Musicians Inspired by William Blake

As well the name of a heavy metal band, Human Abstract is a poem by William Blake:

Pity would be no more,
If we did not make somebody Poor;
And Mercy no more could be,
If all were as happy as we;

And mutual fear brings peace,
Till the selfish loves increase;
Then Cruelty knits a snare,
And spreads his baits with care.

He sits down with holy fears,
And waters the ground with tears;
Then Humility takes its root
Underneath his foot.

Soon spreads the dismal shade
Of Mystery over his head;
And the Caterpillar and Fly
Feed on the Mystery.

And it bears the fruit of Deceit,
Ruddy and sweet to eat;
And the Raven his nest has made
In its thickest shade.

The Gods of the earth and sea,
Sought through Nature to find this Tree,
But their search was all in vain;
There grows one in the Human Brain.

Perhaps ironically, the human brain of William Blake continues to be dissected as his works are psychoanalyzed and theorized throughout generations. Nonetheless, along with being an English poet, painter, engraver, etc.; William Blake has been a musical inspiration. Individual poems, widely those from his two books of poetry Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, have been set to music by many such as John Tavener, Jah Wobble, Tangerine Dream:

Tangerine Dream - Tyger

THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience) by William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

The question about 'the Lamb' continues in "And did those feet in ancient time", a short poem by William Blake from the preface to his epic Milton. A Poem which became the lyrics for the hymn "Jerusalem."

Great Britain Hymn Jerusalem Patriotic Military Welsh Choir

And Did Those Feet In Ancient Time by William Blake

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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10 Comments With Humanity:

eastcoastdweller said...

Amazing song! Thank You for sharing it, Jeane!

ndpthepoetress - Jeane Michelle Culp said...

Hi eastcoastdweller! I must admit the songs inspired by William Blake’s poems is becoming quite a fascinating study, along with his art. Glad you enjoyed!

Cooper said...

Thanks for these poetress.

ndpthepoetress - Jeane Michelle Culp said...

Hi Cooper! Thank You :) BTW: What new computer did you decide on, lap or desktop?

Shinade said...

Oh jeane Blake is second only in my book to Wordsworth. As you know it's game I don't have time to view the videos.

I wanted to drop by...I am sharing some Link Love!!

My way of saying thank you for all that you do for so many!!

Hugs, jackie:-)

ndpthepoetress - Jeane Michelle Culp said...

Thank You Jackie, you are so kind and Sweet! Here's to Blogroll Amnesty Day Link Luv, You, and all the fun game day Commercials!

franscud said...

Blake is one of my favorite creative souls. He did both amazing poetry and visual art, all infused with a deep spirituality and sharp social conscience. Thanks for sharing these Michelle!

ndpthepoetress - Jeane Michelle Culp said...

Hi Francis (franscud)! Wow, you really described Blake remarkably! I greatly concur with your articulate insight about Blake and Thank You!

Pissy Perse said...

i like the Tyger poem... nice :D

ndpthepoetress - Jeane Michelle Culp said...

Hello Pissy Perse (Jolene), so nice to see you back in the blogosphere! In fact, I thought of your site For the love of tigers when I read the poem THE TYGER :)

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