mentioned. 
In impersonal, or non-figurative language, it is to be explained 
conveniently by the term 'Natural Religion,' itself a contra- 
diction in terms, since when we say Nature we mean the 
deceptive perspective opacity of things, or Satan, and when we 
say religion — unless we use the term in a popular or non- 
mystic mannci — we mean the imaginative perception of the 
error of opacity, and our release from it through Faith. 

The philosophic system, worked out through these sources of 
description, these definitions, goes on to assert a relation between 
morality, law, and life that must also be studied in all its 
consequences, however paradoxical it may seem at first, before 
even the simplest of Blake's poems can be understood as he 
intended. 

Such being (very briefly and incompletely) the account of 
Blake's idea of mental Good and Evil, his idea of the Incarna- 
tion, of the Fall (the same thing in another aspect) — the 
Redemption and Judgment follow as a matter of course. 
Developments of his system between the date of the ' Marriage 
of Heaven and Hell,' 1790, and that of the 'Everlasting 
Gospel,' about twenty years later, are more numerous and, 
elaborate than can be noted here. They are often highly 
paradoxical and subtle, but are always coherent. 

In reading what he says in different places, we must roatch 
continually to be sure when he uses his terms in popular sense, 
and when in mystical, that is to say, in accurate sense. When 
this caution is remembered, the apparent confusion of his up- 
holding in one place what he denounces in another will generally 
turn into an interpretation, and cease to be a confusion. The 
VOL. I. 



210 BLAKE'S POEMS 

meaning of the symbols of the Four Points, and of the Two 
Contraries, will put most of the rest of the seeming self-contra- 
diction into clear order. Finally, all will be seen, when all is 
familiar, to be all significant and sane. 

At the same time, we must expect to find him showing 
partisanship and taking sides, now all for energy and lawless- 
ness, now for religious contemplation that is its own law, — 
always against restraint, since, at the best, the abnegation that 
bows under obedience checks the vitality that might go to 
spontaneous virtue. And yet, it must be also remembered — 

' To be quite perfect is to be 
A God — or else a Pharisee.' 



THE BACKBONE OF THE SYMBOLISMS 

The use of the word 'contraction' leads naturally to an 
understanding of the use of the word ' imagination, ' which 
explains Blake's religious belief in it, and his employment of 
symbols. He invented these as an act of an essentially 
religious character. He told their stories as other men relate 
their heavenly hopes. He may have been, and was, biassed 
and injudicious. He himself tells how 'vision' may be 
'infected.' It is certain that, notwithstanding this admission, 
he believed himself to be inspired. People without imagination 
are not deterred from believing their own eyes by knowing that 
we all see differently, and often, if not always, incorrectly. 

Since all apparent Nature is the result of contraction on the 
faculties of unapparent Nature or Mind, we can elude the 
disadvantages of this contraction sometimes by considering 
things as symbols. Their suggestiveness expands, and with it 
their mentality or reality. If we go a step further, and actu- 
ally invent things unknown to us by imagination from 
such as are so known, and take these as the instruments for 
realising to us what is beyond detailed perception, we are 
actually doing Divine work, that of Creation, since Mind is 
Meal and Reality is One. That mathematicians do much the 
same thing when they deal with X, Y, and Z, Blake, for- 
tunately for his readers, did not know. We cannot be too 
thankful for his hatred of Sir Isaac Newton, a man more like 
himself in shape of brow, expression of face, genius, and 
personal history, than any other of his age, and differing 
from him chiefly as the power of the sea and its methods differ 
from the power and methods of volcanic lava. 

When Blake looked at the experiences of his own life, and 
when he read the Bible, he was always strongly moved to see 



BACKBONE OF THE SYMBOLISMS 211 

symbolic opportunity in both, and did so. In his later years 
he saw the same to a harassing degree in the map of the United 
Kingdom, its countries, towns, rivers, and hills. 

Blake's own justification of this is to be found in the 
'Marriage of Heaven and Hell,' p. 11, and in 'Jerusalem,' 
p. 40, line 58. 

In his early life he especially looked for symbol in the form 
of contraction of the Divine Mind that we call Anatomy. The 
nerves lend themselves to many discoveries of the more ex- 
panded action of Mind, — the blood to many others. A tale 
about this is told in the poem of the 'Mental Traveller ' from a 
point impersonal to Blake himself, and an aspect of it is 
hinted in the ' Argument ' of the 'Marriage of Heaven and 
Hell ' from nearer home. ' Broken Love ' tells another story of 
the descendants, as it were, of the persons in the 'Mental 
Traveller.' 

In what sense attributes of the mind are persons, and even 
seem so to one another, is studied in the notes to ' Vala ' 
further on. 

Contraction and Expansion are not the only realities of 
motion (as distinct from realities of form) over which we have 
control. There are Division and Reunion — a symbol may be 
divided into myths, understood and restored to simplicity, 
but no longer to monotony. There is also Upward Motion, 
towards Reality and Mind's Sight ; and Downward, towards 
the brute reason or Mind's Darkness, out of which Delusion 
will be perpetually formed unless Mind's Sight go continually 
and boldly into it, as a hero to death for a cause, and win 
from the enemy the opposite of what the enemy came to give. 
In this is one real and mental equivalent for that which is 
figured in the Christian ceremony which has come down to us 
in the form of the Mass. Each man can do it as far as Divine 
Power allows him. But, said Blake, one man cannot confer 
on another the power to do it, though he may enable the other 
to obtain that power. Not being a theologian, he did not 
understand the enabling limitation implied in the doctrine 
whose whole statement is the single word 'grace,' whose logical 
outcome is not usually proclaimed from pastoral lips. He was 
as violently against priests as against mathematicians. As a 
matter of fact, it may be noted that all the priests and mathe- 
maticians together did not take a step towards helping any of 
the poets to understand Blake or rescue him from those who 
robbed him of his influence, and wounded him with the slander 
of insanity during the long century that is now over since his 
symbolic and imaginative philosophy of science and religion 
was first offered to the world. They looked on him and passed 
by on the other side. 



212 BLAKE'S POEMS 



BLAKE'S EARLIEST EXPLANATION (?) 

The exact date of the following is not yet ascertained. The 
' First Principle' would have great philosophic, value if we 
could only tell the meaning of the word 'derived.' The 
Fourth has a distinctly Socratic flavour. These ' Principles ' 
are printed here from illustrated leaves in the possession of the 
Linnell family, and seem to be a first form of the set of short 
paragraphs in similar strain, printed perhaps about 1790, 
of which there is a copy in the British Museum Print-Room. 
If we add to it the word ' unintelligently ' after the word 
'travelling,' we may add to the accuracy of the statement, but 
the word ' therefore ' ceases to be serious. 

There is no Natural Religion. 



The voice of one crying in the wilderness. 



The Argument. 
As the true method of knowledge is experiment, 
the true faculty of knowing must be the faculty which 
experiences. This faculty I treat of. 



Principle First. 
That the Poetic Genius is the true Man, and that 
the body or outward form of Man is derived from the 
Poetic Genius. Likewise that the forms of all things 
are derived from their Genius, which by the Ancients 
was called an Angel, Spirit, and Demon. 

Principle Second. 
As all men are alike in outward form, so (and with 
the same infinite variety) are all alike in the Poetic 
Genius. 

Principle Third. 
No man can write or speak from his heart but he 
must intend truth. Thus all sects of Philosophy are 



BLAKE'S EARLIEST EXPLANATION (?) 213 

from the Poetic Genius, adapted to the weakness of 
every individual. 

Principle Fourth. 
As none by travelling over known lands can find 
out the unknown, so, from already acquired know- 
ledge, Man could not acquire more ; therefore an 
universal Poetic Genius exists. 

Principle Fifth. 
The Religions of all Nations are derived from each 
Nation's different reception of the Poetic Genius, 
which is everywhere called the Spirit of Prophecy. 

Principle Sixth, 
The Jewish and Christian Testaments are an 
original derivation from the Poetic Genius. This is 
necessary from the confined nature of bodily sensation. 

Principle Seventh. 

.As all men are alike (though infinitely various), so 
all Religions, as all similars, have one source. 

The True Man is the source, he being the Poetic 
Genius. 



Printed Manifesto from the British Museum. 

(No title.) 

The Argument. 

Man has ho notion of moral fitness but from 
Education. Naturally he is only a natural organ 
subject to sense. 

i 

Man's perceptions are not bound by organs of per- 
ception ; he perceives more than sense (though ever 
so acute) can discover. 

ii 
Reason, or the ratio of all we have already known, is 
not the same that it shall be when we shall know more. 



214 BLAKE'S POEMS 



From a perception of only three senses or three 
elements, none could deduce a fourth or fifth. 



None could have other than natural or organic 
thoughts if he had none but organic perceptions. 



Man's desires are limited by his perceptions. None 
can desire what he has not perceived. 

VI 

The desires and perceptions of man, untaught by 
anything but organic sense, must be limited to 
objects of sense. 

Therefore, 

God becomes as we are, that we may be as he is. 



Man cannot naturally perceive but through his 
natural or bodily organs. 



Man by his reasoning power can only compare and 
judge of what he has already perceived. 



These two last paragraphs are, like each of those preceding, 
from plates on which they were written in varnish for ink, 
and then the metal round the letters bitten away by acid, and 
the result rolled and printed like ordinary type or blocks. 
Each paragraph is on a little plate by itself. It is impossible 
to know now whether or not these last two were a first two, lost, 
and found again after substitutes were made. The little book 
has one more plate, a drawing, a picture of pastoral life, and 
so ends. 






BLAKE'S EARLIEST EXPLANATION (?) 216 

There is another issue of these little fragments in the posses- 
sion of Mr. Muir, who has made a facsimile copy of it 
{Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly). Its title is 

All religions are one. 

Then follows N"os. I. and II., as in the British Museum 
example printed above. No. III. is not in Mr. Muir's set. 
The rest are as follows :— 

IV 

The bounded is loathed by its possessor. The same 
dull round, even of a universe, would soon become a 
mill with complicated wheels. 

v 

If the many become the same as the few, when 
possessed, ' More ! More ! ' is the cry of a mistaken 
soul. Less than all cannot satisfy Man. 



If any could desire what he is incapable of possess- 
ing, despair must be his eternal lot. 



The desire of Man being Infinite, the possession is 
Infinite, and himself Infinite. 

Application. 

He who sees the Infinite in all things, sees God. 
He who sees the Ratio only, sees himself only. 

Therefore 
God becomes as we are that we may be as He is. 



216 BLAKE'S POEMS 



ON HOMER'S POETRY 

The following, introduced here as part of the author's 
explanation of himself, was printed by Gilchrist on two pages 
and called ' Sybilline Leaves. ' This is a fancy title. Blake 
printed both the short essays from one plate, prepared like the 
pages of all his work later in date than 1787. Its period may 
be conjectured from the style to be later than 1802. Its hand- 
writing is like plates of ' Jerusalem ' that are later than this. 
The matter probably belongs to this period, because he was 
now learning Greek and reading Homer with Hayley at 
Felpham, as a letter from Hayley to Johnson, dated February 
3, 1802, relates. Traces of irritation, produced by Hayley 's 
tutorship, are found in the very first lines. 

The title ' On Homer's Poetry ' is written in a bold hand at 
the head of his first five paragraphs, and ''On Virgil' similarly 
at the head of the next four. 



Every poem must necessarily be a perfect Unity, 
but why Homer's is peculiarly so I cannot tell. He 
has told the story of Belerophon, and omitted the 
Judgement of Paris, which is not only a part, but a 
principal part of Homer's subject. 

But when a work has Unity, it is as much in a part 
as in the whole. The Torso is as much a Unity as 
the Laocoon. 

As Unity is the cloak of folly, so Goodness is the 
cloak of knavery. Those who will have Unity ex- 
clusively in Homer, come out with a Moral like a 
sting in the tail. Aristotle says Characters are either 
Good or Bad. Now Goodness or Badness has nothing 
to do with Character. An Apple tree, a Pear tree, a 
Horse, a Lion, are Characters, but a Good Apple 
tree or a Bad is an Apple tree still. A Horse is not 
more a Lion for being a Bad Horse ; that is its 
Character : its Goodness or Badness is another con- 
sideration. 

It is the same with the Moral of a whole Poem as 
with the Moral Goodness of its parts. Unity and 
Morality are secondary considerations, and belong to 
Philosophy and not to Poetry, to Exception and not 



ON VIRGIL 217 

to Rule, to Accident and not to Substance. The 
Ancients called it eating the tree of good and evil. 

The Classics ! It is the Classics, and not Goths nor 
Monks that Desolate Europe with Wars. 



ON VIRGIL 

Sacred Truth has pronounced that Greece and 
Rome, as Babylon and Egypt, so far from being 
parents of Arts and Sciences, as they pretend, were 
destroyers of all Art. Homer, Virgil, and Ovid con- 
firm this opinion, and make us reverence the Word 
of God, the only light of antiquity that remains 
unperverted by War. Virgil in the JRneid, Book vi., 
line 848, says — 'Let others study Art. Rome has 
somewhat better to do, namely, War and Dominion.' 

Rome and Greece swept Art into their maw and 
destroyed it. A Warlike state can never produce Art. 
It will Rob and Plunder and accumulate into one 
place, and Translate and Copy, and Buy and Sell and 
Criticise, but not Make. Grecian is Mathematic 
Form. 

Mathematic Form is Eternal in the Reasoning 
Memory ; Living Form is Eternal Existence. 

Gothic is Living Form. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 



219 



With ' The Prophetic Books ' a new kind of literature began 
in the modern world. In matter they were grafted on older 
ideas. They arose directly from what Blake had learned from 
Swedenborg and Boshmen, and what he picked up of the Kabal- 
ists and other mystics from, sources that we can only conjecture. 
The one thing in which these prophetic books stand alone is the 
telling what was new, and interpreting what was old, in the 
form of poetic myth, a form practically out of use since history 
began. 

The word prophecy was adopted by Blake mainly after 
the manner of the use of it that describes the Vision of Ezekiel 
as Prophetic writing. He believed himself to have a perfect 
right to do this, being inspired in the same sense in which 
Ezekiel was inspired. Such a belief is not uncommon in 
persons suffering from religious mania. Those who know 
Blake's works best are least likely to attribute it, in his case, to 
this deplorable cause. It is due to his Swedenborgian educa- 
tion. Swedenborg says, ' To prophesy means to teach.' 

It will be noticed that the title ' Prophecy ' was at first given 
by Blake only to 'America' and 'Europe,' dated 1793, 1794. 
They dwell particularly on mental release from unimagin- 
ativeness folloioing the uprising of bodily passions and em- 
ploying hints from the terms of these for symbol. This 
suggests that they vjere written as part of the Bible of Hell — 
promised in the 'Marriage of Heaven and Hell.' The term 
'prophetic ' has been popularly remembered and extended. 

So far as possible, the Prophetic Books here follow in the 
order in which they were written. But in the later books are 
pages written during the days of the earlier ; and some of the 
earlier had thrust into them, pages, or terms, belonging to a 
later period of Blake's mental progress than the rest of their 
composition. 

All these books Blake engraved himself. In ' Jerusalem,' for 
which he claimed verbal accuracy, his misprints are followed, 
though not his punctuation. 

The numberings by which pages are indicated when any of 
Blake's words are quoted in any note here are not to be under- 
stood as the numberings of the pages in these volumes, but in 
whichever of Blake' s own books is under reference. 'Vala' is 
an exception, since the references are to lines that are numbered 
through each 'Night.' Blake has left no page numberings for 
this poem, and none are referred to in quotations from it, 
though they are given in descriptive notes on the state of the 
MS. All page numberings given by Blake are indicated in this 
text. 

220 



THE GHOST OF ABEL 

A Revelation in the Vision of Jehovah, seen by 
William Blake 

to lord byron in the wilderness 

What dost thou here, Elijah? 
Can a Poet doubt the Visions of Jehovah ? 
Nature has no Outline, but Imagination has. 
Nature has no Tune, but Imagination has. 
Nature has no Supernatural, and dissolves. 
Imagination is Eternity. 

Scene — A rocky Country. Eve fainted over the dead 
body of Abel, which lays near a Grave. Adam 
kneels by her. Jehovah stands above. 

Jehovah. Adam ! 

Adam. I will not hear thee more, thou Spiritual 

Voice. 
Is this Death ? 
Jehovah. Adam ! 

Adam. It is in vain : I will not hear thee 

henceforth. 
Is this thy Promise, that the Woman's Seed 
Should bruise the Serpent's head ? Is this the 

Serpent ? 
Ah ! Seven times, O Eve, thou hast fainted over the 
Dead. Ah ! Ah ! 

Eve revives. 

Is this the Promise of Jehovah ? O, it is all a vain 
delusion, 

221 



222 BLAKE'S POEMS 

This Death, and this Life, and this Jehovah ! 
Jehovah. Woman, lift thine eyes. 

A Voice is heard coming on. 

Voice. O Earth, cover not thou my Blood ; cover not 
thou my Blood. 

Enter the Ghost o/*Abel. 

Eve. Thou Visionary Phantasm, thou art not the real 

Abel. 
Abel. Among the Elohim a Human Victim I wander. 
I am their House, 
Prince of the Air, and our dimensions compass 

Zenith and Nadir. 
Vain is thy Covenant, O Jehovah ! I am the 

Accuser and Avenger 
Of Blood. O Earth, cover not thou the Blood of 
Abel. 
Jehovah. What Vengeance dost thou require ? 
Abel. Life for Life ! Life for Life ! 

Jehovah. He who shall take Cain's life must also Die, 
OAbel, 
And who is He ? Adam, wilt thou, or Eve, thou, do 
this? 
Adam. It is all a vain delusion of the all-creative 
Imagination. 
Eve, come away, and let us not believe these vain 

delusions. 
Abel is dead, and Cain slew him. We shall also Die 

a Death, 
And then, what then ? be as poor Abel, a Thought : 

or as 
This ! O what shall I call thee, Form Divine, 

Father of Mercies, 
That appearest to my Spiritual Vision ? Eve, seest 
thou also ? 
Eve. I see him plainly with my Mind's Eye. I see 
also Abel living. 
Though terribly afflicted as we also are, yet Jehovah 
sees him 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 223 

Alive and not Dead. Were it not better to believe 

Vision 
With all our might and strength, tho' we are fallen 

and lost ? 
Adam. Eve, thou hast spoken truly : let us kneel 

before His feet. 

They kneel before Jehovah. 

Abel. Are these the Sacrifices of Eternity, O Jehovah ? 
A Broken Spirit and a Contrite Heart, O, I cannot 

forgive ! 
The Accuser hath entered into me as into his 

House, and I loathe thy Tabernacles. 
As thou hast said, so is it come to pass. My 

desire is unto Cain, 
And He doth rule over Me : therefore my Soul in 

Fumes of Blood 
Cries for Vengeance : Sacrifice on Sacrifice, Blood 

on Blood. 
Jehovah. Lo ! I have given you a Lamb for an Atone- 
ment instead 
Of the Transgressor, or no Flesh or Blood could 

ever live. 
Abel. Compelled I cry, O Earth, cover not the Blood 

of Abel. 

Abel sinks down into the Grave, from which arises Satan, 
armed in glittering scales, with a Crown and a Spear. 

Satan. I will have Human Blood, and not the blood of 

Bulls or Goats, 
And no Atonement. O Jehovah, the Elohim live on 

Sacrifice 
Of Men : hence I am God of Men : Thou Human, 

O Jehovah. 
By the Rock and Oak of the Druid, creeping 

Mistletoe, and Thorn, 
Cain's City built with Human Blood, not Blood 

of Bulls and Goats, 



224 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Thou shalt Thyself be Sacrificed to Me, thy God, on 

Calvary. 
Jehovah. Such is My Will, [Thunders] that thou 

Thyself go to Eternal Death 
In Self- Annihilation, even till Satan Self-subdued 

Put off Satan 
Into the Bottomless Abyss, whose torment arises for 

ever and ever. 

On each side a Chorus of Angels entering, sing the 
following. 

The Elohim of the Heathen Swore Vengeance for Sin, 
Then Thou stoodst 

Forth, O Elohim Jehovah, in the midst of the dark- 
ness of the Oath, All Clothed 

In Thy Covenant of the Forgiveness of Sins. Death, 
O Holy ! Is this Brotherhood ? 

The Elohim saw their Oath, Eternal Fire ; they rolled 
apart, trembling over the 

Mercy Seat, each in his station fixt in the firmament 
by Peace, Brotherhood, and Love. 

The Curtain falls. 
1822. "W. Blake's original stereotype was 1788. 



The stage directions here printed in italic type are Blake's, 
and the account of the two dates was also engraved and printed 
by him as here given. 

These dates suggest that this book was his first. However, 
it is neither probable nor credible that he engraved it in 
1822, which is the date of the plate, as it has come to us, 
without making any changes ; for though Blake hated to 
correct his work, he seldom took up again any piece of writing 
that had lain aside for a while without inserting among its 
sentences newer symbolic terms to bring it abreast of the part 
of his system with which his mind was now occupied. 

In the copy used for the photographic facsimile in the 
Quaritch edition, the date was injured, and appears to read 
1780. But other copies have been seen to bear 1788 distinctly. 

What changes were made cannot be precisely known now. 
The general tone implies that it was a very early composition. 
The term ' Prince of the Air' is not likely to have been used 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 225 

in this way after the story of Luvah was invented. The re- 
ference to Lord Byron, who was born in 1788, probably 
belongs to the year before the plate was re-engraved, when 
it may have been written in a notebook. In 1820 Byron was 
in Italy conspiring against the Papal government with the 
friends of Countess Guiccioli. This may be the wilderness 
from which Blake would recall him to his duties as a poet. 
The Swiss passages in ' Childe Harold ' may have provoked 
Blake's reproach, as in his later life he was much opposed to 
'Nature' as different from 'Art,' Landscape as opposed to 
Design. In ' Jerusalem,' page 44, line 31 says of ' Los,' the 
mystic replacer of Apollo, the inspirer of poets beyond classic 
limits — 'Naming him the Spirit of Prophecy — calling him 
Elijah.' 

There is one design to this book. It represents Abel lying 
face downwards, dead on the ground, while a floating and 
pained figure called 'The Voice of Abel's Blood' floats away 
calling sadly for revenge. 



VOL, I. 



THE 

BOOK 

OF 

THEL 



The author and printer, Willm. Blake 
1789 



227 



(1) 

Thel's Motto 

Does the Eagle know what is in the pit, 
Or wilt thou go ask the Mole ? 
Can Wisdom be put in a silver rod. 
Or Love in a golden bowl ? 



The daughters of The Seraphim led round their 

sunny flocks, 
All but the youngest : she in paleness sought the 

secret air, 
To fade away like morning beauty from her mortal 

day : 
Down by the river of Adona her soft voice is heard, 
And thus her gentle lamentation falls like morning 

dew : — 

O life of this our spring ! why fades the lotus of the 

water ? 
Why fade these children of the spring, born but to 

smile and fall ? 
Ah ! Thel is like a wat'ry bow, and like a parting 

cloud ; 
Like a reflection in a glass ; like shadows in the water ; 
Like dreams of infants, like a smile upon an infant's 

face ; 
Like the dove's voice ; like transient day ; like music 

in the air 
Ah I gentle may I lay me down and gentle rest my 

head, 

220 



230 BLAKE'S POEMS 

And gentle sleep the sleep of death, and gently hear 

the voice 
Of him that walketh in the garden in the evening 

time. 

The Lilly of the valley breathing in the humble grass 
Answered the lovely maid and said : I am a wat'ry 

weed, 
And I am very small, and love to dwell in lowly vales, 
So weak, the gilded butterfly scarce perches on my 

head. 
Yet I am visited from heaven, and he that smiles on all 
Walks in the valley, and each morn over me spreads 

his hand 
Saying, Rejoice, thou humble grass, thou new-born 

lilly-flower, 
Thou gentle maid of silent valleys and of modest 

brooks ; 
For thou shalt be clothed in light, and fed with 

morning manna, 
Till summer's heat melts thee beside the fountains 

and the springs 
To flourish in eternal vales : then why should Thel 

complain ? 

(2) 

Why should the mistress of the vales of Har utter a 

sigh ? 
She ceas'd, and smil'd in tears, then sat down in her 

silver shrine. 

Thel answered : O thou little virgin of the peaceful 

valley, 
Giving to those that cannot crave, the voiceless, the 

o'ertired ; 
Thy breath doth nourish the innocent lamb, he 

smells thy milky garments, 
He crops thy flowers while thou sittest smiling in his 

face, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 231 

Wiping his mild and meekin mouth from all con- 
tagious taints. 
Thy wine doth purify the golden honey ; thy perfume, 
Which thou dost scatter on every little blade of grass 

that springs, 
Revives the milked cow, and tames the fire-breathing 

steed. 
But Thel is like a faint cloud kindled at the rising 

sun. 
I vanish from my pearly throne, and who shall find 

my place ? 
Queen of the vales, the Lilly answered, ask the tender 

cloud, 
And it shall tell thee why it glitters in the morning 

sky, 
And why it scatters its bright beauty thro' the humid 

air. 
Descend, O little cloud, and hover before the eyes of 

Thel. 

The Cloud descended, and the Lilly bowed her modest 

head, 
And went to mind her numerous charge among the 

verdant grass. 

(3) 
II 

little Cloud, the virgin said, I charge thee tell to me 
Why thou complainest not when in one hour thou 

fade away ; 
Then we shall seek thee, but not find. Ah, Thel is like 
to Thee. 

1 pass away, yet I complain, and no one hears my 

voice. 

The cloud then shew'd his golden head and his bright 

form emerg'd, 
Hovering and glittering on the air before the face of 

Thel. 



232 BLAKE'S POEMS 

O virgin, know'st thou not our steeds drink of the 

golden springs 
Where Luvah doth renew his horses ? look'st thou on 

my youth, 
And fearest thou because 1 vanish and am seen no 

more ? 
Nothing remains. O maid, I tell thee, when I pass 

away, 
It is to tenfold life, to love, to peace, and raptures holy : 
Unseen descending, weigh my light wings upon balmy 

flowers, 
And court the fair-eyed dew, to take me to her 

shining tent. 
The weeping virgin, trembling, kneels before the 

risen sun, 
Till we arise link'd in a golden band and never part, 
But walk united, bearing food to all our tender 

flowers. 

Dost thou, O little Cloud ? I fear that I am not like 

thee, 
For I walk through the vales of Har, and smell the 

sweetest flowers ; 
But I feed not the little flowers. I hear the warbling 

birds, 
But I feed not the warbling birds ; they fly and seek 

their food : 
But Thel delights in these no more, because I fade 

away, 
And all shall say, without a use this shining woman 

liv'd, 
Or did she only live to be at death the food of worms? 

The Cloud reclin'd upon his airy throne, and 
answer'd thus : — 

Then if thou art the food of worms, O virgin of the 
skies, 

How great thy use, how great thy blessing ; every- 
thing that lives 

Lives not alone nor for itself: fear not, and I will call 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 233 

The weak worm from its lowly bed, and thou shalt 

hear its voice. 
Come forth, worm of the silent valley, to thy pensive 

queen. 

The helpless worm arose, and sat upon the Lilly's leaf, 
And the bright Cloud sail'd on, to find his partner in 
the vale. 

(*) 



Then Thel astonish'd view'd the Worm upon its dewy 
bed. 

Art thou a Worm ? Image of weakness, art thou 

but a Worm ? 
I see thee like an infant wrapped in the Lilly's leaf. 
Ah weep not, little voice, thou canst not speak, but 

thou canst weep. 
Is this a Worm ? 1 see thee lay helpless and naked, 

weeping, 
And none to answer, none to cherish thee with 

mother's smiles. 

The Clod of Clay heard the Worm's voice and rais'd 

her pitying head ; 
She bow'd over the weeping infant, and her life exhal'd 
In milky fondness, then on Thel she fix'd her humble 

eyes. 

O beauty of the vales of Har, we live not for ourselves. 
Thou seest me the meanest thing, and so I am indeed. 
My bosom of itself is cold, and of itself is dark, 

(5) 

But he that loves the lowly, pours his oil upon my 

head 
And kisses me, and binds his nuptial bands around 

my breast, 



234 BLAKE'S POEMS 

And says : Thou mother of my children, I have 

loved thee, 
And I have given thee a crown that none can take 

away, 
But how this is, sweet maid, I know not, and I cannot 

know. 
I ponder, and I cannot ponder ; yet I live and love. 

The daughter of beauty wip'd her pitying tears with 

her white veil, 
And said, Alas ! I knew not thisj and therefore did I 

weep; 
That God would love a Worm I knew, and punish the 

evil foot 
That wilful bruis'd its helpless form ; but that He 

cherish'd it 
With milk and oil I never knew, and therefore did I 

weep, 
And I complain'd in the mild air, because I fade away, 
And lay me down in thy cold bed, and leave my 

shining lot. 

Queen of the vales, the matron Clay answered ; I 

heard thy sighs, 
And all thy moans flew o'er my roof, but I have call'd 

them down : 
Wilt thou, O Queen, enter my house ? 'tis given thee 

to enter 
And to return : fear nothing, enter with thy virgin 

feet. 

(6) 

IV 

The eternal gate's terrific porter lifted the northern 

bar : 
Thel enter'd in and saw the secrets of the land 

unknown. 
She saw the couches of the dead, and where the 

fibrous roots 
Of every heart on earth infixes deep its restless twists : 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 235 

A land of sorrows and of tears where never smile 
was seen. 

She wander'd in the land of clouds thro' valleys dark, 

list'ning 
Dolours and lamentations ; waiting oft beside a dewy 

grave 
She stood in silence, list'ning to the voices of the 

ground, 
Till to her own grave plot she came, and there she 

sat down, 
And heard this voice of sorrow breathed from the 

hollow pit. 

Why cannot the Ear be closed to its own destruction ? 
Or the glist'ning Eye to the poison of a smile ? 
Why are Eyelids stor'd with arrows ready drawn, 
Where a thousand fighting men in ambush lie ! 
Or an Eye of gifts and graces show'ring fruits and 
coined gold ! 

Why a Tongue impress'd with honey from every 

wind ? 
Why an Ear, a whirlpool fierce to draw creations in ? 
Why a Nostril wide inhaling, terror, trembling, and 

affright ? 
Why a tender curb upon the youthful, burning boy ? 
Why a little curtain of flesh on the bed of our desire ? 

The Virgin started from her seat, and with a shriek 
Fled back unhinder'd till she came into the vales 
of Har. 

THE END 



THE MEANING OF THEL 

' Thel ' is not a name for a heroine of romance, but, as it is 
essential to remember in order not to miss the whole of Blake's 
meaning in the poem, for one of those ' spirits ' by whom all 



236 BLAKE'S POEMS 

things are managed, for us, 'no less than digestion or sleep.' 
That phrase belongs to another Book. 

In ' The Book of Thcl, ' on the first line, the word ' the ' before 
Seraphim is a conjectural correction. Blake left ' Mne,' 
having begun to write Mnetha, and then changed his mind. 
On the title-page, Thel as a shepherdess stands under a 
bending tree, while the human forms of the love or the 
generative substance of two flowers rush out as graceful 
floating figures, the female half in flight, the male in joyous 
pursuit. The motto has a page to itself without pictures. 
Page 1 has some small figures at the head — a minute female 
playing with a child in the air above a minute male who 
reclines on one ear of corn. In the sky another lets fly 
an eagle after a figure with sword and shield, the human 
form of a hawk. On page 2 Thcl, without her crook, under 
the tree, stands bowing gracefully to the human form of the 
lily, a small white feminine figure who bows humbly before 
her. On page 4 she stands with her back to us, lifting both 
arms almost level with her shoulders in mild surprise 
at the sweet and childlike form of the baby-worm who smiles 
up at her as it lies on its back in grass. The human form 
of the cloud, a youth draped in a scarf only, floats grace- 
fully away in the sky, looking back to take leave of her. On 
page 5 the Matron Clay sits on the ground facing us, her 
head completely bowed over arms folded on her knees. She 
looks down at the lily and the worm, a pretty, naked, minute 
girl and baby who lie and roll like kittens at her feet. Long 
grasses bend over her. At the end the same design of children 
riding on a big snake as in ' America' fills the page. 

' Thel ' is therefore a Western symbol, a dweller in the world 
of Tharmas, as it was in the days of innocence. 

To follow the ideas in the books, the arrangement of the four 
Zoas with the four points of the compass, as given in the early 
pages of 'Jerusalem,' and analysed in the notes, must be 
familiarly known and clearly understood. 

In ' Vala,' Night IX., line 507, etc., the Innocence of 
Tharmas renews, yet her business in life, as she is a merely 
evanescent influence of beauty, is to be (when she shall enter 
her grave-plot — or mortal body — any mortal female) the food 
or emotional excitement, or worms, or corporeal mortal men. 

Tharmas is called ' the father of worms and clay' in 'Vala,' 
Night IV., line 39, and Urthona the 'keeper of the Gates of 
Heaven ' in line 42 of the same Night. 

The passage in 'Jerusalem,' lines 70 to 75 of page 82, and 
the context also should be read with ' Thel.' 

See also 'Vala,' Night III., lines 144 and 145 ; Night VIII., 
lines 525 and following ; and Night IX., lines 725, etc. 



THE MARRIAGE 

OF 

HEAVEN 

AND 

HELL 



(There are no other words on Blake's title-page to this book. 
A design shows figures in the lower half of it, beneath the 
surface of the earth, of feminine youthful forms, one from 
flames on the left, one from smoke on the right, that reach to 
each other and embrace. The date of the book was 1790. ) 

237 



(2) 
The Argument 

Rintrah roars and shakes his fires in the 

burden'd air ; 
Hungry clouds swag on the deep. 

Once meek, and in a perilous path, 

The just man kept his course along 

The vale of death. 

Roses are planted where thorns grow, 

And on the barren heath 

Sing the honey bees. 

Then the perilous path was planted, 
And a river and a spring 
On every cliff and tomb ; 
And on the bleached bones, 
Red clay brought forth ; 

Till the villian left the paths of ease, 
To walk in perilous paths, and drive 
The just man into barren climes. 

Now the sneaking serpent walks 
In mild humility, 

And the just man rages in the wilds 
Where lions roam. 

Rintrah roars and shakes his fires in the 

burden'd air ; 
Hungry clouds swag on the deep. 

239 



240 BLAKE'S POEMS 

(3) 

As a new heaven is begun, and it is now thirty- 
three years since its advent, the Eternal Hell 
revives. And lo ! Swedenborg is the Angel sitting 
at the tomb ; his writings are the linen clotbes folded 
up. Now is the dominion of Edom, and the return 
of* Adam into Paradise. See Isaiah xxxiv. and xxxv. 
Chap. 

Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction 
and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, 
are necessary to Human existence. 

From these contraries spring what the religious 
call Good and Evil. Good is the passive that obeys 
Reason. Evil is the active springing from Energy. 
Good is Heaven. Evil is Hell. 

<*) 

THE VOICE OF THE DEVIL 

All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of 
the following Errors : — 

1. That Man has two real existing principles, viz. 
a Body and a Soul. 

2. That Energy, called Evil, is alone from the 
Body ; and that Reason, called Good, is alone from 
the Soul. 

3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for 
following his Energies. 

But the following Contraries to these are True : — 

1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul, for that 
called Body is a portion of Soul discerned by the live 
Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age. 

2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body, 
and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of 
Energy. 

3. Energy is Eternal Delight. 

(5) 
Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 241 

weak enough to be restrained ; and the restrainer or 
reason usurps its place and governs the unwilling. 

And being restrained it by degrees becomes passive 
till it is only the shadow of desire. 

The history of this is written in Paradise Lost, and 
the Governor or Reason is called Messiah. 

And the original Archangel or possessor of the 
command of the heavenly host is called the Devil or 
Satan, and his children are called Sin and Death. 

But in the Book of Job, Milton's Messiah is called 
Satan. 

For this history has been adopted by both parties. 

It indeed appeared to Reason as if Desire was cast 
out, but the Devil's account is, that the Messiah fell, 

(6) 

and formed a heaven of what he stole from the 
Abyss. 

This is shown in the Gospel, where he prays to the 
Father to send the comforter or Desire that Reason 
may have Ideas to build on, the Jehovah of the Bible 
being no other than he who dwells in naming fire. 
Know that after Christ's death, he became Jehovah. 

But in Milton, the Father is Destiny ; the Son, a 
Ratio of the five senses ; and the Holy-ghost, Vacuum ! 

Note. — The reason Milton wrote in fetters when 
he wrote of Angels and God, and at liberty when of 
Devils and Hell, is because he was a true Poet and of 
the Devil's party without knowing it. 

A MEMORABLE FANCY 

As I was walking among the fires of hell, delighted 
with the enjoyments of Genius, which to Angels look 
like torment and insanity, I collected some of their 
Proverbs ; thinking that as the sayings used in a 
nation mark its character, so the Proverbs of Hell 
show the nature of Infernal wisdom better than any 
description of buildings or garments. 

VOL. I. Q 



242 BLAKE'S POEMS 

When I came home, on the abyss of the five senses, 
where a flat-sided steep frowns over the present 
world, I saw a mighty Devil folded in black clouds 
hovering on the sides of the rock. With corroding 

(7) 

fires he wrote the following sentence now perceived 
by the minds of men, and read by them on earth : — 

How do you know but ev'ry Bird that cuts the airy 

way, 
Is an immense world of delight, clos'd by your senses 

five? 

PROVERBS OF HELL 

In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter 
enjoy. 

Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of 
the dead. 

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. 

Prudence is a rich, ugly old maid courted by 
Incapacity. 

He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence. 

The cut worm forgives the plow. 

Dip him in the river who loves water. 

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man 
sees. 

He whose face gives no light, shall never become a 
star. 

Eternity is in love with the productions of time. 

The busy bee has no time for sorrow. 

The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock, but of 
wisdom no clock can measure. 

All wholesome food is caught without a net or a trap. 

Bring out number, weight, and measure in a year 
of death. 

No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own 
wings. 

A dead body revenges not injuries. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 243 

The most sublime act is to set another before you. 
If the fool would persist in his folly he would 
become wise. 

Folly is the cloak of knavery. 
Shame is Pride's cloak. 



(8) 

Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with 
bricks of Religion. 

The pride of the peacock is the glory of God. 

The lust of the goat is the bounty of God. 

The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God. 

The nakedness of woman is the work of God. 

Excess of sorrow laughs. Excess of joy weeps. 

The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the 
raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword, 
are portions of eternity too great for the eye of 
man. 

The fox condemns the trap, not himself. 

Joys impregnate. Sorrows bring forth. 

Let man wear the fell of the lion, woman the fleece 
of the sheep. 

The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship. 

The selfish, smiling fool, and the sullen, frowning 
fool, shall be both thought wise, that they may be a 
rod. 

What is now proved was once only imagined. 

The rat, the mouse, the fox, the rabbit watch the 
roots; the lion, the tiger, the horse, the elephant 
watch the fruits. 

The cistern contains, the fountain overflows. 

One thought fills immensity. 

Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base 
man will avoid you. 

Everything possible to be believed is an image of 
truth. 

The eagle never lost so much time as when he sub- 
mitted to learn of the crow. 



244 BLAKE'S POEMS 



(9) 



The fox provides for himself, hut God provides for 
the lion. 

Think in the moi'ning, Act in the noon, Eat in the 
evening, Sleep in the Night. 

He who has suffered you to impose on him knows 
you. 

As the plow follows words, so God rewards prayers. 

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of 
instruction. 

Expect poison from the standing water. 

You never know what is enough unless you know 
what is more than enough. 

Listen to the fool's reproach ; it is a kingly title ! 

The eyes of fire, the nostrils of air, the mouth of 
water, the heard of earth. 

The weak in courage is strong in cunning. 

The apple tree never asks the beech how he shall 
grow ; nor the lion, the horse, how he shall take his 
prey. 

The thankful receiver hears a plentiful harvest. 

If others had not been foolish, we should be so. 

The soul of sweet delight can never be defiled. 

When thou seest an Eagle, thou seest a portion of 
Genius ; lift up thy head ! 

As the caterpillar chooses the fairest leaves to lay 
her eggs on, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest 
joys. 

To create a little flower is the labour of ages. 

Damn braces : Bless relaxes. 

The best wine is the oldest, the best water the 
newest. 

Prayers plow not ! Praises reap not ! 

Joys laugh not ! Sorrows weep not ! 

(10) 

The head Sublime, the heart Pathos, the genitals 
Beauty, the hands and feet Proportion. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 245 

As the air to a bird or the sea to a fish, so is con- 
tempt to the contemptible. 

The crow wished everything was black, the owl that 
everything was white. 

Exuberance is Beauty. 

If the lion was advised by the fox, he would be 
cunning. 

Improve[me]nt makes strait roads, but the crooked 
roads without Improvement are roads of Genius. 

Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse 
unacted desires. 

Where man is not, nature is barren. 

Truth can never be told so as to be understood, 
and not be believed. 

Enough ! or Too much. 

(11) 

The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with 
Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and 
adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, 
mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their 
enlarged and numerous senses could perceive. 

And particularly they studied the genius of each 
city and country, placing it under its mental deity. 

Till a system was formed, which some took ad- 
vantage of and enslaved the vulgar by attempting to 
realise or abstract the mental deities from their 
objects ; thus began Priesthood. 

Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales. 

And at length they pronounced that the Gods had 
ordered such things. 

Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the 
human breast. 

(12) 
A MEMORABLE FANCY 

The Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel dined with me, and 
I asked them how they dared so roundly to assert 



246 BLAKE'S POEMS 

that God spake to them ; and whether they did not 
think at the time that they would be misunderstood, 
and so be the cause of imposition. 

Isaiah answered : I saw no God, nor heai'd any, in a 
finite organical perception ; but my senses discovered 
the infinite in everything, and as I was then per- 
suaded, and remain confirmed, that the voice of 
honest indignation is the voice of God, I cared not 
for consequences but wrote. 

Then I asked : Does a firm persuasion that a thing 
is so, make it so ? 

He replied : All poets believe that it does, and in 
ages of imagination this firm persuasion removed 
mountains ; but many are not capable of a firm per- 
suasion of anything. 

Then Ezekiel said : The philosophy of the east 
taught the fi rst principles of human perception. Some 
nations held one principle for the origin, and some 
another ; we of Israel taught that the Poetic Genius 
(as you now call it) was the first principle and all 
the others merely derivative, which was the cause of 
our despising the Priests and Philosophers of other 
countries, and prophesying that all Gods would at 

(13) 

last be proved to originate in ours and to be the 
tributaries of the Poetic Genius. It was this that our 
great poet King David desired so fervently and invokes 
so pathetically, saying by this he conquers enemies and 
governs kingdoms ; and we so loved our God, that 
we cursed in his name all the deities of surrounding 
nations, and asserted that they had rebelled. From 
these opinions the vulgar came to think that all 
nations would at last be subject to the Jews. 

This, said he, like all firm persuasions, is come to 
pass, for all nations believe the Jews' code and worship 
the Jews' god, and what greater subjection can be ? 

I heard this with some wonder, and must confess 
my own conviction. After dinner I asked Isaiah to 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 247 

favour the world with his last works ; he said none of 
equal value was lost. Ezekiel said the same of his. 

I also asked Isaiah what made him go naked and 
harefoot three years ? He answered, the same that 
made our friend Diogenes the Grecian. 

I then asked Ezekiel why he eat dung, and lay so 
long on his right and left side ? He answered, The 
desire of raising other men into a perception of the 
infinite. This the North American tribes practise, and 
is he honest who resists his genius or conscience only 
for the sake of present ease or gratification ? 

(14) 

The ancient tradition that the world will be con- 
sumed in fire at the end of six thousand years is true, 
as I have heard from Hell. 

For the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby 
commanded to leave his guard at tree of life, and 
when he does, the whole creation will be consumed 
and appear infinite and holy, whereas it now appears 
finite and corrupt. 

This will come to pass by an improvement of 
sensual enjoyment. 

But first the notion that man has a body distinct 
from his soul is to be expunged ; this I shall do by 
printing in the infernal method, by corrosives, which 
in Hell are salutary and medicinal, melting apparent 
surfaces away, and displaying the infinite which was 
hid. 

If the doors of perception were cleansed everything 
would appear to man as it is, infinite. 

For man has closed himself up till he sees all things 
thro' narrow chinks of his cavern. 



(15) 
A MEMORABLE FANCY 
I was in a Printing-house in Hell, and saw the 



248 BLAKE'S POEMS 

method in which knowledge is transmitted from 
generation to generation. 

In the first chamber was a Dragon-Man, clearing 
away the rubbish from a cave's mouth ; within, a 
number of Dragons were hollowing the cave. 

In the second chamber was a Viper folding round 
the rock and the cave, and others adorning it with 
gold, silver, and precious stones. 

In the third chamber was an Eagle with wings and 
feathers of air. He caused the inside of the cave to 
be infinite. Around were numbers of Eagle-like men 
who built palaces in the immense cliffs. 

In the fourth chamber were Lions of flaming fire 
raging around and melting the metals into living 
fluids. 

In the fifth chamber were Unnamed forms, which 
cast the metals into the expanse. 

There they were received by Men who occupied the 
sixth chamber, and took the forms of books and were 
arranged in libraries. 

(16) 

The Giants who formed this world into its sensual 
existence and now seem to live in it in chains are in 
truth the causes of its life and the sources of all 
activity, but the chains are the cunning of weak and 
tame minds which have power to resist energy. 
According to the proverb, the weak in courage is 
strong in cunning. 

Thus one portion of being is the Prolific, the other 
the Devouring. To the devourer it seems as if the 
producer was in his chains ; but it is not so, he only 
takes portions of existence and fancies that the whole. 

But the Prolific would cease to be Prolific unless 
the Devourer as a sea received the excess of his 
delights. 

Some will say, Is not God alone the Prolific? 1 
answer, God only Acts and Is, in existing beings or 
Men. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 249 

These two classes of men are always upon earth, and 
they should be enemies. Whoever tries to reconcile 
them seeks to destroy existence. 

(17) 

Religion is an endeavour to reconcile the two. 

Note. — Jesus Christ did not wish to unite, but to 
separate them, as in the Parable of sheep and goats. 
And He says, I came not to send Peace, but a Sword. 

Messiah or Satan or Tempter was formerly thought 
to be one of the Antediluvians who are our Energies. 

A MEMORABLE FANCY 

An Angel came to me and said, O pitiable, foolish 
young man ! O horrible ! O dreadful state ! Con- 
sider the hot, burning dungeon thou art preparing for 
thyself to all eternity, to which thou art going in such 
career. 

I said : Perhaps you will be willing to show me my 
eternal lot, and we will contemplate together upon it, 
and see whether your lot or mine is most desirable ? 

So he took me thro' a stable and thro' a church and 
down into the church vault, at the end of which was 
a mill. Thro' the mill we went, and came to a cave. 
Down the winding cavern we groped our tedious way, 
till a void boundless as a nether sky appeared beneath 
us, and we held by the roots of trees, and hung over 
this immensity. But I said, If you please, we will 
commit ourselves to this void, and see whether pro- 
vidence is here also. If you will not, I will. But he 
answered, Do not presume, O young man, but as we 
here remain, behold thy lot which will soon appear 
when the darkness passes away. 

So I remained with him, sitting in the twisted root 

(18) 

of an oak. He was suspended in a fungus, which 
hung with the head downward into the deep. 



250 BLAKE'S POEMS 

By degrees we beheld the infinite Abyss, fiery as 
the smoke of a burning city. Beneath us, at an im- 
mense distance, was the sun, black but shining; round 
it were fiery tracks on which revolved vast spiders, 
crawling after their prey, which flew, or rather swum, 
in the infinite deep, in the most terrific shapes of 
animals sprung from corruption. And the air was 
full of them, and seemed composed of them. These 
are Devils, and are called Powers of the air. I now 
asked my companion which was my eternal lot? He 
said, Between the black and white spiders. 

But now, from behind the black and white spiders, 
a cloud and fire burst and rolled thro' the deep, 
blackening all beneath, so that the nether deep grew 
black as a sea, and rolled with a terrible noise. 
Beneath us was nothing now to be seen but a black 
tempest, till looking east between the clouds and the 
waves we saw a cataract of blood mixed with fire, and 
not many stones' throw from us appeared and sunk 
again the scaly fold of a monstrous serpent. At last, 
to the east, distant about three degrees, appeared a 
fiery crest above the waves. Slowly it reared like a 
ridge of golden rocks, till we discovered two globes 
of crimson fire, from which the sea fled away in clouds 
of smoke ; and now we saw it was the head of 
Leviathan. His forehead was divided into streaks of 
green and purple like those on a tiger's forehead. 
Soon we saw his mouth and red gulls hang just above 
the raging foam, tinging the black deep with beams 
of blood, advancing toward us with all the fury of a 
spiritual existence. 

(19) 

My friend the Angel climbed up from his station 
into the mill ; I remained alone, and then this appear- 
ance was no more ; but I found myself sitting on a 
pleasant bank beside a river, by moonlight, hearing 
a harper, who sung to the harp, and his theme was, 
The man who never alters his opinion is like standing 
water, and breeds reptiles of the mind. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 251 

But I arose and sought for the mill, and there I 
found my Angel, who, surprised, asked me how I 
escaped ? 

I answered : All that we saw was owing to your 
metaphysics ; for when you ran away, I found myself 
on a bank by moonlight hearing a harper. But now 
we have seen my eternal lot, shall I show you yours? 
He laughed at my proposal, but I by force suddenly 
caught him in my arms, and flew westerly thro' the 
night, till we were elevated above the earth's shadow ; 
then I flung myself with him directly into the body of 
the sun. Here I clothed myself in white, and taking 
in my hand Swedenborg's volumes, sunk from the 
glorious clime, and passed all the planets till we came 
to Saturn. Here I stay'd to rest, and then leaped into 
the void between Saturn and the fixed stars. 

Here, said I, is your lot, in this space, if space it 
may be called. Soon we saw the stable and the 
church, and I took him to the altar and opened the 
Bible, and lo ! it was a deep pit, into which I 
descended, driving the Angel before me. Soon we 
saw seven houses of brick. One we entered. In it 



(20) 

were a number of monkeys, baboons, and all of that 
species chained by the middle, grinning and snatching 
at one another, but withheld by the shortness of their 
chains. However, I saw that they sometimes grew 
numerous, and then the weak were caught by the 
strong, and with a grinning aspect, first coupled with 
and then devoured by plucking off first one limb and 
then another, till the body was left a helpless trunk. 
This, after grinning and kissing it with seeming fond- 
ness, they devoured too ; and here and there I saw 
one savourily picking the flesh off of his own tail. 
As the stench terribly annoyed us both, we went into 
the mill, and I in my hand brought the skeleton of a 
body, which in the mill was Aristotle's Analytics. 



252 BLAKE'S POEMS 

So the Angel said, Thy phantasy has imposed upon 
me, and thou oughtest to be ashamed. 

I answered, We impose on one another, and it is 
but lost time to converse with you whose works are 
only Analytics. 

(21) 

I have always found that Angels have the vanity to 
speak of themselves as the only wise. This they do 
with a confident insolence sprouting from systematic 
reasoning. 

This Swedenborg boasts that what he writes is new, 
tho' it is only the Contents or Index of already 
published books. 

A man carried a monkey about for a show, and 
because he was a little wiser than the monkey, grew 
vain, and conceived himself as much wiser than seven 
men. It is so with Swedenborg. He shows the folly 
of churches, and exposes hypocrites, till he imagines 
that all are religious, and himself the single one on 
earth that ever broke a net. 



Now hear a plain fact. Swedenborg has not written 
one new truth. Now hear another : He has written 
all the old falsehoods. 

And now hear the reason. He conversed with 
Angels who are all religious, and conversed not with 
Devils who all hate religion, for he was incapable thro' 
his conceited notions. 

Thus Swedenborg's writings are a recapitulation of 
all superficial opinions, and an analysis of the more 
sublime, but no further. 

Have now another plain fact. Any man of 
mechanical talents may, from the writings of Para- 
celsus or Jacob Behmen, produce ten thousand 
volumes of equal value with Swedenborg's, and from 
those of Dante or Shakespear an infinite number. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 253 

But when he has done this, let him not say that he 
knows better than his master, for he only holds a 
candle in sunshine. 



A MEMORABLE FANCY 

Once I saw a Devil in a flame of fire, who arose 
before an Angel that sat on a cloud, and the Devil 
uttered these words : — 

The worship of God is, Honouring his gifts in other 
men, each according to his genius, and loving the 



(23) 

greatest men best. Those who envy or calumniate 
great men hate God, for there is no other God. 

The Angel hearing this became almost blue, but 
mastering himself he grew yellow, and at last white, 
pink, and smiling, and then replied : — 

Thou Idolater, is not God One ? and is not he 
visible in Jesus Christ? and has not Jesus Christ 
given his sanction to the law of ten commandments, 
and are not all other men fools, sinners, and nothings? 

The Devil answered : Bray a fool in a morter with 
wheat, yet shall not his folly be beaten out of him. 
If Jesus Christ is the greatest man, you ought to love 
him in the greatest degree. Now hear how he has 
given his sanction to the law of ten commandments. 
Did he not mock at the sabbath, and so mock the 
sabbath's God ? murder those who were murdered 
because of him ? turn away the law from the woman 
taken in adultery? steal the labor of others to 
support him ? bear false witness when he omitted 
making a defence before Pilate ? covet when he pray'd 
for his disciples, and when he bid them shake off the 
dust of their feet against such as refused to lodge 
them ? I tell you, no virtue can exist without break- 



254 BLAKE'S POEMS 

ing these ten commandments. Jesus was all virtue, 
and acted from impulse, not from rules. 

(24) 

When he had so spoken, I heheld the Angel, who 
stretched out his arms, embracing the flame of fire, 
and he was consumed, and arose as Elijah. 

Note. — This Angel, who is now become a Devil, is 
my particular friend. We often read the Bible to- 
gether in its infernal or diabolical sense, which the 
world shall have if they behave well. 

I have also The Bible of Hell, which the world 
shall have whether they will or no. 

One Law for the Lion and Ox is Oppression. 



ABOUT 'THE MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN 
AND HELL' 

It is still a question not quite certainly to be answered 
whether the 'Marriage of Heaven and Hell ' came before or after 
'Tiriel.' Its date, as indicated in the first lines, is 1790. The 
'New Heaven,' whose advent had taken place thirty-three years 
before, is undoubtedly that which the author's own mind had 
brought into the world. He wis born in 1757, and was there- 
fore thirty-three in 1790. This Book is therefore placed before 
' Tiriel, ' because there is reason — presently to be given — for 
believing that at least the later pages were written in 1791, or 
early in 1792. 

' The Argument, ' as the first page is called in the 'Marriage,' 
is evidently later than the rest. In the original the style of 
printing is more upright, more mature, and is smaller than 
the rest of the Book, vjhich, like the ' Songs of Innocence and 
Experience ' — and all the prophetic works except ' Vala ' and 
' Tiriel,' that came down to us in the original manuscript — is 
written or printed by hand in an ink of varnish upon the 
backs of zinc or copper plates, which, being put for long in an 
acid bath, were so corroded and bitten away that the letters, 
protected by the varnish, now stood up in such bold relief that 



'MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN AND HELL' 255 

they could be printed from like a page of compact or metal-cast 
type. The drawings in all cases, scattered through the pages, 
were done in the same way. 

An exception must also be made of the Books called ' Los ' 
and ' Ahania,' which were actually engraved on metal with a 
point, probably because they could be got into smaller space, 
and plates were scarcer in 1795 than in 1790. 

Rintrah is second of the ' ungenerated ' sons of Los — their 
list is given in ' Jerusalem. ' Being ' ungenerated, ' they 'fled 
not' through the 'gates' (of birth), but remained xvith 
imagination as forces. Jtintrah, Palamabron, Theotormon, 
and Bromion are the four. See 'Jerusalem,' page 72, line 11, 
and again, page 74, line 2. Two of them are invoked, page 
93, line 2y Rintrah, on lines 7, 10, and 13. This refers to 
the long myth in ' Milton.' 

It will be seen that in these names the whole of Blake's 
' prophetic' narratives are perceptibly united as a single 
intellectual scheme. The last passages of ' Jerusalem ' belong 
to after 1810. Its title-page is o/1804, like that of 'Milton.' 
The scheme therefore was a single and coherent symbolic 
language to Blake for between fifteen and twenty years at the 
very least. 

Rintrah' s symbolic form is a lion. He is a name for in- 
tellectual fury — enthusiasm or (as Blake liked to call it) wrath. 
He belongs to that half of the two ' contraries of Humanity ' of 
which Pity is the other. The two create the motive of all art. 
When they have done so, criticism gives them other names 
— the Sublime and the Pathos — that are not used by Blake till 
the close of 'Jerusalem,' page 90, lines 1 to 13, where, in the 
darkest hour before dawn, he speaks of them. They are 
essentially also Male and Female principles. ' Life ' in art is 
not to be had if they separate and each assumes it. Then they 
are ' separate from Man' — from. Mind— and Man — or Mind, 
falls to grovelling outside art (himself ) in mere matter-of-fact 
and temporary accidents of his blood. 

To avoid this was Blake's especial mission in life, to 
preach ' brotherhood ' through a true and united state of the 
imagination in each that each might delight in all. 

He begins the work now under a furiously bold symbol, the 
marriage of Heaven (ideal) and Hell (passion). 

Cloud is, as we shall see in 'Jerusalem,' blood. In page 21, 
lines 28, 31, Hand — an intellectual wrath, gone astray into 
abstract philosophy — punishes the poor 'animal spirits,' as 
metaphysics used to call what Blake called 'daughters' of 
Albion, for teaching the passion of the heart (called Luvah 
in the myth) to 'rise into my clouded heavens.' This is the 
'Marriage' in a single phrase. The fruition of that 



256 BLAKE'S POEMS 

marriage should be the Incarnation itself, as related in the 
last line of page 5 and first of page 6, here in the 'Marriage' 
in scriptural language, again in ''Jerusalem,' page 33, 
lines 48, 52, where it appears in mythical language. We 
have already had it in ' The Mental Traveller ' in poetic 
language, where ' The Divine Appearance ' is ' born a boy ' 
and given to the old woman mentioned also in ' Jerusalem,' 
page 44, line 25, who, in page 85, lines 1 to 9, after the com- 
plicated changes of the life of symbols, turns out to be ' divine 
analogy' to live six thousand years, and to be related 
to Reuben the 'mental traveller,' or wanderer, voho entered in 
after seeds of beauty had been planted here. In ' Jerusalem,' 
page 80, from line 66 to page 81, line 14, more of his travels 
through states are seen. Pilgrims pass, countries remain, 
men pass on, states remain. — ' Jerusalem,' page 73, lines 42 
and 43, as also page 49, line 74. We are the state in which 
we are. An example of this is seen in Luvah ' named ' Satan, 
when in that state, page 49; again, line 68, — though it is 
'eternal death,' whose contrary is good, though called 'little 
deaths ' — the acts of kindness — as in ' Jerusalem, ' page 96, 
line 27. 

Jesus only enters eternal death and puts on Satan that He 
may put him off. This is the Incarnation ; but as we each of 
us have to do bits of crucifixion, so we have to do bits of this. 
Reuben does it in Hyle and others, and becomes a ' winding 
worm' (' Jerusalem,' paae 82, lines 47 and 49), when he is the 
mental traveller Merlin, page 56, line 28, who has been 
exploring Creation, Redemption, and Judgment, page 36, 
line 40, where the word Judgment in its Loins meaning is 
explained, and incidentally we have a light on the poem called 
' Broken Love. ' 

In Gilchrist's 'Life' ive have the solution. There is at 
first a vague gossiping story about how Blake thought of 
taking a concubine, quite in Old Testament style, after his 
marriage, and how his wife cried, and how, at the sight of 
her tears, he gave up his project. 

It may be true, but even if it is mere invention, the 
gossips had good cause for error. They were not likely to 
guess the meaning of a poem like that called 'Broken Love,' 
and though they did justice to Blake's heart, they did not do 
so to his Head and Loins; nor has any ivriter seen the con- 
nection of that poem, and all the others — notably 'Jerusalem,' 
page 38, line 44, and page 30, lines 33 and following ; and 
' Milton,' page 32, lines 2 and following ; 'Jerusalem,' pages 
55, 60, and 62, and again page 40, line 41, where we find an 
expression already explained by the 'winding' worm that 
crushes the minute particulars with reason, and by Merlin 



'MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN AND HELL' 257 

(first of the three — Merlin, Bladud, Arthur) being the Head, 
Heart, Loins of that worm seen under femininity as Christ, 
bom of woman to 'put on' Satanic holiness. All this may be 
read with the following passage from Gilchrist's 'Life,' 2nd 
edition, p. 410 : — 

' One complaint only she' (Mrs. Blake) ' was ever known to 
make during her husband's life, and that gently. "Mr. Blake 
was so little with her, though in the body they were never 
separated ; for he xuas incessantly away from her in Paradise, " 
which would not seem to have been "far off." ' This is quoted 
(or rather is misprinted) from a note to page 81 of Mr. Swin- 
burne's essay, where the quotation-marks for Mrs. Blake's 
complaint are given only to the words 'Mr. Blake' and 'in 
Paradise.' The authority for this story is Blake's friend 
Mr. Kirkup. 

This brings us straight to 'Broken Love.' We are com- 
forted to find the jealousy of Mrs. Blake was of immaterial 
personages after all — a kind not at all uncommon among 
artists' wives. It was not his old age, but her new education 
that eventually cured her of it. But it would be exacting to 
demand of gossips that they should understand a point such 
as this. One thing, however, may appeal to them. Blake, 
though an Irishman, was scrupidous about getting into debt, 
and though poor all his life, was never in what is gracefully 
called 'embarrassed circumstances.' If he had this rare 
(though less rare than used to be supposed) Irish quality of 
conscientiousness in money matters, he probably had the much 
more usual trait of fidelity in marriage. 

In the ballad of ' William Bond ' there is a threat, but the only 
effect ' the girls ' there had on him was to make him ill. Even 
if William Bond was William Blake, illness is not adultery, 
though what has been known to pass for adultery in gossip 
may sometimes have been illness — hers, if not his. 

In further explanation of the words ' In Paradise, ' as con- 
nected with 'jealousy,' there remain the concluding lines of 
'Broken Love' — 

' Let us agree to give up love 
And root up the infernal grove' ; 

and the passage in 'Jerusalem,' page 77, at the beginning 
of the prose paragraph — ' We are told to abstain from 
fleshly desires that we may lose no time from the work of the 
Lord.' 

The general idea of ' The Marriage of Heaven and Hell ' 

was to rebuke Stvedenborg for having used his faculty of vision 

to no better purpose than that of reducing all the visions of 

scriptural writers to perpetual references in the incarnation 

VOL, I, 3 



258 BLAKE'S POEMS 

and to the human form of God, and to the praise of 'good- 
ness. ' He is derided for not having made prophetic books of 
his own. Blake now proceeds to ' out-do ' him, and continues 
the same system ever afterwards. 



'JEHOVAH,' ' HEAVEN/ AND 'HELL' 

' Jehovah ' is itself, of course, no more a sacred name than 
the French exclamation Par bleu ! is a binding oath. The 
original name is well known to be irrecoverably lost, because 
during too long a period the commandment that forbids taking 
this name in vain was understood as forbidding its pronun- 
ciation in conversation or its record, in history. The speaking 
of it once a year by the High Priest in the Holy of Holies 
having ceased, — toe do not know why, — it was lost altogether. 
'Jehovah' therefore is simply a guess-ivork substitute, 
and we may well ask ourselves how much of substitute and 
of gucss-ioork on the subject of its meaning the Owner of 
the lost name alloived to arise among men, or how much of 
such conjecture represents truth. 

Blake offers his own reading: — 'After Christ's death, He 
{who dwells in flaming fire) became Jehovah.' — 'Marriage 
of Heaven and Hell,' page 6. This He is the impersonation 
of fatherhood, and therefore in a more elementary state 
(before the death of Christ) was the great Desirer, the Spirit 
of Desire in all men — called, (says Blake) Satan by Milton in 
'Paradise Lost.' 

Blake's own use of the ivord Satan, first indicated in the 
close of 'The Ghost of Abel,' is elaborated in 'Jerusalem.' 

The Creator, as distinguished from the Father — or, in the 
'Book of Genesis, ' Elohim, as distinguished from Jehovah, is 
kept apart as a separate idea all through Blake's work. In 
the close of the book of 'The Ghost of Abel,' he writes the ttvo 
names in a way that suggests an idea closely resembling that 
of Hengstenberg in the passage, ' Hitherto that Being who, in 
one aspect, was Jehovah, in another had always been Elohim. 
The great crisis now drew nigh in which Jehovah Elohim 
would be changed into Jehovah.' The obscurantism of all 
keepers of sacred tradition is not yet quite cast off even in our 
own day, for the authorised version of the Bible still fails to 
denote the particular places where the particular names come in 
either by printing them as they stood or by using uniform 
equivalents with an initial code vocabulary. 

In Blake's last book, 'Milton,' the word Jehovah only 
occurs seven times — Page 6, line 27; page 7, line 22; page 
10, lines 20, 24, and 25 ; page 11, lines 24, 26. The first 



'MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN AND HELL' 259 

mention connects the name with fatherhood through the 
symbols plough, rain, etc., and even the Satanic Molech ; 
the second through blood (the cloud) — the seat of moral law 
and punishment ; the third and fourth with thought (thunder) 
— not absent in any fatherhood ; the fifth with stars — an 
aspect of heavenly eyes, in which the arguments of philosophy 
(sons of Albion) will be seen in ' Jerusalem' ; then finally, 
in the sixth and seventh, as author of that strange fruit of 
mind, a mortal appearance called xt body, — the work of all 
the soul's diseases, — lohich the Lamb (the Imagination) puts 
on and puts off. 

In ' Jerusalem ' the lines of verse on page 3 first refer to 
Him, but not by name. They explain the symbolic use of 
Thunder, Fire, and the Ear, as well as hint at the meaning 
of the expression 'Marriage of Heaven and Hell ' (of purity 
and desire), with earth, the nerves, or unintellectualised 
experience, even if it be experience of inspiration, as in the 
first lines of ' Vala.' In page 22, line 3 of ' Jerusalem,' He is 
seen as Nimrod, Hunter of Men ; but the explanation is for 
' Vala,' and indirectly only is His. He is only mentioned 
passingly on page 30, line 32, yet in the mystic sense. In page 
46, line 14, He is owner of the Plough. 

In page 49, line 53, He is first connected with the place of the 
Moon, the symbol for feminine secrecy and maternal movement ; 
also with Albion's tomb, for which see above, page 48, lines 36, 
41 ; and page 59, line 6 ; page 72, line 49 ; page 73, line 16 — 
(the first reference given in the Ilussell and Maclagan sketch 
index). The starry characters of Og and Anak are the 
literal meanings, the Letter ' of Scripture, page 78, line 2. 
Imagination's Mind sleeps in the literal meaning, having 
become common-sense. Yet Jerusalem laments being excluded, 
from the lettei — in page 91, line 37, where the Rational 
Power (Spectre) reads ; in page 94, line 2, where the Tomb is 
admittedly immortal in its way, as in line 12 ; 13 — Erin, 
a form and love that once attained to prophecy, sits in it; 
and 19, where divine breath — spirit — awakes mind from the 
letter. 

Compare for 'Erin ' — who is a Westward symbol, as Thel is, 
and has her aged as well as her youthful form : — 



Page 9, line 34 
„ 11, lines 9, 10 
„ 12, „ 22 
„ 44, „ 26 



Jerusalem. 

Page 48, lines 51, 53 
„ 50, „ 18, 22 
,. 74, ,, 54 



Page 78, lines 12, 27 
„ 86, „ 45 
„ 88, „ 73 



260 BLAKE'S POEMS 

The Tomb differs but little from the Couch — page 32, line 
13 ; page 42, line 66 ; page 44, line 35 ; page 48, line 6 — where 
it is explained, and page 53, line 21. 

To continue Jehovah from after the reference to page 49, 
see that on page 55, line 32, a very brief mention of the myth 
of the Seven Eyes that is told at length in ' Vala, ' where 
the name Jehovah occurs in Night VIII. The references 
of page 61, on the lines 1, 2, 17, 21, 25, 48, belong to an 
interpolated section of myth, a story, a Book in itself, a page 
written later than the part of ' Jerusalem ' where it occurs, 
and full of explanation. On page 63, lines 1, 10, 16, 27, 30, 
the earlier, and, as it were, more corporeal Jehovah is seen 
with his symbols. 

Blake here was feeling thoroughly in accord with Biblical 
interpretation, remembering perhaps that the Ophites, who 
were Egyptians, gave the name 'IacD to the Moon, and that in 
Coptic the moon is called Ioh, that Macrobius connected 'law, 
which also denotes the Sun, or Dionysus, with the root of 
Jehovah. Mr. Mathew may have told him this. Page 68, 
line 39 ; page 81, line 13 ; page 98, lines 23, 40, 45, are the re- 
maining references to Jehovah in 'Jerusalem.' 

The name ' Scqtield ' referred to in these passages stands for 
Adam, or red (earth), similar to Edom, a title of Esau, from 
the red porridge of lentils for which he sold his birthright. 
Edom is mentioned in ' The Marriage of Heaven and Hell ' 
and in ' Jerusalem. ' ' Scofield ' is a symbol for the part of 
Mind that produces the restricted state in which we have only 
the corporeal five senses and no imagination. Blake took 
' Scofield ' from an assistant gardener, so named, whom he 
once, at Felpham, bodily ejected from his own paradise or 
garden. 

In Swedenborg's 'Angelic wisdom concerning the Divine 
Love,' which Blake read and annotated shortly before writing 
' The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,' in avowed continuation 
and correction of all Swedenborgianism, we read in par. 283 
that heaven is one Man distinguished into regions and pro- 
vinces according to the members, viscera, and organs of a 
man, — all the provinces distinct from one another, and that 
' the angels who constitute heaven are the recipients of love and 
wisdom from the Lord, and recipients are images.' 

The last three words contain what may be called the First 
Law of Mysticism, and explain why Imagination is the 
Logos. 

The word Heaven was elaborately used in ' Jerusalem ' in 
connection with the ' 27 Heavens ' and the ' Mundane Shell ' ; 
but the reference, page 43, line 16, is the most appropriate 
here, The references are the following ; — 






MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN AND HELL' 261 



Heaven, and Heavens. 



Page 3, verse 




Pag 


e 68, lines 19 


„ 13, lines 32, 51 






71* 


„ 17,57 


,. 21, , 


, 31 






75, 


„ 20, 23, 27 


„ 27, , 


, prose 






77, 


,, prose,andverses 


.. 33, , 


, 50 








3, 7, 34 


» 34, , 


, 14 






79, 


,, 71, 80 


,, 41, , 


, 2,20 






80, 


„ 15 


„ 43, , 


, 16, 18 






81, 


,, picture, 15 


„ 49, , 


, 13,27,61,62,64 




82, 


„ 79 


>• 5, , 


, 26, 55 






91, 


„ 32, 49 


„ 60, , 


, 1 






95, 


„ 7, 21 


„ 63, , 


, 17, 19 






96, 


„ 1, 40, 43 


„ 65, , 


, 5 






98, 


„ 2, 8, 10, 27 


„ 66, , 


, 5, 40, 81 


He 


11. 






Page 8, lit 


%cs 8, 38 




Pag 


c49, 


lines 61, 62 


„ 12, , 


, 15 




,, 


75, 


„ 21 


„ 17, , 


, 47, 54 




,, 


77, 


, , prose, and verse 


„ 24, , 


, 34 








34 


„ 41, , 


, 2 




ii 


78, 


„ 8 


„ 43, , 


, 16, 32 











As will be found noted in reference to the use of the words 
in other Books, Heaven, or Heavens, are spoken of in ' Vala,' 
Night VII., line 103, and notably in Night IX., lines 180, 296, 
789, 790, 797, 820. 



THE CLOSING OF THE WESTERN GA TE. 

With this symbol begins a period within a period — an epoch 
in the production of the Prophetic Books themselves. 

In the first page — the Argument— of ' The Marriage of 
Heaven and Hell,' we have practically the entrance of what 
becomes the main subject of all the Books, and, at any rate, 
the explanation of the symbolic language and mythic form in 
which they are written. This is the censorship of modesty 
that closes the Western Gate, or Gate of the Tongue. 

This censorship is aided by another — that of stupidity, 
that hates imagination and refuses to see Christ in Adam. 

People will not have the Body spoken of freely, however much 
they may, in the abstract, admit that it is the Temple of God, 
' not made with hands.' 



262 BLAKE'S POEMS 

This refusal is not Blake's fault. It results in a closing of 
frankness, the Gate of. the Tongue — great parent of that 
wonderful race the 'all-powerful human words.' So they 
have to come forth in symbolic garment if at all. 

It has led, in England generally, to the superiority of our 
novels — taken in the mass — over the French, and it produced 
Blake's poetry. But he always thought the closed gate a sad 
thing, if not wicked, and looked forward to its reopening. 

This explanation of the ' closing of the Western Gate,' as the 
prohibition of such general excess in frankness as might 
endanger public decency, is not anywhere given in express 
terms by Blake, and is only offered here as one aspect of that 
terrible event. It is an aspect that followed almost as a matter 
of course from the very nature of our opaque bodies — themselves 
altogether Satanic ; for Satan, as must ever be remembered, is 
the limit of opaqueness, as will often be repeated in these notes, 
for which repetition the reader is asked to forgive the editor, 
who is more afraid of being obscure than of being dull. 

This opaqueness of our bodies — once more to repeat — is 
itself the fault of our minds, for a state of mind makes all 
states of body, not merely the amorous state, the apoplectic, or 
the hysterical, and just as in a clairvoyant or hypnotic trance 
mind can see through bodies and brick walls, and escape the 
control of opacity, so, Blake held, would all men's normal 
minds end by conquering their normal and mortal bodies, 
and (' Vala,' Night VIII., line 544) these would 'disappear 
in improved knowledge.' 

Meanwhile, since none of us can effect this for the race 
by living all alone, our business is to try to effect it all 
together by exalted sympathy, not only with ' trifles not worth 
caring for, ' as the pleasures of the passions are called in the 
'Everlasting Gospel,' written at least fourteen years after ' The 
Marriage of Heaven and Hell,' but — what would be of no less 
effect — with sympathy even for 

'Loves and tears of brothers, sisters, sons, fathers, and friends, 
Which, if Man ceases to behold, he ceases to exist,' etc. — 
Jerusalem, page 38, line 12. 

The elosing of Albion's western gate caused all his sympathies 
to diminish, and all his opacities to increase, as will be read 
at full length in ' Jerusalem. ' 

In Blake's earlier Books, now to follow, will be found the 
voice of a visionary uttering (for the spirits Ore and Oothoon) 
the cry of passion, just as for the shy spirit of virgin beauty 
( Thel) he uttered the cry of humility and despondency. 



'MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN AND HELL' 263 

DESIGNS TO 'THE MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN 
AND HELL' 

Whatever else Blake ivas thinking of in 1790, when he com- 
posed ' The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,' his own career 
was very much in his mind. The 'Argument' of this book 
may be looked on as a companion composition to Tennyson's 
little poem about his own writings, beginning 

' Once in a golden hour 
I cast to earth a seed.' 

The days of the 'Poetical Sketches ' were over. Seven years 
had passed. Blake was no longer an unconsidered novice. 
He was beginning to be considered rather as a dangerous 
eccentric. Bintrah is his own spirit of energy. He is the 
Just Man because he admitted the existence of his bodily 
passions, and claimed his right to be imaginative at the same 
time. He had ceased to be meek. Poets were ceasing to copy 
Pope and Dryden only. The movement of the modern sweet 
singers had begun. Then came the imitatoi — the villain. 
Poetry became respectable sentiment once more, just as it was 
ceasing to be respectable epigram. It was no longer a claim to 
the liberty of a prophet. The man who had what modern 
critics call an evangel, grew angry. The hungry clouds on 
the deep are his passions. Blood is the cloud in the symbolic 
system. So ends the ' Argument.' A supplementary interpre- 
tation is given along with that of all the Books in vol. ii. of the 
Quaritch edition. 

Blake in the book itself of the Marriage makes a manifesto. 
He casts off allegiance to Swedenborg, and begins his main 
gospel : ' Claim to be happy. Dare to be imaginative. Refuse 
to be bound. Be good, — for that is the way to be free.' 

The book is full of designs. 

The title-page shows fire — a virgin, kissing cloud (her friend) 
under the earth, while trees above are barren. These figures 
are the passion kissing the mortality or opacity of the blood. 

The Argument's page shoivs a fruit-gatherer, passion, 
reaching down from a tree to one who stands beloio, the virgin 
flesh. 

Page 3 has above the text a female figure, who has eaten the 
fruit now, lying back with outspread arms in a bath of flames, 
and offering herself to them. Beloio the text she is seen putting 
forth a child, while a boy and girl of four or five run aioay 
alarmed. Compare the 'Mental Traveller.' 

Page 4 shows, below the text, a young female, a mere girl, 
carrying the babe, now three or four years old, with giant 
strides across the sea out of the sunrise. A youth, chained by 
one foot, dashes to meet her out of flames that follow him from 



264 BLAKE'S POEMS 

his side of the picture as though the ocean opposite the sun 
were on fire. 

The upper part of page 5 shows a man and a horse, separate, 
falling headlong from the sky into ivhere the tops of flames are 
seen burning from somewhere below. A sword and a trumpet 
and a fire-ball fall with them. 

On page 10, after the last of the proverbs, a diabolic angel 
is seen unrolling the list of them in a long strip across his 
knees, while tivo toomen make notes. They and their books are 
iron and brass — love and hate — on and by which moods such 
proverbs are written. 

At the top of page 11 some flames are seen, as a sun-god, 
goddess, and. babe. These figures are possibly Thel, the Lily, 
and the Golden Cloud, conceived in another aspect. They are 
' sensible objects animated, ' as by the ancient poets. A bearded 
head, and arms outstretched on a cloud below, fill half the foot 
of the page. A baby floats alone on the darkness of the other 
half. They are Jehovah and the Infant Son, as conceived 
usually in the 'human breast.' Above these, very small, is a 
caricature of a giant frightening four people into kneeling clown 
to him. He has a sword. 

On page 14 a female head, with arms extended in hovering 
attitude, bends toivards us out of a world of flames, over a 
youth lying on his back on the ground. He is in profile. The 
two figures, if fully seen, would form a cross, as one lies float- 
ing across, though at half a yard above the other. It has 
several symbolic meanings. That of the emanation hovering 
over the Spectre suggests most of the rest. 

Page 15 has an eagle flying up with its talons in a serpent. 
It almost seems as though Shelley had seen this before writing 
his opening to the 'Revolt of Islam, ' though it is not probable. 
If he had known of Blake he would have said so. The eagle 
here is Luvah ; the serpent probably Urizen ; see page 20, below. 

On page 16 the giants who formed this world sit sadly in a 
close-huddled group on the ground, like Job and his friends, 
but not as Blake afterwards drew that subject. They are the 
four Zoas and Albion, or the five senses, in all probability. 

At the foot of page 20 the serpent is rolling and writhing its 
way through a foaming sea in great vihecl-shaped coils. 
Urizen in the world of Thar mas. See 'Vala,' Night VIII., 
line 436. 

At the head of page 21, a naked youth sits on a flattened 
human skin, or corpse, of a man, his 'dead-self,' and looks 
up into the sky. 

On a separate plate Blake printed a picture of Nebuchad- 
nezzar as crawling to grass on page 24. 

1 A Song of Liberty' has only some small drawings of 
prancing horses. 



A SONG OF LIBERTY 



266 



{The page numbers 25, 26, 27 continue those of 'The 
Marriage of Heaven and Hell' with which this Song was 
bound up. ) 



266 



A SONG OF LIBERTY 



1. The Eternal Female groan'd ! It was heard over 
all the Earth. 

2. Albion's coast is sick, silent. The American 
meadows faint. 

3. Shadows of Prophecy shiver along by the lakes 
and the rivers, and mutter across the ocean. France, 
rend down thy dungeon. 

4. Golden Spain, burst the barriers of old Rome. 

5. Cast thy keys, O Rome, into the deep down 
falling, even to eternity down falling. 

6. And weep. 

7. In her trembling hands she took the new born 
terror howling. 

8. On those infinite mountains of light now barr'd 
out by the atlantic sea, the new born fire stood before 
the starry king. 

9. Flag'd with grey brow'd snows and thunderous 
visages, the jealous wings wav'd over the deep. 

10. The speary hand burn'd aloft, unbuckled was 
the shield ; forth went the hand of jealousy among 
the flaming hair, and hurl'd the new born wonder 

(26) 
thro the starry night. 

11. The fire, tbe fire, is falling ! 

12. Look up ! look up ! O citizen of London, enlarge 
thy countenance. O Jew, leave counting gold ! 
return to thy oil and wine. O African! black African ! 
(Go, winged thought, widen his forehead.) 

13. The fiery limbs, the flaming hair, shot like the 
sinking sun into the western sea. 

267 



268 BLAKE'S POEMS 

14. Wak'd from his eternal sleep, the hoary element 
roaring, fled away. 

15. Down rush'd, beating his wings in vain, the 
jealous king ; his grey brow'd councellors, thunderous 
warriors, carl'd veterans, among helms, and shields, 
and chariots, horses, elephants, banners, castles, 
slings, and rocks. 

16. Falling, rushing, ruining ! buried in the ruins, 
on Urthona's dens. 

17. All night beneath the ruins ; then their sullen 
flames faded, emerge round the gloomy king. 

18. With thunder and fire, leading his starry 

(27) 
hosts thro' the waste wilderness, he promulgates his 
ten commands, glancing his beamy eyelids over the 
deep in dark dismay. 

19. Where the son of fire in his eastern cloud, 
while the morning plumes her golden breast. 

20. Spurning the clouds written with curses ; stamps 
the stony law to dust ; loosing the eternal horses from 
the dens of night, crying, Empire is no more ! 

And now the lion and wolf shall cease. 

Chorus 

Let the Priests of the Raven of dawn, no longer in 
deadly black, with hoarse note curse the sons of joy. 
Nor his accepted brethren, whom, tyrant, he calls 
free. Lay the bound or build the roof. Nor pale 
religions letchery call that virginity that wishes but 
acts not. 

For everything that lives is Holy. 



MEANING OF ' A SONG OF LIBERTY 

'A Song of Liberty,' though issued from Blake's own 
press under the same cover as the 'Marriage,' is really a 
separate book. 

It is so entirely symbolic, as well as so early in date, and 



'A SONG OF LIBERTY' 269 

so short, that while its earliness makes the coherence of its 
symbolism with that of the later books a guarantee that Blake 
always knew his oion mind — though it took so long for any 
one else to do so — its shortness makes it serviceable if para- 
phrased as a sort of exercise in which some portion of Blake's 
peculiar language may conveniently be learned. 

And here the editor ventures to appeal to the readers, begging 
them first to take pains to learn all the language — not merely 
the little bits that he can teach in these italic notes, and, 
having learned it, to read it to himself as he would read a 
foreign tongue which had become as familiar to him as his 
native language, so that he ceases to translate it into other 
words as he goes along, but allows his mind to vivify it 
straight into its meaning, passing through its images to its 
purposes. Then, and then only, will he understand Blake's 
position among the poets. 

1. The Eternal Female, the corporeal instincts, groaned. It 
was felt through all flesh — the earth {Adam, Red Earth). She 
will not be happy until ivith Ahania, and ''all the lovely sex,' 
all the pathos, the instincts. She obeys the sublime, the male. — 
' Veda,' Night IX., line 215. 

2. The world of generation — the North of the North, 
Albion's coast in Europe — is sick with restraint. The 
American, or western meadows, or the tissues from which 
instincts arise, faint under it. 

3. The spirits that atvake the flesh to action in each person 
timidly sent desires down the nerves. France, Passion of the 
Blood — Luvah and Ore in one (compare ' Jerusalem,' page 49, 
line 46 ; page 55, line 29 ; page 60, line 15 ; and ' Vala, ' Night 
VIII., lines 59 and 60) — be no longer restrained ! (as Urizen 
said in ' Vala,' Night IX., line 186, when Tharmas is 
America). 

4. Intellect that learns from generation and regenerates the 
Man, cast off thy restraining half. 

5. Cast thy restraint off on South of North — Borne in 
Europe; religion in war — Rahab — or Urizen in the Net. 

6. And lay thy heart open with a sword of tears (compare 
notes to ' Jerusalem' : the sword). 

7. The ' woman old ' of the Mental Traveller — who is both 
morality and Divine analogy — took the new-born spirit that 
discerns imaginative meaning through its desires (howling is 
symbol for desiring) in her hands, trembling. 

8. It stood before Urizen (the Starry King) on those truly 
moral heights of unalloyed pure passion that were of the soul 
once, and that the body drowns now. 

9. He was seen in vision waving over the lower passions, — 
wings — on ichich gloomy desiring and matter-of-fact elderly 
selfish faces appeared as though painted — in fact, as a flag's 



270 BLAKE'S POEMS 

device is embroidered on a flag ; and the wings were jealousy 
— they command the air, as jealousy commands the natural 
heart. (Luvah, demon of the Heart, is Prince of the Air.) 

10. Armed mental control seized the new-born meaning (of 
the Bible and of the world, as about to be taught by Blake) and 
hurled him jealously dotvn into the body's lower impulses. 

11. Into which it fell as fire falls. 

12. ' Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, 
and I will give you rest.' 

13. Imagination fell into flesh. 

14. Whose matter-of-fact habits shrank from him. 

15. Every argument that Reason could bring rushed down, 
seeing Jealousy's mistake, to catch Imagination and destroy 
him. 

16. The fire that had risen in the East, stood in the South, 
and been flung through the West (the direction is that of the 
sun), entered the earth (the auricular nerves of human life, to 
which inspiration whispers : compare ' Vala,' Night I., lines 
14, 15) : brought forth an eternal brood of ideas. 

17. The desire to live will not be repressed. If imagination 
be refused the mind, he will burn in the loins, and from thence 
re-arise, for this is the real story of the Incarnation. Com- 
pare ' Vala,' last line of Night V. 

18. 19, 20. The stony law that is stamped to dust is not 
merely — whether or not it be partly — the moral law. The eternal 
horses loosened from their dens of night suggest the idea, for 
Swedenborg taught that in Scripture the horse is symbol of 
the intellect, and the dens of night are evidently that literal 
scripture now upheld by Borne, once otherwise treated by her 
when all was given a spiritual meaning, even the 'daily 
bread' in the Lord's prayer. 

The last words describe the universal peace fellowship 
without greed and law that Blake believed would come of 
itself if all men's hands were filled with the priceless gold of 
poetic imagination. Most certainly he was right, but in 
believing ihaball could be so filled if they chose, he perhaps 
did more than justice to his fellow-creatures. 

The chorus is frankly physical. The Raven here dis- 
appears from the scheme of symbolism to reappear picturesquely 
in ' Vala,' Night IX., line 60. 

In the last three Nights of ' Vala, ' the problem of the value 
and meaning, the danger and deception of mind that belong 
to the simple passions of the fiesh are argued out in poetry, and 
are counterparts to the Night V., 66 to 182 ; Night VII., 5 to 
99, 136 to 182, 171 to 126, and 439 to 699. In Night VIII., 
line 60 to end; in Night IX., 34, 69, 183, 186, 354, are the 
indicative references, 



TIRIEL 



27J 



TIRIEL 

i 

And aged Tiriel stood before the gates of his beauti- 
ful palace, 

With Myratana, once the Queen of all the western 
plains ; 

But now his eyes were darkened, and his wife fading 
in death. 

They stood before their once, delightful palace ; and 
thus the voice 

Of aged Tiriel arose, that his sons might hear in their 
gates. 

' Accursed race of Tiriel ! behold your father ; 
Come forth and look on her that bore you. Come, 

you accursed sons. 
In my weak arms I here have borne your dying mother ; 
Come forth, sons of the curse, come forth ! see the 

death of Myratana.' 

His sons ran from their gates, and saw their aged 

parents stand ; . 

And thus the eldest son of Tiriel raised his mighty 

voice : — 

'Old man! unworthy to be called the father of 

Tiriel's race ! 
For every one of those thy wrinkles, each of those 

grey hairs, 
Are cruel as death, and as obdurate as the devouring 

pit ! 
Why should thy sons care for thy curses, thou 

accursed man ? 

vol. I. s 



2U BLAKE'S POEMS 

Were we not slaves till we rebelled ? Who cares for 

Tiriel's curse? 
His blessing was a cruel curse ; his curse may be a 

blessing. ' 

He ceased. The aged man raised up his right hand 

to the heavens ; 
His left supported Myratana, shrinking in pangs of 

death. 
The orbs of his large eyes he opened, and thus his 

voice went forth : — 

' Serpents, not sons, wreathing around the bones of 

Tiriel ! 
Ye worms of death, feasting upon your aged parent's 

flesh, 
Listen, and hear your mother's groans. No more 

accursed sons 
She bears ; she groans not at the birth of Heuxos or 

Yuva. 
These are the groans of death, ye serpents ! these are 

the groans of death ! 
Nourished with milk, ye serpents, nourished with 

mother's tears and cares ! 
Look at my eyes, blind as the orbless skull among the 

stones ; 
Look at my bald head. Hark, listen, ye serpents, 

listen ! . . . 
What, Myratana ! What, my wife ! O soul ! O 

spirit ! O fire ! 
What, Myratana, art thou dead ? Look here, ye 

serpents, look ! 
The serpents sprung from her own bowels have 

drained her dry as this. 
Curse on your ruthless heads, for I will bury her 

even here ! ' 

So saying, he began to dig a grave with his aged 
hands ; 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 275 

But Heuxos called a son of Zazel to dig their mother 
a grave. 

' Old cruelty, desist, and let us dig a grave for thee. 
Thou hast refused our charity, thou hast refused our 

food, 
Thou hast refused our clothes, our beds, our houses 

for thy dwelling, 
Choosing to wander like a son of Zazel in the rocks. 
Why dost thou curse? Is not the curse now come 

upon thine head ? 
Was it not thou enslaved the sons of Zazel ? and they 

have cursed, 
And now thou feel'st it ! Dig a grave, and let us 

bury our mother.' 

' There, take the body, cursed sons ! and may the 

heavens rain wrath, 
As thick as northern fogs, around your gates, to 

choke you up ! 
That you may lie as now your mother lies — like dogs, 

cast out, 
The stink of your dead carcases annoying man and 

beast, 
Till your white bones are bleached with age for a 

memorial. 
No ! your remembrance shall perish ; for, when your 

carcases 
Lie stinking on the earth, the buriers shall arise from 

the East, 
And not a bone of all the sons of Tiriel remain. 
Bury your mother, but you cannot bury the curse of 

Tiriel.' 

He ceased, and darkling o'er the mountains sought 
his pathless way. 

ii 

He wandered day and night. To him both day and 
night were dark : 

The sun he felt, but the bright moon was now a use- 
less globe. 



276 BLAKE'S POEMS 

O'er mountains and through vales of woe the blind 

and aged man 
Wandered, till he that leadeth all led him to the 

vales of Har. 

And Har and Heva, like two children, sat beneath 

the oak. 
Mnetha, now aged, waited on them, and brought 

them food and clothing. 
But they were as the shadow of Har, and as the years 

forgotten : 
Playing with flowers and running after birds they 

spent the day, 
And in the night like infants slept, delighted with 

infant dreams. 
Soon as the blind wanderer entered the pleasant 

gardens of Har, 
They ran weeping, like frighted infants, for refuge in 

Mnetha's arms. 
The blind man felt his way, and cried : ' Peace to 

these open doors ! 
Let no one fear, for poor blind Tiriel hurts none but 

himself. 
Tell me, O friends, where am I now, and in what 

pleasant place ? * 

'This is the valley of Har,' said Mnetha, 'and this 

the tent of Har. 
Who art thou, poor blind man, that takest the name 

of Tiriel on thee ? 
Tiriel is King of all the West. Who art thou ? I am 

Mnetha ; 
And this is Har and Heva, trembling like infants by 

my side.' 

'I know Tiriel is King of the West, and there he 

lives in joy. 
No matter who I am, O Mnetha ! If thou hast any 

food, 
Give it me, for 1 cannot stay, — my journey is far 

from hence.' 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 277 

Then Har said : ' O my mother Mnetha, venture not 

so near him, 
For he is the king of rotten wood, and of the bones 

of death ; 
He wanders without eyes, and passes through thick 

walls and doors. 
Thou shalt not smite my mother Mnetha., O thou 

eyeless man ! ' 

'. A wanderer, I beg for food. You see I cannot weep. 
I cast away my staff, the kind companion of my travel, 
And I kneel down that you may see I am a harmless 
man.' 

He kneeled down. And Mnetha said : ' Come, Har 

and Heva, rise : 
He is an innocent old man, and hungry with his 

travel. ' 

Then Har arose, and laid his hand upon old Tiriel's 
head. 

' God bless thy poor bald pate, God bless thy hollow 
winking eyes, 

God bless thy shrivelled beard, God bless thy many- 
wrinkled forehead ! 

Thou hast no teeth, old man ! and thus I kiss thy 
sleek bald head. 

Heva, come kiss his bald head, for he will not hurt 
us, Heva.' 

Then Heva came, and took old Tiriel in her mother's 
arms. 

'Bless thy poor eyes, old man, and bless the old 

father of Tiriel ! 
Thou art my Tiriel's old father ; I know thee through 

thy wrinkles, 
Because thou smellest like the fig-tree, thou smellest 

like ripe figs. 
How didst thou lose thy eyes, old Tiriel ? Bless thy 

wrinkled face !' 



278 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Mnetha said : f Come in, aged wanderer ; tell us of 

thy name. 
Why shouldst thou conceal thyself from those of 

thine own flesh ?' 

' I am not of this region,' said Tiriel dissemblingly. 

' I am an aged wanderer, once father of a race 

Far in the North ; but they were wicked, and were 

all destroyed, 
And I their father sent an outcast. I have told 

you all : 
Ask me no more, I pray, for grief hath sealed my 

precious sight.' 

' O Lord ! ' said Mnetha, ' how I tremble ! Are there 

then more people, 
More human creatures on this earth, beside the sons 

ofHar?' 

c No more,' said Tiriel, 'but I, remain on all this 

globe ; 
And I remain an outcast. Hast thou anything to 

drink ? ' 

Then Mnetha gave him milk and fruits, and they sat 
down together. 

m 
They sat and ate, and Har and Heva smiled on Tiriel. 

' Thou art a very old old man, but I am older than thou, . 
How came thine hair to leave thy forehead, how came 

thy face so brown ? 
My hair is very long, my beard doth cover all my 

breast. 
God bless thy piteous face ! To count the wrinkles in 

thy face 
Would puzzle Mnetha. Bless thy face, for thou art 

Tiriel ! ' 

' Tiriel I never saw but once. I sat with him and ate ; 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 279 

He was as cheerful as a prince, and gave me enter- 
tainment. 

But long I stayed not at his palace, for I am forced 
to wander.' 

' What ! wilt thou leave us too ? ' said Heva. ' Thou 

shalt not leave us too, 
For we have many sports to show thee, and many 

songs to sing ; 
And after dinner we will walk into the cage of Har, 
And thou shalt help us to catch hirds, and gather 

them ripe cherries ; 
Then let thy name be Tiriel, and never leave us more.' 
'If thou dost go,' said Har, ' I wish thine eyes may 

see thy folly. 
My sons have left me. — Did thine leave thee? Oh, 

'twas very cruel ! ' 

'No, venerable man,' said Tiriel, f ask me not such 

things, 
For thou dost make my heart to bleed. My sons 

were not like thine, 
But worse. Oh never ask me more, or I must flee 

away.' 

' Thou shalt not go,' said Heva, ' till thou hast seen 

our singing-birds, 
And heard Har sing in the great cage, and slept upon 

our fleeces. 
Go not, for thou art so like Tiriel that I love thine 

head, 
Though it is wrinkled like the earth parched with the 

summer heat.' 

Then Tiriel rose up from the seat, and said : e God 

bless these tents ! 
My journey is o'er rocks and mountains, not in 

pleasant vales ; 
I must not sleep nor rest, because of madness and 

dismay.' 



280 BLAKE'S POEMS 

And Mnetha said : ' Thou must not go to wander 

dark alone. 
But dwell with us, and let us be to thee instead of eyes, 
And I will bring thee food, old man, till death shall 

call thee hence.' 

Then Tiriel frowned, and answered : ' Did I not 

command you, saying, 
Madness and deep dismay possess the heart of the 

blind man, 
The wanderer who seeks the woods, leaning upon his 

staff?' 

Then Mnetha, trembling at his frowns led him to 

the tent-door, 
And gave to him his staff, and blessed him. He went 

on his way. 

But Har and Heva stood and watched him till he 

entered the wood ; 
And then they went and wept to Mnetha, but they 

soon forgot their tears. 



Over the weary hills the blind man took his lonely 

way; 
To him the day and night alike was dark and desolate. 
But far he had not gone when Ijim from his woods 

came down, 
Met him at entrance of the forest, in a dark and 

lonely way. 

' Who art thou, eyeless wretch, that thus obstructest 

the lion's path ? 
Ijim shall rend thy feeble joints, thou tempter of dark 

Ijim! 
Thou hast the form of Tiriel, but I know thee well 

enough ! 
Stand from my path, foul fiend ! Is this the last of 

thy deceits — 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 281 

To be a hypocrite, and stand in shape of a blind 
beggar ? ' 

The blind man heard his brother's voice, and kneeled 
down on his knee. 

' O brother Ijim, if it is thy voice that speaks to me, — 
Smite not thy brother Tiriel, though weary of his life. 
My sons have smitten me already ; and, if thou 

smitest me, 
The curse that rolls over their heads will rest itself 

on thine. 
'Tis now seven years since in my palace I beheld thy 

face.' 

' Come, thou dark fiend, I dare thy cunning ! know 

that Ijim scorns 
To smite thee in the form of helpless age and eyeless 

policy ; 
Rise up, for I discern thee, and I dare thy eloquent 

tongue. 
Come, I will lead thee on thy way, and use thee as a 

scofiV 

'O brother Ijim, thou beholdest wretched Tiriel : 
Kiss me, my brother, and then leave me to wander 
desolate ! ' 

' No, artful fiend, but I will lead thee ; dost thou 

want to go ? 
Reply not, lest I bind thee with the green flags of the 

brook ; 
Ay, now thou art discovered. I will use thee like a 

slave.' 

When Tiriel heard the words of Ijim, he sought not 

to reply : 
He knew 'twas vain, for Ijim's words were as the 

voice of Fate. 



282 BLAKE'S POEMS 

And they went on together, over hills, through woody 

dales, 
Blind to the pleasures of the sight, and deaf to 

warbling birds. 
All day they walked, and all the night beneath the 

pleasant moon, 
Westwardly journeying, till Tiriel grew weary with 

his travel. 

'O Ijim, I am faint and weary, for my knees forbid 
To bear me further. Urge me not, lest I should die 

with travel. 
A little rest I crave, a little water from a brook, 
Or I shall soon discover that I am a mortal man, 
And thou wilt lose thy once-loved Tiriel. Alas ! how 

faint I am ! ' 

'Impudent fiend!' said Ijim, f hold thy glib and 

eloquent tongue ; — 
Tiriel is a king, and thou the tempter of dark Ijim. 
Drink of this running brook, and I will bear thee on 

my shoulders.' 

He drank ; and Ijim raised him up, and bore him on 

his shoulders. 
All day he bore him ; and, when evening drew her 

solemn curtain, 
Entered the gates of Tiriel's palace, and stood and 

called aloud. 

' Heuxos, come forth ! I here have brought the fiend 

that troubles Ijim. 
Look ! know'st thou aught of this grey beard, or of 

these blinded eyes ? ' 

Heuxos and Lotho ran forth at the sound of Ijim's 

voice, 
And saw their aged father borne upon his mighty 

shoulders. 
Their eloquent tongues were dumb, and sweat stood 

on their trembling limbs ; 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 283 

They knew 'twas vain to strive with Ijim. They 
bowed and silent stood. 

1 What, Heuxos ! call thy father, for I mean to sport 

to-night. 
This is the hypocrite that sometimes roars a dreadful 

lion ; 
Then I have rent his limbs, and left him rotting in 

the forest 
For birds to eat. But I have scarce departed from 

the place 
But like a tiger he would come, and so I rent him too. 
Then like a river he would seek to drown me in his 

waves, 
But soon 1 buffeted the torrent ; anon like to a cloud 
Fraught with the swords of lightning, but I braved 

the vengeance too. 
Then he would creep like a bright serpent, till around 

my neck 
While I was sleeping he would twine : I squeezed his 

poisonous soul. 
Then like a toad or like a newt would whisper in my 

ears ; 
Or like a rock stood in my way, or like a poisonous 

shrub. 
At last I caught him in the form of Tiriel blind and 

old, 
And so I '11 keep him. Fetch your father, fetch forth 

Myratana. ' 

They stood confounded, and thus Tiriel raised his 
silver voice. 

f Serpents, not sons, why do you stand ? Fetch hither 
Tiriel, 

Fetch hither Myratana, and delight yourselves with 
scoffs ; 

For poor blind Tiriel is returned, and this much- 
injured head 



284 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Is ready for your bitter taunts. Come forth, sons of 

the curse ! ' 

Meantime the other sons of Tiriel ran around their 

father, 
Confounded at the terrible strength of Ijim. They 

knew 'twas vain, 
Both spear and shield were useless, and the coat of 

iron mail, 
When Ijim stretched his mighty arm ; the arrow from 

his limbs 
Rebounded, and the piercing sword broke on his 

naked flesh. 

' Then it is true, Heuxos, that thou hast turned thy 

aged parent 
To be the sport of wintry winds,' said Ijim : c is this 

true ? 
It is a lie, and I am like the tree torn by the wind, 
Thou eyeless fiend and you dissemblers ! Is this 

Tiriel's house ? 
It is as false as Matha, and as dark as vacant Orcus. 
Escape, ye fiends, for Ijim will not lift his hand 

against ye.' 

So saying, Ijim gloomy turned his back, and silent 

sought 
The secret forests, and all night wandered in desolate 

ways. 

v 

And aged Tiriel stood and said : ' Where does the 

thunder sleep ? 
Where doth he hide his terrible head ? and his swift 

and fiery daughters, 
Where do they shroud their fiery wings, and the 

terrors of their hair ? 
Earth, thus I stamp thy bosom ! rouse the earthquake 

from his den, 
To raise his dark and burning visage through the 

cleaving ground, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 285 

To thrust these towers with his shoulders ! Let his 

fiery dogs 
Rise from the centre, belching flames and roaring 

dark smoke ! 
Where art thou, Pestilence, that hathest in fogs and 

standing lakes ? 
Raise up thy sluggish limbs, and let the loathsomest 

of poisons 
Drop from thy garments as thou walkest, wrapped in 

yellow clouds ! 
Here take thy seat in this wide court ; let it be strewn 

with dead ; 
And sit and smile upon these cursed sons of Tiriel ! 
Thunder, and fire, and pestilence, hear you not 

Tiriel's curse ? ' 

He ceased. The heavy clouds confused rolled round 

the lofty towers, 
Discharging their enormous voices at the father's 

curse. 
The earth trembled, fires belched from the yawning 

clefts, 
And, when the shaking ceased, a fog possessed the 

accursed clime. 

The cry was great in Tiriel's place. His five daughters 

ran, 
And caught him by the garments, weeping with cries 

of bitter woe. 

' Ay, now you feel the curse, you cry ! but may all 

ears be deaf 
As Tiriel's, and all eyes as blind as Tiriel's, to your 

woes ! 
May never stars shine on your roofs, may never sun 

nor moon 
Visit you, but eternal fogs hover around your 

walls ! — 
Hela, my youngest daughter, thou shalt lead me from 

this place ; 



286 BLAKE'S POEMS 

And let the curse fall on the rest, and wrap them up 
together ! ' 

He ceased, and Hela led her father from the noisome 

place. 
In haste they fled, while all the sons and daughters 

of Tiriel, 
Chained in thick darkness, uttered cries of mourning 

all the night. 
And in the morning, lo ! an hundred men in ghastly 

death, 
The four daughters, stretched on the marble pave- 
ment, silent, all 
Fallen by the pestilence, — the rest moped round in 

guilty fears ; 
And all the children in their beds were cut off in one 

night. 
Thirty of Tiriel's sons remained, to wither in the 

palace — 
Desolate, loathed, dumb, astonished — waiting for 

black death. 



And Hela led her father through the silence of the 

night, 
Astonished, silent, till the morning beams began to 

spring. 

» Now, Hela, I can go with pleasure, and dwell with 

Har and Heva, 
Now that the curse shall clean devour all those guilty 

sons. 
This is the right and ready way ; I know it by the 

sound 
That our feet make. Remember, Hela, I have saved 

thee from death ; 
Then be obedient to thy father, for the curse is taken 

off thee. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 287 

I dwelt with Myratana five years in the desolate 

rock ; 
And all that time we Waited for the fire to fall from 

heaven, 
Or for the torrents of the sea to overwhelm you 

all. 
But now my wife is dead, and all the time of grace is 

past. 
You see the parent's curse. Now lead me where I 

have commanded.' 



'O leagued with evil spirits, thou accursed man of 

sin, — 
True, I was born thy slave. Who asked thee to save 

me from death ? 
'Twas for thyself, thou cruel man, because thou 

wan test eyes.' 

'True, Hela, this is the desert of all those cruel 

ones. 
Is Tiriel cruel ? Look ! his daughter— and his youngest 

daughter — 
Laughs at affection, glories in rebellion, scoffs at 

love. 
I have not ate these two days ; lead me to Har and 

Heva's tent, 
Or I will wrap thee up in such a terrible father's 

curse 
That thou shalt feel worms in thy marrow creeping 

through thy bones ; 
Yet thou shalt lead me. Lead me, I command, to 

Har and Heva.' 

* O cruel ! O destroyer ! O consumer ! O avenger ! 
To Har and Heva I will lead thee ; then would that 

they would curse, — 
Then would they curse as thou hast cursed ! But 

they are not like thee ! 



288 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Oh they are holy and forgiving, filled with loving 

mercy, 
Forgetting the offences of their most rebellious 

children, 
Or else thou wouldest not have lived to curse thy 

helpless children.' 

' Look on my eyes, Hela, and see (for thou hast eyes 

to see) 
The tears swell from my stony fountains ; wherefore 

do I weep? 
Wherefore from my blind orbs art thou not seized 

with poisonous stings ? 
Laugh, serpent, youngest venomous reptile of the 

flesh of Tiriel ! 
Laugh, for thy father Tiriel shall give thee cause to 

laugh, 
Unless thou lead me to the tent of Har, child of the 



' Silence thy evil tongue, thou murderer of thy help- 
less children. 

I lead thee to the tent of Har : not that I mind thy 
curse, 

But that I feel they will curse thee, and hang upon 
thy bones 

Fell shaking agonies, and in each wrinkle of that 
face 

Plant worms of death to feast upon the tongue of 
terrible curses ! ' 

' Hela, my daughter, listen ! Thou art the daughter 

of Tiriel. 
Thy father calls. Thy father lifts his hand unto the 

heavens, 
For thou hast laughed at my tears, and cursed thy 

aged father : 
Let snakes rise from thy bedded locks, and laugh 

among thy curls ! ' 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 289 

He ceased. Her dark hair upright stood, while 

snakes infolded round 
Her madding brows : her shrieks appalled the soul of 

Tiriel. 

'What have I done, Hela, my daughter? Fear'st 

thou now the curse, 
Or wherefore dost thou cry ? Ah, wretch, to curse 

thy aged father ! 
Lead me to Har and Heya, and the curse of Tiriel 
Shall fail. If thou refuse, howl in the desolate 

mountains.' 



She, howling, led him over mountains and through 

frighted vales, 
Till to the caves of Zazel they approached at eventide. 

Forth from their caves old Zazel and his sons ran, 

when they saw 
Their tyrant prince blind, and his daughter howling 

and leading him. 

They laughed and mocked ; some threw dirt and 

stones as they passed by ; 
But, when Tiriel turned around and raised his awful 

voice, 
Some fled away; but Zazel stood still, and thus 

began : — 

f Bald tyrant, wrinkled cunning, listen to Zazel's 

chains ; 
'Twas thou that chained thy brother Zazel ! Where 

are now thine eyes ? 
Shout, beautiful daughter of Tiriel ; thou singest a 

sweet song ! 
Where are you going? Come and eat some roots, 

and drink some water. 
Thy crown is bald, old man ; the sun will dry thy 

brains away, 
And thou wilt be as foolish as thy foolish brother 

Zazel.' 

VOL, I. t 



290 BLAKE'S POEMS 

The blind man heard, and smote his breast, and 

trembling passed on. 
They threw dirt after them, till to the covert of a 

wood 
The howling maiden led her father, where wild beasts 

resort, 
Hoping to end her woes ; but from her cries the 

tigers fled. 
All night they wandered through the wood ; and, 

when the sun arose, 
They entered on the mountains of Har. At noon the 

happy tents 
Were frighted by the dismal cries of Hela on the 

mountains. 

But Har and Heva slept fearless as babes on loving 

breasts. 
Mnetha awoke ; she ran and stood at the tent-door, 

and saw 
The aged wanderer led towards the tents. She took 

her bow, 
And chose her arrows, then advanced to meet the 

terrible pair. 



And Mnetha hasted, and met them at the gate of the 

lower garden. 
' Stand still, or from my bow receive a sharp and 

winged death !' 

Then Tiriel stood, saying : ' What soft voice threatens 

such bitter things? 
Lead me to Har and Heva ; I am Tiriel, King of the 

West.' 

And Mnetha led them to the tent of Har ; and Har 

and Heva 
Ran to the door. When Tiriel felt the ankles of aged 

Har, 
He said : ' O weak mistaken father of a lawless race. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 291 

Thy laws, O Har, and Tiriel's wisdom, end together 

in a curse. 
Why is one law given to the lion and the patient ox, 
And why men bound beneath the heavens in a reptile 

form, 
A worm of sixty winters creeping on the dusty 

ground ? 
The child springs from the womb ; the father ready 

stands to form 
The infant head, while the mother idle plays with her 

dog on her couch. 
The young bosom is cold for lack of mother's nourish- 
ment, and milk 
Is cut off from the weeping mouth with difficulty and 

pain. 
The little lids are lifted, and the little nostrils 

opened ; 
The father forms a whip to rouse the sluggish senses 

to act, 
And scourges off all youthful fancies from the new- 
born man. 
Then walks the weak infant in sorrow, compelled to 

number footsteps 
Upon the sand. And, when the drone has reached 

his crawling length, 
Black berries appear that poison all round him. Such 

was Tiriel, — 
Compelled to pray repugnant and to humble the 

immortal spirit, 
Till I am subtle as a serpent in a paradise, 
Consuming all — both flowers and fruits, insects and 

warbling birds. 
And now my paradise is fallen, and a drear sandy 

plain 
Returns my thirsty hissings in a curse on thee, O 

Har, 
Mistaken father of a lawless race ! — My voice is past.' 

He ceased, outstretched at Har and Heva's feet in 
awful death, 



292 BLAKE'S POEMS 



MANUSCRIPT AND MEANING OF 'TIRIEL' 

This hears no date on the MS. Mr. Swinburne, who 
certainly had the original in his hands, gives it as his 
opinion that it was Blake's first book. In the 'First Book 
of Urizen' the name occurs as ' Thiriel.' He is first-born 
son of Urizen (in the South), and was 'astonished as a man 
from a cloud born ' at his own birth. The name is probably 
modified from Ithuriel. That a whole book is lost referring 
to his youthful life is not improbable, unless this was con- 
tained in the possible ' Second Book of Urizen, ' of which we 
know nothing, except that Blake seems to have intended to 
write it. 

In any case, the words ' I am Tiriel, King of the West,' 
begin a portion which, as Mr. Rossetti's eye first observed, 
marks the handwriting of a later period, as though Blake had 
returned to the book after laying it aside, and had then 
finished it. Mr. Yeats has noticed a change of style towards 
the close of the poem. The book now begins with a con- 
junction. The true commencement has not come down to us. 
Perhaps only a line was struck out, while the conjunction was 
left. Blake made several incomplete corrections like this to 
the MS. of 'Vala.' 

He probably omitted to copy out fairly the first sentences. 
The MS. as we have it is neatly written on a very bad soft 
paper bearing as watermark the letters G. R. (Georgius Hex) 
only. Blake used just such paper for the 'Island in the Moon.' 
On the limp grey cover into which it was stitched he wrote 
'MS. of Mr. Blake,' showing that he intended it to go out of 
his hands. 

In our own time the MS. had an adventure. It seems to 
have been unstitched to set up type from its separate leaves 
when the Aldine edition icas published by Mr. Bell. For 
many years no one kneio what had become of it. There were 
stories related of how it had gone to America, but these were not 
authoritative. In 1903 the present head of the firm of Bell and 
Son found it in a box, where it seems to have been placed by his 
father after returning from the printer at the time of the 
Aldine edition. He relates this himself, and it is well known 
that it was sold at Messrs. Sotheby's, and bought by Mr. 
Quaritch, who resold it soon after, but here the story ends, 
for Mr. Quaritch very properly never tells to whom he has 
sold anything that has once been disposed of. 

While at Messrs. Sotheby's, before the sale, the MS. was 
open to inspection. There the present editor saw it, and ivas 
able to read the partly obliterated lines — obliterated by Blake 
himself— that were quoted incorrectly in a note to page 200 of 



MANUSCRIPT AND MEANING OF 'TIRIEL' 293 

Mr. Swinburne's essay (John Camden Hotten, 2nd edition, 
1868). 

It is not permitted to copy at Messrs. Sotheby's, but the 
three extra lines were written down from memory by the 
present editor immediately on leaving the house, after careful 
reading, and are substantially accurate. But before we 
reach these, we find a few fragments. 

The earliest, of no great importance, are dotted about in 
the fourth section of the poem, where Ijim appears. He at once 
calls out — 

'Children, bring forth your father.' 

A little later some ivords are struck out that seem to be 

' We are the slaves of fortune, and this cruel man 
Desires our death. . . . "We bow to the decree of fate. 
They kneeled down.' 

And finally — 

' Ijim set Tiriel on the ground, musing deeply 
If these things were so.' 

But it is in a few meditative sentences which Blake cut out 
in order to keep the interest more to his myth towards the end 
that the lines occur that Mr. Swinburne first saw to be of 
poetic value. 

Different kinds of men are described — the Lion and Ox, 
etc. — these words being imperfectly legible in broken lines, 
and then the list goes on — 

' Some nostrils wide breathing out blood, some close shut 
In silent deceit, poisons inhaling from the morning rose, 
"With danger hid beneath their lips and poison in their 

tongue, — 
Or eyed with little sparks of Hell, or with infernal brands 
Flying flames of discontent and plagues of dark despair, — 
Or those whose mouths are shut, whose teeth are gates of 

eternal death. 
Can wisdom be hid in a silver rod, or love in a goldeu bowl?' 

At the end this also is struck out of the summing up — 

' Such was Tiriel. . . . 

Hypocrisy, the folly of the wise man, the wisdom of the 
cunning.' 

The obliteration of this line shows the changing state of 
Blake's mind, and the beginning of his adoption of at least a 



294 BLAKE'S POEMS 

modicum of reticence, which his ideally frank nature felt to be 
a form of wisdom tinged with hypocrisy. 

There is yet another crossed out fragment in ' Tiricl ' that 
belongs to the time when Tom Paine was one of Blake's 
youthful associates — 

' Is the King's son warmed without wool, or does he cry with 

a voice 
Of Thunder, or look upon the sun and laugh, or streatch 
His little hands to the depths of the ocean to draw up 
The deadly cunning of the flatterer and spread it to the 

morning ? ' 

It will be felt at once that these passages belong nowhere in 
the mythic poem, and are only of interest because they are so 
early that we can see symbolism in (hem half-bom from the 
mother-earth of poetry, like the ' Taiony lion' in Milton's 
description of creation in ' Paradise Lost, ' still only a head 
and shoulders visible, rising from the ground, and 'pawing to 
get free.' 

There are also traces of a name or two composed for members 
of TirieVs family, and never used again in Blake, so that his 
own rejection of them seems to have been decisive. 

In Thel's Motto, at the head of the ' Book of Thcl,' one of the 
lines here quoted will be found cut in half and dressed with 
two more above it into a quatrain. This also tends to date 
' Tiriel ' as at 1790 or 1791, as does the surprise at his birth 
mentioned at the close of the ' Book of Urizen. ' 

He is here mentioned as born of a cloud, and in the 
line where his name occurs in ' Vala ' he is identified with a 
mountain, whose bald and snow-capped peak is suggested in 
the personal description of him here. In fact the word was 
struck out, and his name substituted in 'Vala,' Night I., line 
357, and in an earlier line, 37 of the same Night, Jerusalem 
is described as hidden in him in darkness and silence. 

He is looked on as hypocrisy, raising its mass to heaven. 
He becomes a mountain (in human form) from being a cloud 
by the hardening process belonging to restraint. Also, as 
restraint alone has no fruitful power in the mind, his story is 
told as that of an old man. In one line of the MS. we can 
make out the ivords ' desire is lost ' obliterated. Eyes — which 
will be seen to be the symbol of desire — have left him,: he is 
blind. The eyes, or desire, that he once had leads him now, 
in the person of his daughter Hela, whom he reviles. The 
whole allegoric basis of the story is analysed in the Quaritch 
edition. 

In ' Vala,' Night VII., line 470, or thereabouts, to about 



MANUSCRIPT AND MEANING OF 'TIRIEL' 295 

line 490, there is a story that reveals part of the meaning of 
Tiriel as eldest son of Urizen, showing the relations to all 
points of the compass of human moods in this early symbol. 

All the evidence, therefore, that we can collect goes to show 
that ' Tiriel' was written about 1791 — late in that yeai — when 
Blake was frequenting the shop of Johnson the publisher, for 
it roas in 1791 that Johnson produced the first part of Blake's 
lost and never completed poem the 'French Revolution.' 
1 Tiriel' was copied out for Johnson at this time, and sub- 
mitted to him. Instead of being printed it was lost. In 1797, 
when Blake ivas writing the list of the generations of Los in 
'Vala,' Night VIII, line 350 and following, he no longer 
had it before him. He never utilised any passages from it 
except the words from the deleted lines in ' Thel's Motto' — 
probably written after Thel, and added while engraving — 
and the expression about the Lion and Ox, which is in the 
last line of ' The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,' and is later 
than all the rest, whose earlier copies show the last half page 
blank, without the design below which the ivords occur. They 
are used again near the end of page 4 of the ' Visions of the 
Daughters of Albion,' 1793. 



VISIONS 

OF 

THE DAUGHTERS OF 
ALBION 

The Eye sees more than the Heart knows. 



Printed by Willm. Blake 
1793 



297 



The Argument 

I loved Theotormon, 
And I was not ashamed. 
I trembled in my virgin fears, 
And I hid in Leutha's vale ! 

I plucked Leutha's flower, 
And I rose up from the vale ; 
But the terrible thunders tore 
My virgin mantle in twain. 



VISIONS 

Enslav'd, the Daughters of Albion weep ,* a trembling 

lamentation 
Upon their mountains : in their valleys, sighs toward 

America. 

For the soft soul of America, Oothoon wander'd in 

woe 
Along the vales of Leutha, seeking flowers to comfort 

her; 
And thus she spoke to the bright Marygold of 

Leutha's vale : — 

Art thou a flower ? art thou a nymph ? I see thee now 

a flower, 
Now a nymph ! I dare not pluck thee from thy dewy 

bed! 

The Golden nymph replied : pluck thou my flower, 

Oothoon the mild. 
Another flower shall spring, because the soul of sweet 

delight 
Can never pass away. She ceas'd, and clos'd her 

golden shrine. 

Then Oothoon pluck'd the flower, saying : I pluck 

thee from thy bed, 
Sweet flower, and put thee here to glow between my 

breasts, 
And thus I turn my face to where my whole soul 

seeks. 

299 



300 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Over the waves she went in wing'd exulting swift 

delight, 
And over Theotormon's reign took her impetuous 

course. 

Bromion rent her with his thunders ; on his stormy 

bed 
Lay the faint maid, and soon her woes appall'd his 

thunders hoarse. 

Bromion spoke : behold this harlot here on Bromion's 

bed, 
And let the jealous dolphins sport around the lovely 

maid, 
The soft American plains are mine, and mine thy 

north and south. 
Stampt with my signet are the swarthy children of the 

sun. 
They are obedient, they resist not, they obey the 

scourge : 
Their daughters worship terrors and obey the violent. 

(2) 

Now thou must marry Bromion's harlot, and protect 

the child 
Of Bromion's rage, that Oothoon shall put forth in 

nine moons' time. 

Then storms rent Theotormon's limbs : he rolled his 

waves around ; 
And folded his black jealous waters round the 

adulterate pair. 
Bound back to back in Bromion's caves, terror and 

meekness dwell. 

At entrance Theotormon sits, wearing the threshold 

hard 
With secret tears ; beneath him sound like waves on 

a desert shore 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 301 

The voice of slaves beneath the sun, and children 

bought with money, 
That shiver in religious caves beneath the burning 

fires 
Of lust, that belch incessant from the summits of the 

earth. 

Oothoon weeps not ; she cannot weep ; her tears are 

locked up ; 
But she can howl incessant, writhing her soft snowy 

limbs, 
And calling Theotormon's Eagles to prey upon her 

flesh. 

I call with holy voice ! kings of the sounding air, 
Rend away this defiled bosom that I may reflect 
The image of Theotormon on my pure transparent 
breast. 

The Eagles at her call descend and rend their bleed- 
ing prey. 

Theotormon severely smiles ; her soul reflects the 
smile, 

As the clear spring mudded with feet of beasts 
grows pure and smiles. 

The Daughters of Albion hear her woes, and echo 
back her sighs. 

Why does my Theotormon sit weeping upon the 

threshold, 
And Oothoon hovers by his side, perswading him in 

vain ? 
I cry arise, O Theotormon, for the village dog 
Barks at the breaking day : the nightingale has done 

lamenting ; 
The lark does rustle in the ripe corn, and the Eagle 

returns 
From nightly prey, and lifts his golden beak to the 

pure east, 



302 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Shaking the dust from his immortal pinions to awake 
The sun that sleeps too long. Arise, my Theotormon, 

I am pure, 
Because the night is gone that clos'd me in its deadly 

black. 
They told me that the night and day were all that I 

could see : 
They told me that I had five senses to inclose me up ; 
And they inclos'd my infinite brain into a narrow 

circle, 
And sunk my heart into the Abyss, a red, round 

globe, hot burning, 
Till all from life I was obliterated and erased. 
Instead of morn arises a bright shadow, like an eye, 
In the eastern cloud : instead of night a sickly charnel 

house, 
That Theotormon hears me not ! to him the night and 

morn 
Are both alike ; a night of sighs, a morning of fresh 

tears : 

(3) 
And none but Bromion can hear my lamentations. 

With what sense is it that the chicken shuns the 

ravenous hawk ? 
With what sense does the tame pigeon measure out 

the expanse ? 
With what sense does the bee form cells? Have not 

the mouse and frog 
Eyes and ears and sense of touch ? yet are their 

habitations 
And their pursuits as different as their forms and as 

their joys. 
Ask the wild ass why he refuses burdens, and the 

meek camel 
Why he loves man. Is it because of eye, ear, mouth, 

or skin, 
Or breathing nostrils? No, for these the wolf and 

tyger hav§. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 303 

Ask the blind worm the secrets of the grave, and why 

her spices 
Love to curl round the bones of death ; and ask the 

rav'nous snake 
Where she gets poison ; and the wing'd eagle why he 

loves the sun ; 
And then tell me the thoughts of man, that have been 

hid of old. 

Silent I hover all the night, and all day could be 

silent, 
If Theotormon once would turn his loved eyes upon 

me. 
How can 1 be defil'd when I reflect thy image pure? 
Sweetest the fruit that the worm feeds on, and the 

soul prey'd on by woe ; 
The new wash'd lamb ting'd with the village smoke, 

and the bright swan 
By the red earth of our immortal river ; I bathe my 

wings, 
And I am white and pure to hover round Theotor- 

mon's breast. 

Then Theotormon broke his silence, and he answered: — 

Tell me what is the night or day to one overflow'd 

with woe? 
Tell me what is a thought? and of what substance is 

it made ? 
Tell me what is a joy? and in what gardens do joys 

grow? 
And in what rivers swim the sorrows, and upon what 

mountains 

<•) 
Wave shadows of discontent? and in what houses 

dwell the wretched, 
Drunken with woe, forgotten, and shut up from cold 

despair ? 



304 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Tell me where dwell the thoughts, forgotten till thou 

call them forth ? 
Tell me where dwell the joys of old, and where the 

ancient loves ? 
And when will they renew again, and the night of 

oblivion past, 
That I might traverse times and spaces far remote, 

and bring 
Comforts into a present sorrow and a night of pain ? 
Where goest thou, O thought? to what remote land is 

thy flight? 
If thou returnest to the present moment of affliction, 
Wilt thou bring comforts on thy wing, and dews and 

honey and balm, 
Or poison from the desert wilds, from the eyes of the 

envier ? 

Then Bromion said, and shook the cavern with his 
lamentation : — 

Thou knowest that the ancient trees seen by thine 

eyes have fruit ; 
But knowest thou that trees and fruits flourish upon 

the earth 
To gratify senses unknown? trees, beasts, and birds 

unknown ; 
Unknown, not unperciev'd, spread in the infinite 

microscope, 
In places yet un visited by the voyager, and in worlds 
Over another kind of seas, and in atmospheres un- 
known. 
Ah ! are there other wars, beside the wars of sword 

and fire ? 
And are there other sorrows beside the sorrows of 

poverty ? 
And are there other joys beside the joys of riches and 

ease ? 
And is there not one law for both the lion and the ox? 
And is there not eternal fire, and eternal chains^ 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 305 

To bind the phantoms of existence from eternal life ? 

Then Oothoou waited silent all the day and all the 
night, 

(5) 

But when the morn arose, her lamentation renew'd ; 
The Daughters of Albion hear her woes, and echo 
back her sighs. 

O Urizen ! Creator of men ! mistaken Demon of 

heaven ; 
Thy joys are tears, thy labour vain, to form men to 

thine image. 
How can one joy absorb another ? are not different joys 
Holy, eternal, infinite? and each joy is a Love. 
Does not the great mouth laugh at a gift? and the 

narrow eyelids mock 
At the labour that is above payment ? and wilt thou 

take the ape 
For thy councellor, or the dog for a schoolmaster to 

thy children ? 
Does he who contemns poverty, and he who turns 

with abhorrence 
From usury, feel the same passion, or are they moved 

alike ? 
How can the giver of gifts experience the delights of 

the merchant ? 
How the industrious citizen the pains of the husband- 
man? 
How different far the fat fed hireling with hollow 

drum, 
Who buys whole corn fields into wastes, and sings 

upon the heath ! 
How different their eye and ear ! how different the 

world to them ! 
With what sense does the parson claim the labour of 

the farmer ? 
What are his nets and gins and traps, and how does 

he surround him 

vol. i. u 



306 ^LAKE'S POEMS 

With cold floods of abstraction, and with forests of 

solitude. 
To build him castles and high spires, where kings and 

priests may dwell, 
Till she who burns with youth, and knows no fixed 

lot, is bound 
In spells of law to one she loaths ? and must she drag 

the chain 
Of life in weary lust? must chilling, murderous 

thoughts obscure 
The clear heaven of her eternal spring? to bear the 

wintry rage 
Of a harsh terror, driv'n to madness, bound to hold 

a rod 
Over her shrinking shoulders all the day, and all the 

night 
To turn the wheel of false desire, and longings that 

wake her womb 
To the abhorred birth of cherubs in the human form, 
That live a pestilence and die a meteor, and are no 

more, 
Till the child dwell with one he hates, and do the 

deed he loaths, 
And the impure scourge force his seed into its unripe 

birth, 
Ere yet his eyelids can behold the arrows of the day ? 

Does the whale worship at thy footsteps as the hungry 

dog? 
Or does he scent the mountain prey because his 

nostrils wide • 

Draw in the ocean? does his eye discern the flying 

cloud 
As the raven's eye? or does he measure the expanse 

like the vulture? 
Does the still spider view the cliffs where eagles hide 

their young? 
Or does the fly rejoice because the harvest is brought 

in? 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 307 

Does not the eagle scorn the earth, and despise the 

treasures beneath ? 
But the mole knoweth what is there, and the worm 

shall tell it thee. 
Does not the worm erect a pillar in the mouldering 

church yard, 

(6) 

And a palace of eternity in the jaws of the hungry 

grave ? 
Over his porch these words are written : Take thy 

bliss, O Man ! 
And sweet shall be thy taste, and sweet thy infant 

joys renew ! 

Infancy, fearless, lustful, happy ! nestliug for delight 
In laps of pleasure ; Innocence, honest, open, seeking 
The vigorous joys of morning light, open to virgin 

bliss. 
Who taught thee modesty, subtil modesty ? child of 

night and sleep, 
When thou awakest wilt thou dissemble all thy secret 

joys, 

Or wert thou not awake when all this mystery was 

disclos'd ? 
Then com'st thou forth a modest virgin knowing to 

dissemble, 
With nets found under thy night pillow, to catch 

virgin joy, 
And brand it with the name of whore, and sell it in 

the night 
In silence, ev'n without a whisper, and in seeming 

sleep. 
Religious dreams and holy vespers light thy smoky 

fires: 
Once were thy fires lighted by the eyes of honest 

morn. 
And does my Theotormon seek this hypocrite modesty, 
This knowing, artful, secret, fearful, cautious, trem- 
bling hypocrite ? 



308 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Then is Oothoon a whore indeed ! and all the virgin 

joys 
Of life are harlots ; and Theotormon is a sick man's 

dream, 
And Oothoon is the crafty slave of selfish holiness. 

But Oothoon is not so, a virgin fill'd with virgin 

fancies, 
Open to joy and to delight where ever beauty appears. 
If in the morning sun I find it, there my eyes are 

fix'd 

(7) 
In happy copulation ; if in evening mild, wearied 

with work, 
Sit on a bank and draw the pleasures of this free 

born joy. 

The moment of desire ! the moment of desire ! The 

virgin 
That pines for man shall awaken her womb to 

enormous joys 
In the secret shadows of her chamber ; the youth shut 

up from 
The lustful joy shall forget to generate and create 

an amorous image 
In the shadows of his curtains and in the folds of his 

silent pillow. 
Are not these the places of religion, the rewards of 

continence, 
The self enjoyings of self denial? Why dost thou 

seek religion ? 
Is it because acts are not lovely, that thou seekest 

solitude, 
Where the horrible darkness is impressed with reflec- 
tions of desire ? 

Father of Jealousy, be thou accursed from the earth ! 
Why hast thou taught my Theotormon this accursed 
thing? 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 309 

Till beauty fades from off my shoulders, darken'd and 

cast out, 
A solitary shadow wailing on the margin of non-entity. 

I cry : Love ! Love ! Love ! happy happy Love ! free 

as the mountain wind ! 
Can that be Love, that drinks another as a sponge 

drinks water? 
That clouds with jealousy his nights, with weepings 

all the day ; 
To spin a web of age around him, grey and hoary, 

dark ! 
Till his eyes sicken at the fruit that hangs before his 

sight. 
Such is self-love that envies all ! a creeping skeleton 
With lamplike eyes watching around the frozen 

marriage bed. 

But silken nets and traps of adamant will Oothoon 

spread, 
And catch for thee girls of mild silver, or of furious 

gold. 
I '11 lie beside thee on a bank and view their wanton 

play 
In lovely copulation, bliss on bliss, with Theotormon. 
Red as the rosy morning, lustful as the first born beam, 
Oothoon shall view his dear delight, nor e'er with 

jealous cloud 
Come in the heaven of generous love, nor selfish 

blightings bring. 

Does the sun walk in glorious raiment, on the secret 
floor, 

(8) 
Where the cold miser spreads his gold ? or does the 

bright cloud drop 
On his same threshold ? does his eye behold the beam 

that brings 
Expansion to the eye of pity ? or will he bind himself 



310 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Beside the ox to thy hard furrow ? does not that mild 

beam blot 
The bat, the owl, the glowing - tyger, and the king of 

night? 
The sea fowl takes the wintry blast for a cov'ring to 

her limbs ; 
And the wild snake the pestilence to adorn him with 

gems and gold, 
And trees and birds, and beasts and men, behold 

their eternal joy. 
Arise, you little glancing wings, and sing your infant 

Arise, and drink your bliss, for every thing that lives 
is holy ! 

Thus every morning wails Oothoon, but Theotormon 

sits 
Upon the margin'd ocean conversing with shadows 

dire. 

The Daughters of Albion hear her woes, and echo 
back her sighs. 



MEANING OF THE 'VISIONS OF THE 
DAUGHTERS OF ALBION' 

It is practically certain that no reader who has not gone 
through ' Jerusalem ' can possibly guess what this book, the 
' Visions, ' is about. Those who have will recall many passages 
the moment the words 'daughters of Albion' arc seen on the 
title. The following in particular will come to mind ; — 

'In every bosom they controll our Vegetative powers,' 'Jeru- 
salem,' page 5, line 39. 



"THE DAUGHTERS OF ALBION' 311 

' Then all the Daughters of Albion became one before Los, 
even Vala,' page 64, line 6. 

'And the twelve Daughters of Albion united in Bahab and 
Tirzah,' page 67, line 2. 

'Vala, Mother of the Body of Death,' page 62, line 13. 

'Vala was their Mother — Vala, Albion's wife,' page 65, 
line 71. 

'No one can consummate female bliss in Los' world without 
Becoming a generated Mortal, a Vegetating Death, ' page 69, 
line 31, and page 86, line 42. 

'Her name is Vala in Eternity: in Time her name is 
Bahab, ' page 63, line 7. 

' Vala, Luvah's Daughter,' page 69, line 7. 

Here again, as everywhere, the passages have no meaning 
unless we remember that Vala, like Bahab (her temporal name, 
used practically as though she were in the region of Time 
quite another person), is a state ('Jerusalem,' page 52) eternal, 
though influencing the temporary, and that it is these states (of 
mind) that both produce our bodies and own their blame or 
praise. 

The Daughters of Albion, these mythical personages, de- 
scribed in ' Jerusalem ' as also controlling in each of us the 
vegetative powers, inhabit the nutritive andprocreative organs. 
It must never be lost sight of that ' body ' is only a name for 
the visible and outer portion of mind. 

Nothing that belongs to the region of the loins can be a 
secret to the Daughters of Albion. Their visions are the 
visions of the Eye of the Loins, not of the Eye of the Head, or 
the Eye of the Heart. 

In 'Jerusalem' (p. 41, 1. 15, and following) is a description 
of the dwelling-place of Oothoon. In a sense she does inhabit 
a region of space, but the material portion of her house and 
its mental dimensions are put in playfully emphatic contrast. 
She possesses a grain of sand in Lambeth — near the ' Parent ' 
river — that Satan cannot find. That is to say, no accusation, 
for Satan is the accuser, can be brought successfully against 
that very small portion of material flame which attaches to 
her. This grain of sand opens miraculously within and 
reveals itself to be a palace. Here both 'Jerusalem' and 
' Vala ' — both poetic and natural love — may repose and be 
hidden from the terrible action of the mortal created-body, 
for which they have, maternally, a share of the responsibility, 
but ivhich is identical with Satan, with XJrizen in the North, 
and with the literal interpretation of the Scriptures, in its 
matter-of-fact and censorious aspect, and with Beason. 

Oothoon is not always even confined to that palace. In 
'Jerusalem' (p. 83, I. 27, and following) she is said to hide 



312 BLAKE'S POEMS 

herself in Oxford — used alioays as the name typical of a 
''place of thought,'' with Antamon, the 'Prince of the Pearly 
Dew,'' as he is called in 'Europe,' the artistic spirit to 
whose hands we owe beauty in form, {'Milton,' p. 27). Here 
she conceals herself in 'chaste appearances' lest Hand, the 
chief of the Satanic personalities of fallen Man, those that 
are moral and reasoning through fear of accusation of sin 
or of stupidity, destroy his affection. In the poem of the 
' Visions ' Ooihoon is not hiding at all, but revealing herself 
in emphatically unchaste appearances, and it is difficult at 
first to see her through the glamour of her own symbols. 
The comment of most readers of these pages will be the re- 
proach which Enitharmon in 'Europe' addresses to her: ' Why 
wilt thou give up ivoman's secrecy, my melancholy child ? ' 

' Woman's,' or nature's 'secrecy,' is a term for Theotormon, 
and for the jealousy with which Jehovah himself hides from 
us. Yet Oothoon is essentially a being of beauty. She equals 
Thel ; in a physical sense, perhaps, she surpasses Thel. She 
is certainly more beautiful than Hela, for Hcla's hair is filled 
%oith serpents, and she is the Gorgon beauty whom thought has 
turned to pain and poison, for thought changed the ' Infinite ' 
itself into a serpent {'Europe,' I. 120). And this serpent, 
wherever found, in pictures or in poems, is 'The vast form of 
nature' {'Jerusalem,' p. 29, I. 80). 

Oothoon' s beauty being spiritual is able to protect the poor 
natural beauty of Leutha. She is her ' charming guard' when 
she lives in the tent of Palamabron, the genius of the pen 
{'Milton,' p. 11, I. 44). 

This idea that beauty was a protection was probably at the 
root of Blake's decision to utter his philosophy in poetry. A s 
the scent of tropical flowers given out at evening makes an 
atmosphere less penetrable to the chill of night than scentless 
air, this helps to protect truth, its utterance, and its initiated 
from the violences of Reason. ' When I tell a truth, ' Blake 
says, ' it is not to convince those who do not knoiv it, but to 
protect those who do. ' Who these were is indicated in another 
saying of his, not altogether consistent with it, but giving it 
light none the less. ' I have innocence to defend, and ignor- 
ance to instruct' {' Jerusalem,' p. 42, I. 26). Those who know 
truth are thus seen to be the Innocent. A picture on the 
eleventh page of ' America,' reproduced long ago in 'Gilchrist,' 
shows three of them as little naked children playing at horses 
with the Great Serpent, whom they bridle with a thread, and 
ride by moonlight. 

Oothoon's importance is shown by the division of the region 
of her influence into its own three regions of Head, Heart, 
Loins. This is indicated by her three lovers. When she 



' THE DAUGHTERS OF ALBION' 313 

hides in places of thought with the formative spirit ('Milton,' 
p. 27, I. 13), she is the Eye of the Loins in the Region of the 
Head. It is her last position when she is left in Oxford with 
Antamon. The present poem relates her grief because Theo- 
tormon, who is the sadness of the jealous heart, rejects her for 
having yielded to Bromion, who represents the violence of 
fleshly fury. He refuses to believe that if she leaves the state 
called Bromion, she would become pure again as a river, and 
reflect his image only. He 'attributes sin and righteousness to 
individuals, and not to states,' which deprives him of the 
very means by which he could have forgiven her, as the book 
' Jerusalem ' will presently teach. 

Oothoon is of the region of the blood, of the cloud of the 
loins. She belongs to that 'Hell' or 'Abyss' from which, in 
' The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, ' we are told that 
Messiah stole something of that with which he formed Heaven. 
This is part of the symbolic suggestion contained also in the 
phrases about ' the divine members ' being ' ideas, ' and Christ 
and His apostles 'artists,' and Theotormon giving the gospel 
to Jesus, considered as the Man of Sorrows ('Africa,' line 
24). 

Antamon, like Oothoon, is a cloud — a blood symbol. He 
is related to Tiriel, the 'man from a cloud born,' but his 
functions are not separated from his origin. Tiriel passed 
from the province of the life-giving air to that of hard earth, 
seen as mountains or rock, and became a destroyer. Antamon 
is the 'golden cloud' who speaks in the book of ' Thel.' He is 
not named there. Of those who converse in the book of ' Thel, ' 
only Thel herself is given by name. The rest are under 
common nouns, the names of their symbols. Oothoon is able 
to live with him finally because she also is a cloud. There is a 
picture of her as one, raining over afield of corn, in 'Milton,' 
page 44. But clouds are not only the kind nourishers with 
rain. Lightning has access to them, and they have no 
defence. Blood cannot resist the inroad of passion. Oothoon 
could not resist Bromion. After Bromion had rent her, she 
wept all her tears quickly away and had no more, but as a 
cumulus cloud in the high air shoived snowy limbs within 
which the eagles could find pure water with the qualities of the 
river. But from such a cloud new lightning might yet fall, in 
thefidness of time (mythically Bromion' s child), thus forming 
the link that binds Oothoon evermore to all violence and 
fury of fire, whether in the heights or the deeps, therefore 
she is chained to a flame given forth by the earth, when seen 
in the ' Visions,' floating over theotormon and pleading with 
him. 

Bromion also implies the violence of the Human Reason 



314 BLAKE'S POEMS 

destroying imagination. Those come under his power who 
pluck the flower of desire in the region of natural and not of 
imaginative beauty — the marigold of Leutha's vale. Leutha 
is the feminine personality of simple desire, and owns the 
'dogs,' lusts, of the Isle of Dogs on the Thames (''Jerusalem,' 
p. 31, I. 16). For Leutha, see also 'Europe,' line 205, 
and 'Africa,' line 28, and 'Milton,' page 9, lines 23 and 
following. 

'The Argument' of the poem shows us Oothoon as the 
' Mary ' of the ballads and the ' William Bond ' mingled. 

' I plucked Leutha's flower, ' Oothoon says. 

Oothoon' s fault was that of Eve and Psyche, and Pandora. 
She passed, through curiosity, under the dominion of intel- 
lectual powers that are those of coercive reasoning, not of 
beautiful persuasion. 'The terrible thunders, 5 thoughts of 
passion ('Jerusalem,' p. 3, I. 24), 'tore my virgin mantle,' 
her realm of free, pure, unthinking joy, 'in twain.' It began 
to be double, and so to enter into the condition leading to war, 
for the single cannot fight in space. 

The poem, needs endless explanation. It will be noticed 
that the device of putting thoughts into a series of one-line 
questions is developed herefrom the rejected lines in ' Tiriel,' 
and helps us to date that poem as earlier than 1793. In this 
note the present editor quotes (ivith trifling changes) the 
opening pwies of his much longer analysis in the Quaritch 
edition, as he ventures to do more than once in the succeeding 
notes. 



DESIGNS TO THE < VISIONS OF THE 
DAUGHTERS OF ALBION' 

A virgin, Oothoon, is on the Frontispiece, seen as a tiny 
figure leaping wildly to earth from the part of the sky domi- 
nated by Urizen. Figures sit or fly about full of youth and 
passion. 

'The Argument.' This page shows a graceful girl kneeling 
in the blaze of a sunrise, and crossing her hands on her breast. 
She sits on her heels in kneeling, and is not at prayer or 
meditation. Her object is to get down near the level of a 
straggling flower whose scent, as a similar virgin but a 
quarter the size — a miniature — floats out and kisses her on the 



'THE DAUGHTERS OF ALBION' 315 

lips while flying past. Both nude. She is Oothoon. We 
have come on her as the ' wild flower ' itself in the ' Wild- 
flower's Song ' in the ' Ideas of Good and EviV She is, in 
fact, Vala, and all the females together. 

Page 1. The upper part : archers in the air shooting the 
' arrows of the day' down to the poem. Lower part: the 
virgin, no longer such now, flung exhausted on a rock. The 
owner of terrible thunders, a strong man, lies in a position of 
abandonment and relief, not far off, but looking the other way. 
Both nude. 

Page 2. Inserted in middle a strong black male figure, 
writhing alone on the ground, rolling as he lies. Nude. 
Bromion perhaps in the gloom of Theotormon, a ' shadow dire,' 
if not Theotormon dressed in his own gloom. 

Page 3. Oothoon on a cloud, flung back while kneeling, and 
letting an eagle tear her heart out as she lies with face lifted so 
far as to show him only the under side of the chin, and arms 
flung beyond and above the head. 

Page 4. Oothoon hovering in a flame over the head of Theo- 
tormon, who sits by the sea with his hands on his raised knees 
and his forehead bowed on his hands. She is attached by a 
chain and ankle-ring to the sea, from which the flame itself 
rises. Both young ; he, robed ; she, nude. 

Page 5. A small sketch. Oothoon, partly draped, rolling 
sadly on the ground, and hiding her face. 

Page 6. Oothoon, nude, walking off hiding her face, striding 
over one leg of Theotormon, now nude, who, half raised from 
where he lay, flourishes a three-lashed scourge over his head at 
her. Each lash has a terrible set of prickly points at the end. 
In classic days the scourge would have been called a scorpion. 
The absence of any trace of voluptuous cruelty in the attitudes 
and expressions, and the fact that the scourge is being flourished 
rhetorically, not used practically, and that Oothoon hides her 
face and does not wince, suggests that Theotormon is scourging 
her with jealous accusations of sin. 

Page 7. Three daughters of Albion hearing her woes as 
they sit in a heap by the sea ; all robed. They represent also 
the fourfold sorrow of Theotormon. 

Page 8. The same three. This time they see the woes and 
sighs as a figure on its breast on a cloud, with arms flung out 
and flames rising from between its body and the cloud, and 
curling round its arms : the daughters robed : the sighs, nude. 

Last picture, an entire page. Bromion 's cave. We sec 
from withi7i it the sea and the sun outside, beyond three 
figures in the entrance. A man with his hair on end, and his 
hands tied behind him, sits on his heels with his knees at his 
chin, as usual, and seems in great agitation. At his back a 



316 BLAKE'S POEMS 

young and graceful woman kneels, with her hands tied behind 
her, and also tied to his hands. He is chained by the ankle 
as well. Another man sits a little way off them, rolling him- 
self in distress, and folding his arms round his face to shut 
out the sight of the others. Bromion, Oothoon, and Theotor- 
mon, all nude. 



AMERICA : 

A 

PROPHECY 



LAMBETH : 
Printed by William Blake in the year 1793. 



817 



(1) 

Preludium 

The shadowy daughter of Urthona stood before red 

Ore, 
When fourteen suns had faintly journey'd o'er his 

dark abode. 
His food she brought in iron baskets, his drink in 

cups of iron. 
Crown'd with a helmet and dark hair the nameless 

female stood ; 
5 A-quiver with its burning stores, a bow like that of 

night. 
When pestilence is shot from heaven, no other arms 

she had ; 
Invulnerable tho' naked, save where clouds roll round 

her loins ; 
Their awful folds in the dark air ; silent she stood as 

night ; 
For never from her iron tongue could voice or sound 

arise ; 
10 But dumb till that dread day when Ore assay'd his 

fierce embrace. 

Dark virgin, said the hairy youth, thy father stern 

abhorr'd, 
Rivets my tenfold chains while still on high my spirit 

soars. 
Sometimes an eagle screaming in the sky, sometimes 

a lion 
Stalking upon the mountains, and sometimes a whale 

I lash 
15 The raging fathomless abyss, anon a serpent folding 
Around the pillars of Urthona, and round thy dark 

limbs, 

319 



320 BLAKE'S POEMS 

On the Canadian wilds I fold, feeble my spirit folds, 
For chain'd beneath I rend these caverns ; when thou 

bringest food 
I howl my joy, and my red eyes seek to behold thy 

face. 
20 In vain ! these clouds roll to and fro, and hide thee 

from my sight. 

(2) 
Silent as despairing love, and strong as jealousy, 
The hairy shoulders rend the links, free are the wrists 

of fire ; 
Round the terrific loins he siez'd the panting, strug- 
gling womb ; 
It joy'd : she put aside her clouds and smiled her 
first-born smile, 
5 As when a black cloud shews its lightnings to the 
silent deep. 

Soon as she saw the terrible boy then burst the virgin 
cry. 

I know thee, I have found thee, and I will not let 

thee go : 
Thou art the image of God who dwells in darkness 

of Africa, 
And thou art fall'n to give me life in regions of dark 

death. 
10 On my American plains I feel the struggling afflictions 
Endur'd by roots that writhe their arms into the 

nether deep. 
I see a serpent in Canada who courts me to his love ; 
In Mexico an Eagle, and a Lion in Peru ; 
I see a Whale in the South-sea, drinking my soul 

away. 
15 O what limb-rending pains I feel, thy fire and my frost 
Mingle in howling pains, in furrows by thy lightnings 

rent; 
17 This is eternal death, and this the torment long 

foretold. 



(3) 
A PROPHECY 

The Guardian Prince of Albion burns in his nightly 

tent, 
Sullen fires across the Atlantic glow to America's 

shore, 
Piercing the souls of warlike men who rise in silent 

night. 
Washington, Franklin, Paine, and "Warren, Gates, 

Hancock, and Green, 
S Meet on the coast glowing with blood from Albion's 

fiery Prince. 

Washington spoke : Friends of America, look over 

the Atlantic sea ; 
A bended bow is lifted in heaven, and a heavy iron 

chain 
Descends link by link from Albion's cliffs across the 

sea to bind 
Brothers and sons of America, till our faces pale and 

yellow ; 
10 Heads deprest, voices weak, eyes downcast, hands 

work-bruis'd, 
Feet bleeding on the sultry sands, and the furrows 

of the whip 
Descend to generations that in future times forget. 

The strong voice ceas'd, for a terrible blast swept over 

the heaving sea ; 
The eastern cloud rent ; on his cliffs stood Albion's 

wrathful Prince, 

vol. i. X 



322 BLAKE'S POEMS 

iS A dragon form clashing his scales at midnight he arose, 
And flam'd red meteors round the land of Albion 

beneath ; 
17 His voice, his locks, his awful shoulders, and his 

glowing eyes, 

(*) 
Appear to the Americans upon the cloudy night. 

Solemn heave the Atlantic waves between the gloomy 

nations, 
Swelling, belching from its deeps red clouds and 

raging fires. 
Albion is sick. America faints ! enrag'd the Zenith 

grew, 
5 As human blood shooting its veins all round the 

orbed heaven. 
Red rose the clouds from the Atlantic in vast wheels 

of blood, 
And in the red clouds rose a Wonder o'er the Atlantic 

sea ; 
Intense ! naked ! a Human fire, fierce glowing, as the 

wedge 
Of iron heated in the furnace ; his terrible limbs were 

fire 
10 With myriads of cloudy terrors, banners dark and 

towers 
Surrounded ; heat but not light went thro' the murky 

atmosphere. 

ia The King of England looking westward trembles at 
the vision. 

(5) 

Albion's Angel stood beside the Stone of night, and 

saw 
The terror like a comet, or more like the planet red 
That once inclos'd the terrible wandering comets in 

its sphere. 
Then Mars thou wast our center, and the planets 

three flew round 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 323 

5 Thy crimson disk ; so e'er the Sun was rent from thy 

red sphere, 
The Spectre glow'd his horrid length staining the 

temple long 
7 With beams of blood, and thus a voice came forth, 

and shook the temple : 



(•) 

The morning comes, the night decays, the watchmen 

leave their stations ; 
The grave is burst, the spices shed, the linen wrapped 

up ; 
The bones of death, the cov'ring clay, the sinews 

shrunk and dry'd, 
Reviving shake, inspiring move, breathing ! awaken- 
ing ! 
S Spring like redeemed captives, when their bonds and 

bars are burst. 
Let the slave grinding at the mill run out into the 

field, 
Let him look up into the heavens and laugh in the 

bright air ; 
Let the inchained soul shut up in darkness and in 

sighing, 
Whose face has never seen a smile in thirty weary 

years, 
io Rise and look out ; his chains are loose, his dungeon 

doors are open, 
And let his wife and children return from the 

opressor's scourge ; 
They look behind at every step and believe it is a 

dream, 
Singing, The Sun has left his blackness, and has 

found a fresher morning, 
And the fair Moon rejoices in the clear and cloudless 

night ; 
15 For Empire is no more, and now the Lion and Wolf 

shall cease. 



324 BLAKE'S POEMS 

(7) 
In thunders ends the voice. Then Albion's Angel 

wrathful burnt 
Beside the Stone of Night; and like the Eternal 

Lion's howl 
In famine and war, reply 'd, Art thou not Ore, who 

serpent form'd 
Stands at the gate of Enitharmon to devour her 

children ? 
S Blasphemous Demon, Antichrist, hater of Dignities, 
Lover of wild rebellion, and transgresser of God's 

Law, 
7 Why dost thou come to Angels' eyes in this terrific 

form ? 

(8) 
The terror answer'd : I am Ore, wreath 'd round the 

accursed tree ; 
The times are ended ; shadows pass, the morning 'gins 

to break ; 
The fiery joy, that Urizen perverted to ten commands, 
What night he led the starry hosts thro' the wide 

wilderness ; 
5 That stony law I stamp to dust ; and scatter religion 

abroad 
To the four winds as a torn book, and none shall 

gather the leaves ; 
But they shall rot on desart sands, and consume in 

bottomless deeps ; 
To make the desarts blossom, and the deeps shrink to 

their fountains, 
And to renew the fiery joy, and burst the stony roof, 
IO That pale religious letchery, seeking Virginity, 
May find it in a harlot, and in coarse-clad honesty 
The undefil'd tho' ravish'd in her cradle night and 

morn ; 
For every thing that lives is holy, life delights in life ; 
Because the soul of sweet delight can never be defil'd. 
is Fires inwrap the earthly globe, yet man is not 

consum'd ; 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 325 

Amidst the lustful fires he walks ; his feet become 
like brass, 
17 His knees and thighs like silver, and his breast and 
head like gold. 

00 

Sound ! sound! my loud war-trumpets, and alarm my 

Thirteen Angels. 
Loud howls the eternal Wolf ! the eternal Lion lashes 

his tail ! 
America is dark'ned ; and my punishing Demons 

terrified 
Crouch howling before their caverns deep like skins 

dry'd in the wind. 
5 They cannot smite the wheat, nor quench the fatness 

of the earth. 
They cannot smite with sorrows, nor subdue the plow 

and spade. 
They cannot wall the city, nor moat round the castle 

of princes. 
They cannot bring the stubbed oak to overgrow the 

hills, 
For terrible men stand on the shores, and in their 

robes I see 
10 Children take shelter from the lightnings, there stands 

Washington, 
And Paine, and Warren, with their foreheads rear'd 

toward the east. 
But clouds obscure my aged sight. A vision from afar ! 
Sound ! sound ! my loud war-trumpets, and alarm my 

thirteen Angels : 
Ah, vision from afar ! Ah, rebel form that rent the 

ancient 
15 Heavens! Eternal Viper self-renew'd, rolling in 

clouds, 
I see thee in thick clouds and darkness on America's 

shore, 
Writhing in pangs of abhorred birth ; red flames the 

crest rebellious 



326 BLAKE'S POEMS 

And eyes of death ; the harlot womb oft opened in 

vain 
Heaves in enormous circles ; now the times are return'd 

upon thee, 
20 Devourer of thy parent ; now thy unutterable torment 

renews. 
Sound ! sound ! my loud war-trumpets, and alarm my 

thirteen Angels. 
Ah, terrible birth ! a young one bursting ! where is 

the weeping mouth, 
And where the mother's milk ? instead those ever- 
hissing jaws 
And parched lips drop with fresh gore ; now roll thou 

in the clouds ; 
2 S Thy mother lays her length outstretch'd upon the 

shore beneath. 
Sound ! sound ! my loud war-trumpets, and alarm my 

thirteen Angels ; 
2 7 Loud howls the eternal Wolf, the eternal Lion lashes 

his tail ! 

(10) 

Thus wept the Angel voice, and as he wept the terrible 

blasts 
Of trumpets blew a loud alarm across the Atlantic 

deep. 
No trumpets answer ; no reply of clarions or of fifes. 
Silent the Colonies remain and refuse the loud alarm. 

5 On those vast shady hills between America and 

Albion's shore, 
Now barr'd out by the Atlantic sea, call'd Atlantean 

hills, 
Because from their bright summits you may pass to 

the Golden world, 
An ancient palace, archetype of mighty Emperies, 
Rears its immortal pinnacles, built in the forest of 

God 
10 By Ariston the king of beauty for his stolen bride. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 327 

Here on their magic seats the thirteen Angels sat 
perturb'd, 
12 For clouds from the Atlantic hover o'er the solemn 
roof. 

(11) 
Fiery the Angels rose, and as they rose deep thunder 

roll'd 
Around their shores : indignant burning with the fires 

of Ore, 
And Boston's Angel cried aloud as they flew thro' the 

dark night. 

He cried : Why trembles honesty, and like a murderer, 
5 Why seeks he refuge from the frowns of his immortal 

station ? 
Must the generous tremble and leave his joy to the 

idle, to the pestilence 
That mock him ? who commanded this ? what God ? 

what Angel ? 
To keep the gen'rous from experience till the 

ungenerous 
Are unrestrain'd performers of the energies of nature, 
IO Till pity is become a trade, and generosity a science 
That men get rich by, and the sandy desart is giv'n 

to the strong. 
What God is he, writes laws of peace, and clothes him 

in a tempest ? 
What pitying Angel lusts for tears, and fans himself 

with sighs ? 
What crawling villain preaches abstinence and wraps 

himself 
IS In fat of lambs ? no more I follow, no more obedience 

pay. 

(12) 

So cried he, rending off his robe and throwing down 

his scepter 
In sight of Albion's Guardian, and all the thirteen 

Angels 



328 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Rent off their robes to the hungry wind, and threw 

their golden scepters 
Down on the land of America ; indignant they de- 
scended 
5 Headlong from out their heav'nly heights, descending 

swift as fires 
Over the land ; naked and naming are their lineaments 

seen 
In the deep gloom ; by Washington and Paine and 

Warren they stood, 
And the flame folded roaring fierce within the pitchy 

night, 
Before the Demon red, who burnt towai-ds America, 
10 In black smoke thunders and loud winds rejoicing in 

its terror, 
Breaking in smoky wreaths from the wild deep, and 

gath'ring thick 
12 In flames as of a furnace on the land from North to 

South. 

(13) 

What time the thirteen Governors that England sent 

convene 
In Bernard's house ; the flames cover'd the land, they 

rouze, then 
Shaking their mental chains, they rush in fury to the 

sea 
To quench their anguish : at the feet of Washington 

down fall'ii 
S They grovel on the sand and writhing lie, while all 
The British soldiers thro' the thirteen states sent up 

a howl 
Of anguish, threw their swords and muskets to the 

earth, and ran 
From their encampments and dark castles seeking 

where to hide 
From the grim flames, and from the visions of Ore, 

in sight 
io Of Albion's Angel ; who, enrag'd, his secret clouds 

open'd 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 329 

From north to south, and burnt outstretch'd on wings 

of wrath cov'ring 
The eastern sky, spreading his awful wings across the 

heavens ; 
Beneath him roll'd his num'rous hosts, all Albion's 

Angels camp'd 
Darken'd the Atlantic mountains, and their trumpets 

shook the valleys, 

15 Arm'd with diseases of the earth to cast upon the 

Abyss, 

16 Their numbers forty millions, must'ring in the eastern 

sky. 

(14) 

In the flames stood and view'd the armies drawn out 

in the sky, 
Washington, Franklin, Paine, and Warren, Allen, 

Gates, and Lee ; 
All heard the voice of Albion's Angel give the 

thunderous command ; 
His plagues, obedient to his voice, flew forth out of 

their clouds, 
5 Falling upon America, as a storm to cut them off, 
As a blight cuts the tender corn when it begins to 

appear. 
Dark is the heaven above, and cold and hard the earth 

beneath ; 
And as a plague wind fill'd with insects cuts off man 

and beast, 
And as a sea o'erwhelms a land in the day of an earth- 
quake : 
10 Fury ! rage ! madness ! in a wind swept through 

America, 
And the red flames of Ore, that folded roaring, fierce, 

around 
The angry shores, and the fierce rushing of th' 

inhabitants together ; 
The citizens of New York close their books and lock 

their chests ; 



330 BLAKE'S POEMS 

The mariners of Boston drop their anchors and 

unlade ; 
15 The scribe of Pensylvania casts his pen upon the 

earth ; 
The builder of Virginia throws his hammer down in 

fear ; 
Then had America been lost, o'erwhelm'd by the 

Atlantic, 
And Earth had lost another portion of the infinite. 
But all rush together in the night in wrath and 

raging fire. 
20 The red fires rag'd ! the plagues recoil'd ! then roll'd 

they back with fury 

(15) 

On Albion's Angels : then the Pestilence began in 

streaks of red 
Across the limbs of Albion's Guardian, the spotted 

plague smote Bristol's, 
And the Leprosy London's Spirit, sickening all their 

bands : 
The millions sent up a howl of anguish and threw off 

their hammer'd mail, 
5 And cast their swords and spears to earth, and stood 

a naked multitude. 
Albion's Guardian writhed in torment on the eastern 

sky, 
Pale, quiv'ring toward the brain his glimmering eyes, 

teeth chattering, 
Howling and shuddering, his legs quivering ; convuls'd 

each muscle and sinew, 
Sick'ning lay London's Guardian, and the ancient 

miter'd York, 
10 Their heads on snowy hills, their ensigns sick'ning in 

the sky. 

The plagues creep on the burning winds driven by 

flames of Ore. 
And by the fierce Americans rushing together in the 

night, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 331 

Driven o'er the Guardians of Ireland, and Scotland 

and Wales. 
They spotted with plagues forsook the frontiers and 

their banners sear 
15 With fires of hell, deform their ancient heavens with 

shame and woe. 
Hid in his caves the Bard of Albion felt the enormous 

plagues, 
And a cowl of flesh grew o'er his head and scales on 

his back and ribs ; 
And rough with black scales all his Angels fright their 

ancient heavens. 
The doors of marriage are open, and the Priests in 

rustling scales 
20 Rush into reptile coverts, hiding from the fires of Ore, 
That play around the golden roofs in wreaths of fierce 

desire, 
Leaving the females naked and glowing with the lusts 

of youth. 

For the female spirits of the dead, pining in bonds of 

religion, 
Run from their fetters reddening, and in long drawn 

arches sitting ; 

25 They feel the nerves of youth renew, and desires of 

ancient times, 

26 Over their pale limbs as a vine when the tender grape 

appears. 

(16) 

Over the hills, the vales, the cities rage the red flames 

fierce ; 
The Heavens melted from north to south ; and Urizen, 

who sat 
Above all heavens in thunders wrap'd, emerg'd his 

leprous head 
From out his holy shrine, his tears in deluge piteous 
5 Falling into the deep sublime ; flag'd with grey-brow'd 

snows 



332 BLAKE'S POEMS 

And thunderous visages, his jealous wings wav'd over 

the deep ; 
Weeping in dismal howling woe, he dark descended, 

howling 
Around the smitten bands, clothed in tears and 

trembling, shudd'ring, cold. 
His stored snows he poured forth, and his icy 

magazines 
10 He open'd on the deep, and on the Atlantic sea white 

shiv'ring. 
Leprous his limbs, all over white, and hoary was his 

visage, 
Weeping in dismal howlings before the stern Ameri- 
cans, 
Hiding the Demon red with clouds and cold mists 

from the earth, 
Till Angels and weak men twelve years should govern 

o'er the strong ; 
15 And then their end should come, when France reciev'd 

the Demon's light. 

Stiff shudderings shook the heav'nly thrones ! France, 

Spain, and Italy 
In terror view'd the bands of Albion, and the ancient 

Guardians, 
Fainting upon the elements, smitten with their own 

plagues ; 
They slow advance to shut the five gates of their law- 
built heaven, 
20 Filled with blasting fancies and with mildews of 

despair, 
With fierce disease and lust, unable to stem the fires 

of Ore ; 
But the five gates were consum'd, and their bolts and 

hinges melted ; 
23 And the fierce flames burnt round the heavens, and 

round the abodes of men. 



MEANING OF 'AMERICA' 333 



MEANING OF < AMERICA' 

'America ' reappears in Blake's symbolic poetry, though the 
allusion was not published, in the earlier pages of ' Vala,' 
quite certainly not written later than 1797, the date of its 
title-page. In Night I., line 120, we hear how 

'A frowning continent appeared, where Enion in the desert, 
Terrified at her own creation, viewing her woven shadow, 
Sat in a dread intoxication of Repentance and contrition.' 

Enion is wife of Tharmas, ruler of uncertainty in mind, of 
vegetation and bodily instinct in nature. We never lose sight 
of him for long in the Prophetic Books. 

Close to these lines we have the first account of the ' birth ' of 
Los and Enitharmon, who will be fully spoken of later on, and 
then — after the creation of Beulah, also to be familiar to us 
later — it is seen that Tharmas must not be a personal ruler 
and prolific father any more, and the gate of the tongue (the 
Western Gate) is closed. Tharmas is the tongue, in a certain 
point of view. Compare ' Jerusalem, ' page 14, line 4. 

The object of this action seems to have been regarded by 
Blake as good, but afterwards we have its evil results continu- 
ally before us. 

We are definitely told how 

' Albion closed the "Western Gate and shut America out 
By the Atlantic for a curse, and for a hidden horror, 
And for an altar of victims offered to sin and repentance, ' 

after Albion had turned his back on the spirits of pity and 
love. 

The preceding passages from line 50 are almost to be found in 
'Jerusalem,' page 29, etc., where Blake first printed them. 
They had lain beside him not less than seven years in the 
' Vala ' manuscript. The previous ' hiding in shadow ' of Los 
and Enitharmon, Night III., line 47, and, their coming away 
from the scene that followed in ' Jerusalem, ' page 30, lines 1 
and 2, and from all the Tharmas story, show how sternly 
Blake contracted what he had to say in the engraved poem, 
from the more expanded account in the 'Vald ' MS. 

We know now that sin and repentance were shut out with 
'America, ' but only after reading all Blake do we get to see that 
sin meant, to him, in spite of his wild preaching of 'free love,' 
almost anything that leads us to be absorbed in nature, Aow- 
ever beautiful, so that we attend to and believe in her, and 
forget imagination. This follows logically, of course, from the 



334 BLAKE'S POEMS 

creed that Nature is essentially opaque or Satanic, and, 
eternal death only its ' limit' ; while Imagination, or the 
Saviour or eternal life, is essentially translucent, there being 
no limit to translucence ( ' Jerusalem, ' page 42, line 35). 

When we get to the account of the ' closing ' in 'Jerusalem ' 
corresponding to that already quoted from ' Vala, ' it is in the 
end of page 30 and beginning of page 31 in this form — 

' Albion covered 
His "Western heaven with rocky clouds of death and despair,' 

to which even sin and repentance would seem preferable, 
though these two things join in Morality, personated poetically 
afterwards by Rahab, who, we are also told, is sin, in the 
useful explanatory passage, Night IX., lines 150 to 160. 

Since Heavens are vessels of nourishing or generative power, 
as seen in ' Jerusalem, ' page 21, line 31 ; page 43, lines 16, 17 ; 
page 49, lines 61, 62, which vessels are seen as the Eye, Marriage, 
or Beulah, and the Ear {generation), page 66, line 40, and in 
' Vala,' Night IX., lines 786 to 797 and 820— the preface to the 
book of 'America' comes with no surprise now. 

In 'Vala,' Night VII., lines 611 and following, we have 
the first form of this Preludium. Traces of the same portion 
of the myth will be found in extra, page 17, after ' Milton. ' 

As we read it in this book of 'America,' if we require to 
keep a running commentary of translation in mind, in order 
not to get ourselves lost among the symbols, the words to be 
chiefly noted are : — 

To Ore (passion) the shadowy daughter (properly his 
sister, since his father's spectre or egotistic personality and 
Reasoning power was Urthona, but really his material 
counterpart) brings food in iron baskets, which symbolise 
incidents of excitement and attraction. Iron is magnetic. 
She is nameless, as we shall learn in the Preludium to 
'Europe,' because not generated really — a mere portion of 
himself that seems external : the helmet is a sign of war — the 
war of passion : the bow is that of male and female love 
(' Jerusalem,' page 95, lines 14, 15, and page 97, line 12); the 
pestilence is the disease of languor and shame. She is in- 
vulnerable because naked — not clothed with even the 'little 
curtain of flesh' told of in ' Thel,' though clouds (blood: his 
blood really) roll round her loins. She is youth's ideal arising 
from his material needs ; finally, in various forms obviously 
suggestive of meaning — eagle, serpent, etc. She becomes a real 
power in him and over him, though in torment. For torment, 
see 'Jerusalem,' prose passage, page 77- See for full explana- 
tion, 'Vala,' Night VII., lines 610 to 671. 

The book that folloivs has puzzled people by its title. Why 



MEANING OF 'AMERICA' 335 

is it called ' A Prophecy ' ? Yet there is much less history in 
it than in such books of the Bible as Joshua, Ruth, Samuel, 
Kings, Chronicles, and Esther, which were called ' Prophets ' 
as much as Isaiah. Our term 'Historical Books' has 
arbitrarily overlaid their title. Blake took them all for 
symbolic history, and saw no reason for treating the history 
of his own day otherwise than symbolically. In fact, he 
practically invented it as he went along merely for the purpose 
of his myth. Hie idea now current in respectable circles that 
we are to imitate the persons mentioned in Biblical narrative, 
though even this not too recklessly, while we are not to imitate 
Biblical authors at all, would have astounded him by its cool 
assumption of authority as much as we may fairly imagine 
that it would have astonished Moses himself, who was the first 
to check such prohibitions when applied to poor Eldad and 
Medad, who were prophesying in the camp, — Numbers, chap, 
xi. verse 26. This belongs to Blake's ' Bible of Hell,' promised 
in 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.' We are all so ac- 
customed to our fleshly bodies and their limitations, that 
we are apt to forget that Blake believed clairvoyance to be 
no miracle, but the proper state of man, while corporeal solidity 
was the result of an intellectual error. Our opacity certainly 
increases with our common sense. The most frequent examples 
of telepathy, second sight, and so forth are not to be found 
where are most decorum and education, among the school- 
taught people of London. 

It would seem that Albion's Angel here is an aspect of 
Urizen. 'Albion' becomes a personage in ' Vala,' and pre- 
sumably his name was inserted into the MS. of that poem 
when such lines were used for it as those from page 6 here, 
that are in Night IX., II. 667 and 823, and others that are 
rounded up with the close of the 'Song of Liberty,' evidently 
dated 1790, and issued with ' The Marriage of Heaven and 
Hell.' It will be noticed how the 'fiery limbs' that sunk into 
the Western Sea in that Song send up from it a 'human 
wonder ' now, as told in page 4. That the 'falling fire ' of 
the ' Song of Liberty ' was Ore is made clear in page 8 here, 
where the words about stamping the Stony Law are the same ; 
and close to them the ' everything that lives is holy ' repeats 
the ' Visions of the Daughters of Albion.' 

That restraint, the holding in of wild impulses in firm grip 
of ' heavens ' was also holy, follows once more, and has no in- 
coherence in its place. 

After intricate symbolism, analysed with more or less 
success by the present editor in the Quaritch edition, and 
easily to be analysed over again, as well or better, by any one 
who knows 'Jerusalem ' and ' Vala ' reasonably well, we come, 



336 BLAKE'S POEMS 

in the last page, on the doctrinal essence of the whole 
matter : — 

It is bodily passion that burns the hard gates of the Jive 
senses, and ends by setting free the spiritual in man. 

That this is not more often seen as a fact we must attribute 
to education as at present practised, being the enemy of 
sympathy and telepathy. 



DESIGNS TO « AMERICA' 

Frontispiece. — A colossal winged giant sitting at night, and 
chained as he sits, in the opening where a massive wall has 
been broken through. His forehead is bowed forward on his 
knees. We do not see the face. 

A woman, intended to be of natural she, but of a third of 
his height, sits on part of the broken wall, as on a chair. She 
seems waiting. A child is on her lap, another stands against 
her : all nude. 

The large figure seems to be Urizen, as Albion's Angel, 
chained to the wall that became the Mundane Shell, or the 
Finite wall of the Flesh. Enion sits outside, with Los and 
Enitharmon as children. The wall has been breached, but 
the chained figure fills the gap. This is in the possible mean- 
ing also. As usual, there is no precise passage illustrated. 

Title-page.— Mixed with the lettering, a robed male and 
dressed female figure sit at a little distance, sadly, back to back, 
and pay no heed to each other. Minute figures try in vain to 
invite them to happy thoughts. They are reading laws of 
Urizen. 

Below, night and rain on a battle-field. A woman dressed, 
but without hat, and barefooted, crawls over a pavement of 
dead bodies, and, kisses one of them, putting her arms round, 
his neck. She is Pity as a female, repentant, trying to revive 
with kisses the lover she has slain through jealousy when she 
was Rahab. Compare 'Broken Love.' 

Preludium. — A very strong and handsome boy of sixteen 
lies on a rock under a tree, sprawling. He is chained down 
by the wrists. A man and woman stand by, but are turning 
to leave him. The woman hides her face, the man throws up 
his hands and utters violent reproach. All nude: Los, 
Enitharmon, and Ore. 

Below the roots of the tree, a doubled-up, nude, youthful 
figure. Ore, with a worm, near him, sits deep in the soil, 
equally alive there, but in captivity. 



DESIGNS TO 'AMERICA' 337 

Page 2. The doubled-up, youthful, nude figure, Ore, is rising 
through the soil and forcing his way out. We see his figure 
through the earth as before. His head is already above. 

Page 3. A man and woman fly from flames. The man 
leads a child of seven. All nude: Los, Enitharmon, and 
Ore again. 

Page 4. A dragon pursues through the air, casting light- 
ning, a draped and bearded figure with a sceptre and book, who 
dives headlong out of space to avoid him — Tharmas and 
Urizen. Below, on the earth, people crouch in fear {nude), 
and trees are blown flat. Clouds roll, heavy and low. 

It is difficult to see ichether the falling figure is a man with 
a long beard, robed, or a woman with long hair. In either 
case, the subject of the design may be called war chasing away 
law, or religion. 

Page 5. Among the best drawings and most difficult to in- 
terpret. It is reproduced in 'Gilchrist,' vol. i. Its text 
identifies the page, and occupies the central of three equal parts 
into which the page is divided. The upper part shows a 
strong man in the centre striding over clouds, and carrying 
another in a doubled-up heap on his back, while a figure on 
the left flies along with a balance (much weighed down, un- 
equally, though empty), and another on the right carries a 
flaming sword. The general interpretation is easy. The 
figures at each side show the central one how, if the balance 
but be made to go decisively one way or the other, or all judg- 
ment be discarded and the sword adopted, Energy need no 
longer bear Restraint on his shoulders. In more Blakean 
terms, they are Albion as Ijim, bearing Tiriel on his 
shoulders between the East and West, between the Angel of 
the Flaming Sivord, ' leaving his guard at the tree of life'' 
(compare ' Marriage of Heaven and Hell'), who is Tharmas; 
and Luvah, who ' rent the scales from the faint heart of man 
('Vala,' Night II., line 141). These two Zoas in this aspect 
seem to be one another — the result of Albion's captivity to his 
oivn ancient spirit of restraint. Albion is, of course, 'Man,' 
the male principal, as distinguished from Humanity, which 
has no sex. Tharmas in this group points down to the lake of 
fire, from which a serpent rises coiling in the lower part of 
the page, below the text. There are two figures here, one falling 
and holding its head; one already fallen, head down, into the 
coils. Altogether the group may be best described as a pictorial 
equivalent for some words which we shall presently come to in 
the book called ' Jerusalem, ' written ten years later. 

' Each man is in his Spectre's Power 
Until the arrival of that hour 
When his Humanity awake, 
And cast his Spectre into the Lake.' 
vol. i. y 



§38 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Page 6. A youth nude, sitting on a rock and a skull, and 
looking up, in the upper part of the picture. Below, a lizzard 
catching a fly. The 'awakening* of man's 'Humanity,' and 
the consequent regeneration of Man. 

Page 7. A little nude boy and girl of eight years old or less, 
asleep, one on the back of a big sleeping ram, one at his side. 
The time of innocence. They may be Tharmas and Enion 
among the flocks of Vala. The meaning is the same. Compare 
' Vala,' Night IX., line 507, etc. 

Page 8. The upper part, a figure representing Jehovah. 
The lower part, the dark waters on whose face this Spirit 
brooded at the beginning. 

Page 9. A baby lying naked and alone in a whirling 
atmosphere of vague influences that circle round in dim light. 
Compare ' Jerusalem,' p. 81, line 11, etc. — . 

'I have stripped off Joseph's beautiful integument for my 

beloved, 
The cruel one of Albion, to clothe him in gems of my zone. 
I have named him Jehovah, Lord of Hosts. Humanity is 

become 
A weeping Infant in ruined, lovely Jerusalem's folding cloud.' 

Page 10. Ore, or Los, in his flames. A nude youth, with a 
rapt, ecstatic, and frowning face, climbing through fire. 

Page 11. Above, a youth riding through the sky on a huge 
flying swan; below, three children riding a monster snake. This 
page is reproduced in Gilchrist's 'Life.' The power of in- 
nocence that controls the earth in childhood, controls the air 
in manhood. The swan occurs twice more in Blake's work. 
Compare picture 'Jerusalem,' p. 11, and the mention of it at 
a type of purity, ' Vala,' Night V., line 194. 

Page 12. An old man, robed, walking on crutches into a 
tomb. This design is composed into one picture with that on 
page 6, and is well known as one of Blake's pictures to Blair's 
' Grave.' 

Page 13. A virgin torn by eagles, in the upper part of the 
page ; a drowned man eaten by fish at the bottom of the sea, in 
the lower. The pangs of virginity and those of jealousy — of 
Oothoon and of Theotormon. 

Page 14. A stem prophetess, draped only in a veil that falls 
back and leaves her nude, sits under a leafless tree, sternly 
lecturing a youth who lies on the ground before, his body 
raised a little, his elbows on a heavy book in two volumes, his 
hands raised and clasped as in prayer. Prom between the knees 
of the woman a big snake is uncoiling itself, lifting its head 
and thrusting out its tongue at the youth, who is dressed in a 



DESIGNS TO 'AMERICA* 339 

tight fitting costume. The woman is Rahab. She is teaching 
' Natural Religion ' to innocence from beneath its own barren 
growth — the tree of Mystery. 

Page 15. Happy and lawless innocence. Women nude, 
children, and large vine-branches with leaves and tendrils, 
playing in a world of flames where they are not burned. 

Page 16. A colossal female figure kneeling under a barren 
tree, and worshipping with raised hands and lowered head 
and outspread hair. She is so large that men, women, and 
children grouped about her and walking over her look no 
bigger than mice. This is Rahab, of course — or an old Vala, 
as Rahab — her 'locks spread on the pavement.' At the foot 
of the page, a snake among thorns, Nature itself. 



THE 

BOOK 

OF 

URIZEN 



LAMBETH 

Printed by Wh, Blake 
1794 



341 



Preludium 

TO THE 

First Book of Urizen 

Op the primeval Priest's assum'd power, 
When Eternals spurn'd back his religion, 
And gave him a place in the north, 
Obscure, shadowy, void, solitary. 

Eternals, I hear your call gladly. 
Dictate swift winged words, and fear not 
To unfold your dark visions of torment. 



342 



(3) 



Lo, a shadow of horror is risen 
In Eternity ! Unknown, unprolific, 
Self-clos'd, all-repelling'. What Demon 
Hath form'd this abominable void, 
This soul-shudd'ring vacuum ? Some said 
It is Urizen. But unknown, abstracted, 
Brooding secret, the dark power hid. 

Times on times he divided, and measur'd 
Space by space in his ninefold darkness, 
Unseen, unknown ; changes appear 'd 
Like desolate mountains rifted furious 
By the black winds of perturbation. 

For he strove in battles dire, 

In unseen conflictions with shapes 

Bred from his forsaken wilderness ; 

Of beast, bird, fish, serpent, and element, 

Combustion, blast, vapour, and cloud. 

Dark, revolving in silent activity, 
Unseen in tormenting passions ; 
An activity unknown and horrible ; 
A self- contemplating shadow, 
In enormous labours occupied. 



344 BLAKE'S POEMS 

.5. But Eternals beheld his vast forests ; 
Age on ages he lay, clos'd, unknown, 
Brooding, shut in the deep ; all avoid 
The petrific, abominable chaos. 

0. His cold horrors silent, dark Urizen 
Prepar'd ; his ten thousands of thunders 
Rang'd in gloom'd array stretch out across 
The dread world ; and the rolling of wheels, 
As of swelling seas, sound in his clouds 
In his hills of stor'd snows, in his mountains 
Of hail and ice ; voices of terror 
Are heard, like thunders of autumn, 
When the cloud blazes over the harvests. 



1. Earth was not, nor globes of attraction ; 
The will of the Immortal expanded 

Or contracted his all flexible senses ; 
Death was not, but eternal life sprung. 

2. The sound of a trumpet : the heavens 
Awoke, and vast clouds of blood roll'd 
Round the dim rocks of Urizen, so nam'd 
That solitary one in Immensity. 

3. Shrill the trumpet, and myriads of Eternity 

In living creations appear' d 
In the flames of eternal fury. 

(3.) Sund'ring, dark'ning, thund'ring, 
Rent away with a terrible crash, 
Eternity roll'd wide apart, 
Wide asunder rolling ; 
Mountainous all around 
Departing, departing, departing, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 345 

Leaving ruinous fragments of life 
Hangings frowning cliffs and all between 
An ocean of voidness unfathomable. 

. The roaring fires ran o'er the heav'ns 
In whirlwinds and cataracts of blood, 
And o'er the dark desarts of Urizen 
Fires pour thro' the void on all sides 
On Urizen's self-begotten armies. 

. But no light from the fires ; all was darkness 
In the flames of Eternal fury. 

, In fierce anguish and quenchless flames 
To the desarts and rocks he ran, raging 
To hide, but he could not ; combining, 
He dug mountains and hills in vast strength, 
He piled them in incessant labour, 
In howlings and pangs and fierce madness, 
Long periods in burning fires labouring, 
Till hoary, and age-broke, and aged, 
In despair and the shadows of death. 

And a roof vast, petrific around, 
On all sides he fram'd, like a womb, 
Where thousands of rivers in veins 
Of blood pour down the mountains to cool 
The eternal fires beating without, 
From Eternals ; and like a black globe, 
View'd by sons of Eternity, standing 
On the shore of the infinite ocean 
Like a human heart struggling and beating, 
The vast world of Urizen appear'd. 

And Los round the dark globe of Urizen 
Kept watch for Eternals to confine, 
The obscure separation alone ; 
For Eternity stood wide apart 

(5) 
As the stars are apart from the earth. 



346 BLAKE'S POEMS 

9. Los wept, howling around the dark Demon 
And cursing his lot, for in anguish 
Urizen was rent from his side, 
And a fathomless void for his feet, 
And intense fires for his dwelling. 

10. But Urizen, laid in a stony sleep, 
Unorganiz'd, rent from Eternity. 

11. The Eternals said : What is this, Death ? 
Urizen is a clod of clay. 

12. Los howl'd in a dismal stupor, 
Groaning ! gnashing ! groaning ! 
Till the wrenching apart was healed. 

13. But the wrenching of Urizen heal'd not. 
Cold, featureless, flesh or clay, 

Rifted with direful changes, 
He lay in a dreamless night 

14. Till Los rouz'd his (his) fires affrighted 
At the formless, unmeasurable death. 

(7) 

CHAP. Ill 

(Erroneously numbered IV. in Blake's engraved book.) 

1. Los, smitten with astonishment, 
Frighten'd at the hurtling bones 

2. And at the surging, sulphureous, 
Perturbed, Immortal, mad, raging 

3. In whirlwinds, and pitch, and nitre 
Round the furious limbs of Los. 

4. And Los formed nets and gins, 
And threw the nets round about. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 347 

5. He watch'd in shudd'ring fear 

The dark changes, and bound every change 
With rivets of iron and brass. 

6. And these were the changes of Urizen. 

00 



1. Ages on ages roll'd over him ; 

In stony sleep ages roll'd over him, 
Like a dark waste stretching, chang'able ; 
By earthquakes riv'n, belching sullen fires ; 
On ages roll'd ages in ghastly 
Sick torment ; around him in whirlwinds 
Of darkness the eternal Prophet howl'd, 
Beating still on his rivets of iron, 
Pouring sodor of iron ; dividing 
The horrible night into watches. 

2. And Urizen (so his eternal name) 

His prolific delight obscur'd more and more ; 
In dark secresy hiding in surgeing, 
Sulphureous fluid his phantasies. 
The Eternal Prophet heard the dark bellows, 
And turn'd restless the tongs ; and the hammer 
Incessant beat, forging chains new and new ; 
Numb' ring with links, hours, days, and years. 

3. The eternal mind bounded began to roll 
Eddies of wrath, ceaseless, round and round. 
And the sulphureous foam, surgeing thick, 
Settled, a lake, bright and shining clear, 
White as the snow on the mountains cold. 

4. Forgetfulness, dumbness, necessity, 
In chains of the mind locked up, 
Like fetters of ice shrinking together, 
Disorganiz'd, rent from Eternity. 



348 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Los beat on his fetters of iron, 
And heated his furnaces, and pour'd 
Iron sodor and sodor of brass. 

5. Restless turn'd the immortal, inchain'd, 
Heaving dolorous ! anguish'd, unbearable, 
Till a roof, shaggy, wild, inclos'd 

In an orb his fountain of thought. 

6. In a horrible, dreamful slumber, 
Like the linked infernal chain, 
A vast Spine writh'd in torment 
Upon the winds, shooting pain'd 
Ribs, like a bending cavern, 
And bones of solidness froze 
Over all his nerves of joy ; 
And a first Age passed over, 
And a state of dismal woe. 



(10) 



From the caverns of his jointed Spine 
Down sunk with fright a red 
Round globe, hot, burning deep, 
Deep down into the Abyss; 
Panting, Conglobing, Trembling, 
Shooting out ten thousand branches 
Around his solid bones ; 
And a second Age passed over, 
And a state of dismal woe. 

In harrowing fear rolling round, 
His nervous brain shot branches 
Round the branches of his heart, 
On high, into two little orbs, 
And fixed in two little caves, 
Hiding carefully from the wind, 
His Eyes beheld the deep ; 
And a third Age passed over, 
And a state of dismal woe. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 349, 

9. The pangs of hope began, 

In heavy pain striving, struggling ; 

Two Ears in close volutions ; 

From beneath his orbs of vision 

Shot spiring out, and petrified 

As they grew. And a fourth Age passed, 

And a state of dismal woe. 

10. In ghastly torment sick, 
Hanging upon the wind, 

(12) 

Two Nostrils bent down to the deep ; 
And a fifth Age passed over, 
And a state of dismal woe. 

11. In ghastly torment sick, 
Within his ribs bloated round, 
A craving, Hungry Cavern. 
Thence arose his channel' d Throat, 
And, like a red flame, a Tongue 
Of thirst and of hunger appear'd ; 
And a sixth Age passed over, 

And a state of dismal woe. 

12. Enraged and stifled with torment, 
He threw his right Arm to the north, 
His left Arm to the south, 
Shooting out in anguish deep, 

And his Feet stamp'd the nether Abyss 
In trembling and howling and dismay ; 
And a second Age passed over, 
And a state of dismal woe. 



In terrors Los shrunk from his task, 
His great hammer fell from his hand, 
His fires beheld, and sickening 
Hid their strong limbs in smoke ; 



350 BLAKE'S POEMS 

For with noises, ruinous, loud, 
With hurtlings and clashings and groans, 
The Immortal endur'd his chains, 
Tho' bound in a deadly sleep. 

2. All the myriads of Eternity, 
All the wisdom and joy of life, 
Roll like a sea around him, 
Except what his little orbs 

Of sight by degrees unfold. 

3. And now his eternal life 
Like a dream was obliterated. 

4. Shudd'ring, the Eternal Prophet smote 
With a stroke from his north to south region. 
The bellows and hammer are silent now, 

A nerveless silence, his prophetic voice 
Siez'd, a cold solitude and dark void, 
The Eternal Prophet and Urizen clos'd. 

5. Ages on ages roll'd over them, 
Cut off from life and light, frozen 
Into horrible forms of deformity. 
Los suffer'd his fires to decay, 

Then he look'd back with anxious desire, 
But the space, undivided by existence, 
Struck horror into his soul. 

6. Los wept, obscur'd with mourning ; 
His bosom earthquak'd with sighs ; 
He saw Urizen, deadly black 

In his chains bound, and Pity began 

7. In anguish dividing and dividing, 
For pity divides the soul 

In pangs, eternity on eternity. 
Life in cataracts pour'd down his cliffs : 
The void shrunk the lymph into Nerves, 
Wand'ring wide on the bosom of night, 
And left a round globe of blood 
Trembling upon the void. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 351 

(14) 

Thus the Eternal Prophet was divided 

Before the death image of Urizen, 

For in changeable clouds and darkness, 

In a winterly night beneath, 

The Abyss of Los stretch'd immense, 

And now seen, now obscur'd in the eyes 

Of Eternals, the visions remote 

Of the dark separation appear'd. 

As glasses discover Worlds 

In the endless Abyss of space, 

So the expanding eyes of Immortals 

Beheld the dark visions of Los, 

And the globe of life blood trembling. 

(16) 

8. The globe of life blood trembled, 
Branching out into roots, 
Fibrous, writhing upon the winds; 
Fibres of blood, milk, and tears, 
In pangs, eternity on eternity. 

At length in tears and cries imbodied, 
A female form trembling and pale 
Waves before his deathy face. 

9. All Eternity shudder' d at sight 
Of the first female now separate, 
Pale as a cloud of snow, 
Waving before the face of Los. 

10. Wonder, awe, fear, astonishment, 
Petrify the eternal myriads 

At the first female form now separate. 

(17) 
They call'd her Pity, and fled. 

1 1 . Spread a Tent with strong curtains around them, 
Let cords and stakes bind in the Void 

That Eternals may no more behold them. 



352 BLAKE'S POEMS 

12. They began to weave curtains of darkness. 
They erected large pillars round the Void ; 
With golden hooks fasten'd in the pillars. 
With infinite lahour the Eternals 
A woof wove, and called it Science. 



1. But Los saw the Female, and pitied ; 
He embrac'd her ; she wept, she refus'd ; 
In perverse and cruel delight 

She fled from his arms, yet he follow'd. 

2. Eternity shudder 'd when they saw 
Man begetting his likeness 

On his own divided image. 

3. A time passed over ; the Eternals 
Began to erect the tent, 

When Enitharmon, sick, 

Felt a Worm within her womb. 

4. Yet helpless it lay like a Worm 
In the trembling womb 

To be moulded into existence. 

5. All day the worm lay on her bosom, 
All night within her womb 

The worm lay till it grew to a serpent, 
With dolorous hissings and poisons 
Round Enit'harmon's loins folding. 

6. Coil'd within Enitharmon's womb 
The serpent grew, casting its scales ; 
With sharp pangs the hissings began 
To change to a grating cry. 

Many sorrows and dismal throes, 
Many forms offish, bird, and beast, 
Brought forth an Infant form 
Where was a worm before. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 353 

7. The Eternals, their tent finished, 
Alarm'd with these gloomy visions, 
When Enitharmon, groaning, 
Produc'd a man Child to the light. 

8. A shriek ran thro' Eternity, 
And a paralytic stroke, 

At the birth of the Human shadow. 

9. Delving earth in his resistless way, 
Howling, the Child with fierce flames 
Issu'd from Enitharmon. 

10. The Eternals closed the tent, 

They beat down the stakes with cords, 



(18) 



Stretch'd for a work of eternity : 
No more Los beheld Eternity. 

11. In his hands he siez'd the infant, 
He bathed him in springs of sorrow, 
He gave him to Enitharmon. 



1. They nam'd the child Ore ; he grew, 
Fed with milk of Enitharmon. 

2. Los awoke her ; O sorrow and pain. 
A tight'ning girdle grew 
Around his bosom. In sobbings 
He burst the girdle in twain ; 

But still another girdle 
Oppress'd his bosom. In sobbings 
Again he burst it. Again 
Another girdle succeeds. 
The girdle was form'd by day, 
By night was burst in twain. 

YOL, I, 



354 BLAKE'S POEMS 

3. These falling down on the rock 
Into an iron chain, 

In each other link hy link lock'd. 

4. They took Ore to the top of a mountain. 
O how Enitharmon wept ! 

They chain'd his young limbs to the rock 
With the Chain of Jealousy, 
Beneath Urizen's deathful shadow. 

5. The dead heard the voice of the child, 
And began to awake from sleep ; 

All things heard the voice of the child, 
And began to awake to life. 

6. And Urizen, craving with hunger, 
Stung with the odours of Nature, 
Explor'd his dens around. 

7. He form'd a line and a plummet 
To divide the Abyss beneath. 
He form'd a dividing rule. 

8. He formed scales to weigh, 
He formed massy weights ; 
He formed a brazen quadrant, 
He formed golden compasses, 
And began to explore the Abyss ; 
And he planted a garden of fruits. 

9. But Los encircled Enitharmon 
With fires of Prophecy, 

From the sight of Urizen and Ore. 

10. And she bore an enormous race. 



CHAP. VIII 

1. Urizen explor'd his dens, 

Mountain, moor, and wilderness, 
With a globe of fire lighting his journey, 
A fearful journey, annoy'd 
By cruel enormities ; forms 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 355 

(21) 
Of life on his forsaken mountains. 

2. And his world teem'd vast enormities, 
Fright'ning, faithless, fawning, 
Portions of life, similitudes 

Of a foot, or a hand, or a head, 

Or a heart, or an eye, they swam mischievous, 

Dread terrors, delighting in blood. 

3. Most Urizen sicken'd to see 
His eternal creations appear, 

Sons and daughters of sorrow on mountains, 

Weeping, wailing. First Thiriel appear'd, 

Astonish'd at his own existence, 

Like a man from a cloud born, and Utha 

From the waters emerging laments. 

Grodna rent the deep earth, howling, 

Amaz'd ; his heavens immense cracks 

Like the ground parch'd with heat; then Fuzon 

Flam'd out, first begotten, last born, 

All his eternal sons, in like manner 

His daughters, from green herbs and cattle, 

From monsters and worms of the pit. 

4. He in darkness clos'd view'd all his race, 
And his soul sicken'd ! he curs'd 

Both sons and daughters, for he saw 
That no flesh nor spirit could keep 
His iron laws one moment. 



5. For he saw that life liv'd upon death. 



(23) 



The Ox in the slaughter house moans ; 
The Dog at the wintry door ; 
And he wept, and he called it Pity, 
And his tears flowed down on the winds. 



356 BLAKE'S POEMS 

6. Cold he wander'd on high, over their cities, 
In weeping and pain and woe : 

And wherever he wander'd in sorrows 
Upon the aged heavens, 
A cold shadow follow'd hehind him 
Like a spider's web, moist, cold, and dim, 
Drawing out from his sorrowing soul, 
The dungeon-like heaven dividing, 
Where ever the footsteps of Urizen 
Walked over the cities in sorrow. 

7. Till a Web dark and cold throughout all 
The tormented element stretch'd 

From the sorrows of Urizen's soul, 

And the Web is a Female in embrio. 

None could break the Web, no wings of fire, 

8. So twisted the cords, and so knotted 

The meshes ; twisted like to the human brain. 

9. And all call'd it the Net of Religion. 



1. Then the Inhabitants of those Cities 
Felt their Nerves change into Marrow, 
And hardening Bones began 

In swift diseases and torments, 

In throbbings and shootings and grindings, 

Thro' all the coasts, till weaken'd 

The senses inward rush'd, shrinking 

Beneath the dark net of infection ; 

2. Till the shrunken eyes, clouded over, 
Discern'd not the woven hypocrisy, 
But the streaky slime in their heavens, 
Brought together by narrowing perceptions, 
Appear'd transparent air ; for their eyes 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 357 

Grew small like the eyes of a man, 
And in reptile forms shrinking together 
Of seven feet stature they remain'd. 

3. Six days they shrank up from existence, 
And on the seventh day they rested, 

And they bless'd the seventh day, in sick hope, 
And forgot their eternal life. 

4. And their thirty cities divided 
In form of a human heart. 

No more could they rise at will 

In the infinite void, but bound down 

To earth by their narrowing perceptions, 



(26) 

They lived a period of years, 

Then left a noisom body 

To the jaws of devouring darkness. 

5. And their children wept, and built 
Tombs in the desolate places, 

And form'd laws of prudence, and call'd them 
The eternal laws of God. 

6. And the thirty cities remain'd 
Surrounded by salt floods, now call'd 
Africa : its name was then Egypt. 

7. The remaining sons of Urizen 
Beheld their brethren shrink together 
Beneath the Net of Urizen. 
Persuasion was in vain, 

For the ears of the inhabitants 
Were wither'd and deafen'd and cold ; 
And their eyes could not discern 
Their brethren of other cities. 



358 BLAKE'S POEMS 

8. So Fuzon call'd all together 

The remaining children of Urizen, 
And they left the pendulous earth. 
They called it Egypt, and left it. 

9. And the salt ocean rolled englob'd. 



THE END OP THE FIRST BOOK OP URIZEN 



MEANING OF THE BOOK OF 'URIZEN' 

Of all the moods of mind that Blake was least fitted by 
character to treat with any kind of justice, none was so 
certain to be ill-used by him as the mood of intellectual cer- 
tainty. He saw it under two forms, living in his day, as it 
lives in ours. There is the dogmatic priest who himself is no 
prophet, and the believer in elementary mathematic education, 
who has not gone far enough into his subject to feel the 
frailness of the frontier that divides it from mysticism. He 
rolled the two into one as the schoolmaster of our souls ('Vala,' 
Night IX., line 130), called it Urizcn, saw that its proper 
place was at the very centre of light, and that its evil tendency 
was to go to the mere darkness of repetition, restraint, un- 
imaginative morality, and all that is the contrary of its ideal. 
It was likely to enter this condition, as each of the dominant 
moods that rule our life is liable to become an influence the 
reverse of its ideal and natural tendency, because it would be 
sure to grow proud, and that is the effect of pride. 

In ' Vala ' he wrote a sun-myth that fitted the psychology, 
much as in 'Alice through the Looking-Glass' we read in our 
own day a game of chess made the plot of a nursery tale. 
This he did in 1707, but already in 1794 he has taken a prin- 
cipal scene from the myth and given it an introduction and 
denouement, to make a separate bit of symbolic teaching (a 
separate Prophetic Book) from its matter. He even seems to 
have intended to do so in two volumes. 

As this Book opens the time is night — not merely night after 
sunset, but the primal night, the absolute lack of imaginative 
art, love, beauty, or brotherhood in the soul of any one and 
every one. He assumes power as Primal Priest. He is mere 
restraint, without even such alleviations as the ' Visions of the 



MEANING OF THE BOOK OF 'URIZEN' 359 

Daughters of Albion ' so boldly describe. His ' divisions ' are 
barren of all result. He is properly, when arisen, ploughman 
and sower, as 'Vala' (never published by Blake) tells us. But 
now his sowing lacks a field, for ' earth was not, nor globes of 
attraction,' and the division of himself into original and 
creative, into self and procreative, avails nothing. The in- 
tellectual result is dark fire and formless blood, or cloud. 
(Never to leave our remembrance for a moment is the formula 
'the cloud is blood.'' — 'Vala,' Night IX., line 277.) 

Urizen, as the spirit of ineffectually yet religiously restrained 
passion, unsupported by brotherhood, art, or hope, is described 
quite frankly in ' Vala,' Night IX., 149 to 157. This state, 
with its infectious ' stupor ' (aimless, repressed desire), had to 
be rent away from the Spirit of Prophecy (Los), though it was 
a part of intellect in its "way, and so the end of the third 
chapter of the 'Book of Urizen' sees him so rent and left formless. 
Los decides to form him because only form can be ultimately 
dealt with for good, and he gives him a body by watching 
and fixing his changes. It is a ' body of doctrine, ' if you 
desire the phrase, and consists of a set of consciousnesses — that 
symbolised by spine, the ego of thought itself — a mere freezing 
of thought over that joy which is the spring, or nerves, of life, 
a condensation of communicative blood into a globe ; Heart, the 
ego of feeling ; Eyes, the origin of localised and aimed desire, 
according to the rule that we cannot desire that which we have 
not perceived ; Ears, that should (and ultimately do, at close 
of the tale in ' Vala ') receive inspired command and generate 
living words, thoughts, and moods. Tongue, the organ with 
which most good or evil could be done, and therewith the 
work of generating Urizen (in the North, the dark interior of 
matter where generation has its world) was completed. 

Then by the law ' what we look on ice become,' Los was so far 
generated also that he became this personality, as we shall hear 
elsewhere, with this difference, he was alive, and so the red 
drop of pathetic tendency in his heart separated and became 
revealed as the female, and is called Enitharmon. 

In later books that intellectual thing called a tear is much 
heard of. Los now saw Enitharmon and pitied (she became 
Pity in consequence), but in the unpublished book ' Vala ' 
(unpublished by Blake), Night IV., line 96, we see that she was 
animated by the tears of Los, as Vala herself ivas animated by 
the tears of Jerusalem, as told in the book 'Jerusalem' on 
the last line of page 11. 

The story of the ' binding ' of Urizen is given with varia- 
tions that bring out even more clearly the purpose of the 
symbolism in Night IV. of ' Vala, ' from, line 170 to line 246. 
It is seen as part of a larger narrative. The paraphrase 



360 BLAKE'S POEMS 

here offered attains only to truth along a narrow line of 
appropriateness. Urisen, and the part of Mind (afterwards 
called Albion) that was 'generated ' in him afterwards, is seen 
to have put on a 'body of death' — in fact, to have died 
(Night IV., line 252). Many lines, notably the unforgettable 
211th— 

'Forgetfuiness, dumbness, necessity, in chains of the mind 
locked up,' 

will be recognised as verbally the same in the two accounts. An 
extra page belonging to some copies only of the book ' Milton ' 
gives, in brief, a third version. 

By reaction Los, after binding Urizen, has no choice but to 
give birth to Ore, his living opposite, whom he will, as told 
in ' Vala,' Night V., here and elsewhere, try also to bind to a 
rock, for lawless passion is as much likely to be the enemy of 
the Spirit of Prophecy as passionless law. 

Urizen goes to the caves of Ore (the 'caverns of the grave,' 
or 'places of human seed,' where Thel herself just peeped in, 
and fled with virgin terror) in ' Vala,' Night VII., line 5, 
and from then to the time of regeneration the argument and 
contest of their natures comes and goes through the poem. 

At the end of this book Urizen succeeds in getting sons 
at last. He had wept. Tiriel is one of them, but we look 
in vain for Ijim, who docs not appear again in Blake's work 
except as one of three — Har, Ochim, Ijim — which appear among 
a list of the children of Los and Enitharmon, ' Vala,' Night 
VIII., line 351 and following. It seems that Blake simply 
forgot those of the names that interested him least. It must be 
remembered that he never imprinted on his memory by com- 
pletely engraving either the book of ' Tiriel ' or ' Vala.' Utha 
is the name of the Western son, 

Tiriel, Fuzon, Utha, Grodna 
being the four, in the usual order — 

S. E. W. N. 

Fire Air Water Earth 

Urizen Luvah Tharmas Urthona, 

for Urizen' s ' eternal ' place is in the South, though here we are 
hearing about him in the North, where the sun goes at night. 

So Tiriel, when he called himself 'King of the West,' was 
unusually hypocritical. 

The name ' Tiriel,' as Mr. Perugini (a brother-editor, 
though not a collaborator) has just reminded me, is given in 
Francis Barrett's book on ' The Magus,' 1801, as meaning 
* The intelligence of Mercury.' 

In the end we learn that Urizen's fire-son, Fuzon, calls 



DESIGNS TO 'URIZEN' 361 

all the influences, so multitudinous that there are cities-full, 
and takes away those who will come, thirty only, that were, his 
very heart remaining. It will be seen at any rate that the 
'myriads' of Urizen 'built a temple in the image of the 
human heart,' of which he laid the first stone. — ' Vala,' Night 
VII., line 510. We also find Africa referred to as ' heart- 
shaped Africa ' in another place. Those who left the pendu- 
lous earth called it ' Egypt, ' which Swcdenborg says denotes 
' Science ' when referred to in the Bible. Science is sometimes 
used in a good sense, sometimes in a bad one. It opposes 
'religion' when religion is bad, but also opposes 'imagina- 
tion' when imagination is good. Restricted non-visionary 
senses that shut out prophecy take root in Egypt — as told in 
the whole page 49 of ' Jerusalem ' — where Egypt is named in 
line 4. 

This book is printed with one editorial variation from 
Blake. The chapters are now correctly numbered. In the 
original, Blake had numbered Chap. III. as IV., as well as 
Chap. IV. Thus there seemed two fourth chapters and no 
third. The nutnberings of verses and chapters have usually a 
symbolic suitability to their contents, and had there been any 
such indication that there should be no Chap. III. to this book, 
the error would have been left. But there is none at all, and 
the unusual numbering was really an oversight of Blake's and 
has therefore not been followed here. 



DESIGNS TO 'URIZEN' 

On the title-page of the 'Book of Urizen,' which seems to 
have been intended for the first and second Book of the name, 
is seen Urizen writing his books under the Tree of Mystery. 
An exceedingly old and bearded man, with long hair and 
closed eyes, sits in a heap on an open volume that is covered 
with blood and blood-vessels. His knees are nearly up to his 
ears, and higher than his hands, which stick out right and 
left symmetrically, each with a pen in it, and write on a huge 
volume that lies open behind him. They are apparently just 
able to sign this without reaching too far to the rear. Over 
his head rise the tables of the law, like the back of a throne, 
and over them a mass of rock, from which their shape is 
chiselled. A leafless tree rises over all. This is Urizen, old. 

Page 2. The words ' Preludium to' at the top, then a vague 



362 BLAKE'S POEMS 

atmospheric space in which a graceful female figure, draped, 
but bare of arm and shoulder, floats away across from left to 
right, the back toward us. She reaches out a long arm to 
receive a baby that comes swimming through the space towards 
her from the left, pursuing her, and laying its arm in the 
upward palm, of her hand as it comes within reach. Urizen, 
innocent, with Vala. Below, the title and seven lines of 
'preludium' are framed like a picture in a frame of flames. 

Page 3. At the top a nude male figure, Ore, or Los, not yet 
inspired, but seeking, strides all across from right to left, 
turning his face and shoulders from us and flinging an arm 
forward and, another backward as he goes. He does not 
touch ground, but strides floatingly through a whirl of flames 
which have no boundary. 

Page 4. The old man (Urizen, claiming to be Jehovah), 
opening his book wide as his arms extend before him, and 
reading in it. Its pages are covered with Hebrew characters. 
Light flashes and irradiates from behind his head. 

Page 5. A youth (Luvah, as Christ) with spread arms 
falls clear down head-first, bound round by a serpent, and 
not struggling. On each side others, also in serpent coils, 
fall, holding their heads (the thieves). They fall through fire 
into the body of the flame that rises to meet them. 

Page 6. A youth (Los, in torments of Ore), with hair on 
end, protecting his left ear with his right hand and his right 
car with his left, crawls kneeling towards us and stooping, 
escaping from a mass of flame. His face is thrust forward, 
with starting eyes and wide open mouth. 

Page 7. A skeleton ( Urizen, as ' the Bones of Horeb ') sitting 
on the ground, profile, holding his head that is bowed between 
his knees, so that his elbow touches the ground by his instep. 
A halo of light clings around him. Beyond is darkness. 

Page 8. The old man ( Urizen, as Reason in the dark caves 
of the senses, unilluminated by imagination) is seen, quite 
blind, naked, draped only in his oivn long beard, crawling on 
his hands and knees towards us, and raising himself now 
to the height of his straightened arms as he begins to escape 
from under a mass of dark rock that has no visible limit. 

Page 9. A nude youth (Los) is going boldly away from us 
into the same dark rock. He has hardly room to keep his feet. 
His head is already hidden. He strides crawlingly, but with 
determination. He goes to war with those rocks. 

Page 10. A chained and howling anatomy sitting in 
flames. A nude youth beside him, picking up a hammer, and 
sitting in the same flames. Urizen, with Los ' binding ' his 
'changes.' 

Page 11. The same old man is floating with upward arms 



DESIGNS TO 'URIZEN' 363 

and face, spread beard and paddling feet, in a vague darkness 
of water, through which we see him as if we were in it also. 
He is Urizen passing the world of Tharmas. 

Page 12. A moonlikc feminine figure, Ahania, dividing 
two pale clouds at night as a moon might seem to do. 

Page 13. A male, beardless figure upside down, in and on 
dark clouds, standing on his hands, u-ith bent elbows, and feet 
swaying in the cloudy air. Perhaps Los going ' North ' after 
Urizen. Another version of his entering the rocks. 

Page 14. Four figures, two young, two old, lean over the 
globed, world from the sky, and one moves the waters from half 
the surface. They are Urizen, Luvah, Tharmas, and Urthona. 
An eagle is seen behind them. Tharmas is moving the loaters. 
The other youth is Luvah. 

Page 14a. The youth, Los, who before crawled from the 
flames, is nolo descending through them on purpose. He has 
leaped in with his knees drawn up and his hands clasped 
behind his head. 

Page 15. Perhaps Los howling over the drop of blood, per- 
haps Enitharmon leaning over the 'pendulous ' world of blood 
that solidifies from her hair and her dress of blood-vessels. 
The figure stoops toward us so loxo that we only see the back 
of the head. The hands are over the ears. 

Page 16. The youth, Los, coming happy and bold from the 
flames, walking in triumph, and carrying his hammer. 

Page 17. Enitharmon appearing from the fire before Los. 
She hovers in the air and turns shyly from him, holding her 
head as if in thoughts of grief. He does the same, at the same 
time kneeling and boiving forward. Both nude and young. 

Page 18. Birth of Ore. A baby, nude, diving joyously 
into a mass of flames. 

Page 19. Enitharmon, mature but young, stands beside 
Los with drooped head. He (noio bearded) stands at his 
forge touching her with his body from shoidder to hip ; his 
hand reaching away from her leans on the handle of his 
hammer, resting on the anvil. His expression is anxious and 
frowning (jealousy). Hers is sad and perplexed (contrition). 
There is an iron belt round his waist, from the middle of 
which a chain droops to the ground, where it trails and is 
lost sight of. Between the two figures, and touching the 
mother with the whole front of his figure, the father ivith the 
side, stands Ore, a youth now of fourteen. His arms wound 
round her as high on the body as they will reach arc raised 
above his head, as he looks upwards from a little below the 
height of her breasts. All the figures are nude, but a sort of 
cloak behind Enitharmon trails from one hand. A full page, 
graceful and impressive. 



364 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Page 20. Urizen sitting weeping on the ground, his wrists 
chained to his ankles, his knees as high as his chin, his beard 
and hair flowing to the earth. A full page. Tragic and 
masterful. ' Forgetfulness, dumbness, necessity, in chains of 
the mind locked up.' — ' Vala,' Night IV., line 211. 

Page 21. Urizen exploring his dens — a bearded, patriarchal 
figure, but in the full vigour of life. He wears a robe with 
tight sleeves, and carries a radiating globe. A lion meets 
him, but does not threaten. Dreary hills and twilight 
behind. 

Page 22. Chiefly sky, out of which, from a cloud, comes an 
excited figure with hands out and long hair — Thiriel. 
Another, fully seen, floats nude with a look of horror, and 
wears a nimbus — Fuzon. Below is dark sea to the left, out of 
which a head is rising — JJtha ; and an athlete struggles out of 
the earth on a cliff to the right — Grodna. ' Thiriel,' we know 
by an earlier poem, was afterwards ' Tiriel.' He loses the 
'h' from his name along with his youth, as Abram and 
Sarai in the Bible become Abraham and Sarah when they 
adopt ' the promise ' or youth, or the divine element — becoming 
symbols which are most elaborately explained by Swedenborg 
in the 'Arcana CaHestia.' 

Page 23. An involved group of female figures writhing on 
the ground. They are worms from the body downwards, and 
enwound all about with worm growth. One has a bat's wings. 
They are the emanations of the other four in their earth- 
aspects — the female and the worm in one. An aspect of 
conscious but uninspired mortality. 

Page 24. A large dog lying on the ground howling, with 
lifted head, outside a massive closed door. A youth like a 
young priest, in a robe, stands with his back to it, and looks 
up despairingly with clasped hands. This, ' the dog at the 
wintry door. ' The youth is perhaps Ore, tamed and outcast. 
The dog is desire. The wintry door is morality, restraint of 
desire. Full page. 

Page 25. The back of an old man, Urizen again, is seen, 
in a long robe, floating away into clouds and darkness, and 
holding up hands of consternation as he sees where he is 
going. The ' white web ' trails after him as he goes. It will 
become his net. 

Page 26. An old man, Urizen, is seated on a low stone 
throne with his arms supported on rocks at each side of him. 
A huge net of rope as thick as a cable fastens him in his place. 
He cannot rise. His eyes are open, and glance sideways in 
annoyance. He frowns. He is ' caught in his own net.' 



EUROPE: 

A 

PROPHECY 



LAMBETH 

Printed by Willm. Blake 

1794 



(In the copy of 'Europe ' possessed by the brothers Linnell, 
the following preface is to be read. It is not in the British 
Museum copy. Blake seems to have disused it as out of keeping 
with the tone of the rest of the Book. ) 

Five windows light the caverned Man: through one he 

breathes the air ; 
Through one hears music of the spheres ; through one the 

eternal Vine 
Flourishes that he may receive the grapes ; through one can 

look 
And see small portions of the eternal world that ever groweth ; 
Through one himself pass out, what time he please, but he 

will not, 
For stolen joys are sweet and bread eaten in secret pleasant. 

So sang a Fairy, mocking, as he sat on a streaked tulip, 
Thinking none saw him. When he ceased I started from the 

trees 
And caught him in my hat, as boys knock down a butterfly. 

How know you this, said I, small sir, where did you learn 
this song ? 
Seeing himself in my possession thus he answered me, — 
My Master, I am yours, command me, for I must obey. 

Then tell me, what is the material world, and is it dead ? 
He, laughing, answered, I will write a book on leaves of 

flowers, 
If you will feed me on love-thoughts, and give me now and 

then 
A cup of sparkling poetic fancies, and when I am tipsy 
I will sing you to this soft lute, and show you all alive 
This world, where every particle of dust breathes forth its joy. 

I took him home in my warm bosom. As we went along 
Wild flowers I gathered, and he show'd me each eternal 

flower. 
He laughed aloud to see them whimper because they were 

plucked, 
Then hovered round me like a cloud of incense. When I came 
Into my parlour and sat down and took my pen to write, 
My Fairy sat upon the table and dictated Europe. 



(1) 

Preludium 

The nameless shadowy female rose from out the 

breast of Ore, 
Her snaky hair brandishing in the winds of Enith- 

armon ; 
And thus her voice arose. 

mother Enitharmon, wilt thou bring forth other 

sons ? 
To cause my name to vanish, that my place may not 

be found, 
For I am faint with travel. 
Like the dark cloud disburden'd in the day of dismal 

thunder. 

My roots are brandish'd in the heavens, my fruits in 

earth beneath, 
Surge, foam, and labour into life, first born and first 

consum'd ! 
Consumed and consuming ! 
Then why shouldst thou, accursed mother, bring me 

into life ? 

1 wrap my turban of thick clouds around my lab'ring 

head, 
And fold the sheety waters as a mantle round my 

limbs, 
Yet the red sun and moon, 

And all the overflowing stars, rain down prolific pains. 

367 



368 BLAKE'S POEMS 

(2) 

Unwilling I look up to heaven, unwilling count the 

stars, 
Sitting in fathomless abyss of my immortal shrine ; 
I sieze their burning power, 
And bring forth howling terrors, all devouring fiery 

kings. 

Devouring and devoured, roaming on dark and 

desolate mountains, 
In forests of eternal death, shrieking in hollow trees. 
Ah, mother Enitharmon ! 
Stamp not with solid form this vig'rous progeny of 

fires. 

I bring forth from my teeming bosom myriads of 

flames, 
And thou dost stamp them with a signet ; then they 

roam abroad, 
And leave me void as death. 
Ah ! I am drown'd in shady woe and visionary joy. 

And who shall bind the infinite with an eternal bond? 
To compass it with swaddling bands ? and who shall 

cherish it 
With milk and honey ? 
I see it smile, and I roll inward, and my voice is past. 

She ceast and roll'd her shady clouds 
Into the secret place. 



(3) 
A PROPHECY 

The deep of winter came ; 
What time the secret child 

Descended through the orient gates of the eternal day. 
War ceas'd, and all the troops like shadows fled 
to their abodes. 

Then Enitharmon saw her sons and daughters rise 

around ; 
Like pearly clouds they meet together in the crystal 

house; 
And Los, possessor of the moon, joy'd in the peaceful 

night, < 
Thus speaking, while his num'rous sons shook their 

bright fiery wings. 

Again the night is come, 

That strong Urthona takes his rest, 

And Urizen, unloos'd from chains, 

Glows like a meteor in the distant north. 

Stretch forth your hands and strike the elemental 

strings ; 
Awake the thunders of the deep. 

(«) 

The shrill winds wake, 

Till all the sons of Urizen look out and envy Los, 

Sieze all the spirits of life and bind 

Their warbling joys to our loud strings ; 

vol. i. 2 a 



676 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Bind all the nourishing 1 sweets of earth 

To give us bliss, that we may drink the sparkling wine 

of Los ; 
And let us iaugh at war, 
Despising toil and care, 
Because the days and nights of joy in lucky hours 

renew. 

Arise, O Ore, from thy deep den, 

First born of Enitharmon, rise ! 

And we will crown thy head with garlands of the 

ruddy vine ; 
For now thou art bound, 
And I may see thee in the hour of bliss, my eldest 

born. 

The horrent Demon rose, surrounded with red stars 

of fire, 
Whirling about in furious circles round the immortal 

fiend. 

Then Enitharmon down descended into his red light, 
And thus her voice rose to her children : the distant 
heavens reply. 

(5) 
Now comes the night of Enitharmon's joy. 
Who shall I call ? Who shall I send ? 
That Woman, lovely Woman ! may have dominion. 
Arise, O Riutrah, thee I call ; and Palamabron thee ; 
Go ! tell the human race that Woman's love is Sin ; 
That an Eternal life awaits the worms of sixty winters, 
In an allegorical abode, where existence hath never 

come. 
Forbid all Joy, and from her childhood shall the 

little female 
Spread nets in every secret path. 

My weary eyelids draw towards the evening, my bliss 
is yet but new. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 371 

(«) 

Arise, O Rintrah, eldest born, second to none but 

Ore. 
O lion Rintrah, raise thy fury from thy forests black ; 
Bring Palamabron, horned priest, skipping upon the 

mountains, 
And silent Elyaittria, the silver bowed queen. 
Rintrah, where hast thou hid thy bride. 
Weeps she in desert shades? 
Alas, my Rintrah ! bringthelovelyjealousOcalythron. 

Arise, my son ! bring all thy brethren, O thou king of 

fire. 
Prince of the Sun, I see thee with thy innumerable 

race, 
Thick as the summer stars ; 
But each ramping, his golden mane shakes, 
And thine eyes rejoice because of strength, O Rintrah, 

furious king. 

(7) 
Enitharmon slept 

Eighteen hundred years. Man was a dream ! 
The night of Nature and their harps unstrung. 
She slept in middle of her nightly song 
Eighteen hundred years, a female dream. 

Shadows of men in fleeting bands upon the winds 

Divide the heavens of Europe, 

Till Albion's Angel, smitten with his own plagues, 

fled with his bands. 
The cloud bears hard on Albion's shore, 
Fill'd with immortal demons of futurity. 
In council gather the smitten Angels of Albion. 
The cloud bears hard upon the council house : down 

rushing 
On the heads of Albion's Angels. 

One hour they lay buried beneath the ruins of that 
hall; 



372 BLAKE'S POEMS 

But as the stars rise from the salt lake, they arise in 

pain, 
In troubled mists o'erclouded by the terrors of 

struggling times. 

(8) 

In thoughts perturb'd they rose from the bright ruins, 

silent, following 
The fiery King, who sought his ancient temple, 

serpent-form'd, 
That stretches out its shady length along the Island 

white. 
Round him roll'd his clouds of war ; silent the Angel 

went 
Alongthe infinite shores of Thames to golden Verulam. 
There stand the venerable porches that high-towering 

rear 
Their oak-surrounded pillars, form'd of massy stones, 

uncut 
With tool : stones precious : such eternal in the 

heavens, 
Of colours twelve, few known on earth, give light in 

the opake, 
Plac'd in the order of the stars, when the five senses 

whelm'd 
In deluge o'er the earth-born man, then turn'd the 

fuxile eyes 
Into two stationary orbs, concentrating all things. 
The ever-varying spiral ascents to the heavens of 

heavens 
Were bended downward, and the nostrils' golden 

gates shut, 
Turn'd outward, barr'd, and petrify'd against the 

infinite. 

Thought chang'd the infinite to a serpent : that which 

pitieth 
To a devouring flame ; and man fled from its face and 

hid 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 373 

In forests of night : then all the eternal forests were 

divided 
Into earths, rolling in circles of space, that like an 

ocean rush'd, 
And overwhelmed all except this finite wall of flesh. 
Then was the serpent temple form'd, image of infinite, 
Shut up in finite revolutions, and man became an 

Angel, 
Heaven a mighty circle turning, God a tyrant 

crown'd. 

Now arriv'd the ancient Guardian at the southern 

porch, 
That planted thick with trees of blackest leaf, and in 

a vale 
Obscure inclos'd the Stone of Night ; oblique it stood, 

o'erhung 
With purple flowers and berries red, image of that 

sweet south, 
Once open to the heavens, and elevated on the 

human neck, 
Now overgrown with hair, and cover'd with a stony 

roof ; 
Downward 'tis sunk beneath th' attractive north, that 

round the feet 
A raging whirlpool draws the dizzy enquirer to his 

grave. 

(•> 
Albion's Angel rose upon the Stone of Night. 
He saw Urizen on the Atlantic ; 
And his brazen Book, 

That Kings and Priests had copied on Earth, 
Expanded from North to South. 

(10) 

And the clouds and fires pale roll'd round in the night 
of Enitharmon, 

Round Albion's cliffs and London's walls ; still Eni- 
tharmon slept ; 



374 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Rolling volumes of grey mist involve Churches, 

Palaces, Towers : 
For Urizen unelasp'd his Book, feeding his soul with 

pity ; 
The youth of England hid in gloom curse the pain'd 

heavens, compell'd 
Into the deadly night to see the form of Albion's 

Angel. 
Their parents brought them forth, and aged ignorance 

preaches canting, 
On a vast rock, perciev'd by those senses that are 

clos'd from thought. 
Bleak, dark, abrupt it stands, and overshadows 

London city ; 
They saw his boney feet on the rock, the flesh con- 

sum'd in flames ; 
They saw the Serpent temple lifted above, shadowing 

the Island white ; 
They heard the voice of Albion's Angel, howling in 

flames of Ore, 
Seeking the trump of the last doom. 

Above the rest the howl was heard from Westminster 

louder and louder, 
The Guardian of the secret codes forsook his ancient 

mansion, 
Driven out by the flames of Ore, his furr'd robes and 

false locks 
Adhered and grew one with his flesh and nerves, and 

veins shot thro' them, 
With dismal torment sick, hanging upon the wind, he 

fled, 
Grovelling along Great George Street, thro' the Park 

gate ; all the soldiers 
Fled from his sight : he drag'd his torments to the 

wilderness. 

Thus was the howl thro' Europe ! 

For Ore rejoie'd to hear the howling shadows, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 375 

But Palamabron shot his lightnings, trenching down 

his wide back, 
And Rintrah hung with all his legions in the nether 

deep. 

Enitharmon laugh'd in her sleep to see (O woman's 

triumph !) 
Every house a den, every man bound : the shadows 

are fill'd 
With spectres, and the windows wove over with 

curses of iron : 
Over the doors, Thou shalt not ; and over the 

chimneys, Fear is written : 
With bands of iron round their necks, fasten'd into 

the walls, 
The citizens : in leaden gyves the inhabitants of 

suburbs 
Walk heavy : soft and bent are the bones of villagers. 

Between the clouds of Urizen the flames of Ore roll 
heavy, 

Around the limbs of Albion's Guardian his flesh con- 
suming; 

Howlings and hissings, shrieks and groans, and voices 
of despair 

Arise around him in the cloudy 

Heavens of Albion. Furious, 

(11) 
The red limb'd Angel, siez'd in horror and torment : 
The Trump of the last doom ; but he could not blow 

the iron tube ! 
Thrice he assay'd presumptuous to awake the dead to 

Judgment. 

A mighty Spirit leap'd from the land of Albion, 
Nam'd Newton : he siez'd the Trump, and blow'd the 

enormous blast ! 
Yellow as leaves of Autumn the myriads of Angelic 

hosts 



376 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Fell thro' the wintry skies, seeking their graves, 
Rattling their hollow bones in howling and lamenta- 
tion. 

Then Enitharmon woke, nor knew that she had slept, 
And eighteen hundred years were fled 
As if they had not been. 
She call'd her sons and daughters 
To the sports of night 
Within her crystal house, 
And thus her song proceeds. 

Arise, Ethinthus ! tho' the earth-worm call, 

Let him call in vain, 

Till the night of holy shadows 

And human solitude is past ! 

(12) 

Ethinthus, queen of waters, how thou shinest in the 
sky ! 

My daughter, how do I rejoice ! for thy children 
flock around, 

Like the gay fishes on the wave, when the cold moon 
drinks the dew. 

Ethinthus ! thou ai't sweet as comforts to my fainting 
soul, 

For now thy waters warble round the feet of Eni- 
tharmon. 

Manathu-Varcyon ! I behold thee flaming in my halls, 
Light of thy mother's soul ! I see thy lovely eagles 

round. 
Thy golden wings are my delight, and thy flames of 

soft delusion. 

Where is my luring bird of Eden ? Leutha, silent 

love ! 
Leutha, the many colour'd bow delights upon thy 

wings : 
Soft soul of flowers, Leutha ! 
Sweet smiling pestilence ! I see thy blushing light : 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 377 

Thy daughters, many changing, 
Revolve like sweet perfumes ascending, O Leutha, 
silken queen. 

Where is the youthful Antamon, prince of the pearly 
dew? 

Antamon, why wilt thou leave thy mother Eni- 

tharmon ? 
Alone I see thee, crystal form, 
Floating upon the bosom'd air, 
With lineaments of gratified desire. 
My Antamon, the seven churches of Leutha seek thy 

love. 

1 hear the soft Oothoon in Enitharmon's tents ; 
Why wilt thou give up woman's secrecy, my melan- 
choly child? 

Between two moments bliss is ripe : 

O Theotormon, robb'd of joy, I see thy salt tears flow 

Down the steps of my crystal house. 

Sothaand Thiralatha, secret dwellers of dreamful caves, 
Arise and please the horrent fiend with your melodious 

songs, 
Still all your thunders, golden hoof'd, and bind your 

horses black. 
Ore ! smile upon my children ! 
Smile, son of my afflictions. 
Arise, O Ore, and give our mountains joy of thy red 

light. 

She ceas'd, for All were forth at sport beneath the 

solemn moon, 
Waking the stars of Urizen with their immortal songs, 
That nature felt thro' all her pores the enormous 

revelry, 
Till morning ope'd the eastern gate, 
Then every one fled to his station, and Enitharmon 

wept. 

But terrible Ore, when he beheld the morning in the 
east, 



378 BLAKE'S POEMS 

(13) 
Shot from the heights of Enitharmon, 
And in the vineyards of red France appear'd the light 
of his fury. 

The sun glow'd fiery red, 

The furious terrors flew around ! 

On golden chariots, raging with red wheels, dropping 

with blood, 
The Lions lash their wrathful tails ! 
The Tigers couch upon the prey and suck the ruddy 

tide, 
And Enitharmon groans and cries in anguish and 

dismay. 

Then Los arose, his head he rear'd, in snaky thunders 

clad ; 
And with a cry that shook all nature to the utmost 

pole, 
Call'd all his sons to the strife of blood. 



MEANING OF f EUROPE' 

''Europe ' is a term for darkness. Europe and Asia are 
always the evening and the morning, — North and East. 

After the first page about the Fairy, that Blake omitted 
from his later copies as quite unsuited to the book, comes the 
real Freludium in serious symbolic vein. It may be para- 
phrased. The only service done by the Fairy is to forewarn 
the reader to expect a symbolic poem, referring to some aspect 
of marriage. This warning is contained in the very fact 
that a Fairy is the speaker. 

For the ' Shadowy Female' see not only the Preludium to 
'America,' but extra page 8, and extra page 17 at the end of 
' Milton, ' — she is (like ' Vala, ' the Shadow ' animated ' by Jeru- 
salem's tears ) Nature. We see her here, not under all aspects, 



MEANING OF 'EUROPE' 379 

but as a thing of the blood. Passion creates the blood and is 
not created by it. This Female, this visible but vague effusion 
of unmated desire that rises from the very breast of male 
energy, standing before his face, prayed Space itself (Enithar- 
mon) to bring into existence no other beings, for she, like each 
symbolic being, and like each of us mortals, desired her own 
life to continue. If other visions become moods in man, she, 
the adolescent preface to mature love, will be superseded. 
She herself, fainting and travailing, brings forth no per- 
manent mental shape of life, except selfishness, questioning, 
and the desire of conquest. If such get to have life of their 
own in space, it is as destroyers of imagination, as mere 
brute passions, that they must needs live on. A boy's vague 
emotions are a good preface but a bad volume. Such is the 
prose equivalent of the Preludium of this book. 

The deep of winter, the state of man when most given to the 
limits of common sense and common egotism, came next. The 
' descent ' of the ' secret child ' through the gates of the day is a 
counterpart story to that of shadowy female in the Preludium, 
mere blood-born Desire, rising out of the breast of spiritual 
passion, for ' above is within, ' and both really descend in going 
outside. 

This descent is mortal sunrise, the appearance of that 
Apollo whom Blake once described, to the alarm of a listener, 
as ' Satan. ' Spiritual war ceased. The struggle that appiears 
to mortals as that of souls striving to enter mortality through 
the gate of a mortal's realised passion ivas suspended. It also 
means more, the struggle of imaginative influences with those 
that only desire to reason and compare. 

The pearly daughters of Space are usually to be seen — so far 
as most of us know — in the form of clouds in the air. Los, 
though spirit of Prophecy, yielding to languor, rejoices in the 
moon (whose light is elsewhere called ' Ahania,' and always 
shows the dreamy side of passion, as Urizen, the semi-light, 
shows the practical and tyrannous side of that wakefulness that 
■is more fatal to expanded imaginative life than sleep itself). 

So Urihona (Reasoning power of Prophecy) rests, and 
Urizen, Ruler of Light, becomes in sleep a reflection or echo, 
a faculty not chained to effort, especially to the effort of 
suppressing himself — 'averting his own despair' ('Vala,' 
Night VIII., line 136). All of which is due to the getting loose 
of that nameless thing, the undirected passion of the blood. 

Then the Spirits of life are all draivn into the attraction. 
They are called by name, for there is no space in poetry for 
the tedium of weary analytical description. Such stuff is 
only permissible in a note, ivhere it can be read once to avoid 
bewilderment, and then kept unread for ever, as in times of no 



380 BLAKE'S POEMS 

actual threat against life a once-proved fire-arm is kept for 
safety, loaded but not fired. 

Ore rises in the sun-dream, and his red light is everywhere. 
Rintrah and Palamabron, whom Blake at least once associated 
plainly and explainingly with Whitfield and Wesley in 
'Milton,' page 20, line 55, are called on by the universal 
mother to preach against love, and that it is sin in itself, for 
the marriage bond is held to permit propagation, but not 
to encourage love's delight, at which all churches look askance 
(' Jerusalem,' page 36, line 45), for churches belong to a God 
who does not exist inside man, but outside, 'in an allegoric 
abode, where existence has never come.' 

In a contradictory way this love of dominion is seen to be 
the real passion of female or bodily yearning when it once 
gets outside of Ore into the cloud. So Rintrah is urged to 
bring not only Palamabron, but Ocalythron, jealousy, origin 
of the restrictive half of religion. 

Ocalythron (see 'Milton,' extra page 8, line 19) is the por- 
tion of God's jealousy that narrowed the sun into a globe, as 
we usually see it, and hid the visionary sun — the sunofthe mind. 

Elynitria did the same to the moon, giving us the natural 
sight and taking the imaginative sight away through that 
jealousy which narrowed all creation, forbade the tree of life 
in Eden, and always 'gains feminine applause.' — See the 
verses to ' Nobodaddy.' Elynitria' s guard is Palamabron. 

In the early part of 'Milton' much is to be read about 
Palamabron, and a little in 'Jerusalem. ' 

But Rintrah is here called Prince of the Sun. This is 
Urizen's title when in his right place. But 'feminine 
delusion' has broken loose over the world. In the book of 
' Urizen' we are told about the origin of the 'net of religion,' 
which is the result of Urizen' s feminine mood, — his pity — and 
in Night V. and following in ' Vala.' 

As a result, the net for eighteen hundred years substituted 
itself through the different Churches for the real Christianity 
about which (like so many other teachers) Blake himself was 
certain that he, and he only, rightly knew and delivered, as 
the prose prefaces to the four chapters of ' Jerusalem ' frankly 
shoiv. 

Enitharmon (space, or the body) slept : these eighteen 
centuries ivere the night of nature : her happiness became like 
harps unstrung. Mind (or Man) was a dream — the Sick 
Man's Dream, called Theotormon in the ' Vision of the 
Daughters of Albion,' line 170, a dream given as a gospel by 
Theotormon himself to Jesus when he was the Man of Sorrows, 
hearing Oothoon's voice, but not yet entered into the power 
that came with his resurrection. 



MEANING OF 'EUROPE* 381 

But war and trouble follow. Imagination will not remain 
in this tomb of sorrow and literal interpretation, though (to 
use another phrase of Blake's) ' slain on the stems of genera- 
tion.' 

'Shadoivs of men' disturb the dream, and 'divide' the 
'heavens of Europe.' (A generative symbol, obviously.) 

Albion's Angel (who is seen more distinctly in later books 
after he has become his Spectre) flies in vain. He and all his 
like are buried beneath the ruin caused by the demons of 
futurity that were really at this time (in 1794) agitating 
Europe. 

Albion's leading propensity was rationalistic argument at 
this period. 'Every man's leading propensity ought to be 
called, his leading virtue, and his good angel,' said Blake in 
the last of his notes to Lavater's Aphorisms. 

Compare for what is to be learned of Demons of the Deep a 
later passage of ' Vala ' than that which touched on the Pre- 
ludium, Night VII., lines 671 to 794, and also 'Jerusalem,' 
page 65. It will be seen that these two sets of demons are 
opposed as blood to judgment. 

They, these Angels (Commonsense's reasonings), rise in the 
form of thoughts, are seen as stars rising after sunset, and 
therefore as the sons of Albion (see 'Jerusalem') become 
rationalism, go to Bacon's place of title, Verulam, where ' light 
in the opake' is to be seen, but where the five bodily senses of 
man turn to bars against the infinite instead of gates to let it 
flow into the spirit. Kept out it seems a serpent, Imagination, 
the atmosphere of Hell, flame; till mind (Man) became conven- 
tional(an Angel); Heaven, the origin of the bodily prolific and 
the mentally restrictive (a mighty circle turning); and God, no 
longer inside, but outside us, appeared as a crowned tyrant. 

At the paragraph ' Now arrived the ancient Guardian at 
the southern porch, ' on page 8, and in what follows, we have 
what is told as Luvah and Vala leaving the place of seed and 
flying up into the brain, in 'Jerusalem,' for Luvah, when 
Satanic (love in materialism) is always the ' smiter with death. ' 
Compare the 'Everlasting Gospel' and 'Lafayette,' as well as 
' Jerusalem. ' 

The Angel of Albion, Urizen, seems to have become essentially 
feminine, ' Milton, ' extra page 8. ' The commingling of 
Albion's and Luvah' s spectres was hermaphroditic,' and we 
know that Luvah's spectre was Satan. Albion's emanation 
was Jerusalem; his wife was Vala; his spectre (like Vala's) 
was Satan. Satan thus ^vas ultimately revealed as double- 
formed, and was in fact Luvah and Vala conjoined, viewed as 
War and Rahab. From what we read in 'America ' about his 
Angel being fiercely opposed to the West, and so to the soft soul 



382 ' BLAKE'S POEMS 

of the West, Oothoon, we see how Blake's determination to reveal 
the meaning of his visions ripened between this time and the 
day when, about seven years later, he wrote ■ Jerusalem,' for 
War and Eahab are seen joined as the 'draffon-red and 
hidden harlot,' and take just the place that in the book 
'America' is occupied by Albion's Angel. Albion's Angel 
is war, or 'energy enslaved,' or imagination constrained to 
argument. But imagination, or the visionary power that 
reveals eternity, is also opposed by love, when love is ' the 
infernal grove.' Luvah-and-Vala become War-and-Rahab 
then, or argument-and-law, who after this time vanishes and 
is no more heard of in part of the myth that tells of riper 
developments, though he may be traced as the ' blind London, 
age-bent, led by a child' whom we see in the picture to the 
' Song of Experience ' called ' London, ' and who is referred to 
in 'Jerusalem,' page 84, line 11, who ought to have been an 
Immortal guardian — he seems to have emanated from Urizen' s 
book when that tvas opened in the deadly night with Urizen, 
so that, so far as his dragon part ivas concerned, he really 
was both the Dragon Urizen and Tharmas as the Devouring 
Tongue, who loas, for a while, a dragon and the opposite of 
the true Tharmas, whose vegetative portion was America. 

In a drawing on one page of ' America,' a dragon is seen 
hunting through the air the falling figure of an aged man with 
a sceptre and book. 

We must here think twice before we seem to have discovered 
contradiction in Blake. Remembering how ' Luvah was called 
Satan because he entered into that state, ' and reflecting on the 
personages named in the myth as ive reflect on real states of the 
human soul and not as we consider poetic impersonations like 
the dancers at a masked ball, we perceive how one may be called 
by the name of another on entering into that other, but not if 
unable to do so. 

To follow the drift of the paragraph on page 8, beginning 
with ' Thought changed the infinite to a serpent, ' and ending 
'God a tyrant crowned,' we must see in it an attempt to sketch 
from the symbolic point of view the long history of religious 
thought from the old serpent-worship to our own time, getting 
it all into a feio lines ; and at the same time it will help us to 
see into the permanent nature of Blake's own symbolic methods 
of thought and speech to compare the often quoted expression, 
' The vast form of Nature, like. a serpent' ('Jerusalem,' page 
29, lines 76 and 80), with the suggestive 'Reasonings, like vast 
serpents, infold around my limbs, bruising my minute articu- 
lation, ' — of which a picture has been noted on page 5 of ' The 
Book of Urizen, ' though the special symbol and, not the wider 
interpretation is given in that note (see ' Jerusalem '), page 15, 



MEANING OF * EUROPE ' 383 

line 12 ; the passing allusion, page 42, line 76 ; the very 
mythic, page 54, line 29, and the valuable hint, page 55, line 
13, which helps the othenvise obscure page 84, line 48. 

Keeping in the mind the naturalistic, serpentine, and 
Satanic as all forming phases of one idea, and watching it in 
relation to more than one Zoa, we shall come to a comprehension 
also of ' Vala,' Night VII., line 620, and the earlier lines 135 
to 152, with the still earlier 115 to 129 of the same Night, whose 
matter is abruptly condensed with fresh ideas added in 
' Jerusalem,' page 30, line 30, where what may be called the 
social aspect of the unbrotherliness that follows when the great 
human energies are debased into what we call fleshly passion, 
which chills the heart, according to the well-admitted rule — 
good preface, bad volume. 

The Mild' Satan xcill be amply developed in 'Milton.' 

To return to ' Europe. ' The southern porch of th e North, 
of the wintry place, is not the same as the whole region 
called South, and Urizen, as Angel of Albion, is not in the 
south. It is only a phase of him that is acting. The human 
head with hair and skull is used as a symbol. It is the 
downward and outward head : the head of the loins and of 
nature, not the spiritual upward or inward head. On page 
10 we soon hear, as we should expect, of Urizen' s pity. Los, 
at the beginning of ' Vala, ' claimed that art, and it is, in the 
last line of Chap. V., verse 10 of 'The Book of Urizen,' the 
earliest name of Enitharmon. So everything has its good 
and its bad side or aspect. 

' Louis ' are habitually used as a symbol for argument, and 
so is war. 

Bocks are the ' hard surfaces ' of things, the scales of the 
serpent, which most of us forget are not reality, but a result 
of an intellectual state in ourselves, as much as is a melody 
or a colour. 

' Howling ' is a symbol of spiritual desire. ' The flames of 
Ore' — another symbol for the same thing, heard through 
Europe, the North and the Night — cause Urizen in the guise 
of a Judge to fly to the wilderness. Rintrah, the lion whose 
roarings were Whitefield's eloquence at that time, hung with 
his hosts 'of words' in the dee]); but Palamabron, who is 
'horned,' who seems to have been a bull, and his symbol, the 
pen and harrow, wrote on, as people do at night, or 'shot 
his lightnings down his back.' He is, by his place in the 
quarternary, Rintrah, Palamabron, Theotormon, andBromion, 
a love-force of the second or 'Luvah ' rank, for the sequence 
Urizen, Luvah, Tharmas, Urthona is a descending sequence 
from Sun to Earth, from Zenith to Nadir. 

Enitharmon, urged by the feminine law of jealousy and 



384 BLAKE'S POEMS 

desire for dominion, is delighted to see religion turned by the 
churches from the ideal of forgiveness to the real and moral 
law, and takes a pleasure in the enchainment and enfeeblement 
of mind — the male. 

Enfeeblement means individuality that appears to be strength 
to the female, or the emotional. But inspiration knows that 
in our individual selves we are only a ' worm of sixty winters,' 
as well as rationalism knoivs it. Community of minds is 
Mind and Eternity. These sexes {contraries) are no 
more. 

It seems a function of Albion's Angel, or Guardian, to take 
care of his 'heavens ' — vessels of the strength that derives from 
blood, — even if his limbs — his mental powers — are burned. 
He tries in vain while Albion is in this state to awake the 
moral but deadened faculties of his mind. He cannot. 
Newton can. Science can arouse a sort of imagination when 
religion fails to do so. We are in full eighteenth century. 
The disciplined, conventional, and low-fed mental powers 
come dropping down like leaves. Such is indeed the result of 
science on minds whose imagination has been checked until 
they have only conduct and reason for their two halves of 
being. And so the century closes. Enitharmon woke (to 
awake is for the natural heart to love visionary and immortal 
life and learning) and knew not that she had been merely 
taught negative virtue or conduct, not aroused to positive 
virtue or genius, for eighteen hundred years. 

Her song — her excitation to the spirits — calls them now to 
the sports of night. 

Ethinthus is one of the set to which Thel and Oothoon 
belong. We hear that she was buried near that moral tree, the 
gallows at Tyburn ('Jerusalem,' page 12, line 26) ; except her 
name along with Ocalythron, Oothoon, Leutha, Elynitria, 
Elythiria, Enauld, Manatha, Varcyon, and others not men- 
tioned here in the long list of the sons and daughters of Los 
and Enitharmon in Night VIII., line 357 of ' Vala,' we hear 
no more of her or of several others of these spirits. We can 
only suppose that their stories were written in Blake's many 
lost MSS. 

Leutha, emanation of Satan's bosom, is heard of in ' Book 
of Los ' and in the early pages of ' Milton, ' and the name of 
Elynitria is in ' Jerusalem, ' page 93, line 5 ; and of Ethin- 
thus, page 12, line 26. Sotha is heard of, and ' Diralada' as 
Thiralatha, his emanation, or 'joy' is there called. They 
are spirits of elementary passion ; and as Enitharmon calls 
for the red light of Ore the sun rises, and she weeps. That is 
to say, the animating drop soothingly leaves its vessel, and as 
day dawns, Ore enters into it and Los calls all his powers to 



DESIGNS TO 'EUROPE' 385 

enter the propagative strife for which all the playfulness of all 
hers were but a preparation. 

This note is but a sketch whose extremely condensed form 
must cause it to be obscure to any one but a habitual reader 
of Blake, and such a reader will blame its brevity and will 
suspect at first that it denies whatever it does not state. It is 
not intended as an inclusive account of all the meanings, but 
as a suggestive hint where some of them may be sought. It 
(along with the Serpent on its title-page) may be summed up in 
the line 65 of ' Jerusalem,' page 7 — ' O holy generation, Image 
of reg eneration. ' 



DESIGNS TO 'EUROPE 



Frontispiece. — Urizen as the Architect. He kneels in the 
sun, stooping and reaching out of it, and measuring the abyss 
below with huge compasses. His hair and beard float in the 
wind. He is nude. The figure young and strong. Compare 
' Vala,' Night VI., line 226, etc. 

Title-page. — A huge serpent — a form Urizen himself could 
take. 

Preludium. — An assassin, nude, with a dagger, wearing a 
pleased grin on his face, sits in a small cave and waits for a 
pilgrim with close costume, hat, and pack on his back. This 
is ' an idiot questioner, who is ahvays questioning, but never 
capable of ansivering, who sits with a sly grin, silent, plotting 
when to question, like a thief in a cave' ('Milton,' page 43, 
line 11). At the foot of a page a sort of Devil cherub, a 
crumpled face with arms wound over its ears, flying on bats' 
wings — Infidelity, a vision of Art that does not believe in 
vision. It is also shown flying away near the feet of Blake's 
first engraving of himself as ' Glad Day,' dated 1780, and in 
' Auguries of Innocence ' : — 

' The bat that flits at close of eve 
Has left the brain that won't believe.' 

A male figure, nude, falls head downwards, with an iron 
weight tied to his hands. The mind drawn out into nature 
by love (head down, outward; Nature, death; Iron, carnal 
love). 

Page 2. Seemingly elemental spirits of the air. A nude, 
flying, bold young man in mid air, catching two others like 
himself, and strangling them as they all kick their way 
VOL. I, 2 B 



386 BLAKE'S POEMS 

through space. They have no weight. Another, just 
escaped, climbs the clouds and gets away. They are the 
argumentative reasonings that, like the damned, ' contend with 
one another on the edge of the abyss' (of the Five Senses). 
This phrase is from the prose account of the ' Vision of the last 
Judgment.' They are selfhoods, ' little Devils that fight for 
themselves ' in ' woods,' or places of solitude, in the poem ' Los 
the Terrible, ' written at Felpham. 

Page 3. Various expressions of love. Two winged figures 
meet and kiss happily in air. Another floats, looking down 
sadly at a red planet. A floating, nude virgin, without wings, 
grasps another, half draped, who writhes away from her. 
These should be Jerusalem (nude), Vala (partly in robe of 
natural idea). The red planet may be ' TJrizen released from, 
chains,' 'glowing like a meteor in the distant North.' 

Page 4. A youthful figure lies on its face on the ground, 
asleep. Flames issue from its head. A beautiful nude girl 
hovering over it in clouds raises the cover to look at the 
flames. Behind, smaller figures of youthful forms lie about 
in wild repose of love, or rush in wild ecstasy. 

The chief sleeping figure is so young, so little seen, so vaguely 
draped that it can hardly be known whether it is girl or 
boy. If girl it is Vala, and the nude one above is Jerusalem: 
the love that dreams and burns the fallen body, and the love 
that hovers pitying over it in the floating mind. 

Page 5. A king, dressed in a suit of chain armour from 
head to foot, stands at ease, wearing his crown and holding 
the handle of his sword in his left hand, while its point rests 
on the ground. Two angels, the same size as himself, drawn 
like pale, xoeak, winged virgins in white drapery, stand close 
behind at each side. This is Og, who is explained in 'Milton,' 
page 68, lines 33, 35 ; page 20, line 33 ; page 31, line 49 ; page 
27, lines 22, 50, 51. The Angels of Pity and Compassion 
stand behind. 

Page 6. A virgin, perhaps ruined, returning to her father, 
bowing, moving forward, and already kneeling with face down, 
hiding it against his legs as she flings her arms round him. 
He, an old man with white beard, stands holding out his arms 
over his head, level, straight, with hands bent back at the waist, 
as if warding her off. She seems to have dropped so suddenly 
on her knees, and so advanced that he has not yet had time 
to change his position since he was bidding her to keep back. 
They wear a sort of abstract costume, all over, with sleeves — 
a similar robe — but both are barefoot. The old man is the 
jealousy of Jehovah. She is one of the little powers that lead 
through love to life so long as they do not make common cause 
with jealousy and seek for dominion, 



DESIGNS TO 'EUROPE 387 

The story is told as that of Ona, in the ' Song of Experience, ' 
called ' A Little Girl Lost.' Ona is the name of a daughter of 
Urizen in ' Vala,' Night VII., lines 95 and 101. 

Page 7. Two flying malignant spirits of the air, nude, 
young, beautiful, without wings ; one a youth, one a virgin, 
blowing blighting breath upon ears of corn. They must be 
minute creatures, for the ears of corn are nearly as big as 
themselves. The stalks curl up, and black flakes fill the air. 
This is reproduced in ' Gilchrist.' The figures have come 
from Urizen' s 'armies of disease.' They are jealousy (of the 
Intellect) blighting food (of the Imagination), also jealousy of 
moral law blighting bodily vegetative happiness — called the 
cornfield in ' Vala. ' 

Page 8. A large serpent up the side of the page, shooting 
fire at the top. Ore, among the constellations of Urizen. 
Compare ' Vala,' Night VIII., line 65. 

Page 9. Two sad girlish angels, draped and winged, lower 
their sceptres before a wicked-looking fat Pope, rather like 
Leo XIII. , in a tiara, seated on a throne, with a book open 
before him, and bats' wings behind him. His face is very red. 
Of course he is Urizen, the 'primeval priest,' who 'assumed 
power' and became the 'pr ester serpent.' Compare Preludium 
to ' Book of Urizen,' and ' Vala,' Night VIII., line 600, etc. 
The only direct verbal allusion to popes in Blake's works is in 
1 Jerusalem,' page 64, line 15, where Vala, mocking the limits 
and nature of mortal man, says derisively, ' Go assume 
Papal dignity, thou spectre ! ' The word ' assume ' here and 
in the preludium unites the passages technically in the 
symbolic story. 

Page 10. ' The ambitious spider,' symbolically placed in 
'Milton,' page 24, line 15. 

Page 11. The fly in human form. A naked prisoner newly 
chained in a dungeon, his mail-clad jailer leaving him. 

Page 12. A caterpillar. 

Page 13. A hero rescuing his wife and daughters from 
flames. Me is the masculine or intellectual of visionary power 
rescuing the passive or mere sight from the flames of vegeta- 
tion. He is Beauty rescuing flesh from mere passion. He is 
the idea referred to poetic power symbolised as Milton, and 
contained in the line 

'her to redeem and himself perish.' 

— ' Milton,' page 3, line 20. 

These designs, like all Blake's, are missionary cartoons 
preaching his law and gospel, which was — 

Seek beauty, even in fleshly passion. 
Cultivate vision, even when it is terrible, 



388 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Then you will put on the world and put it off, and thus go 
through the incarnation into brotherhoods through which, by 
reaching the Universal Mind, you will reach the ascension. 

But avoid argument, abstract philosophy, abstract morality, 
and self-righteousness. These are forces of individualism 
and naturalism, and lead to death. 



THE 

BOOK 

OF 

AHANIA 



LAMBETH 

Printed by W. Blake 

1795 



AHANIA 



1. Fuzon, on a chariot iron-wing'd, 

On spiked flames rose ; his hot visage 
Flam'd furious ; sparkles his hair and beard, 
Shot down his wide bosom and shoulders. 
On clouds of smoke rages his chariot, 
And his right hand burns red in its cloud, 
Moulding into a vast globe his wrath, 
As the thunder-stone is moulded, 
Son of Urizen's silent burnings. 

2. Shall we worship this Demon of smoke, 
Said Fuzon, this abstract non-entity, 
This cloudy God seated on waters, 

Now seen, now obscur'd, King of sorrow? 

3. So he spoke in a fiery flame, 
On Urizen frowning indignant, 
The Globe of wrath shaking on high. 
Roaring with fury, he threw 

The howling Globe ; burning it flew, 
Lengthening into a hungry beam, swiftly 

4. Oppos'd to the exulting flam'd beam, 
The broad Disk of Urizen upheav'd 
Across the Void many a mile. 

5. It was forg'd in mills where the winter 
Beats incessant. Ten winters the disk, 
Unremitting, endur'd the cold hammer. 

391 



392 BLAKE'S POEMS 

6. But the strong arm that sent it remember'd 
The sounding beam. Laughing, it tore through 
That beaten mass, keeping its direction, 

The cold loins of Urizen dividing. 

7. Dire shriek 'd his invisible Lust. 

Deep groan'd Urizen, stretching his awful hand, 

Ahania (so name his parted soul), 

He siez'd on his mountains of Jealousy. 

He groan'd, anguish'd, and called her Sin, 

Kissing her and weeping over her, 

Then hid her in darkness, in silence, 

Jealous, tho' she was invisible. 

8. She fell down, a faint shadow, wand'ring 
In chaos, and circling dark Urizen, 

As the moon, anguish'd, circles the earth, 
Hopeless ! abhorr'd ! a death-shadow, 
Unseen, unbodied, unknown, 
The mother of Pestilence. 

9. But the fiery beam of Fuzon 
Was a pillar of fire to Egypt ; 

Five hundred years wand'ring on earth, 
Till Los siez'd it and beat in a mass 
With the body of the sun. 



But the forehead of Urizen gathering, 
And his eyes pale with anguish, his lips 
Blue and changing ; in tears and bitter 
Contrition he prepared his Bow. 

Form'd of Ribs, that in his dark solitude, 
When obscur'd in his forests, fell monsters 
Arose. For his dire Contemplations 
Rush'd down like floods from his mountains, 
In torrents of mud settling thick, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 393 

With Eggs of unnatural production 
Forthwith hatching ; some howl'd on his hills, 
Some in vales, some aloft flew in air. 

3. Of these, an enormous dread Serpent, 
Scaled and poisonous, horned, 
Approach'd Urizen even to his knees 
As he sat in his dark-rooted Oak. 

4. With his horns he push'd furious. 
Great the conflict and great the jealousy 
In cold poisons ; but Urizen smote him. 

5. First he poison'd the rocks with his blood, 
Then polish'd his ribs, and his sinews 
Dried : laid them apart till winter. 
Then a Bow, black prepar'd : on this Bow 
A poison'd rock plac'd in silence. 

He utter'd these words to the Bow : 

6. O Bow of the clouds of secresy, 

nerve of that lust-form'd monster ! 
Send this rock swift, invisible thro' 

The black clouds, on the bosom of Fuzon. 

7. So saying, in torment of his wounds 
He bent the enormous ribs slowly ; 
A circle of darkness, then fixed 

The sinew in its rest : then the Rock, 
Poisonous source, plac'd with art, lifting difficult 
Its weighty bulk : silent the rock lay, 

8. While Fuzon, his tygers unloosing, 
Thought Urizen slain by his wrath. 

1 am God, said he, eldest of things. 

9. Sudden sings the rock, swift and invisible, 
On Fuzon flew, enter' d his bosom. 

His beautiful visage, his tresses, 
That gave light to the mornings of heaven, 
Were smitten with darkness, deform'd, 
And outstretch'd on the edge of the forest. 



394 BLAKE'S POEMS 

10. But the rock fell upon the Earth, 
Mount Sinai, in Arabia. 



CHAP. Ill 

1. The Globe shook, and Urizen, seated 

On black clouds, his sore wound anointed ; 

The ointment flow'd down on the void 

Mix'd with blood : here the snake gets her poison. 

2. With difficulty and great pain Urizen 
Lifted on high the dead corse : 

On his shoulders he bore it to where 
A Tree hung over the Immensity. 

3. For when Urizen shrunk away 
From Eternals, he sat on a rock, 
Barren ; a rock which himself, 

From redounding fancies, had petrified. 

Many tears fell on the rock, 

Many sparks of vegetation. 

Soon shot the pained root 

Of Mystery under his heel : 

It grew a thick tree : he wrote 

In silence his book of iron, 

Till the horrid plant bending its boughs, 

Grew to roots when it felt the earth, 

And again sprung to many a tree. 

4. Amaz'd started Urizen ! when 

He beheld himself compassed round 
And high roofed over with trees ; 
He arose, but the stems stood so thick, 
He with difficulty and great pain 
Brought his Books, all but the Book 
Of iron from the dismal shade. 

5. The Tree still grows over the Void, 
Enrooting itself all around, 

An endless labyrinth of woe ! 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 395 

The corse of his first begotten 
On the accursed Tree of Mystery, 
On the topmost stem of this Tree 
Urizen nail'd Fuzon's corse. 



1. Forth flew the arrows of pestilence, 
Round the pale living Corse on the Tree. 

2. For in Urizen's slumbers of abstraction, 
In the infinite ages of Eternity, 

When his Nerves of Joy melted and flowed, 
A white Lake on the dark blue air, 
In perturb'd pain and dismal torment, 
Now stretching out, now swift conglobing. 

3. Effluvia, vapor'd above 

In noxious clouds ; these hover'd thick 
Over the disorganiz'd Immortal, 
Till petrific pain scurf d o'er the Lakes, 
As the bones of man, solid and dark. 

4. The clouds of disease hover'd wide 
Around the Immortal in torment, 
Perching around the hurtling bones, 
Disease on disease, shape on shape, 
Winged, screaming in blood and torment. 

5. The Eternal Prophet beat on his anvils, 
Enraged in the desolate darkness ; 

He forg'd nets of iron around, 

And Los threw them around the bones. 

G. The shapes, screaming, flutter'd vain. 
Some combin'd into muscles and glands, 
Some organs for craving and lust ; 
Most remain'd on the tormented void : 
Urizen's army of horrors. 



396 BLAKE'S POEMS 

7. Round the pale living Corse on the Tree, 
Forty years flew the arrows of pestilence. 

8. Wailing and terror and woe 
Ran thro' all his dismal world ; 
Forty years all his sons and daughters 
Felt their skulls harden ; then Asia 
Arose in the pendulous deep. 

9. They reptilize upon the Earth. 
10. Fuzon groan'd on the Tree. 



1. The lamenting voice of Ahania, 
Weeping upon the void 

And round the Tree of Fuzon. 
Distant in solitary night 
Her voice was heard ; but no form 
Had she ; but her tears from clouds 
Eternal fell round the Tree. 

2. And the voice cried : Ah, Urizen ! Love ! 
Flower of morning ! I weep on the verge 
Of Non-entity ; how wide the Abyss 
Between Ahania and thee ! 

3. I lie on the verge of the deep ; 
I see thy dark clouds ascend ; 

I see thy black forests and floods, 
A horrible waste to my eyes ! 

4. Weeping I walk over rocks, 

Over dens, and thro' valleys of death. 
Why didst thou despise Ahania, 
To cast me from thy bright presence 
Into the World of Loneness ? 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 397 

5. I cannot touch his hand, 

Nor weep on his knees, nor hear 
His voice and bow, nor see his eyes 
And joy, nor hear his footsteps, and 
My heart leaps at the lovely sound ! 
1 cannot kiss the place 
Whereon his bright feet have trod. 
But I wander on the rocks 
With hard necessity. 

6. Where is my golden palace, 
Where my ivory bed ? 

Where the joy of my morning hour, 
Where the sons of eternity singing ? 

7. To awake bright Urizen, my king, 
To arise to the mountain sport, 
To the bliss of eternal valleys ; 

8. To awake my king in the morn, 
To embrace Ahania's joy 

On the breath of his open bosom : 
From my soft cloud of dew to fall 
In showers of life on his harvests. 

9. When he gave my happy soul 
To the sons of eternal joy, 
When he took the daughter of life 
Into my chambers of love. 

10. When I found babes of bliss on my bed, 
And bosoms of mill in my chambers, 
Fill'd with eternal seed ; 

O ! eternal births sung round Ahania, 
In interchange sweet of their joys. 

11. Swell'd with ripeness and fat with fatness, 
Bursting on winds my odors, 

My ripe figs and rich pomegranates, 
In infant j oy at thy feet, 
O Urizen, sported and sang. 



398 BLAKE'S POEMS 

12. Then thou with thy lap full of seed, 
With thy hand full of generous fire, 
Walked forth from the clouds of morning 
On the virgins of springing joy, 

On the human soul to cast 
The seed of eternal science. 

13. The sweat poured down thy temples, 
To Ahania returned in evening 

The moisture ; awake to birth, 
My mother's-joys, sleeping in bliss. 

14. But now alone, over rocks, mountains, 
Cast out from thy lovely bosom : 
Cruel jealousy, selfish fear : 
Self-destroying : how can delight 
Renew in these chains of darkness, 
Where bones of beasts are strown 

On the bleak and snowy mountains, 
Where bones from the birth are buried 
Before they see the light ? 



MEANING OF 'AHANIA' 

'Ahania' is often supposed to be the 'Second Book of 
Uriztn, ' though not so called by Blake. It is dated the year 
after 'Europe.' 

Fuzon, who opens the poem,, is to Urizen what the nameless, 
shadowy female was to Ore — the product and child of his 
' silent burnings. ' 

He became rebellious at once, being not other than a phase 
of universal Ore. Urizen s cold will casts him doivn, but its 
beam, divides his loins — all an obvious symbol. Then the beam 
turned out to be Ahania — that is, he was always double, as 
Albion's emotional nature double formed will be seen in 
' Jerusalem ' as Luvah and Vala, 



REFERENCES FOR 'AHANIA' 399 



REFERENCES FOR 'AHANIA' 

The following explanatory references to terms found in 
1 Ahania' are chiefly from. 'Jerusalem.' They help when 
the general idea is remembered, which roughly is this, — that 
however bad sin may be it does less harm to spiritual life than 
law, which is actually responsible for that psychic degradation 
in us that makes us corporeal and opaque, deprives us of pro- 
phetic power, clairvoyance, and the state of mind in which all 
friendship is boundlessly confiding and faithful, and reduces 
us to such a point that only by going on and breaking forth 
into actual lawlessness can we expect to unite into one vast 
soul — Christ's spiritual body — after forgiving one another 
for the results of this confusion, and entirely casting out the 
egotism of sin as this has cast out the egotism of righteousness. 
The terms which the references here are given to illustrate are 
placed not in alphabetical order, but just as the reader will 
come upon them when going through the poem. 

Chariots — ' Execution is the chariot of Genius* Blake's 
definition. 

Spiked flames — Amorous passion. — 'Vala,' Night VIII., 
line 453. 

Cloud of smoke — Abstract philosophy and egotism. — 'Jeru- 
salem,' page 5, line 61, combine the passages about 
Rahab, page 70, line 19, and page 80, line 51. It is also 
the spectre or reasoning power or shadow ('Jerusalem,' 
page 6, line 5), and as 'every natural thing has a 
spiritual cause,' it causes the blood — for the blood is a 
cloud to clairvoyant vision. — 'Vala,' Night IX., line 
271. Its connection, the rough tears with Urizen's 
deceitful religion, is heard of in Night VIII., line 
173. 

Thunder and flames — Thought and desire. — See verses on 
preface to first chapter of 'Jerusalem.' 

Refusal to worship. — Compare 'Jerusalem, page 29, lines 37 
and 57 ; also ' Vala. ' 

Shadow and sorrow. — Night III., lines 50 and 70, and the 
context in both poems. 

Globe of Wrath. — Compare its counterpart, the globe of 
Pity, from blood ( 'Jerusalem, ' page 17, line 51 ; page 
66, line 43; 'Book of Urizen,' Chap. V., etc.). Com- 
pare also Los's Globe of Fire, page 31, line 3, and the 
globe into which the 'Atlantis continent' was caught, 
page 49, line 20. 

Forged in mills. — Compare 'Jerusalem,' page 13, line 56; 
page 19, line 19 ; page 38, line 37 ; page 39, lines 3 and 



400 BLAKE'S POEMS 

4 ; page 43, line 49 ; page 60, lines 41 and 63. See also 
'Vala,' Night VIII., line 224, etc. 

Loins of Urizen — Cold reasonings desirous of argumenta- 
tive victory and moral procreation. — Compare ''Jeru- 
salem,' page 18, line 44. 

Sin, — The two opposite kinds of emanation seem sin to each 
other. Rahab is sin ('Vala,' Night IX., line 158), so 
is Enitharmon ('Jerusalem,' page 10, line 43). Rahab 
imputes sin (page 70, line 17), but the idea of sin is an 
infection. — 'Jerusalem,' page 43, line 75. 

Rock, snake, tree. — 'Jerusalem' and 'Vala' are full of 
passages about these, but the most condensed is that in 
'Jerusalem ' on page 92 containing the line 25. 

Oak. — Forests are growths of despair. They are the 
entanglements of darkness in the flesh that cheek and 
sadden the spirit; and entanglements of the moral 
laws, only applicable to flesh, that endanger the life of 
the spirit and lead to despair and weeping. See 
'Jerusalem,' page 43, lines 6 to 11, and line 81 ; page 44, 
line 37 ; page 59, line 5 ; page 66, line 55 (in explanation 
of 'Mystery') ; general sorrow, page 89, line 23 ; 'death ' 
of Albion in Druid Oaks, page 94, line 24 ; last allusion, 
page 98, line 50. 

Poison. — Compare ' The Defiled Sanctuary,' the last lines of 
' Thel,' the first Night of 'Vala,' etc. In a general 
way 'poison' means all the tendency of the beauty of 
flesh to take away from the vitality of the spirit — it is 
the counterpart to the evils of moral restraint that when 
applied to vision takes away its spontaneity. 

Bow. — The bow is not always evil. It is made of male and 
female loves joined. They are the two ends of the 
spring, and their junction is the cord. They may be 
used against, and may be used in favour of, spiritual 
liberty. — ' Jerusalem, ' page 50, line 22 ; page 52, ballad, 
and page 97, lines 6 to 17. 

Sinai. — See 'Jerusalem,' page 16, line 68. Theosophists 
call this the record of the Astral Light. Magicians use 
symbols to read it. — See article on Magic in 'Ideas 
of Good and Evil,' by W. B. Yeats, published by A. H. 
Bullen, 47 Great Russell Street. See also 'Jerusalem,' 
page 35, line 22 ; page 68, line 6 — a valuable explanation 
. here of the closing of the western gate. Page 96, line 9, 
which unites the lack of transparency in Nature (rocks 
are the hard surfaces of things) with the serpent — the 
bow, the law, selfhood, reason, etc. ; in fact, all that is 
not spiritual brotherhood united in delight and vision. 

Mystery, — what we call Nature— the solid thing that most 



DESIGNS TO 'AHANIA' 401 

of us do not dream of piercing loith the X rays of the 
soul. Clairvoyants, hypnotists, and prophets, with 
some magicians, may say with Blake that it is a mystery 
why Nature seems solid. He added that it is part of 
this mystery that it should need to be moral, and that 
in introducing any such thing as 'Forgiveness of Sins ' 
Christ passed 'the limits of possibility.' Blake, a 
natural clairvoyant and magician, preaches 'Forgive- 
ness' as possible by means of imputing sin and 
righteousness to ' states ' and punishing these or redeem- 
ing them. When sad he ceased to be clairvoyant. 
Nature appeared to him as it does to us, and his 
'centres tvere open to pain.' For 'Mystery,' sec all 
allusions to Rahab in 'Jerusalem.' It is 'Rahab' or 
'Abstract philosophy,' 'Moral law,' etc. It is first met 
with in the Song of Experience called ' The Human 
Abstract.' See 'Book of Urizen,' and also 'Vala,' Night 
VII., line 36. 

Reptilize. — See 'Jerusalem,' page 49, line 33, etc., and the 
long account of the loss of the 'Human ' or imaginative 
form by Urizen (or scientific intellect) and, his going 
over to materialism or the 'female death ' in ' Vala,' 
Night VIII., lines 409 and following. The rock is 
here further explained, and all serpentine attributes of 
Nature. 

Lament of Ahania, Chap. V. — Compare with this the outcry 
of Ahania in 'Vala,' Night VIII., lines 485 to 525. 



DESIGNS TO 'AHANIA' 

The frontispiece is a full-page picture representing a white- 
haired man of powerful and massive limbs, sitting on his 
haunches, with his knees up to nearly his ears, and his head so 
bowed forward that no face can be seen. Between his legs sits 
on her heels a female figure so much smaller than he that if they 
both rose, she would not come much higher than his elbow. She 
is clasping her hands in pain, and looking up with her head 
twisted to one side, for the old man has buried all his clenched 
fingers in her hair , and is mercilessly pulling it. They are 
in a dreary landscape outside a rough cliff. Both nude. 
The female figure young and pretty. They are Urizen and 
VOL. I. 2 c 



402 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Ahania. Urizen is 'groaning, and calling his parted soul 
Sin. ' 

On the title-page Ahania is seen as a ray of the moon again, 
parting the clouds, but the clouds are not seen. She is ' on 
the margin of nonentity.' At the end is a vague and strange 
picture; a lot of broken pieces of a giant, smashed like a statue, 
or hewn asunder like meat, lying on rocks. It belongs to the 
* Book of Urizen' Chap. V., stanza 3. 

'Ahania' is not printed from the same sort of plates as the 
other books, with the exception of the 'Book of Los,' but, like 
this, is as carefully and neatly engraved throughout as a 
visiting-card, and the title was given with deliberation. 



THE 

BOOK 

OF 

LOS 



LAMBETH 

Printed by W. Blake 

1795 



403 



1. Eno, aged Mother, 

Who the chariot of Leutha guides, 
Since the day of thunders in old time, 

2. Sitting beneath the eternal oak, 
Trembled and shook the stedfast Earth, 
And thus her speech broke forth. 

3. O Times remote ! 

When Love and Joy were adoration, 
And none impure were deem'd, 
Not Eyeless Covet, 
Nor Thin-lip'd Envy, 
Nor Bristled Wrath, 
Nor Curled Wantonness. 

4. But Covet was poured full, 
Envy fed with fat of lambs, 
Wrath with lion's gore, 
Wantonness lull'd to sleep 
With the virgin's lute, 

Or sated with her love. 

5. Till Covet broke his locks and bars, 
And slept with open doors ; 

Envy sung at the rich man's feast ; 
Wrath was follow'd up and down 
By a little ewe lamb ; 
And wantonness on his own true love 
Begot a giant race. 

405 



406 BLAKE'S POEMS 

6. Raging furious, the flames of desire 

Ran thro' heaven and earth, living flames, 
Intelligent, organiz'd ; arm'd 
With destruction and plagues. In the midst 
The Eternal Prophet bound in a chain, 
Compell'd to watch Urizen's shadow, 

7. Rag'd with curses and sparkles of fury, 
Round the flames roll, as Los hurls his chains. 
Mounting up from his fury condens'd, 
Rolling round and round, mounting on high, 
Into vacuum, into nonentity, 

Where nothing was ; dash'd wide apart, 
His feet stamp the eternal fierce- raging 
Rivers of wide flame ; they roll round 
And round on all sides, making their way 
Into darkness and shadowy obscurity. 

8. Wide apart stood the fires ; Los remain'd 
In the void between fire and fire ; 

In trembling horror they beheld him ; 
They stood wide apart, driv'n by his hands 
And his feet, which the nether abyss 
Stamp'd in fury and hot indignation. 

9. But no light from the fires ; all was 
Darkness round Los; heat was not, for bound up 
Into fiery spheres from his fury, 

The gigantic flames trembled and hid. 

10. Coldness, darkness, obstruction ; a Solid 
Without fluctuation, hard as adamant, 
Black as marble of Egypt, impenetrable, 
Bound in the fierce raging Immortal ; 
And the separated fires froze in 
A vast solid, without fluctuation, 
Bound in his expanding clear senses. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 407 



1. The Immortal stood frozen amidst 
The vast rock of eternity, times 
And times, a night of vast durance, 
Impatient, stifled, stiffen'd, hard'ned. 

2. Till impatience no longer could bear 

The hard bondage, rent, rent the vast solid 
With a crash from immense to immense. 

3. Crack'd across into numberless fragments, 
The Prophetic wrath strugling for vent, 
Hurls apart, stamping furious to dust, 
And crumbling with bursting sobs, heaves 
The black marble on high into fragments. 

4. Hurl'd apart on all sides as a falling 
Rock, the innumerable fragments away 
Fell asunder, and horrible vacuum 
Beneath him and on all sides round. 

5. Falling, falling, Los fell and fell, 
Sunk precipitant, heavy down, down, 
Times on times, night on night, day on day. 
Truth has bounds, Error none : falling, falling, 
Years on years, and ages on ages ; 

Still he fell thro' the void, still a void, 
Found for falling day and night without end, 
For tho' day or night was not, their spaces 
Were measured by his incessant whirls 
In the horrid vacuity bottomless. 

6. The Immortal revolving, indignant 

First in wrath, threw his limbs like the babe 
New born into our world ; wrath subsided, 
And contemplative thoughts first arose, 
Then aloft his head rear'd in the Abyss, 
And his downward borne fall chang'd oblique, 



408 BLAKE'S POEMS 

7. Many ages of groans, till there grew 
Branchy forms, organizing the Human 
Into finite inflexible organs, 

8. Till in process from falling he bore 
Sidelong on the purple air, wafting 
The weak breeze in efforts o'erwearied. 

9. Incessant the falling Mind labour'd, 
Organizing itself, till the Vacuum 
Became element, pliant to rise, 

Or to fall, or to swim, or to fly, 
With ease searching the dire vacuity. 



1. The Lungs heave incessant, dull, and heavy 
For as yet were all other parts formless, 
Shiv'ring, clinging around like a cloud, 
Dim and glutinous as the white Polypus, 
Driv'n by waves and englob'd on the tide. 

2. And the unformed part crav'd repose ; 
Sleep began, the Lungs heave on the wave, 
Weary, overweigh'd, sinking beneath, 

In a stifling black fluid he woke. 

3. He arose on the waters, but soon 
Heavy falling, his organs like roots 
Shooting out from the seed, shot beneath. 
And a vast world of waters around him 

In furious torrents began. 

4. Then he sunk, and around his spent Lungs 
Began intricate pipes that drew in 

The spawn of the waters. Outbranching 
An immense Fibrous Form, stretching Out, 
Thro' the bottoms of immensity raging. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 409 

He rose on the floods ; then he smote 
The wild deep with his terrihle wrath, 
Separating the heavy and thin. 

Down the heavy sunk ; cleaving around 
To the fragments of solid ; up rose 
The thin, flowing round the fierce fires 
That glow'd furious in the expanse. 



Then Light first began ; from the fires, 
Beams, conducted by fluid so pure, 
Flow'd around the Immense. Los beheld 
Forthwith, writhing upon the dark void, 
The Backbone of Urizen appear 
Hurtling upon the wind, 
Like a serpent, like an iron chain 
Whirling about in the Deep. 

Upfolding his Fibres together 
To a Form of impregnable strength, 
Los, astonish'd and terrified, built 
Furnaces ; he formed an Anvil, 
A Hammer of adamant, then began 
The binding of Urizen day and night. 

Circling round the dark Demon with howlings, 
Dismay, and sharp blightings, the Prophet 
Of Eternity beat on his iron links. 

And first from those infinite fires, 
The light that flow'd down on the winds 
He siez'd ; beating incessant, condensing 
The subtil particles in an Orb. 

Roaring indignant, the bright sparks 
Endur'd the vast Hammer ; but unwearied 
Los beat on the Anvil, till glorious 
An immense Orb of fire he fram'd. 



410 BLAKE'S POEMS 

6. Oft he quench 'd it beneath in the Deeps, 
Then survey'd the all bright mass. Again 
Siezing fires from the terrific Orbs, 

He heated the round Globe, then beat ; 
While roaring his Furnaces endur'd 
The chain'd Orb in their infinite wombs. 

7. Nine ages completed their circles, 

When Los heated the glowing mass, casting 
It down into the Deeps : the Deeps fled 
Away in redounding smoke : the Sun 
Stood self-balanc'd. And Los smiled with joy. 
He, the vast Spine of Urizen, siez'd 
And bound down to the glowing illusion. 

8. But no light, for the Deep fled away 
On all sides, and left an unform'd 
Dark vacuity here. Urizen lay 

In fierce torments on his glowing bed, 

9. Till his Brain in a rock, and his Heart 
In a fleshy slough, formed four rivers, 
Obscuring the immense Orb of fire 
Flowing down into night ; till a Form 
Was completed, a Human Illusion, 

In darkness and deep clouds involv'd. 

THE END OF THE BOOK OP LOS 



MEANING OF THE 'BOOK OF LOS' 

There is a specious facility about this short book which 
seems partly to explain itself and partly to have been made 
unnecessary as well as explained by the ' Book of Urizen ' that 
appeared before it, and seemingly ought to have followed it, or 
to have been left out as unnecessary because of it. 

The different stanzas in the order of their numbers may 
perhaps be translated nearly as in the Quaritch edition, and 
somewhat thus:— 



MEANING OF THE 'BOOK OF LOS' 411 



Chapter I 

1. Since the first day of productive power or creative 
thoughts, the thunders of old time, Eno, the aged mother 
{Earth), has guided the chariot of Leutha {bodily beauty), for 
the maternal power rules in the material. 

2. Beneath the eternal vegetative sorrow — that oak which the 
mistaken Druids supposed to be imagination — Eno trembled, 
and, shaking the earth herself, was delivered of children; 
that is, of speech. 

3. She called aloud on the times that had ceased to be, when 
the four quarters of humanity — now known as four evils — 
were, in right of imaginative freedom, four blameless things. 
When from the masculine, joy ; and the feminine, love ; came 
the child, adoration. The three, as we learn elsewhere, became 
Selfhood, Pity, and Desire. But this is their state in our 
own time. 

She calls to the four regions by their fallen names: — 
Envy, ~\ f Urizen. 

Waste, I Corresponding to the) Luvah. 

Wantonness, j four Zoas, 1 Tharmas. 

Covet, ) \Urthona. 

Who, being unopposed, perfectly indulged, and not given 
' punishment enough to cause them to commit sins ' — to borrow 
another phrase of Blake's — were harmless. 

4. They were all satiated. ' Love is too young to know what 
conscience is,' according to Shakespeare. The world was then 
like 'Love.' 

5. In return, they did good deeds opposite to their own 
natures. The destruction of obstruction, the amusing of 
festivity, the protection of helpfulness, and the propagation 
of beauty and strength. 

6. At this outcry of the ancient maternity, living fiames of 
the wrath and desire, the heart and loins of imagination that 
together make creations possible, ran through the generative 
region of prophecy. The fires were armed with destruction 
of freedom and plague of the senses that are open to pain. 
They were thus creative. Creation' s first effect is contraction, 
the next is opacity, the third is pain, the fourth is bliss, the 
total is an image of regeneration, and the cause is Mercy. 
This outcry excited the desires of nature and mind, and 
the prophetic spirit in the midst could do nothing but keep 
watch on their enemy, the shadow of selfhood. 

7. 8, 9. The spirit of prophecy had become 'infected.' He 
fought for a space for himself among the flames, and kept 
desire from overwhelming him, as though he also had become 
what he beheld — the spirit of selfhood. 



412 BLAKE'S POEMS 

10. So matter and reason began where the free spirit once 
Mved in imagination and found it truth. 



Chapter II 

1, 2, 3. As the tomb triumphed over Christ for three daps, so 
for three stanzas the dark water triumphs over the light, 
materialism over imagination. End's error was to call out for 
a life on earth as in heaven, while still things are as they are. 
The error of Los was to take sides against this — the ideal. At 
the third the rock is broken, and the spiritual body is free; 
Los is impotent in the first stanza, rending in the second, 
utterly liberated in the third. 

4. Thus arisen, he suddenly finds his error. He should 
neither have bound the senses to be only sense, nor have 
destroyed them for being only sense. He suddenly finds him- 
self in vacuum. 

5. And so he falls, for truth has bounds, error none. But 
his fall is fructifying even now, for he whirls as he falls, 
measuring night and day, and where circles are there the void 
will presently bear fruit. 

6. And his fall having done its first work, changes to an 
oblique motion, and presently his head that had been down- 
wards {for when the bodily man enters into activity of the 
loins, even though it be to control this activity and find a place 
for himself between its fires, the spiritual man within him is 
reversed in all its regions, its head is in the bodily loins, its 
loins in the bodily head). This moment corresponds in the 
story of Los to that of the third stanza of the fourth chapter of 
1 Urizen,' where the eddies of his wrath settle to a lake. 

1. In the ages of sorrow Los, essentially creative and forced 
to do something, creates himself ; that is, he prepares a system 
with ivhich to deliver men from systems, as Blake says he does 
in 'Jerusalem.' For this he had fallen into the region of 
system — his own loins. 

8. In the dark, purple air, the region of the heart, he now 
floated sideways in sorrowful feeling. 

9. And then the falling but still prophetic Mind organised 
itself, arid became called by mortals Imagination, capable of 
exploring all the regions of its infinity. The ninth stanza 
finishes the duties of a ninth gestative month. 

The last three stanzas exactly show the contrast between 
the book of ' Urizen' and of ' Los.' Both enter the feminine 
darkness. Both organise themselves. Urizen propagates 
restrictions and a net from the watery region of tears, from 
the loins, or pitiful and tearful portion, of the head. Los 
ends by propagating freedom, the pliant faculty of entering 



MEANING OF THE 'BOOK OF LOS' 413 

into all the vacuity called nature, from the fiery, or mental 
and ivrathful, region of the head of (or spiritual head in) the 
loins. 

Los being essentially prophetic, Urizen scientific, the reader 
must have a Los as well as a Urizen inside him to follow 
really the story here told. 

Chapter III 

1. The loins are a duplex symbolic region of earth and 
water. The earth Los had cast away. The water he must 
vivify. So in this centre, this East, or the void — as East 
became when the Zoas, or four forms of life are out of their 
homes, as we shall see in ' Jerusalem' — Organisation, or 
imagination, begins as a dot that branches, as all selfhoods 
begin ( 'Jerusalem, ' page 33, line 20, etc. ), and now with lungs 
he brings air to the ivater, or heart to the loins. Air is the 
corresponding symbol to heart, and water to loins: they are 
under Luvah and Tharmas. 

2. Emotion entered the reqion of sense, and they both 
became weary at first, struggling afterwards,, for they were 
male and female principles. 

3. Such struggle leads to fruitfulness in eternity, and the 
waters became torrents, the lungs became organs. 

4. Presently, in the region of material sense compared to 
which heart is masculine — as head is masculine compared in 
its turn with heart — a form is born of heart and loins,, collected 
from the spawn of the waters as the burning globe of Urizen 
from the fires of the air. 

5. Then, as in ' Urizen 1 {Chapter V., stanza 4), Los smote 
the north from the south region (darkness from light, earth 
from fire, or loins from head), so now he separates the 'heavy 
from the thin,' west from the east, water from air, loins from 
heart. 

6. The two loins, or female elements, water and earth, clove 
together — being the ' heavy '• — and sank; that is to say, passed 
into the outer or lower of human nature, ivhile the ' thin ' or 
air, flowing around the fierce fires, coalesced with them, and 
going to the upper or inner, really began uniting the scattered 
fires into an orb, a selfhood. 



Chapter IV 

1. At this, light or human imagination really first began, 
and here we have Blake's immortal hope, — as from the holy 
loins arose the holier imagination, so from holy body what we 



414 BLAKE'S POEMS 

call the holy soul. He had the same regard for all loins that 
Roman Catholics have only for the loins of the Virgin Mary. 
This selection on their part is due to their rationalistic read- 
ing of the myth of the Garden of Eden, with the odd addition 
given by St. Paul, that the moral taint there acquired was 
physically inheritable, adding the very proper fancy that at 
least the mother of Christ should be accounted free of it. We 
shall see this elaborate account epitomised later into the brief 
statement that Los is the son of Tharmas (Demon of the 
Waters). The pure fluid conducted the light from the fires. 
Air, or the influence of the heart, being added to fire or the 
passion of the head. Forthwith by this light Los beheld the 
void' s spiritual form. It was a serpent. It was the backbone 
of Urizen. It was the system of logic or mere coherence 
without imagination, experience without inspiration, natural 
tendency without exaltation, the vast ' chain of the mind ' that 
' locks up ' the head, heart, loins of unimaginativeness in the 
book of ' Urizen' (Chapter VI., stanza 4) into forgetfulness, 
dumbness, necessity. 

2, 3. Los, astonished and terrified at his oivn experiences, 
now made furnaces, which we learn in ' Jerusalem, ' page 53, 
line 13, are the stomach, that there might be a counterpart to 
the pipes that drew in the spawn of the waters. He formed 
the anvil and hammer of the heart. Just as the loins are a 
duplex region, so is the heart, a place not only of breathing 
but of heating, with afire as well as an air of its own, other- 
wise the loins would overbalance the region above them, and 
the outer control the inner. Then began the binding of the 
cold head — of Urizen. This is the moment of the close of the 
second and the xohole of the third chapter of 'Urizen.' All the 
rest is a sort of belated introduction to those chapters. 

In it we read how, out of Urizen! s burning fires that pre- 
ceded himself, he forged the apparent sun, as mind always 
forges body, and subject forges symbol. Here also Blake is tell- 
ing the tale of ancient sun-worship (for Los is Time, and the 
years turned sun-worship into Monotheism), and he conceives 
that, when it got off the Sun it did so in the form of a Tyrant. 
A human delusion, a King Stork instead of King Log. But 
this seems to have been the origin of the Human Form. There 
is another reading of this poem equally possible. 

4, 5. While outwardly he merely enclosed Urizen' 's fountain 
of thought under a roof (' Urizen,' IV., 8), he was really 
condensing the moods of desire into a selfhood which should 
eventually bring them forth again as its own, whether under 
the name of Ore or under any other. 

6. Oft the incomplete vitality was quenched in the deeps of 
its own material. This is a strange alternation of experience 



DESIGNS TO THE < BOOK OF LOS ' 415 

and imagination whose ultimate symbol is the ever-buried and 
ever-rising Christ. 

7. And nine ages completed the fruitful circling s of the 
fires, for the whirling that began in void, went on in torrents 
of water, after earth was burst, is now in fire, and the four 
regions are all fructified. Then Los knew that the product 
he had made was completed. What is called Ore when seen 
from another portion of the visionary world, and is changed 
to a rock, and awakens Urizen, is now brought as a glowing 
rock, or sun, and to it is chained the backbone of Urizen, his 
system of scientific and moral restrictiveness. 

8. On this hot and dark rock Urizen lay — head chained to 
loins — in torment, as Ore lay in torment on the cold rock — 
loins chained to head. For the furnaces with their fires had 
joined the regions that the waters had divided when heavy 
and thin fell apart, for in this version pity divides, as else- 
where pity unites, what wrath divides — action and reaction 
being eternal. 

9. And from this orb of fire, a paradise whose four rivers 
spring from the mount of rocky brain and the marsh of 
vegetative heart, the completed form, the human illusion, the 
body form in which we see among clouds, as in glass darkly, 
the spiritual and real human form, was completed. 



DESIGNS TO THE 'BOOK OF LOS' 

Frontispiece.— Ahania as a stony old woman, the very 
counterpart of Urizen, sitting almost as he did, with her 
knees up, though she is allowed a loio marble seat. Her hair 
is long, white, and serpentine ; her face the essence of dreary 
despair. Dark cliffs are behind her. 

This picture is more an epilogue to 'Ahania' than a 
prologue to ' Los. ' It was probably designed for that purpose. 

The title-page shows a youth sitting doubled up in an 
aperture in the rocks of a cliff. The stones seem to have 
grown round him while he sat. Los in Albion's cliffs, or 
Imagination in difficulties of reason and doubt. 

At the head of the first chapter is a slight sketch of an old 
man ( Urizen) sitting in a net, whose further meshes entangle 
two childish figures, like flies in a spider's web — Los and 
Enitharmon. 

At the end a small drawing — a kneeling Hgure with hands 



416 BLAKE'S POEMS 

up, prophesying in the sky. Beneath him the earth rolls free 
in space, and if it stood on a flat cloud beside him, would be 
a little too large for him to see over if he stood on tiptoe. Los 
triumphant. 

The book is in the same style as 'Ahania,' and is of the 
same date, 1795. They are the only two engraved in exactly 
this manner, with fine hair-lines. 



THE 

SONG 

OF 

LOS 



LAMBETH 

Printed by W. Blake 

1795 



VOL. I. 2d 



(1) 

AFRICA 

I will sing you a song of Los, the Eternal Prophet : 
He sung it to four harps at the tables of Eternity 

In heart- formed Africa. 
Urizen faded ! Ariston shudder'd ! 
And thus the Song began. 

Adam stood in the garden of Eden, 
And Noah on the mountains of Ararat ; 
They saw Urizen give his Laws to the Nations 
By the hands of the children of Los. 

Adam shudder'd ! Noah faded ! black grew the sunny 

African 
When Rintrah gave Abstract Philosophy to Brama in 

the East. 
(Night spoke to the Cloud) 
Lo, these Human form'd spirits in smiling hypocrisy. 

War 
Against one another ; so let them War on, slaves to 

the Eternal Elements. 
Noah shrunk beneath the waters, 
Abram fled in fires from Chaldea ; 
Moses beheld upon Mount Sinai forms of dark delusion; 

To Trismegistus, Palamabron gave an abstract Law ; 
To Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato. 

Times rolled on o'er all the sons of Har; time after time 
Ore on Mount Atlas howl'd, chain'd down with the 
Chain of Jealousy ; 

419 



420 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Then Oothoon hover'd over Judah and Jerusalem, 
And Jesus heard her voice (a man of sorrows), he 

reciev'd 
A Gospel from wretched Theotormon. 

The human race began to wither, for the healthy 

built 
Secluded places, fearing the joys of Love 
And the diseased only propagated. 
So Antamon call'd up Leutha from her valleys of 

delight, 
And to Mahomet a loose Bible gave ; 
But in the North, to Odin, Sotha gave a Code of War, 
Because of Diralada, thinking to reclaim his joy. 

(2) 
These were the Churches, Hospitals, Castles, Palaces, 
Like nets and gins and traps, to catch the joys of 
Eternity, 

And all the rest a desart ; 
Till like a dream Eternity was obliterated and erased. 

Since that dread day when Har and Heva fled, 
Because their brethren and sisters liv'd in War and 

Lust; 
And as they fled they shrunk 
Into two narrow doleful forms ; 
Creeping in reptile flesh upon 
The bosom of the ground : 
And all the vast of Nature shrunk 
Before their shrunken eyes. 

Thus the terrible race of Los and Enitharmon gave 
Laws and Religions to the sons of Har, binding them 

more 
And more to Earth ; closing and restraining ; 
Till a Philosophy of Five Senses was complete. 
Urizen wept and gave it into the hands of Newton 

and Locke. 



MEANING OF THE 'SONG OF LOS* 421 

Clouds roll heavy upon the Alps round Rousseau 

and Voltaire : 
And on the mountains of Lebanon round the deceased 

Gods 
Of Asia, and on the desarts of Africa round the 

Fallen Angels, 
The Guardian Prince of Albion burns in his nightly 

tent. 



MEANING OF THE 'SONG OF LOS' 

The ' song ' of Los is an influence such as the ' song ' of 
Enitharmon (its counterpart), which was a 'song of death' 
and a song of Vala, and was, in point of fact, the assumption 
of the South by the Zoa Luvah, or the flying up of Luvah and 
Vala into the brain. Compare ' Vala,' Night I., lines 237 to 
266. It is a song of life, whose earliest manifestations were 
the giving of laws and religions that should not last, to the 
sons of simple men. Los is now Chronos. 

The instruments of music here used for mental productivity 
are harps. Each of the four points has its own inner four, 
and in heart-formed Africa, we find four of these creative 
instruments. 

Creation is the intellectual side of that set of three phases of 
Ulro — Creation, Redemption, and Judgment, — Head, Heart, 
Loins. Here we shall have a story of Loins in Head, and 
both in Heart. It begins as XJrizen, ' created ' his temple out 
of the 'void' in the East, Ulro, the 'space' of terror or its 
heart. It is a world of (erroneous) generation as well as a 
temple ( ' Jerusalem, ' page 58, lines 21 to 51). It had the form 
of the human heart, and, was sun-worship in old days ('Vala,' 
Night VII., line 510). He then faded, though once the 'Prince 
of Light,' — for his dark power was to be used. He is the Sun 
under the horizon. 

Ariston, the power of beauty, shuddered, that is, descended 
into birth. Changes occur related in compressed world-history 
very like those that were told before in anatomical symbols. 
Los, by the hands of his four children, ungeneratcd powers, 
during the time when he was too like XJrizen, having 'become 



422 BLAKE'S POEMS 

what he beheld, ' causes the ivorld to become more fxdl of rules 
of it for individuality and less for brotherhood, which is only 
reached by vision when all intellect is perfectly ripe and ready 
to be cut off and harvested. We hear the story of the ages that 
'rolled over' — stanzas 4 and 5 in 'Book of Urizen,' Chap. V., 
when Los became what he beheld (' Vala,' Night IV., line 285), 
before he writhed his neck to Enitharmon, before her shrieks 
and the birth of Ore (' Vala,' Night V., line 63); before the 
building of Golgonooza, or Art, Night V., line 76. In a sense 
the date may be while the 'Light was out' ('Vala,' Night VII., 
line 584). 

The song, the creation, began, and Adam, type of dust, 
limit of human contraction, stood in the garden of Eden, the 
place of the 'true tongue' who is Antamon, or the 'true west.' 

Noah, the type of male force, surviving the fine senses of 
Man and not destroyed by their flood, stood on the Mount of 
Ararat — mount of rescue, — the contrasted symbol opposite to 
Sinai — mount of law, — the stone of destruction flung at Fuzon 
once by Urizen. 

Urizen (as from this contrasted region) gave laws to the 
Nations, teaching truth to become imperative in its separated 
portions, the error of errors, the assuming of will, by what is 
not the ichole. 

Just as the writings of the ancients were ' stolen and per- 
verted, ' so Urizen, who is here what we call intellect, stole the 
sons of Los and perverted them from inspirers into restrictors. 
Ore was not bom yet, therefore it is evident that there must 
have been, and were, only the ' ungenerated' sons of Los, 
Rintrah, Palamabron, Thcotormon, and Bromion, so called 
in 'Jerusalem,' page 71, line 51. 

Adam began to propagate dust, he shuddered with the 
throes of procreation. 

And Noah, the imaginative that never quite dies, faded — 
into flesh. 

Africa, once place of light, became place of darkness. (This 
was when thought changed the infinite into a serpent, as told 
in 'Europe.') Then under the influence of this darkness 
Rintrah gave to Bramah in the East, or region of Luvah, a 
love-philosophy abstracted from union with love. Night 
spoke to the cloud. The blindness that does not see Eternity 
when the tent (the eyelid) is closed (as told of Los in 'Urizen'), 
spoke to the cloud, or blood ; an eyeless Reason governed Flesh, 
which in its turn grew dark, as the brigltt sun-drop of in- 
spiration was quench ed in the lightless heart. 

So, just as the four Zoas clouded rage ('Jerusalem,' p. 36, 
I. 25; p. 41, 1. 26 ; p. 58, I. 47 ; p. 74, I. 1 ; and p. 88,1. 55), 
so the sons of Los are set against each other when divided, 



MEANING OF THE 'SONG OF LOS' 423 

and the universal body of Inspiration is split into the 
mutually opposing separate religions. At this the masculine 
fell under the feminine dominion {as during the Night of 
'Europe'), and thus Noah shrunk beneath the waters. 
Compare 'Jerusalem,' p. 7, 1. 23; p. 15, I. 26; and p. 75, 1. 13. 
The other Noah mentioned in 'Jerusalem,' p, 67, I. 59, is not 
the builder of the Ark but a daughter of Zelophahad, and one 
of the sisterhood of heiresses under Mosaic law, symbolising 
by their number, five, the senses. See Numbers, chap. xxvi. 
ver. 33. 

Abram, the new Noah, in whose loins the Divine was con- 
centrated, fled from Chaldea — from the East — for the place 
was uninhabitable to him since Rintrah had perversedly 
given abstract law to Bramah there. ( Compare, for Chaldea, 
'Jerusalem,' p. 15, 1. 28; p. 21, I. 43; p. 36, I. 18; p. 60, 
I. 20.) And Moses, upon Sinai, beheld in the clouds of that 
obscured mountain the dark and delusive forms of prohibition. 
They were delusive because (compare ' Book of Urizen ') they 
toere ' laws of prudence' that seemed like ' laivs of God.' The 
true function of Moses is to deliver from Egypt. Me should 
act as Fuzon, but he will not. Moses in Swedenborg denotes 
the Law. In Blake — see 'Jerusalem,' page 49, line 57, and 
page 75, line 16. Then Palamabron, the great genius 
of Rejoicing, who inspired Wesley's hymns afterwards 
('Milton,' page 20, line 55) — as Rintrah is of the emotional 
Pride and Glory and rage of strength, who should one day 
inspire Whitefield' s pulpit thundei — falling in his turn under 
perversion, and reversing his rightful attributes, gives law, 
abstracted equally from, religion and inspired emotion, to 
Trismegistus, Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato, under whose 
names the Four Quarters of the Philosophic Mind are indi- 
cated. 

All the sons of Har — all the merely natural men — lived on 
and propagated as times — creature-divided powers — urged 
them from generation to generation. All were under law, and 
rebellious to Har — their natural fatherhood — (compare 'Book 
of TirieV), and Reason's darkness ruled the region of 
Warmth. Urizen in his Northern darkness was ruler over 
though hidden under Africa — that is to say, this story belongs 
to man head downwards. 

Times rolled over till Ore was born, or rather began to be 
born, for till his chains were loose he was hardly in the world. 
And Ore was howling in chains, the creative force of desire 
manifesting itself through the flesh. He was chained on 
Atlas, mount that divides the heavens from the earth. The 
chain of jealousy bound him there. Note the triad: Sinai, 
Ararat, Atlas. 



424 BLAKE'S POEMS 

At this the sorrows of Jealousy in the person of its victim 
Oothoon (see 'Visions of the Daughters of Albion') hovers 
over and rules and influences the inspired and Juippy Judah 
and Jerusalem, and the opposite to what should come does 
come for this reason from them, as from other quarters. 
They produce a Man of Sorrows, and wretched Theotormon 
gives to him the gospel of woe. 

Three things have become religious — philosophy, law, and 
jealousy or grief. The head, heart, loins of the mind. For 
'Religion' it is necessary at least to remember 'Jerusalem,' 
page 43, line 35 ; page 44, line 27, and page 45, line 26. 

It remained that the loins of the body should be worshipped. 

This came when the human race, withered from the healthy 
generative region of joy {joy is the true holiness to which all 
this is the opposite), fell into spiritual sterility, and only those 
mental forces ivhich suffered from the disease of literalness, 
morality, and materialism propagated. The ' loins ' represent 
argumentativeness. 

The only thing to do was to proclaim the gospel of sensuous 
love as a spiritual code. So Antamon of the morning dew, 
and Leutha of the rainbow, types of beauty in water, or 
the region of vegetated growth, gave to Mahomet his 'loose 
Bible.' 

While this was done in the south, Sotha, for the sake of 
Diralada (ivritten ' Thiralatha' in 'Europe'), gave a code 
of war to Odin in the north, for war and love are each other's 
counterparts, and Sotha and Thiralatha are spirits of the 
eyes — region of marriage. 

Then the Architect (who is Urizen) built those ideas and 
those organs in the four regions that correspond in physical 
love to the buildings called churches, hospitals, castles, 
palaces, to catch the joys of eternity as they catch the sorrows 
of time, and, that being the limit of his power, the rest of 
men's minds and bodies was desert. 

And then, in the heart, in Africa, as in Los and Eni- 
tharmon, when the covered tent and curtains were lowered 
firmly over them ('Book of Urizen,' Chap. V., stanza 11), 
imagination in the sense of 'Divine Vision ' teas obliterated as 
though it did not exist, and thus brotherhood became for- 
mularised into conventional states of mind and conventional 
groups of actions. 

But, by the law that 'the eye altering alters all' (compare 
the 'Mental Traveller,' stanza 16), Har and Hova, once 
spiritual instincts, having fled from their lawless brethren, 
because though weak they loved law, became two doleful 
forms, the mortal masculine, the slave of time and of decay, 
and its equally pitiable feminine mental counterpart, and all 



MEANING OF THE 'SONG OF LOS' 425 

nature shrunk to the dimensions of the garden where {see 
' Book of Tiriel ') they were found in a state of imbecile in- 
fancy — a return to Vala's garden, where the impressions of 
Despair and Hope for ever vegetate (' Vala,' Night IX., line 
375), and where Tharmas and Enion (the same thing in 
mythic terms) are innocent children (Night IX., line 507), and 
Vala herself the sinless soul (Night IX., line 452), that sleeps 
in the grass and dew (Night IX., line 387), and whose inner 
soil is in the caverns of the grave, and places of human seed, 
where impressions of despair and hope enroot for ever 
(Night III., lines 144, 145), and where contraries are equally 
true (' Jerusalem,' page 48, line 13). 

Thus the terrible influences of Time and Space gave laws 
and religions to the sons of instinctive life, closing and re- 
straining them from visionary life, till the Reason-worship of 
the eighteenth century was complete, and the only conception 
of God they had left — the 'mistaken demon of Heaven' — 
Urizen, who became Satan when draion down into generation 
(compare 'Milton,' extra page 8, line 1), wept his net-making 
tears and gave this, the worst mental chain of all, as a system 
of thought to Neivton and Locke. 

The weight of the flesh grows heavy on the dry mental and 
moral code — mountains of Lebanon. It rolls round the 
'covering cherub' — here symbolised as Rousseau, Voltaire, 
resting on the Alps, the Atlas hills of Europe or of the North, 
and on the deceased gods of Asia — the dry-hearted deserts of 
Africa, and on the Angels; or those who are before all things 
obedient, and whose morsel of imaginative existence was 
sacrificed, when they obeyed the trumpet of Newton. (Compare 
'Europe.') 

Rut in the fallen Man, or Albion — Urizen — the potency of 
mind, his guardian Prince, is not quenched though hid by 
night of experience and the tent of the flesh, but burns darkly 
with the dark secret fires of Urizen described in the ' Rook of 
Los,' which he, repressing in himself, hated to see others (as 
in ' America ') claim the right to release. 

The reader is requested by the editor not to forget that these 
notes only contain sketches of the meanings they describe. 
There is much more that should be said were the descriptions 
to aim at completeness. There are other sets of meanings quite 
unlike these and not necessarily contradicting them. 



426 



BLAKE'S POEMS 



ASIA 



(*) 



The Kings of Asia heard 

The howl rise up from Europe ! 

And each ran out from his Web, 

From his ancient woven Den ; 

For the darkness of Asia was startled 

At the thick-flaming, thought-creating ih'es of Ore. 

And the Kings of Asia stood 
And cried in bitterness of soul. 

Shall not the King call for Famine from the heath, 

Nor the Priest for Pestilence from the fen ? 

To restrain, to dismay, to thin 

The inhabitants of mountain and plain, 

In the day of full-feeding prosperity 

And the night of delicious songs ? 

Shall not the Councellor throw his curb 
Of Poverty on the laborious, 
To fix the price of labour, 
To invent allegoric riches ? 

And the privy admonishers of men 

Call for Fires in the City, 

For heaps of smoking ruins, 

In the night of prosperity and wantonness ? 

To turn man from his path, 

To restrain the child from the womb ? 



(5) 



To cut off the bread from the city, 
That the remnant may learn to obey? 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 427 

That the pride of the heart may fail ; 

That the lust of the eyes may be quench'd ; 

That the delicate ear in its infancy 

May be dull'd, and the nostrils clos'd up, 

To teach mortal worms the path 

That leads from the gates of the Grave ? 

Urizen heard them cry, 

And his shudd'ring, waving wings 

Went enormous above the red flames, 

Drawing clouds of despair thro' the heavens 

Of Europe as he went. 

And his Books of brass, iron, and gold 

Melted over the land as he flew, 

Heavy-waving, howling, weeping. 

And he stood over Judea, 

And stay'd in his ancient place, 

And stretch'd his clouds over Jerusalem. 

For Adam, a mouldering skeleton, 
Lay bleach'd on the garden of Eden ; 
And Noah, as white as snow, 
On the mountains of Ararat. 

Then the thunders of Urizen bellow'd aloud 
From his woven darkness above. 

Ore, raging in European darkness, 
Arose like a pillar of fire above the Alps, 
Like a serpent of fiery flame ! 

The sullen Earth 

Shrunk ! 

Forth from the dead dust, rattling bones to bones 
Join ; shaking, convuls'd, the shiv'ring clay breathes, 
And all flesh naked stands : Fathers and Friends, 
Mothers and Infants, Kings and Warriors. 



428 BLAKE'S POEMS 

The Grave shrieks with delight, and shakes 
Her hollow womb, and clasps the solid stem 
Her bosom swells with wild desire : 
And milk and blood and glandous wine, 
In rivers rush and shout and dance, 
On mountain, dale, and plain. 

THE SONG OF LOS IS ENDED 

Urizen Wept. 



MEANING OF 'ASIA' 



The Kings of Asia are restraincrs of the heart of man 
wherever we meet them in this life. They seek obedience before 
all things. We recognise in them, the voices of the hypocritic 
and dominion-loving daughters of Urizen ( ' Vala, ' Night VII. , 
lines 115 to 129), that are explained as being related in the 
head in line 130, and in 'Jerusalem, ' page 30, where in his 
central void or heart, among his oaks (tree of weeping), they 
are heard as the voices of 'the oppressors of Albion.' 

They desire to do some active harm. They wish not merely 
to restrain by nets, but by punishments. Famine, poverty, 
fire, are the engines they would use. That a little happiness 
has become transferred from the State of Eden to that of 
generation is unendurable to them. They call it wantonness. 
They would lead mortal worms from the gates of the grave 
because these seem to them the gates of feasting and love, and 
may by joy, even the lowest joy, lead to regeneration. They 
have nothing else to offer. But they desire to quench the pride 
of the heart, destroy the desire of the eyes to see, especially to 
see vision, and to make dull the ear lest it hear an inner 
voice. 

'Shall we not do it ? ' they cried. Urizen heard the cry. 

It was a howl of Ore in changed form. It was the desire of 
tyranny. Sad blood, clouds of despair, are all that he brings. 
He arose. His wings (the type of that which covers the mercy 
seat, or creative centre) shuddered. 

For the relation between Mercy and Creation, compare 



MEANING OF 'ASIA' 429 

'Jerusalem,' p. 13, I. 45; p. 69, I. 19; p. 73, I. 39, etc. 
Creation has its evil, or outer side, as now when the wings, 
and not that within them, propagated, exteriors became fruit- 
ful in their own deadly way, for shuddering always has the 
meaning of parturition. 

Urizen's books melted, and their brass, iron, and gold ran 
doivn over the regions of heart, loins, and head, as he howled 
with the passion of sowing his maxims in form of melted 
metal, and as he wept, that his net of tears (compare 'Book 
of Urizen,' Chap. VIII., stanzas 7, 8, and 9, and 'Visions of 
the Daughters of Albion,' p. 5) might still catch souls and 
form man to his image, even while the melted pages of bodily 
and mental suffering fell on them drop by drop. Thus he 
answered to the cry of the kings, and made it productive. 

He clouded Jerusalem and Judea — where Oothoon had 
hovered — darkening what had been his own bright land. It 
was the land of Christ (symbol of a Rescuer now, who Redeems 
Man from drowning in sorroiv), an Eastern sign, of Adam, 
symbol of dust, man's limit of materialisation, who rescued 
man from drowning in dust by help of divine breath, and 
of Noah, his limit of productivity, who rescued the soul from 
drowning in instinct, and became the second father of the 
race. All were gone. The latter two lay visibly dead. Satan, 
limit of opacity, whose fiery form of Ore rescues man by 
passion from drowning in reason, flamed above the Northern 
moralities, Alps. Ore is altogether spiritual here, as when 
his fires consuming the five gates of the senses, that can no 
longer be barred against the infinite, at the end of 'America.' 

Ore we know to be both Luvah and Satan (according to the 
' state ' he, though himself a state, may be in). Here we see 
Satan put off Satan. Each Zoa is Satanic when fighting for 
himself alone. 

The passage about the bones is partly the same as that in 
which the second, or mature birth of Tharmas, is prepared in 
' Vala,' Night III., line 156, but the real context that Blake 
had in his mind (and probably on his table, for 'Vala' 
had been in MS. for tivo years) is in Night IX., around the 
lines 230 and 242. The resurrection, or delivery into the 
nakedness of the spirit from reptile dress or prison (line 294), 
is seen by comparison with these last lines of 'Asia' to be the 
material joy of the grave, and explanation of the statement 
that her caverns are the places of human seed. The ' Song of 
Los ' releases, by its prophetic power, the meanings of all 
symbols in the same way from their dress, and Urizen already 
begins, weeping, to pervert it all again, for as we shall see 
from Adam to Luther begins again in eternal circle. 



430 BLAKE'S POEMS 



DESIGNS TO THE 'SONG OF LOS' 

Title-page. — A bearded old man lying on his back, raised 
on one elbow and looking up at the sky. He has his hand on 
a skull. A quiet landscape of hills and lakes behind. 

Page 1. Coiled round the sub-title Africa, at the head' of 
the page, a big dark snake, looking downwards. 

Page 2. A youth and maid, partly draped, fly together 
from a sea-coast storm. His arms round her body — one of 
hers round his head. Her other hand forbids the waves to 
folloio them. 

Page 3. A full page. Oberon and Titania, as tiny figures, 
lying in the hollows of two large lilies that partly interlace 
their white petals. 

Page 4. Below the sub-title Asia, a youth in a cave with a 
maiden (draped this time), half-lying, backivards, across his 
knees, looking up at him, and half-kneeling herself at his side. 
He sits on the ground. 

Outside a gloomy figure, nude, sits holding its head. 
Bromion, Oothoon, and Theotormon again, yet changed. 
Under any names they are Energy, Opportunity, and 
Restraint. 

Page 5. A man falling head downwards — margin sketch. 



THE LAOCOON 



431 



THE LAOCOON 



The Laocoon is referred to in the page on Homer's poetry. 
Soon after Blake's return from Felpham, he engraved this 
group for Bees' 's encyclopaedia. He either took a copy of the 
plate or made another for himself, and printed round it and 
in every available space the following statements, placing 
some lines at right angles to others, and some in curves about 
the limbs of the figures. They partly explain the poem 
'Idolatry' to be found above, near the end of the shorter pieces, 
and are, like the other fragments here given, essential to under- 
standing the odium theologicurn with which Blake pursued one 
form of art while he upheld another. 

The order of the sentences is conjectural. There is no 
ascertained order. The groups are clearly indicated, but we 
can only guess which were engraved first and which put in 
later, as space permitted. 

Blake's title for the Laocoon statue, engraved under it. 

fp and his two sons Satan and Adam, as they were 
copied from the Cherubim of Solomon's Temple by 
three Rhodians, and applied to Natural Fact, or 
History of Ilium. 

Added later below this — 

Art Degraded, Imagination Denied, War Governed 
the Nations. 

Sentences above the figures, horizontal lines, at the extreme 
top of the page, crammed in — 

Where any view of Money exists, Art cannot be 
carried on, but War only. Read Matthew, chap. 
x. 9. 

{The reference seems to be to the words 'Provide neither 
VOL. I, 2 E 



434 BLAKE'S POEMS 

gold nor silver nor brass in your purses, ' and must be read 
with the statement found further on that Christ and His 
Apostles were artists. A peculiar use of the word Art recurs 
in these works. Compare 'Vala,' Night J., lines 307 and 308, 
and elsewhere. ) 

He repented that he had made Adam (of the 
Female, the Adamah), and it grieved him at his heart. 



The Angel of the Divine Presence. 

roro -jn!>» 

(King Jehovah.) 

The two serpents in the group are labelled ' Good ' and 
'Evil.' Good, the one biUng the man ; Evil, biting the boy on 
his right, at left of picture. His name 0<£I8XG? is written 
over his head. Bound his upper hand, that grasps the serpent 
above, is written — 

The Gods of Priam are the Cherubim of Moses and 
Solomon, the Hosts of Heaven. Without Unceasing 
Practice nothing can be done. Practice is Art. If 
you leave off, you are lost. 

Mound the upper arm of the bitten boy whom the snake 
'Evil' bites is written — 

Good and Evil, Riches and Poverty, a Tree of 
Misery, propagations, generation, and death. 

Round the other boy's head is written — 

Satan's Wife, the Goddess Nature, is War and 
Misery, and Heroism a Miser. 

In an arch joining this boy's head to the man — 

Hebrew Art is called Sin by the Deist Science. 

All that we see is Vision from Generated Organs, 
gone as soon as come, Permanent in the Imagination, 
considered as Nothing by the Natural Man. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 435 

And under the man's left hand — 

which is the name 'Lilith, ' considered anciently to be that of 
Adam's first wife. Blake seems to have considered it that of 
Satan's, as he writes. Satan's wife, the Goddess Nature, close 
to the name, with the definition that she is War and Misery, 
adding the strained inference, and Heroism a Miser. 

On all the blank space to the right of the picture there are 
more short sayings, whose order can be dimly guessed from the 
way they fit into each other. Taking those written in largest 
and boldest hand, edgeways, first, and then those that seem 
added to fill up gaps and are written more minutely, we read 
this half of the space as follows ; — 

Jesus and His Apostles and Disciples were all 
Artists. Their Works were destroyed by the Seven 
Angels of the Seven Churches in Asia, Antichrist 
Science. The Old and New Testaments are the 
great code of Art. The whole Business of Man Is 
The Arts and All Things in Common. No secresy 
in Art. Art is the Tree of Life. God is Jesus. 
Science is the Tree of Death. The unproductive 
Man is not a Christian, much less the Destroyer. 
Christianity is Art and not Money. Money is its 
curse. What we call Antique Gems are the Gems of 
Aaron's Breast Plate. Is not every Vice possible 
to Man described in the Bible openly ? All is not 
sin that Satan calls so, — all the Loves and Graces of 
Eternity. 

The gods of Greece and Egypt were Mathematical 
Diagrams. See Plato's works. 

Divine Union. 

Deriding and Denying Immediate Communion 
with God . . . The spoilers say, Where are his 
works that he did in the Wilderness ? Lo, what are 
these? Whence came they? These are not the 
works of Egypt nor Babylon, whose gods are the 
Powers of this world, Goddess Nature, who first spoil 



436 BLAKE'S POEMS 

and then destroy Imaginative Art, for their glory is 
War and Dominion. Empire against Art. See 
Virgil's jEneid, lib. vi. v. 348. For every Pleasure 
Money is Useless. There are States in which All 
Visionary Men are accounted Mad Men. Such are 
Greece and Rome. Such is Empire or Tax. — 
See Luke ii. 1. 

The reference is where Joseph went ' to be taxed with Mary 
his espoused wife.' So ends the right half of the picture space. 
Turning to the left we read — 

Spiritual War. 

Israel delivered from Egypt is Art delivered from 
Nature and Imitation. 

A Poet, a Painter, a Musician, an Architect : the 
Man or Woman who is not one of these is not a 
Christian. Prayer is the Study of Art. Praise is the 
Practice of Art. Fasting, etc., all relate to Art. 
The outward Ceremony is Antichrist. You must 
leave Fathers and Mothers and Houses and Lands if 
they stand in the way of Art. 

The Eternal Body of Man is The Imagination. 
That is God himself, the Divine Body, yjj" Jesus. 
We are His members. 

It manifests itself in his Works of Art. (In 
Eternity All is Vision.) The true Christian Charity, 
not dependent on Money (the life's blood of Poor 
Families), that is on Caesar or Empire, or Natural 
Religion, Money which is the Great Satan, or Reason, 
the Root of Good and Evil in the Accusation of Sin. 

So end these fragments, unless — as is possible from the style 
of lettering — they really ended with the uppermost lines at the 
top of the page, ' Where any view of Money exists, Art cannot 
be carried on,' etc., down to ' and it grieved him at his heart,' 
which may have been scratched in afterwards, as a short 
line under this and above the title, ' The Angel of the Divine 
Presence, ' may indicate a termination. If so, the title was 
the true beginning. 



MILTON 

A Poem 

in Twelve Books 

'To Justify the "Ways of God to Men' 



The Author and Printer W. Blake 
1804 



(The above is Blake's title-page. The poem was reduced in 
volume from twelve books to two after the words were engraved.) 



437 



(2) 
Preface 

The Stolen and Perverted Writings of Homer and 
Ovid, of Plato and Cicero, which all Men ought to 
contemn, are set up by artifice against the Sublime of 
the Bible ; but when the New Age is at leisure to 
Pronounce, all will be set right, and those Grand 
Works of the more ancient and consciously and pro- 
fessedly Inspired Men will hold their proper rank ; and 
the Daughters of Memory shall become the Daughters 
of Inspiration. Shakspeare and Milton were both 
curb'd by the general malady and infection from the 
silly Greek and Latin slaves of the Sword. Rouze up, 
O Young Men of the New Age ! Set your foreheads 
against the ignorant Hirelings. For we have Hire- 
lings in the Camp, the Court, and the University, who 
would, if they could, for ever depress Mental and 
prolong Corporeal War. Painters ! on you I call. 
Sculptors ! Architects ! suffer not the fashionable 
Fools to depress your powers by the prices they 
pretend to give for contemptible works, or the ex- 
pensive advertizing boasts that they make of such 
works ; believe Christ and his Apostles that there is a 
Class of Men whose whole delight is in Destroying. 
We do not want either Greek or Roman Models if we 
are but just and true to our own Imaginations, those 
Worlds of Eternity in which we shall live for ever in 
Jesus our Lord. 

And did those feet in ancient time 
Walk upon England's mountains green, 
And was the holy Lamb of God 
On England's pleasant pastures seen ? 

439 



440 BLAKE'S POEMS 

And did the Countenance Divine 
Shine forth upon our clouded hills, 
And was Jerusalem builded here 
Among these dark Satanic Mills? 

Bring me my Bow of burning gold, 
Bring me my arrows of desire ; 
Bring me my spear : O clouds, unfold ! 
Bring me my Chariot of fire ! 

I will not cease from Mental Fight, 
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand, 
Till we have built Jerusalem 
In England's green and pleasant Land. 



Would to God that all the Lord's people were 
Prophets! — Numbers xi. 29. 



(») 
MILTON 

BOOK THE FIRST 

Daughters of Beulah ! Muses who inspire the Poet's 

Song, 
Record the journey of immortal Milton thro' your 

Realms 
Of terror and mild moony lustre, in soft sexual 

delusions 
Of varied beauty, to delight the wanderer and repose 
5 His burning thirst and freezing hunger ! Come into 

my hand 
By your mild power, descending down the Nerves of 

my right arm 
From out the Portals of my Brain, where by your 

ministry 
The Eternal Great Humanity Divine planted his 

Paradise, 
And in it caus'd the Spectres of the Dead to take 

sweet form 
10 In likeness of himself. Tell also of the False Tongue, 

vegetated 
Beneath your land of shadows : of its sacrifices and 
Its offerings ; even till Jesus, the image of the In- 
visible God, 
Became its prey ; a curse, an offering, and an atone- 
ment 
For Death Eternal, in the heavens of Albion, and 

before the Gates 
15 Of Jerusalem his Emanation, in the heavens beneath 

Beulah. 

441 



442 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Say first, what mov'd Milton, who walk'd about in 

Eternity 
One hundred years, pond'ring the intricate mazes of 

Providence ? 
Unhappy tho' in heav'n, he obey'd, he murmur 'd not, 

he was silent, 
Viewing his Sixfold Emanation scatter'd thro' the deep 
20 In torment, to go into the deep, her to redeem and 

himself perish. 
What cause at length mov'd Milton to this unexampled 

deed ? 
A Bard's prophetic Song .' for sitting at eternal tables, 
Terrific among the Sons of Albion, in chorus solemn 

and loud 
A Bard broke forth ! all sat attentive to the awful man. 

25 Mark well my words ; they are of your eternal 
salvation : 

Three Classes are Created by the Hammer of Los, and 
Woven 

<«) 
From Golgonooza, the spiritual, Four-fold London 

eternal, 
In immense labours and sorrows, ever building, ever 

falling 
Thro' Albion's four Forests, which overspread all the 

Earth 
From London Stone to Blackheath east ; to Hounslow 

west ; 
5 To Finchley north ; to Norwood south ; and the weights 
Of Enitharmon's Loom play lulling cadences on the 

winds of Albion 
From Caithness in the north to Lizard point and 

Dover in the south. 

Loud sounds the Hammer of Los and loud his Bellows 
is heard 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 443 

Before London to Hampstead's breadths and High- 
gate's heights, to 
10 Stratford and old Bow, and across to the Gardens of 
Kensington, 

On Tyburn's Brook ; loud groans Thames beneath the 
iron Forge 

Of Rintrah and Palamabron, of Theotorm and 
Bromion, to forge the instruments 

Of Harvest, the Plow and Harrow, to pass over the 
Nations. 

The Surrey hills glow like the clinkers of the furnace ; 

Lambeth's Vale, 
1 5 Where Jerusalem's foundations began, where they 

were laid in ruins, 
Where they were laid in ruins from every Nation, and 

Oak Groves rooted. 
Dark gleams before the Furnace-mouth a heap of 

burning ashes. 
When shall Jerusalem return and overspread all the 

Nations ? 
Return, return to Lambeth's Vale, O building of 

human souls. 
20 Thence stony Druid Temples overspread the Island 

white ; 
And thence from Jerusalem's ruins, from her wells of 

salvation 
And praise, thro' the whole Earth were rear'd, from 

Ireland 
To Mexico and Peru west, and east to China and 

Japan, till Babel, 
The Spectre of Albion, frown'd over the Nations in 

glory and war. 

25 All things begin and end in Albion's ancient Druid 

rocky shore ; 
But now the Starry Heavens are fled from the mighty 

limbs of Albion. 
Loud sounds the Hammer of Los, loud turn the 

Wheels of Enitharmon. 



444 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Her Looms vibrate with soft affections, weaving the 

Web of Life. 
Out from the ashes of the Dead, Los lifts his iron 

Ladles 
30 With molten ore ; he heaves the iron cliffs in his 

rattling chains 
From Hyde Park to the Alms-houses of Mile-end and 

old Bow. 
Here the Three Classes of Mortal Men take their fix'd 

destinations, 
And hence they overspread the Nations of the whole 

Earth, and hence 
The Web of Life is woven ; and the tender sinews of 

life created, 
35 And the Three Classes of Men regulated by Los's 

Hammer, and woven 

00 
By Enitharmon's Looms, and Spun beneath the 

Spindle of Tirzah. 
The first, The Elect from before the foundation of the 

World ; 
The second, The Redeemed ; The Third, The Reprobate, 

and form'd 

To destruction from the mother's womb : 

follow with me my plow. 

5 Of the first class was Satan, with incomparable mild- 
ness ; 

His primitive tyrannical attempts on Los, with most 
endearing love. 

He soft intreated Los to give to him Palamabron's 
station ; 

For Palamabron return'd with labour wearied every 
evening. 

Palamabron oft refus'd ; and as often Satan offer'd 
10 His service, till, by repeated offers and repeated 
intreaties, 

Los gave to him the Harrow of the Almighty ; alas, 
blamable. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 445 

Palamabron fear'd to be angry lest Satan should accuse 

him of 
Ingratitude, and Los beleive the accusation thro' 

Satan's extreme 
Mildness. Satan labour'd all day ; it was a thousand 

years. 
15 In the evening, returning terrified, overlabour'd and 

astonish' d, 
Embrac'd soft with a brother's tears Palamabron, who 

also wept. 

Mark well my words ! they are of your eternal salvation. 

Next morning Palamabron rose : the horses of the 

Harrow 
Were madden'd with tormenting fury, and the ser- 
vants of the Harrow, 
20 The Gnomes, accus'd Satan with indignation, fury, 

and fire. 
Then Palamabron, reddening like the Moon in an 

eclipse, 
Spoke, saying, You know Satan's mildness and his 

self-imposition ; 
Seeming a brother, being a tyrant, even thinking him- 
self a brother 
While he is murdering the just. Prophetic I behold 
25 His future course thro' darkness and despair to 

eternal death. 
But we must not be tyrants also ! he hath assum'd my 

place 
For one whole day, under pretence of pity and love 

to me. 
My horses hath he madden'd, and my fellow servants 

injur'd. 
How should he know the duties of another? O 

foolish forbearance, 
30 Would I had told Los all my heart ! but patience, O 

my friends, 
All may be well : silent remain, while I call Los and 

Satan, 



446 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Loud as the wind of Beulah that unroots the rocks 

and hills 
Palamabron call'd, and Los and Satan came before 

him ; 
And Palamabron shew'd the horses and the servants. 

Satan wept, 
35 And mildly cursing Palamabron, him accus'd of crimes 
Himself had wrought. Los trembled. Satan's blan- 
dishments almost 
Perswaded the Prophet of Eternity that Palamabron 
Was Satan's enemy, and that the Gnomes, being 

Palamabron' s friends, 
Were leagued together against Satan thro' ancient 

enmity. 
40 What could Los do? how could he judge, when 

Satan's self believ'd 
That he had not oppres'd the horses of the Harrow 

nor the servants ? 

So Los said : Henceforth, Palamabron, let each his 

own station 
Keep ; nor in pity false, nor in officious brotherhood, 

where 
None needs be active. Meantime Palamabron's horses 
45 Rag'd with thick flames redundant, and the Harrow 

madden'd with fury. 
Trembling Palamabron stood ; the strongest of Demons 

trembled, 
Curbing his living creatures : many of the strongest 

Gnomes 
They bit in their wild fury, who also madden'd like 

wildest beasts. 

49 Mark well my words ; they are of your eternal salvation. 

(6) 
Mean while wept Satan before Los, accusing Palam- 
abron, 
Himself exculpating with mildest speech, for himself 
believ'd 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 447 

That he had not oppress'd nor injur'd the refractory 
servants. 

But Satan, returning to his Mills (for Palamabron had 

serv'd 
5 The Mills of Satan as the easier task), found all con- 
fusion, 
And back return'd to Los, not fill'd with vengeance, 

but with tears, 
Himself convinc'd of Palamabron's turpitude. Los 

beheld 
The servants of the Mills drunken with wine, and 

dancing wild, 
With shouts and Palamabron's songs, rending the 

forests green 
10 With echoing confusion, tho' the Sun was risen on 

high. 

Then Los took off his left sandal, placing it on his head, 
Signal of solemn mourning. When the servants of the 

Mills 
Beheld the signal, they in silence stood, tho' drunk 

with wine. 
Los wept ! But Rintrah also came, and Enitharmon on 
15 His arm lean'd tremblingly, observing all these things. 

And Los said : Ye Genii of the Mills, the Sun is on high ; 

Your labours call you. Palamabron is also in sad 
dilemma : 

His horses are mad, his Harrow confounded, his 
companions enrag'd. 

Mine is the fault ! I should have remember'd that pity , 
divides the soul, 
20 And man unmans. Follow with me my Plow : this 
mournful day 

Must be a blank in Nature; follow with me, and 
to-morrow again 

Resume your labours, and this day shall be a mourn- 
ful day. 



448 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Wildly they follow'd Los and Rintrah, and the Mills 

were silent. 
They mourn'd all day this mournful day of Satan and 

Palamabron ; 
25 And all the Elect and all the Redeem'd mourn'd one 

toward another 
Upon the mountains of Albion, among the cliffs of the 

Dead. 

They Plow'd in tears ! incessant pour'd Jehovah's 

ruin ; and Molech, 
Thick fires contending with the rain, thunder'd above, 

rolling 
Terrible over their heads ; Satan wept over Palamabron ; 
3° Theotormon and Bromion contended on the side of 

Satan, 
Pitying his youth and beauty, trembling at eternal 

death. 
Michael contended against Satan in the rolling 

thunder ; 
Thulloh, the friend of Satan, also reprov'd him ; 

faint their reproof. 

But Rintrah, who is of the reprobate, of those form'd 

to destruction, 
35 In indignation, for Satan's soft dissimulation of 

friendship 
Flam'd above all the plowed furrows, angry, red, and 

furious, 
Till Michael sat down in the furrow, weary, dissolv'd 

in tears. 
Satan, who drave the team, beside him stood, angry 

and red ; 
He smote Thulloh, and slew him ; and he stood 

terrible over Michael, 
40 Urging him to arise : he wept : Enitharmon saw his 

tears ; 
But Los hid Thulloh from her sight, lest she should 

die of grief, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 449 

She wept : she trembled : she kissed Satan : she wept 

over Michael : 
She form'd a Space for Satan and Michael, and for the 

poor infected ; 
Trembling she wept over the Space, and clos'd it with 

a tender Moon. 

45 Los secret buried Thulloh, weeping disconsolate over 
the moony Space. 

But Palamabron called down a Great Solemn Assembly, 
That he who will not defend Truth may be compelled to 
48 Defend a Lie, that he may be snared and caught and 
taken. 

(?) 

And all Eden descended into Palamabron's tent, 
Among Albion's Druids and Bards : in the caves 

beneath Albion's 
Death Couch ; in the caverns of death, in the corner 

of the Atlantic. 
And in the midst of the Great Assembly Palamabron 

pray'd : 
5 O God, protect me from my friends, that they have not 

power over me. 
Thou hast giv'n me power to protect myself from my 

bitterest enemies. 

Mark well my words, they are of your eternal salvation. 

Then rose the Two Witnesses, Rintrah and Palamabron. 
And Palamabron appeal'd to all Eden, and reciev'd 
10 Judgment : and Lo ! it fell on Rintrah and his rage, 
Which now flam'd high and furious in Satan against 

Palamabron, 
Till it became a proverb in Eden, Satan is among the 

Reprobate. 

Los in his wrath curs'd heaven and earth ; he rent up 

Nations, 

VOL. I. 2 F 



450 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Standing on Albion's rocks among high-rear'd Druid 

temples 
15 Which reach the stars of heaven, and stretch from 

pole to pole. 
He displac'd continents; the oceans fled before his 

face. 
He alter'd the poles of the world, east, west, and 

north and south ; 
But he clos'd up Enitharmon from the sight of all 

these things. 

For Satan, flaming with Rintrah's fury hidden beneath 

his own mildness, 
20 Accus'd Palamabron before the Assembly ofingratitude, 

of malice. 
He created Seven deadly Sins, drawing out his infernal 

scroll 
Of Moral laws and cruel punishments upon the clouds 

of Jehovah, 
To pervert the Divine voice in its entrance to the 

earth, 
With thunder of war and trumpets' sound, with 

armies of disease; 
2 5 Punishments and deaths muster'd and number'd : 

Saying, I am God alone ; 
There is no other : let all obey my principles of 

moral individuality. 
I have brought them from the uppermost, innermost 

recesses 
Of my Eternal Mind : transgressors I will rend off for 

ever, 
As now I rend this accursed Family from my covering. 

30 Thus Satan rag'd amidst the Assembly, and his bosom 

grew 
Opake against the Divine vision ; the paved terraces of 
His bosom inwards shone with fires ; but the stones 

becoming opake, 
Hid him from sight in an extreme blackness and 

darkness, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 451 

And there a World of deeper Ulro was open'd in the 
midst 
35 Of the Assembly. In Satan's bosom a vast unfathom- 
able Abyss. 

Astonishment held the Assembly in an awful silence, 
and tears 

Fell down as dews of night, and a loud, solemn, 
universal groan 

Was utter'd from the east and from the west and from 
the south 

And from the north ; and Satan stood opake, im- 
measurable, 
4° Covering the east with solid blackness round his 
hidden heart, 

With thunders utter'd from his hidden wheels, accus- 
ing loud 

The Divine Mercy for protecting Palamabron in his 
tent. 

Rintrah rear'd up walls of rock, and pour'd rivers and 
moats 

Of fire round the walls : columns of fire guard around 
45 Between Satan and Palamabron in the terrible dark- 
ness. 

And Satan, not having the Science of Wrath, but only 

of Pity, 
Rent them asunder, and wrath was left to wrath, and 

pity to pity. 
He sunk down a dreadful Death, unlike the slumbers 

of Beulah. 

The Separation was terrible : the Dead was repos'd on 
his Couch, 
So Beneath the Couch of Albion, on the seven mountains 
of Rome, 
In the whole place of the Covering Cherub, Rome, 
Babylon, and Tyre ; 
5 2 His Spectre, raging furious, descended into its Space. 



452 BLAKE'S POEMS 

(9) 

He set his face against Jerusalem to destroy the Eon 

of Albion, 
But Los hid Enitharmon from the sight of all these 

things 
Upon the Thames, whose lulling harmony repos'd her 

soul, 
Where Beulah lovely terminates in rocky Albion, 
5 Terminating in Hyde Park, on Tyburn's awful brook. 

And the Mills of Satan were separated into a moony 

Space 
Among the rocks of Albion's Temples, and Satan's 

Druid Sons 
Offer the Human Victims throughout all the Earth ; 

and Albion's 
Dread Tomb, immortal on his Rock, overshadowed the 

whole Earth ; 
io Where Satan, making to himself Laws from his own 

identity, 
Compell'd others to serve him in moral gratitude and 

submission, 
Being call'd God, setting himself above all that is 

called God. 
And all the Spectres of the Dead, calling themselves 

Sons of God, 
In his Synagogues worship Satan under the Unutter- 
able Name. 

*5 And it was enquir'd : Why in a Great Solemn Assembly 
The Innocent should be condemn'd for the Guilty ? 

Then an Eternal rose, 
Saying : If the Guilty should be condemn'd, he must 

be an Eternal Death, 
And one must die for another throughout all Eternity. 
Satan is fall'n from his station, and never can be 

redeem'd, 
ao But must be new created continually, moment by 

moment, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 453 

And therefore the Class of Satan shall be call'd the 
Elect, and those 

Of Rintrah the Reprobate, and those of Palamabron 
the Redeem'd, 

For he is redeem'd from Satan's Law, the wrath fall- 
ing on Rintrah, 

And therefore Palamabron dared not to call a solemn 
Assembly 
25 Till Satan had assum'd Rintrah's wrath in the day of 
mourning, 

In a feminine delusion of false pride, self-deciev'd. 

So spake the Eternal, and confirm'd it with a 
thunderous oath. 

But when Leutha (a Daughter of Beulah) beheld 

Satan's condemn, 
She down descended into the midst of the Great 

Solemn Assembly, 
30 Offering herself a Ransom for Satan, taking on her 

his Sin. 

Mark well my words, they are of your eternal salva- 
tion. 

And Leutha stood glowing with varying colours, im- 
mortal, heart-piercing, 

And lovely ; and her moth-like elegance shone over 
the Assembly. 

At length, standing upon the golden floor of Palam- 
abron, 
35 She spake : I am the Author of this Sin ; by my 
suggestion 
My Parent power Satan has committed this trans- 
gression. 
I loved Palamabron, and I sought to approach his Tent, 
38 But beautiful Elynittria, with her silver arrows, 
repell'd me, 



454 BLAKE'S POEMS 

(10) 

For her light is terrible to me. I fade before her im- 
mortal beauty. 
O wherefore doth a Dragon-form forth issue from my 

limbs 
To sieze her new-born son ? Ah me ! the wretched 

Leutha ! 
This to prevent, entering the doors of Satan's brain 

night after night, 
5 Like sweet perfumes, I stupified the masculine per- 
ceptions, 
And kept only the feminine awake ; hence rose his soft 
Delusory love to Palamabron ; admiration join'd with 

envy; 
Cupidity unconquerable ! my fault, when at noon of 

day 
The Horses of Palamabron call'd for rest and pleasant 

death. 
IO I sprang out of the breast of Satan, over the Harrow 

beaming, 
In all my beauty ; that I might unloose the flaming 

steeds 
As Elynittria used to do : but too well those living 

creatures 
Knew that I was not Elynittria, and they broke the 

traces, 
But me the servants of the Harrow saw not ; but as a 

bow 
IS Of varying colours on the hills, terribly rag'd the 

horses. 
Satan, astonish'd, and with power above his own 

control, 
Compell'd the Gnomes to curb the horses, and to 

throw banks of sand 
Around the fiery flaming Harrow in labyrinthine forms, 
And brooks between to intersect the meadows in their 

course. 
20 The Harrow cast thick flames ; Jehovah thunder'd 

above ; 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 455 

Chaos and ancient night fled from beneath the fiery 

Harrow : 
The Harrow cast thick flames, and orb'd us round in 

concave fires, 
A Hell of our own making : see, its flames still gird 

me round. 
Jehovah thunder'd above : Satan, in pride of 

heart, 
2 5 Drove the fierce Harrow among the constellations of 

Jehovah, 
Drawing a third part in the fires, as stubble north and 

south, 
To devour Albion and Jerusalem, the Emanation of 

Albion ; 
Driving the Harrow in Pity's path : 'twas then, with 

our dark fires, 
Which now gird round us (O eternal torment !), I 

form'd the Serpent 
30 Of precious stones and gold, turn'd poisons on the 

sultry wastes. 
The Gnomes in all that day spar'd not ; they curs'd 

Satan bitterly. 
To do unkind things in kindness, with power arm'd ; 

to say 
The most irritating things in the midst of tears and 

love — 
These are the stings of the Serpent ! thus did we by 

them ; till thus 
35 They in return retaliated, and the Living Creatures 

madden'd, 
The Gnomes labour'd. I, weeping, hid in Satan's 

inmost brain ; 
But when the Gnomes refus'd to labour more, with 

blandishments 
I came forth from the head of Satan : back the Gnomes 

recoil'd, 
And call'd me Sin, and for a sign portentous held me. 

Soon 
40 Day sunk, and Palamabron return'd ; trembling I 

hid myself 



456 BLAKE'S POEMS 

In Satan's inmost Palace of his nervous, fine-wrought 
brain : 

For Elynittria met Satan with all her singing women. 

Terrific in their joy, and pouring wine of wildest 
power, 

They gave Satan their wine : indignant at the burn- 
ing wrath, 
45 Wild with prophetic fury, his former life became like 
a dream, 

Cloth'd in the Serpent's folds, in selfish holiness de- 
manding purity ; 

Being most impure, self-condemn'd to eternal tears, 
he drove 

Me from his inmost Brain, and the doors clos'd with 
thunder's sound. 

Divine Vision, who didst create the Female, to 

repose 
5° The Sleepers of Beulah : pity the repentant Leutha. My 

(11) 

Sick Couch bears the dark shades of Eternal Death, 

infolding 
The Spectre of Satan : he, furious, refuses to repose in 

sleep. 

1 humbly bow in all my Sin before the Throne Divine. 
Not so the Sick-one. Alas, what shall be done him to 

restore ? 
5 Who calls the Individual Law Holy, and despises the 
Saviour, 
Glorying to involve Albion's Body in fires of eternal 
War? 

Now Leutha ceas'd ; tears flow'd ; but the Divine 
Pity supported her. 

All is my fault. We are the Spectre of Luvah, the 

murderer 
Of Albion. O Vala ! O Luvah ! O Albion ! O lovely 

Jerusalem ! 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 457 

i° The Sin was begun in Eternity, and will not rest to 
Eternity, 
Till two Eternitys meet together. Ah ! lost ! lost ! 
lost for ever ! 

So Leutha spake. But when she saw that Enitharmon 

had 
Created a New Space to protect Satan from punish- 
ment, 
She fled to Enitharmon's Tent and hid herself. Loud 

raging 
15 Thunder'd the Assembly, dark and clouded, and they 

ratify'd 
The kind decision of Enitharmon, and gave a Time to 

the Space, 
Even Six Thousand years, and sent Lucifer for its 

Guard : 
But Lucifer refus'd to die, and in pride he forsook his 

charge ; 
And they elected Molech ; and when Molech was 

impatient, 
20 The Divine hand found the Two Limits, first of 

Opacity, then of Contraction. 
Opacity was named Satan, Contraction was named 

Adam. 
Triple Elohim came : Elohim, wearied, fainted : they 

elected Shaddai. 
Shaddai angry, Pahad descended : Pahad terrified, 

they sent Jehovah, 
And Jehovah was leprous : loud he call'd, stretching 

his hand to Eternity ; 
25 For then the Body of Death was perfected in hypocritic 

holiness. 
Around the Lamb, a Female Tabernacle woven in 

Cathedron's Looms. 
He died as a Reprobate ; he was Punish'd as a 

Transgressor. 
Glory ! Glory ! Glory to the Holy Lamb of God. 
I touch the heavens as an instrument to glorify the 

Lord ! 



458 BLAKE'S POEMS 

3° The Elect shall meet the Redeem'd ; on Alhion's 

rocks they shall meet, 
Astonish'd at the Transgressor, in him beholding the 

Saviour. 
And the Elect shall say to the Redeem'd, We behold 

it is of Divine 
Mercy alone ! of Free Gift and Election that we live. 
Our Virtues and Cruel Goodnesses have deserv'd 

Eternal Death. 
35 Thus they weep upon the fatal Brook of Albion's River. 

But Elynittria met Leutha in the place where she was 

hidden, 
And threw aside her arrows, and laid down her 

sounding Bow ; 
She sooth'd her with soft words, and brought her to 

Palamabron's bed, 
In moments new created for delusion, interwoven 

round about. 
4° In dreams she bore the shadowy Spectre of Sleep, and 

nam'd him Death. 
In dreams she bore Rahab, the mother of Tirzah, and 

her sisters, 
In Lambeth's vales, in Cambridge and in Oxford, 

places of Thought, 
Intricate labyrinths of Times and Spaces unknown, 

that Leutha lived 
In Palamabron's Tent, and Oothoon was her charming 

guard. 

45 The Bard ceas'd. All consider'd, and a loud, resound- 
ing murmur 

Continu'd round the Halls ; and much they question'd 
the immortal, 

Loud voic'd Bard ; and many condemn'd the high- 
toned Song, 

Saying, Pity and Love are too venerable for the im- 
putation 

Of Guilt. Others said : If it is true, if the acts have 
been performed, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 459 

5° Let the Bard himself witness. Where hadst thou this 
terrible Song ? 

The Bard replied : I am inspired ! I know it is Truth ! 
for I Sing 

(12) 

According to the inspiration of the Poetic Genius, 
Who is the eternal, all-protecting Divine Humanity, 
To whom be Glory and Power and Dominion Evermore. 
Amen. 

Then there was great murmuring in the Heavens of 

Albion 
5 Concerning Generation and the Vegetative power, and 

concerning 
The Lamb, the Saviour. Albion trembled to Italy, 

Greece, and Egypt, 
To Tartary, and Hindostan and China, and to Great 

America, 
Shaking the roots and fast foundations of the Earth 

in doubtfulness. 
The loud voic'd Bard, terrify'd, took refuge in 

Milton's bosom. 

io Then Milton rose up from the heavens of Albion 

ardorous. 
The whole Assembly wept prophetic, seeing in Milton's 

face 
And in his lineaments divine the shades of Death and 

Ulro; 
He took off the robe of the promise, and unguarded 

himself from the oath of God. 

And Milton said, I go to Eternal Death ! The Nations 

still 
15 Follow after the detestable Gods of Priam, in pomp 
Of warlike selfhood, contradicting and blaspheming. 
When will the Resurrection come, to deliver the 

sleeping body 



460 BLAKE'S POEMS 

From corruptibility ? O when, Lord Jesus, wilt thou 

come ? 
Tarry no longer, for my soul lies at the gates of death. 
20 I will arise and look forth for the morning of the grave. 
I will go down to the sepulcher to see if morning 

breaks. 
I will go down to self-annihilation and eternal death, 
Lest the Last Judgment come and find me unannihilate, 
And 1 be siez'd and giv'n into the hands of my own 

Selfhood. 
25 The Lamb of God is seen thro' mists and shadows 

hov'ring 
Over the sepulchers in clouds of Jehovah and winds 

of Elohim, 
A disk of blood, distant, and heav'ns and earths roll 

dark between. 
What do I here before the Judgment, without my 

Emanation ? 
With the daughters of memory, and not with the 

daughters of inspiration ? 
3° I in my Selfhood am that Satan : I am that Evil One ! 
He is my Spectre ! in my obedience to loose him from 

my Hells, 
To claim the Hells, my Furnaces, I go to Eternal 

Death. 

And Milton said, I go to Eternal Death. Eternity 

shudder'd ; 
For he took the outside course, among the graves of 

the dead, 
35 A mournful shade. Eternity shudder'd at the image 

of eternal death. 

Then on the verge of Bsulah he beheld his own 
Shadow, 

A mournful form, double, hermaphroditic, male and 
female 

In one wonderful body, and he enter'd into it 

In direful pain, for the dread shadow, twenty-seven- 
fold, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 461 

40 Reach'd to the depths of direst Hell, and thence to 
Albion's land, 
Which is this earth of vegetation on which now I 
write. 

42 The Seven Angels of the Presence wept over Milton's 
Shadow. 

(14) 

As when a man dreams, he reflects not that his body 

sleeps, 
Else he would wake : so seem'd he entering his 

Shadow, but 
With him the Spirits of the Seven Angels of the 

Presence 
Entering; they gave him still perceptions of his 

Sleeping Body, 
2 Which now arose and walk'd with them in Eden, as 

an Eighth 
Image, Divine, tho' darken'd ; and tho' walking as one 

walks 
In sleep; and the Seven comforted and supported him. 

Like as a Polypus that vegetates beneath the deep, 
They saw his Shadow vegetated underneath the Couch 
10 Of death, for when he enter'd into his Shadow, Him- 
self, 
His real and immortal Self, was as appear'd to those 
Who dwell in immortality, as One sleeping on a couch 
Of gold ; and those in immortality gave forth their 

Emanations 
Like Females of sweet beauty, to guard round him and 
to feed 
j His lips with food of Eden in his cold and dim repose; 
But to himself he seem'd a wanderer lost in dreary 
night. 

Onwards his Shadow kept its course among the 
Spectres, call'd 



462 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Satan, but swift as lightning passing them : startled, 

the shades 
Of Hell beheld him in a trail of light as of a comet 
20 That travels into Chaos : so Milton went guarded 

within. 

The nature of infinity is this : That every thing has its 
Own Vortex; and when once a traveller thro' Eternity 
Has pass'd that Vortex, he percieves it roll backward 

behind 
His path, into a globe itself infolding, like a sun, 
25 Or like a moon, or like a universe of starry majesty, 
While he keeps onwards in his wondrous journey on 

the earth, 
Or like a human form, a friend with whom he liv'd 

benevolent, 
As the eye of man views both the east and west, 

encompassing 
Its vortex ; and the north and south, with all their 

starry host ; 
3° Also the rising sun and setting moon he views, sur- 
rounding 
His corn-fields and his valleys of five hundred acres 

square. 
Thus is the earth one infinite plane, and not as 

apparent 
To the weak traveller, confin'd beneath the moony 

shade. 
Thus is the heaven a vortex pass'd already, and the 

earth 
35 A vortex not yet pass'd by the traveller thro' Eternity. 

First Milton saw Albion upon the Rock of Ages, 
Deadly pale, outstretch'd, and snowy cold, storm 

cover'd ; 
A Giant form of perfect beauty, outstretch'd on the 

rock, 
In solemn death, the Sea of Time and Space thunder'd 

aloud 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 468 

4° Against the rock, which was inwrapped with the 

weeds of death. 
Hovering over the cold bosom, in its vortex, Milton 

bent down 
To the bosom of death. What was underneath soon 

seem'd above ; 
A cloudy heaven mingled with stormy seas in loudest 

ruin ; 
But as a wintry globe descends precipitant thro' 

Beulah bursting, 
45 With thunders loud and terrible, so Milton's shadow 

fell 
Precipitant, loud thund'ring, into the Sea of Time and 

Space. 

Then first I saw him in the Zenith as a falling star, 
Descending perpendicular, swift as the swallow or 

swift ; 
And on my left foot falling on the tarsus, enter'd there ; 
50 But from my left foot a black cloud redounding, spread 

over Europe. 

Then Milton knew that the Three Heavens of Beulah 
were beheld 
52 By him on earth in his bright pilgrimage of sixty years. 

(15) 

This page contains only a picture of the spiritual form of 
Milton struggling iviih Urizen, and giving him life. Under 
the picture is written — 

To Annihilate the Self-hood of Deceit and False 
Forgiveness. 

(16) 

In the three females whom his wives, and these three 

whom his daughters 
Had represented and contain'd, that they might be 

resum'd 
By giving up of Selfhood ; and they distant view'd his 

journey 



464 BLAKE'S POEMS 

In their eternal spheres, now Human, tho' their 

Bodies remain clos'd 
5 In the dark Ulro till the Judgment; also Milton 

knew : they and 
Himself was Human, tho' now wandering thro' Death's 

Vale 
In conflict with those Female forms, which in blood 

and jealousy 
Surrounded him, dividing and uniting without end or 

number. 

He saw the Cruelties of Ulro, and he wrote them down 
10 In iron tablets ; and his Wives' and Daughters' names 

were these : 
Rahab and Tirzah, and Milcah and Malah, and Noah 

and Hoglah. 
They sat rang'd round him as the rocks of Horeb round 

the land 
Of Canaan ; and they wrote in thunder, smoke, and fire 
His dictate; and his body was the Rock Sinai, that body 
15 Which was on earth born to corruption ; and the six 

Females 
Are Hor and Peor, and Bashan and Abarim, and 

Lebanon and Hermon, 
Seven rocky masses terrible in the Desarts of Midian. 

But Milton's Human Shadow continu'd journeying 

above 
The rocky masses of The Mundane Shell ; in the Lands 
20 Of Edom and Aram, and Moab and Midian and Amalek. 

The Mundane Shell is a vast Concave Earth, an im- 
mense 

Harden'd shadow of all things upon our Vegetated 
Earth, 

Enlarg'd into dimension and deform'd into indefinite 
space, 

In Twenty-seven Heavens and all their Hells, with 
Chaos 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 465 

25 And Ancient Night and Purgatory. It is a cavernous 

Earth 
Of labyrinthine intricacy, twenty-seven folds of 

opakeness, 
And finishes where the lark mounts : here Milton 

journeyed 
In that region call'd Midian, among the rocks of 

Horeb, 
For travellers from Eternity pass outward to Satan's 

seat, 
30 But travellers to Eternity pass inward to Golgonooza. 

Los, the Vehicular terror, beheld him, and divine 

Enitharmon 
Call'd all her daughters, saying, Surely to unloose my 

bond 
Is this Man come ! Satan shall be unloos'd upon 

Albion. 

Los heard in terror Enitharmon's words : in fibrous 

strength 
35 His limbs shot forth like roots of trees against the 

forward path 
Of Milton's journey. Urizen beheld the immortal Man, 

(17) 

And he also darken'd his brows, freezing dark rocks 

between 
The footsteps, and infixing deep the feet in marble 

beds, 
That Milton labour'd with his journey, and his feet 

bled sore 
Upon the clay now chang'd to marble ; also Urizen rose 
5 And met him on the shores of Arnon, and by the 

streams of the brooks. 

Silent they met, and silent strove among the streams 

of Arnon, 
Even to Mahanaim, when with cold hand Urizen 

stoop'd down 

vol. 1. 2 G 



466 BLAKE'S POEMS 

And took up water from the river Jordan, pouring on 

To Milton's brain the icy fluid from his broad cold palm. 

10 But Milton took of the red clay of Succoth, moulding 

it with care 
Between his palms, and filling up the furrows of 

many years, 
Beginning at the feet of Urizen ; and on the bones 
Creating new flesh on the Demon cold, and building 

him, 
As with new clay, a Human form in the Valley of 

Beth Peor. 

15 Four Universes round the Mundane Egg remain 

Chaotic, 
One to the North named Urthona ; One to the South 

named Urizen ; 
One to the East named Luvah ; One to the West 

named Tharmas : 
They are the Four Zoas that stood around the Throne 

Divine. 
But when Luvah assum'd the World of Urizen to the 

South, 
20 And Albion was slain upon his mountains and in his 

tent, 
All fell towards the Center in dire ruin, sinking down, 
And in the South remains a burning fire, in the East 

a void, 
In the West a world of raging waters, in the North a 

solid, 
Unfathomable, without end. But in the midst of these 
25 Is built eternally the Universe of Los and Enitharmon, 
Towards which Milton went ; but Urizen oppos'd his 

path. 

The Man and Demon strove many periods. Rahab 

beheld 
Standing on Carmel : Rahab and Tirzah trembled to 

behold 
The enormous strife, one giving life, the other giving 

death 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 467 

30 To his adversary ; and they sent forth all their sons 
and daughters, 
In all their beauty, to entice Milton across the river. 

The Twofold form Hermaphroditic, and the Double- 

sexed : 
The Female-male and the Male-female, self-dividing, 

stood 
Before him in their beauty, and in cruelties of holiness, 
35 Shining in darkness, glorious upon the deeps of 

Entuthon, 

Saying, Come thou to Ephraim ! behold the Kings of 

Canaan ! 
The beautiful Amalekites ! behold the fires of youth 
Bound with the Chain of Jealousy by Los and Eni- 

tharmon : 
The banks of Cam, cold learning's streams : London's 

dark frowning towers, 
40 Lament upon the winds of Europe in Rephaim's Vale, 
Because Ahania rent apart into a desolate night 
Laments, and Enion wanders like a weeping, in- 
articulate voice, 
And Vala labours for her bread and water among the 

Furnaces. 
Therefore bright Tirzah triumphs, putting on all 

beauty 
45 And all perfection, in her cruel sports among the 

Victims. 
Come bring with thee Jerusalem, with songs on the 

Grecian Lyre ! 
In Natural Religion, in experiments on Men. 
Let her be Offer'd up to Holiness. Tirzah numbers her : 
She numbers with her fingers every fibre ere it grow. 
5 o Where is the Lamb of God ? where is the promise of 

his coming? 
Her shadowy Sisters form the bones, even the bones 

of Horeb 
Around the marrow, and the orbed skull round the 

brain. 



468 BLAKE'S POEMS 

His Images are born for War, for Sacrifice to Tirzah, 
To Natural Religion ; to Tirzah, the Daughter of 

llahab the Holy. 
55 She ties the knot of nervous fibres into a white brain : 
She ties the knot of bloody veins into a red hot heart. 
Within her bosom Albion lies embalm'd, never to 

awake. 
Hand is become a rock : Sinai and Horeb is Hyle and 

Coban : 
Scofield is bound in iron armour before Reuben's 

Gate. 
60 She ties the knot of milky seed into two lovely Heavens. 



(18) 

Two, yet but one ; each in the other sweet reflected ; 

these 
Are our Three Heavens beneath the shades of Beulah, 

land of rest. 
Come then to Ephraim and Manasseh, O beloved-one ! 
Come to my ivory palaces, O beloved of thy mother ! 
5 And let us bind thee in the bands of War, and be 

thou King 
Of Canaan, and reign in Hazor, where the Twelve 

Tribes meet. 

So spoke they as in one voice ! Silent Milton stood 

before 
The darken'd Urizen, as the sculptor silent stands before 
His forming image : he walks round it patient, 

labouring. 
10 Thus Milton stood, forming bright Urizen, while his 

Mortal part 
Sat frozen in the rock of Horeb ; and his Redeemed 

portion 
Thus form'd the Clay of Urizen ; but within that portion 
His real Human walk'd above in power and majesty, 
Tho' darken'd, and the Seven Angels of the Presence 

attended him. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 469 

IS O how can I with my gross tongue that cleaveth to 

the dust, 
Tell of the Fourfold Man, in starry numbers fitly 

order'd, 
Or how can I with my cold hand of clay ? But thou, O 

Lord, 
Do with me as thou wilt ! for I am nothing, and vanity, 
If thou chuse to elect a worm, it shall remove the 

mountains, 
20 For that portion nam'd the Elect : the Spectrous body 

of Milton 
Redounding from my left foot into Los's Mundane 

space, 
Brooded over his Body in Horeb against the Resur- 
rection, 
Preparing it for the Great Consummation : red the 

Cherub on Sinai 
Glow'd, but in terrors folded round his clouds of blood. 

25 Now Albion's sleeping Humanity began to turn upon 

his Couch, 
Feeling the electric flame of Milton's awful precipitate 

descent. 
See'st thou the little winged fly, smaller than a grain 

of sand ? 
It has a heart like thee, a brain open to heaven and 

hell, 
With inside wondrous and expansive, its gates are 

not clos'd. 
30 I hope thine are not. Hence it clothes itself in rich 

array : 
Hence thou art cloth'd with human beauty, O thou 

mortal man. 
Seek not thy heavenly father then beyond the skies : 
There Chaos dwells and ancient Night and Og and 

Anak old : 
For every human heart has gates of brass and bars of 

adamant, 
35 Which few dare unbar because dread Og and Anak 

guard the gates 



470 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Terrific ; and each mortal brain is wall'd and moated 

round 
Within : and Og and Anak watch here : here is the Seat 
Of Satan in its Webs; for in brain and heart and 

loins, 
Gates open behind Satan's Seat to the City of Gol- 

gonooza, 
4° Which is spiritual, fourfold London, in the loins of 

Albion. 

Thus Milton fell thro' Albion's heart, travelling out- 
side of Humanity, 

Beyond the Stars, in Chaos, in Caverns of the Mun- 
dane Shell. 

But many of the Eternals rose up from eternal tables 
Drunk with the Spirit ; burning round the Couch of 

death they stood, 
45 ^ooking down into Beulah : wrathful, fill'd with rage, 
They rend the heavens round the Watchers in a fiery 

circle, 
And round the Shadowy Eighth : the Eight close up 

the Couch 
Into a tabernacle, and flee with cries down to the 

Deeps, 
Where Los opens his three wide gates, surrounded by 

raging fires ; 
5° They soon find their own place, and join the Watchers 

of the Ulro. 

Los saw them, and a cold, pale horror cover'd o'er his 

limbs ; 
Pondering, he knew that Rintrah and Palamabron 

might depart 
Even as Reuben and as Gad, gave up himself to tears; 
He sat down on his anvil-stock, and lean'd upon the 

trough, 
55 Looking into the black water, mingling it with tears. 

At last, when desperation almost tore his heart in twain, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 471 

He recollected an old Prophecy in Eden recorded, 
And often sung- to the loud harp at the immortal feasts, 
That Milton of the Land of Albion should up ascend, 
60 Forwards from Ulro, from the Vale of Felpham, and 

set free 
Ore from his Chain of Jealousy ; he started at the 

thought, 

(19) 

And down descended into Udan-Adan : it was night : 
And Satan sat sleeping upon his Couch in Udan Adan: 
His Spectre slept, his Shadow woke : when one sleeps 
th' other wakes. 

But Milton entering my Foot, I saw in the nether 
5 Regions of the Imagination ; also all men on Earth, 
And all in Heaven, saw in the nether regions of the 

Imagination, 
In Ulro beneath Beulah, the vast breach of Milton's 

descent. 
But I knew not that it was Milton, for man cannot 

know 
What passes in his members till periods of Space and 

Time 
10 Reveal the secrets of Eternity : for more extensive 
Than any other earthly things, are Man's earthly 

lineaments. 

And all this Vegetable World appear'd on my left 

Foot, 
As a bright sandal form'd immortal of precious stones 

and gold. 
I stooped down and bound it on to walk forward thro' 

Eternity. 

15 There is in Eden a sweet River of milk and liquid 
pearl 
Nam'd Ololon, on whose mild banks dwelt those who 
Milton drove 



472 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Down into Ulro, and they wept in long resounding 

song 
For seven days of eternity, and the river's living banks, 
The mountains wailed, and every plant that grew in 

solemn sighs lamented. 

20 When Luvah's bulls each morning drag the sulphur 

Sun out of the Deep, 
Harnessed with starry harness black and shining, 

kept by black slaves 
That work all night at the starry harness. Strong 

and vigorous, 
They drag the unwilling Orb. At this time all the 

Family 
Of Eden heard the lamentation, and Providence 

began ; 
25 But when the clarions of day sounded, they di-own'd 

the lamentations ; 
And when night came all was silent in Ololon, and 

all refus'd to lament 
In the still night, fearing lest they should others 

molest. 

Seven mornings Los heard them, as the poor bird 

within the shell 
Hears its impatient oarent bird ; and Enitharmon heard 

them 
3° But saw them not, for the blue Mundane Shell 

inclos'd them in. 

And they lamented that they had in wrath and fury 

and fire 
Driven Milton into the Ulro, for now they knew too 

late 
That it was Milton the Awakener. They had not 

heard the Bard, 
Whose song call'd Milton to the attempt ; and Los 

heard these laments. 
35 He heard them call in prayer all the Divine Family, 
And he beheld the Cloud of Milton stretching over 

Europe. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 473 

But all the Family Divine collected as Four Suns 

In the Four Points of heaven — East, West, and North 

and South — 
Enlarging and enlarging till their Disks approach'd 

each other ; 
4° And when they touch'd, closed together Southward in 

One Sun 
Over Ololon ; and as One Man, who weeps over his 

brother 
In a dark tomb, so all the Family Divine wept over 

Ololon, 

Saying, Milton goes to Eternal Death : so saying, 

they groan'd in spirit 
And were troubled ; and again the Divine Family 

groan'd in spirit. 

45 And Ololon said, Let us descend also, and let us give 
Ourselves to death in Ulro, among the Transgressors. 
Is Virtue a Punisher ? O no ! how is this wondrous 

thing, 
This World beneath, unseen before, this refuge from 

the wars 
Of Great Eternity ! unnatural refuge ! unknown by 

us till now ? 
5° Or are these the pangs of repentance ? let us enter 

into them. 

Then the Divine Family said, Six Thousand Years are 

now 
Accomplished in this World of Sorrow. Milton's 

Angel knew 
The Universal Dictate, and you also feel this Dictate. 
And now you know this World of Sorrow, and feel 

Pity. Obey 
55 The Dictate ! Watch over this World, and with your 

brooding wings 
Renew it to Eternal Life. Lo ! I am with you alway. 
But you cannot renew Milton, he goes to Eternal 

Death. 



474 BLAKE'S POEMS 

So spake the Family Divine as One Man, even Jesus, 
Uniting in One with Ololon and the appearance of 
One Man. 
60 Jesus the Saviour appear' d, coming in the Clouds of 
Ololon. 

(20) 

Tho' driven away with the Seven Starry Ones into the 
Ulro, 

Yet the Divine Vision remains Every-where, For- 
ever. Amen. 

And Ololon lamented for Milton with a great lamen- 
tation. 

While Los heard indistinct in fear, what time I bound 

my sandals 
5 On to walk forward thro' Eternity ; Los descended 

to me, 
And Los behind me stood, a terrible naming Sun, 

just close 
Behind my back : I turned round in terror, and 

behold, 
Los stood in that fierce-glowing fire ; and he also 

stoop'd down 
And bound my sandals on in Udan-Adan : trembling 

I stood 
10 Exceedingly with fear and terror, standing in the Vale 
Of Lambeth ; but he kissed me and wished me health, 
And I became One Man with him, arising in my 

strength : 
'Twas too late now to recede, Los had enter'd into 

my soul : 
His terrors now possess'd me whole ! I arose in fury 

and strength. 

15 I am that Shadowy Prophet who, Six Thousand 

Years ago, 
Fell from my station in the Eternal bosom. Six 

Thousand Years 
Are finish'd. I return ! both Time and Space obey my 

will. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 475 

I in Six Thousand Years walk up and down, for not 

one Moment 
Of Time is lost, nor one Event of Space unpermanent; 
20 But all remain : every fabric of Six Thousand Years 
Remains permanent, tho' on the Earth, where Satan 
Fell and was cut off, all things vanish and are seen 

no more ; 
They vanish, not from me and mine ; we guard them 

first and last. 
The generations of men run on in the tide of Time, 
25 But leave their destin'd lineaments permanent for 

ever and ever. 

So spake Los as we went along to his supreme abode. 

Rintrah and Palamabron met us at the Gate of 

Golgonooza, 
Clouded with discontent, and brooding in their minds 

terrible things. 

They said, O Father, most beloved ! O merciful 

Parent ! 
3° Pitying and permitting evil, tho' strong and mighty 

to destroy. 
Whence is this Shadow terrible ? wherefore dost thou 

refuse 
To throw him into the Furnaces ? knowest thou not 

that he 
Will unchain Ore, and let loose Satan, Og, Sihon, 

and Anak 
Upon the Body of Albion ? for this he is come ; behold 

it written 
35 Upon his fibrous left Foot black, most dismal to our 

eyes; 
The Shadowy Female shudders thro' heaven in torment 

inexpressible : 
And all the Daughters of Los prophetic wail ; yet in 

deceit 
They weave a new Religion from new Jealousy of 

Theotormon : 



476 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Milton's Religion is the cause ; there is no end to 

destruction. 
40 Seeing the Churches at their Period in terror and 

despair, 
Rahab created Voltaire : Tirzah created Rousseau : 
Asserting the Self-righteousness against the Universal 

Saviour ; 
Mocking the Confessors and Martyrs, claiming Self- 
righteousness : 
With cruel virtue making War upon the Lambs 

Redeemed ; 
45 To perpetuate War and Glory, to perpetuate the Laws 

of Sin. 
They perverted Swedenborg's Visions in Beulah and in 

Ulro : 
To destroy Jerusalem as a Harlot, and her Sons as 

Reprobates ; 
To raise up Mystery, the Virgin Harlot, Mother of 

War. 
Babylon the Great, the Abomination of Desolation : 
50 O Swedenborg, strongest of men, the Samson, shorn 

by the Churches ; 
Shewing the Transgressors in Hell, the proud 

Warriors in Heaven : 
Heaven as a Punisher, and Hell as One under Punish- 
ment ; 
With Laws from Plato and his Greeks to renew the 

Trojan Gods 
In Albion, and to deny the value of the Saviour's 

blood ; 
55 But then I rais'd up Whitefield, Palamabron rais'd up 

Wesley. 
And these are the cries of the Churches before the 

two Witnesses, 
Faith in God the dear Saviour, who took on the like- 
ness of men, 
Becoming obedient to death, even the death of the 

Cross. 
The Witnesses lie dead in the Street of the Great 

City. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 477 

60 No Faith is in all the Earth : the Book of God is 

trodden under Foot : 
He sent his two Servants, Whitefield and Wesley: were 

they Prophets, 
62 Or were they Idiots or Madmen ? Shew us Miracles ! 

(22) 

Can you have greater Miracles than these ? Men who 

devote 
Their life's whole comfort to inane scorn and injury 

and death? 
Awake, thou sleeper on the Rock of Eternity. Albion, 

awake ! 
The trumpet of Judgment hath twice sounded : all 

Nations are awake, 
5 But thou art still heavy and dull. Awake, Albion, 

awake ! 
Lo, Ore arises on the Atlantic : Lo, his blood and 

fire 
Glow on America's shore. Albion turns upon his 

Couch, 
He listens to the sounds of War, astonished and con- 
founded ; 
He weeps into the Atlantic deep, yet still in dismal 

dreams 
10 Unwaken'd, and the Covering Cherub advances from 

the East. 
How long shall we lay dead in the Street of the great 

City, 
How long beneath the Covering Cherub give our 

Emanations ? 
Milton will utterly consume us and thee, our beloved 

Father ; 
He hath enter'd into the Covering Cherub, becoming 

one with 
15 Albion's dread Sons. Hand, Hyle, and Coban surround 

him as 
A girdle ; Gwendolen and Conwenna as a garment 

woven 



478 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Of War and Religion. Let us descend and bring him 

chained 
To Bowlahoola. O father, most beloved ! O mild 

Parent ! 
Cruel in thy mildness, pitying and permitting evil, 
20 Tho' strong and mighty to destroy, O Los, our 

beloved Father ! 

Like the black storm coming out of Chaos, beyond 

the stars, 
It issues thro' the dark and intricate caves of the 

Mundane Shell, 
Passing the planetary visions and the well adorned 

Firmament. 
The Sun rolls into Chaos and the Stars into the 

Desarts, 
25 And then the storms become visible, audible, and 

terrible, 
Covering the light of day, and rolling down upon the 

mountains, 
Deluge all the country round. Such is a vision of Los 
When Rintrah and Palamabron spake, and such his 

stormy face 
Appear'd, as does the face of heaven when cover'd 

with thick storms, 
3° Pitying and loving, tho' in frowns of terrible perturba- 
tion. 

But Los dispers'd the clouds, even as the strong 

winds of Jehovah. 
And Los thus spoke : O noble Sons, be patient yet a 

little ; 
I have embraced the falling Death, he is become one 

with me. 
O Sons, we live not by wrath, by mercy alone we live. 
35 I recollect an old Prophecy in Eden, recorded in gold, 

and oft 
Sung to the harp, That Milton, of the land of Albion, 
Should up ascend forward from Felpham's Vale and 

break the Chain 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 479 

Of Jealousy from all its roots ; be patient, therefore, 

O my Sons, 
These lovely Females form sweet night and silence 

and secret 
40 Obscurities to hide from Satan's Watch-Fiends, 

Human loves 
And graces, lest they write them in their Books and 

in the Scroll 
Of mortal life, to condemn the accused, who at 

Satan's Bar 
Tremble in Spectrous Bodies continually day and 

night, 
While on the Earth they live in sorrowful Vegetation. 
45 O when shall we tread our Wine-presses in heaven, 

and Reap 
Our wheat with shoutings of joy, and leave the Earth 

in peace ? 
Remember how Calvin and Luther in fury premature 
Sow'd War and stern division between Papists and 

Protestants. 
Let it not be so now. O go not forth in Martyrdoms 

and Wars ; 
50 We were plac'd here by the Universal Brotherhood 

and Mercy, 
With powers fitted to circumscribe this dark Satanic 

Death, 
And that the Seven Eyes of God may have space for 

Redemption. 
But how this is as yet we know not, and we cannot 

know 
Till Albion is arisen ; then patient wait a little while. 
55 Six Thousand Years are passed away, the end 

approaches fast ; 
This mighty one is come from Eden, he is of the Elect, 
Who died from Earth, and he is return'd before the 

Judgment. This thing 
Was never known that one of the holy dead should 

willing return. 
Then patient wait a little while till the Last Vintage 

is over ; 



480 BLAKE'S POEMS 

60 Till we have quenched the Sun of Salah in the Lake 

of Udan Adan. 
O my dear Sons, leave not your Father as your 

brethren left me. 
62 Twelve Sons successive fled away in that thousand 

years of sorrow. 

(23) 

Of Palamabron's Harrow, and of Rintrah's wrath and 

fury : 
Reuben and Manazzoth, and Gad and Simeon and Levi, 
And Ephraim and Judah were Generated ; because 
They left me, wandering with Tirzah. Enitharmon 

wept 
5 One thousand years, and all the Earth was in a wat'ry 

deluge. 
We call'd him Menassheh because of the Generations 

of Tirzah, 
Because of Satan : and the Seven Eyes of God con- 
tinually 
Guard round them; but I, the Fourth Zoa, am also set 
The Watchman of Eternity ; the Three are not ; and I 

am preserved. 
10 Still my four mighty ones are left to me in Golgonooza. 
Still Rintrah fierce, and Palamabron mild and piteous, 
Theotormon fill'd with care, Bromion loving science. 
You, O my Sons, shall guard round Los ; O wander 

not and leave me. 
Rintrah, thou well rememberest when Amalek and 

Canaan 
x 5 Fled with their sister Moab into that abhorred Void, 
They became Nations in our sight beneath the hands 

of Tirzah. 
And Palamabron, thou rememberest when Joseph, an 

infant, 
Stolen from his nurse's cradle wrap'd in needle-work 
Of emblematic texture, was sold to the Amalekite, 
20 Who carried him down into Egypt, where Ephraim 

and Menassbeh 
Gathered my Sons together in the Sands of Midian. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 481 

And if you also flee away and leave your Father's side, 
Following Milton into Ulro, altho' your power is 

great, 
Surely you also shall become poor mortal vegetations 
25 Beneath the Moon of Ulro. Pity then your Father's 

tears. 
When Jesus rais'd Lazarus from the Grave, I stood 

and saw 
Lazarus, who is the Vehicular Body of Albion the 

Redeem'd, 
Arise into the Covering Cherub, who is the Spectre of 

Albion, 
By martyrdoms to suffer : to watch over the Sleeping 

Body. 
30 Upon his Rock beneath his Tomb, I saw the Covering 

Cherub 
Divine Fourfold into Four Churches when Lazarus 

arose. 
Paul, Constantine, Charlemaine, Luther, behold they 

stand before us, 
Stretched over Europe and Asia. Come, O Sons, 

come, come away ; 
Arise, O Sons, give all your strength against Eternal 

Death, 
35 Lest we are vegetated, for Cathedron's Looms weave 

only Death, 
A Web of Death, and were it not for Bowlahoolah 

and Allamanda, 
No Human Form, but only a Fibrous Vegetation, 
A Polypus of soft affections without Thought or 

Vision, 
Must tremble in the Heavens and Earths thro' all the 

Ulro space, 
40 Throw all the Vegetated Mortals into Bowlahoola. 
But as to this Elected Form who is return'd again, 
He is the Signal that the Last Vintage now approaches, 
Nor Vegetation may go on till all the Earth is reap'd. 

So Los spoke. Furious they descended to Bowlahoola 
and Allamanda, 
vol. 1, 2n 



482 BLAKE'S POEMS 

45 Indignant, unconvinced by Los's arguments, and 
thunders rolling, 
They saw that wrath now sway'd, and now pity 

absorb'd him, 
As it was, so it remain'd, and no hope of an end. 

Bowlahoola is nam'd Law by mortals, Tharmas founded 

it, 
Because of Satan, before Luban, in the City of Golgon- 

ooza ; 
50 But Golgonooza is nam'd Art and Manufacture by 

mortal men. 

In Bowlahoola Los's Anvils stand and his Furnaces 
rage; 

Thundering the Hammers beat, and the Bellows blow 
loud ; 

Living, self-moving, mourning, lamenting, and howl- 
ing incessantly, 

Bowlahoola thro' all its porches feels, tho' too fast 
founded, 
SS Its pillars and porticoes to tremble at the force 

Of mortal or immortal arm ; and softly lilling flutes, 

Accordant with the horrid labours, make sweet melody. 

The Bellows are the Animal Lungs, the Hammers the 
Animal Heart, 

The Furnaces the Stomach for digestion, terrible their 
fury; 
60 Thousands and thousands labour, thousands play on 
instruments, 

Stringed or fluted, to ameliorate the sorrows of 
slavery ; 

Loud sport the dancers in the dance of death, rejoic- 
ing in carnage ; 

The hard, dentant Hammers are lulled by the flutes' 
lula lula, 

The bellowing Furnaces blare by the long sounding 
clarion, 
6 5 The double drum drowns howls and groans, the shrill 
fife shrieks and cries ; 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 483 

The crooked horn mellows the hoarse, raving serpent, 
terrible, but harmonious. 

Bowlahoola is the Stomach in every individual man. 

Los is by mortals nam'd Time, Enitharmon is nam'd 

Space ; 
But they depict him bald and aged who is in eternal 

youth, 
7° All powerful, and his locks flourish like the brows of 

morning ; 
He is the Spirit of Prophecy, the ever apparent Elias ; 
Time is the mercy of Eternity ; without Time's swift- 
ness, 
Which is the swiftest of all things, all were eternal 

torment. 
All the Gods of the Kingdoms of Earth labour in 

Los's Halls. 
75 Every one is a fallen Son of the Spirit of Prophecy. 
He is the Fourth Zoa, that stood around the Throne 

Divine. 

(24) 

But the Wine-press of Los is eastward of Golgonooza, 

before the Seat 
Of Satan. Luvah laid the foundation, and Urizen 

finish'd it in howling woe. 
How red the sons and daughters of Luvah : here they 

tread the grapes, 
Laughing and shouting, drunk with odours, many 

fall, o'erwearied. 
5 Drowned in the wine is many a youth and maiden : 

those around 
Lay them on skins of Tygers and of the Spotted 

Leopard and the Wild Ass, 
Till they revive, or bury them in cool grots, making 

lamentation. 

This Wine-press is call'd War on Earth ; it is the 
Printing-Press 



484 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Of Los ; and here he lays his words in order above 
the mortal brain, 
10 As cogs are form'd in a wheel to turn the cogs of the 
adverse wheel. 

Timbrels and violins sport round the Wine-presses ; 

the little Seed, 
The sportive Root, the Earth-worm, the gold Beetle, 

the wise Emmet, 
Dance round the Wine-presses of Luvah. The 

Centipede is there ; 
The ground Spider with many eyes, the Mole clothed 

in velvet, 
J 5 The ambitious Spider in his sullen web, the lucky 

golden Spinner, 
The Earwig arm'd ; the tender Maggot, emblem of 

immortality ; 
The Flea, Louse, Bug, the Tape-Worm, all the 

Armies of Disease ; 
Visible or invisible to the slothful, vegetating Man ; 
The slow Slug ; the Grasshopper, that sings and 

laughs and drinks. 
20 Winter comes : he folds his slender bones without a 

murmur. 

The cruel Scorpion is there, the Gnat, Wasp, Hornet, 

and the Honey Bee ; 
The Toad and venomous Newt ; the Serpent, cloth'd 

in gems and gold : 
They throw off their gorgeous raiment ; they rejoice 

with loud jubilee 
Around the Wine-presses of Luvah, naked and drunk 

with wine. 

25 There is the Nettle that stings with soft down, and 
there 
The indignant Thistle, whose bitterness is bred in his 

milk, 
Who feeds on contempt of his neighbour ; there all 
the idle weeds 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 485 

That creep around the obscure places, shew their 
various limbs, 

Naked in all their beauty, dancing round the Wine- 
presses. 

30 But in the Wine-presses the Human grapes sing not 

nor dance ; 
They howl and writhe in shoals of torment, in fierce 

flames consuming, 
In chains of iron and in dungeons circled with cease- 
less fires ; 
In pits and dens and shades of death, in shapes of 

torment and woe ; 
The plates and screws, and wracks and saws, and cords 

and fires and cisterns ; 
35 The cruel joys of Luvah's Daughters lacerating with 

knives 
And whips their Victims, and the deadly sport of 

Luvah's Sons. 

They dance around the dying, and they drink the 

howl and groan, 
They catch the shrieks in cups of gold, they hand 

them to one another. 
These are the sports of love, and these the sweet 

delights of amorous play : 
40 Tears of the grape, the death sweat of the cluster ; the 

last sigh 
Of the mild youth, who listens to the lureing songs of 

Luvah. 

But Allamanda, call'd on Earth Commerce, is the 

Cultivated land 
Around the City of Golgonooza, in the Forests of 

Entuthon : 
Here the Sons of Los labour against Death Eternal 

through all 
45 The Twenty-seven Heavens of Beulah in Ulro, Seat of 

Satan, 



486 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Which is the False Tongue beneath Beulah : it is the 

Sense of Touch. 
The Plow goes forth in tempests and lightnings, and 

the Harrow cruel 
In blights of the east : the heavy Roller follows in 

howlings of woe. 

Urizen's sons here labour also, and here are seen the 
Mills 
So Of Theotormon on the verge of the Lake of Udan-Adan. 

These are the starry voids of night, and the depths 
and caverns of earth ; 

These Mills are oceans, clouds, and waters ungovern- 
able in their fury. 

Here are the stars created and the seeds of all things 
planted, 

And here the Sun and Moon recieve their fixed 
destinations. 

55 But in Eternity the Four Arts, Poetry, Painting, 

Music, 
And Architecture, which is Science, are the Four 

Faces of Man. 
Not so in Time and Space : there Three are shut out, 

and only 
Science remains thro' mercy ; and by means of Science, 

the Three 
Become apparent in Time and Space, in the Three 

Professions. 

60 That Man may live upon Earth all the time of his 
awaking, 
And from these Three Sciences derives every Occupa- 
tion of Men ; 
62 And Science is divided into Bowlahoola and Alla- 
manda. 

(25) 

Loud shout the Sons of Luvah at the Wine-presses as 

Los descended, 
With Rintrah and Palamabron in his fires of resistless 

fury. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 487 

The Wine-press on the Rhine groans loud, hut all its 

central beams 
Act more terrific in the central Cities of the Nations, 
5 Where Human Thought is crush'd beneath the iron 

hand of Power. 
There Los puts all into the Press, the Opressor and 

the Opressed 
Together, ripe for the Harvest and Vintage, and 

ready for the Loom. 

They sang at the Vintage. This is the Last Vintage, 

and Seed 
Shall no more be sown upon Earth, till all the Vintage 

is over, 
xo And all gathered in, till the Plow has passed over the 

Nations, 
And the Harrow and heavy thundering Roller upon 

the mountains. 

And loud the Souls howl round the Porches of Golgon- 

ooza, 
Crying, O God, deliver us to the Heavens or to the 

Earths, 
That we may preach righteousness and punish the 

sinner with death ; 
15 But Los refused, till all the Vintage of Earth was 

gather'd in. 

And Los stood and cried to the Labourers of the 
Vintage in voice of awe. 

Fellow Labourers ! The Great Vintage and Harvest is 

now upon Earth ; 
The whole extent of the Globe is explored. Every 

scatter'd Atom 
Of Human Intellect now is flocking to the sound of 

the Trumpet. 
20 All the Wisdom which was hidden in caves and dens 

from ancient 



488 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Time, is now sought out from Animal and Vegetable 

and Mineral. 
The Awakener is come, outstretch'd over Europe ; 

the Vision of God is fulfilled ; 
The Ancient Man upon the Rock of Albion awakes. 
He listens to the sounds of War, astonish'd and 

ashamed : 
2 S He sees his children mock at Faith and deny Provi- 
dence. 
Therefore you must bind the Sheaves, not by Nations 

or Families ; 
You shall bind them in Three Classes, according to 

their Classes ; 
So shall you bind them, Separating what has been 

Mixed. 
Since Men began to be Wove into Nations by Rahab 

and Tirzah, 
30 Since Albion's Death and Satan's Cutting off from our 

awful Fields, 
When under pretence to benevolence, the Elect 

Subdu'd All 
From the Foundation of the World. The Elect is one 

Class. You 
Shall bind them separate. They cannot Believe in 

Eternal Life, 
Except by Miracle and a New Birth. The other two 

Classes, 
35 The Reprobate, who never cease to Believe, and the 

Redeem'd, 
Who live in doubts and fears, perpetually tormented 

by the Elect. 
These you shall bind in a twin-bundle for the Con- 
summation, 
But the Elect must be saved fires of Eternal Death, 
To be formed into the Churches of Beulah, that they 

destroy not the Earth, 
40 For in every Nation and every Family the Three 

Classes are born, 
And in every Species of Earth, Metal, Tree, Fish, 

Bird, and Beast, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 489 

We form the Mundane Egg, that Spectres coming by 

fury or amity, 
All is the same, and every one remains in his own 

energy. 
Go forth, Reapers, with rejoicing, you sowed in tears, 
45 But the time of your refreshing cometh, only a little 

moment. 
Still abstain from pleasure and rest in the labours of 

eternity, 
And you shall reap the whole Earth from Pole to Pole, 

from Sea to Sea, 
Begining at Jerusalem's Inner Court. Lambeth, 

ruin'd and given 
To the detestable Gods of Priam, to Apollo ; and at 

the Asylum 
50 Given to Hercules, who labour in Tirzah's Looms for 

bread, 
Who set Pleasure against Duty, who create Olympic 

crowns, 
To make Learning a burden and the Work of the 

Holy Spirit, Strife, — 
The Thor and cruel Odin, who first rear'd the Polar 

Caves. 
Lambeth mourns, calling Jerusalem ; she weeps and 

looks abroad 
55 For the Lord's coming, that Jerusalem may overspread 

all Nations. 
Crave not for the mortal and perishing delights, but 

leave them 
To the weak, and pity the weak as your infant care. 

Break not 
Forth in your wrath, lest you also are vegetated by 

Tirzah. 
Wait till the Judgement is past, till the Creation is 

consumed, 
60 And then rush forward with me into the glorious 

spiritual 
Vegetation ; the Supper of the Lamb and his Bride ; 

and the 
Awaking of Albion, our friend and ancient companion. 



490 BLAKE'S POEMS 

So Los spoke : But lightnings of discontent broke on 

all sides round, 
And murmurs of thunder rolling heavy, long, and 

loud over the mountains, 
65 While Los call'd his Sons around him to the Harvest 

and the Vintage. 

Thou seest the Constellations in the deep and won- 
drous Night, 

They rise in order and continue their immortal courses 

Upon the mountains and in vales, with harp and 
heavenly song, 

With flute and clarion, with cups and measures fill'd 
with foaming wine. 
7 o Glitt'ring the streams reflect the Vision of beatitude, 

And the calm Ocean joys beneath, and smooths his 
awful waves. 



(26) 

These are the Sons of Los, and these the Labourers of 

the Vintage. 
Thou seest the gorgeous clothed Flies that dance and 

sport in summer 
Upon the sunny brooks and meadows : every one the 

dance 
Knows in its intricate mazes of delight, artful to weave, 
S Each one to sound his instruments of music in the 

dance, 
To touch each other and recede ; to cross and change 

and return. 
These are the Children of Los. Thou seest the Trees 

on mountains ; 
The wind blows heavy, loud they thunder thro' the 

darksom sky, 
Uttering prophecies and speaking instructive words to 

the sons 
10 Of men. These are the Sons of Los, these the 

Visions of Eternity. 
But we see only as it were the hem of their garments, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 491 

When with our vegetable eyes we view these wondrous 

Visions. 

There are Two Gates thro' which all Souls descend : 

One Southward 
From Dover Cliff to Lizard Point ; the other toward 

the North, 
is Caithness and rocky Durness, Pentland and John 

Groat's House. 
The Souls descending to the Body wail on the right 

hand 
Of Los, and those deliver'd from the Body on the 

left hand. 
For Los against the east his force continually bends 
Along the Valleys of Middlesex from Hounslow to 

Blackheath, 
20 Lest those Three Heavens of Beulah should the 

Creation destroy, 
And lest they should descend before the north and 

south Gates. 
Groaning with pity, he among the wailing Souls 

laments. 

And these the Labours of the Sons of Los in Alla- 

manda, 
And in the City of Golgonooza, and in Luban, and 

around 
25 The Lake of Udan-Adan, in the Forests of Entuthon 

Benython, 
Where Souls incessant wail, being piteous Passions and 

Desires, 
With neither lineament nor form, but like to wat'ry 

clouds, 
The Passions and Desires descend upon the hungry 

winds. 
For such alone Sleepers remain, — sheer passion and 

appetite. 
3° The Sons of Los clothe them and feed and provide 

houses and fields. 



492 BLAKE'S POEMS 

And every Generated Body in its inward form 

Is a garden of delight and a building of magnificence, 

Built by the Sons of Los in Bowlahoola and Alla- 

manda ; 
And the herbs and flowers and furniture and beds and 

chambers, 
35 Continually woven in the Looms of Enitharmon's 

Daughters, 
In bright Cathedron's golden Dome, with care and 

love and tears, 
For the various Classes of Men are all mark'd out 

determinate 
In Bowlahoola : and as the Spectres choose their 

affinities, 
So they are born on earth ; and every Class is deter- 
minate, — 
4° But not by Natural, but by Spiritual power alone, 

because 
The Natural power continually seeks and tends to 

Destruction, 
Ending in Death, which would of itself be Eternal 

Death, — 
And all are class'd by Spiritual, and not by Natural 

power. 

And every Natural Effect has a Spiritual Cause, and 

Not ' 
45 A Natural, for a Natural Cause only seems ; it is a 

Delusion 
Of Ulro, and a ratio of the perishing Vegetable 

Memory. 

(27) 

Some Sons of Los surround the Passions with porches 

of iron and silver, 
Creating form and beauty around the dark regions of 

sorrow, 
Giving to airy nothing a name and a habitation 
Delightful, with bounds to the Infinite, putting off the 

Indefinite 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 493 

S Into most holy forms of thought (such is the power 
of inspiration), 
They labour incessant, with many tears and afflictions, 
Creating the beautiful House for the piteous sufferer. 

Others, Cabinets richly fabricate of gold and ivory, 
For Doubts and fears, unform'd and wretched and 

melancholy ; 
10 The little weeping Spectre stands on the threshold of 

Death 
Eternal ; and sometimes two Spectres, like lamps 

quivering, 
And often malignant they combat (heart-breaking, 

sorrowful, and piteous). 

Antamon takes them into his beautiful flexible hands, 
As the Sower takes the seed, or as the Artist his clay 
15 Or fine wax, to mould artful a model for golden orna- 
ments. 
The soft hands of Antamon draw the indelible line, 
Form immortal, with golden pen, such as the Spectre, 

admiring, 
Puts on the sweet form ; then smiles Antamon bright 

thro' his windows, 
The Daughters of beauty look up from their Loom and 
prepare 
20 The integument soft for its clothing, with joy and 
delight. 

But Theotormon and Sotha stand in the Gate of 

Luban anxious ; 
Their numbers are seven million and seven thousand 

and seven hundred. 
They contend with the weak Spectres ; they fabricate 

soothing forms. 
The Spectre refuses : he seeks cruelty : they create 

the crested Cock. 
25 Terrified, the Spectre screams, and rushes in fear into 

their Net 



494 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Of kindness and compassion, and is born a weeping 

terror ; 
Or they create the Lion and Tyger in compassionate 

thunderings. 
Howling the Spectres flee : they take refuge in 

Human lineaments. 

The Sons of Ozoth within the Optic Nerve stand fiery, 

glowing ; 
3° And the number of his Sons is eight millions and eight. 
They give delights to the man, unknown artificial 

riches 
They give to scorn, and their possessors to trouble 

and sorrow and care, 
Shutting the sun and moon, and stars and trees, and 

clouds and waters 
And hills, out from the Optic Nerve, and hardening 

it into a bone 
35 Opake, and like the black pebble on the enraged 

beach ; 
While the poor indigent is like the diamond which, 

tho' cloth'd 
In rugged covering in the mine, is open all within, 
And in his hallow'd center holds the heavens of bright 

eternity. 
Ozoth here builds walls of rocks against the surging 

sea, 
40 And timbers crampt with iron cramps bar in the 

joys of life 
From fell destruction in the Spectrous cunning or 

rage. He Creates 
The speckled Newt, the Spider and Beetle, the Rat 

and Mouse, 
The Badger and Fox : they worship before his feet 

in trembling fear. 

But others of the Sons of Los build Moments and 
Minutes and Hours, 
45 And Days and Months and Years, and Ages and 
Periods : wondrous buildings. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 495 

And every Moment has a Couch of gold for soft repose. 

(A Moment equals a pulsation of the artery.) 

And between every two Moments stands a Daughter 

of Beulah, 
To feed the Sleepers on their Couches with maternal 

care. 
5° And every Minute has an azure Tent with silken 

Veils ; 
And every Hour has a bright golden Gate carved 

with skill ; 
And every Day and Night has Walls of brass and 

Gates of adamant, 
Shining like precious stones, and ornamented with 

appropriate signs : 
And every Month a silver paved Terrace, builded high ; 
55 And every Year, invulnerable Barriers, with high 

Towers ; 
And every Age is Moated deep with Bridges of silver 

and gold ; 
And every Seven Ages is Incircled with a Flaming 

Fire. 
Now Seven Ages is amounting to Two Hundred Years. 
Each has its Guard : each Moment, Minute, Hour, 

Day, Month, and Year, 
60 All are the work of Fairy hands of the Four Elements. 
The Guard are Angels of Providence on duty ever- 
more. 
Every Time less than a pulsation of the artery 
63 Is equal in its period and value to Six Thousand Years. 

(28) 

For in this Period the Poet's Work is Done ; and all 

the Great 
Events of Time start forth, and are conciev'd in such 

a Period 
Within a Moment : a Pulsation of the Artery. 

The Sky is an immortal Tent built by the Sons of 
Los, 



496 BLAKE'S POEMS 

5 And every Space that a Man views around his dwelling- 
place, 
Standing on his own roof or in his garden on a mount 
Of twenty-five cubits in height, such space is his 

Universe ; 
And on its verge the Sun rises and sets, the Clouds 

bow 
To meet the flat Earth and the Sea in such an order'd 

Space ; 
10 The Starry heavens reach no further, but here bend 

and set 
On all sides, and the two Poles turn on their valves of 

gold; 
And if he move his dwelling-place, his heavens also 

move, 
Where'er he goes, and all his neighbourhood bewail 

his loss. 
Such are the Spaces called Earth, and such its 

dimension, 
is As to that false appearance which appears to the 

reasoner, 
As of a Globe rolling thro' Voidness, it is a delusion 

of Ulro ; 
The Microscope knows not of this nor the Telescope ; 

they alter 
The ratio of the Spectator's Organs, but leave Objects 

untouch'd, 
For every Space larger than a red Globule of Man's 

blood 
20 Is visionary, and is created by the Hammer of 

Los ; 
And every Space smaller than a Globule of Man's 

blood opens 
Into Eternity, of which this vegetable Earth is but a 

shadow. 
The red Globule is the unwearied Sun by Los 

created 
To measure Time and Space to mortal Men, every 

morning. 
25 Bowlahoola and Allamanda are placed on each side 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 497 

Of that Pulsation and that Globule ; terrible their 
power. 

But Rintrah and Palamabron govern over Day and 

Night 
In Allamanda and Entuthon Benython, where Souls 

wail, 
Where Ore incessant howls, burning in fires of Eternal 

Youth, 
30 Within the vegetated mortal Nerves, for every Man 

born is joined 
Within into One mighty Polypus, and this Polypus is 

Ore. 

But in the Optic vegetative Nerves Sleep was trans- 
formed 

To Death in old time by Satan, the father of Sin and 
Death, 

And Satan is the Spectre of Ore, and Ore is the 
generate Luvah. 

35 But in the Nerves of the Nostrils, Accident being 

formed 
Into Substance and Principle by the cruelties of 

Demonstration, 
It became Opake and Indefinite ; but the Divine 

Saviour 
Formed it into a Solid by Los's Mathematic power. 
He named the Opake Satan ; he named the Solid 

Adam. 

40 And in the Nerves of the Ear (for the Nerves of the 

Tongue are closed), 
On Albion's Rock Los stands creating the glorious 

Sun each morning, 
And when unwearied in the evening he creates the 

Moon, 
Death to delude, who all in terror at their splendor 

leaves 

vol. 1. 2 1 



498 BLAKE'S POEMS 

His prey, while Los appoints, and Rintrah and Palam- 
abron guide 
45 The Souls clear from the Rock of Death, that Death 
himself may wake 
In his appointed season when the ends of heaven 
meet. 

Then Los conducts the Spirits to be Vegetated into 
Great Golgonooza, free from the four iron pillars of 

Satan's Throne : 
Temperance, Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, the four 

pillars of tyranny, 
5° That Satan's Watch-Fiends touch them not before 

they Vegetate. 

But Enitharmon and her Daughters take the pleasant 

charge, 
To give them to their lovely heavens till the Great 

Judgment Day. 
Such is their lovely charge. But Rahab and Tirzah 

pervert 
Their mild influences, therefore the Seven Eyes of 

God walk round 
55 The Three Heavens of Ulro, where Tirzah and her 

Sisters 
Weave the black Woof of Death upon Entuthon 

Benython. 
In the Vale of Surrey, where Horeb terminates in 

Rephaim, 
The stamping feet of Zelophehad's Daughters are 

cover'd with Human gore ; 
Upon the tredles of the Loom they sing to the winged 

shuttle ; 
6o The River rises above his banks to wash the Woof; 
He takes it in his arms, he passes it in strength thro' 

his current. 
The veil of human miseries is woven over the Ocean 
From the Atlantic to the Great South Sea, the 

Erythrean. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 499 

Such is the World of Los, the labour of six thousand 
years. 
65 Thus Nature is a Vision of the Science of the Elohim. 



END OF THE FIRST BOOK 



Of the three mottoes on this page the first is engraved in 
reverse letters by Blake so as to be only legible in a looking- 



(30) 

How wide the Gulf and Unpassable between 
Simplicity and Insipidity ! 
Contraries are Positives. 
A Negation is not a Contrary. 



500 BLAKE'S POEMS 



MILTON 



BOOK THE SECOND 



There is a place where Contrarieties are equally 
True. 

This place is called Beulah. It is a pleasant, lovely 
Shadow 

Where no dispute can come, because of those who 
Sleep. 

Into this place the Sons and Daughters of Ololon 
descended 
5 With solemn mourning into Beulah's moony shades 
and hills, 

Weeping for Milton. Mute wonder held the Daugh- 
ters of Beulah 

Enraptured with affection, sweet and mild benevo- 
lence. 

Beulah is evermore Created around Eternity, ap- 
pearing 

To the Inhabitants of Eden, around them on all sides. 
10 But Beulah to its Inhabitants appears within each 
district 

As the beloved infant in his mother's bosom round 
encircled 

With arms of love and pity and sweet compassion. But 
to 

The Sons of Eden the moony habitations of Beulah 

Are from Great Eternity a mild and pleasant Rest. 

15 And it is thus Created : Lo, the Eternal Great 
Humanity, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 501 

To whom be Glory and Dominion Evermore, Amen, 
Walks among all his awful Family, seen in every face. 
As the breath of the Almighty, such are the words of 

man to man, 
In the great wars of Eternity, in fury of Poetic 

Inspiration, 
20 To build the Universe stupendous, Mental forms 

Creating. 

But the Emanations trembled exceedingly, nor could 

they 
Live, because the life of Man was too exceeding 

unbounded. 
His joy became terrible to them, they trembled and 

wept, 
Crying with one voice : Give us a habitation and a 

place 
25 In which we may be hidden under the shadow of 

wings, 
For if we who are but for a time, and who pass away 

in winter, 
Behold these wonders of Eternity, we shall consume, 
But you, O our Fathers and Brothers, remain in 

Eternity. 
But grant us a Temporal Habitation ; do you speak 
3° To us ; we will obey your words as you obey Jesus 
The Eternal, who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen. 

So spake the lovely Emanations, and there appeared 
a pleasant 
33 Mild Shadow above, beneath, and on all sides round. 

(31) 

Into this pleasant Shadow all the weak and weary, 

Like Women and Children, were taken away as on 
wings 

Of dovelike softness, and shadowy habitations pre- 
pared for them. 

But every Man return'd and went, still going forward 
thro' 



502 BLAKE'S POEMS 

5 The Bosom of the Father in Eternity on Eternity ; 
Neither did any lack or fall into Error without 
A Shadow to repose in all the Days of happy Eternity. 

Into this pleasant Shadow Beulah, all Ololon de- 
scended, 

And when the Daughters of Beulah heard the 
lamentation, 
ip All Beulah wept, for they saw the Lord coming in 
the Clouds, 

And the Shadows of Beulah terminate in rocky Albion. 

And all Nations wept in affliction, Family by Family : 
Germany wept towards France and Italy ; England 

wept and trembled 
Towards America ; India rose up from his golden bed, 
15 As one awaken'd in the night ; they saw the Lord 
coming 
In the Clouds of Ololon with Power and Great Glory. 

And all the Living Creatures of the Four Elements 

wail'd 
With bitter wailing ; these in the aggregate are named 

Satan 
And Rahab ; they know not of Regeneration, but only 

of Generation. 
20 The Fairies, Nymphs, Gnomes and Genii of the Four 

Elements, 
Unforgiving and unalterable, these cannot be Regen- 
erated, 
But must be Created, for they know only of 

Generation. 
These are the Gods of the Kingdoms of the Earth, in 

contrarious 
, And cruel opposition : Element against Element, 

opposed in War, 
25 Not Mental, as the Wars of Eternity but a Corporeal 

Strife 
i In Los's Halls, continual labouring in the Furnaces of 

Golgonooza. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 503 

Ore howls on the Atlantic : Enitharmon trembles, All 
Beulah weeps. 

Thou hearest the Nightingale begin the Song of 

Spring ; 
The Lark sitting upon his earthy bed, just as the 

morn 
30 Appears, listens silent ; then springing from the waving 

Corn-field, loud 
He leads the Choir of Day — trill, trill, trill, trill, 
Mounting upon the wings of light into the Great 

Expanse, 
Re-echoing against the lovely blue and shining 

heavenly Shell, 
His little throat labours with inspiration ; every 

feather 
35 On throat and breast and wings vibrates with the 

effluence Divine. 
All Nature listens silent to him, and the awful Sun 
Stands still upon the Mountain looking on this little 

Bird 
With eyes of soft humility and wonder, love, and awe. 
Then loud from their green covert all the Birds begin 

their Song : 
4° The Thrush, the Linnet, and the Goldfinch, Robin, 

and the Wren 
Awake the Sun from his sweet reverie upon the 

Mountain. 
The Nightingale again assays his song, and thro' the 

dav 
And thro' the night warbles luxuriant, every Bird of 

Song 
Attending his loud harmony with admiration and love. 
45 This is a Vision of the lamentation of Beulah over 

Ololon. 

Thou percievest the Flowers put forth their precious 

Odours, 
And none can tell how from so small a center comes 

such sweet, 



504 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Forgetting that within that Center Eternity expands 

Its ever during doors, that Og and Anak fiercely guard. 
50 First, ere the morning breaks, joy opens in the flowery 
bosoms, 

Joy even to tears, which the Sun rising dries ; first 
the Wild Thyme 

And Meadow-sweet, downy and soft, waving among 
the reeds, 

Light springing on the air, lead the sweet Dance ; they 
wake 

The Honeysuckle sleeping on the Oak, the flaunting 
beauty 
55 Revels along upon the wind ; the White-thorn lovely 
May 

Opens her many lovely eyes ; listening, the Rose still 
sleeps. 

None dare to wake her. Soon she bursts her crimson- 
curtained bed 

And comes forth in the majesty of beauty ; every 
Flower — 

The Pink, the Jessamine, the Wallflower, the Carna- 
tion, 
60 The Jonquil, the mild Lilly opes her heavens ; every 
Tree 

And Flower and Herb soon fill the air with an in- 
numerable Dance, 

Yet all in order sweet and lovely. Men are sick with 
love. 
63 Such is a Vision of the lamentation of Beulah over 
Ololon. 

(32) 

And the Divine Voice was heard in the Songs of 
Beulah, Saying: 

When I first Married you, I gave you all my whole 

soul ; 
I thought that you would love my loves and joy in 

my delights, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 505 

Seeking for pleasures in my pleasures, O Daughter of 

Babylon. 
^ Then thou wast lovely, mild, and gentle ; now thou 

art terrible 
In jealousy and unlovely in my sight, because thou 

hast cruelly 
Cut off my loves in fury till I have no love left for 

thee. 
Thy love depends on him thou lovest, and on his dear 

loves 
Depend thy pleasures, which thou hast cut off by 

jealousy ; 
io Therefore I shew my Jealousy, and set before you 

Death. 
Behold Milton ! descended to Redeem the Female 

Shade 
From Death Eternal, such your lot, to be continually 

Redeem'd 
By death and misery of those you love, and by 

Annihilation 
When the Sixfold Female percieves that Milton 

annihilates 
iS Himself: that seeing all his loves by her cut off, he 

leaves 
Her also, entirely abstracting himself from Female 

loves. 
She shall relent in fear of death ; she shall begin to 

give 
Her maidens to her husband, delighting in his 

delight ; 
And then, and then alone, begins the happy Female 

joy, 

20 As it is done in Beulah; and thou, O Virgin Babylon, 

Mother of Whoredoms, 
Shalt bring Jerusalem in thine arms in the night 

watches, and, 
No longer turning her a wandering Harlot in the 

streets, 
Shalt give her into the arms of God your Lord and 

Husband. 



506 BLAKE'S POEMS 

24 Such are the Songs of Beulah, in the Lamentations 
of Ololon. 

(34) 

And all the Songs of Beulah sounded comfortable 

notes 
To comfort Ololon's lamentation, for they said : 
Are you the Fiery Circle that late drove in fury and 

fire 
The Eight Immortal Starry-Ones down into Ulro 

dark, 
5 Rending the Heavens of Beulah with your thunders 

and lightnings ? 
And can you thus lament, and can you pity and 

forgive ? 
Is terror changed to pity, O wonder of Eternity ? 

And the Four States of Humanity in its Repose 
Were shewed them. First of Beulah, a most pleasant 

Sleep, 
10 On Couches soft, with mild music, tended by Flowers 

of Beulah ; 
Sweet Female forms, winged or floating in the air 

spontaneous. 
The Second State is Alia, and the third State Al-Ulro ; 
But the Fourth State is dreadful, it is named Or-Ulro. 
The First State is in the Head, the Second is in the 

Heart, 
15 The Third in the Loins and Seminal Vessels, and the 

Fourth 
In the Stomach and Intestines — terrible, deadly, 

unutterable. 
And he whose Gates are open'd in those Regions of 

his Body 
Can from those Gates view all these wondrous Imagina- 
tions. 

But Ololon sought the Or-Ulro and its fiery Gates, 
20 And the Couches of the Martyrs ; and many Daughters 
of Beulah 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 507 

Accompany them down to the Ulro with soft melodious 

tears. 
A long journey and dark, thro' Chaos in the track of 

Milton's course, 
To where the Contraries of Beulah War beneath 

Negation's Banner. 

Then, view'd from Milton's Track, they see the Ulro, 
a vast Polypus 
25 Of living fibres down into the Sea of Time and Space 
growing, 

A self-devouring, monstrous Human Death, Twenty- 
seven fold ; 

Within it sit Five Females, and the nameless Shadowy 
Mother 

Spinning it from their bowels with songs of amorous 
delight, 

And melting cadences that lure the Sleepers of 
Beulah down 
30 The River Storge (which is Arnon) into the Dead 
Sea. 

Around this Polypus Los continual builds the Mun- 
dane Shell. 

Four Universes round the Universe of Los remain 

Chaotic ; 
Four intersecting Globes, and the Egg-form'd World 

; of Los 
In midst, stretching from Zenith to Nadir in midst of 

Chaos. 
35 One of these Ruin'd Universes is to the North named 

Urthona ; 
One in the South, this was the glorious World of 

Urizen ; 
One to the East of Luvah ; One to the West of 

Tharmas. 
But when Luvah assumed the World of Urizen in the 

South, 
All fell towards the Center, sinking downward in dire 

Ruin. 



508 BLAKE'S POEMS 

4° Here in these Chaoses the Sons of Ololon took their 

abode, 
In Chasms the Mundane Shell which open on all 

sides wound 
Southwards, and by the East within the Breach of 

Milton's descent, 
To watch the time, pitying and gentle, to awaken 

Urizen. 
They stood in a dark land of death, of fiery corroding 

waters, 
45 Where lie in evil death the Four Immortals, pale and 

cold, 
And the Eternal Man, even Albion, upon the Rock of 

_ Ages, 
Seeing Milton's Shadow, some Daughters of Beulah 

trembling 
Return'd, but Ololon remain'd before the Gates of the 

Dead. 

And Ololon looked down into the Heavens of Ulro in 

fear. 
So They said : How are the Wars of Man, which in Great 

Eternity 
Appear around, in the External Spheres of Visionary 

Life, 
Here render'd Deadly within the Life and Interior 

Vision ? 
How are the Beasts and Birds and Fishes and Plants 

and Minerals 
Here fix'd into a frozen bulk, subject to decay and 

death? 
55 Those Visions of Human Life and Shadows of Wisdom 

and Knowledge 

(35) 

Are here frozen to unexpansive, deadly, destroying 

terrors, 
And War and Hunting, the Two Fountains of the 

River of Life, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 509 

Are become Fountains of bitter Deatb and of corrod- 
ing Hell, 
Till Brotherhood is chang'd into a Curse and a 

Flattery 
S By Differences between Ideas, that Ideas themselves 

(which are 
The Divine Members) may be slain in offerings for 

sin. 
O dreadful Loom of Death. O piteous Female forms, 

compelled 
To weave the Woof of Death. On Camberwell 

Tirzah's Courts, 
Malahs on Blackheath, Rahab and Noah, dwell on 

Windsor's heights, 
io Where once the Cherubs of Jerusalem spread to 

Lambeth's Vale, 
Milcah's Pillars shine from Harrow to Hampstead, 

where Hoglah 
On Highgate's heights magnificent weaves over trem- 
bling Thames 
To Shooter's Hill, and thence to Blackheath, the dark 

Woof. Loud, 
Loud roll the Weights and Spindles over the whole 

Earth let down, 
15 On all sides round to the Four Quarters of the World, 

eastward on 
Europe to Euphrates and Hindu, to Nile and back in 

Clouds 
Of Death across the Atlantic to America North and 

South. 

So spake Ololon, in reminiscence astonish'd, but they 

Could not behold Golgonooza without passing the 
Polypus, 
20 A wondrous journey not passable by Immortal feet, 
and none 

But the Divine Saviour can pass it without annihila- 
tion, 

For Golgonooza cannot be seen till, having pass'd the 
Polypus, 



510 BLAKE'S POEMS 

It is viewed on all sides round by a Four-fold Vision, 
Or till you become Mortal and Vegetable in Sexu- 
ality, 
25 Then you behold its mighty Spires and Domes of ivory 
and gold. 

And Ololon examined all the Couches of the Dead, 
Even of Los and Enitharmon, and all the Sons of 

Albion, 
And his Four Zoas terrified and on the verge of 

Death. 
In midst of these was Milton's Couch and when they 

saw Eight 
30 Immortal Starry-Ones guarding the Couch in flaming 

fires, 
They thunderous utter'd all a universal groan, falling 

down 
Prostrate before the Starry Eight, asking with tears 

forgiveness, 
Confessing their crime with humiliation and sorrow. 

O how the Starry Eight rejoic'd to see Ololon 

descended ! 
35 And now that a wide road was open to Eternity 

By Ololon 's descent thro' Beulah to Los and Eni- 

tharmon. 
For mighty were the multitudes of Ololon, vast the 

extent 
Of their great sway, reaching from Ulro to Eternity, 
Surrounding the Mundane Shell outside in its 

Caverns, 
40 And through Beulah, and all, silent, forbore to 

contend 
With Ololon, for they saw the Lord in the Clouds of 

Ololon. 

There is a Moment in each Day that Satan cannot 

find, 
Nor can his Watch Fiends find it, but the Industrious 

find 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 5ll 

This Moment, and it multiply, and when it once is 

found 
45 It renovates every Moment of the Day if rightly 

placed. 
In this Moment Ololon descended to Los and Eni- 

tharmon, 
Unseen beyond the Mundane Shell Southward in 

Milton's track. 

Just in this Moment, when the morning odours rise 

abroad, 
And first from the Wild Thyme, stands a Fountain in 

a rock 
5° Of crystal, flowing into two Streams, one flows thro' 

Golgonooza, 
And thro' Beulah to Eden, beneath Los's western 

Wall; 
The other flows thro' the Aerial Void, and all the 

Churches 
Meeting again in Golgonooza, beyond Satan's Seat. 

The Wild Thyme is Los's Messenger to Eden, a 

mighty Demon, 
55 Terrible, deadly, and poisonous, his presence in Ulro 

dark ; 
Therefore he appears only a small Root creeping in 

grass, 
Covering over the Rock of Odours his bright purple 

mantle, 
Beside the Fount above the Lark's Nest in Gol- 
gonooza. 
Luvah slept here in death, and here is Luvah's empty 

Tomb, 
6o Ololon sat beside this Fountain on the Rock of 

Odours. 

Just at the place to where the Lark mounts is a 

Crystal Gate : 
It is the entrance of the First Heaven, named 

Luther ; for 



512 BLAKE'S POEMS 

The Lark is Los's Messenger thro' the Twenty-seven 

Churches, 
That the Seven Eyes of God, who walk even to Satan's 
Seat, 
65 Thro' all the Twenty-seven Heavens may not slumber 
nor sleep, 
But the Lark's Nest is at the Gate of Los, at the 
eastern 
6 7 Gate of wide Golgonooza, and the Lark is Los's Mes- 
senger. 

(36) 

When on the highest lift of his light pinions he 

arrives 
At that bright Gate, another Lark meets him, and back 

to back 
They touch their pinions' tip tip, and each descend 
To their respective Earths, and there all night consult 

with Angels 
5 Of Providence and with the Eyes of God all night in 

slumbers 
Inspired ; and at the dawn of day send out another 

Lark 
Into another Heaven to carry news upon his wings. 
Thus are the Messengers dispatched till they reach 

the Earth again 
In the East Gate of Golgonooza, and the Twenty- 
eighth bright 
10 Lark met the Female Ololon descending into my 

Garden. 
Thus it appears to Mortal eyes and those of the Ulro 

Heavens, 
But not thus to Immortals, the Lark is a mighty 

Angel. 

For Ololon step'd into the Polypus within the Mun- 
dane Shell, 

They could not step into Vegetable Worlds without 
becoming 
15 The enemies of Humanity except in a Female Form, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 513 

And as One Female. Ololon and all its mighty Hosts 
Appear' d, a Virgin of twelve years, nor time nor 

space was 
To the perception of the Virgin Ololon, but as the 
Flash of lightning, but more quick, the Virgin in my 

Garden 
20 Before my Cottage stood, for the Satanic Space is 

delusion. 

For when Los join'd with me he took me in his fiery 

whirlwind. 
My vegetated portion was hurried from Lambeth's 

shades. 
He set me down in Felpham's Vale and prepar'd a 

beautiful 
Cottage for me that in three years I might write all 

these Visions, 
25 To display Nature's cruel holiness, the deceits of 

Natural Religion. 
Walking in my Cottage Garden, sudden I beheld 
The Virgin Ololon, and address'd her as a Daughter 

of Beulah. 

Virgin of Providence, fear not to enter into my 

Cottage. 
What is thy message to thy friend, what am I now 
to do? 
30 Is it again to plunge into deeper affliction ? behold me 
Ready to obey, but pity thou my Shadow of Delight ; 
32 Enter my Cottage, comfort her, for she is sick with 
fatigue. 

(37) 

The Virgin answer'd, Knowest thou of Milton, who 

descended, 
Driven from Eternity? him I seek, terrified at my 

Act, 
In Great Eternity, which thou knowest : I come him 

to seek. 

vol. 1, 2 k 



514 BLAKE'S POEMS 

So Ololon utter'd in words distinct the anxious 

thought. 
5 Mild was the voice, but more distinct than any 

earthly 
That Milton's Shadow heard, and condensing all his 

Fibres 
Into a strength impregnable of majesty and beauty 

infinite. 
I saw he was the Covering Cherub, and within him 

Satan 
And Rahab, in an outside which is fallacious ; within, 
10 Beyond the outline of Identity, in the Selfhood 

deadly, 
And he appear'd the Wicker Man of Scandinavia, in 

whom 
Jerusalem's children consume in flames among the 

Stars. 

Descending down into my Garden, a Human Wonder 

of God, 
Reaching from heaven to earth, a Cloud and Human 

Form. 
I 5 I beheld Milton with astonishment, and in him beheld 
The Monstrous Churches of Beulah, the Gods of Ulro 

dark, 
Twelve monstrous dishumanized terrors, Synagogues 

of Satan, 
A Double Twelve and Thrice Nine : such their 

divisions. 

And these their Names and their Places within the 
Mundane Shell. 
20 In Tyre and Sidon I saw Baal and Ashtaroth. In 
Moab, Chemash. 

In Ammon, Molech : loud his Furnaces rage among 
the Wheels 

Of Og, and pealing loud the cries of the Victims of 
Fire; 

And pale his Priestesses unfolded in Veils of Pesti- 
lence, border'd 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 515 

With "War ; Woven in Looms of Tyre and Sidon by 

beautiful Ashtaroth, 
35 In Palestine, Dagon, Sea Monster, worship'd o'er the 

Sea. 
Thammuz in Lebanon and Rimmon in Damascus cur- 

tain'd, 
Osiris, Isis, Orus, in Egypt : dark their Taber- 
nacles on Nile, 
Floating with solemn songs, and on the Lakes of 

Egypt nightly, 
With pomp, even till morning break and Osiris 

appear in the sky. 
30 But Belial of Sodom and Gomorrha, obscure Demon 

of Bribes 
And secret Assassinations, not worship'd nor ador'd : 

but 
With the finger on the lips, and the back turn'd to 

the Light, 
And Saturn, Jove, and Rhea of the Isles of the Sea 

remote. 
These Twelve Gods are the Twelve Spectre Sons of 

the Druid Albion. 

35 And these the Names of the Twenty-seven Heavens 
and their Churches — 

Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch : 

Methuselah, Lamech — these are Giants mighty, Her- 
maphroditic. 

Hoah, Shem, Arphaxad, Cainan the second, Salak, 
Beber, 

Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah, these are the 
Female-Males, 
40 A Male within a Female, hid as in an Ark and Cur- 
tains. 

Abraham, Moses, Solomon, Paul, Constantine, Char- 
lemaine, 

Luther, these seven are the Male-Females, the Dragon 
Forms, 

Religion hid in War, a Dragon red and hidden 
Harlot. 



516 BLAKE'S POEMS 

All these are seen in Milton's Shadow, who is the 
Covering Cherub, 
45 The Spectre of Albion in which the Spectre of Luvah 
inhabits, 
In the Newtonian Voids between the Substances of 
Creation. 

For the Chaotic Voids outside of the Stars are mea- 
sured by 
The Stars, which are the boundaries of Kingdoms, 

Provinces, 
And Empires of Chaos invisible to the Vegetable Man. 
50 The Kingdom of Og is in Orion : Sihon is in 

Ophiucus. 
Og has Twenty-seven Districts ; Sihon's Districts 

Twenty-one. 
From Star to Star, Mountains and Valleys, terrible 

dimension, 
Stretch'd out, compose the Mundane Shell, a mighty 

Incrustation 
Of Forty-eight deformed Human Wonders of the 

Almighty, 
55 With Caverns whose remotest bottoms meet again 

beyond 
The Mundane Shell in Golgonooza, but the Fires of 

Los rage 
In the remotest bottoms of the Caves, that none can 



Into Eternity that way, but all descend to Los, 
To Bowlahoola and Allamanda and to Entuthon 
Benython. 

60 The Heavens are the Cherub : the Twelve Gods are 
Satan. 

(39) 

Forty-eight starry regions are Cities of the Levites, 
And the Heads of the Great Polypus, Four-fold twelve 
enormity, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 517 

In mighty and mysterious commingling, enemy with 

enemy, 
Woven by Urizen into Sexes from his mantle of years, 
5 And Milton collecting all his fibres into impregnable 

strength, 
Descended down a Paved work of all kinds of precious 

stones 
Out from the eastern sky, descending down into my 

Cottage 
Garden, clothed in black, severe and silent he 

descended. 

The Spectre of Satan stood upon the roaring sea, and 

beheld 
10 Milton within his sleeping Humanity ; trembling and 

shudd'ring, 
He stood upon the waves a Twenty-seven-fold mighty 

Demon 
Gorgeous and beautiful. Loud roll his thunders 

against Milton. 
Loud Satan thunder'd, loud and dark upon mild 

Felpham shore, 
Not daring to touch one fibre, he howl'd round upon 

the Sea. 

15 I also stood in Satan's bosom, and beheld its desola- 
tions, 
A ruin'd Man, a ruin'd building of God, not made 

with hands, 
Its plains of burning sand, its mountains of marble 

terrible, 
Its pits and declivities flowing with molten ore and 

fountains 
Of pitch and nitre ; its ruin'd palaces and cities and 

mighty works ; 
20 Its furnaces of affliction, in which his Angels and 

Emanations 
Labour with blacken'd visages among its stupendous 

ruins : 



518 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Arches and pyramids and porches, colonades and 

domes, 
In which dwells Mystery, Babylon : here is her secret 

place. 
From hence she comes forth on the Churches in 

delight. 
25 Here is her Cup fill'd with its poisons in these horrid 

vales ; 
And here her scarlet Veil woven in pestilence and 

war. 
Here is Jerusalem bound in chains, in the Dens of 

Babylon. 

In the Eastern porch of Satan's Universe, Milton 
stood and said : 

Satan, my Spectre ! I know my power thee to 
annihilate, 
30 And be a greater in thy place, and be thy Tabernacle : 

A covering for thee to do thy will, till one greater 
comes, 

And smites me as I smote thee, and becomes my 
covering. 

Such are the Laws of thy false Heav'ns ; but Laws of 
Eternity 

Are not such. Know thou, I come to Self Annihila- 
tion. 
35 Such are the Laws of Eternity, that each shall 
mutually 

Annihilate himself for others' good, as I for thee. 

Thy purpose and the purpose of thy Priests and of thy 
Churches 

Is to impress on men the fear of death : to teach 

Trembling and fear, terror, constriction, abject selfish- 
ness. 
40 Mine is to teach Men to despise death, and to go on 

In fearless majesty, annihilating Self, laughing to 
scorn 

Thy Laws and terrors, shaking down thy Synagogues 
as webs. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 519 

I come to discover before Heav'n and Hell the Self 

righteousness 
In all its Hypocritic turpitude, opening to every eye 
45 These wonders of Satan's holiness, shewing to the 

Earth 
The Idol Virtues of the Natural Heart, and Satan's 

Seat 
Explore in all its Selfish Natural Virtue, and put off, 
In Self annihilation, all that is not of God alone, 
To put off Self and all I have, ever and ever. Amen. 

5° Satan heard ! Coming in a cloud with trumpets and 
flaming fire, 
Saying : I am God, the judge of all, the living and the 

dead. 
Fall therefore down and worship me; submit thy 

supreme 
Dictate to my eternal Will, and to my dictate bow. 
I hold the Balances of Right and Just, and mine the 
Sword. 
55 Seven Angels bear my Name, and in those Seven I 
appear. 
But I alone am God, and I alone in Heav'n and Earth, 
57 Of all that live, dare utter this ; others tremble and 
bow 

(40) 

Till all Things become One Great Satan in Holiness, 
Oppos'd to Mercy, and the Divine Delusion Jesus be 
no more. 

Suddenly around Milton on my Path, the Starry Seven 

Burn'd terrible. My Path became a solid fire, as 
bright 
5 As the clear Sun, and Milton, silent, came down on 
my Path. 

And there went forth from the Starry limbs of the 
Seven, Forms 

Human, with Trumpets innumerable, sounding articu- 
late, 



520 BLAKE'S POEMS 

As the Seven spake ; and they stood in a mighty 

Column of Fire, 
Surrounding Felpham's Vale, reaching to the Mundane 

Shell, saying : 

io Awake, Albion, awake ! reclaim thy Reasoning 

Spectre. Subdue 
Him to the Divine Mercy ; cast him down into the 

Lake 
Of Los, that ever burneth with fire, ever and ever. 

Amen ! 
Let the Four Zoas awake from Slumbers of Six 

Thousand Years. 
Then loud the Furnaces of Los were heard and seen 

as Seven Heavens, 
15 Stretching from south to north over the mountains of 

Albion. 

Satan heard : trembling round his Body, he in- 
circled it. 

He trembled with exceeding great trembling and 
astonishment, 

Howling in his Spectre round his Body, hung'ring to 
devour, 

But fearing for the pain, for if he touches a Vital, 
20 His torment is unendurable ; therefore he cannot 
devour, 

But howls round it as a lion round his prey, continu- 
ally. 

Loud Satan thunder' d, loud and dark upon mild 
Felpham's Shore, 

Coming in a Cloud with Trumpets and with Fiery 
Flame, 

An awful Form eastward from midst of a bright Paved- 
work 
25 Of precious stones, by Cherubim surrounded, so 
permitted 

(Lest he should fall apart in his Eternal Death) to 
imitate 

The Eternal Great Humanity Divine, surrounded by 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 521 

His Cherubim and Seraphim in ever happy Eternity. 
Beneath sat Chaos : Sin on his right hand Death on 

his left. 
30 And Ancient Night spread over all the heav'n his 

Mantle of Laws. 
He trembled with exceeding great trembling and 

astonishment. 

Then Albion rose up in the Night of Beulah on his 

Couch 
Of dread repose, seen by the visionary eye : his face is 

toward 
The east, toward Jerusalem's Gates. Groaning he 

sat above 
35 His rocks. London and Bath and Legions (sic) and 

Edinburgh 
Are the four pillars of his Throne : his left foot, near 

London, 
Covers the shades of Tyburn : his instep from Windsor 
To Primrose Hill, stretching to Highgate and 

Holloway. 
London is between his knees, its basements fourfold : 
40 His right foot stretches to the sea on Dover cliffs, his 

heel 
On Canterbury's ruins : his right hand covers lofty 

Wales, 
His left Scotland : his bosom girt with gold involves 
York, Edinburgh, Durham, and Carlisle ; and on the 

front 
Bath, Oxford, Cambridge, Norwich : his right elbow 
45 Leans on the Rocks of Erin's Land, Ireland, ancient 

nation : 
His head bends over London : he sees his embodied 

Spectre 
Trembling before him with exceeding great trembling 

and fear. 
He views Jerusalem and Babylon; his tears flow 

down. 
He moved his right foot to Cornwall, his left to the 

Rocks of Bognor. 



522 BLAKE'S POEMS 

5° He strove to rise, to walk into the Deep, but strength 
failing 
Forbad, and down with dreadful groans he sunk upon 

his Couch 
In moony Beulah. Los, his strong Guard, walks 
round beneath the Moon. 

Urizen faints in terror striving among the Brooks of 

ArDon 
With Milton's Spirit, as the Plowman or Artificer or 

Shepherd, 
55 While in the labours of his calling, sends his thought 

abroad 
To labour in the ocean or in the starry heaven. So 

Milton 
Labour'd in Chasms of the Mundane Shell, tho' here 

before 
My Cottage, midst the Starry Seven, where the Virgin 

Ololon 
Stood trembling in the Porch, loud Satan thunder'd 

on the stormy Sea, 
6o Circling Albion's cliffs, in which the Four-fold World 

resides, 
Tho' seen in fallacy outside, a fallacy of Satan's 

Churches. 

(42) 

Before Ololon Milton stood and perciev'd the Eternal 

Form 
Of that mild Vision : wondrous were their acts by me 

unknown, 
Except remotely ; and I heard Ololon say to Milton : 

I see thee strive upon the Brooks of Arnon ; there a 

dread 
5 And awful Man I see, o'ercover'd with the mantle of 

years. 
I behold Los and Urizen, I behold Ore and Tharmas ; 
The Four Zoas of Albion and thy Spirit with them 

striving 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 523 

In Self annihilation, giving thy life to thy enemies. 

Are those who contemn Religion, and seek to anni- 
hilate it, 
10 Become in their Feminine portions the causes and 
promoters 

Of these Religions ? How is this thing ? this Newtonian 
Phantasy, 

This Voltaire and Rousseau ; this Hume and Gibbon 
and Bolingbroke ; 

This Natural Religion, this impossible absurdity ? 

Is Ololon the cause of this ? O where shall I hide my 
face ? 
*5 These tears fall for the little-ones, the Children of 
Jerusalem, 

Lest they be annihilated in thy annihilation. 

No sooner she had spoke but Rahab, Babylon, appear'd 
Eastward upon the Paved work, across Europe and 

Asia, 
Glorious as the midday Sun in Satan's bosom glowing ; 
20 A Female hidden in a Male, Religion hidden in War, 
Nam'd Moral Virtues, cruel two-fold Monster, shining 

bright, 
A Dragon red and hidden Harlot, which John in 

Patmos saw. 

And all beneath the Nations innumerable of Ulro, 
Appear'd the Seven Kingdoms of Canaan and Five 

Baalim 
25 Of Philistea, into Twelve divided, call'd after the 

Names 
Of Israel, as they are in Eden — Mountain, River, and 

Plain, 
City and sandy Desart, intermingled beyond mortal 

ken. 

But turning toward Ololon in terrible majesty, Milton 
Replied : Obey thou the Words of the Inspired Man. 
30 All that can be annihilated must be annihilated, 



524 BLAKE'S POEMS 

That the Children of Jerusalem may be saved from 
slavery. 

There is a Negation, and there is a Contrary. 

The Negation must be destroy'd to redeem the Con- 
traries. 

The Negation is the Spectre, the Reasoning Power in 
Man. 
35 This is a false Body, an Incrustation over my Im- 
mortal 

Spirit, a Selfhood, which must be put off and annihi- 
lated alway 
37 To cleanse the Face of my Spirit by self-examination. 

(43) 

To bathe in the waters of Life, to wash off the Not 

Human, 
I come in Self-annihilation and the grandeur of 

Inspiration 
To cast off Rational Demonstration by Faith in the 

Saviour, 
To cast off the rotten rags of Memory by Inspiration, 
5 To cast off Bacon, Locke, and Newton from Albion's 

covering, 
To take off his filthy garments and clothe him with 

Imagination ; 
To cast aside from Poetry all that is not Inspiration, 
That it no longer shall dare to mock with the aspersion 

of Madness 
Cast on the Inspired by the tame high finisher of 

paltry Blots, 
io Indefinite or paltry Rhymes, or paltry Harmonies ; 
Who creeps into State Government like a caterpillar 

to destroy ; 
To cast off the idiot Questioner, who is always 

questioning 
But never capable of answering, who sits with a sly 

grin 
Silent plotting when to question, like a thief in a 

cave ; 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 525 

*5 Who publishes doubt and calls it knowledge ; whose 

Science is Despair, 
Whose pretence to knowledge is Envy; whose whole 

Science is 
To destroy the wisdom of ages, to gratify ravenous 

Envy 
That rages round him like a Wolf day and night 

without rest. 
He smiles with condescension, he talks of Benevolence 

and Virtue, 
20 And those who act with Benevolence and Virtue, they 

murder time on time. 
These are the destroyers of Jerusalem, these are the 

murderers 
Of Jesus, who denv the Faith and mock at Eternal 

Life ; 
Who pretend to Poetry that they may destroy 

Imagination, 
By imitation of Nature's Images drawn from Remem- 
brance. 
25 These are the Sexual Garments, the Abomination of 

Desolation, 
Hiding the Human Lineaments as with an Ark and 

Curtains, 
Which Jesus rent, and now shall wholly purge away 

with Fire 
Till Generation is swallowd up in Regeneration. 

Then trembled the Virgin Ololon, and reply'd in 
clouds of despair : 
30 Is this our Feminine Portion, the Six-fold Miltonic 
Female ? 

Terribly this Portion trembles before thee, O awful 
Man, 

Altho' our Human Power can sustain the severe con- 
tentions 

Of Friendship, our Sexual cannot, but flies into the 
Ulro. 

Hence arose all our terrors in Eternity, and now 
remembrance 



526 BLAKE'S POEMS 

35 Returns upon us. Are we Contraries, O Milton, Thou 

and I ? 
O Immortal ! how were we led to War, the Wars of 

Death? 
37 Is this the Void outside of Existence, which if enter'd 

into 

(44) 

Becomes a Womb? and is this the Death Couch of 

Albion ? 
Thou goest to Eternal Death, and all must go with 

thee ! 

So saying, the Virgin divided Six-fold, and with a 
shriek 

Dolorous that ran thro' all Creation, a Double Six- 
fold Wonder ; 
S Away from Ololon she divided, and fled into the 
depths 

Of Milton's Shadow, as a Dove upon the stormy Sea. 

Then as a Moony Ark Ololon descended to Felpham's 

Vale 
In clouds of blood, in streams of gore, with dreadful 

thunderings, 
Into the Fires of Intellect that rejoic'd in Felpham's 

Vale 
io Around the Starry Eight. With one accord the Starry 

Eight became 
One Man, Jesus, the Saviour wonderful ; round his 

limbs 
The Clouds of Ololon folded as a Garment dipped in 

blood, 
Written within and without in woven letters ; and 

the Writing 
Is the Divine Revelation in the Literal expression, 
*5 A Garment of War. I heard it named the Woof of 

Six Thousand Years. 

And I beheld the Twenty-four Cities of Albion 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 527 

Arise upon their Thrones to Judge the Nations of the 

Earth, 
And the Immortal Four, in whom the Twenty-four 

appear Four-fold, 
Arose around Albion's body. Jesus wept, and walked 

forth 
20 From Felpham's Vale, clothed in Clouds of blood, to 

enter into 
Albion's Bosom, the bosom of death, and the Four 

surrounded him 
In the Column of Fire in Felpham's Vale ; then to 

their mouths the Four 
Applied their Four Trumpets, and then sounded to 

the Four winds. 

Terror struck in the Vale. I stood at that immortal 

sound ; 
25 My bones trembled, I fell outstretch'd upon the path 
A moment, and my Soul return'd into its mortal state, 
To Resurrection and Judgment in the Vegetable 

Body, 
And my sweet Shadow of Delight stood trembling by 

my side. 

Immediately the Lark mounted with a loud trill from 

Felpham's Vale, 
30 And the Wild Thyme from Wimbleton's green and 

unpurpled Hills, 
And Los and Enitharmon rose over the Hills of 

Surrey. 
Their clouds roll over London with a south wind, soft 

Oothoon 
Pants in the Vales of Lambeth, weeping o'er her 

Human Harvest ; 
Los listens to the Cry of the Poor Man, his Cloud 
35 Over London in volume terrific, low bended in anger. 

Rintrah and Palamabron view the Human Harvest 

beneath, 
Their Wine-presses and Barns stand open ; the Ovens 

are prepar'd, 



528 BLAKE'S POEMS 

The Waggons ready ; terrific Lions and Tygers sport 
and play ; 
39 All Animals upon the Earth are prepar'd in all their 
strength 

(45) 

To go forth to the Great Harvest and Vintage of the 
Nations. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 529 



MILTON— EXTRA PAGES 

{Not in the complete copy chosen for printing, which is that 
in the Print-Room of the British Museum. They are num- 
bered by Blake. Only Nos. 3, 5, 8, 17, and 32 have been 
found.) 

(Extra page 3) 

Beneath the Plow of Rintrah and the Harrow of the 
Almighty, 

In the hands of Palamabron, where the Starry Mills 
of Satan 

Are built beneath the Earth and Waters of the Mun- 
dane Shell, 

Here the Three Classes of Men take their Sexual 
texture Woven. 
5 The Sexual is Threefold : the Human is Fourfold. 

If you account it Wisdom when you are angry to be 

silent and 
Not to shew it, I do not account that Wisdom, but 

Folly. 
Every Man's Wisdom is peculiar to his own Indi- 
viduality. 
O Satan, my youngest born, art thou not Prince of 

the Starry Hosts 
io And of the Wheels of Heaven, to turn the Mills day 

and night ? 
Art thou not Newton's Pantocrator weaving the Woof 

of Locke ? 
To Mortals thy Mills seem every thing, and the 

Harrow of Shaddai 

vol. i. 2 L 



530 BLAKE'S POEMS 

A scheme of Human conduct, invisible and incompre- 
hensible. 

Get to thy Labours at the Mills, and leave me to my 
wrath. 

15 Satan was going to reply, but Los roll'd his loud 
thunders. 

Anger me not I thou canst not drive the Harrow in 

pity's paths, 
Thy Work is Eternal Death, with Mills and Ovens 

and Cauldrons. 
Trouble me no more, thou canst not have Eternal 

Life. 

So Los spoke. Satan trembling obey'd, weeping along 
the way. 
20 Mark well my words, they are of your eternal Salva- 
tion. 

Between South Molton Street and Stratford Place, 

Calvary's foot, 
Where the Victims were preparing for Sacrifice their 

Cherubim. 
Around their loins pour'd forth their arrows, and their 

bosoms beam 
With all colours of precious stones, and their inmost 

palaces 
25 Resounded with preparation of animals wild and tame 
(Mark well my words : Corporeal Friends are Spiritual 

Enemies), 
Mocking, Druidical, Mathematical 
Proportion of Length, Bredth, Highth, 
29 Displaying Naked Beauty : with Flute and Harp and 

Song. 

(Extra page 5) 

By Enitharmon's looms when Albion was slain upon 

his Mountains, 
And in his tent, through envy of the living form, 

even of the Divine Vision, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 531 

And of the sports of wisdom in the Human Imagina- 
tion, 

Which is the Divine Body of the Lord Jesus blessed 
for ever. 
5 Mark well my words, they are of your eternal salva- 
tion. 

Urizen lay in darkness and solitude in chains of the 

mind locked up. 
Los seized his hammer and tongs ; he laboured at 

his resolute anvil 
Among indefinite Druid rocks, and snows of doubt 

and reasoning. 

Refusing all definite form the Abstract Horror roofed, 
stony hard ; 
10 And a first age passed over, and a state of dismal woe. 

Down sunk with fright a red hot globe, round, burn- 
ing, deep, 

Deep down into the abyss, panting, conglobing, 
trembling ; 

And a second age passed over, and a state of dismal 
woe. 

Rolling round into two little orbs, and closed in two 

little caves, 
*5 The eyes beheld the Abyss, lest bones of solitude 

freeze over all ; 
And a third age passed over, and a state of dismal 

woe. 

From beneath his orbs of vision two ears in close 

volutions 
Shot spiring out in the deep darkness and petrified as 

they grew ; 
And a fourth age passed over, and a state of dismal 

woe. 

20 Hanging upon the wind two Nostrils bent down into 
the deep, 



532 BLAKE'S POEMS 

And a fifth age passed over, and a state of dismal 
woe. 

In ghastly torment sick, a tongue of hunger and 

thirst flamed out, 
And a sixth age passed over, and a state of dismal 

woe. 

Enraged and stifled without and within, in terror and 

woe he threw his 
25 Right arm to the north, his left arm to the south, and 

his feet 
Stamped the nether abyss in trembling and howling 

and dismay. 
And a seventh age passed over, and a state of dismal 

woe. 

Terrified, Los stood in the abyss, and his immortal 
limbs 

Grew deadly pale. He became what he beheld, for a 
red 
3° Round globe sunk down from his Bosom into the 
Deep. In pangs 

He hovered, it trembling and weeping. Trembling it 
shook 

The nether abyss in tremblings. He wept over it, he 
cherished it 

In deadly, sickening pain, till separated into a 
female pale 

As the cloud that brings the snow. All the while 
from his Back 
35 A blue fluid exuded in sinews, hardening in the 
abyss, 

Till it separated into a male form howling in jeal- 
ousy, 

Within, labouring ; beholding without, — from par- 
ticulars to generals 

Subduing his Spectre. They builded the Looms of 
Generation ; 

They builded great Golgonooza, Times on Times, 
ages on ages. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 533 

4° First Ore was born, then the Shadowy Female, then 
all Los's family. 
At last Enitharmon brought forth Satan, refusing 

Form. In vain 
The Miller of Eternity made subservient to the Great 
Harvest, 
43 That he may go to his own Place, Prince of the Starry 
Wheels. 

(Extra page 8) 

Then Los and Enitharmon knew that Satan is Urizen, 
Drawn down by Ore and the Shadowy Female into 

Generation. 
Oft Enitharmon enter'd weeping into the Space, there 

appearing 
An aged Woman raving along the Streets (the Space 

is named 
5 Canaan), then she return'd to Los weary, frighted as 

from dreams. 
The nature of a Female Space is this : it shrinks the 

Organs 
Of Life till they become Finite, and Itself seems 

Infinite. 

And Satan vibrated in the immensity of the Space : 

Limited 
To those without, but Infinite to those within : it fell 

down and 
io Became Canaan, closing Los from Eternity in Albion's 

Cliffs. 
A mighty Fiend against the Divine Humanity mus- 

t'ring to War. 
Satan, Ah me ! is gone to his own place, said Los ; 

their God 
I will not worship in their Churches, nor King in 

their Theatres. 
Elynittria, whence is this Jealousy running along the 

mountains ? 
T 5 British Women were not Jealous when Greek and 

Roman were Jealous. 



534 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Every thing in Eternity shines by its own Internal 

light ; but thou 
Darkenest every Internal light with the arrows of 

thy quiver, 
Bound up in the horns of Jealousy to a deadly fading 

Moon, 
And Ocalythron binds the Sun into a Jealous Globe, 
20 That every thing is fix'd Opake without Internal 

Light. 

So Los lamented over Satan, who, triumphant, divided 
the Nations. 

(Extra page 17) 

And Tharmas, Demon of the Waters, and Ore, who 

is Luvah 
The Shadowy Female, seeing Milton, howl'd in her 

lamentation 
Over the Deeps, outstretching her Twenty-seven 

Heavens over Albion. 

And thus the Shadowy Female howls in articulate 
howlings : 

5 I will lament over Milton in the lamentations of the 

afflicted. 
My Garments shall be woven of sighs and heart- 
broken lamentations. 
The misery of unhappy Families shall be drawn out 

into its border, 
"Wrought with the needle, with dire sufferings, 

poverty, pain, and woe, 
Along the rocky Island and thence throughout the 

whole Earth, 
10 There shall be the sick Father and his starving 

Family : there 
The Prisoner in the stone Dungeon and the Slave at 

the Mill. 
I will have writings written all over it in Human 

words, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 535 

That every Infant that is born upon the Earth shall 

read 
And get by rote as a hard task of a life of sixty years. 
15 I will have Kings inwoven upon it, and Councellors 

and Mighty Men. 
The P'amine shall clasp it together with buckles and 

clasps, 
And the Pestilence shall be its fringe and the War its 

girdle, 
To divide into Rahab and Tirzah, that Milton may 

come to our tents. 
For I will put on the Human Form and take the Image 

of God, 
20 Even Pity and Humanity, but my Clothing shall be 

Cruelty. 
And I will put on Holiness as a breastplate and as a 

helmet, 
And all my ornaments shall be of the gold of broken 

hearts, 
And the precious stones of anxiety and care, and 

desperation and death, 
And repentance for sin and sorrow, and punishment 

and fear, 
2 5 To defend me from thy terrors, O Ore ! my only 

beloved. 

Ore answer'd : Take not the Human Form, O love- 
liest ! Take not 
Terror upon thee ! Behold how I am, and tremble 

lest thou also 
Consume in my Consummation ; but thou must take 

a Form 
Female and lovely, that cannot consume in Man's 

consummation. 
3° Wherefore dost thou Create and Weave this Satan 

for a Covering ? 
When thou attemptest to put on the Human Form, 

my wrath 
Burns to the top of heaven against thee in Jealousy 

and Fear. 



536 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Then I rend thee asunder, then I howl over thy clay 

and ashes. 
When wilt thou put on the Female Form as in times 

of old, 
35 With a Garment of Pity and Compassion like the 

Garment of God ? 
His garments are long sufferings for the Children of 

Men. 
Jerusalem is his Garment, and not thy Covering 

Cherub, O lovely 
Shadow of my delight, who wanderest seeking for the 

prey. 

So spoke Ore when Oothoon and Leutha hover'd over 
his Couch 
4° Of fire in interchange of Beauty and Perfection in the 
darkness. 

Opening interiorly into Jerusalem and Babylon, 
shining glorious 

In the Shadowy Female's bosom. Jealous her dark- 
ness grew. 

Howlings fill'd all the desolate places in accusations of 
Sin, 

In Female beauty shining in the unform'd void, and 
Ore in vain 
45 Stretch'd out his hands of fire, and wooed ; they 
triumph in his pain. 

Thus darken'd the Shadowy Female tenfold, and Ore 

tenfold 
Glow'd on his rocky Couch against the darkness: 

loud thunders 
Told of the enormous conflict, Earthquake beneath, 

around, 
Rent the Immortal Females limb from limb and 

joint from joint, 
5° And moved the fast foundations of the Earth to wake 

the Dead. 
Urizen emerged from his Rocky Form and from his 

Snows, 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 537 



(Extra page 32) 

And Milton oft sat up on the Couch of Death, and oft 

conversed 
In vision and dream beatific with the Seven Angels 

of the Presence. 

I have turned my back upon these Heavens builded 
on cruelty ; 

My Spectre still wandering thro' them follows my 
Emanation. 
5 He hunts her footsteps thro' the snow and the wintry 
hail and rain. 

The idiot Reasoner laughs at the Man of Imagination, 

And from laughter proceeds to murder by under- 
valuing calumny. 

Then Hillel, who is Lucifer, replied over the Couch 

of Death, 
And thus the Seven Angels instructed him, and thus 

they converse : — 

io We are not Individuals, but States, Combinations of 

Individuals. 
We were Angels of the Divine Presence, and were 

Druids in Annandale, 
Compell'd to combine into Form by Satan, the Spectre 

of Albion, 
Who made himself a God, and destroyed the Human 

Form Divine. 
But the Divine Humanity and Mercy gave us a Human 

Form, 
IS Because we were combin'd in Freedom and holy 

Brotherhood, 
While those combin'd by Satan's Tyranny first in the 

blood of War 
And Sacrifice, and next in Chains of imprisonment, 

are Shapeless Rocks, 
Retaining only Satan's Mathematic Holiness, Length, 

Bredth, and Highth, 



538 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Calling the Human Imagination, which is the Divine 

Vision and Fruition, 
20 In which Man liveth eternally : madness and blas- 
phemy against 
Its own Qualities, which are Servants of Humanity, 

not Gods or Lords. 
Distinguish, therefore, States from Individuals in 

those States. 
States change, but Individual Identities never change 

nor cease. 
You cannot go to Eternal Death in that which can 

never Die. 
25 Satan and Adam are States Created into Twenty-seven 

Churches, 
And thou, O Milton, art a State about to be 

Created, 
Called Eternal Annihilation, that none but the Living 

shall 
Dare to enter ; and they shall enter triumphant over 

Death, 
And Hell, and the Grave : States that are not, but 

ah ! seem to be. 

3° Judge, then, of thy Own Self, thy Eternal Linea- 
ments explore. 
What is Eternal and what Changeable, and what 

Annihilable ? 
The Imagination is not a State, it is the Human 

Existence itself. 
Affection or Love becomes a State when divided from 

Imagination ; 
The Memory is a State always, and the Reason is a 

State 
35 Created to be Annihilated, and a new Ratio Created. 
Whatever can be Created can be Annihilated. Forms 

cannot. 
The Oak is cut down by the Axe, the Lamb falls by 

the Knife, 
But their Forms Eternal Exist For-ever. Amen. 

Hallelujah. 



THE PROPHETIC BOOKS 539 

Thus they converse with the Dead, watching round 

the Couch of Death, 
40 For God himself enters Death's Door always with 

those that enter, 
And lays down in the Grave with them in Visions of 

Eternity, 
Till they awake and see Jesus and the Linen Clothes 

lying- 
43 That the Females had woven for them, and the Gates 

of their Father's House. 

Against the words 'Human Form Divine ' in line 13 above, 
Blake has placed a marginal note: — Q'Q'VS as multitudes: 
Vox Populi. 

The Hebrew word is probably taken by Blake from Job 
xxv. 9, ' By reason of the multitude of the oppressions they 
make the oppressed to cry.' It there refers to the 'multitude 
of oppressions.' Blake would have rendered it 'Druids' or 
'Spectre Sons of Albion,' and thus Vox Populi is Vox Diaboli. 



MEANING OF f MILTON' 

These notes only venture to give a few hints and to indicate 
a few places of search where portions of the explanations most 
useful to the enjoyment of the writing are to be found. 

The name ' Milton ' is that of the state about to be created 
called Self- Annihilation (extra page 32, line 26). It 'anni- 
hilates the Self of Deceit and false Forgiveness' (page 15, 
beneath illustration), or, in other words, the doctrine of the 
atonement, which, being the opposite of 'Forgiveness,' was 
Blake's idea of the opposite of the Lamb of God. 

Milton the poet, who died in 1674, had been dead more 
than a century when Blake, executing a life-sized drawing of 
his head for a medallion in Hayley's library at Felpham, 
began to study for the purpose, and became 'absorbed' by him, 
as well as by other poets, as he relates in a letter, November 
26, 1800. 

Beading 'Paradise Lost' again he began to feel much of 
the influence in it to be poetically akin to his own work ever 
since 1774, the centenary of Milton's death, which was, so far 
as we can gather, the time when he wrote 'Samson,' his most 



540 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Miltonic fragment. It is found among the ' Poetical Sketches, ' 
none of which are later in date than 1775 or 1776. His way 
of thinking of the influence of a person as though the acts 
caused by that influence were done by the person, would explain 
the idea that probably caused him to write here, addressing 
the Muses — 

'Say first what moved Milton, who walked about in 

Eternity 
One hundred years pondering the intricate mazes of 

Providence, 
. . . To go into the deep,' . . . etc. 

But this only explains the expression ' One hundred years,' 
and shows Blake considering himself as in part acting through 
the dictation of Milton, from which he released himself later, 
as he relates in last paragraph of the Preface to 'Jerusalem.' 
Blake's use of the word ' dictate, ' which he makes a noun, can 
also be understood from the way in which he employs it as 
meaning a mental influence due to action during life, and 
surviving the actual period of life, in his letter to Hayley, 
dated May 6, 1800, in which he says that he writes by the 
'dictate' of his brother Robert, who had been dead thirteen 
years. He also held that memory was the personal presence 
of the thing or person remembered, as explained in another 
letter to Hayley, December 18, 1804. 

In reading the rest of the book of ' Milton ' it is more neces- 
sary than even in going through any other works of Blake 
to remember that he looked on this world as ' created ' only by 
the delusion (renewed mercifully morning by morning) of a 
hypnotic suggestion whispered in our ears by that Great 
Spirit the Poetic Genius, the God whom the Jews worshipped 
and have taught us to worship. 

The ' elements' are eternal — so is the 'void.' There are two 
ways of looking at these. The female way believes in them. 
The male way disbelieves in them, but believes in the fact that 
imagination (part of God's own Substance) may be fed, in each 
of us by emotions depending on the female delusion of the 
reality of nature. 

The will of Nature (or the Female will) consists in what we 
call mathematics. It is the basis of that thing called Morality, 
which becomes hateful when it rises to be a delusion ; for then, 
instead of being inert and dead like this form of Will called, 
mathematics (which lies without biting, like a sleeping dog 
if we do not kick it into activity), it demands to shape our 
minds and imaginations, through our bodies, instead of being 
satisfied with these. The best it can do to our imaginations is 



MEANING OF 'MILTON' 541 

to fill them with love through beauty; the worst to occupy 
them with error, illusion, and self-righteousness. 

This creed is implied, both in this poem and in the ' Jeru- 
salem,' in the use, as though they all meant the same thing, of 
such words as Sin, Morality; Nature, Bacon, Newton, 
and Locke; The Serpent {from whose jaws we eat the fruit); 
Rahab and Tirzah (the Biblical account of these names sug- 
gests the symbol) ; the Twenty-seven Heavens and Churches ; 
and the Mundane Shell. 

The scries includes all ideas of religious restraint of 
emotion and consequent impoverishment of Imagination, that, 
taken together, are Adamic and Satanic, and not Deific. 

Another result of Blake's philosophy is his use of 'real 
surface, ' which we should usually call ' ideal forms, ' in con- 
trast with ' false surface' — which we see every day as 
' apparent forms ' — and call, because of their apparent solidity, 
by the name of Body. 

He applies this name to apparent cogency of reasoning 
based on the delusions of Nature, which become alive and 
grow to the man by the effect they have on his imagination. 
They should, however, be cast off, and the 'face of his Spirit 
cleansed ' of them. Error has no place in eternal life, whether 
it be the errors of mind or of will. ' One error unredeemed 
will destroy a human soul ' (' Jerusalem,' p. 46, line 11). The 
great error of Will, or Morality, corresponds to and springs 
from the delusion which Nature tricks us into through the 
senses; although God had only meant these to provide a 
pleasant shadoto in which to rest our minds. It causes the 
error of condemning the guilty. 

Just as poetry seems nonsense to the matter-of-fact mind, so 
does either redemption or forgiveness seem to the really moral 
mind. They are the nonsense of Justice. 

But besides the Deific Imagination (ultimately inscrutable 
to us) there is the Human Imagination, His Divine Son, our 
Saviour. This is not only scrutable and questionable by us, 
but is so as nothing else can be, being, in fact, our near and 
only Brother, the Certainty that we may love. He invented 
'Forgiveness of Sins.' 

But in order that sin may be forgiven, it must be under- 
stood. There are two kinds. There is the sin of loving 
Nature, so as to become One with her, and give her of our 
lives. This sin, if done as a piece of self-sacrifice, is divine, 
and is the Redemption itself; for Redemption — as all God's 
acts — must be performed by us. The typical case and example 
ivas, of course, that of Jesus, but every case is a type and an 
example, and was such from all time. 

Under the name ' Milton ' another of these infinitely 



542 BLAKE'S POEMS 

numerous Redemptions is told now. In the narrative it 
seems that after being in the Father's bosom a hundred years, 
a poetic act, or divine act, or bard's song, released Milton, to 
come to a more outward region of the Divine form, or 
universe of souls, when he met the influence and spirits of his 
three wives and daughters, and through them, and the element 
of Rahab and the Covering Cherub in them, suffered painful 
contact with what is the Contrary of Imagination — the 
Opposite of the Lamb of God — Satan. The cherub covers the 
tree of life, turning it into ' Mystery,' and it is his opacity 
which, at its extreme limit, is called Satan, of whom an aspect, 
absolutely tyrannous, yet well-meaning, called ' Urizen,' 
strives with Milton over the Arnon, a river of love in what we 
call the nerves of the human body. Milton tried to give him 
life. He does so in his poem of ' Paradise Lost, ' calling him 
God, as noted in Blake's ' Marriage of Heaven and Hell, ' for 
Urizen is that Dweller on the Future called also Destiny. 

In doing this Milton's poetry perished, for the dead are 
those who are immersed in Moral Law. His influence, how- 
ever, re-arising in Blake, is a return. His selfhood. — the 
characteristic puritanism of his poetry — perishes while he 
thus ' redeems ' the feminine portion — the delusions and un- 
visionary conceptions of life that had caused that selfhood to 
sin, as Eve caused Adam. The whole idea that sin consisted 
in sexual contact is novo swept away from the Miltonic influ- 
ence, and the Biblical creed that an essential part of sin was 
that modesty which is based on a Satanic belief in the reality 
of Nature is substituted. An essentially good element in John 
Milton is the irresistible tendency of the true poet — not of the 
false ones who 'pretend to art to destroy art' — to play the 
Redeemer. This is revealed, and he vanishes from the poem 
in line 19, page 44. Instead of him — 

' Jesus wept and walked forth 
From Felpham's vale.' 

The vision is complete. A touch of autobiography follows. 
Blake, overwhelmed by the trance, falls in a kind of faint in 
his own garden-path, and his wife runs trembling out of the 
cottage to help him up. 

Such is this crucifixion — 'Mysterious offering of self for 
another,' as explained in the closing pages of 'Jerusalem.' 

But there is much more in the pages of this poem. It begins 
with a reference to Beulah — whose 'daughters,' or minor 
influences, are the muses of the poet. 'Beulah' may be 
considered as a name for what we should call the beauty 
of nature. The meaning of the word is marriage, and 
the symbol is the eye. Marriage is a Swedenborgian term 



MEANING OF ' MILTON' 543 

for the influx of spiritual influence into life. He makes 
all marriage a figure of the act which joined the Holy Spirit 
and the Virgin Mary, or the same spirit with The Waters, 
before the creation of the World. Blake, like an artist brought 
up a Swedenborgian, and going beyond his master, perceiving 
that this is just what happens when we make beautiful blind 
nature into visibility by seeing her, reminds us that there is an 
incarnation when we so much as look at a sunset, and uses a 
scientific term to say so in the ' Vision of the Daughters of 
Albion,' page 7, line 1. Here, in the Visions of the Lamenta- 
tion of Beulah over Ololon, he gives further details of the 
power of the 'daughters' of Beulah. Ololon (ufho may be 
called the sadness of nature without its jealousy) makes a 
breach from Imagination to Perception, and (like the world's 
great act by the Man of Sorrows) makes possible the redemp- 
tion of Rahab, into whom so many of the Satanic qualities 
unite, whether seen as churches, Milton's wives, the Shadowy 
Female, or everything else that is emotional, but not inspired. 
The revelation of Milton, ivho is now seen to be Jesus after his 
previous uniting with Los, and that of Los with Blake, recall 
the well-known allegory of St. Christopher. 

The weeping Satan of this poem, like the deceived Urizen, 
who also iveeps, is the sorrow of nature mingled with opacity in- 
stead of mingled with inspiration. Urizen (extra page 8, line 1) 
becomes opaque when dratvn down by the Shadoioy Female. 
These are the tears that are the direct opposite of those that 
woke Lazarus from the dead when they fell on his grave. 
Satan in whatever form is as opposite to the Lamb of God as 
Urizen, whose good leads to evil when he goes from his right 
station, becomes opposite to Ore (or Luvah), whose evil leads 
to good. 

Palamabron is the ideal Tiriel. When Tiriel was regene- 
rated, he became Palamabron, as we are told in 'Vala,' 
Night VIII., line 488. 

Tiriel was a jovial person once, xohen his beard gathered 
the smell of ripe figs. 

Palamabron is the second, or Asiatic, region of the part of 
mind that is inspired by Los. Los, or Sol read backwards, 
who is called ' Time ' by mortals, has a way of reading nature 
backioards, and so refusing to get deception from her, but 
turning her to poetry. His four sons, long unvegetated and 
refusing to fly through the gates (of Reuben) into the outer 
region of mind, are 

Rintrah, Palamabron, Theotormon, and Bromion, 
corresponding to the Zoas 

Urizen, Luvah, Tharmas, and Urthona, 

in their relative places and characteristics. 



544 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Palamabron is old-fashioned, happy London, before the 
Satanic Urizen has put his (Prester) Serpent's head in 
Verulam, by aid of experimental Bacon ( ' Jerusalem, ' page 74, 
line 2). Though London in the ' Songs of Experience' and in 
' Jerusalem, ' page 84, line 11, descends to Tirielesque qualities, 
and becomes blind and age-bent, led by a child, younger in the 
draining than Hela when she teas becoming a maiden, and so 
could receive the curse of the aged, as part of the same idea. 
If we looked closely at this ' London, ' we should see inside him 
not only Tiriel and Palamabron, but Urizen, and conse- 
quently Rahab, for Mystery is Urizen's tree, and all else, 
down to Satan, that opposes Vision — the Divine. 

Palamabron had a short turn of evil when he tried to serve 
Satan's mills. This means that Blake tried to produce 
realistic art. He had been persuaded to attempt it before, and 
a portion of the Satan anil Palamabron story is found in 
' Vala,' a book begun in the year 1797. It may have gone on 
beyond the close of that year. In reading 'Milton,' we must 
have in hand ' Vala,' Night VIII., line 345 — 

' I am that shadowy prophet who six thousand years ago 
Fell from my station.' 

This part of the idea in the poem of ' Milton ' therefore began 
long before the name now used for the book was thought of. 
From line 375 (aided by 'Jerusalem,' page 49, line 68) we 
begin to gather more about the symbol Satan, and in lines 382 
to 480 ive have the latter part of the Miltonic story of Palam- 
abron. The former part identifies the 'Satanic' influence 
with that which Hayley, partly through Mrs. Blake, was trying 
to exercise on Blake when he finally drove him from Felpham 
by insisting that he should only do the drudgery of his 
business. (Compare letter to Butts.) 

It is quite impossible to fail to see Hayley and his verses 
behind Satan and the mills. It is not going further than 
legitimate conjecture to suspect him of getting Blake to help 
him with a verse or two before he learned that Blake would 
endure no such help in return. The line in reverse over the 
top of the first page of the second part of ' Milton ' — ' How wide 
and unpassable the gulf between simplicity and insipidity,' 
precisely indicating, as it does, the difference betiveen Blake's 
ballad verse and Hayley' s, is conclusive. There is some reason 
to believe that just at first Mrs. Blake sided with Hayley, talked 
common sense to Blake, and interfered with his mental happi- 
ness. She may even have talked jealousy and interfered with 
his visits to Hayley' s house, where this amiable and profligate 
gentleman was remembered only a few years ago by a very old 
gardener as being reported to have kept a Turkish harem of 



MEANING OF 'MILTON' 545 

his own. It was said of Mrs. Blake by those who kneiu her, 
that she betrayed her peasant origin by an exaggerated 
suspiciousness of her husband's friends. She may have talked 
with that old gardener when he was a little boy. Blake would 
have been furious at his wife's suggestions, and probably 
hinted in return that if she would be worthy to live in 
' Beulah,' and be one of the 'Muses that inspire the poetfs 
song,' she must show herself more really moral by providing 
him with what Sarah, till a mother, allowed Abraham; and 
the old William Bond scene may have been acted over again 
on a reduced scale, for Blake had loved his wife for many 
years now. William Bond dates about 1783 — soon after the 
publication of the ' Poetical Sketches.' 'Broken Love' seems 
to have been written about 1803. Page 32 of ' Milton, ' and 
the extra page 32 here printed at the end of the poem, were 
probably both written, one as a substitute for the other, at this 
time. Fragments of ' Broken Love ' will be found in them. 
Elynittria, the Emanation of Palamabron, is related by corre- 
spondence to Mrs. Blake, in so far as she has qualities in 
common with Enitharmon ( ' vegetable mortal wife of Los, his 
emanation, yet his wife till the sleep of death is passed'), Los 
becoming one with Blake in this poem, and Blake being in a 
position closely resembling that of Palamabron. It is evidently 
meant for a hint to Mrs. Blake when we are told in page 11, 
lines 31, etc., how Elynittria treated Leutha, who is to her 
much as Hagar to Sarah. But the fact is that Leutha was 
not a human being of any sort. She is a name for the tender- 
heartedness of Haylcy's verses (Blake speaks of them as affec- 
tionate ballads), which filled him with 'odorous stupefaction,' 
unlike the arrowy inspirations of Elynittria, as the horses of 
the harrow — the lines of the poetry — found out. 

Leutha is 'made apparent' to Blake seemingly in such 
beauties of nature as butterflies, rainbows, and flowers. 
Compare page 9, line 33 ; page 10, lines 5 and 15 ; and the 
book called 'Europe,' page 12. Leutha is the 'luring bird of 
Eden,' on whose wings 'the many-coloured bow delights.' She 
is also the ' soft soul of flowers,' and a ' 'sweet smiling pestilence.' 
Eden is amorous idea, and so is pestilence, which adorns the 
wild snake with gems and gold, the accompaniments of excited 
desire in man or animals, as seen by the visionary. The seven 
moods of Leutha seek the love of Antamon, who is himself a 
particular form of beauty, namely, the beauty of gratified 
desire. Palamabron as a ' horned priest skipping upon the 
mountains* in this poem is a goat-like and obvious symbol. 
Blake pays Wesley the compliment of making Palamabron 
inspire his hymns. 

The meaning of this part of ' Milton ' is therefore a parable. 

vol. i. 2 m 



546 BLAKE'S POEMS 

Blake makes some of his bard's listeners suggest that the 
things he tells of under a mask are facts of some kind, page 
11, line 49. The bard crushes that gossip by saying that 
it is all true because inspired. Commentary must here leave 
the question, only gathering that some sort of incident in 
which literature, patronage, and jealousy were mixed when 
referred to in poetry with some impersonations of beauty and 
desire that were mistaken for persons, occurred and pro- 
duced those heart-searching s that, under the influence of 
Blake's absorption in Milton's poetry, led to the composition 
of the whole book and to the weaving into it of passages from 
' Vala, ' with explanations, in which Blake's own philosophy 
is 'justified to men,' under belief that it iwas one of the 'ways 
of God.' In the poem of 'Broken Love,' Blake is seen to hint 
to his wife that they should give up love and root up the 
infernal grove, living avowedly in future on the joys of 
imagination only, ending all quarrel in mutual forgiveness. 

But the poem of 'Milton' contains expressions that sound 
as if they meant what they do not; as the word 'Satan' sounds 
as though it meant the hoofed and horned devil, whom Blake 
once saw and sketched. Churches or States are not only ' com- 
binations of individuals,' they are combinations of influences 
(each influence is an individual), and in result produce 
conditions of perception. The extreme states, Satan and the 
Lamb, are not properly states at all. One is death, or mind 
without any spiritual or imaginary light; the other is illumi- 
nation, or ' existence itself. ' We are each alternating between 
them always. Each intermediate state has powers of clair- 
voyant, prophetic, and even physical perception that is closed 
to the state outside it. We can enter into these only by divine 
grace, being 'of ourselves nothing.' 

Stars, Swedenborg says, mean in the Bible, knowledges 
of faith, goodness, or truth, but wandering stars, evils and 
falsities. So Milton appeared entering into the ' nether parts 
of imagination' by his morality, which was only partly 
Christian and mainly that of the twenty-seven coverings of 
error, or Heavens of JJlro. 

In page 36 is another biographical hint. Blake believes 
that he left Lambeth (where he wrote the first sketch of the 
story of Palamabron in ' Vala,' Night VIII.), that he might 
'write all these visions' at Felpham. While writing they 
grew, and he accepted the experiences and the new ideas as all 
part of his mental growth. This accounts for the portion of 
Hayley that is to be detected in the ' Milton ' story and not in 
the 'Vala' story of Satan and Palamabron. In the 'Vala' 
story, 'Satan' seems to have been a figure suggested partly, 
perhaps originally, by Sir Joshua Reynolds. The rest of the 



MEANING OF 'MILTON' 547 

book, especially the peroration, is mainly explanatory. 
Wherever a word is found both here and in 'Jerusalem,' 
they explain each other if the leading idea be kept in mind 
that ' Negation ' is pure evil (like murder), and that contradic- 
tion (the tears of eternity) is a stage — the sexual stage — on the 
way towards ultimate brotherhood and good, of which imag- 
ination is the essence. 

'Nations,' Swedenborg teaches, denote (where this word is 
used in the Bible), 'in the general sense,' good affections and 
truth. We are invited now to the ' great harvest and vintage 
of the Nations.' 

These last words of the poem were probably the last that 
Blake put upon metal, though most of the work was written 
before most of 'Jerusalem,' and both borrow from 'Vala,' 
written in 1797, and both are dated on their title-pages, 1804. 

The close of 'Jerusalem,' as will be seen, is a cry that all 
may utter. It is a shout of delight over the discovery in 
' Forgiveness ' of the breaking down of individualist walls, the 
annihilation of restriction or contraction (called 'self'), and 
of the liberty to combine with one another through emotion and 
imagination till we all become One Grand Man, and each 
thought and word of ours a human being combining into our- 
selves, as the selves merge into the only Self. ' Jerusalem is 
called Liberty among the sons of men.' That is the liberty. 

'Milton' goes a step further into the region of art. It has 
described the phases and changes of the ' self of false forgive- 
ness ' under many symbols, and it ends with a cry for those of 
us who feel that we can make artistic or imaginative use (by 
mental digestion, leading to mental vigour) of all the contem- 
plation so elaborated. 

The ' seed of contemplative thought ' has been sown, and it 
has come up as symbolism, art, and poetry. All our energies 
may now possess it, nor are we to fear — Blake proudly im- 
plies — that one mental faculty will need go empty away. 

Every power we possess, if we will only be selfless enough to 
become saints, artists, and poets, may be nourished into rejoic- 
ing and immortality by the soft grapes and firm grain of this 
harvest and vintage. 



548 BLAKE'S POEMS 



DESIGNS TO 'MILTON' 

Title-page. — Milton entering his shadow; a nude figure, 
full page, walking slowly away from into the back of the 
picture, which is filled with cloud. The type of head is 
youthful, the hair long. The motto ( ' To justify the Ways of 
God to Men ') is beneath the feet, the rest of the title written on 
the clouds behind the figure. 

Page 3. A heading only. The words 'Milton, Book the 
First, ' are written across the rays or flames shed downwards 
by a falling star that descends upon a nude and female figure 
that touch only at the feet, in the middle or the foreground, 
and spread floatingly right and left. The male has corn, 
the female has grapes mingled with her. They arc minute 
creatures, and would be, judging by the corn and grapes, only 
a few inches in height. They are the 'human forms' of the 
harvest and vintage. 

Page 4. A half -page drawing. A colossal Druid arch over 
a hundred feet high, made of three stones only — one at each 
side and a cross-piece — rears itself among the stars. A 
traveller on horseback rides under it, not alarmed by a huge 
stone of a lumpy kind in his way, though it is the size of a 
balloon. A crescent moon shines in the sky. The design is a 
counterpart to that on page 70 of 'Jerusalem,' though there 
are differences. The subject appears to be a traveller passing 
through Ulro, leaving Druid error and ideas of atonement 
for sin — Miltonic ideas, in fact. 

Page 8. A full page. Three full-length nude figures, one 
inflames on a pedestal. Of the others, one clasps its hands in 
pity, and one descends from the pedestal. This one, partly 
hidden, has the appearance of being female, though the knees 
and shins are male. It is conjectured in the Quaritch edition 
to represent Los, Enitharmon, and Ore — the latter in flames. 
The flames have reference probably to those spoken of on page 
10 of the poem. The standing figures have attributes of Los 
and Enitharmon, and the burning figure of Ore in a secondary 
sense, but Blake woidd probably have given the drawing 
another title. 

Page 13. A full page drawing. A nude figure advancing 
toivards us from the rays of a dark sunrise, and dropping as 
he advances a robe torn in two, and now only trailed in his 
extended hands. The subject is probably in lines 10 to 14 of 
the opposite page, where a small drawing, a little figure in a 
drawing that only displaces a few lines of text, is seen striding 
away under a tree from a fallen figure. The fallen figure 
appears feminine, but both are so small and roughly sketched 



DESIGNS TO 'MILTON' 549 

that the subject is doubtful. It may mean the male or symbolic 
power freeing itself from the feminine or personal. 

Page 14. A very small drawing appears to contain Milton, 
as an error (or falling star : the symbol seems to be that which 
Swedenborg attributes to the Biblical writers), entering the 
nether parts of Blake's imagination — the instep. Some flames 
and rocks divide this figure from an alarmed female, fully 
dressed — perhaps Mrs. Blake, who figures later in the poem 
in personal form as watching with alarm Blake's overwhelm- 
ing fits of imaginative excitement at this time. 

Page 15. A full page. The upper half a procession of 
triumphant musicians — string, brass, and tambourine, youths 
and maidens dancing slowly through rising sun-rays. One 
carries ' Urizen' s harp' (' Vala,' Night VII., line 688, etc.). 
He is probably Urizen in innocence, as below his feet is 
Vrizen, taught to break laio. Probably the others are not in 
the wild state of servants of the Mill (page 6, line 9), but they 
display naked beauty (that of music, not clothed with ' rotten 
rays of memory, ' but made of inspiration only), as this may be 
displayed with flute and harp and song (extra page 3). The 
figures themselves are draped. Below their feet, just beloio the 
surface of the hill on which they stand, Milton (a nude, 
powerful figure) is seen struggling with Urizen (a melancholy 
Jehovah) between two tables of the law upon which Hebrew 
characters are discernible. 

Below, the zcords ' To annihilate the selfhood of deceit and 
false forgiveness.' Seepage 17 of poem. 

Page 16. Headpiece — Milton's three wives and three 
daughters. Tailpiece — Los opposing with fibres the path of 
Milton. He does so because Milton's morality unlooses the 
accuser of sins upon man — so at least Enitharmon, his fibrous 
portion, fears. 

Page 21. Los seen in Sol behind Blake, who turns round 
when in the act of fastening ideas of the world to the lower 
parts of his imagination, as a sandal to a foot. 

Page 24. A few insects, not in human form, creatures 
from the winepress of Luvah. 

Page 26. Two pictures. Large mountains. No figures. 
The 'two gates' described in line 11 and following. 

Page 29. Full page drawing of Blake, tvith Milton as a 
falling star. An enlargement of the drawing on page 14. 
The word ' William ' is written large. 

Page 30. Heading, a few small flying and floating figures, 
some falling, some rising round the name 'Milton, Book the 
Second.' , 

Page 32. A diagram. Four circles are drawn through 
one another so as to touch at a central point. Two are so 



550 BLAKE'S POEMS 

placed that a line from centre to centre would, be level, but a 
line from centre to centre of the other two would be upright. 
Each circle is about the size of a five shilling piece. In the 
midst is placed an egg, about the size of a hen's egg. In the 
upper part of it is a spot called Adam. In the lower part no 
spot. The space is called Satan. The top circle is called 
Urthona, the bottom one Urizen; that on the right Luvah, 
that on the left Tharmas. They are labelled North — letters 
also, N., W., S., E. Flames surround them. A line from 
below on the right is drawn ascending to the spot ' Adam,' 
and labelled ' Milton's Track.' 

Page 33. A full page drawing, similar to that on page 29. 
The figure is in reverse, that is, he falls backtoards to the 
right, and not to the left of the picture. His foremost foot is 
his right, and not his left foot. The name written is Robert, 
not William, and the star is smaller, and more darkness is in 
the background. No explanation of this picture has been 
found in such of Blake's writings as we at present possess. 

Page 36. A very rough drawing (not at all correct), labelled 
'Blake's cottage at Felpham.' It is childish, and seems to 
have been done by a little boy of six. Blake (a figure less than 
an inch in height) walks in the garden, meeting Ololon (the 
same size), who is stepping doivn from the sky. Traces of 
power and dignity are in Ololon and her flying scarf. 

Page 38. A full page drawing of a man and woman lying 
on a rock at the base of a cliff, surrounded by waves. An 
eagle flies above them, looking down at them. They represented 
the flesh, potverless without imagination to resist time and 
space. In the part of the vision of Ahania after line 505 of 
Night VIII. of 'Vala,' the subject is carried further in verse. 

Page 41. A full page drawing of frailty worshipping for- 
giveness. A nude male figure of Christ, encouraging a 
draped female figure, who falls on her knees on the banks of a 
shallow stream, across which he walks. Magdalen and the 
risen Christ, symbolically understood — 

4 But I, thy Magdalen, behold thy spiritual risen body.' 
(' Jerusalem,' page 62, line 14.) 

' O Melancholy Magdalen, behold the morning (over Maiden) 
breaks.' — (' Jerusalem,' page 65, line 38; 'Vala,' 
Night VII., line 679 and foUoioing.) 

Page 42. A small sketch of a man underground struggling 
with monsters of the deep. Man striving with his own in- 
tellect under reason's dominion, or Milton as Urizen (into 
whom he entered by giving him life) in Urthona' s den ('Vala,' 
Night VI.). 



DESIGNS TO 'MILTON' 551 

Page 43. A small rough drawing of floating figures hold- 
ing hands, with arms interlaced above their heads — the human 
forms of happy words free from ' reason ' ; and ' memory ' 
bathed in ' waters of life. ' 

Page 44. Enitharmon in clouds over the hills of Surrey 
(line 31 of this page), symbolically ; pity weeping on the 
human harvest, and ' animating by her tears,' as Vala 'built 
by the reasoning power ' was ' animated ' by the tears of 
Jerusalem. 

Page 45. The human harvest growing. 



END OF VOL. I. 



Printed by T. and A. Constable, Printers to His Majesty 
at the Edinburgh University Press 



ERRATA 

Vol. I. 

Page xvii, 7 lines from top, for Crabbe read Crabb. 
,, xix, 24 lines from top, for Garnel read Garnett. 
,, xxiii, 7 lines from top, for sun read son. 
,, xxxiv, second line, for Mr. Grant Richards read Chatto 

& Windus. 
, , 96, 15 lines from top, for filch read fetch. 
,, 114, 12 lines from top, delete tread. 
,, 172, 14 lines from top, for Warble read Wardle. 



Vol. II. 

213, 7 lines from foot, for Songs read Sons. 
223, 24 lines from top, for lone read Love. 
228, 5 lines from foot, for long heroic line read strong 
heroic verse. 

231, fifth line, for 1. 5 read first five lines. 
,, last line but one, for 47 read 53. 

,, last line, for 626 read 628. 

232, top line, for 734 read 737. 

,, line 22, for long-heroic read strong heroic. 

234, lines 3, 4, and 7, 8, from top to be deleted (first 
and third full lines of quotation). 

,, 9 lines from top, delete centre (referring to the 

second full line of quotation). 
,, 17 lines from top, for 141 and 142 read 145-146. 

235, delete references to Night vn. 
345, fourth line, for plows read blows. 

347, ninth line from bottom, for Shilon read Shiloh. 
354, fifth line, for Forgiven read Forgivers. 

,, seventh line from foot, for A Voltaire read O Vol- 
taire. 

, , 4 lines from foot, for Year read Tear. 
360, 5 lines from top, for Ador read floor. 
365, 10 lines from top, for path read pain. 
406, 22 lines from top, for wonders read wanders. 
415, line 1, for in***lement read imminglement. 
429, 9 lines from foot, for on read an. 
445, 16 lines from top, for sendinding read sending. 
447, 20 lines from top, for Ginon read Gihon. 

464, 13 lines from top, for his Bow Fourfold, the Vision, 
read his Bow, Fourfold the Vision, for etc. 

465, 5 lines from top, for Fourfold, loud read Fourfold. 
Loud.