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William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
 
Poems from the Rossetti MS.: Later Poems
My Spectre around me night and day
 
i
MY 1 Spectre around me night and day
Like a wild beast guards my way;
My Emanation far within
Weeps incessantly for my sin.
 
ii
‘A fathomless and boundless deep,
        5
There we wander, there we weep;
On the hungry craving wind
My Spectre follows thee behind.
 
iii
‘He scents thy footsteps in the snow,
Wheresoever thou dost go,        10
Thro’ the wintry hail and rain.
When wilt thou return again?
 
iv
‘Dost thou not in pride and scorn
Fill with tempests all my morn,
And with jealousies and fears        15
Fill my pleasant nights with tears?
 
v
‘Seven of my sweet loves thy knife
Has bereavèd of their life.
Their marble tombs I built with tears,
And with cold and shuddering fears.        20
 
vi
‘Seven more loves weep night and day
Round the tombs where my loves lay,
And seven more loves attend each night
Around my couch with torches bright.
 
vii
‘And seven more loves in my bed
        25
Crown with wine my mournful head,
Pitying and forgiving all
Thy transgressions great and small.
 
viii
‘When wilt thou return and view
My loves, and them to life renew?        30
When wilt thou return and live?
When wilt thou pity as I forgive?’
 
a
[‘O’er my sins thou sit and moan:
Hast thou no sins of thy own?
O’er my sins thou sit and weep,        35
And lull thy own sins fast asleep.]
 
b
[‘What transgressions I commit
Are for thy transgressions fit.
They thy harlots, thou their slave;
And my bed becomes their grave.]        40
 
ix
‘Never, never, I return:
Still for victory I burn.
Living, thee alone I’ll have;
And when dead I’ll be thy grave.
 
x
‘Thro’ the Heaven and Earth and Hell
        45
Thou shalt never, never quell:
I will fly and thou pursue:
Night and morn the flight renew.’
 
c
[‘Poor, pale, pitiable form
That I follow in a storm;        50
Iron tears and groans of lead
Bind around my aching head.]
 
xi
‘Till I turn from Female love
And root up the Infernal Grove,
I shall never worthy be        55
To step into Eternity.
 
xii
‘And, to end thy cruel mocks,
Annihilate thee on the rocks,
And another form create
To be subservient to my fate.        60
 
xiii
‘Let us agree to give up love,
And root up the Infernal Grove;
Then shall we return and see
The worlds of happy Eternity.
 
xiv
‘And throughout all Eternity
        65
I forgive you, you forgive me.
As our dear Redeemer said:
“This the Wine, and this the Bread.”’
 
Note 1. My Spectre] Probably composed in October or November, 1800, soon after Blake’s removal to Felpham, when he resumed the use of his old sketch-book as a notebook for poetry. The symbolism, which is identical with that of the revised version of The Four Zoas, Book VII, points also to the same date. Cp. also for very close parallelisms Milton, ff. 32 and *32.
  This poem is another of those left in very rough draft by the author, and subjected to a great many changes and revisions, before the stanzas finally approved by him were numbered i–xiv. Later, however, around a sketch of Daphne in the middle of the page, he added four complementary stanzas: ‘O’er my sins thou sit and moan’, ‘What transgressions I commit’—numbered respectively ‘1’ and ‘2’—and an unnumbered stanza ‘Poor, pale, pitiable form’, followed by another which is now almost illegible. These stanzas, which like xiii and xiv are in pencil, were evidently intended for insertion in the poem, though Blake has not clearly indicated their precise position. The stanzas numbered ‘1’ and ‘2’ (in this ed. ‘A’, ‘B’) are undoubtedly part of the speech of the ‘Emanation’ or ‘Jealous Female’, and hence, it would seem, ought immediately to precede ix and x, which in the MS. Book stand at the head of the sheet, Blake’s 1 and 2 perhaps being intended to signify that these stanzas take precedence of everything upon the same page.
  Again, the unnumbered stanza beginning ‘Poor, pale, pitiable form’ (in this ed. ‘C’), is no less clearly part of the speech of the original speaker, the Man in his ‘divided’ or fallen state, and hence, with the partially obliterated stanza which follows it, ought, it may be presumed, to precede stanza xi, from which point the poem proceeds straightforwardly to its conclusion. I have accordingly incorporated stanzas A–C in the text in the position where they should be read, preserving, however, Blake’s numbering of the original stanzas, and enclosing the supplementary ones within square brackets.
  i Followed in the MS. Book by the two cancelled stanzas:
Thy [1st rdg. Her] weeping thou [she] shall ne’er give o’er.
I sin against thee [her] more and more;
And never will from sin be free
Till she forgives and comes to me.
  
Thou hast parted from my side:
Once thou wast a virgin bride:
Never shalt thou a true love [lover] find:
My Spectre follows thee behind.

  ii Originally written:
A deep winter [night] dark and cold,
Within my heart thou didst unfold;
A fathomless and boundless deep;
There we wander, there we weep.
This is followed by another deleted stanza:
When my love did first begin,
Thou didst call that love a sin:
Secret trembling, night and day,
Driving all my loves away.

  13 Dost] Didst MS. 1st rdg. del. 32 as I forgive] and forgive MS. 1st rdg. del. a With interchange of the first and second persons, the original draft reading throughout ‘I’ for ‘thou’, and ‘thy’ for ‘my’—in other words these lines as at first conceived were spoken to and not by the Emanation. Compare the converse change in stanza xi. c Followed in the MS. by the partially illegible but unerased stanza:
And let [? us go] to the ….. [? day]
With many pleasing wiles …..
[? The man] that does not love your [? wiles]
Will never [? win back] your smiles.

  51,53 I] thou MS. 1st rdg. del. 52 root] dig MS. 1st rdg. del. 57 And] And I MS. 1st rdg. del. [back]
 
 
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