Auguries of Innocence

Original Text: 
William Blake, Poems, ed. Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1863).
2And a heaven in a wild flower,
3Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
4And eternity in an hour.
5A robin redbreast in a cage
6Puts all Heaven in a rage.
7A dove house fill'd with doves and pigeons
8Shudders Hell thro' all its regions.
9A dog starv'd at his master's gate
10Predicts the ruin of the state.
11A horse misus'd upon the road
12Calls to Heaven for human blood.
13Each outcry of the hunted hare
14A fibre from the brain does tear.
15A skylark wounded in the wing,
16A Cherubim does cease to sing.
17The game cock clipp'd and arm'd for fight
18Does the rising Sun affright.
19Every wolf's and lion's howl
20Raises from Hell a human soul.
89He who respects the infant's faith
90Triumphs over Hell and Death.
91The child's toys and the old man's reasons
92Are the fruits of the two seasons.
93The questioner, who sits so sly,
94Shall never know how to reply.
95He who replies to words of doubt
96Doth put the light of Knowledge out.
97The strongest poison ever known
98Came from Caesar's laurel crown,
99Nought can deform the human race
100Like to the armour's iron brace.
101When gold and gems adorn the plow
102To peaceful arts shall Envy bow.
103A riddle or the cricket's cry
104Is to doubt a fit reply.
105The emmet's inch and eagle's mile
106Make lame Philosophy to smile.
107He who doubts from what he sees
108Will ne'er believe, do what you please.
109If the Sun and Moon should doubt,
110They'd immediately go out.
111To be in a passion you good may do,
112But no good if a passion is in you.
113The whore and gambler, by the state
114Licens'd, build that nation's fate.
115The harlot's cry from street to street,
116Shall weave Old England's winding sheet.
117The winner's shout, the loser's curse,
118Dance before dead England's hearse.
119Every night and every morn
120Some to misery are born.
121Every morn and every night
122Some are born to sweet delight.
123Some are born to sweet delight,
124Some are born to endless night.
125We are led to believe a lie
126When we see not thro' the eye
127Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
128When the Soul slept in beams of light.
129God appears and God is light
130To those poor souls who dwell in night,
131But does a human form display
132To those who dwell in realms of day.


1] This poem was first published by Rossetti in his edition in Gilchrist's Life of William Blake, 1863. It was edited from a MS. in fair draft written by Blake probably during his stay at Felpham (1800-3), and later known as the Pickering MS., from a Mr. B. J. Pickering who bought it and published an edition of it, more accurate than Rossetti's, in 1866. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Northrop Frye
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.293.