The Garden Of Love

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut
And 'Thou shalt not,' writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.

by William Blake

Comments (21)

............a wonderful poem with the most vivid and picturesque imagery....super amazing ★
Still today so many religious leaders suffer from the Thou shalt not- disease instead of preaching the huge message of love. Our world is craving for love, and still our leaders manage to destroy the wonderful garden of love that this world should be. Wonderful poem. I do not understand how the mean marks of this poem are anything lower a full 10
Does this mean Thou Shalt Not Love or was he disappointed with LOVE? or didn't find that place of happiness he so remembered?
One of Blake's most characteristic poems, not as well known as others, such as 'The Tyger' or 'The Lamb, ' but perhaps even more important as a statement of his values. One might infer from a first reading of this poem that Blake was anti-religion. In fact, he was intensely religious. His visions and visionary poems always proceeded from his faith, from very early childhood on. He was, indeed, anti-institutional. He felt that most institutional churches had become precisely the sort of legalistic bodies that Jesus himself spoke against so adamantly. The Chapel in this poem stands for such institutions, in which 'Thou shalt not' predominates over 'Love thy neighbor as thyself.' The last two lines - longer than the others, with pronounced internal rhymes - may be one of Blake's most dramatic and engaging images: 'binding with briars my joys and desires.' As he says in another one of his well-known poems, 'The Divine Image, ' the truly godly values are 'mercy, pity, peace and love.' Personally, I wish that Blake's poems were taught in all churches, mosques, synagogues, and other religious institutions as well as in schools and families. Even young children will enjoy hearing them read. This would be a good one to start with.
I can see it all in my mind with my eyes closed, and why a church door would be locked and banned for any soul to enter.. This poem was beautiful sir, thank you for sharing it with me.
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