William Blake. Part II (Poems 100-123)

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    Biographical information
    William Blake. Part I (Poems 1-99)
    William Blake. Part II (Poems 100-123)

  1. The Sick Rose
  2. The Sky Is An Immortal Tent Built By The Sons Of Los
  3. The Song Of Los
  4. The Two Songs
  5. The Tyger
  6. The Voice Of The Ancient Bard
  7. The Wild Flower's Song
  8. Three Things To Remember
  9. To Autumn
  10. To Morning
  11. To Nobodaddy
  12. To See The World
  13. To Spring
  14. To Summer
  15. To The Accuser Who Is The God Of This World
  16. To The Evening Star
  17. To The Muses
  18. To Thomas Butts
  19. To Tirzah
  20. To Winter
  21. When Klopstock England Defied
  22. Why Should I Care
  23. Why Was Cupid A Boy?
  24. You Don't Believe




    Biographical information

      Name: William Blake
      Place and date of birth: London (England); November 28, 1757
      Place and date of death: London (England); August 12, 1827 (aged 69)

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      The Sick Rose

        O Rose, thou art sick!
        The invisible worm
        That flies in the night,
        In the howling storm,

        Has found out thy bed
        Of crimson joy:
        And his dark secret love
        Does thy life destroy.

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      The Sky Is An Immortal Tent Built By The Sons Of Los

        The sky is an immortal tent built by the Sons of Los:
        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:
        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 moves 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.
        As to that false appearance which appears to the reasoner
        As of a globe rolling through 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
        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.

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      The Song Of Los

        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 shudderd!
        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 shudderd! 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 hipocrisy. 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 & Plato.

        Times rolled on o'er all the sons of Har, time after time
        Orc on Mount Atlas howld, chain'd down with the Chain of Jealousy
        Then Oothoon hoverd over Judah & Jerusalem
        And Jesus heard her voice (a man of sorrows) he recievd
        A Gospel from wretched Theotormon.

        The human race began to wither, for the healthy built
        Secluded places, fearing the joys of Love
        And the disease'd 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.

        These were the Churches: Hospitals: Castles: Palaces:
        Like nets & gins & traps to catch the joys of Eternity
        And all the rest a desart;
        Till like a dream Eternity was obliterated & erased.

        Since that dread day when Har and Heva fled.
        Because their brethren & sisters liv'd in War & 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 & Enitharmon gave
        Laws & 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 & gave it into the hands of Newton & Locke

        Clouds roll heavy upon the Alps round Rousseau & Voltaire:
        And on the mountains of Lebanon round the deceased Gods
        Of Asia; & on the deserts of Africa round the Fallen Angels
        The Guardian Prince of Albion burns in his nightly tent


        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 fires of Orc.

        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 & wantonness

        To turn man from his path,
        To restrain the child from the womb,

        To cut off the bread from the city,
        That the remnant may learn to obey.
        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 & 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.

        Orc 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 shivring clay breathes
        And all flesh naked stands: Fathers and Friends;
        Mothers & Infants; Kings & Warriors:

        The Grave shrieks with delight, & shakes
        Her hollow womb, & clasps the solid stem:
        Her bosom swells with wild desire:
        And milk & blood & glandous wine.

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      The Two Songs

        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 the haycocks looked brown.

        I heard a devil curse
        Over the heath and the furse:
        "Mercy vould 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, and peace."

        At his curse the sun went down,
        And the heavens gave a frown.

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      The Tyger

        Tyger Tyger. 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, & what art,
        Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
        And when thy heart began to beat.
        What dread hand? & 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?

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

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      The Voice Of The Ancient Bard

        Youth of delight come hither.
        And see the opening morn,
        Image of truth new born.
        Doubt is fled & clouds of reason.
        Dark disputes & 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.

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      The Wild Flower's Song

        As I wandered 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 fears
        And I felt delight.

        'In the morning I went
        As rosy as morn,
        To seek for new joy;
        But oh! Met with scorn'.

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      Three Things To Remember

        A Robin Redbreast in a cage,
        Puts all Heaven in a rage.

        A skylark wounded on the wing
        Doth make a cherub cease to sing.

        He who shall hurt the little wren
        Shall never be beloved by men.

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      To Autumn

        O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain'd
        With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
        Beneath my shady roof; there thou may'st 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 clust'ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
        And feather'd clouds strew flowers round her head.

        'The spirits of the air live in 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 the bleak
        Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

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      To Morning

        O holy virgin! clad in purest white,
        Unlock heav'n'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 honey'd dew that cometh on waking day.
        O radiant morning, salute the sun
        Rous'd like a huntsman to the chase, and with
        Thy buskin'd feet appear upon our hills.

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      To Nobodaddy

        Why art thou silent & invisible
        Father of jealousy
        Why dost thou hide thyself in clouds
        From every searching Eye

        Why darkness & obscurity
        In all thy words & laws
        That none dare eat the fruit but from
        The wily serpents jaws
        Or is it because Secresy
        gains females loud applause

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      To See the World

        To see the world in a grain of sand,
        And Heaven in a wild flower,
        Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
        And eternity in an hour.

        He who binds himself to a joy
        Does the winged life destroy;
        He who kisses joy as it flies
        Lives in eternity's sun rise.

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      To Spring

        O thou with dewy locks, who lookest down
        Thro' 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 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 love-sick land that mourns for thee.

        O 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.

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      To Summer

        O thou who passest thro' our valleys in
        Thy strength, curb thy fierce steeds, allay the heat
        That flames from their large nostrils! Thou, O Summer,
        Oft pitched'st here thy goldent tent, and oft
        Beneath our oaks hast slept, while we beheld
        With joy thy ruddy limbs and flourishing 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 fam'd 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.

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      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

        Tho thou art Worship'd by the Names Divine
        Of Jesus & Jehovah thou art still
        The Son of Morn in weary Nights decline
        The lost Travellers Dream under the Hill

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      To The Evening Star

        Thou fair-haired angel of the evening,
        Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light
        Thy 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 silver dew
        On every flower that shuts its sweet eyes
        In timely sleep. Let thy west wing sleep on
        The lake; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes,
        And wash the dusk with silver. Soon, full soon,
        Dost thou withdraw; then the wolf rages wide,
        And the lion glares through the dun forest.
        The fleeces of our flocks are covered with
        Thy sacred dew; protect with them with thine influence.

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      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 ceas'd;

        Whether in Heav'n 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
        Wand'ring in many a coral grove,
        Fair nine, forsaking poetry!

        How have you left the ancient love
        That bards of old enjoy'd in you!
        The languid strings do scarcely move!
        The sound is forc'd, the notes are few!

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      To Thomas Butts

        To my friend Butts I write
        My first vision of light,
        On the yellow sands sitting.
        The sun was emitting
        His glorious beams
        From Heaven’s high streams.
        Over sea, over land,
        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.
        Amaz’d and in fear
        I each particle gazиd,
        Astonish’d, amazиd;
        For each was a Man
        Human-form’d. Swift I ran,
        For they beckon’d 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
        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 jewels of light,
        Heavenly men beaming bright,
        Appear’d as One Man,
        Who complacent began
        My limbs to enfold
        In His beams of bright gold;
        Like dross purg’d away
        All my mire and my clay.
        Soft consum’d in delight,
        In His bosom sun-bright
        I remain’d. Soft He smil’d,
        And I heard His voice mild,
        Saying: ‘This is My fold,
        O thou ram horn’d with gold,
        Who awakest 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 gulf.
        These are guards of My fold,
        O thou ram horn’d with gold!’
        And the voice faded mild;
        I remain’d 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
        Appear’d on the sea.

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      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 sprung from Shame & Pride
        Blowd in the morn; in evening died
        But Mercy changed Death into Sleep;
        The Sexes rose to work & weep.

        Thou Mother of my Mortal part.
        With cruelty didst mould my Heart.
        And with false self-deceiving tears.
        Didst blind my Nostrils Eyes & 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?

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      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 unchain'd, sheathèd
        In ribbèd steel; I dare not lift mine eyes,
        For he hath rear'd his sceptre o'er the world.

        Lo! Now the direful monster, whose 1000 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 in vain. Poor little wretch, that deal'st
        With storms! Till heaven smiles, and the monster
        Is driv'n yelling to his caves beneath mount Hecla.

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      When Klopstock England Defied

        When Klopstock England defied,
        Uprose William Blake in his pride;
        For old Nobodaddy aloft
        ... and belch'd and cough'd;
        Then swore a great oath that made Heaven quake,
        And call'd aloud to English Blake.
        Blake was giving his body ease,
        At Lambeth beneath the poplar trees.
        From his seat then started he
        And turn'd him round three times three.
        The moon at that sight blush'd scarlet red,
        The stars threw down their cups and fled,
        And all the devils that were in hell,

        Answerиd with a ninefold yell.
        Klopstock felt the intripled turn,
        And all his bowels began to churn,
        And his bowels turn'd round three times three,
        And lock'd in his soul with a ninefold key;
        Then again old Nobodaddy swore
        He ne'er had seen such a thing before,
        Since Noah was shut in the ark,
        Since Eve first chose her hellfire spark,
        Since 'twas the fashion to go naked,
        Since the old Anything was created...

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      Why Should I Care

        Why should I care for the men of Thames
        Or the cheating waves of charter'd streams
        Or shrink at the little blasts of fear
        That the hireling blows into my ear.

        Tho born on the cheating banks of Thames
        Tho 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.

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      Why Was Cupid a Boy?

        Why was Cupid a boy,
        And why a boy was he?
        He should have been a girl,
        For aught that I can see.

        For he shoots with his bow,
        And the girl shoots with her eye,
        And they both are merry and glad,
        And laugh when we do cry.

        And to make Cupid a boy
        Was the Cupid girl's mocking plan;
        For a boy can't interpret the thing
        Till he is become a man.

        And then he's so pierc'd with cares,
        And wounded with arrowy smarts,
        That the whole business of his life
        Is to pick out the heads of the darts.

        'Twas the Greeks' love of war
        Turn'd Love into a boy,
        And woman into a statue of stone-
        And away fled every joy.

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      You Don't Believe

        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'
        Aye! 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!'

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