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Short poem

William Blake (1757-1827)

I Saw a Chapel

              1I saw a chapel all of gold
              2That none did dare to enter in,
              3And many weeping stood without,
              4Weeping, mourning, worshipping.

              5I saw a serpent rise between
              6The white pillars of the door,
              7And he forc'd and forc'd and forc'd,
              8Down the golden hinges tore.

              9And along the pavement sweet,
            10Set with pearls and rubies bright,
            11All his slimy length he drew
            12Till upon the altar white

            13Vomiting his poison out
            14On the bread and on the wine.
            15So I turn'd into a sty
            16And laid me down among the swine.


1] This was first published in 1863 by Dante Gabriel 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 by him for many years. As the only textual authority for many of these poems is a foul draft, some of them are partly editorial reconstructions. Thus in the notebook the first stanza of "Never seek to tell thy love" has been marked for deletion, and "seek" has been altered to "pain," while the final quatrain of "I heard an Angel singing" is an editorial arrangement first made by Swinburne.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: William Blake, Poems, ed. Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1863).
First publication date: 1863
RPO poem editor: Northrop Frye
RP edition: 3RP 2.289.
Recent editing: 4:2002/3/14

Form: Long Measure
Rhyme: abcb

Other poems by William Blake