To Thomas Butts

By William Blake

TO my friend Butts I write
My first vision of light,
On the yellow sands sitting.
The sun was emitting
His glorious beams
From Heaven’s high streams.
Over sea, over land,
My eyes did expand
Into regions of air,
Away from all care;
Into regions of fire,
Remote from desire;
The light of the morning
Heaven’s mountains adorning:
In particles bright,
The jewels of light
Distinct shone and clear.
Amaz’d and in fear
I each particle gazèd,
Astonish’d, amazèd;
For each was a Man
Human-form’d. Swift I ran,
For they beckon’d to me,
Remote by the sea,
Saying: ‘Each grain of sand,
Every stone on the land,
Each rock and each hill,
Each fountain and rill,
Each herb and each tree,
Mountain, hill, earth, and sea,
Cloud, meteor, and star,
Are men seen afar.’
I stood in the streams
Of Heaven’s bright beams,
And saw Felpham sweet
Beneath my bright feet,
In soft Female charms;
And in her fair arms
My Shadow I knew,
And my wife’s Shadow too,
And my sister, and friend.
We like infants descend
In our Shadows on earth,
Like a weak mortal birth.
My eyes, more and more,
Like a sea without shore,
Continue expanding,
The Heavens commanding;
Till the jewels of light,
Heavenly men beaming bright,
Appear’d as One Man,
Who complacent began
My limbs to enfold
In His beams of bright gold;
Like dross purg’d away
All my mire and my clay.
Soft consum’d in delight,
In His bosom sun-bright
I remain’d. Soft He smil’d,
And I heard His voice mild,
Saying: ‘This is My fold,
O thou ram horn’d with gold,
Who awakest from sleep
On the sides of the deep.
On the mountains around
The roarings resound
Of the lion and wolf,
The loud sea, and deep gulf.
These are guards of My fold,
O thou ram horn’d with gold!’
And the voice faded mild;
I remain’d as a child;
All I ever had known
Before me bright shone:
I saw you and your wife
By the fountains of life.
Such the vision to me
Appear’d on the sea.

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