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

Poems from the Rossetti MS.: The Everlasting Gospel


WAS Jesus gentle, or did He

Give any marks of gentility?

When twelve years old He ran away,

And left His parents in dismay.

When after three days’ sorrow found,

Loud as Sinai’s trumpet-sound:

‘No earthly parents I confess—

My Heavenly Father’s business!

Ye understand not what I say,

And, angry, force Me to obey.

Obedience is a duty then,

And favour gains with God and men.

John from the wilderness loud cried;

Satan gloried in his pride.

‘Come,’ said Satan, ‘come away,

I’ll soon see if you’ll obey!

John for disobedience bled,

But you can turn the stones to bread.

God’s high king and God’s high priest

Shall plant their glories in your breast,

If Caiaphas you will obey,

If Herod you with bloody prey

Feed with the sacrifice, and be

Obedient, fall down, worship me.’

Thunders and lightnings broke around,

And Jesus’ voice in thunders’ sound:

‘Thus I seize the spiritual prey.

Ye smiters with disease, make way.

I come your King and God to seize,

Is God a smiter with disease?’

The God of this world rag’d in vain:

He bound old Satan in His chain,

And, bursting forth, His furious ire

Became a chariot of fire.

Throughout the land He took His course,

And trac’d diseases to their source.

He curs’d the Scribe and Pharisee,

Trampling down hypocrisy.

Where’er His chariot took its way,

There Gates of Death let in the Day,

Broke down from every chain and bar;

And Satan in His spiritual war

Dragg’d at His chariot-wheels: loud howl’d

The God of this world: louder roll’d

The chariot-wheels, and louder still

His voice was heard from Zion’s Hill,

And in His hand the scourge shone bright;

He scourg’d the merchant Canaanite

From out the Temple of His Mind,

And in his body tight does bind

Satan and all his hellish crew;

And thus with wrath He did subdue

The serpent bulk of Nature’s dross,

Till He had nail’d it to the Cross.

He took on sin in the Virgin’s womb

And put it off on the Cross and tomb

To be worshipp’d by the Church of Rome.