'Jerusalem : England! awake! awake! awake!' by William Blake
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1England! awake! awake! awake!
2Jerusalem thy Sister calls!
3Why wilt thou sleep the sleep of death
4And close her from thy ancient walls?
5Thy hills and valleys felt her feet
6Gently upon their bosoms move:
7Thy gates beheld sweet Zion's ways:
8Then was a time of joy and love.
9And now the time returns again:
10Our souls exult, and London's towers
11Receive the Lamb of God to dwell
12In England's green and pleasant bowers.
Editor 1 Interpretation
"Jerusalem: England! awake! awake! awake!" by William Blake
Are you ready to dive into one of the most iconic poems of the English language? If so, strap in, because we're about to explore William Blake's "Jerusalem: England! awake! awake! awake!" in detail.
Let's start by taking a look at the poem itself. Here's the full text:
And did those feet in ancient time Walk upon England's mountains green? And was the holy Lamb of God On England's pleasant pastures seen? And did the countenance divine Shine forth upon our clouded hills? And was Jerusalem builded here Among these dark Satanic mills? Bring me my bow of burning gold! Bring me my arrows of desire! Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold! Bring me my chariot of fire! I will not cease from mental fight, Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand, Till we have built Jerusalem In England's green and pleasant land.
At its core, "Jerusalem: England! awake! awake! awake!" is a call to action. Blake is asking England to wake up, to remember its spiritual roots, and to work towards building a better world.
But there's more to it than that. Let's unpack the poem piece by piece to see what makes it such a powerful work of literature.
First, let's take a look at the title. "Jerusalem: England! awake! awake! awake!" is a bit of a mouthful, but it's also incredibly evocative.
The first word, "Jerusalem," immediately brings to mind images of the Holy City, a place of great spiritual significance to many religions. By placing it in the title, Blake is setting up the poem as a spiritual work.
The rest of the title, "England! awake! awake! awake!" is a call to action. Blake is urging his fellow Englishmen to wake up, to become more aware of their spiritual heritage and to work towards a better world.
The First Stanza
The first stanza of the poem sets the scene. Blake is asking if Jesus himself once walked in England, if the Lamb of God was seen in the country's green pastures.
This stanza is important for a few reasons. First, it establishes the idea that England has a spiritual history. Blake is suggesting that England was once a holy land, a place where great religious figures walked.
Second, the stanza introduces the idea of a spiritual presence in the natural world. The green mountains and pleasant pastures are imbued with a sense of awe and reverence, as if they are more than just physical landscapes.
Finally, the stanza ends on a jarring note. Blake asks if Jerusalem was built in England, "among these dark Satanic mills." The juxtaposition of the holy city with the "dark Satanic mills" is a powerful one. Blake is suggesting that England has fallen from its spiritual roots, and that something needs to be done to change that.
The Second Stanza
The second stanza of the poem is perhaps the most famous. It's the part that has been set to music and sung at sporting events and political rallies.
In this stanza, Blake calls upon the heavens to bring him his weapons. He's preparing for battle, both literal and metaphorical.
The language in this stanza is fiery and passionate. Blake's use of exclamation marks and bold commands make it clear that he means business. He's not just asking for his bow, arrows, spear, and chariot. He's demanding them.
This stanza is important because it sets up the idea of a battle between good and evil. Blake is arming himself for a fight against the forces of darkness, against the "dark Satanic mills" that he mentioned in the first stanza.
The Third Stanza
The third and final stanza takes the poem full circle. Blake returns to the idea of building Jerusalem in England, but now he's more specific. He's not just talking about a physical city. He's talking about a spiritual one.
"I will not cease from mental fight, / Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand," Blake writes. He's saying that the battle he mentioned in the second stanza is not a physical one. It's a mental one, a battle of ideas.
The final line of the poem is perhaps the most important: "Till we have built Jerusalem / In England's green and pleasant land." Blake is saying that the battle he's fighting is not just for himself, but for all of England. He wants to build a better world, a more spiritual one, and he's calling on his fellow countrymen to join him.
So, what does it all mean? At its core, "Jerusalem: England! awake! awake! awake!" is a call to action. Blake is urging England to wake up, to remember its spiritual roots, and to work towards building a better world.
But there's more to it than that. Blake is also critiquing the industrialization of England, which he sees as a force of darkness. The "dark Satanic mills" he mentions in the first stanza are a metaphor for the loss of England's spiritual heritage.
Blake is also using the poem to express his belief in the power of the natural world. The green mountains and pleasant pastures he mentions in the first stanza are not just physical landscapes. They are imbued with a sense of spiritual significance.
Finally, the poem is a call to arms. Blake is not just asking England to wake up. He's arming himself for a battle against the forces of darkness, against the industrialization and loss of spiritual heritage that he sees around him.
"Jerusalem: England! awake! awake! awake!" is a powerful work of literature that has resonated with generations of readers. Its call to action, fiery language, and spiritual themes make it an enduring masterpiece.
As we read the poem today, we can still feel its urgency. Blake's message is just as relevant now as it was in his time. We still need to wake up, to remember our spiritual heritage, and to work towards building a better world.
So, let us take up Blake's call to arms. Let us bring forth our bows of burning gold, our arrows of desire, our spears, and our chariots of fire. Let us join in the mental fight for a better world, and let us not cease until we have built Jerusalem in our own green and pleasant lands.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Jerusalem: England! Awake! Awake! Awake!
William Blake's poem "Jerusalem: England! Awake! Awake! Awake!" is a powerful call to action for the people of England to rise up and take control of their destiny. Written in 1804, the poem is a passionate plea for the people of England to awaken from their slumber and take their place as a great nation.
The poem begins with the line "And did those feet in ancient time," which is a reference to the legend that Jesus Christ visited England during his lifetime. Blake then goes on to describe the "green and pleasant land" of England, which he sees as a place of great beauty and potential.
However, Blake is not content to simply admire the beauty of England. He sees the country as being in a state of decline, with its people asleep and its leaders corrupt. He calls on the people of England to "bring me my bow of burning gold" and "bring me my arrows of desire," urging them to take up arms and fight for their freedom.
The poem is full of powerful imagery, with Blake using metaphors and symbols to convey his message. The "bow of burning gold" represents the power of the people, while the "arrows of desire" represent their passion and determination. The "chariot of fire" that Blake sees in his vision represents the power of the people to overcome any obstacle.
Blake also uses biblical references throughout the poem, drawing on the stories of Moses and Joshua to inspire the people of England. He sees England as a new Promised Land, a place where the people can build a new society based on justice and freedom.
The poem is also notable for its use of repetition, with Blake repeating the phrase "England! Awake! Awake! Awake!" throughout the poem. This repetition serves to reinforce Blake's message and to inspire the people of England to action.
Overall, "Jerusalem: England! Awake! Awake! Awake!" is a powerful and inspiring poem that calls on the people of England to rise up and take control of their destiny. Blake's use of powerful imagery, biblical references, and repetition all serve to reinforce his message and to inspire the people of England to action.
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