To Thomas Butts

William Blake 1757 (Soho) – 1827 (London)

TO my friend Butts I write  
My first vision of light,  
On the yellow sands sitting.  
The sun was emitting  
His glorious beams          
From Heaven’s high streams.  
Over sea, over land,  
My eyes did expand  
Into regions of air,  
Away from all care;         
Into regions of fire,  
Remote from desire;  
The light of the morning  
Heaven’s mountains adorning:  
In particles bright,        
The jewels of light  
Distinct shone and clear.  
Amaz’d and in fear  
I each particle gazèd,  
Astonish’d, amazèd;         
For each was a Man  
Human-form’d. Swift I ran,  
For they beckon’d to me,  
Remote by the sea,  
Saying: ‘Each grain of sand,         
Every stone on the land,  
Each rock and each hill,  
Each fountain and rill,  
Each herb and each tree,  
Mountain, hill, earth, and sea,         
Cloud, meteor, and star,  
Are men seen afar.’  
I stood in the streams  
Of Heaven’s bright beams,  
And saw Felpham sweet         
Beneath my bright feet,  
In soft Female charms;  
And in her fair arms  
My Shadow I knew,  
And my wife’s Shadow too,         
And my sister, and friend.  
We like infants descend  
In our Shadows on earth,  
Like a weak mortal birth.  
My eyes, more and more,         
Like a sea without shore,  
Continue expanding,  
The Heavens commanding;  
Till the jewels of light,  
Heavenly men beaming bright,         
Appear’d as One Man,  
Who complacent began  
My limbs to enfold  
In His beams of bright gold;  
Like dross purg’d away         
All my mire and my clay.  
Soft consum’d in delight,  
In His bosom sun-bright  
I remain’d. Soft He smil’d,  
And I heard His voice mild,         
Saying: ‘This is My fold,  
O thou ram horn’d with gold,  
Who awakest from sleep  
On the sides of the deep.  
On the mountains around         
The roarings resound  
Of the lion and wolf,  
The loud sea, and deep gulf.  
These are guards of My fold,  
O thou ram horn’d with gold!’         
And the voice faded mild;  
I remain’d as a child;  
All I ever had known  
Before me bright shone:  
I saw you and your wife         
By the fountains of life.  
Such the vision to me  
Appear’d on the sea.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on May 02, 2023

1:45 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme aabbccddeeffbbaagghhiihhddjjhhkkccllmmnnooppqqbbaaiirrssaaatrRuuvvwyrRttzz1 1 hh
Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 2,108
Words 352
Stanzas 1
Stanza Lengths 78

William Blake

William Blake was an English poet, painter and printmaker. more…

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