Page:Works of William Blake; poetic, symbolic, and critical (1893) Volume 2.djvu/179

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EUROPE.


In the copy of "Europe" possessed by the brothers Linnell, the following preface is to be read. It is not in the British Museum copy. Blake seems to have disused it as out of keeping with the tone of the rest of the Book.

Five windows light the caverned Man : through one he breathes the air ;
Through one hears music of the spheres ; through one the eternal Vine
Flourishes that he may receive the grapes ; through one can look
And see small portions of the eternal world that ever groweth ;
Through one himself pass out, what time he please, but he will not,
For stolen joys are sweet and bread eaten in secret pleasant.

    So sang a Fairy, mocking, as he sat on a streaked tulip,
Thinking none saw him. When he ceased I started from the trees
And caught him in my hat, as boys knock down a butterfly.

    How know you this, said I, small sir, where did you learn this song ?
Seeing himself in my possession thus he answered me, —
My Master, I am yours, command me, for I must obey.

    Then tell me, what is the material world, and is it dead ?
He, laughing, answered, I will write a book on leaves of flowers,
If you will feed me on love-thoughts, and give me now and then
A cup of sparkling poetic fancies, and when I am tipsy
I will sing you to this soft lute, and show you all alive
This world, where every particle of dust breathes forth its joy.

    I took him home in my warm bosom. As we went along
Wild flowers I gathered, and he show'd me each eternal flower.
He laughed aloud to see them whimper because they were plucked,
Then hovered round me like a cloud of incense. When I came
Into my parlour and sat down and took my pen to write,
My Fairy sat upon he table and dictated Europe.