Vala, or The Four Zoas/Night the Sixth

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Night the Sixth

[ page 67 ]

So Urizen arose & leaning on his Spear explord his dens
He threw his flight thro the dark air to where a river flowd
And taking off his silver helmet filled it & drank
But when Unsatiated his thirst he assayd to gather more
5 Lo three terrific women at the verge of the bright flood
Who would not suffer him to approach. but drove him back with storms
Urizen knew them not & thus addressd the spirits of darkness
Who art thou Eldest Woman sitting in thy clouds
What is that name written on thy forehead? what art thou?
10 And wherefore dost thou pour this water forth in sighs & care
She answerd not but filld her urn & pourd it forth abroad
Answerest thou not said Urizen. then thou maist answer me
Thou terrible woman clad in blue, whose strong attractive power
Draws all into a fountain at the rock of thy attraction
15 With frowning brow thou sittest mistress of these mighty waters
She answerd not but stretchd her arms & threw her limbs abroad
Or wilt thou answer youngest Woman clad in shining greent
With labour & care thou dost divide the current into fourt
Queen of these dreadful rivers speak & let me hear thy voice

[ page 68 ]

They reard up a wall of rocks and Urizen raisd his spear.
They gave a scream, they knew their father Urizen knew his daughters
They shrunk into their channels. dry the rocky strand beneath his feet
Hiding themselves in rocky forms from the Eyes of Urizen
5 Then Urizen wept & thus his lamentation poured forth
O horrible O dreadful state! those whom I loved best
On whom I pourd the beauties of my light adorning them
With jewels & precious ornament labourd with art divine
Vests of the radiant colours of heaven & crowns of golden fire
10 I gave sweet lillies to their breasts & roses to their hair
I taught them songs of sweet delight, I gave their tender voices
Into the blue expanse & I invented with laborious art
Sweet instruments of sound. in pride encompassing my Knees
They pourd their radiance above all. the daughters of Luvah Envied
15 At their exceeding brightness & the sons of eternity sent them gifts
Now will I pour my fury on them & I will reverse
The precious benediction. for their colours of loveliness
I will give blackness for jewels hoary frost for ornament deformity
For crowns wreathd Serpents for sweet odors stinking corruptibility
20 For voices of delight hoarse croakings inarticulate thro frost
For labourd fatherly care & sweet instruction. I will give
Chains of dark ignorance & cords of twisted self conceit
And whips of stern repentance & food of stubborn obstinacy
That they may curse Tharmas their God & Los his adopted son
25 That they may curse & worship the obscure Demon of destruction
That they may worship terrors & obey the violent
Go forth sons of my curse Go forth daughters of my abhorrence
Tharmas heard the deadly scream across his watry world
And Urizens loud sounding voice lamenting on the wind
30 And he came riding in his fury. froze to solid were his waves

[ page 69 ]

Silent in ridges he beheld them stand round Urizen
A dreary waste of solid waters for the King of Light
Darkend his brows with his cold helmet & his gloomy spear
Darkend before him. Silent on the ridgy waves he took
5 His gloomy way before him Tharmas fled & flying fought
Crying. What & who art thou Cold Demon. art thou Urizen
Art thou like me risen again from death or art thou deathless
If thou art he my desperate purpose hear & give me death
For death to me is better far than life. death my desire
10 That I in vain in various paths have sought but still I live
The Body of Man is given to me I seek in vain to destroy
For still it surges forth in fish & monsters of the deeps
And in these monstrous forms I Live in an Eternal woet
And thou O Urizen art falln never to be deliverd
15 Withhold thy light from me for ever & I will withhold
From thee thy food so shall we cease to be & all our sorrows
End & the Eternal Man no more renew beneath our power
If thou refusest in eternal flight thy beams in vain
Shall pursue Tharmas & in vain shalt crave for food I will
20 Pour down my flight thro dark immensity Eternal falling
Thou shalt pursue me but in vain till starvd upon the void
Thou hangst a dried skin shrunk up weak wailing in the wind
So Tharmas spoke but Urizen replied not. On his way
He took. high bounding over hills & desarts floods & horrible chasms
25 Infinite was his labour without end his travel he strove
In vain for hideous monsters of the deeps annoyd him sore
Scaled & finnd with iron & brass they devourd the path before him
Incessant was the conflict. On he bent his weary steps
Making a path toward the dark world of Urthona. he rose
30 With pain upon the dreary mountains & with pain descended
And saw their grizly fears & his eyes sickend at the sight
The howlings gnashings groanings shriekings shudderings sobbings burstings
Mingle together to create a world for Los. In cruel delight

[ page 70 FIRST PORTION ]

Los brooded on the darkness. nor saw Urizen with a Globe of fire
Lighting his dismal journey thro the pathless world of death
Writing in bitter tears & groans in books of iron & brass
The enormous wonders of the Abysses once his brightest joy
5 For Urizen beheld the terrors of the Abyss wandring among
The ruind spirits once his children & the children of Luvah
Scard at the sound of their own sigh that seems to shake the immense
They wander Moping in their heart a Sun a Dreary moon
A Universe of fiery constellations in their brain
10 An Earth of wintry woe beneath their feet & round their loinst
Waters or winds or clouds or brooding lightnings & pestilential plagues
Beyond the bounds of their own self their senses cannot penetrate
As the tree knows not what is outside of its leaves & bark
And yet it drinks the summer joy & fears the winter sorrow
15 So in the regions of the grave none knows his dark compeer
Tho he partakes of his dire woes & mutual returns the pang
The throb the dolor the convulsion in soul sickening woes
The horrid shapes & sights of torment in burning dungeons & in
Fetters of red hot iron some with crowns of serpents & some
20 With monsters girding round their bosoms, Some lying on beds of sulphur
On racks & wheels he beheld women marching oer burning wastes
Of Sand in bands of hundreds & of fifties & of thousands strucken with
Lightnings which blazed after them upon their shoulders in their march
In successive vollies with loud thunders swift flew the King of Light
25 Over the burning desarts Then the desarts passd. involvd in clouds
Of smoke with myriads moping in the stifling vapours. Swift
Flew the King tho flagd his powers labring. till over rocks
And Mountains faint weary he wanderd. where multitudes were shut
Up in the solid mountains & in rocks which heaved with their torments
30 Then came he among fiery cities & castles built of burning steel
Then he beheld the forms of tygers & of Lions dishumanizd men
Many in serpents & in worms stretchd out enormous length
Over the sullen mould & slimy tracks obstruct his way
Drawn out from deep to deep woven by ribbd
35 And scaled monsters or armd in iron shell or shell of brass
Or gold a glittering torment shining & hissing in eternal pain
Some [as] columns of fire or of water sometimes stretchd out in heighth
Sometimes in length sometimes englobing wandering in vain seeking for easet
His voice to them was but an inarticulate thunder for their Ears
40 Were heavy & dull & their eyes & nostrils closed up
Oft he stood by a howling victim Questioning in words
Soothing or Furious no one answerd every one wrapd up
In his own sorrow howld regardless of his words, nor voice
Of sweet response could he obtain tho oft assayd with tears
45 He knew they were his Children ruind in his ruind world

[ page 71 FIRST PORTION ]

Oft would he stand & question a fierce scorpion glowing with gold
In vain the terror heard not. then a lion he would Sieze
By the fierce mane staying his howling course in vain the voicet
Of Urizen vain the Eloquent tongue. A Rock a Cloud a Mountain
5 Were now not Vocal as in Climes of happy Eternity
Where the lamb replies to the infant voice & the lion to the man of years
Giving them sweet instructions Where the Cloud the River & the Field
Talk with the husbandman & shepherd. But these attackd him sore
Siezing upon his feet & rending the Sinews that in Caves
10 He hid to recure his obstructed powers with rest & oblivion

[ page 70 SECOND PORTION ]

Here he had time enough to repent of his rashly threatend curse
He saw them cursd beyond his Curse his soul melted with fear

[ page 71 SECOND PORTION ]

He could not take their fetters off for they grew from the soul
Nor could he quench the fires for they flamd out from the heart
Nor could he calm the Elements because himself was Subject
So he threw his flight in terror & pain & in repentant tears
15 When he had passd these southern terrors he approachd the East
Void pathless beaten With iron sleet & eternal hail & raint
No form was there no living thing & yet his way lay thro
This dismal world. he stood a while & lookd back oer his former
Terrific voyage. Hills & Vales of torment & despair
20 Sighing & Wiping a fresh tear. then turning round he threw
Himself into the dismal void. falling he fell & fell
Whirling in unresistible revolutions down & down
In the horrid bottomless vacuity falling failing falling
Into the Eastern vacuity the empty world of Luvah
25 The ever pitying one who seeth all things saw his fall
And in the dark vacuity created a bosom of clayt
When wearied dead he fell his limbs reposd in the bosom of slime
As the seed falls from the sowers hand so Urizen fell & death
Shut up his powers in oblivion. then as the seed shoots forth
30 In pain & sorrow. So the slimy bed his limbs renewd
At first an infant weakness. periods passd he gatherd strength
But still in solitude he sat then rising threw his flight
Onward tho falling thro the waste of night & ending in death
And in another resurrection to sorrow & weary travel
35 But still his books he bore in his strong hands & his iron pen
For when he died they lay beside his grave & when he rose
He siezd them with a gloomy smile for wrapd in his death clothes
He hid them when he slept in death when he revivd the clothes
Were rotted by the winds the books remaind still unconsumd
40 Still to be written & interleavd with brass & iron & gold
Time after time for such a journey none but iron pens
Can write And adamantine leaves recieve nor can the man who goes

[ page 72 ]

The journey obstinate refuse to write time after time
Endless had been his travel but the Divine hand him led
For infinite the distance & obscurd by Combustions dire
By rocky masses frowning in the abysses revolving erratic
5 Round Lakes of fire in the dark deep the ruins of Urizens world 5
Oft would he sit in a dark rift & regulate his books
Or sleep such sleep as spirits eternal wearied in his dark
Tearful & sorrowful state. then rise look out & ponder
His dismal voyage eyeing the next sphere tho far remote
10 Then darting into the Abyss of night his venturous limbs
Thro lightnings thunders earthquakes & concussions fires & floods
Stemming his downward fall labouring up against futurity
Creating many a Vortex fixing many a Science in the deep
And thence throwing his venturous limbs into the Vast unknown
15 Swift Swift from Chaos to chaos from void to void a road immense
For when he came to where a Vortex ceasd to operate
Nor down nor up remaind then if he turnd & lookd back
From whence he came twas upward all. & if he turnd and viewd
The unpassd void upward was still his mighty wandring
20 The midst between an Equilibrium grey of air serene
Where he might live in peace & where his life might meet repose
But Urizen said Can I not leave this world of Cumbrous wheels
Circle oer Circle nor on high attain a void
Where self sustaining I may view all things beneath my feet
25 Or sinking thro these Elemental wonders swift to fall
I thought perhaps to find an End a world beneath of voidness
Whence I might travel round the outside of this Dark confusion
When I bend downward bending my bead downward into the deep
Tis upward all which way soever I my course begin
30 But when A Vortex formd on high by labour & sorrow & care
And weariness begins on all my limbs then sleep revives
My wearied spirits waking then tis downward all which way
So ever I my spirits turn no end I find of all
O what a world is here unlike those climes of bliss
35 Where my sons gatherd round my knees O thou poor ruind world
Thou horrible ruin once like me thou wast all glorious
And now like me partaking desolate thy masters lot
Art thou O ruin the once glorious heaven are these thy rocks
Where joy sang in the trees & pleasure sported on the rivers

[ page 73 ]

And laughter sat beneath the Oaks & innocence sported round
Upon the green plains & sweet friendship met in palaces
And books & instruments of song & pictures of delight
Where are they whelmd beneath these ruins in horrible destruction
5 And if Eternal falling I repose on the dark bosom
Of winds & waters or thence fall into a Void where air
Is not down falling thro immensity ever & ever
I lose my powers weakend every revolution till a death
Shuts up my powers then a seed in the vast womb of darkness
10 I dwell in dim oblivion. brooding over me the Enormous worlds
Reorganize me shooting forth in bones & flesh & blood
I am regenerated to fall or rise at will or to remain
A labourer of ages a dire discontent a living woe
Wandring in vain. Here will I fix my foot & here rebuild
15 Here Mountains of Brass promise much riches in their dreadful bosoms
So he began to dig form[ing] of gold silver & iron
And brass vast instruments to measure out the immense & fix
The whole into another world better suited to obey
His will where none should dare oppose his will himself being King
20 Of All & all futurity be bound in his vast chain
And the Sciences were fixd & the Vortexes began to operate
On all the sons of men & every human soul terrified
At the turning wheels of heaven shrunk away inward withring away
Gaining a New Dominion over all his sons & Daughters
25 & over the Sons & daughters of Luvah in the horrible Abyss
For Urizen lamented over them in a selfish lamentation
Till a white woof coverd his cold limbs from head to feet
Hair white as snow coverd him in flaky locks terrific
Overspreading his limbs. in pride he wanderd weeping
30 Clothed in aged venerableness obstinately resolvd
Travelling thro darkness & whereever he traveld a dire Web
Followd behind him as the Web of a Spider dusky & cold
Shivering across from Vortex to Vortex drawn out from his mantle of years
A living Mantle adjoind to his life & growing from his Soul
35 And the Web of Urizen stre[t]chd direful shivring in clouds
And uttering such woes such bursts such thunderings
The eyelids expansive as morning & the Ears
As a golden ascent winding round to the heavens of heavens
Within the dark horrors of the Abysses lion or tyger or scorpion

[ page 74 ]

For every one opend within into Eternity at will
But they refusd because their outward forms were in the Abyss
And the wing like tent of the Universe beautiful surrounding all
Or drawn up or let down at the will of the immortal man
5 Vibrated in such anguish the eyelids quiverd
Weak & Weaker their expansive orbs began shrinking
Pangs smote thro the brain & a universal shriek
Ran thro the Abysses rending the web torment on torment
Thus Urizen in sorrows wanderd many a dreary way
10 Warring with monsters of the Deeps in his most hideous pilgrimage
Till his bright hair scatterd in snows his skin barkd oer with wrinkles
Four Caverns rooting downwards their foundations thrusting forth
The metal rock & stone in ever painful throes of vegetation
The Cave of Orc stood to the South a furnace of dire flames
15 Quenchless unceasing. In the west the Cave of Urizen
For Urizen fell as the Midday sun falls down into the West
North stood Urthonas stedfast throne a World of Solid darkness
Shut up in stifling obstruction rooted in dumb despair
The East was Void. But Tharmas rolld his billows in ceaseless eddies
20 Void pathless beat with Snows eternal & iron hail & raint
All thro the caverns of fire & air & Earth, Seeking
For Enions limbs nought finding but the black sea weed & sickning slime
Flying away from Urizen that he might not give him food
Above beneath on all sides round in the vast deep of immensity
25 That he might starve the sons & daughters of Urizen on the winds
Making between horrible chasms into the vast unknown
All these around the world of Los cast forth their monstrous births
But in Eternal times the Seat of Urizen is in the South
Urthona in the North Luvah in East Tharmas in West
30 And now he came into the Abhorred world of Dark Urthona
By Providence divine conducted not bent from his own will
Lest death Eternal should be the result for the Will cannot be violated
Into the doleful vales where no tree grew nor river flowd
Nor man nor beast nor creeping thing nor sun nor cloud nor star
35 Still he with his globe of fire immense in his venturous hand
Bore on thro the Affrighted vales ascending & descending
Oerwearied or in cumbrous flight he venturd oer dark rifts
Or down dark precipices or climbd with pain and labour huge
Till he beheld the world of Los from the Peaked rock of Urthona
40 And heard the howling of red Orc distincter & distincter 40

[ page 75 ]

Redoubling his immortal efforts thro the narrow vales
With difficulty down descending guided by his Ear
And by his globe of fire he went down the Vale of Urthona
Between the enormous iron walls built by the Spectre dark
5 Dark grew his globe reddning with mists & full before his path 5
Striding across the narrow vale the Shadow of Urthona
A spectre Vast appeard whose feet & legs with iron scaled
Stampd the hard rocks expectant of the unknown wanderer
Whom he had seen wandring his nether world when distant far
10 And watchd his swift approach collected dark the Spectre stood
Beside hi[m] Tharmas stayd his flight & stood in stern defiance
Communing with the Spectre who rejoicd along the vale
Round his loins a girdle glowd with many colourd fires
In his hand a knotted Club whose knots like mountains frownd
15 Desart among the Stars them withering with its ridges cold
Black scales of iron arm the dread visage iron spikes instead
Of hair shoot from his orbed scull. his glowing eyes
Burn like two furnaces. he calld with Voice of Thunder
Four winged heralds mount the furious blasts & blow their trumps
20 Gold Silver Brass & iron clangors clamoring rend the shores
Like white clouds rising from the Vales his fifty two armies
From the four Cliffs of Urthona rise glowing around the Spectre
Four sons of Urizen the Squadrons of Urthona led in arms
Of gold & silver brass & iron he knew his mighty sons
25 Then Urizen arose upon the wind back many a mile
Retiring into his dire Web scattering fleecy snows
As he ascended howling loud the Web vibrated strong
From heaven to heaven from globe to globe. In vast excentric paths
Compulsive rolld the Comets at his dread command the dreary way
30 Falling with wheel impetuous down among Urthonas vales
And round red Orc returning back to Urizen gorgd with bloodt
Slow roll the massy Globes at his command & slow oerwheel
The dismal squadrons of Urthona. weaving the dire Web
In their progressions & preparing Urizens path before him

End of the Sixth Night


This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.