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The Divine Image -- William Blake

(Poem #771) The Divine Image
 Cruelty has a Human Heart,
 And Jealousy a Human Face;
 Terror the Human Form Divine,
 And Secrecy the Human Dress.

 The Human Dress is forged Iron,
 The Human Form a fiery Forge,
 The Human Face a Furnace seal'd,
 The Human Heart is hungry Gorge.
-- William Blake
Blake is in full Apocalypse Mode here, all fire and fury and righteous
indignation. In a lesser poet it would be pretentious; in Blake, it's
amazingly, indisputably _right_.


[Et cetera]

There are poets who are inextricably linked with particular forms and
metres; for example, Longfellow [1], Yeats [2] and yes, William Blake [3].

[1] See the often celebrated and even more often parodied "Song of
 By the shore of Gitchie Gumee,
 By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
 At the doorway of his wigwam,
 In the pleasant Summer morning,
 Hiawatha stood and waited.
        -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "Hiawatha's Departure", Poem #362
See Poem #559, "The Modern Hiawatha", by George A. Strong, for a fairly nice
example of a Hiawatha parody.

[2] See, especially, the third and final section of Auden's elegy "In Memory
of W. B. Yeats" (Poem #50) for an excellent tribute in the form that the
Master made his own.

[3] Many of the "Songs of Innocence and Experience" are written in the same
metre as today's poem, as is "Auguries of Innocence". See
[broken link] for the complete set
of the former, and Poem #368 on the Minstrels website for the latter.

[Minstrels Links]

Other poems by William Blake:
Poem #26, "Jerusalem"
Poem #66, "The Tyger"
Poem #97, "The Fly"
Poem #368, "Auguries of Innocence"
Poem #546, "The Sick Rose"


The email I sent a few hours ago titled "The Month in Comments: March 2001"
should have been titled "The Month in Comments: April 2001". An entirely
pardonable lapse, caused solely by this reviewer's occasional ignorance of
day, month, and, indeed, year.

As you may have noticed, there has been a preponderance of guest poem
submissions recently (and a corresponding paucity of commentary from Martin
and myself). This is because we've both been travelling and/or busy; we hope
to return you to your scheduled service soon.

28 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

JeffKathMerrick said...

There are 2 distinctive poems by William Blake on the topic of divine image. The 8-line poem on your web page is mistitled. It should be: A Divine Image not The Divine Image.
Both were written by Blake. Research further and you'll find your error. Good Luck!
Kathy Merrick
English Teacher

96ORJD-DYER said...

This poem is titled "A Divine Image", not "The Divine Image". The latter
title is a poem in "Songs of Innocence", not the poem shown here which is
from "Songs of Experience". Just thought you might like to know.

Alison MacDermott said...

This poem is not titled "The Divine Image." It is titled "A divine image" and is the counterpart of another poem, from Songs of Innocence, entitled "The Divine Image."

Viagra Online said...

I really love this poem of William Blake, the images that the poem itselfs creates in our mind are really amazing. One of the thinks I love more about Blake is that he can portray these great sensorial images with few and short words, that a talent and a gift in a poet

AIB Internet Banking said...

Yes, humanity is so utterly awful. We have potential of course. Perhaps we'll realize it.

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