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William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
Poems from the Rossetti MS.: The Everlasting Gospel
WAS 1 Jesus humble? or did He
Give any proofs of humility?
Boast of high things with humble tone,
And give with charity a stone?
When but a child He ran away,        5
And left His parents in dismay.
When they had wander’d three days long
These were the words upon His tongue:
‘No earthly parents I confess:
I am doing My Father’s business.’        10
When the rich learnèd Pharisee
Came to consult Him secretly,
Upon his heart with iron pen
He wrote ‘Ye must be born again.’
He was too proud to take a bribe;        15
He spoke with authority, not like a Scribe.
He says with most consummate art
‘Follow Me, I am meek and lowly of heart,
As that is the only way to escape
The miser’s net and the glutton’s trap.        20
What can be done with such desperate fools
Who follow after the heathen schools?
I was standing by when Jesus died;
What I call’d humility, they call’d pride.
He who loves his enemies betrays his friends.        25
This surely is not what Jesus intends;
But the sneaking pride of heroic schools,
And the Scribes’ and Pharisees’ virtuous rules;
For He acts with honest, triumphant pride,
And this is the cause that Jesus died.        30
He did not die with Christian ease,
Asking pardon of His enemies:
If He had, Caiaphas would forgive;
Sneaking submission can always live.
He had only to say that God was the Devil,        35
And the Devil was God, like a Christian civil;
Mild Christian regrets to the Devil confess
For affronting him thrice in the wilderness;
He had soon been bloody Caesar’s elf,
And at last he would have been Caesar himself,        40
Like Dr. Priestly and Bacon and Newton—
Poor spiritual knowledge is not worth a button!
For thus the Gospel Sir Isaac confutes:
‘God can only be known by His attributes;
And as for the indwelling of the Holy Ghost,        45
Or of Christ and His Father, it’s all a boast
And pride, and vanity of the imagination,
That disdains to follow this world’s fashion.’
To teach doubt and experiment
Certainly was not what Christ meant.        50
What was He doing all that time,
From twelve years old to manly prime?
Was He then idle, or the less
About His Father’s business?
Or was His wisdom held in scorn        55
Before His wrath began to burn
In miracles throughout the land,
That quite unnerv’d the Seraph band?
If He had been Antichrist, Creeping Jesus,
He’d have done anything to please us;        60
Gone sneaking into synagogues,
And not us’d the Elders and Priests like dogs;
But humble as a lamb or ass
Obey’d Himself to Caiaphas.
God wants not man to humble himself:        65
That is the trick of the Ancient Elf.
This is the race that Jesus ran:
Humble to God, haughty to man,
Cursing the Rulers before the people
Even to the Temple’s highest steeple,        70
And when He humbled Himself to God
Then descended the cruel rod.
‘If Thou humblest Thyself, Thou humblest Me.
Thou also dwell’st in Eternity.
Thou art a Man: God is no more:        75
Thy own Humanity learn to adore,
For that is My spirit of life.
Awake, arise to spiritual strife,
And Thy revenge abroad display
In terrors at the last Judgement Day.        80
God’s mercy and long suffering
Is but the sinner to judgement to bring.
Thou on the Cross for them shalt pray—
And take revenge at the Last Day.’
Jesus replied, and thunders hurl’d:        85
‘I never will pray for the world.
Once I did so when I pray’d in the Garden;
I wish’d to take with Me a bodily pardon.’
Can that which was of woman born,
In the absence of the morn,        90
When the Soul fell into sleep,
And Archangels round it weep,
Shooting out against the light
Fibres of a deadly night,
Reasoning upon its own dark fiction,        95
In doubt which is self-contradiction?
Humility is only doubt,
And does the sun and moon blot out,
Rooting over with thorns and stems
The buried soul and all its gems.        100
This life’s five windows of the soul
Distorts the Heavens from pole to pole,
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not thro’, the eye
That was born in a night, to perish in a night,        105
When the soul slept in the beams of light.
Note 1. γ] On another page of the MS. Book we find Blake’s first draft of this passage containing 38, or with marginal additions, 46 lines. The variant readings of this earlier version, which I refer to as γ', are given in the footnotes. 11–14 In γ' these two couplets were written in the reversed order.
  25 betrays] hates MS. 1st rdg. del. 26 surely is not] is surely not γ'. Followed in γ' by the couplet:
He must mean the mere love of civility
And so He must mean concerning humility.
29 But He acts with triumphant, honest pride γ'. 30 cause that] reason γ'. 31–50 These lines are an addition.
  59 Antichrist, Creeping Jesus] a creeping Jesus MS. 1st rdg. del. For this epithet compare a passage from a letter of Blake to Cumberland, dated April 12, 1827 (Russell’s ed., p. 222). 61 into synagogues] into the synagogues γ'. 63 Not humble as a lamb or an ass γ'. 64 Obey’d] Obey γ'.
Humble toward God, haughty toward man
This is the race that Jesus ran.    γ'.
71 And] But γ'. 73 Why dost thou humble thyself to me γ' 1st rdg. del. 76 Thy own] Thine own γ'. 82 Is] Are γ'. 84 Whom thou shalt torment at the Last Day γ' 1st rdg. del. 85–8 These lines are an addition. 95, 96 Cp. The Gates of Paradise, ‘The Keys of the Gates’, ll. 13–15:
Two-horn’d reasoning, cloven fiction,
In doubt which is self-contradiction,
A dark Hermaphrodite, we stood.
97, 98 Cp. ‘Auguries of Innocence,’ ll. 109–10 (Pickering MS., p. 174):
If the sun and moon should doubt,
They’d immediately go out.
99 Cp. Jerusalem, f. 43, l. 8: ‘If we are wrathful Albion will destroy Jerusalem with rooty groves.’ 101, 102 Cp. the proem to Europe, ll. 1–6.
  103–6 Cp. ‘Auguries of Innocence’, ll. 125–8 (Pickering MS., p. 174)"
We are led to believe a lie
When we see not thro’ the eye,
Which was born in a night, to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.

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