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

Selections from ‘The Four Zoas’

[The Tillage of Urizen]

(Four Zoas, Night IX, II. 290–306.)

THEN seiz’d the sons of Urizen the plough: they polish’d it

From rust of ages: all its ornament of gold and silver and ivory

Re-shone across the field immense, where all the nations

Darken’d like mould in the divided fallows, where the weed

Triumphs in its own destruction. They took down the harness

From the blue walls of Heaven, starry, jingling, ornamented

With beautiful art, the study of Angels, the workmanship of Demons,

When Heaven and Hell in emulation strove in sports of glory.

The noise of rural work resounded thro’ the heavens of heavens:

The horse[s] neigh from the battle, the wild bulls from the sultry waste,

The tigers from the forests, and the lions from the sandy deserts.

They sing; they seize the instruments of harmony; they throw away

The spear, the bow, the gun, the mortar; they level the fortifications;

They beat the iron engines of destruction into wedges;

They give them to Urthona’s sons. Ringing, the hammers sound

In dens of death, to forge the spade, the mattock, and the axe,

The heavy roller to break the clods, to pass over the nations.