Verse > Anthologies > Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. > The Second Book of Modern Verse
See also: William Rose Benét Biography
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Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. (1869–1948).  The Second Book of Modern Verse.  1922.
 
Mad Blake
 
William Rose Benét (1886–1950)
 
 
BLAKE saw a treeful of angels at Peckham Rye,
And his hands could lay hold on the tiger’s terrible heart.
Blake knew how deep is Hell, and Heaven how high,
And could build the universe from one tiny part.
Blake heard the asides of God, as with furrowed brow        5
He sifts the star-streams between the Then and the Now,
In vast infant sagacity brooding, an infant’s grace
Shining serene on his simple, benignant face.
 
Blake was mad, they say,—and Space’s Pandora-box
Loosed its wonders upon him—devils, but angels indeed.        10
I, they say, am sane, but no key of mine unlocks
One lock of one gate wherethrough Heaven’s glory is freed.
And I stand and I hold my breath, daylong, yearlong,
Out of comfort and easy dreaming evermore starting awake,—
Yearning beyond all sanity for some echo of that Song        15
Of Songs that was sung to the soul of the madman, Blake!
 

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