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Nicholson & Lee, eds. The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.

William Blake (1757–1827)

57. Broken Love

MY Spectre around me night and day

Like a wild beast guards my way;

My Emanation far within

Weeps incessantly for my sin.

‘A fathomless and boundless deep,

There we wander, there we weep;

On the hungry craving wind

My Spectre follows thee behind.

‘He scents thy footsteps in the snow

Wheresoever thou dost go,

Thro’ the wintry hail and rain.

When wilt thou return again?

’Dost thou not in pride and scorn

Fill with tempests all my morn,

And with jealousies and fears

Fill my pleasant nights with tears?

‘Seven of my sweet loves thy knife

Has bereavèd of their life.

Their marble tombs I built with tears,

And with cold and shuddering fears.

‘Seven more loves weep night and day

Round the tombs where my loves lay,

And seven more loves attend each night

Around my couch with torches bright.

‘And seven more loves in my bed

Crown with wine my mournful head,

Pitying and forgiving all

Thy transgressions great and small.

‘When wilt thou return and view

My loves, and them to life renew?

When wilt thou return and live?

When wilt thou pity as I forgive?’

‘O’er my sins thou sit and moan:

Hast thou no sins of thy own?

O’er my sins thou sit and weep,

And lull thy own sins fast asleep.

‘What transgressions I commit

Are for thy transgressions fit.

They thy harlots, thou their slave;

And my bed becomes their grave.

‘Never, never, I return:

Still for victory I burn.

Living, thee alone I’ll have;

And when dead I’ll be thy grave.

‘Thro’ the Heaven and Earth and Hell

Thou shalt never, quell:

I will fly and thou pursue:

Night and morn the flight renew.’

‘Poor, pale, pitiable form

That I follow in a storm;

Iron tears and groans of lead

Bind around my aching head.

‘Till I turn from Female love

And root up the Infernal Grove,

I shall never worthy be

To step into Eternity.

‘And, to end thy cruel mocks,

Annihilate thee on the rocks,

And another form create

To be subservient to my fate.

‘Let us agree to give up love,

And root up the Infernal Grove;

Then shall we return and see

The worlds of happy Eternity.

‘And throughout all Eternity

I forgive you, you forgive me.

As our dear Redeemer said:

“This the Wine, and this the Bread.”’