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How can the bird that is born for joy
Sit in a cage and sing?
How can a child, when fears annoy,
But droop his tender wing,
And forget his youthful spring?
O! father and mother, if buds are nipped
And blossoms blown away,
And if the tender plants are stripped
Of their joy in the springing day,
By sorrow and care's dismay,
How shall the summer arise in joy,
Or the summer fruits appear?
Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy,
Or bless the mellowing year,
When the blasts of winter appear?
I wander through each chartered street,
Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
In every cry of every man,
In every infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear.
How the chimney-sweeper's cry
Every blackening church appals;
And the hapless soldier's sigh
Runs in blood down palace walls
But most through midnight streets I hear
How the youthful harlot's curse
Blasts the new-born infant's tear,
And blights with plagues the marriage hearse.
FROM AUGURIES OF INNOCENCE
To see a World in a grain of sand,
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.
A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all Heaven in a rage.
A dove-house filled with doves and pigeons
Shudders hell through all its regions.
A dog starved at his master's gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.
A horse misused upon the road
Calls to Heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear.
A skylark wounded in the wing,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The game-cock clipped and armed for fight
Does the rising sun affright.
Every wolf's and lion's howl
Raises from hell a human soul.
The wild deer, wandering here and there,
Keeps the human soul from care.
The lamb misused breeds public strife,
And yet forgives the butcher's knife.
The bat that flits at close of eve
Has left the brain that won't believe.
The owl that calls upon the night
Speaks the unbeliever's fright.
He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be beloved by men.
He who the ox to wrath has moved
Shall never be by woman loved.
The wanton boy that kills the fly
Shall feel the spider's enmity.
He who torments the chafer's sprite
Weaves a bower in endless night.
The caterpillar on the leaf
Repeats to thee thy mother's grief.
Kill not the moth nor butterfly,
For the Last Judgment draweth nigh.
He who shall train the horse to war
Shall never pass the polar bar.
The beggar's dog and widow's cat,
Feed them, and thou wilt grow fat.
The babe that weeps the rod beneath
Writes revenge in realms of death.
The beggar's rags fluttering in air,
Does to rags the heavens tear.
The soldier, armed with sword and gun,
Palsied strikes the summer's sun.
The poor man's farthing is worth more
Than all the gold on Afric's shore.
One mite wrung from the labourer's hands
Shall buy and sell the miser's lands;
Or, if protected from on high,
Does that whole nation sell and buy.
He who mocks the infant's faith
Shall be mocked in age and death.
He who shall teach the child to doubt
The rotting grave shall ne'er get out.
He who respects the infant's faith
Triumphs over hell and death.
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills? And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.
[REASON AND IMAGINATION]
The negation is the Spectre, the reasoning power in
This is a false body, an incrustation over my immortal Spirit, a selfhood which must be put off and annihilated alway.
To cleanse the face of my spirit by self-examination,
To bathe in the waters of life, to wash off the not human,
I come in self-annihilation and the grandeur of inspira-
To cast off rational demonstration by faith in the Saviour,
To cast off the rotten rags of memory by inspiration,
To cast off Bacon, Locke, and Newton from Albion's cov-
To take off his filthy garments and clothe him with imagination;
To cast aside from poetry all that is not inspiration,
That it no longer shall dare to mock with the aspersion"
Cast on the inspired by the tame high finisher of paltry blots
Indefinite or paltry rhymes, or paltry harmonies, Who creeps into state government like a caterpillar to destroy;
To cast off the idiot questioner, who is always questioning, But never capable of answering; who sits with a sly grin Silent plotting when to question, like a thief in a cave; Who publishes doubt and calls it knowledge; whose science is despair,
Whose pretence to knowledge is envy, whose whole sci
To destroy the wisdom of ages, to gratify ravenous envy That rages round him like a wolf, day and night, without rest.
He smiles with condescension; he talks of benevolence and virtue,
And those who act with benevolence and virtue they murder time on time.
These are the destroyers of Jerusalem! these are the murderers
Of Jesus! who deny the faith and mock at eternal life, Who pretend to poetry that they may destroy imagination By imitation of nature's images drawn from remembrance. These are the sexual garments, the abomination of desolation,
Hiding the human lineaments, as with an ark and curtains Which Jesus rent, and now shall wholly purge away with fire,
Till generation is swallowed up in regeneration.
[TO THE DEISTS]
I saw a Monk of Charlemaine
Arise before my sight:
I talked with the Grey Monk as we stood
In beams of infernal light.
Gibbon arose with a lash of steel,
And Voltaire with a racking wheel;
The schools, in clouds of learning rolled,
Arose with war in iron and gold.
"Thou lazy Monk!' they sound afar,
'In vain condemning glorious war;
And in your cell you shall ever dwell:
Rise, War, and bind him in his cell!'
The blood red ran from the Grey Monk's side,
His hands and feet were wounded wide,
His body bent, his arms and knees
Like to the roots of ancient trees.
When Satan first the black bow bent
And the moral law from the Gospel rent,
He forged the law into a sword,
And spilled the blood of mercy's Lord.