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

Selections from ‘Milton’

[The Building of Time]

(Milton, f. 27, l. 44–f. 28, l. 3.)

BUT others of the Sons of Los build Moments and Minutes and Hours,

And Days and Months and Years, and Ages and Periods: wondrous buildings!

And every Moment has a Couch of gold for soft repose—

A Moment equals a pulsation of the artery—

And between every two Moments stands a Daughter of Beulah,

To feed the Sleepers on their Couches with maternal care.

And every Minute has an azure Tent with silken Veils;

And every Hour has a bright golden Gate carvèd with skill;

And every Day and Night has Walls of brass and Gates of adamant,

Shining like precious stones, and ornamented with appropriate signs;

And every Month a silver-pavèd Terrace, builded high;

And every Year invulnerable Barriers with high Towers;

And every Age is moated deep with Bridges of silver and gold;

And every Seven Ages is encircled with a Flaming Fire.

Now Seven Ages is amounting to Two Hundred Years:

Each has its Guard, each Moment, Minute, Hour, Day, Month and Year;

All are the work of Fairy hands of the Four Elements:

The Guard are Angels of Providence on duty evermore.

Every Time less than a pulsation of the artery

Is equal in its period and value to Six Thousand Years;

For in this Period the Poet’s Work is done; and all the great

Events of Time start forth and are conceiv’d in such a Period,

Within a Moment, a Pulsation of the Artery.