The Ballads (or Pickering) Manuscript

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The Ballads (or Pickering) Manuscript
by William Blake
c. 1801–3.

[The Pickering Manuscript]

==The Smile==

There is a Smile of Love
And there is a Smile of Deceit
And there is a Smile of Smiles
In which these two Smiles meet
And there is a Frown of Hate 5
And there is a Frown of disdain
And there is a Frown of Frowns
Which you strive to forget in vain
For it sticks in the Hearts deep Core
And it sticks in the deep Back bone 10
And no Smile that ever was smild
But only one Smile alone
That betwixt the Cradle & Grave
It only once Smild can be
But when it once is Smild 15
Theres an end to all Misery

==The Golden Net==

Three Virgins at the break of day
Whither young Man whither away
Alas for woe! alas for woe! t
They cry & tears for ever flow
The one was Clothd in flames of firet 5
The other Clothd in iron wire t
The other Clothd in tears & sighs t
Dazling bright before my Eyes
They bore a Net of Golden twine
To hang upon the Branches fine 10
Pitying I wept to see the woe
That Love & Beauty undergo
To be consumd in burning Fires
And in ungratified Desires
And in tears clothd Night & day 15
Melted all my Soul away
When they saw my Tears a Smile
That did Heaven itself beguile
Bore the Golden Net aloft
As on downy Pinions soft 20
Over the Morning of my Day
Underneath the Net I stray
Now intreating Burning Fire
Now intreating Iron Wire
Now intreating Tears & Sighs 25
O when will the morning rise

==The Mental Traveller==

I traveld thro' a Land of Men
A Land of Men & Women too
And heard & saw such dreadful things
As cold Earth wanderers never knew
For there the Babe is born in joy 5
Just as we Reap in joy the fruit
Which we in bitter tears did sow
And if the Babe is born a Boy
He's given to a Woman Old 10
Who nails him down upon a rock
Catches his Shrieks in Cups of gold
She binds iron thorns around his head
She pierces both his hands & feet
She cuts his heart out at his side 15
To make it feel both cold & heat
Her fingers number every Nerve
Just as a Miser counts his gold
She lives upon his shrieks & cries
And She grows young as he grows old 20
Till he becomes a bleeding youth
And she becomes a Virgin bright
Then he rends up his Manacles
And binds her down for his delight
He plants himself in all her Nerves 25
Just as a Husbandman his mould
And She becomes his dwelling place
And Garden fruitful Seventy fold
An aged Shadow soon he fades
Wandring round an Earthly Cot 30
Full filled all with gems & gold
Which he by industry had got
And these are the gems of the Human Soul
The rubies & pearls of a lovesick eye
The countless gold of the akeing heart 35
The martyrs groan & the lovers sigh
They are his meat they are his drink
He feeds the Beggar & the Poor
And the way faring Traveller
For ever open is his door 40
His grief is their eternal joy
They make the roofs & walls to ring
Till from the fire on the hearth
A little Female Babe does spring
And she is all of solid fire 45
And gems & gold that none his hand
Dares stretch to touch her Baby form
Or wrap her in his swaddling-band
But She comes to the Man she loves
If young or old or rich or poor 50
They soon drive out the aged Host
A Begger at anothers door
He wanders weeping far away
Untill some other take him in
Oft blind & age-bent sore distrest 55
Untill he can a Maiden win
And to Allay his freezing Age
The Poor Man takes her in his arms
The Cottage fades before his Sight
The Garden & its lovely Charms 60
The Guests are scatterd thro' the land
For the Eye altering alters all
The Senses roll themselves in fear
And the flat Earth becomes a Ball
The Stars Sun Moon all shrink away 65
A desart vast without a bound
And nothing left to eat or drink
And a dark desart all around
The honey of her Infant lips
The bread & wine of her sweet smile 70
The wild game of her roving Eye
Does him to Infancy beguile
For as he eats & drinks he grows
Younger & younger every day
And on the desart wild they both 75
Wander in terror & dismay
Like the wild Stag she flees away
Her fear plants many a thicket wild
While he pursues her night & day
By various arts of Love beguild 80
By various arts of Love & Hate
Till the wide desart planted oer
With Labyrinths of wayward Love
Where roams the Lion Wolf & Boart
Till he becomes a wayward Babe 85
And she a weeping Woman Old
Then many a Lover wanders here
The Sun & Stars are nearer rolld
The trees bring forth sweet Extacy
To all who in the desart roam 90
Till many a City there is Built
And many a pleasant Shepherds home
But when they find the frowning Babe
Terror strikes thro the region wide
They cry the Babe the Babe is Born 95
And flee away on Every side
For who dare touch the frowning form
His arm is witherd to its root
Lions Boars Wolves all howling flee
And every Tree does shed its fruit 100
And none can touch that frowning form
Except it be a Woman Old
She nails him down upon the Rock
And all is done as I have told

==The Land of Dreams==

Awake awake my little Boy
Thou wast thy Mothers only joy
Why dost thou weep in thy gentle sleep
Awake thy Father does thee keep
O what Land is the Land of Dreams 5
What are its Mountains & what are its Streams
O Father I saw my Mother there
Among the Lillies by waters fair
Among the Lambs clothed in white
She walkd with her Thomas in sweet delight 10
I wept for joy like a dove I mourn
O when shall I again return
Dear Child I also by pleasant Streams
Have wanderd all Night in the Land of Dreams
But tho calm & warm the Waters wide 15
I could not get to the other side
Father O Father what do we here
In this Land of unbelief & fear
The Land of Dreams is better far
Above the light of the Morning Star 20

==Mary==

Sweet Mary the first time she ever was there
Came into the Ball room among the Fair
The young Men & Maidens around her throng
And these are the words upon every tongue
An Angel is here from the heavenly Climes 5
Or again does return the Golden times
Her eyes outshine every brilliant ray
She opens her lips tis the Month of May
Mary moves in soft beauty & conscious delight
To augment with sweet smiles all the joys of the Night 10
Nor once blushes to own to the rest of the Fair
That sweet Love & Beauty are worthy our care
In the Morning the Villagers rose with delight
And repeated with pleasure the joys of the night
And Mary arose among Friends to be free 15
But no Friend from henceforward thou Mary shalt see
Some said she was proud some calld her a whore
And some when she passed by shut to the door
A damp cold came oer her her blushes all fled
Her lillies & roses are blighted & shed 20
O why was I born with a different Face
Why was I not born like this Envious Racet
Why did Heaven adorn me with bountiful hand
And then set me down in an envious Land
To be weak as a Lamb & smooth as a Dove 25
And not to raise Envy is calld Christian Love
But if you raise Envy your Merits to blame
For planting such spite in the weak & the tame
I will humble my Beauty I will not dress fine
I will keep from the Ball & my Eyes shall not shine 30
And if any Girls Lover forsakes her for me
I'll refuse him my hand & from Envy be free
She went out in Morning attird plain & neat
Proud Marys gone Mad said the Child in the Street
She went out in Morning in plain neat attire 35
And came home in Evening bespatterd with mire
She trembled & wept sitting on the Bed side
She forgot it was Night & she trembled & cried
She forgot it was Night she forgot it was Morn
Her soft Memory imprinted with Faces of Scorn 40
With Faces of Scorn & with Eyes of disdain
Like foul Fiends inhabiting Marys mild Brain
She remembers no Face like the Human Divine
All Faces have Envy sweet Mary but thine
And thine is a Face of sweet Love in Despair 45
And thine is a Face of mild sorrow & care
And thine is a Face of wild terror & fear
That shall never be quiet till laid on its bier

==The Crystal Cabinet==

The Maiden caught me in the Wild
Where I was dancing merrily
She put me into her Cabinet
And Lockd me up with a golden Key
This Cabinet is formd of Gold 5
And Pearl & Crystal shining bright
And within it opens into a World
And a little lovely Moony Night
Another England there I saw
Another London with its Tower 10
Another Thames & other Hills
And another pleasant Surrey Bower
Another Maiden like herself
Translucent lovely shining clear
Threefold each in the other closd 15
O what a pleasant trembling fear
O what a smile a threefold Smile
Filld me that like a flame I burnd
I bent to Kiss the lovely Maid
And found a Threefold Kiss returnd 20
I strove to sieze the inmost Form
With ardor fierce & hands of flame
But burst the Crystal Cabinet
And like a Weeping Babe became
A weeping Babe upon the wild 25
And Weeping Woman pale reclind
And in the outward air again
I filld with woes the passing Wind

==The Grey Monk==

I die I die the Mother said
My Children die for lack of Bread
What more has the merciless Tyrant said
The Monk sat down on the Stony Bed
The blood red ran from the Grey Monks side 5
His hands & feet were wounded wide
His Body bent his arms & knees
Like to the roots of ancient trees
His eye was dry no tear could flow
A hollow groan first spoke his woe 10
He trembled & shudderd upon the Bedt
At length with a feeble cry he said
When God commanded this hand to writet
In the studious hours of deep midnight
He told me the writing I wrote should provet 15
The Bane of all that on Earth I lovd
My Brother starvd between two Walls
His Childrens Cry my Soul appalls
I mockd at the wrack & griding chain
My bent body mocks their torturing pain 20
Thy Father drew his sword in the North
With his thousands strong he marched forth
Thy Brother has armd himself in Steel
To avenge the wrongs thy Children feel
But vain the Sword & vain the Bow 25
They never can work Wars overthrow
The Hermits Prayer & the Widows tear
Alone can free the World from fear
For a Tear is an Intellectual Thing
And a Sigh is the Sword of an Angel King 30
And the bitter groan of the Martyrs woe
Is an Arrow from the Almighties Bow
The hand of Vengeance found the Bed
To which the Purple Tyrant fled
The iron hand crushd the Tyrants head 35
And became a Tyrant in his stead

Auguries of Innocence

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
A Robin Red breast in a Cage 5
Puts all Heaven in a Rage
A Dove house filld with doves & Pigeons
Shudders Hell thro all its regions
A dog starvd at his Masters Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State 10
A Horse misusd upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood
Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fibre from the Brain does tear
A Skylark wounded in the wing 15
A Cherubim does cease to sing
The Game Cock clipd & armd for fight
Does the Rising Sun affright
Every Wolfs & Lions howl
Raises from Hell a Human Soul 20
The wild deer wandring here & there
Keeps the Human Soul from Care
The Lamb misusd breeds Public strife
And yet forgives the Butchers Knife
The Bat that flits at close of Eve 25
Has left the Brain that wont Believe
The Owl that calls upon the Night
Speaks the Unbelievers fright
He who shall hurt the little Wren
Shall never be belovd by Men 30
He who the Ox to wrath has movd
Shall never be by Woman lovd
The wanton Boy that kills the Fly
Shall feel the Spiders enmity
He who torments the Chafers sprite 35
Weaves a Bower in endless Night
The Catterpiller on the Leaf
Repeats to thee thy Mothers grief
Kill not the Moth nor Butterfly
For the Last judgment draweth nigh 40
He who shall train the Horse to War
Shall never pass the Polar Bar
The Beggers Dog & Widows Cat
Feed them & thou wilt grow fat
The Gnat that sings his Summers song 45
Poison gets from Slanders tongue
The poison of the Snake & Newt
Is the sweat of Envys Foot
The Poison of the Honey Bee
Is the Artists jealousy 50
The Princes Robes & Beggars Rags
Are Toadstools on the Misers Bagst
A truth thats told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent
It is right it should be so 55
Man was made for Joy & Woe
And when this we rightly know
Thro the World we safely go
Joy & Woe are woven fine
A Clothing for the soul divine 60
Under every grief & pine
Runs a joy with silken twine
The Babe is more than swadling Bands
Throughout all these Human Lands
Tools were made & Born were hands 65
Every Farmer Understands
Every Tear from Every Eye
Becomes a Babe in Eternity
This is caught by Females bright
And returnd to its own delight 70
The Bleat the Bark Bellow & Roar
Are Waves that Beat on Heavens Shore
The Babe that weeps the Rod beneath
Writes Revenge in realms of death
The Beggars Rags fluttering in Air 75
Does to Rags the Heavens tear
The Soldier armd with Sword & Gun
Palsied strikes the Summers Sun
The poor Mans Farthing is worth more
Than all the Gold on Africs Shore. 80
One Mite wrung from the Labrers hands
Shall buy & sell the Misers Lands
Or if protected from on high
Does that whole Nation sell & buy
He who mocks the Infants Faith 85
Shall be mock'd in Age & Death
He who shall teach the Child to Doubt
The rotting Grave shall neer get out
He who respects the Infants faith
Triumphs over Hell & Death 90
The Childs Toys & the Old Mans Reasons
Are the Fruits of the Two seasons
The Questioner who sits so sly
Shall never know how to Reply
He who replies to words of Doubt 95
Doth put the Light of Knowledge out
The Strongest Poison ever known
Came from Caesars Laurel Crown
Nought can Deform the Human Race
Like to the Armours iron brace 100
When Gold & Gems adorn the Plow
To peaceful Arts shall Envy Bow
A Riddle or the Crickets Cry
Is to Doubt a fit Reply
The Emmets Inch & Eagles Mile 105
Make Lame Philosophy to smile
He who Doubts from what he sees
Will neer Believe do what you Please
If the Sun & Moon should Doubt
Theyd immediately Go out 110
To be in a Passion you Good may Do
But no Good if a Passion is in you
The Whore & Gambler by the State
Licencd build that Nations Fate
The Harlots cry from Street to Street 115
Shall weave Old Englands winding Sheet
The Winners Shout the Losers Curse
Dance before dead Englands Hearse
Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born 120
Every Morn & every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight
Some are Born to sweet delight
Some are Born to Endless Night
We are led to Believe a Lie 125
When we see not Thro the Eyet
Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light
God Appears & God is Light
To those poor Souls who dwell in Night 130
But does a Human Form Display
To those who Dwell in Realms of day

==Long John Brown & Little Mary Bell==

Little Mary Bell had a Fairy in a Nut
Long John Brown had the Devil in his Gut
Long John Brown lovd Little Mary Bell
And the Fairy drew the Devil into the Nut-shell
Her Fairy skipd out & her Fairy skipd in 5
He laughd at the Devil saying Love is a Sin
The devil he raged & the Devil he was wroth
And the devil enterd into the Young Mans broth
He was soon in the Gut of the loving Young Swain
For John eat & drank to drive away Loves pain 10
But all he could do he grew thinner & thinner
Tho he eat & drank as much as ten Men for his dinner
Some said he had a Wolf in his stomach day & night
Some said he had the Devil & they guessd right
The fairy skipd about in his glory Joy & Pride 15
And he laughd at the Devil till poor John Brown died
Then the Fairy skipd out of the old Nut shell
And woe & alack for Pretty Mary Bell
For the Devil crept in when The Fairy skipd out
And there goes Miss Bell with her fusty old Nut 20

==William Bond==

I wonder whether the Girls are mad
And I wonder whether they mean to kill
And I wonder if William Bond will die
For assuredly he is very ill
He went to Church in a May morning 5
Attended by Fairies one two & three
But the Angels Of Providence drove them away
And he returnd home in Misery
He went not out to the Field nor Fold
He went not out to the Village nor Town 10
But he came home in a black black cloud
And took to his Bed & there lay down
And an Angel of Providence at his Feet
And an Angel of Providence at his Head
And in the midst a Black Black Cloud 15
And in the midst the Sick Man on his Bed
And on his Right hand was Mary Green
And on his Left hand was his Sister Jane
And their tears fell thro the black black Cloud
To drive away the sick mans pain 20
O William if thou dost another Lovet
Dost another Love better than poor Mary
Go & take that other to be thy Wife
And Mary Green shall her Servant be
Yes Mary I do another Love 25
Another I Love far better than thee
And Another I will have for my Wife
Then what have I to do with thee
For thou art Melancholy Pale
And on thy Head is the cold Moons shine 30
But she is ruddy & bright as day
And the sun beams dazzle from her eyne
Mary trembled & Mary chilld
And Mary fell down on the right hand floor
That William Bond & his Sister Jane 35
Scarce could recover Mary more
When Mary woke & found her Laid
On the Right hand of her William dear
On the Right hand of his loved Bed
And saw her William Bond so near 40
The Fairies that fled from William Bond
Danced around her Shining Head
They danced over the Pillow white
And the Angels of Providence left the Bed
I thought Love livd in the hot sun Shine 45
But O he lives in the Moony light
I thought to find Love in the heat of day
But sweet Love is the Comforter of Night
Seek Love in the Pity of others Woe
In the gentle relief of anothers care 50
In the darkness of night & the winters snow
In the naked & outcast Seek Love there