|William Blake (17571827). The Poetical Works. 1908.|
|Verses from The Gates of Paradise|
|The Keys of the Gates|
THE CATERPILLAR on the leaf
| Reminds thee of thy Mothers grief.|
of the Gates
My Eternal Man set in repose,
| The Female from his darkness rose;|
| And she found me beneath a Tree,|| 5|
| Mandrake, and in her Veil hid me.|
| Serpent Reasonings us entice|
| Of good and evil, virtue and vice,|
|2.|| Doubt self-jealous, Watery folly;|
|3.|| Struggling thro Earths melancholy;|| 10|
|4.|| Naked in Air, in shame and fear;|
|5.|| Blind in Fire, with shield and spear;|
| Two-hornd Reasoning, cloven fiction,|
| In doubt, which is self-contradiction,|
| A dark Hermaphrodite we stood|| 15|
| Rational truth, root of evil and good.|
| Round me flew the Flaming Sword;|
| Round her snowy Whirlwinds roard,|
| Freezing her Veil, the Mundane Shell.|
|6.|| I rent the Veil where the Dead dwell:|| 20|
| When weary Man enters his Cave,|
| He meets his Saviour in the grave.|
| Some find a Female Garment there,|
| And some a Male, woven with care;|
| Lest the Sexual Garments sweet|| 25|
| Should grow a devouring Winding-sheet.|
|7.|| One dies! Alas! the Living and Dead!|
| One is slain! and One is fled!|
|8.|| In Vain-glory hatcht and nurst,|
| By double Spectres, self-accurst.|| 30|
| My Son! my Son! thou treatest me|
| But as I have instructed thee.|
|9.|| On the shadows of the Moon,|
| Climbing thro Nights highest noon;|
|10.|| In Times Ocean falling, drownd;|| 35|
|11.|| In Agèd Ignorance profound,|
| Holy and cold, I clippd the wings|
| Of all sublunary things,|
|12.|| And in depths of my dungeons|
| Closed the Father and the Sons.|| 40|
|13.|| But when once I did descry|
| The Immortal Man that cannot die,|
|14.|| Thro evening shades I haste away|
| To close the labours of my day.|
|15.|| The Door of Death I open found,|| 45|
| And the Worm weaving in the ground:|
|16.|| Thourt my Mother, from the womb;|
| Wife, Sister, Daughter, to the tomb;|
| Weaving to dreams the Sexual strife,|
| And weeping over the Web of Life.|| 50|
|Note 1. Frontispiece. A caterpillar on an oak leaf. On a second leaf a human chrysalis like a babe in swaddling clothes. Legend: What is Man? with the lines:| 1. A woman under a weeping willow, holding a babe in her left arm, pulls a mandrake out of the ground by its hair. Legend: I found him beneath a tree.
|The suns light, when he unfolds it,|
|Depends on the organ that beholds it.|
2. An old man, resting his hands on his knees, sits upon a rock beneath a leafless tree in a deluge of rain. The encroaching flood rises to his feet. Legend: Water, with the line: Thou waterest him with tears.
3. Crouching figure of a man emerging from a crevice in a rock. Legend: Earth, with the line: He struggles into life.
4. A man, nude, seated upon a white cloud, clasps his forehead with both hands and gazes steadfastly before him. Behind him the sky studded with stars. Legend: Air, with the line: On cloudy doubts and reasoning cares.
5. A fiend, blind, standing in flames, armed with spear and shield. Legend: Fire, with the line: That end in endless strifethis and the three preceding lines forming a quatrain.
5. In l. 4 we is a revised rdg. of I in the earlier issue.
6. A cherub issuing from an egg. Legend: At length for hatching ripe he breaks the shell.
7. A boy in garden, hat in hand, chases flying fairy. A second fairy lies crushed at his feet. Legend: Alas! [the original inscription written in centre of page with the addition of the words on either side and below] What are these?
the Female Martyr! Is she also the Divine Image?
8. An old man, seated, with a sword in right hand, leans sorrowfully on his elbow, averting his head from the figure of a joyfully departing youth, who threatens him with a dart. Legend: My son! my son!
9. A man standing on edge of world prepares to mount a ladder reared against the crescent moon. Two lovers watch him. Legend: I want! I want!
10. A man drowning in sea, with one arm upthrust, and head just disappearing beneath the waves. Legend: Help! Help!
11. An old man wearing spectacles, seated under a tree, clips the wings of a boy who struggles to escape. Before him the setting sun. Legend: Aged Ignorance, with the line: Perceptive Organs closed, their Objects close.
12. An old man (Count Ugolino) with his two sons and two grandsons in dungeon cell. Legend: Does thy God, O Priest, take such vengeance as this?
13. A husband, wife, and two children, beside a bed on which lies a corpse, watch the ascending spirit of an old man who points upward. Legend: Fear and Hope areVision.
14. A man with a staff in his hand strides along a country lane. Legend: The traveller hasteth in the evening.
15. An old man, leaning on a crutch, passes through the gateway of a tomb. Legend: Deaths door.
16. A woman in white cerements, seated on the ground in a burial crypt. A huge worm crawls around her feet. Legend: I have said to the worm: Thou art my mother and my sister. [back]