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William Blake (1757-1827)

Milton: And did those feet in ancient time

(excerpt)


              1And did those feet in ancient time
              2Walk upon England's mountains green?
              3And was the holy Lamb of God
              4On England's pleasant pastures seen?

              5And did the Countenance Divine
              6Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
              7And was Jerusalem builded here
              8Among these dark Satanic mills?

              9Bring me my bow of burning gold:
            10Bring me my arrows of desire:
            11Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold!
            12Bring me my chariot of fire.

            13I will not cease from mental fight,
            14Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
            15Till we have built Jerusalem
            16In England's green and pleasant land.

----

Notes

1] Milton was first engraved by Blake in or shortly after 1808, although it bears the date 1804 on its title-page. It is in two books, though originally planned to have twelve, and the most complete of its four surviving copies has fifty plates. The theme is the descent of Milton from heaven into Blake's body at a crucial point in Blake's life.

2] mountains green: cf. Gen. 3: 8. In the unfallen world England's green and pleasant land and the garden of Eden in the Bible would be identical.

8] Satanic mills: cf. the imagery of the extract from Plate 15 of Jerusalem.


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, Milton (1804), plate 2, lines 1-16. Blake's Illuminated Books, ed. David Bindman (Princeton, NJ: William Blake Trust; London: Tate Gallery, 1991-). See Vol. 5. PR 4142 B46 1991 ROBA.
First publication date: 1808
Publication date note: ca. 1808 (notwithstanding the date of publication)
RPO poem editor: Northrop Frye
RP edition: 3RP 2.297.
Recent editing: 4:2002/3/14

Composition date: 1804 - 1808
Rhyme: abcb and abab


Other poems by William Blake