Poetry 100: ‘The Garden of Love’ by William Blake


I went to the Garden of Love,

And saw what I never had seen:

A Chapel was built in the midst,

Where I used to play on the green.


And the gates of this Chapel were shut,

And “Thou shalt not” writ over the door;

So I turned to the Garden of Love

That so many sweet flowers bore;


And I saw it was filled with graves,

And tomb-stones where flowers should be;

And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,

And binding with briars my joys and desires.
Garden of Love


For more on Blake and the Middle Way, see the recent review of ‘The God of the Left Hemisphere’

About Robert M Ellis

Robert M Ellis is the founder and chair of the Middle Way Society, and author of a number of books on Middle Way Philosophy, including the introductory 'Migglism' and the more in-depth 'Middle Way Philosophy' series. He has a Christian background, and about 20 years' past experience of practising Buddhism, but it was his Ph.D. studies in Philosophy that set him on the track of developing a systematic account of the Middle Way beyond any specific tradition. He has earned his living mainly by teaching, and more recently by online tutoring.

3 thoughts on “Poetry 100: ‘The Garden of Love’ by William Blake

    1. I love Blake (or at least I love his poetry and art). His is the only poetry that I have ever really identified with, indeed the only poetry book I have ever owned (until recently) is ‘Songs of Innocence and of Experience’. I love the imagery and find reading them a visceral experience (more akin to hearing music than reading). Having read Roberts review of ‘the God of the left hemisphere’ I am now convinced that I don’t fully understand his metaphors, but I am keen to read more about these and more about Blake himself.

      1. The BBC Radio 4 discussion programme “In Our Time” recently did an episode on William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience. In my opinion, it’s worth listening to. The podcast version has a few extra minutes of ‘bonus material’ where they finally get round to reading the Garden of Love!


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