Page:Life of William Blake, Gilchrist.djvu/288
LIFE OF WILLIAM BLAKE.
nation, nevertheless, seems here as elsewhere in Blake's writings, to be 'the chosen people,' or as one may say, 'the Jews regenerate.' This song is given as an example of what Blake could do in his most exacting moods, if indeed he really expected any listener other than a 'spectre' or 'emanation' of his own to hearken to such strains; combining as they do, localities familiar only to penny-a-lining with conceptions 'pinnacled dim in the intense inane.' The early part of the song is included, indeed, not without hesitation, lest the reader should laugh at one whose creation was not for laughter; but it had better speak as a whole for itself, and for its author's wildest exigencies. The inmost cell of the poetic mind will not find the familiar names in such connexion altogether unwelcome; and after the stanza commencing,
'The Rhine was red with human blood,'
the verse opens out into reaches of utterance much nobler, and surely, here and there, not unsuggestive of prophecy.
To the Jews.
The fields from Islington to Marybone,