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And did those feet in ancient time

And did those feet in ancient time is a poem by William Blake from the preface to his work Milton (1804). Today it is best known as the hymn Jerusalem, with music by Charles H. H. Parry (1916). This is considered to be one of England's most popular patriotic songs. It is variously associated (thereby holding a somewhat unique position) with English and British nationalism, anti-modernism, post-modernism, socialist ideals, and Christianity.

The poem was inspired by the old legend that Jesus, whilst still a young man, accompanied Joseph of Arimathea to Glastonbury via the nearby Roman port. Blake's biographers tell us that he believed in this legend.

 And did those feet in ancient time
 Walk upon England's mountains green?
 And was the holy Lamb of God
 On England's pleasant pastures seen?

 And did the Countenance Divine[?]
 Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
 And was Jerusalem builded here
 Among these dark Satanic mills?

 Bring me my bow of burning gold:
 Bring me my arrows of desire:
 Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold!
 Bring me my chariot of fire.

 I will not cease from mental fight,
 Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
 Till we have built Jerusalem
 In England's green and pleasant land.

See also: civil religion; Deep England



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