Europe a Prophecy/A Prophecy

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A Prophecy
by William Blake


The deep of winter came,
What time the secret child
Descended thro’ the orient gates of the eternal day.
War ceas’d, & all the troops like shadows fled to their abodes.
Then Enitharmon saw her sons & daughters rise around;
Like pearly clouds they meet together in the crystal house;
And Los, possessor of the moon, joy’d in the peaceful night,
Thus speaking, while his num’rous sons shook their bright fiery wings:

‘Again the night is come
That strong Urthona takes his rest,
And Urizen unloos’d from chains
Glows ike a meteor in the distant north.
Stretch forth your hands and strike the elemental strings!
Awake the thunders of the deep,

‘The shrill winds wake!
Till all the sons of Urizen look out and envy Los:
Seize all the spirits of life and bind
Their warbling joys to our loud strings;
Bind all the nourishing sweets of earth
To give us bliss, that we may drink the sparkling wine of Los;
And let us laugh at war,
Despising toil and care,
Because the days and nights of joy in lucky hours renew.’

‘Arise, O Orc, from thy deep den,
First born of Enitharmon, rise!
And we will crown thy head with garlands of the ruddy vine;
For now thou art bound,
And I may see thee in the hour of bliss, my eldest born.’

The horrent Demon rose, surrounded with red stars of fire,
Whirling about in furious circles round the immortal fiend.

Then Enitharmon down descended into his red light,
And thus her voice rose to her children; the distant heavens reply:

‘Now comes the night of Enitharmon’s joy!
Who shall I call? Who shall I send?
That Woman, lovely Woman! may have dominion?
Arise, O Rintrah, thee I call! & Palamabron, thee!
Go! tell the human race that Woman’s love is Sin;
That an Eternal life awaits the worms of sixty winters
In an allegorical abode where existence hath never come.
Forbid all Joy, & from her childhood shall the little female
Spread nets in every secret path.

‘My weary eyelids draw towards the evening, my bliss is yet but new!

‘Arise, O Rintrah, eldest born, second to none but Orc.
O lion Rintrah, raise thy fury form thy forests black;
Bring Palamabron, horned priest, skipping upon the mountains,
And silent Elynittria, the silver bowed queen.
Rintrah, where has thou hid thy bride?
Weeps she in desart shades?
Alas, my Rintrah! bring all thy brethren, O thou king of fire.
Prince of the sun, I see thee with thy innumberable race,
Thick as the summer stars;
But each ramping his golden mane shakes,
And thine eyes rejoice because of strength, O Rintrah, furious king.’

Enitharmon slept,
Eighteen hundred years. Man was a Dream!
The night of Nature and their harps unstrung.
She slept in middle of her nightly song,
Eighteen hundred years, a female dream.
Shadows of men in fleeting bands upon the winds
Divide the heavens of Europe,
Till Albion’s Angel, smitten with his own plagues, fled with his bands.
The cloud bears hard on Albion’s shore,
Fill’d with immortal demons of futurity.
In council gather the smitten Angels of Albion.
The cloud bears hard upon the council house, down rushing
On the heads of Albion’s Angels.

One hour they lay buried beneath the ruins of that hall;
But as the stars rise from the salt lake they arise in pain,
In troubled mists o’erclouded by the terrors of struggling times.

In thoughts perturb’d they rose from the bright ruins, silent following
The fiery King, who sought his ancient temple serpertform’d
That stretches out its shady length along the Island white.
Round him roll’d his clouds of war; silent the Angel went,
Along the infininte shores of Thames to golden Verulam.
There stand the venerable porches that high-towering rear
Their oak-surrounded pillars, form’d of massy stones, uncut
Will tool, stones precious – such eternal in the heavens,
Of colours twelve, few known on earth, give light in the opake,
Plac’d in the order of the stars. When the five senses whelm’d
In deluge o’er the earth-born man, then turn’d the fluxile eyes
Into two stationary orbs, concentrating all things;
The ever-varying spiral ascents to the heavens of heavens
Were bended downward, and the nostrils’ golden gate shut,
Turn’d outward, barr’d and petrify’d against the infinite.

Thought chang’d the infinite to a serpent, that which pitieth
To a devouring flame; and man fled from its face and hid
In forests of night. Then all the eternal forests were divided
Into earths rolling in circles of space, that like an ocean rush’d
And overwhelmed all except this finite wall of flesh.
Then was the serpent temple form’d, image of infinite
Shut up in finite revolutions, and man became an Angel,
Heaven a mighty circle turning, god a tyrant crown’d.

Now arriv’d the ancient Guardian at the southern porch
That, planted thick with trees of blackest leaf, & in a vale
Obscure, inclos’d the stone of Night. Oblique it stood, o’erhung
With purple flowers and berries red, image of that sweet south
Once open to the heavens and elevated on the human neck,
Now overgrown with hair and cover’d with a stony roof.
Downward ‘tis sunk beneath th’ attractive north, that round the feet
A raging whirlpool draws the dizzy enquirer to his grave.

Albion’s Angel rose upon the Stone of Night.
He saw Urizen on the Atlantic;
And his brazen Book
That Kings & Priests had copied on earth
Expanded from North to South.

And the clouds & fires pale roll’d round in the night of Enitharmon,
Round Albion’s cliffs & London’s walls (still Enitharmon slept);
Rolling volumes of grey mist involve Churches, Palaces, Towers;
For Urizen unclasp’d his Book, feeding his soul with pity.
Thy youth of England, hid in gloom, curse the pain’d heavens, compell’d
Into the deadly night to see the form of Albion’s Angel.
Their parents brought them forth, & aged ignorance preaches, canting,
On a vast rock, perceived by those senses that are clos’d from thought –
Bleak, dark, abrupt it stands & overshadows London city.
They saw his boney feet on the rock, the flesh consum’d in flames;
They saw the Serpent temple lifted above, shadowing the Island white;
They heard the voice of Albion’s Angel howling in flames of Orc,
Seeking the trump of the last doom.
Above the rest the howl was heard from Westminster louder and louder.
The Guardian of the secret codes forsook his ancient mansion,
Driven out by the flames of Orc; his furr’d robes & false locks
Adhered and grew one with his flesh, and nerves & veins shot thro’ them.
With dismal torment sick, hanging upon the wind, he fled
Groveling along Great George Street thro’ the Park gate; all the soldiers
Fled from his sight; he drag’d his torments to the wilderness.

Thus was the howl thro’ Europe!
For Orc rejoic’d to hear the howling shadows;
But Palamabron shot his lightnings trenching down his wide back,
And Rintrah hung with all his legions in the nether deep.

Enitharmon laugh’d in her sleep to see (O woman’s triumph)
Every house a den, every man bound; the shadows are fill’d
With specters, and the windows wove over with curses of iron;
Over the doors ‘Thou shalt not,’ & over the chimneys “Fear’ is written;
With bands of iron round their necks fasten’d into the walls
The citizens; in leaden gives the inhabitants of suburbs
Walk heavy; soft and bent are the bones of villagers.
Between the clouds of Urizen the flames of Orc roll heavy
Around the limbs of Albion’s Guardian, his flesh consuming.
Howlings & hissings, shrieks & groans & voices of despair
Arise around him in the cloudy Heavens of Albion. Furious,

The red limb’d Angel seiz’d, in horror and torment,
The Trump of the last doom; but he could not blow the iron tube!
Thrice he assay’d presumptuous to awake the dead to Judgment.

A mighty Spirit leap’d from the land of Albion,
Nam’d Newton; he seiz’d the Trump & blow’d the enormous blast!
Yellow as leaves of Autumn the myriads fo Angelic hosts
Fell thro’ the wintry skies seeking their graves,
Rattling their hollow bones in howling and lamentation.

Then Enitharmon woke, nor knew that she had slept;
And eighteen hundred years were fled
As if they had not been.
She call’d her sons & daughters
To the sports of night,
Within her crystal house;
And thus her song proceeds:

‘Arise, Ethinthus! tho’ the earth-worm call,
Let him call in vain;
Till the night of holy shadows
And human solitude is past!

‘Ethinthus,, queen of waters, how thou shinest in the sky!
My daughter, how do I rejoice! for thy children flock around
Like the gay fishes on the wave when the cold moon drinks the dew.
Ethinthus! thou art sweet as comforts to my fainting soul,
For now thy waters warble round the feet of Enitharmon.

‘Manathu-Vorcyon! I behold thee flaming in my halls,
light of thy mother’s soul! I see thy lovely eagles round;
thy golden wings are my delight, & thy flames of soft delusion.

’where is my lureing bird of Edin? Leutha, silent love!
Leutha, the many colur’d bow delights upon thy wings,
Soft soul of flowers, Leutha!
Sweet smiling pestilence! I see thy blushing light;
Thy daughters many changing
Revolve like sweet perfumes ascending, O Leutha, silken queen!

‘Where is the youthful Antamon, prince of the pearly dew?
O Antamon, why wilt thou leave thy mother enitharmon?
Alone I see thee, crystal form,
Floating upon the bosom’d air
With lineaments of gratified desire.
My Antamon, the seven churches of Leutha seek thy love.

‘I hear the soft Oothoon in Enitharmon’s tents.
Why wilt thou give up woman’s secrecy, my melancholy child?
Between two moments bliss is ripe.
O Theotormon robb’d of joy, I see thy salt tears flow
Down the steps of my crystal house.

‘Sotha & Thiralatha, secret dwellers of dreamful caves,
arise and please the horrent fiend with your melodious songs.
Still all your thunders golden hoof’d, & bind your horses black.
Orc! smile upon my children!
Smile, son of my afflictions.
Arise, O Orc, and give our mountains joy of thy red light.’

She ceas’d; for All were forth at soport beneath the solemn moon,
Waking the stars of Urizen with their immortal songs,
That nature felt thro’ all the pores the enormous revelry,
Till morning oped the eastern gate.
Then every on fled to his station, & Enitharmon wept.

But terrible Orc, when he beheld the morning in the east,
Shot from the heights of Enitharmon,
And in the vineyards of red France appear’d the light of his fury.

The sun glow’d fiery red!
The furious terrors flew around
On golden chariots raging, with red wheels dropping with blood;
The Lions lash their wrathful tails;
The Tigers couch upon the prey & suck the ruddy tide;
And Enitharmon groans & cries in anguish and dismay.

Then Los arose; his head he rear’d in snaky thunders clad,
And with a cry that shook all nature to the utmost pole
Call’d all his sons to the strife of blood.