Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
Poems from the Rossetti MS.: The Everlasting Gospel
THE VISION 1 of Christ that thou dost see
Is my vision’s greatest enemy.
Thine has a great hook nose like thine;
Mine has a snub nose like to mine.
Thine is the Friend of all Mankind;        5
Mine speaks in parables to the blind.
Thine loves the same world that mine hates;
Thy heaven doors are my hell gates.
Socrates taught what Meletus
Loath’d as a nation’s bitterest curse,        10
And Caiaphas was in his own mind
A benefactor to mankind.
Both read the Bible day and night,
But thou read’st black where I read white.
Note 1. We have no entire or fair copy of this poem, the text of which is pieced together from passages scattered throughout the MS. Book. As these were written for the most part on vacant spaces of pages already partially filled with the draft of his Catalogue ‘for the year 1810’, it is clear that ‘The Everlasting Gospel’ was composed not earlier (though probably not much later) than this date.
  The poem consists of eight sections, here numbered α–θ, the sequence of which in most cases has been indicated by Blake himself. Of these, besides the Prologue α and the Epilogue θ, the sections β, γ and ζ appear to be complete. So too the section ε ‘Was Jesus born of a Virgin pure’, which though not written into the MS. Book itself, but on a folded scrap of paper now bound in at the end of the volume, has happily been preserved from loss. This passage has no place assigned to it by the author, but its natural position would seem to be immediately before ζ, where I print it in the present arrangement. Of the remaining sections δ and η we possess only the opening lines, presumably intended, according to Blake’s usual practice, to serve merely as catchwords to passages copied in full elsewhere. Probably these, like ε, were written upon separate pieces of paper, loosely inserted in the MS. Book, and lost before D. G. Rossetti purchased the volume from Samuel Palmer.
  Title] First written at the head of the revised version of γ. [back]

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