Wide World of Quotes > William Blake Quotes


William Blake
English poet
(1757-1827)



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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.
-- "Auguries of Innocence" (c. 1803)

A robin breast in a cage
Puts all Heaven in a rage.
-- "Auguries of Innocence" (c. 1803)

A dog starved at his master's gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
A horse misused 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,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
-- "Auguries of Innocence" (c. 1803)

A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.
-- "Auguries of Innocence" (c. 1803)

Nought can deform the human race
Like to the armourer's iron brace.
-- "Auguries of Innocence" (c. 1803)

The whore and gambler, by the state
Licensed, build that nation's fate.
-- "Auguries of Innocence" (c. 1803)

But vain the sword, and vain the bow—
They never can work war's overthrow.
-- "The Grey Monk"

The hand of vengeance found the bed
To which the purple tyrant fled;
The iron hand crushed the tyrant's head,
And became a tyrant in his stead.
-- "The Grey Monk"

The god of war is drunk with blood,
The earth doth faint and fail;
The stench of blood makes sick the heavens;
Ghosts glut the throat of hell!
-- "Gwin, King of Norway"

I must Create a System, or be enslaved by another Man's;
I will not reason and compare; my business is to create.
-- Jerusalem (1815)

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark Satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Strife
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England's green and pleasant Land.
-- Milton (1804-10), preface, "And did those feet in ancient time"

Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau;
Mock on, mock on; 'tis all in vain!
You throw the sand against the wind,
And the wind blows it back again.
-- MS Notebook

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing woolly bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice!
-- Songs of Innocence (1789), "The Lamb"

Prisons are built with stones of Law, brothels with bricks of Religion.
-- The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790-93), "Proverbs of Hell"

If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.
-- The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790-93), "A Memorable Fancy"

Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair.
-- Songs of Experience (1794), "The Clod and the Pebble"

My mother groaned! my father wept,
Into the dangerous world I leapt;
Helpless, naked, piping loud;
Like a fiend hid within a cloud.
-- Songs of Experience (1794), "Infant Sorrow"

Children of the future age,
Reading this indignant page:
Know that in a former time
Love! sweet love! was thought a crime.
-- Songs of Experience (1794), "A Little Girl Lost"

I was angry with my friend,
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe,
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
-- Songs of Experience (1794), " A Poison Tree"

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
-- Songs of Experience (1794), "The Tyger" (also known as "The Tiger")


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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