And Did Those Feet In Ancient Time

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?

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.

by William Blake

Comments (13)

.............amazingly, I see I've read this poem exactly two years ago....nice to enjoy a second time ★
If you look at the original, the first Stanzer resolves itself as: '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! ' Though my only source is Wikipedia, the above still seems better.
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?
Mick Mulvey is on the ball. This poem was part of Blake's Prophetic Books, and was first printed in 1808. Part of a work he committed to John Milton. (Paradise Lost) Thomas Anderson was also pretty well correct. Not too sure about his interpetation of the last verse though. There was/is a legend that before he began His teachings, Jesus and Joseph of Arimathea (he of garden fame) visited England and pilgrimaged to Glastonbury, a holy place. (See Geoffrey Chaucer...Canterbury Tales) The English upper classes of the day held the moral high ground, yet working classes were regarded in very low esteem. What William Blake echoes in this poem is related to the above facts. The English Industrial Revolution raised the country to the heights of power, yet those dark satanic mills enslaved other Brits. So what Blake is saying is that these materialistic elements be swept away and a New Jerusalem be established built on higher idylls, and that he would be ready to metaphysically take up the fight himself. This was his mantra throughout the poem. This piece was set to music as Jerusalem and is sung at most major British classical music festivals. |
Re: Frederick Hudson's utterly ill-informed and reactionary comment, So far as is known, Blake wrote this c.1804-1808...er...unless they've changed the calendar recently that would be the 19th century then...I guess you owe Gillian an apology
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