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 Preludium to Europe
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Preludium to Europe
by William Blake

1 The nameless shadowy female rose from out the breast of Orc,
2 Her snaky hair brandishing in the winds of Enitharmon;
3 And thus her voice arose:

4 "O mother Enitharmon, wilt thou bring forth other sons?
5 To cause my name to vanish, that my place may not be found,
6 For I am faint with travail,
7 Like the dark cloud disburden'd in the day of dismal thunder.

8 My roots are brandish'd in the heavens, my fruits in earth beneath
9 Surge, foam and labour into life, first born and first consum'd!
10 Consumed and consuming!
11 Then why shouldst thou, accursed mother, bring me into life?

12 I wrap my turban of thick clouds around my lab'ring head,
13 And fold the sheety waters as a mantle round my limbs;
14 Yet the red sun and moon
15 And all the overflowing stars rain down prolific pains.

16 Unwilling I look up to heaven, unwilling count the stars:
17 Sitting in fathomless abyss of my immortal shrine
18 I seize their burning power
19 And bring forth howling terrors, all devouring fiery kings,

20 Devouring and devoured, roaming on dark and desolate mountains,
21 In forests of eternal death, shrieking in hollow trees.
22 Ah mother Enitharmon!
23 Stamp not with solid form this vig'rous progeny of fires.

24 I bring forth from my teeming bosom myriads of flames,
25 And thou dost stamp them with a signet; then they roam abroad
26 And leave me void as death.
27 Ah! I am drown'd in shady woe and visionary joy.

28 And who shall bind the infinite with an eternal band?
29 To compass it with swaddling bands? and who shall cherish it
30 With milk and honey?
31 I see it smile, and I roll inward, and my voice is past."

32 She ceased, and roll'd her shady clouds
33 Into the secret place.