Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
Verses from ‘The Gates of Paradise’
MUTUAL 1 Forgiveness of each vice,
Such are the Gates of Paradise,
Against the Accuser’s chief desire,
Who walk’d among the stones of fire.
Jehovah’s Finger wrote the Law;        5
Then wept; then rose in zeal and awe,
And the dead corpse, from Sinai’s heat,
Buried beneath His Mercy-seat.
O Christians! Christians! tell me why
You rear it on your altars high?        10
Note 1. In its original form (as published in 1793) The Gates of Paradise was a simple picture-book ‘For Children’, consisting of a frontispiece, title-page, and sixteen engraved plates of emblematic designs, the original pencil sketches for which are found in the Rossetti MS. Later (circa 1810) Blake converted this little book into one of his Prophetic Writings by changing the words ‘For Children’ of the title to ‘For the Sexes’, retouching the plates and legends, and adding a Prologue, Epilogue, and descriptive couplets entitled ‘The Keys of the Gates’, which embody in a digested form his maturer system of symbolism. At a still later date Blake again reworked upon the plates, and made a few further alterations in the text.
  The version here given is taken from this second issue of the Gates ‘For the Sexes’, the variant readings of the earlier issue, and short descriptions of the plates themselves (without which the verses would be scarcely intelligible), being supplied in the footnotes.
  Prologue 5 Finger] Fingers For the Sexes, 1st issue.
  7, 8
And in the midst of Sinai’s heat
Hid it beneath His Mercy Seat.
For the Sexes, 1st issue.

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