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

The Pickering MS.

The Golden Net

THREE VIRGINS at the break of day:—

‘Whither, young man, whither away?

Alas for woe! alas for woe!’

They cry, and tears for ever flow.

The one was cloth’d in flames of fire,

The other cloth’d in iron wire,

The other cloth’d in tears and sighs

Dazzling bright before my eyes.

They bore a Net of golden twine

To hang upon the branches fine.

Pitying I wept to see the woe

That Love and Beauty undergo,

To be consum’d in burning fires

And in ungratified desires,

And in tears cloth’d night and day

Melted all my soul away.

When they saw my tears, a smile

That did Heaven itself beguile,

Bore the Golden Net aloft,

As on downy pinions soft,

Over the Morning of my day.

Underneath the net I stray,

Now entreating Burning Fire

Now entreating Iron Wire,

Now entreating Tears and Sighs—

O! when will the morning rise?