William Blake is a challenging poet. His vision of God and the universe, powerfully expressed in his own works of art, was profound and original; his politics were forthright and iconoclastic; and his poems offer readers a simple and accessible surface over depths of complexity and nuance.
My student’s comment here goes a long way toward explaining all of that. Anyone who in his “younger years” has already had “an extensive spiritual past” must be a prodigy, perhaps born an “old soul” to begin with.
The spirit is not measured in hours, days, years; perhaps an extensive spiritual past can be achieved in a short span of “real” time.
Like Blake himself, this sentence seems simple but suggests untold depths.
Shortness of time on my part today leads me to leave you to contemplate the possibilities, for Blake and perhaps for yourself as well!