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

Selections from ‘The Four Zoas’

[The War-Song of Orc]

(Four Zoas, Night VII, First Version, ll. 142–56.)

LOUD sounds the war-song round red Orc in his fury,

And round the nameless Shadowy Female in her howling terror,

When all the Elemental Gods join’d in the wondrous song:—

‘Sound the war-trumpet terrific, souls clad in attractive steel!

Sound the shrill fife, Serpents of War! I hear the northern drum

Awake! I hear the flappings of the folding banners!

The Dragons of the North put on their armour;

Upon the eastern sea direct they take their course;

The glitt’ring of their horses’ trappings stains the vault of night.

‘Stop we the rising of the glorious King! spur, spur your clouds

Of death! O northern drum, awake! O hand of iron, sound

The northern drum! Now give the charge! bravely obscur’d

With darts of wintry hail! Again the black bow draw;

Again the elemental strings to your right breasts draw;

And let the thund’ring drum speed on the arrows black!’