By William Blake

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands 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 Englands green & pleasant Land.

Summary of Jerusalem

  • Popularity of “Jerusalem”: Written by William Blake, a religious person and phenomenal writer, “Jerusalem” is a contemplative poetic piece. First published in 1804, the poem presents Blake’s desire to return to the era before the industrial revolution. It also presents man’s adaptive nature, focusing on big changes that occurred on earth since the time of Jesus’s birth. It, however, gained fame because it presents a clash between the writer and the world.
  • “Jerusalem” As a Representative of Transition: This beautiful poem revolves around the idea of change. It begins with a surprise when the speaker questions Jesus’s arrival upon England’s green mountains among the satanic hills. The speaker asks whether it’s the same England where God might have walked. First, he accounts for the beauty of this place and later gets angry when he notices that huge buildings have replaced the beauty. In the second stanza, the speaker is in an interrogative mood, thinking if God mistakenly landed upon his country’s shores. Moreover, he wonders if Jesus built New Jerusalem among the inhumane hills of his country. In fact, the writer compares the idyllic heaven to what might exist in present-day industrialized England. Also, he uses words from Greek mythology to connect biblical references to this poem to render a dramatic tone in the poem. However, the poem ends where the speaker’s promises to restore God’s heaven.
  • Major Themes in “Jerusalem”: Spirituality, natural beauty, the industrial revolution, and change are the poem’s major themes. The speaker presents a stark comparison between old and New England in this poem. Also, he paints a picture of peaceful and blessed England and contemplates if God had ever visited the hills presently surrounded by darkness. Through this simple poem, he highlights industrialization’s harmful effects. It cut man’s connection with the divine and created many social evils such as child labor, unhealthy work, and corruption. The speaker repeatedly refers industrial revolution as a satanic change because he thinks it has replaced God’s light with darkness. He condemns this evil shift and bears hopes for the revival of lost beauty and peace.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in Jerusalem

literary devices are tools that empower writers so that they can express their ideas more effectively. William Blake used some literary devices in the poem whose analysis is as follows.

  1. Allusion: It is a reference to some historical, literary or social event and person of significance to emphasize the main idea. The poet used religious and geographical allusions such as God, Satanic Mills, England and chariot.
  2. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /e/ in “Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold” and the sound of /o/ in “Shine forth upon our clouded hills.”
  3. Anaphora: It refers to the repetition of a word or expression in the first part of some verses. Blake repeated the words “bring me” in the first third of the poem to emphasize the point, such as;

“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!”

  1. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /t/ in “Till we have built Jerusalem” and the sound of /n/ in “On Englands pleasant pastures seen.”
  2. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought in verse that does not come to an end at a line break; rather, it rolls over to the next line. For example;

“And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon Englands mountains green:”

  1. Irony: Irony is a figure of speech in which words are used in such a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning of the words. The poem shows the irony of time to show how time has transformed England completely.
  2. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. William Blake used imagery in this poem, such as; “Bring me my Bow of burning gold”, “Shine forth upon our clouded hills” and “I will not cease from Mental Fight.”
  3. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between objects that are different in nature. The poet used revolution as an extended metaphor to show how the revolutionary ideas of man have changed this planet a lot.
  4. Rhetorical Question: Rhetorical question is a question that is not asked to receive an answer; it is just posed to make the point clear. William Blake posed rhetorical questions in the second stanza of the poem to put emphasis on his point such as, “Shine forth upon our clouded hills?” and “Among these dark Satanic Mills?”
  5. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. The poem shows symbols such as woe, determination, and change.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in Jerusalem

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is an analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Diction: The poem shows descriptive diction having formality and poetic touch in it.
  2. End Rhyme: End rhyme is used to make the stanza melodious. William Blake used end rhyme in this poem, such as; “hills/mills”, “desire/fire” and “hand/land.”
  3. Quatrain: A quatrain is a four-lined stanza borrowed from Persian poetry. Here each stanza is quatrain.
  4. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are four stanzas in this poem, with each comprising four verses.
  5. Tone: The poem shows an innocent, tragic, and theological tone at different places.

Quotes to be Used

The following lines are useful to praise the mesmerizing beauty of England, where God chose to walk.

“And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen.”