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

William Blake (1757–1827)

61. To Thomas Butts

TO my friend Butts I write

My first vision of light,

On the yellow sands sitting.

The sun was emitting

His glorious beams

From Heaven’s high streams.

Over sea, over land,

My eyes did expand

Into regions of air,

Away from all care;

Into regions of fire,

Remote from desire;

The light of the morning

Heaven’s mountains adorning:

In particles bright,

The jewels of light

Distinct shone and clear.

Amaz’d and in fear

I each particle gazèd,

Astonish’d, amazèd;

For each was a Man

Human-form’d. Swift I ran,

For they beckon’d to me,

Remote by the sea,

Saying: ‘Each grain of sand,

Every stone on the land,

Each rock and each hill,

Each fountain and rill,

Each herb and each tree,

Mountain, hill, earth, and sea,

Cloud, meteor, and star,

Are men seen afar.’

I stood in the streams

Of Heaven’s bright beams,

And saw Felpham sweet

Beneath my bright feet,

In soft Female charms;

And in her fair arms

My Shadow I knew,

And my wife’s Shadow too,

And my sister, and friend.

We like infants descend

In our Shadows on earth,

Like a weak mortal birth.

My eyes, more and more,

Like a sea without shore,

Continue expanding,

The Heavens commanding;

Till the jewels of light,

Heavenly men beaming bright,

Appear’d as One Man,

Who complacent began

My limbs to enfold

In His beams of bright gold;

Like dross purg’d away

All my mire and my clay.

Soft consum’d in delight,

In His bosom sun-bright

I remain’d. Soft He smil’d,

And I heard His voice mild,

Saying: ‘This is My fold,

O thou ram horn’d with gold,

Who awakest from sleep

On the sides of the deep.

On the mountains around

The roarings resound

Of the lion and wolf,

The loud sea, and deep gulf.

These are guards of My fold,

O thou ram horn’d with gold!’

And the voice faded mild;

I remain’d as a child;

All I ever had known

Before me bright shone:

I saw you and your wife

By the fountains of life.

Such the vision to me

Appear’d on the sea.