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William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
 
Gnomic Verses
Several Questions Answered
 
XVII

1
[Eternity]
HE 1 who bends to himself a Joy
Doth the wingèd life destroy;
But he who kisses the Joy as it flies
Lives in Eternity’s sunrise.
 
2
The look of love alarms,
        5
Because it’s fill’d with fire;
But the look of soft deceit
Shall win the lover’s hire.
 
3
Soft deceit and idleness,
These are Beauty’s sweetest dress.        10
 
4
[The Question answered]
What is it men in women do require?
The lineaments of gratified desire.
What is it women do in men require?
The lineaments of gratified desire.
 
5
An ancient Proverb
Remove away that black’ning church,
        15
Remove away that marriage hearse,
Remove away that man of blood—
You’ll quite remove the ancient curse.
 
Note 1. XVII These five short pieces, the rough drafts of which are found on three separate pages in the MS. Book, were afterwards transcribed by Blake in their present form and sequence under the general title ‘Several Questions Answered’. 1–4 First written on another page with title ‘Eternity’. 2 Doth] Does MS. 1st draft. 3 kisses] just kisses MS. 1st draft, 1st rdg. del. 4 Eternity’s] an eternal MS. 1st draft, 1st rdg. del. 6 it’s] ’tis MS. 1st draft. 9, 10 Blake at first began this couplet with the line afterwards deleted:
Which are beauty’s sweetest dress?
11–14 Title only in first draft. 11, 13 in] of MS. 1st draft, 1st rdg. del. 17 man] place MS. 1st draft, 1st rdg. del. 18 You’ll] ’Twill MS. 1st draft, 1st rdg. del. [back]
 
 
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