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William Blake (1757–1827). The Poetical Works. 1908.

Selections from ‘Milton’

[The Forge of Los]

(Milton, f. 23, ll. 51–66.)

IN Bowlahoola Los’s Anvils stand and his Furnaces rage;

Thundering the Hammers beat, and the Bellows blow loud,

Living, self-moving, mourning, lamenting, and howling incessantly

Bowlahoola thro’ all its porches feels, tho’ too fast founded,

Its pillars and porticoes to tremble at the force

Of mortal or immortal arm; and softly lilling flutes,

Accordant with the horrid labours, make sweet melody.

The Bellows are the Animal Lungs, the Hammers the Animal Heart,

The Furnaces the Stomach for digestion; terrible their fury!

Thousands and thousands labour, thousands play on instruments,

Stringèd or fluted, to ameliorate the sorrows of slavery.

Loud sport the dancers in the Dance of Death, rejoicing in carnage.

The hard dentant Hammers are lull’d by the flutes’ lula lula,

The bellowing Furnaces’ blare by the long-sounding clarion,

The double drum drowns howls and groans, the shrill fife shrieks and cries,

The crooked horn mellows the hoarse raving serpent—terrible but harmonious.