"'Tiger! Tiger! burning bright
in the forest of the night.
What immortal hand or eye
could frame thy fearful symmetry.'
These wonderful words by William Blake were probably from the very first poem that ever impressed me as a child. I didn't have to know what they meant or indeed require an interpretation of 'symmetry' in order to feel how easily my ears received their natural resonance and beautiful vibration.
As I grew older, I heard the very same poetic magic resonate and stir my feelings of nationalism and love of England in what became my favourite hymn, 'Jerusalem'. It was only later that I learned that these beautiful words had originally been penned by William Blake when he wrote, 'And did those feet in ancient time' from the preface to his epic 'Milton a Poem' in 1808. There the words lay majestically until Sir Hubert Parry composed the music in 1916 and the hymm 'Jerusalem' was given life as we know it today. I loved this hymn so much that I played it at my wedding to Sheila in November 2012.
Had I not decided to become a Probation Officer in 1970, I would have become a teacher after taking up a degree place offered to me by Bath University, reading History. Prior to then, I had worked in the mills of West Yorkshire as a textile labourer, foreman and mill manager. I had always been fascinated by England and its peoples; particularly during the time of The Industrial Revolution and how they had been oblidged to adapt to the vast changes demanded of them during their lifetimes.
As an adult in my twenties and thirties I discovered my love of art and I was particularly taken by a man who'd campaigned and incited action against 'the dark satanic mills' of his time after having been inspired by the 'Book of Revelation.' His name was William Blake and he dreamed of a new Utopian society which was built in 'England's green and pleasant land.'
Today, William Blake is remembered by myself as not only having fashioned and interwoven many of my cultural experiences from childhood, but as someone who throughout much of the past century did rouse noble aspirations in generations of school children in England and every other country and person with an English culture."
William Forde: April 7th, 2014.http://youtu.be/Sc9Ww3rmT7I