On the birthday of William Blake here is what is probably, in England anyway, his best known poem. It is one of the most popular and patriotic English hymns of the Anglican Church.
It is the essence of what it is to be English. The English Rugby song is “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”. Queen Boudica, that very embodiment of Britannia, is portrayed riding her Celtic Chariot.
As the British Parliament prepare to vote on the Brexit deal with the EU it is not the Northern Irish that matter, nor the Welsh, nor the Scots. This is England Theresa May. This is the time to embody England, to don the mantle of Alfred the Great. To hell with those pesky Celts, this is an Anglo-Saxon matter.
Jerusalem: 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.