The Song of Los

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The Song of Los
by William Blake

The Song of Los

* * *


I will sing you a song of Los, the Eternal Prophet:

He sung it to four harps at the tables of Eternity.

In heart-formed Africa.

Urizen faded! Ariston shudder’d!

And thus the Song began:

ADAM stood in the garden of Eden

And Noah on the mountains of Ararat;

They saw Urizen give his Laws to the Nations

By the hands of the children of Los.

Adam shudder’d! Noah faded! Black grew the sunny African

When Rintrah gave Abstract Philosophy to Brama in the East.

(Night spoke to the Cloud:

‘Lo, these Human form’d spirits, in smiling hypocrisy Way

Against one another; so let them War on, slaves to the eternal Elements.’)

Noah shrunk beneath the wathers;

Abram fled in fires from Chaldea;

Moses beheld upon Mount Sinai forms of dark delusion.

To Trismegistur Palamabroon gave an abstract Law,

To Pythagoras, Socrates & Plato.

Time rolled on o’er all the sons of Har; time after time

Orc on Mount Atlas howl’d, chain’d down with the Chain of Jealousy.

Then Oothoon hover’d over Judah & Jerusalem,

And Jesus heard her voice (a man of sorrows); he reciev’d

A Gospel form wretched Theotormon.

The human race began to wither, for the healthy built

Secluded places, fearing the joys of Love,

And the diseased only propagated.

So Antamon call’d up Leutha from her valleys of delight

And to Mahomet a loose Bible gave.

But in the North to Odin Sotha gave a Code of War,

Because of Diralada, thinking to reclaim his joy.

These were the churches, Hospitals, Castles, Palace,

Like nets & gins & traps to catch the joys of Eternity,

And all the rest a desart;

Till like a dream Eternity was obliterated & erased,

Since that dread day when Har and Heva fled,

Because their brethren & sisters liv’d in War & Lust;

And as they fled, they shrunk

Into two narrow doleful forms,

Creeping in reptile flesh upon

The bosom of the ground,

And all the vast of Nature shrunk

Before their shrunken eyes.

Thus the terrible race of Los & Enitharmon gave

Laws & Religions to the sons of Har, binding them more

And more to Earth, closing and restraining,

Till a Philosophy of Five Senses was complete.

Urizen wept &gave it into the hands of Newton & Locke.

Clouds roll heavy upon the Alps round Rousseau & Voltaire,

And on the mountains of Lebanon round the deceased Gods

Of Asia, & on the desarts of Africa round the Fallen Angels.

The Guardian Prince of Albion burns in his nightly tent.


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

At the thick-flaming, thought-creating fires or Orc.

And the Kings of Asia stood

And cried in bitterness of soul:

‘Shall not the King call for Famine from the heath,

Nor the Priest for Pestilence from the fen?

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 Councellor throw his curb

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,

For heaps of smoking ruins,

In the night of prosperity & wantonness?

‘To turn man form his path,

To restrain the child from the womb,

‘To cut off the bread from the city,

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,

To teach mortal worms the path

That leads form the gates of the Grave.’

Urizen heard them cry,

And his shudd’ring waving wings

Went enormous above the red flames,

Drawing clouds of despair thro’ the havens

Of Europe as he went.

And his Books of brass, iron & gold

Melted over the land as he flew,

Heavy-waving, howling, weeping.

And he stood over Judea,

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;

And Noah as whit 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,

Arose like a pillar of fire above the Alps,

Like a serpent of fiery flame!

The sullen Earth

Forth from the dead dust rattling bones to bones

Join; shaking convuls’d, the shiv’ring clay breathes,

And all flesh naked stands: Fathers and Friends,

Mothers & Infants, Kings & Warriors.

The Grave shrieks with delight, & shakes

Her hollow womb, & clasps the solid stem.

Her bosom swells with wild desire,

And milk & blood & glandous wine

In rivers rush & shout & dance

On mountain, dale and plain.

The SONG of LOS is Ended

Urizen Wept.