In the Preface to the illuminated book Milton, from which the hymn Jerusalem comes, Blake tells ‘Young Men of the New Age’ to ‘Rouze up’ against the repressive ‘ignorant Hirelings’ who govern the nation. In these prints Colinet, holding the pipe he uses to accompany his songs, is mocked by ‘wanton imps of spite’. The imagery echoes the sense of rejection as a poet/prophet which we know Blake felt from his contemporaries.
Jerusalem also includes powerful pastoral imagery. But England’s ‘pleasant pastures’ have to be disrupted by Blake’s call to a ‘Mental’ civil war before Liberty and Peace can infuse society.
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