When Klopstock England defied
* * *
When Klopstock England defied,
Uprose William Blake in his pride;
For old Nobodaddy aloft
Farted & and belch'd and cough'd;
Then swore a great oath that made heaven quake,
And call'd aloud to English Blake.
Blake was giving his body ease,
At Lambeth beneath the poplar trees.
From his seat then started he,
And turn'd him round three times three.
The Moon at that sight blush'd scarlet red,
The stars threw down their cups & fled,
And all the devils that were in hell
Answered with a ninefold yell.
Klopstock felt the [ninefold del.] intripled turn,
And all his bowels began to [burn del.] churn,
[Fd they del.] And his bowels turned round three times three,
And lock'd in his soul with a ninefold key;
That from his body it ne'er could be parted
Till to the last trumpet it was farted.
Then again old Nobodaddy swore
He ne'er had seen such a thing before,
Since Noah was shut in the ark,
Since Eve first chose her hellfire spark,
Since 'twas the fashion to go naked,
Since the old anything was created.
And so feeling, he beg'd him to turn again
And ease poor Klopstock's nine fold pain.
[If thus Blake could Shite
What Klopstock did write]
From pity then he reden'd round
And the ninefold Spell unwound.
If Blake could do this when he [sat down to del. rose up from shite,
What might he not do if he sat down to write?
* * *
|And turnd himself round three times threet||10|
The Moon at that sight blushd scarlet red
|Till to the last trumpet it was farted||20|
Then again old nobodaddy swore
|And the ninefold Spell unwound||30|
If Blake could do this when he rose up from shite
- "Blake Complete Writings", ed. Geoffrey Keynes, pub. OUP 1966/85, p. 186-7.
- G. Keynes omitted these 4 lines as illegible. They were given in D. Erdman's edition. - Ed. of Wikisource.
- "The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake", ed. by David V. Erdman, Anchor Books, 1988, p. 500-1.
- Satiric verses and epigrams from Blake's Notebook#"When Klopstock England defied...|"“When Klopstock England defied”]] N 1 (pencil)
G. Keynes in his edition omitted 4 lines after line 28 as illegible. D. Erdman printed them in full. He dated the poem as ca 1797-99, and mentioned the well known fact that "Klopstock had been declaring to English visitors that their language was incapable of the epic grandeur of hexameters, and be had spoken with scorn of English writers' coarseness of tone traceable to Swift. Blake defiantly glories in his English tone in the present satire. When he “sat down to write” it was evidently the “strong heroic verse” of Vala: compare “terrible Blake” and the “oath that made heavn quake” (lines 2 and 5) with the “terrible Sentence” and heaven quaking of the opening lines of Vala."
10 himself] self is an insertion above the line
13-14 added in margin
15 intripled] ninefold 1st rdg del
16 churn] burn 1st rdg del
17 And his bowels] They 1st rdg del; And 2d rdg del round] mended from around
29 From pity then] Then after 1st rdg del
30 ninefold inserted above the line
31 rose up from] sat down to 1st rdg del 31-32 written in margin to replace the following two lines, canceled with two slanting strokes:
If thus Blake could Shite
What Klopstock did write