Visions of the Daughters of Albion (2)

by William Blake

Oothoon weeps not; she cannot weep, her tears are lockèd up;
But she can howl incessant, writhing her soft snowy limbs,
And calling Theotormon’s Eagles to prey upon her flesh.

`I call with holy voice! Kings of the sounding air,
Rend away this defilèd bosom that I may reflect
The image of Theotormon on my pure transparent breast.’

The Eagles at her call descend and rend their bleeding prey:
Theotormon severely smiles; her soul reflects the smile,
As the clear spring, muddied with feet of beasts, grows pure and smiles.

The Daughters of Albion hear her woes, and echo back her sighs.

`Why does my Theotormon sit weeping upon the threshold,
And Oothoon hovers by his side, per 1000 suading him in vain?
I cry: Arise, O Theotormon! for the village dog
Barks at the breaking day; the nightingale has done lamenting;
The lark does rustle in the ripe corn, and the eagle returns
From nightly prey, and lifts his golden beak to the pure east,
Shaking the dust from his immortal pinions to awake
The sun that sleeps too long. Arise, my Theotormon! I am pure,
Because the night is gone that clos’d me in its deadly black.
They told me that the night and day were all that I could see;
They told me that I had five senses to enclose me up;
And they enclos’d my infinite brain into a narrow circle,
And sunk my heart into the Abyss, a red, round globe, hot burning,
Till all from life I was obliterated and erasèd.
Instead of morn arises a bright shadow, like an eye
In the eastern cloud; instead of night a sickly charnel-house,
That Theotormon hears me not. To him the night and morn
Are both alike; a night of sighs, a morning of fresh tears;
And none but Bromion can hear my lamentations.
`With what sense is it that the chicken shuns the ravenous hawk?
With what sense does the tame pigeon measure out the expanse?
With what sense does the bee form cells? Have not the mouse and frog
Eyes and ears and sense of touch? Yet are their habitations
And their pursuits as different as their forms and as their joys.
Ask the wild ass why he refuses burdens, and the meek camel
Why he loves man. Is it because of eye, ear, mouth, or skin,
Or breathing nostrils? No! for these the wolf and tiger have.
Ask the blind worm the secrets of the grave, and why her spires
Love to curl round the bones of death; and ask the rav’nous snake
Where she gets poison, and the wing’d eagle why he loves the sun;
And then tell me the thoughts of man, that have been hid of old.

`Silent I hover all the night, and all day could be silent,
If Theotormon once would turn his lovèd eyes upon me.
How can I be defil’d when I reflect thy image pure?
Sweetest the fruit that the worm feeds on, and the soul prey’d on by woe,
The new-wash’d lamb ting’d with the village smoke, and the bright swan
By the red earth of our immortal river. I bathe my wings,
And I am white and pure to hover round Theotormon’s breast.’

door William Blake


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