Why was Cupid a Boy

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Blake manuscript - Notebook - page 056

Edited text:[1][edit]


* * *
 
WHY was Cupid a boy,
And why a boy was he?
He should have been a girl,
For aught that I can see.
  
5For he shoots with his bow,
And the girl shoots with her eye,
And they both are merry and glad,
And laugh when we do cry.
  
And to make Cupid a boy
10Was the Cupid girl’s mocking plan;
For a boy can’t interpret the thing
Till he is become a man.[2]
  
And then he’s so pierc’d with cares,
And wounded with arrowy smarts,
15That the whole business of his life
Is to pick out the heads of the darts.
  
’Twas the Greeks’ love of war
Turn’d Love into a boy,
And woman into a statue of stone—
20And away fled every joy.

  

 
  

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The original text:[3][edit]


* * *

Why was Cupid a Boy
And why a boy was he
He should have been a Girl
For ought that I can see

5For he shoots with his bow
And the Girl shoots with her Eye
And they both are merry & glad
And laugh when we do cry

And to make Cupid a Boy
10Was the Cupid Girls mocking plan
For a boy cant interpret the thing
Till he is become a man

And then hes so piercd with care
And wounded with arrowy smarts
15That the whole business of his life
Is to pick out the heads of the darts

Twas the Greeks love of war
Turnd Love into a Boy
And Woman into a Statue of Stone
20And away fled every joy

________________________________________

Notes[edit]

  1. The Poetical Works of William Blake, including the unpublished French Revolution together with the Minor Prophetic Books and Selections from The Four Zoas, Milton & Jerusalem; edited with an introduction and textual notes by John Sampson, Hon. D.Litt. Oxon., 1862–1931. London, New York: Oxford University Press, 1908.
  2. 9–12 In the first draft:

    Then to make Cupid a boy
    Was surely a woman’s plan,
    For a boy ne’er learns so much
    Till he is become a man.
  3. "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.