The Divine Image (poem)

The Divine Image (poem)

"The Divine Image" is a poem by English poet William Blake from his book "Songs of Innocence" (1789), later included in his joint collection "Songs of Innocence and of Experience" (1794). In this poem Blake pictures his view of an ideal world in which the four traditionally Christian virtues -Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love- are found in the human's heart and stand for God's support and comfort. Joy and gratitude are sentiments expressed through prayer for the caring and blessing of an infallible almighty God and are shared by all men on Earth encompassing a sense of equality and mutual respect.


In "The Divine Image", the figures of Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love are presented by Blake as the four virtues which are object of prayer in moments of distress, being God praised for his lovely caring and blessing to comfort man. The four virtues are depicted by the author as essential not only in God, but also in man; as Mercy is found in the human heart and Pity in the human face. Similarly, abstract qualities like Peace and Love exist in the human form, becoming the divine form and body of man and resembling God's substantial virtues. Consequently, Blake not only introduces a similarity between the divine image of a benevolent God and the human form, but also the concept of the creation of man after God's divine constituency. Regarded as inborn characteristics of humans by Blake, these essentially Christian virtues can be found in every man's soul on Earth, notwithstanding his origin or religious belief. When Blake refers to the prayer of a Jew or a Turk, he exemplifies all humankind sharing God's virtues in an ideal world regardless the concept of Divinity men may have.

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