Eternity (Blake)

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Notebook 43. Eternity
by William Blake
From Notebook, p. 105, reversed. See also Songs and Ballads
Notebook 43 - Eternity

1st reading:[1][edit]

He who bends to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sunrise.


2nd reading:[2][edit]


Eternity

He who binds to himself [to a del.] joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who [just del.] kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in [an eternal del.] eternity's sun rise.

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3rd reading:[3][edit]


Eternity

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sun rise[4]

________________________________________

  1. "Life of William Blake", by Alexander Gilchrist, D. G. Rossetti, W. M. Rossetti, Anne Gilchrist, 1863 (1880). Rossetti renamed this poem to "Opportunity" and added "If you trap the moment before its ripe..." to it as the second quatrain. p. 126 (1880). W. B. Yeats copied this precisely in his edition of "Poems of William Blake".
  2. "Blake Complete Writings", ed. Geoffrey Keynes, pub. OUP 1966/85, p. 179.
  3. "The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake", ed. by David V. Erdman, Anchor Books, 1988, p. 470
  4. Eternity N 105 rev
    1 binds] Previous editors have wavered between “bends” and “binds”, but the dot on the i is visible in strong light (the whole poem is in pencil) to himself] himself to 1st rdg
    3 who kisses] who just kisses 1st rdg
    4 eternity's] an eternal 1st rdg del
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.