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English Poetry

William Blake: The Prophetic works

1757-1827, English poet, artist and engraver. London, England.

'Thought chang'd the infinite to a serpent, that which pitieth to a devouring flame; and man fled from its face and hid in forests of the night... '

The nameless shadowy female rose from out the breast of Orc, her snaky hair brandishing in the winds of Enitharmon...

Terrified, Urizen heard Orc, now certain that he was Luvah. And Orc began to organise a Serpent body...

...the Clarions of war blew loud. Orc rent [the nameless shadowy Female] & his human form consum'd in his own fires mingled with her dolorous members strewn thro' the Abyss. She joy’d in all the conflict, gratified and dropping tears of woe. No more remained of Orc but the Serpent around the Tree of Mystery. The form of Orc was gone; he rear'd his serpent bulk among the stars of Urizen in Power...

When Urizen saw the Lamb of God clothed in Luvah's robes. perplex'd & terrifi'd he stood, tho' well he knew that Orc was Luvah. But he now beheld a new Luvah, or One who assum'd Luvah's form & stood before him opposite. But he saw Orc a Serpent form augmenting time on times...

Hear ye the voice of Luvah... If I indeed am Vala's King... when I call'd forth the Earth-worm from the cold and dark obscure, I nurtured her... she grew a scaled serpent, yet I fed her... I brought her thro' the wilderness... till she became a dragon... and I commanded the Great deep to hide her in his hand till she became a little weeping Infant a span long.

Extracts from: Keynes, Geoffrey, 1966. Blake: The Complete Writings. Oxford University Press. The Four Zoas: Written and revised 1795–1804, pp 263–382.

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