The Poetry Corner

The Everlasting Gospel

By William Blake

The vision of Christ that thou dost see Is my visions greatest enemy. Thine has a great hook nose like thine; Mine has a snub nose like to mine. Thine is the Friend of all Mankind; Mine speaks in parables to the blind. Thine loves the same world that mine hates; Thy heaven doors are my hell gates. Socrates taught what Meletus Loathd as a nations bitterest curse, And Caiaphas was in his own mind A benefactor to mankind. Both read the Bible day and night, But thou readst black where I read white. Was Jesus gentle, or did He Give any marks of gentility? When twelve years old He ran away, And left His parents in dismay. When after three days sorrow found, Loud as Sinais trumpet-sound: No earthly parents I confess My Heavenly Fathers business! Ye understand not what I say, And, angry, force Me to obey. Obedience is a duty then, And favour gains with God and men. John from the wilderness loud cried; Satan gloried in his pride. Come, said Satan, come away, Ill soon see if youll obey! John for disobedience bled, But you can turn the stones to bread. Gods high king and Gods high priest Shall plant their glories in your breast, If Caiaphas you will obey, If Herod you with bloody prey Feed with the sacrifice, and be Obedient, fall down, worship me. Thunders and lightnings broke around, And Jesus voice in thunders sound: Thus I seize the spiritual prey. Ye smiters with disease, make way. I come your King and God to seize, Is God a smiter with disease? The God of this world ragd in vain: He bound old Satan in His chain, And, bursting forth, His furious ire Became a chariot of fire. Throughout the land He took His course, And tracd diseases to their source. He cursd the Scribe and Pharisee, Trampling down hypocrisy. Whereer His chariot took its way, There Gates of Death let in the Day, Broke down from every chain and bar; And Satan in His spiritual war Draggd at His chariot-wheels: loud howld The God of this world: louder rolld The chariot-wheels, and louder still His voice was heard from Zions Hill, And in His hand the scourge shone bright; He scourgd the merchant Canaanite From out the Temple of His Mind, And in his body tight does bind Satan and all his hellish crew; And thus with wrath He did subdue The serpent bulk of Natures dross, Till He had naild it to the Cross. He took on sin in the Virgins womb And put it off on the Cross and tomb To be worshippd by the Church of Rome. Was 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, And left His parents in dismay. When they had wanderd three days long These were the words upon His tongue: No earthly parents I confess: I am doing My Fathers business. When the rich learnd 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; 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 misers net and the gluttons trap. What can be done with such desperate fools Who follow after the heathen schools? I was standing by when Jesus died; What I calld humility, they calld pride. He who loves his enemies betrays his friends. 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 dies. 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, 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 Caesars elf, And at last he would have been Caesar himself, 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, Or of Christ and His Father, its all a boast And pride, and vanity of the imagination, That disdains to follow this worlds fashion. To teach doubt and experiment Certainly was not what Christ meant. What was He doing all that time, From twelve years old to manly prime? Was He then idle, or the less About His Fathers business? Or was His wisdom held in scorn Before His wrath began to burn In miracles throughout the land, That quite unnervd the Seraph band? If He had been Antichrist, Creeping Jesus, Hed have done anything to please us; Gone sneaking into synagogues, And not usd the Elders and Priests like dogs; But humble as a lamb or ass Obeyd Himself to Caiaphas. God wants not man to humble himself: 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 Temples highest steeple, And when He humbled Himself to God Then descended the cruel rod. If Thou Humblest Thyself, Thou humblest Me. Thou also dwellst in Eternity. Thou art a Man: God is no more: 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. Gods 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 hurld: I never will pray for the world. Once I did so when I prayd in the Garden; I wishd to take with Me a bodily pardon. Can that which was of woman born, In the absence of the morn, 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, 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. This lifes 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, When the soul slept in the beams of light. Did Jesus teach doubt? or did He Give any lessons of philosophy, Charge Visionaries with deceiving, Or call men wise for not believing? Was Jesus born of a Virgin pure With narrow soul and looks demure? If He intended to take on sin The Mother should an harlot been, Just such a one as Magdalen, With seven devils in her pen. Or were Jew virgins still more cursd, And more sucking devils nursd? Or what was it which He took on That He might bring salvation? A body subject to be tempted, From neither pain nor grief exempted; Or such a body as might not feel The passions that with sinners deal? Yes, but they say He never fell. Ask Caiaphas; for he can tell. He mockd the Sabbath, and He mockd The Sabbaths God, and He unlockd The evil spirits from their shrines, And turnd fishermen to divines; Oerturnd the tent of secret sins, And its golden cords and pins, In the bloody shrine of war Pourd around from star to star, Halls of justice, hating vice, Where the Devil combs his lice. He turnd the devils into swine That He might tempt the Jews to dine; Since which, a pig has got a look That for a Jew may be mistook. Obey your parents.What says He? Woman, what have I to do with thee? No earthly parents I confess: I am doing my Fathers business. He scornd Earths parents, scornd Earths God, And mockd the one and the others rod; His seventy Disciples sent Against Religion and Government They by the sword of Justice fell, And Him their cruel murderer tell. He left His fathers trade to roam, A wandring vagrant without home; And thus He others labour stole, That He might live above control. The publicans and harlots He Selected for His company, And from the adulteress turnd away Gods righteous law, that lost its prey. Was Jesus chaste? or did He Give any lessons of chastity? The Morning blushd fiery red: Mary was found in adulterous bed; Earth groand beneath, and Heaven above Trembled at discovery of Love. Jesus was sitting in Moses chair. They brought the trembling woman there. Moses commands she be stond to death. What was the sound of Jesus breath? He laid His hand on Moses law; The ancient Heavens, in silent awe, Writ with curses from pole to pole, All away began to roll. The Earth trembling and naked lay In secret bed of mortal clay; On Sinai felt the Hand Divine Pulling back the bloody shrine; And she heard the breath of God, As she heard by Edens flood: Good and Evil are no more! Sinais trumpets cease to roar! Cease, finger of God, to write! The Heavens are not clean in Thy sight. Thou art good, and Thou alone; Nor may the sinner cast one stone. To be good only, is to be A God or else a Pharisee. Thou Angel of the Presence Divine, That didst create this Body of Mine, Wherefore hast thou writ these laws And created Hells dark jaws? My Presence I will take from thee: A cold leper thou shalt be. Tho thou wast so pure and bright That Heaven was impure in thy sight, Tho thy oath turnd Heaven pale, Tho thy covenant built Hells jail, Tho thou didst all to chaos roll With the Serpent for its soul, Still the breath Divine does move, And the breath Divine is Love. Mary, fear not! Let me see The seven devils that torment thee. Hide not from My sight thy sin, That forgiveness thou mayst win. Has no man condemnd thee? No man, Lord. Then what is he Who shall accuse thee? Come ye forth, Fallen fiends of heavenly birth, That have forgot your ancient love, And driven away my trembling Dove. You shall bow before her feet; You shall lick the dust for meat; And tho you cannot love, but hate, Shall be beggars at Loves gate. What was thy love? Let Me see it; Was it love or dark deceit? Love too long from me has fled; Twas dark deceit, to earn my bread; Twas covet, or twas custom, or Some trifle not worth caring for; That they may call a shame and sin Loves temple that God dwelleth in, And hide in secret hidden shrine The naked Human Form Divine, And render that a lawless thing On which the Soul expands its wing. But this, O Lord, this was my sin, When first I let these devils in, In dark pretence to chastity Blaspheming Love, blaspheming Thee, Thence rose secret adulteries, And thence did covet also rise. My sin Thou hast forgiven me; Canst Thou forgive my blasphemy? Canst Thou return to this dark hell, And in my burning bosom dwell? And canst Thou die that I may live? And canst Thou pity and forgive? Then rolld the shadowy Man away From the limbs of Jesus, to make them His prey, An ever devouring appetite, Glittering with festering venoms bright; Crying Crucify this cause of distress, Who dont keep the secrets of holiness! The mental powers by diseases we bind; But He heals the deaf, the dumb, and the blind. Whom God has afflicted for secret ends, He comforts and heals and calls them friends. But, when Jesus was crucified, Then was perfected His galling pride. In three nights He devourd His prey, And still He devours the body of clay; For dust and clay is the Serpents meat, Which never was made for Man to eat. Seeing this False Christ, in fury and passion I made my voice heard all over the nation. What are those I am sure this Jesus will not do, Either for Englishman or Jew.