With happiness stretchd across the hills

 * * *

With happiness stretchd across the hills
In a cloud that dewy sweetness distills
With a blue sky spread over with wings
And a mild sun that mounts & sings
5 With trees & fields full of Fairy elves
And little devils who fight for themselves
Remembring the Verses that Hayley sung[3]
When my heart knockd against the root of my tongue
With Angels planted in Hawthorn bowers
10 And God himself in the passing hours
With Silver Angels across my way
And Golden Demons that none can stay
With my Father hovering upon the wind
And my Brother Robert just behind
15 And my Brother John the evil one
In a black cloud making his mone
Tho dead they appear upon my path
Notwithstanding my terrible wrath
They beg they intreat they drop their tears
Filld full of hopes filld full of fears
With a thousand Angels upon the Wind
Pouring disconsolate from behind
To drive them off & before my way
A frowning Thistle implores my stay
25 What to others a trifle appears
Fills me full of smiles or tears
For double the vision my Eyes do see
And a double vision is always with me
With my inward Eye 'tis an old Man grey
30 With my outward a Thistle across my way
“If thou goest back the thistle said
Thou art to endless woe betrayd
For here does Theotormon lower
And here is Enitharmons bower
35 And Los the terrible thus hath sworn
Because thou backward dost return
Poverty Envy old age & fear
Shall bring thy Wife upon a bier
And Butts shall give what Fuseli gave
40 A dark black Rock & a gloomy Cave.”
I struck the Thistle with my foot
And broke him up from his delving root
“Must the duties of life each other cross”
“Must every joy be dung & dross”
45 “Must my dear Butts feel cold neglect”
“Because I give Hayley his due respect'
“Must Flaxman look upon me as wild”
“And all my friends be with doubts beguild'
“Must my Wife live in my Sisters bane”
50 “Or my sister survive on my Loves pain'
“The curses of Los the terrible shade”
“And his dismal terrors make me afraid”
So I spoke & struck in my wrath
The old man weltering upon my path
55 Then Los appeard in all his power
In the Sun he appeard descending before
My face in fierce flames in my double sight
Twas outward a Sun: inward Los in his might

“My hands are labourd day & night”
60 “And Ease comes never in my sight”
“My Wife has no indulgence given”
“Except what comes to her from heaven”
“We eat little we drink less”
“This Earth breeds not our happiness”
65 “Another Sun feeds our lifes streams”
“We are not warmed with thy beams”
“Thou measurest not the Time to me”
“Nor yet the Space that I do see”
“My Mind is not with thy light arrayd”
70 “Thy terrors shall not make me afraid”

When I had my Defiance given
The Sun stood trembling in heaven
The Moon that glowd remote below
Became leprous & white as snow
75 And every Soul of men on the Earth
Felt affliction & sorrow & sickness & dearth
Los flamd in my path & the Sun was hot
With the bows of my Mind & the Arrows of Thought
My bowstring fierce with Ardour breathes
80 My arrows glow in their golden sheaves
My brothers & father march before
The heavens drop with human gore

Now I a fourfold vision see
And a fourfold vision is given to me
85 Tis fourfold in my supreme delight
And three fold in soft Beulahs night
And twofold Always. May God us keep
From Single vision & Newtons sleep


  1. The title was given in "Poems of William Blake", ed. W. B. Yeats (1893, rev. 1905).
  2. From the letter to Thomas Butts, 22 November 1802. In the original with no title.
  3. Lines 7 and 8 of the “Verses” were written in the margin and then marked for insertion with this note: “These 2 lines were omitted in transcribing & ought to come in at X”

This work was published before January 1, 1925, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.