Thursday, November 20, 2008

The French Revolution by William Blake part 5

Rent from the nations, and each star appointed for watchers of night,
The millions of spirits immortal were bound in the ruins of sulphur heaven
To wander inslav'd; black, deprest in dark ignorance, kept in awe with the whip,
To worship terrors, bred from the blood of revenge and breath of desire,
In beastial forms; or more terrible men, till the dawn of our peaceful morning,
Till dawn, till morning, till the breaking of clouds, and swelling of winds, and the universal
Till man raise his darken'd limbs out of the caves of night, his eyes and his heart
Expand: where is space! where O Sun is thy dwelling! where thy tent, O faint slumb'rous
Then the valleys of France shall cry to the soldier, throw down thy sword and musket,
And run and embrace the meek peasant. Her nobles shall hear and shall weep, and put off
The red robe of terror, the crown of oppression, the shoes of contempt, and unbuckle
The girdle of war from the desolate earth; then the Priest in his thund'rous cloud
Shall weep, bending to earth embracing the valleys, and putting his hand to the plow,
Shall say, no more I curse thee; but now I will bless thee: No more in deadly black
Devour thy labour; nor lift up a cloud in thy heavens, O laborious plow,
That the wild raging millions, that wander in forests, and howl in law blasted wastes,
Strength madden'd with slavery, honesty, bound in the dens of superstition,
May sing in the village, and shout in the harvest, and woo in pleasant gardens,
Their once savage loves, now beaming with knowledge, with gentle awe adorned;
And the saw, and the hammer, the chisel, the pencil, the pen, and the instruments
Of heavenly song sound in the wilds once forbidden, to teach the laborious plowman
And shepherd deliver'd from clouds of war, from pestilence, from night-fear, from murder,
From falling, from stifling, from hunger, from cold, from slander, discontent and sloth;
That walk in beasts and birds of night, driven back by the sandy desart
Like pestilent fogs round cities of men: and the happy earth sing in its course,
The mild peaceable nations be opened to heav'n, and men walk with their fathers in bliss.
Then hear the first voice of the morning: Depart, O clouds of night, and no more
Return; be withdrawn cloudy war, troops of warriors depart, nor around our peaceable city
Breathe fires, but ten miles from Paris, let all be peace, nor a soldier be seen.
He ended; the wind of contention arose and the clouds cast their shadows, the Princes
Like the mountains of France, whose aged trees utter an awful voice, and their branches
Are shatter'd, till gradual a murmur is heard descending into the valley,
Like a voice in the vineyards of Burgundy, when grapes are shaken on grass;
Like the low voice of the labouring man, instead of the shout of joy;
And the palace appear'd like a cloud driven abroad; blood ran down, the ancient pillars,
Thro' the cloud a deep thunder, the Duke of Burgundy, delivers the King's command.
Seest thou yonder dark castle, that moated around, keeps this city of Paris in awe.
Go command yonder tower, saying, Bastile depart, and take thy shadowy course.
Overstep the dark river, thou terrible tower, and get thee up into the country ten miles.
And thou black southern prison, move along the dusky road to Versailles; there
Frown on the gardens, and if it obey and depart, then the King will disband
This war-breathing army; but if it refuse, let the Nation's Assembly thence learn,
That this army of terrors, that prison of horrors, are the bands of the murmuring kingdom.
Like the morning star arising above the black waves, when a shipwreck'd soul sighs for
Thro' the ranks, silent, walk'd the Ambassador back to the Nation's Assembly, and told
The unwelcome message; silent they heard; then a thunder roll'd round loud and louder,
Like pillars of ancient halls, and ruins of times remote they sat.
Like a voice from the dim pillars Mirabeau rose; the thunders subsided away;
A rushing of wings around him was heard as he brighten'd, and cried out aloud,
Where is the General of the Nation? the walls reecho'd: Where is the General of the
Sudden as the bullet wrapp'd in his fire, when brazen cannons rage in the field,
Fayette sprung from his seat saying, Ready! then bowing like clouds, man toward man, the
Like a council of ardors seated in clouds, bending over the cities of men,
And over the armies of strife, where their children are marshall'd together to battle;
They murmuring divide, while the wind sleeps beneath, and the numbers are counted in
While they vote the removal of War, and the pestilence weighs his red wings in the sky.
So Fayette stood silent among the Assembly, and the votes were given and the numbers
And the vote was, that Fayette should order the army to remove ten miles from Paris.
The aged sun rises appall'd from dark mountains, and gleams a dusky beam
On Fayette, but on the whole army a shadow, for a cloud on the eastern hills
Hover'd, and stretch'd across the city and across the army, and across the Louvre,
Like a flame of fire he stood before dark ranks, and before expecting captains
On pestilent vapours around him flow frequent spectres of religious men weeping
In winds driven out of the abbeys, their naked souls shiver in keen open air,
Driven out by the fiery cloud of Voltaire, and thund'rous rocks of Rousseau,
They dash like foam against the ridges of the army, uttering a faint feeble cry.
Gleams of fire streak the heavens, and of sulpur the earth, from Fayette as he lifted his
But silent he stood, till all the officers rush round him like waves
Round the shore of France, in day of the British flag, when heavy cannons
Affright the coasts, and the peasant looks over the sea and wipes a tear;
Over his head the soul of Voltaire shone fiery, and over the army Rousseau his white cloud
Unfolded, on souls of war-living terrors silent list'ning toward Fayette,
His voice loud inspir'd by liberty, and by spirits of the dead, thus thunder'd.
The Nation's Assembly command, that the Army remove ten miles from Paris;
Nor a soldier be seen in road or in field, till the Nation command return.
Rushing along iron ranks glittering the officers each to his station
Depart, and the stern captain strokes his proud steed, and in front of his solid ranks
Waits the sound of trumpet; captains of foot stand each by his cloudy drum;
Then the drum beats, and the steely ranks move, and trumpets rejoice in the sky.
Dark cavalry like clouds fraught with thunder ascend on the hills, and bright infantry, rank
Behind rank, to the soul shaking drum and shrill fife along the roads glitter like fire.
The noise of trampling, the wind of trumpets, smote the palace walls with a blast.
Pale and cold sat the king in midst of his peers, and his noble heart stink, and his pulses
Suspended their motion, a darkness crept over his eye-lids, and chill cold sweat
Sat round his brows faded in faint death, his peers pale like mountains of the dead,
Cover'd with dews of night, groaning, shaking forests and floods. The cold newt
And snake, and damp toad, on the kingly foot crawl, or croak on the awful knee,
Shedding their slime, in folds of the robe the crown'd adder builds and hisses
From stony brows; shaken the forests of France, sick the kings of the nations,
And the bottoms of the world were open'd, and the graves of arch-angels unseal'd;
The enormous dead, lift up their pale fires and look over the rocky cliffs.
A faint heat from their fires reviv'd the cold Louvre; the frozen blood reflow'd.
Awful up rose the king, him the peers follow'd, they saw the courts of the Palace
Forsaken, and Paris without a soldier, silent, for the noise was gone up
And follow'd the army, and the Senate in peace, sat beneath morning's beam.

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