Four Zoas Manuscript|
Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 101, (E 374) "To the four winds hopeless of future. All futurity Seems teeming with Endless Destruction never to be repelld Desperate remorse swallows the present in a quenchless rage When Urizen saw the Lamb of God clothed in Luvahs robes Perplexd & terrifid he Stood tho well he knew that Orc Was Luvah But he now beheld a new Luvah. Or One Who assumed Luvahs form & stood before him opposite But he saw Orc a Serpent form augmenting times on times In the fierce battle & he saw the Lamb of God & the World of Los Surrounded by his dark machines for Orc augmented swift In fury a Serpent wondrous among the Constellations of Urizen A crest of fire rose on his forehead red as the carbuncle Beneath down to his eyelids scales of pearl then gold & silver Immingled with the ruby overspread his Visage down His furious neck writ[h]ing contortive in dire budding pains The scaly armour shot out. Stubborn down his back & bosom The Emerald Onyx Sapphire jasper beryl amethyst Strove in terrific emulation which should gain a place Upon the mighty Fiend the fruit of the mysterious tree Kneaded in Uveths kneading trough. Still Orc devourd the food In raging hunger Still the pestilential food in gems & gold Exuded round his awful limbs Stretching to serpent length His human bulk While the dark shadowy female brooding over Measurd his food morning & evening in cups & baskets of iron With tears of sorrow incessant she labourd the food of Orc Compelld by the iron hearted sisters Daughters of Urizen Gathring the fruit of that mysterious tree circling its root She spread herself thro all the branches in the power of Orc Thus Urizen in self deci[e]t his warlike preparations fabricated And when all things were finishd sudden wavd among the Stars His hurtling hand gave the dire signal thunderous Clarions blow And all the hollow deep rebellowd with the wonderous war Terrified & astonishd Urizen beheld the battle take a form Which he intended not a Shadowy hermaphrodite black & opake The Soldiers namd it Satan but he was yet unformd & vast Hermaphroditic it at length became hiding the Male Within as in a Tabernacle Abominable Deadly The battle howls the terrors fird rage in the work of death Enormous Works Los Contemplated inspird by the holy Spirit Los builds the Walls of Golgonooza against the stirring battle That only thro the Gates of Death they can enter to Enitharmon Raging they take the human visage & the human form Feeling the hand of Los in Golgonooza & the force Attractive of his hammers beating & the Silver looms Of Enitharmon singing lulling cadences on the wind They humanize in the fierce battle where in direful pain Troop by troop the beastial droves rend one another sounding loud The instruments of sound & troop by troop in human forms they urge"
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David Erdman, who was uniquely qualified to explain Blake's writing in its historical setting, writes on page 400 of Prophet Against Empire:
"Hard it is for the prophet who sees rulers choosing apparently endless war. For a time 'Desperate remorse swallows the present in a quenchless rage'. The scope of preparation in 1804 did not suggest a short conflict. How long would it continue? Did it end in 1815 at Waterloo? Has it ended yet? Here was the great crisis of Blake's vision of history. How could he survive in the bleak concentration camp whose endless corridors he now began to pace? How long could he keep his 'quenchless rage' alive - or rather, how long his love: for that seemed to be the test, to continue to believe in brotherhood, which meant to fight in some way: how continue to love those who were dehumanized by Satan?"
"When the Republic of France became an aggressive Empire, it entered the state of Satan: 'When Luvah in Orc became a Serpent he descended into the state calld Satan.' Yet the people of France were not doomed, nor was France to be destroyed; rather it was to be pitied and protected in the womb of the future, for it had at least tried to fight for the future. In the City of Art a kind Enitharmon preserved 'her well beloved knowing that he was Orc's human remains She tenderly lovd him above all his brethern.' In his republican art Blake kept alive a warm sympathy for prodigal and errant France."