And did those feet in ancient time

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"And did those feet in ancient time" is a short poem by William Blake from the preface to his epic Milton a Poem. The date on the title page of 1804 for Milton is probably when the plates were begun but the poem was printed c. 1808.[1] Today it is best known as the hymn "Jerusalem", with music written by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916.

The poem was inspired by the apocryphal story that a young Jesus, accompanied by his uncle Joseph of Arimathea, travelled to the area that is now England and visited Glastonbury.[2] The legend is linked to an idea in the Book of Revelation (3:12 and 21:2) describing a Second Coming, wherein Jesus establishes a new Jerusalem. The Christian church in general, and the English Church in particular, used Jerusalem as a metaphor for Heaven, a place of universal love and peace.[3][4]

In the most common interpretation of the poem, Blake implies that a visit of Jesus would briefly create heaven in England, in contrast to the "dark Satanic Mills" of the Industrial Revolution, though some have argued that the Blake used the latter phrase to refer to churches, megaliths or a more abstract concept. Analysts note that Blake asks four questions rather than stating a visit to be true. According to this view, the poem says that there may, or may not, have been a divine visit, when there was briefly heaven in England. But that was then; now, we are faced with the challenge of creating such a country once again.[5][6]



The original text is found on the preface Blake printed for inclusion with Milton, a Poem, following the lines beginning "The Stolen and Perverted Writings of Homer & Ovid: of Plato & Cicero, which all Men ought to contemn: ..."[7]

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