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Jerusalem Analysis

Author: Poetry of William Blake Type: Poetry Views: 2655

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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.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

The "satanic mills" are the churches, nothing to do with factories.

| Posted on 2016-09-11 | by a guest

.: :.

It is a beautiful poem; so rich in symbol and metaphor. I am thankful Blake's words were created into a hymn.
The questions posed are not definitive and can open a line of inquiry relating to the path-Way-and teachings of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. "Ancient times" were the almost forgotten legacy of the Celts-white skinned indigenous people of Europe who had a deep understanding of the Nature and mystical worlds.
Satanic Mills represent Industry and the brutal disassociation of humankind with Nature; the seasons and cycles. The sword, like in the symbol of tarot, represents thought and clear thinking...
The mind is powerful and thoughts create a reality.
We are now finding that the processed production of wheat is causing many diseases and chronic illness in human beings.

| Posted on 2016-03-05 | by a guest

.: :.

jerusalem represents holyness and purity and he takes this idea to speak about the spritual meaning of jerusalem. The holy lamb if God is a reference to Jesus
blake was against the institutional christianity not against christianity
Jerusalem with all its aspects cannot be built in a place which is full of tyranny and injustice .

| Posted on 2012-01-06 | by a guest

.: :.

The poet asks three questions. All are to be answered negatively, putting to rest the misconceived theory that Blake was a proponent of Jesus having visited England in ancient times. Clearly, since Jerusalem
was NOT built in England, then it stands to reason that NONE of the questions are to be answered in the affirmative. Blake\'s message is that England was too far away from Christ, and that it is now a foresaken
land due to man\'s exploitation of man (the \"Satanic Mills\").
Blake was a radical revolutionary. Although the religious establishment would argue that Jerusalem will only be built on Christ\'s return, Blake goes against this, and exhorts people to build Jerusalem HERE AND NOW. Jerusalem won\'t come simply by waiting for Christ - Jerusalem will be built by the efforts of individuals pursuing the \"mental fight\", i.e. through social action.
This is the reason why many conservative religious leaders don\'t like this poem. It argues that it\'s not enough to wait for the next life, that one must seek social change now (something that the ruling class does not want).

| Posted on 2011-06-28 | by a guest

.: :.

Jerusalem is a short poem by William Blake from the preface of Milton a Poem. It was originally called ‘And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time’. The poem was first printed in 1804. Today it is best known as the anthem \"Jerusalem\", with music written by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916. It is one of the three hymns that are being sung at the Royal Wedding and was considered to be the British Anthem.
The poem was inspired by the story that a young Jesus, accompanied by his uncle Joseph of Arimathea, travelled to the area that is now England and visited Glastonbury. The legend is linked to an idea in the Book of Revelation describing a Second Coming, wherein Jesus establishes a new ‘Jerusalem’.
In the most common interpretation of the poem, Blake implies that a visit of Jesus would briefly create heaven in England, in contrast to the \"dark Satanic Mills\" of the Industrial Revolution. Note that Blake asks four questions rather than stating a visit to be true.
The term \"dark Satanic Mills\", which entered the English language from this poem, is interpreted as referring to the early Industrial Revolution and its destruction of nature and human relationships. This view has been linked to the fate of the Albion Flour Mills, which was the first major factory in London, designed by John Rennie and Samuel Wyatt and built on land purchased by Wyatt in Southwark. This was a rotary steam-powered flour mill by Matthew Boulton and James Watt, with grinding gears by Rennie, producing 6,000 bushels of flour a week. The factory could have driven independent traditional millers out of business, but it was destroyed, perhaps deliberately, by fire in 1791. London\'s independent millers celebrated with placards reading, \"Success to the mills of ALBION but no Albion Mills. Opponents referred to the factory as satanic, and accused its owners of adulterating flour and using cheap imports at the expense of British producers. An illustration of the fire published at the time shows a devil squatting on the building. The mills were a short distance from Blake\'s home.
The phrase was especially poignant for the millions of workers employed in mills, who adopted the poem as a Socialist hymn.
The line from the poem, \"Bring me my Chariot of fire!\" draws on the story of 2 Kings 2:11, where the Old Testament prophet Elijah is taken directly to heaven: \"And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.\" Blake used it to show that he would part the industrial factories aside and ride up above them and start a mental revolution.
The term \"green and pleasant land,\" universally quoted, has become a collocation for identifiably English landscape or society. It appears as a headline, title or sub-title in dozens of articles and books.
Several of Blake\'s poems and paintings express a notion of universal humanity: \"As all men are alike (tho\' infinitely various)\". He retained an active interest in social and political events for all his life, but was often forced to resort to cloaking social idealism and political statements in Protestant mystical allegory. Even though the poem was written during the Napoleonic Wars, Blake was an outspoken supporter of the French Revolution, whose successor Napoleon claimed to be. The poem expressed his desire for radical change without overt sedition. (In 1803 Blake was charged at Chichester with high treason for having \'uttered seditious and treasonable expressions\' but was acquitted).
The words of the poem stress the importance of people taking responsibility for change and building a better society ‘England\'s green and pleasant land.’
The poem, which was little known during the century which followed its writing, was included in a patriotic anthology of verse published in 1916, a time when morale had begun to decline due to the high number of casualties in WWI and the perception that there was no end in sight.
Hope that helps...

| Posted on 2011-04-28 | by a guest

.: :.

That was such a boring piece of poetry to do during an exam and especially doing it for coursework. If it was my choice I would have told them to give me something more interesting and better to right about...

| Posted on 2010-09-21 | by a guest

.: :.

Did Joseph of Arimathea bring Mary & the infant to safety ,from the cruel Herod who had his own son murdered (Herod Antipast), & who also wanted to kill his own sons\' son?
Bring my burning thoughts.
Bring my passion of the WORD.
Bring me my quill & my rolled scroll to carry the WORD.
I will continue to write the WORD for those who will perceive the light.

| Posted on 2010-09-06 | by a guest

.: :.

The poem should be taken literally. Jesus did not walk on Englands hills. The questions should be answered negatively. It was the druids who held sway over England while Jesus was in jerusalem, thus England was a place of "Satanic mills." Since Jerusalem was not originally founded in England, the English must make of themselves a jerusalem. It is a call to duty. Each must take the sword (the Scriptures or moral right) and enter the fray of "mental strife" until jerusalem is built in "England's fair and pleasant land."

| Posted on 2010-06-19 | by a guest

.: :.

My interpretation is that Blake was intrigued by the idea that Jesus visited england once upon a time. He wonders whether Jesus' visit would have resulted in a state of happiness and contentment in england and bought about a time where society was ethical, pure and good. He finds it difficult to believe when he looks at the way england is developing now with industrialisation and possibly structural society with inequality and discontent. He then vows to never give up his spiritual battle until this 'utopia' is delivered to england, a land his sees as beautiful and pleasant and full of the potential to acheive such a status. I think it is incredibly positive and stirring though admit the music that subsequently accompanied it helps a lot. I believe it IS specifically about england and is patriotic in a sense that he loves england as thinks it has the potential to be a wonderful place.
Thats my interpretation in both senses - ie 1) its what i think he meant and 2) its what I take from it. teh fact that is is now so often associated with england sporting teams makes me love it all the more.

| Posted on 2009-08-24 | by a guest

.: :.

Sung with gusto in school assemblies and churches, the poem is full of sexual imagery and attacks the dark, satanic' churches themselves. One of Blake's less obscure pieces.

| Posted on 2009-05-16 | by a guest

.: :.

Jerusalem ; The poem does indeed refer to the legend that Jesus visited England with Joseph as a child .
Blake was never a patriot and the poem is not a patriotic one . It is a damning social comment of how government, industry and univesities were becoming more distant from true values.
The call to arms refers to a spirtual battle not a physical one .The 3rd verse links into the book of Revelations rather than an actual call to arms e.g The parting of the clouds refers to Christ 's coming on the last day .
The singing of this unpatriotic poem at national events shows how widespread is people's total misconception of it .

| Posted on 2009-05-05 | by a guest

.: :.

It me the 'a guest' from below who posted on 2009-02-02.
Well I think what you say is also the message of the poem but put more succinctly.
Yet what evidence is there that Jesus walked on Englands mountains and pastures? This I think he found in the story of Joseph of Arimathea coming here and bringing the young Jesus but also in the legends of Arthur. Blake saw Arthur as being the same as Jesus or at least an English representation of Jesus - In my opinion.
These Arthurian myths, to him, were great evidence of the idea of Jesus walking in England, at least the mythic Jesus anyway.
I think you are right with the attack on the businessman and the clergy but Blake was an opponent of the enlightenment I think he said something like- science is the road to death and art the road to life (not sure if that is the exact quote) I cannot remember, was it Urizen who gave Newton the keys to the universe? So I believe the Dark Satanic mills were the places churning out the new godless world of the enlightenment. So does this not mean, although the actual mills were a product of satan - the dark satanic mills were more the bleak protestant religions and the enlightenment philosophies that churned out the satanic products so to speak? Marching England into the 'Sleep of Ulro' or into this new world. He is saying this is not good as England is a sacred land and He (the artist) will fight against it.
Have you ever read Camelot and the Vision of Albion by Geoffrey Ashe - I have always been a massive Blake fan but have just discovered this book which is a fascinating look at the myth of Arthur and relates it a lot to Blake and Myths in general surrounding Britain and its mythological past. I thoroughly recommend it.
He gives great credence to the fact that Something weird happened in the celtic mythology of the British Isles which influenced Blake.

| Posted on 2009-02-24 | by a guest

.: :.

Surely though, Blake is not refering to KIng Arthur but to that although people believe that England is marching towards a new world it is at the cost of the land that Jesus trod on. It is an attack on the buisnessman and the clergy

| Posted on 2009-02-09 | by a guest

.: :.

Blake was referring to the English Myth that England was once Jerusalem. Albion was god and King Arthur was sort of Jesus. By Jesus I guess the mythical/mystical christ not necessarily Jesus the man. Jerusalem is obviously Heaven which according to the myth was once England. I think the previous poster was correct in the assertion that the dark satanic mills refered to the universities/churches etc rather than the actual mills of the Industrial revolution as this line is often misinterpreted. I would say the 3rd verese is something akin to Jesus's putting on your armour. I guess its like having faith in your faith. The final verse I think is refering to the inner struggle the mystic must face to attain heaven / nirvana etc. How did I do?

| Posted on 2009-02-02 | by a guest

.: :.

The interpretaion of "dark Satanic mills" is generally taken literally. Blake was an ardent no conformist and of radical mind. The "mills" could just as easily refet to the established churches and universities of the time which would turn out minds incapable of "Mental fight"

| Posted on 2009-01-13 | by a guest

.: :.

in the bible, a sword was seen as the holy word of God.
Hebrews 4:12 (King James Version)
12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Revalation 1: 16
16And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

| Posted on 2008-10-22 | by a guest

.: :.

Blake was a religious man, a follower of the gentle and mystic interpretation of christanity - Emanuel Swedenborg. Therefore i fully agree that his focus is based on christianity. He saw many things to be wrong in his beloved England but did not critisize harshly, this comes across in his poems such as Jerusalem along with his idyllic views on religion and such.

| Posted on 2008-10-08 | by a guest

.: :.

I hear echoes of The Albigensian Heresy in this poem. Jesus did not die and was married to Mary Magdelene, according to that alternative Christian interpretation.

| Posted on 2008-08-31 | by a guest

.: stan asmus :.

The poem simply refers to the old tradition that Christ the holy lamb has really spent some time in England, in the Glastonbury region. Possible evidence for this can easily be found.
The dark satanic mills can indeed refer to the terrible consequences of the industrialization of England.
We should take up arms against this and make England the green and pleasant land again. Just as it was when His feet walked on England`s mountains green

| Posted on 2008-05-09 | by a guest

.: GaryR :.

The poem itself suggests that we have to work to obtain our "Jerusalem" in England. But the fact that Blake discusses England's mountains suggests that he still believes in the beauty of the country.
The fact that Blake uses weapons as a metaphor for work is simply a reflection of the language and artistic work of the time. The Old Bailey in London features a statue of Lady Justice on the roof. In one hand she has a sword, in the other scales. This is not seen as a violent symbol, when understood properly. Neither should Blake's poem.

| Posted on 2008-03-04 | by a guest

.: Jihad's comment :.

Jihad is reading something into this poem that is not there. Perhaps he wants to imagine that Christians are warlike? The poem Jerusalem is actually an excerpt from the preface to one of Blake's book, 'Milton'.

Jerusalem is the symbol of utopia where man is freed from the chains of commerce, British imperialism, and war. Blake's "mental fight" is directed against these chains. In his Blake: Prophet Against Empire, David Erdman tells us that Blake's "dark, Satanic Mills" are "mills that produce dark metal, iron and steel, for diabolic purposes. London was a war arsenal and the hub of the machinery of war, and Blake uses the symbol in that sense."
So, actually, Blake's poem is anti-war which is a fair representation of the New Testament.

| Posted on 2007-04-28 | by a guest

.: jihad :.

I can't claim an academic understanding of this poem, but it reads to me like a Christian exhortation to holy war. The bow of burning gold and arrows of desire are metaphorical enough, but when Blake promises not to let his sword sleep until he has built Jerusalem in England, it sounds a lot like he's talking about killing people in the name of God.

| Posted on 2007-03-05 | by a guest

.: :.

This is not, as is commonly held and proudly sung, a eulogy of a lost and merry England. Read carefully it is a stinging indictment on the current changes in English society witnessed by an inhabitant of the richest and largest city in the world at the beginning of the industrial revolution. It characterises England as non-Christian, removed from God/Nature (to Blake the same thing)and having the dehumanising and sacreligious machine factories of Evil. Blake wants to destroy this God-forsaken reality, battle it, burn it and replace it with a New Jerusalem YET to be realised. This poem in no way sanctifies England nor Englishness despite the popular misconception.

| Posted on 2005-09-17 | by Approved Guest

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