Europe A Prophecy

Five windows light the cavern’d Man; thro’ one he breathes the air;
Thro’ one, hears music of the spheres; thro’ one, the eternal vine
Flourishes, that he may recieve the grapes; thro’ one can look.
And see small portions of the eternal world that ever groweth;
Thro’ one, himself pass out what time he please, but he will not;
For stolen joys are sweet, & bread eaten in secret pleasant.

So sang a Fairy mocking as he sat on a streak’d Tulip,
Thinking none saw him: when he ceas’d I started from the trees!
And caught him in my hat as boys knock down a butterfly.
How know you this said I small Sir? where did you learn this song?
Seeing himself in my possession thus he answered me:
My master, I am yours. command me, for I must obey.

Then tell me, what is the material world, and is it dead?
He laughing answer’d: I will write a book on leaves of flowers,
If you will feed me on love-thoughts, & give me now and then
A cup of sparkling poetic fancies; so when I am tipsie,
I’ll sing to you to this soft lute; and shew you all alive
The world, when every particle of dust breathes forth its joy.

I took him home in my warm bosom: as we went along
Wild flowers I gatherd; & he shew’d me each eternal flower:
He laugh’d aloud to see them whimper because they were pluck’d.
They hover’d round me like a cloud of incense: when I came
Into my parlour and sat down, and took my pen to write:
My Fairy sat upon the table, and dictated EUROPE.

PRELUDIUM

The nameless shadowy female rose from out the breast of Orc:
Her snaky hair brandishing in the winds of Enitharmon;
And thus her voice arose.

O mother Enitharmon wilt thou bring forth other sons?
To cause my name to vanish, that my place may not be found.
For I am faint with travel! t8
Like the dark cloud disburdend in the day of dismal thunder.

My roots are brandish’d in the heavens. my fruits in earth beneath
Surge, foam, and labour into life, first born & first consum’d!
Consumed and consuming!
Then why shouldst thou accursed mother bring me into life?

I wrap my turban of thick clouds around my lab’ring head;
And fold the sheety waters as a mantle round my limbs.
Yet the red sun and moon,
And all the overflowing stars rain down prolific pains.

Unwilling I look up to heaven! unwilling count the stars!
Sitting in fathomless abyss of my immortal shrine.
I sieze their burning power
And bring forth howling terrors, all devouring fiery kings.

Devouring & devoured roaming on dark and desolate mountains
In forests of eternal death, shrieking in hollow trees.
Ah mother Enitharmon!
Stamp not with solid form this vig’rous progeny of fires.

I bring forth from my teeming bosom myriads of flames.
And thou dost stamp them with a signet, then they roam abroad
And leave me void as death:
Ah! I am drown’d in shady woe, and visionary joy.

And who shall bind the infinite with an eternal band?
To compass it with swaddling bands? and who shall cherish it
With milk and honey?
I see it smile & I roll inward & my voice is past.

She ceast & rolld her shady clouds
Into the secret place.

A PROPHECY

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 t8
That strong Urthona takes his rest,
And Urizen unloos’d from chains
Glows like 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:
Sieze 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.

- William Blake