Page:William Blake, a critical essay (Swinburne).djvu/339
THE GHOST OF ABEL.
By the rock and oak of the Druid, creeping mistletoe and thorn,
Cain's city built with human blood, not blood of bulls and goats,
Thou shalt thyself be sacrificed to me thy God on Calvary.
Jehovah. Such is my will—(Thunders)—that thou thyself go to Eternal Death
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, Brother-hood, 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 nobler 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. Into the singular mood of mind which made him inscribe it to the least imaginative of all serious poets we need by no means strive to enter; but in the trustful admiration and