Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
 
The Song of Los
Asia
 
(Engraved 1795)

THE KINGS of Asia heard
The howl rise up from Europe,
And each ran out from his Web,
From his ancient woven Den;
For the darkness of Asia was startled        5
At the thick-flaming, thought-creating fires of Orc.
 
And the Kings of Asia stood
And crièd in bitterness of soul:—
 
‘Shall not the King call for Famine from the heath,
Nor the Priest for Pestilence from the fen,        10
To restrain, to dismay, to thin
The inhabitants of mountain and plain,
In the day of full-feeding prosperity
And the night of delicious songs?
 
Shall not the Counsellor throw his curb        15
Of Poverty on the laborious,
To fix the price of labour,
To invent allegoric riches?
 
And the privy admonishers of men
Call for Fires in the City,        20
For heaps of smoking ruins,
In the night of prosperity and wantonness,
 
To turn man from his path,
To restrain the child from the womb,
To cut off the bread from the city;        25
That the remnant may learn to obey,
 
That the pride of the heart may fail,
That the lust of the eyes may be quench’d,
That the delicate ear in its infancy
May be dull’d, and the nostrils clos’d up,        30
To teach Mortal Worms the path
That leads from the gates of the Grave?’
 
Urizen heard them cry,
And his shudd’ring, waving wings
Went enormous above the red flames,        35
Drawing clouds of despair thro’ the Heavens
Of Europe as he went.
And his Books of brass, iron, and gold
Melted over the land as he flew,
Heavy-waving, howling, weeping.        40
 
And he stood over Judaea,
And stay’d in his ancient place,
And stretch’d his clouds over Jerusalem;
 
For Adam, a mouldering skeleton,
Lay bleach’d on the garden of Eden;        45
And Noah, as white as snow,
On the mountains of Ararat.
 
Then the thunders of Urizen bellow’d aloud
From his woven darkness above.
Orc, raging in European darkness,        50
Arose like a pillar of fire above the Alps,
Like a serpent of fiery flame!
        The sullen Earth
        Shrunk!
 
Forth from the dead dust, rattling bones to bones        55
Join. Shaking, convuls’d, the shiv’ring Clay breathes,
And all Flesh naked stands: Fathers and Friends,
Mothers and Infants, Kings and Warriors.
 
The Grave shrieks with delight, and shakes
Her hollow womb, and clasps the solid stem:        60
Her bosom swells with wild desire;
And milk and blood and glandous wine
In rivers rush, and shout and dance,
On mountain, dale, and plain.

THE SONG OF LOS IS ENDED
Urizen Wept.
 
 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors