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William Blake

G. E. Bentley, Jr (ed.), William Blake's Writings, Vol. 1: Engraved and Etched Writings

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Editor’s NoteEditor’s Note[Plate 40]THE FLY.

  • 1Little Fly
  • 2Thy summers play
  • 3My thoughtless hand
  • 4Has brush'd away.
  • [5]Am not I
  • 6A fly like thee?
  • 7Or art not thou
  • 8A man like me?
  • 9For I dance
  • [10]And drink & sing:
  • 11Till some blind hand
  • 12Shall brush my wing.
  • 13If thought is life
  • 14And strength & breath:
  • [15]And the want
  • 16Of thought is death;
  • 17Then am I
  • 18A happy fly,
  • 19If I live,
  • [20]Or if I die.

pg 183

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Editor’s Note
Pl. 40 design: Beneath the text, a woman in a mob cap bends to hold the two hands of a child who is apparently learning to walk; behind her a girl is about to hit a shuttlecock with a racquet. In the right margin are a leafless tree and one flying bird.
text: The poem was drafted without title on Notebook p. 101 (pp. 972–3).
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