Never Seek to Tell thy Love

Original Text: 
William Blake, Poems, ed. Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1863).
2Love that never told can be;
3For the gentle wind does move
4Silently, invisibly.
5I told my love, I told my love,
6I told her all my heart,
7Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears--
8Ah, she doth depart.
9Soon as she was gone from me
10A traveller came by
11Silently, invisibly--
12O, was no deny.


1] This was first published in 1863 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in his edition of Blake's poems, which formed the second volume of Alexander Gilchrist's posthumous Life of William Blake. It was edited from a notebook in Rossetti's possession, now known as the Rossetti MS., containing a great number of sketches, draft poems, polemical prose, and miscellaneous writings, which Blake kept by him for many years. As the only textual authority for many of these poems is a foul draft, some of them are partly editorial reconstructions. Thus in the notebook the first stanza of "Never seek to tell thy love" has been marked for deletion, and "seek" has been altered to "pain," while the final quatrain of "I heard an Angel singing" is an editorial arrangement first made by Swinburne. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Northrop Frye
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.289.