The Jerusalem Hymn: A Very English Song

While most have heard of the poet and artist William Blake, he was an obscure figure when alive. He is now considered one of the great leaders of the Romantic Age. Blake reviled organised religion and had much sympathies for the French and American revolutions. Despite having radical views against the church, he penned a poem that would become an English anthem for their stalwart defense of Christianity.
The poem was inspired by legends that during Jesus' lost years he travelled to England. Written at the dawn of industrialization, the 'dark satanic mills' make reference to how dirty the country was becoming and how Jesus' presence again (when He returns) would purify it.
Jerusalem remained an obscure piece. In 1916 the poet laureate, Robert Bridges, published an anthology of patriotic verses to raise morals during the Great War. He included it and realized that it would go well with music. Composer Hubert Parry was commissioned to do this. And the end result is still sung today by proud Englishmen.

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