Then She bore Pale desire/original

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746815then She bore Pale desire… (Original)William Blake

then She bore Pale desire...

(as published by David V. Erdman)

then She bore Pale desire father of Curiosity a Virgin ever
young. And after. Leaden Sloth from whom came Ignorance. who
brought forth wonder. These are the Gods which Came from fear.
for Gods like these. nor male nor female are but Single Pregnate
5 or if they list together mingling bring forth mighty powrs[.] She
knew them not yet they all war with Shame and Strengthen her weak
arm. But Pride awoke nor knew that Joy was born. and taking
Poisnous Seed from her own Bowels. in the Monster Shame infusd.
forth Came Ambition Crawling like a toad Pride Bears it in her
10 Bosom. and the Gods. all bow to it. So Great its Power. that
Pride inspird by it Prophetic Saw the Kingdoms of the World & all
their Glory. Giants of Mighty arm before the flood. Cains City.
built With Murder. Then Babel mighty Reard him to the Skies.
Babel with thousand tongues Confusion it was calld. and Givn to
15 Shame. this Pride observing inly Grievd. but knew not that.
the rest was Givn to Shame as well as this. Then Nineva &
Babylon & Costly tyre. And evn Jerusalem was Shewn. the holy
City. Then Athens Learning & the Pride of Greece. and further
from the Rising Sun. was Rome Seated on Seven hills the
20 mistress of the world. Emblem of Pride She Saw the Arts their
treasures Bring and luxury his bounteous table Spread. but now a
Cloud oercasts. and back to th'East. to Constantines Great City
Empire fled, Ere long to bleed & die a Sacrifice done by a
Priestly hand[.] So once the Sun his. Chariot drew. back. to
25 prolong a Good kings life.
The Cloud oer past & Rome now Shone again Miterd & Crown'd with
triple crown. Then Pride was better Pleasd She Saw the World fall
down in Adoration[.] But now full to the Setting Sun a Sun
arose out of the Sea. it rose & shed Sweet Influence oer the
30Earth Pride feared for her City, but not long. for looking
Stedfastly She saw that Pride Reignd here. Now Direful Pains
accost her. and Still pregnant. so Envy came & Hate. twin progeny
Envy hath a Serpents head of fearful bulk hissing with hundred
tongues, her poisnous breath breeds Satire foul Contagion from
35which none are free. oer whelmd by ever During Thirst She
Swalloweth her own Poison. which consumes her nether Parts.
from whence a River Springs. Most Black & loathsom through the
land it Runs Rolling with furious [p 3] Noise. but at the last it
Settles in a lake called Oblivion. tis at this Rivers fount where
40evry mortals Cup is Mix't My Cup is fill'd with Envy's Rankest
Draught a miracle No less can set me Right. Desire Still
Pines but for
one Cooling Drop and tis Deny'd, while others in Contentments
downy Nest do sleep, it is the Cursed thorn wounding my breast
45that makes me sing. however sweet tis Envy that Inspires my Song.
prickt. by the fame of others how I mourn and my complaints are
Sweeter than their Joys but O could I at Envy Shake my hands. my
notes Should Rise to meet the New born Day. Hate Meager hag Sets
Envy on unable to Do ought herself. but Worn away a Bloodless
50Daemon The Gods all Serve her at her will so great her Power
is[.] like. fabled hecate She doth bind them to her law. Far in a
Direful Cave She lives unseen Closd from the Eye of Day. to the
hard Rock transfixt by fate and here She works her witcheries
that when She Groans She Shakes the Solid Ground Now Envy She
55 controlls with numming trance & Melancholy Sprung from her dark
womb There is a Melancholy, O how lovely tis whose heaven is in
the heavenly Mind for she from heaven came, and where She goes
heaven still doth follow her. She brings true joy once
fled. & Contemplation is her Daughter. Sweet Contemplation. She
60brings humility to man Take her She Says & wear her in thine
heart lord of thy Self thou then art lord of all. Tis
Contemplation teacheth knowledge truly how to know. and
Reinstates him on his throne once lost how lost I'll tell. But
Stop the motley Song I'll Shew. how Conscience Came from heaven.
65But O who listens to his Voice. T'was Conscience who brought
Melancholy down Conscience was sent a Guard to Reason. Reason
once fairer than the light till fould in Knowledges dark Prison
house. For knowledge drove sweet Innocence away. and Reason would
have followd but fate sufferd not. Then down Came conscience With
70his lovely band The Eager Song Goes on telling how Pride against
her father Warrd & Overcame. Down his white Beard the Silver
torrents Roll. and Swelling Sighs burst forth his Children all in
arms appear to tear him from his throne Black was the deed. most
Black. Shame in a Mist Sat Round his troubled bead. & filld him
75with Confusion. Fear as a torrent wild Roard Round his throne the
mighty pillars shake Now all the Gods in blackning Ranks appear.
like a tempestuous thunder Cloud Pride leads. them on. Now they
Surround the God. and bind him fast. Pride bound him, then usurpd
oer all the Gods. She Rode upon the Swelling wind and Scatterd
80 all who durst t'oppose. but Shame opposing fierce and hovering.
over her in the darkning Storm. She brought forth Rage. Mean
while Strife Mighty Prince was born Envy in direful Pains him
bore. then Envy brought forth Care. Care Sitteth in the wrinkled
brow. Strife Shapeless Sitteth under thrones of kings. like
85 Smouldring fire. or in the Buzz of Cities flies abroad Care
brought forth Covet Eyeless & prone to th' Earth, and
Strife brought forth Revenge. Hate brooding in her Dismal den
grew Pregnant & bore Scorn, & Slander. Scorn waits on Pride.
but Slander. flies around the World to do the Work of hate her
90 drudge & Elf. but Policy doth drudge for hate as well as Slander.
& oft makes use of her. Policy Son of Shame. Indeed
hate Controlls all the Gods. at will. Policy brought forth Guile
& fraud. these Gods last namd live in the Smoke of Cities. on
Dusky wing breathing forth Clamour & Destruction. alas in Cities
95 wheres the man whose face is not a mask unto his heart Pride made
a Goddess. fair or Image rather till knowledge animated it.
'twas Calld Selflove. The Gods admiring loaded her with Gifts as
once Pandora She 'mongst men was Sent. and worser ills attended
her by far. She was a Goddess Powerful & bore Conceit and Shame
100 bore honour & made league with Pride & Policy doth dwell with
her by whom she [had] Mistrust & Suspition. Then bore a Daughter
called Emulation. who. married. honour these follow her around
the World[.] Go See the City friends Joind Hand in Hand. Go See.
the Natural the of flesh & blood. Go See more strong the ties of
105 marriage love, thou Scarce Shall find but Self love Stands Between

<Before 1777>


  1. The 7-page manuscript is now in the New York Public Library. First printed by W. M. Rossetti, divided into lines, in The Monthly Review for August, 1903, with the title "The Passions".

This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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