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William Blake (1757–1827). The Poetical Works. 1908.

Selections from ‘Jerusalem’

[A Vision of Jerusalem]

(Jerusalem, f. 86, ll. 1–32.)

I SEE thy Form, O lovely, mild Jerusalem! Wing’d with Six Wings

In the opacous Bosom of the Sleeper, lovely, threefold

In Head and Heart and Reins, three Universes of love and beauty.

Thy forehead bright, Holiness to the Lord! with gates of pearl

Reflects Eternity beneath thy azure wings of feathery down,

Ribb’d, delicate, and cloth’d with feather’d gold and azure and purple,

From thy white shoulders shadowing purity in holiness;

Thence, feather’d with soft crimson of the ruby, bright as fire,

Spreading into the azure wings which, like a canopy,

Bends over thy immortal Head in which Eternity dwells.

Albion! belovèd Land, I see thy mountains and thy hills

And valleys, and thy pleasant Cities, Holiness to the Lord!

I see the Spectres of thy Dead, O Emanation of Albion!

Thy Bosom white, translucent, cover’d with immortal gems,

A sublime ornament not obscuring the outlines of beauty,

Terrible to behold, for thy extreme beauty and perfection:

Twelvefold here all the Tribes of Israel I behold

Upon the Holy Land: I see the River of Life and Tree of Life;

I see the New Jerusalem descending out of Heaven

Between thy Wings of gold and silver, feather’d immortal,

Clear as the rainbow, as the cloud of the Sun’s tabernacle.

Thy Reins cover’d with Wings translucent, sometimes covering

And sometimes spread abroad, reveal the flames of holiness

Which like a robe covers, and like a Veil of Seraphim

In flaming fire unceasing burns from Eternity to Eternity.

Twelvefold I there behold Israel in her Tents;

A Pillar of a Cloud by day, a Pillar of Fire by night

Guides them; there I behold Moab and Ammon and Amalek;

There Bells of silver round thy knees, living, articulate

Comforting sounds of love and harmony; and on thy feet

Sandals of gold and pearl; and Egypt and Assyria before me,

The Isles of Javan, Philistia, Tyre, and Lebanon.