To Thomas Butts
With Happiness stretch'd across the hills
In a cloud that dewy sweetness distils;
With a blue sky spread
over with wings,
And a mild sun that mounts and sings;
With trees and fields full of fairy elves,
devils who fight for themselves --
Rememb'ring the verses that Hayley sung
When my heart knock'd against
the root of my tongue --
With angels planted in hawthorn bowers,
And God Himself in the passing hours;
silver angels across my way,
And golden demons that none can stay;
With my father hovering upon the
And my brother Robert just behind,
And my brother John, the evil one,
In a black cloud making his
Tho' dead, they appear upon my path,
Notwithstanding my terrible wrath;
They beg, they entreat,
they drop their tears,
Fill'd full of hopes, fill'd full of fears --
With a thousand angels upon the wind
disconsolate from behind
To drive them off, and before my way
A frowning thistle implores my stay.
to others a trifle appears
Fills me full of smiles or tears;
For double the vision my eyes do see,
And a double
vision is always with me.
With my inward eye, 'tis an Old Man grey,
With my outward, a Thistle across my
`If thou goest back,' the Thistle said,
`Thou art to endless woe betray'd;
For here does Theotormon
And here is Enitharmon's bower;
And Los the Terrible thus hath sworn,
Because thou backward dost
Poverty, envy, old age, and fear,
Shall bring thy wife upon a bier;
And Butts shall give what Fuseli
A dark black rock and a gloomy cave.'
I struck the Thistle with my foot,
And broke him up from his delving root.
`Must the duties of life each
Must every joy be dung and dross?
Must my dear Butts feel cold neglect
Because I give
Hayley his due respect?
Must Flaxman look upon me as wild,
And all my friends be with doubts beguil'd?
my wife live in my sister's bane,
Or my sister survive on my love's pain?
The curses of Los, the terrible
And his dismal terrors make me afraid.'
So I spoke, and struck in my wrath
The Old Man weltering
upon my path.
Then Los appear'd in all his power:
In the sun he appear'd, descending before
My face in
fierce flames; in my double sight
'Twas outward a sun, inward Los in his might.
`My hands are labour'd
day and night,
And ease comes never in my sight.
My wife has no indulgence given
Except what comes to
her from Heaven.
We eat little, we drink less,
This Earth breeds not our happiness.
Another sun feeds our
We are not warmèd with thy beams;
Thou measurest not the time to me,
Nor yet the space
that I do see;
My mind is not with thy light array'd,
Thy terrors shall not make me afraid.'
When I had my defiance given,
The sun stood trembling in heaven;
The moon, that glow'd remote below,
leprous and white as snow;
And every soul of men on the earth
Felt affliction, and sorrow, and sickness,
Los flam'd in my path, and the sun was hot
With the bows of my mind and the arrows of
My bowstring fierce with ardour breathes;
My arrows glow in their golden sheaves;
and father march before;
The heavens drop with human gore.
Now I a fourfold vision see,
And a fourfold vision is given to me;
'Tis fourfold in my supreme delight,
threefold in soft Beulah's night,
And twofold always. -- May God us keep
From single vision, and Newton's
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