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

Poems from the Rossetti MS.: The Everlasting Gospel



WAS Jesus chaste? or did He

Give any lessons of chastity?

The Morning blush`d fiery red:

Mary was found in adulterous bed;

Earth groan’d beneath, and Heaven above

Trembled at discovery of Love

Jesus was sitting in Moses’ chair.

They brought the trembling woman there.

Moses commands she be ston’d to death.

What was the sound of Jesus’ breath?

He laid His hand on Moses’ law;

The ancient Heavens, in silent awe,

Writ with curses from pole to pole,

All away began to roll.

The Earth trembling and naked lay

In secret bed of mortal clay;

On Sinai felt the Hand Divine

Pulling back the bloody shrine;

And she heard the breath of God,

As she heard by Eden’s flood:

‘Good and Evil are no more!

Sinai’s trumpets cease to roar!

Cease, finger of God, to write!

The Heavens are not clean in Thy sight.

Thou art good, and Thou alone;

Nor may the sinner cast one stone.

To be good only, is to be

A God or else a Pharisee.

Thou Angel of the Presence Divine,

That didst create this Body of Mine,

Wherefore hast thou writ these laws

And created Hell’s dark jaws?

My Presence I will take from thee:

A cold leper thou shalt be.

Tho’ thou wast so pure and bright

That Heaven was impure in thy sight,

Tho’ thy oath turn’d Heaven pale,

Tho’ thy covenant built Hell’s jail,

Tho’ thou didst all to chaos roll

With the Serpent for its soul,

Still the breath Divine does move,

And the breath Divine is Love.

Mary, fear not! Let me see

The seven devils that torment thee.

Hide not from My sight thy sin,

That forgiveness thou may’st win.

Has no man condemn`d thee?’

‘No man, Lord.’ ‘Then what is he

Who shall accuse thee? Come ye forth,

Fallen fiends of heavenly birth,

That have forgot your ancient love,

And driven away my trembling Dove.

You shall bow before her feet;

You shall lick the dust for meat;

And tho’ you cannot love, but hate,

Shall be beggars at Love’s gate.

What was thy love? Let Me see it;

Was it love or dark deceit?’

‘Love too long from me has fled;

’Twas dark deceit, to earn my bread;

’Twas covet, or ’twas custom, or

Some trifle not worth caring for;

That they may call a shame and sin

Love’s temple that God dwelleth in,

And hide in secret hidden shrine

The naked Human Form Divine,

And render that a lawless thing

On which the Soul expands its wing.

But this, O Lord, this was my sin,

When first I let these devils in,

In dark pretence to chastity

Blaspheming Love, blaspheming Thee,

Thence rose secret adulteries,

And thence did covet also rise.

My sin Thou hast forgiven me;

Canst Thou forgive my blasphemy?

Canst Thou return to this dark hell,

And in my burning bosom dwell?

And canst Thou die that I may live?

And canst Thou pity and forgive?’

Then roll’d the shadowy Man away

From the limbs of Jesus, to make them His prey,

An ever devouring appetite,

Glittering with festering venoms bright;

Crying ‘Crucify this cause of distress,

Who don’t keep the secrets of holiness,

The mental powers by diseases we bind;

But He heals the deaf, the dumb, and the blind.

Whom God has afflicted for secret ends,

He comforts and heals and calls them friends.’

But, when Jesus was crucified,

Then was perfected His galling pride.

In three nights He devour’d His prey,

And still He devours the body of clay;

For dust and clay is the Serpent’s meat,

Which never was made for Man to eat.