Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
On Friends and Foes
[On Hayley]: To forgive enemies H—— does pretend
TO forgive enemies H—— does pretend,
Who never in his life forgave a friend,
And when he could not act upon my wife
Hired a villain to bereave my life. 1
Note 1. V 4 This line, as well as any other, may serve as an illustration of Blake’s habit of embodying old phrases, passages, or even entire stanzas in pieces written sometimes after an interval of years. Cp. with the above, composed circa 1809, the lines from ‘Fair Elenor’:
He seeks thy love; who, coward in the night,
Hirèd a villain to bereave my life,
probably one of the earliest poems included in the Poetical Sketches printed in 1783, and, according to the ‘Advertisement’, written at least six years earlier. [back]

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