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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By William Blake (1757–1827)

The New Jerusalem

ENGLAND, 1 awake! awake! awake!
  Jerusalem thy sister calls!
Why wilt thou sleep the sleep of death,
  And close her from thy ancient walls?
Thy hills and valleys felt her feet        5
  Gently upon their bosoms move:
Thy gates beheld sweet Zion’s ways;
  Then was a time of joy and love.
And now the time returns again:
  Our souls exult; and London’s towers        10
Receive the Lamb of God to dwell
  In England’s green and pleasant bowers.
And did those feet in ancient time
  Walk upon England’s mountain green?
And was the Holy Lamb of God        15
  On England’s pleasant pasture seen?
And did the countenance divine
  Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
  Among these dark Satanic mills?        20
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,        25
  Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
  In England’s green and pleasant land.
Note 1. William Blake offers less material to the religious anthologist than might be anticipated from the writer of so many prophetical books, owing partly to the cryptic style he too often employed, and partly to a few eccentricities of thought, which he again and again repeats, to the disfigurement of many fine poems. To those given in the text should perhaps have been added the well-known poem on the “Tiger” from the “Songs of Experience” and the following from the “Songs of Innocence,” “On Another’s Sorrow,” which, though almost infantile in expression, is none the less lovely:

    “Can I see another’s woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief,
And not seek for kind relief?
Can I see a falling tear
And not feel my sorrow’s share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?
Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no; never can it be—
Never, never can it be.
And can He, who smiles on all,
Hear the wren, with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird’s grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear,
And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity on their breast?
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant’s tear?
And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
Oh no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!
He doth give his joy to all;
He becomes an infant small;
He becomes a man of woe;
He doth feel the sorrow too.
Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.
Oh, he gives to us His joy,
That our grief he may destroy;
Till our grief is fled and gone,
He doth sit by us and moan.”