Page:Works of William Blake; poetic, symbolic, and critical (1893) Volume 2.djvu/175

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161
AMERICA.

And this Angel threw off his 'obedience, for he said that error must always be; but error and forgiveness, the two joys, bodily and mental, were the contraries that led to life, while restraint and rule cripple life and lead to the only hypocrisy. The very preachers of abstinence did not abstain from what they themselves enjoyed, — namely, feeding on the substance of the innocent, — fat of lambs, — and using the semblance of sympathetic virtues, generosity and pity, for an unrestrained and unvirtuous energizing of their nature, which was the nature of centred personality not of brotherhood ; till the really generous, who could not gain access to their energies by hypocrisy, but only by the path of sin, or bodily conscious- ness and forgiveness, with the mental harvest reaped from it, were shut out from the path through the grave to eternity, through experience to thought.

Then they all rent off their garments of dogma and threw down their sceptres of law and went naked but for flames; that is, embodied only in their enthusiasm. Thus these powers passed over America, the West, still symbolic of the region of instinctive life.

In the bodily darkness of that place the divine imaginative powers that bad refused the laws of reason, Washington and the leaders of revolt, stood, and the flames enwrapped their region from north, or its bodily sensations to south, or its mental existence.

And not only had the Angels ceased to obey ; the demons that Albion sent to restore obedience by punishments ceased to punish. They appear as governors of states in the story, and they join the rebels.

In that region they could not bear their own nature or the chains of the mind that bound them. They rushed to the sea, the western waters, the most instinctive part of the instinctive region, and there fell down before the strongest of those imaginative powers in the folds of whose garment innocence had lately sheltered itself from destruction by the tyranny of reason.

VOL. II. 11