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Plate 3 [Preface] (Illustration I)

Sheep goats

To the Public

After my three years slumber on the banks of the Ocean, I again display my Giant forms to the Public: My former Giants & Fairies having reciev'd the highest reward possible: the <love> and
<friendship> [5]
of those with whom to be connected, is to be <blessed>: I cannot doubt that this more consolidated & extended Work, will be as kindly recieved **************** The Enthusiasm of the following Poem, the Author hopes <*no** Rea*der will think presumptuousness or
arroganc[e] when he
is reminded that the Ancients entrusted*** their love to their
Writing, to [10]
the full as Enthusiastically as I have ** who Acknowledge mine for my Saviour and Lord, for they were wholly absorb'd in their Gods.> I also hope the Reader will be with me, wholly One in Jesus our Lord, who


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is the God <of * Fire> and Lord <of * Love *> to whom the Ancients
and saw his day afar off with trembling & amazement. [15]

The Spirit of Jesus is continual forgiveness of Sin: he who waits to be righteous before he enters into the Saviours kingdom, the Divine Body; will never enter there. I am perhaps the most sinful of men! I pretend not to holiness! yet I pretend to love, to see, to converse with daily, as man with man, & the more to have an interest in the Friend [20]
of Sinners. Therefore <Dear> Reader, <forgive> what you do not
approve, &
<love> me for this energetic exertion of my talent.

<** ** ** ** ** **>
Reader! <lover> of books! <lover> of heaven,
And of that God from whom <all books are given,>
Who in mysterious Sinais awful cave [25]
To Man the wond'rous art of writing gave.
Again he speaks in thunder and in fire!
Thunder of Thought, & flames of fierce desire:
Even from the depths of Hell his voice I hear,
Within the unfathomd caverns of my Ear. [30]
Therefore I print; nor vain my types shall be:
Heaven, Earth & Hell, henceforth shall live in harmony
**Of the Measure, in which***
the following Poem is written [34]

We who dwell on Earth can do nothing of ourselves, every thing is conducted by Spirits, no less than Digestion or Sleep. <to[ ]> ** <the best words of Jesus, [ ]> ****When this Verse was first dictated to me I consider'd a Monotonous Cadence like that used by Milton & Shakspeare & all writers of *English *Blank Verse, derived*** [40] from the modern bondage of Rhyming; to be a necessary and indispensible part of Verse. . . .

The "Sheep" and "goats" at the top, presumably divisions of "the Public", are words not etched but engraved. They may have been added when Blake was scratching out the terms of love addressed enthusiastically to the Public in his first paragraphs.[13]

All copies seem to have been printed from the same state of the plate, the relatively greater legibility of the deletions in the Morgan copy and (at


Page 15
some points) in posthumous copies being the result merely of differences in inking. The single deletions in lines 5, 6, 14, 21, 22, 23 can be read in most copies; they are correctly transcribed in Keynes except for the capital D in "Dear Reader" (line 21). In the Harvard copy the large deletion of lines 9-12 is partly covered by drawings of vines, as also the deletion in line 24, but the same impression marks are discernible beneath. So are they in the Mellon copy, beneath washes and lines of color. Some of the other deletions in the Morgan copy are hidden with vines, but not these; for whatever reason the plate seems to have been inked and impressed with particular care.

Details of restoration are given in my introductory remarks. Only the final e of "arrogance" leaves no trace in any copy. The deletions at the end of line 36 and in the second half of line 37 remain baffling, although crumbs of some specific letters are visible and we are obviously faced with deleted text, not ornament. In line 36 the phrase may be "to Hear" or "to Note". In 37 the lower edge of a g seems attached to the first d of "dictated" in the next line; another g or a y is evident above the word "me". Certain ascending strokes are also to be made out.

It should be observed that the period given after "Sleep" in line 36 might be a comma. Blake used a dot-like mark that must be read sometimes as comma, sometimes as period.