“I am deluded by the turning mills”: How William Blake Might Have Responded to Richard Dawkins’s “The God Delusion”

From the third chapter of William Blake’s poem, Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion (plate 60, lines 52-64):

O Lord & Savior, have the Gods of the Heathen pierced thee?

Or hast thou been pierced in the House of thy Friends?

Art thou alive! & livest thou for-evermore? or art thou

Not: but a delusive shadow, a thought that liveth not.

Babel mocks, saying, ‘There is no God nor Son of God’—

That thou, O Human Imagination, O Divine Body, art all

A delusion. But I know thee O Lord when thou arisest upon

My weary eyes even in the dungeon & this iron mill.

The stars of Albion cruel rise; thou bindest to sweet influences:

For thou also sufferest with me altho I behold thee not;

And altho I sin & blaspheme thy holy name, thou pitiest me;

Because thou knowest I am deluded by the turning mills.

And by these visions of pity & love because of Albion’s death.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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