Blake, William

Britain, (1757-1827)

I Saw a Chapel

  1. I saw a chapel all of gold
  2. That none did dare to enter in,
  3. And many weeping stood without,
  4. Weeping, mourning, worshipping.
  6. I saw a serpent rise between
  7. The white pillars of the door,
  8. And he forc’d and forc’d and forc’d,
  9. Down the golden hinges tore.
  11. And along the pavement sweet,
  12. Set with pearls and rubies bright,
  13. All his slimy length he drew
  14. Till upon the altar white
  16. Vomiting his poison out
  17. On the bread and on the wine.
  18. So I turn’d into a sty
  19. And laid me down among the swine.

Poems. Ed. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1863.

Editor’s Note:

This and other poems were first published by Rossetti in his edition of Blake’s poems, which formed the second volume of Alexander Gilchrist’s posthumous Life of William Blake. It was edited from a notebook in Rossetti’s possession, now known as the Rossetti MS., containing a great number of sketches, draft poems, polemical prose, and miscellaneous writings, which Blake kept with him for many years.

Give pensions to the Learned Pig
(an epigram from Blake’s notebook)

  1. Give pensions to the Learned Pig
  2. Or the Hare playing on a Tabor.
  3. Anglus can never see Perfection
  4. But in the Journeymans Labour.

The Poetry and Prose of William Blake. Edited by David V. Erdman. New York: Doubleday & Company (1965).

The Everlasting Gospel
(exerpt, lines 198-215)

  1. ‘He mock’d the Sabbath, and He mock’d
  2. The Sabbath’s God, and He unlock’d
  3. The evil spirits from their shrines,
  4. And turn’d fishermen to divines;
  5. O’erturn’d the tent of secret sins,
  6. And its golden cords and pins,
  7. In the bloody shrine of war
  8. Pour’d around from star to star,—
  9. Halls of justice, hating vice,
  10. Where the Devil combs his lice.
  11. He turn’d the devils into swine
  12. That He might tempt the Jews to dine;
  13. Since which, a pig has got a look
  14. That for a Jew may be mistook.
  15. “Obey your parents.”—What says He?
  16. “Woman, what have I to do with thee?
  17. No earthly parents I confess:
  18. I am doing my Father’s business.”

The Poetry and Prose of William Blake. Edited by David V. Erdman. New York: Doubleday & Company (1965).

About the Poet

William Blake (1757-1827), British poet, philosopher, illustrator, draftsman, engraver, writer and visionary; one of the earliest and greatest figures of Romanticism. From childhood he possessed a highly distinctive mystic vision, and early on he developed a personal symbolism to express his mystical philosophy.

Blake’s poetry marks the beginning of Romanticism and a rejection of the Age of Enlightenment. The powerful images of his engravings and paintings display his admiration of Michelangelo, Raphael and Dürer. His watercolors and engravings, like his writings, were only fully appreciated after his death. [DES-6/03]

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