Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
Poems from the Rossetti MS.: Later Poems
When Klopstock England defied
WHEN 1 Klopstock England defied,
Uprose William Blake in his pride;
For old Nobodaddy aloft
… and belch’d and cough’d;
Then swore a great oath that made Heaven quake,        5
And call’d aloud to English Blake.
Blake was giving his body ease,
At Lambeth beneath the poplar trees.
From his seat then started he
And turn’d him round three times three.        10
The moon at that sight blush’d scarlet red,
The stars threw down their cups and fled,
And all the devils that were in hell,
Answerèd with a ninefold yell.
Klopstock felt the intripled turn,        15
And all his bowels began to churn,
And his bowels turn’d round three times three,
And lock’d in his soul with a ninefold key;…
Then again old Nobodaddy swore
He ne’er had seen such a thing before,        20
Since Noah was shut in the ark,
Since Eve first chose her hellfire spark,
Since ’twas the fashion to go naked,
Since the old Anything was created.…
Note 1. When Klopstock, &c.] Swinburne (Critical Essay, pp. 31–2) refers the origin of this Rabelaisian jeu d’esprit to the passages from Klopstock rendered into English by Hayley for Blake’s benefit during the latter’s stay at Felpham in 1803 (Hayley’s Diary, Mar. 26, 29); but the reference to Lambeth, and the repetition of l. 4 in ‘Lafayette’, point rather to its having been written about 1793. 15 intripled] ninefold MS. 1st rdg. del. 16 churn] burn MS. 1st rdg. del. 17 And … round] They turned around MS. 1st rdg. del. 18 Two partially illegible lines omitted here. 24 Six partially illegible lines omitted here. [back]

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