William Blake - Five poems
William Blake

Love Poems

London

Love's Secret

Broken Love

Auguries of Innocence

To the Muses




London

I wandered through each chartered street,
Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
A 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.



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Love's Secret

Never seek to tell thy love, 
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind does move
Silently, invisibly.

I told my love, I told my love,
I told her all my heart;
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears,
Ah! she did depart!

Soon as she was gone from me,
A traveler came by,
Silently, invisibly 
He took her with a sigh.



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Broken Love

My Spectre around me night and day 
Like a wild beast guards my way; 
My Emanation far within 
Weeps incessantly for my sin. 

‘A fathomless and boundless deep, 
There we wander, there we weep; 
On the hungry craving wind 
My Spectre follows thee behind. 

‘He scents thy footsteps in the snow 
Wheresoever thou dost go, 
Thro’ the wintry hail and rain. 
When wilt thou return again? 

’Dost thou not in pride and scorn 
Fill with tempests all my morn, 
And with jealousies and fears 
Fill my pleasant nights with tears? 

‘Seven of my sweet loves thy knife 
Has bereavèd of their life. 
Their marble tombs I built with tears, 
And with cold and shuddering fears. 

‘Seven more loves weep night and day 
Round the tombs where my loves lay, 
And seven more loves attend each night 
Around my couch with torches bright. 

‘And seven more loves in my bed 
Crown with wine my mournful head, 
Pitying and forgiving all 
Thy transgressions great and small. 

‘When wilt thou return and view 
My loves, and them to life renew? 
When wilt thou return and live? 
When wilt thou pity as I forgive?’ 

‘O’er my sins thou sit and moan: 
Hast thou no sins of thy own? 
O’er my sins thou sit and weep, 
And lull thy own sins fast asleep. 

‘What transgressions I commit 
Are for thy transgressions fit. 
They thy harlots, thou their slave; 
And my bed becomes their grave. 

‘Never, never, I return: 
Still for victory I burn. 
Living, thee alone I’ll have; 
And when dead I’ll be thy grave. 

‘Thro’ the Heaven and Earth and Hell 
Thou shalt never, quell: 
I will fly and thou pursue: 
Night and morn the flight renew.’ 

‘Poor, pale, pitiable form 
That I follow in a storm; 
Iron tears and groans of lead 
Bind around my aching head. 

‘Till I turn from Female love 
And root up the Infernal Grove, 
I shall never worthy be 
To step into Eternity. 

‘And, to end thy cruel mocks, 
Annihilate thee on the rocks, 
And another form create 
To be subservient to my fate. 

‘Let us agree to give up love, 
And root up the Infernal Grove; 
Then shall we return and see 
The worlds of happy Eternity. 

‘And throughout all Eternity 
I forgive you, you forgive me. 
As our dear Redeemer said: 
“This the Wine, and this the Bread.”’



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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 Red breast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
A dove house fill'd with doves & Pigeons
Shudders Hell thro' all its regions.
A dog starv'd at his Master's Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
A Horse misus'd 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 clipp'd and arm'd for fight
Does the Rising Sun affright.
Every Wolf's & Lion's howl
Raises from Hell a Human Soul.
The wild deer, wand'ring here & there,
Keeps the Human Soul from Care.
The Lamb misus'd 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 belov'd by Men.
He who the Ox to wrath has mov'd
Shall never be by Woman lov'd.
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 Catterpillar on the Leaf
Repeats to thee thy Mother's grief.
Kill not the Moth nor Butterfly,
For the Last Judgement draweth nigh.
He who shall train the Horse to War
Shall never pass the Polar Bar.
The Beggar's Dog & Widow's Cat,
Feed them & thou wilt grow fat.
The Gnat that sings his Summer's song
Poison gets from Slander's tongue.
The poison of the Snake & Newt
Is the sweat of Envy's Foot.
The poison of the Honey Bee
Is the Artist's Jealousy.
The Prince's Robes & Beggars' Rags
Are Toadstools on the Miser's Bags.
A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so;
Man was made for Joy & Woe;
And when this we rightly know
Thro' the World we safely go.
Joy & Woe are woven fine,
A Clothing for the Soul divine;
Under every grief & pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
The Babe is more than swadling Bands;
Throughout all these Human Lands
Tools were made, & born were hands,
Every Farmer Understands.
Every Tear from Every Eye
Becomes a Babe in Eternity.
This is caught by Females bright
And return'd to its own delight.
The Bleat, the Bark, Bellow & Roar
Are Waves that Beat on Heaven's Shore.
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 arm'd with Sword & 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 Labrer's hands
Shall buy & sell the Miser's lands:
Or, if protected from on high,
Does that whole Nation sell & buy.
He who mocks the Infant's Faith
Shall be mock'd in Age & Death.
He who shall teach the Child to Doubt
The rotting Grave shall ne'er get out.
He who respects the Infant's faith
Triumph's over Hell & Death.
The Child's Toys & the Old Man's Reasons
Are the Fruits of the Two seasons.
The Questioner, who sits so sly,
Shall never know how to Reply.
He who replies to words of Doubt
Doth put the Light of Knowledge out.
The Strongest Poison ever known
Came from Caesar's Laurel Crown.
Nought can deform the Human Race
Like the Armour's iron brace.
When Gold & Gems adorn the Plow
To peaceful Arts shall Envy Bow.
A Riddle or the Cricket's Cry
Is to Doubt a fit Reply.
The Emmet's Inch & Eagle's Mile
Make Lame Philosophy to smile.
He who Doubts from what he sees
Will ne'er believe, do what you Please.
If the Sun & Moon should doubt
They'd immediately Go out.
To be in a Passion you Good may do,
But no Good if a Passion is in you.
The Whore & Gambler, by the State
Licenc'd, build that Nation's Fate.
The Harlot's cry from Street to Street
Shall weave Old England's winding Sheet.
The Winner's Shout, the Loser's Curse,
Dance before dead England's Hearse.
Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born.
Every Morn & every Night
Some are Born to sweet Delight.
Some ar Born to sweet Delight,
Some are born to Endless Night.
We are led to Believe a Lie
When we see not Thro' the Eye
Which was Born in a Night to Perish in a Night
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light.
God Appears & God is Light
To those poor Souls who dwell in the Night,
But does a Human Form Display
To those who Dwell in Realms of day.



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To the Muses

Whether on Ida's shady brow, 
 Or in the chambers of the East,
 The chambers of the sun, that now
 From ancient melody have ceas'd;

Whether in Heav'n ye wander fair,
 Or the green corners of the earth,
 Or the blue regions of the air,
 Where the melodious winds have birth;

Whether on crystal rocks ye rove,
 Beneath the bosom of the sea
 Wand'ring in many a coral grove,
 Fair Nine, forsaking Poetry!

How have you left the ancient love
 That bards of old enjoy'd in you!
 The languid strings do scarcely move!
 The sound is forc'd, the notes are few!


William Blake

(°1757; †1827)

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  © Gaston D'Haese: 28-01-2013.
Update: 22-06-2017