Now Art has lost its mental Charms

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Blake manuscript - Notebook - page 079

Edited text:[1][edit]

cxxvii

1 'Now Art has lost its mental Charms
France shall subdue the World in Arms.'
So spoke an Angel at my birth ;
Then said ' Descend thou upon earth ;
5 Renew the Arts on Britain's shore,
And France shall fall down & adore.
With works of Art their Armies meet
And War shall sink beneath thy feet.
9 But if thy Nation Arts refuse,
And if they scorn the immortal Muse,
France shall the arts of Peace restore
And save thee from the ungrateful shore.'
13 Spirit who lov'st Brittannia's Isle
Round which the Fiends of Commerce smile —


MS. Book, p. 79. Lines 13, 14 are apparently the beginning of a second
stanza which was left unfinished. Only in EY i. 227. Cp. Advertisement
(MS. Book, p. 66): 'Let us teach Buonaparte and whomsoever else it
may concern that it is not Arts that follow & attend upon Empire, but
Empire that attends upon & follows The Arts.' Also Blake's notes to
Reynolds' Works (vol. i, p. [cxxv]), ' The Foundation of Empire is Art
& Science. Remove them, or Degrade them, & the Empire is No More.
Empire follows Art, & not Vice Versa as Englishmen suppose.'
4 upon] on the EY. 7 their] her EY.
12 And . . . shore] And save thy works from Britain's shore MS. Book
1st rdg. del. 13, 14 Spirit . . . smile]

'Spirit who lovest Britannia's shore
Round which the Fiends of Commerce roar.'

EY. 14 Cp. Advertisement (MS. Book, p. 25), ' In a commercial nation
impostors are abroad in all professions. These are the greatest enemies of
Genius.'

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The original text:[2][edit]


*

Now Art has lost its mental Charms
France shall subdue the World in Arms
So spoke an Angel at my birth
Then said Descend thou upon Earth

5Renew the Arts on Britains Shore
And France shall fall down & adore
With works of Art their Armies meet
And War shall sink beneath thy feet

But if thy Nation Arts refuse
10And if they scorn the immortal Muse
France shall the arts of Peace restore
And save thee from the Ungrateful shore

Spirit who lovst Brittannias Isle
Round which the Fiends of Commerce smile

[unfinished]

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Notes[edit]

  1. The poetical works of William Blake; a new and verbatim text from the manuscript engraved and letterpress originals; With variorum readings and bibliographical notes and prefaces, edited by Sampson, John, Clarendon Press Oxford 1905, c. 236-7.
  2. "The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake", ed. by David V. Erdman, Anchor Books, 1988, p. 479.

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.