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

Selections from ‘The Four Zoas’

[The Song sung at the Feast of Los and Enitharmon]

(Four Zoas, Night II, ll. 128–43.)

THE MOUNTAIN callèd out to the Mountain: ‘Awake, O Brother Mountain!

Let us refuse the Plough and Spade, the heavy Roller and spikèd

Harrow; burn all these corn-fields; throw down all these fences!

Fatten’d on human blood, and drunk with wine of life is better far

Than all these labours of the harvest and the vintage. See the river,

Red with the blood of Men, swells lustful round my rocky knees:

My clouds are not the clouds of verdant fields and groves of fruit,

But Clouds of Human Souls: my nostrils drink the Lives of Men.

‘The Villages lament, they faint, outstretch’d upon the plain:

Wailing runs round the Valleys from the mill and from the barn:

But most the polish’d Palaces, dark, silent, bow with dread,

Hiding their books and pictures underneath the dens of Earth.

‘The Cities send to one another saying: “My sons are mad

With wine of cruelty! Let us plait a scourge, O Sister City!

Children are nourish’d for the slaughter. Once the child was fed

With milk; but wherefore now are children fed with blood?”’