America, a Prophecy, Plates 3 and 4
[PLATE 3] The Guardian Prince of Albion burns in his nightly tent, Sullen fires across the Atlantic glow to America's shore: Piercing the souls of warlike men, who rise in silent night, Washington, Franklin, Paine & Warren, Gates, Hancock & Green; Meet on the coast glowing with blood from Albion’s fiery Prince. Washington spoke; Friends of America look over the Atlantic sea; A bended bow is lifted in heaven, & a heavy iron chain Descends link by link from Albion's cliffs across the sea to bind Brothers & sons of America, till our faces pale and yellow; Heads deprest, voices weak, eyes downcast, hands work-bruis'd, Feet bleeding on the sultry sands, and the furrows of the whip Descend to generations that in future times forget.— The strong voice ceas'd; for a terrible blast swept over the heaving sea; The eastern cloud rent; on his cliffs stood Albion’s wrathful Prince A dragon form clashing his scales at midnight he arose, And flam'd red meteors round the land of Albion beneath. His voice, his locks, his awful shoulders, and his glowing eyes, [PLATE 4] Appear to the Americans upon the cloudy night. Solemn heave the Atlantic waves between the gloomy nations, Swelling, belching from its deeps red clouds & raging Fires! Albion is sick. America faints! enrag'd the Zenith grew. As human blood shooting its veins all round the orbed heaven Red rose the clouds from the Atlantic in vast wheels of blood And in the red clouds rose a Wonder o'er the Atlantic sea; Intense! naked! a Human fire fierce glowing, as the wedge Of iron heated in the furnace; his terrible limbs were fire With myriads of cloudy terrors banners dark & towers Surrounded; heat but not light went thro' the murky atmosphere The king of England looking westward trembles at the vision
Printed by William Blake in the year 1793.
William Blake was born in London on November 28, 1757, to James, a hosier, and Catherine Blake. Two of his six siblings died in infancy. From early childhood, Blake spoke of having visions—at four he saw God "put his head to the window"; around age nine, while walking through the countryside, he saw a tree filled with angels.
Date Published: 1793-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/america-prophecy-plates-3-and-4