About the Author
William Blake was a poet, painter and engraver.
He abhorred the rationalism and materialism of
his times. What he saw and painted were human
beings beset with evil, yet striving for the divine
Blake’s lyrics appeared in two sets of volumes:
Songs of Innocence (from which The Divine Image
has been chosen) and Songs of Experience (from
which The Human Abstract has been taken)
representing the two contrary states of the human
soul. Most of the poems in the first volume have
counterparts in the second.
The Divine Image
To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
All pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.
For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is God our father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is Man, his child and care.
For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.
Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.
And all must love the human form,
In heathen, turk, or jew;
Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.
Pity would be no more
If we did not make somebody Poor;
And Mercy no more could be
If all were as happy as we.
And mutual fear brings peace,
Till the selfish loves increase:
Then Cruelty knits a snare,
And spreads his baits with care.
He sits down with holy fears,
And waters the ground with tears;
Then Humility takes its root
Underneath his foot.
Soon spreads the dismal shade
Of Mystery over his head;
And the Caterpillar and Fly
Feed on the Mystery.
And it bears the fruit of Deceit,
Ruddy and sweet to eat;
And the Raven his nest has made
In its thickest shade.
The Gods of the earth and sea
Sought thro’ Nature to find this Tree;
But their search was all in vain:
There grows one in the Human Brain.
Note: Blake’s poetry was published in a manner most unusual in
literature and art history; he personally manufactured each
copy. The verses were not typeset but were, with the engravings
that illustrated them, cut into copper plates. The pages
themselves he illuminated in water colours. Thus Blake can
be called the first multi-media artist.
Jump to Menu
Online Lessons with Spoken text and correct pronounciation