Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
Songs from ‘An Island in The Moon’
X. To be or not to be
TO 1 be or not to be
Of great capacity,
Like Sir Isaac Newton,
Or Locke, or Doctor South,
Or Sherlock upon Death—        5
I’d rather be Sutton! 2
For he did build a house
For agèd men and youth,
With walls of brick and stone;
He furnish’d it within        10
With whatever he could win,
And all his own.
He drew out of the Stocks
His money in a box,
And sent his servant        15
To Green the Bricklayer,
And to the Carpenter;
He was so fervent.
The chimneys were threescore,
The windows many more;        20
And, for convenience,
He sinks and gutters made,
And all the way he pav’d
To hinder pestilence.
Was not this a good man—        25
Whose life was but a span,
Whose name was Sutton—
As Locke, or Doctor South,
Or Sherlock upon Death,
Or Sir Isaac Newton?        30
Note 1. X] Sung by Obtuse Angle, MS., chap. ix. [back]
Note 2. Sutton] Thomas Sutton, founder of the Charterhouse (1532–1611). Perhaps Obtuse Angle was an old Carthusian. [back]

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