Page:Life of William Blake 2, Gilchrist.djvu/242

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184
SELECTIONS FROM BLAKE'S WRITINGS.

In self-annihilation, even till Satan self-subdued put off Satan

Into the bottomless abyss whose torment arises for ever and ever.

(On each side a Chorus of Angels entering sing the following.)

The Elohim of the Heathen swore vengeance for Sin! Then thou stood'st

Forth, O Elohim Jehovah, in the midst of the darkness of the oath all clothed

In thy covenant of the forgiveness of sins. Death, O Holy! is this Brotherhood?

The Elohim saw their oath eternal fire; they rolled apart trembling over the

Mercy-Seat, each in his station fixed in the Firmament, by Peace, Brotherhood, and Love.

(The curtain falls.)
(1822. W. Blake's original stereotype was 1788.)


'On the skirt of a figure, rapid and "vehemently sweeping," engraved underneath (recalling that vision of Dion, made memorable by one of Wordsworth's noble poems) are inscribed these words:—"The voice of Abel's Blood." The fierce and strenuous flight of this figure is as the motion of one whose feet are swift to shed blood, and the dim face is full of hunger and sorrowful lust after revenge. The decorations are slight, but not ineffective; wrought merely in black and white. This small prose lyric has a value beyond the value of its occasional beauty and force of form; it is a brief, comprehensible expression of Blake's faith seen from its two leading sides; belief in vision and belief in mercy.'

(From A Critical Essay on William Blake, by Algernon Charles Swinburne, pp. 295-296, where The Ghost of Abel was first printed.)