(image via wikipedia)
I didn't realise until today, reading this article in the Times, that William Blake wrote Jerusalem (as a preface to a longer poem called Milton), and that he was writing about London:
"In the greatest of his epics, Jerusalem, Blake, carrying the sun as a lamp, travels through London as a pilgrim. The streets of the city are avenues into the spiritual world. That is why the “dark Satanic mills” of Jerusalem can be found in the heart of the capital. They are emblems of eternity, but have a specific and local identity."
I'm not religious, but Jerusalem was one of my favourite hymns in high school, and it's strange to discover that it was originally a Blake poem, set to music by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916.