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

Selections from ‘Jerusalem’

[The Warrior and the Daughter of Albion]

(Jerusalem, f. 68, ll. 11–23, 53–70.)

LOOK! the beautiful Daughter of Albion sits naked upon the Stone,

Her panting Victim beside her; her heart is drunk with blood,

Tho’ her brain is not drunk with wine; she goes forth from Albion

In pride of beauty, in cruelty of holiness, in the brightness

Of her tabernacle, and her ark and secret place. The beautiful Daughter

Of Albion delights the eyes of the Kings; their hearts and the

Hearts of their Warriors glow hot before Thor and Friga. O Moloch!

O Chemosh! O Bacchus! O Venus! O Double God of Generation!

The Heavens are cut like a mantle around from the Cliffs of Albion,

Across Europe, across Africa, in howlings and deadly War.

A sheet and veil and curtain of blood is let down from Heaven

Across the hills of Ephraim, and down Mount Olivet to

The Valley of the Jebusite …

O beautiful Daughter of Albion, cruelty is thy delight!

O Virgin of terrible eyes, who dwellest by Valleys of springs

Beneath the Mountains of Lebanon, in the City of Rehob in Hamath,

Taught to touch the harp, to dance in the circle of Warriors

Before the Kings of Canaan, to cut the flesh from the Victim,

To roast the flesh in fire, to examine the Infant’s limbs

In cruelties of holiness, to refuse the joys of love, to bring

The Spies from Egypt to raise jealousy in the bosoms of the twelve

Kings of Canaan; then to let the Spies depart to Meribah Kadesh,

To the place of the Amalekite. I am drunk with unsatiated love;

I must rush again to War, for the Virgin has frown’d and refus’d.

Sometimes I curse, and sometimes bless thy fascinating beauty.

Once Man was occupièd in intellectual pleasures and energies;

But now my Soul is harrow’d with grief and fear, and love and desire,

And now I hate, and now I love, and Intellect is no more:

There is no time for anything but the torments of love and desire:

The Feminine and Masculine Shadows, soft, mild, and ever varying

In beauty, are Shadows now no more, but Rocks in Horeb.