Jerusalem

Saturday was Canada Day (or “Dominion Day,” as it used to be called up here), and today is Independence Day in the USA.  Given where these two nations sprang from, and how much their visions of order owe to the same mother, it seems appropriate to nod toward England today – England, and of course even further East.

Jerusalem

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 & pleasant Land.

~ William Blake, 1757-1827

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About middlingpoet

From the Gawain poet to Rainer Maria Rilke: I love traditional poetry.
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2 Responses to Jerusalem

  1. unknowing says:

    It all depends on what you mean by Jerusalem.

  2. middlingpoet says:

    I wonder what Blake meant, exactly. And I also wonder over how much the poem caught on in England, being the unofficial national anthem and all that.

    It reminds me of the parts of That Hideous Strength where Lewis talks about the “true England” and how it is never the same as the nation known as England, but is also somehow always mixed up in it.

    (Sorry for the delay in posting your comment … I’m not sure why it didn’t show up in my notifications last week!)

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