America, A Prophecy



The shadowy Daughter of Urthona stood before red Orc,
     When fourteen suns had faintly journey'd o'er his dark abode:
     His food she brought in iron baskets, his drink in cups of iron:
     Crown'd with a helmet and dark hair the nameless female stood;
     A quiver with its burning stores, a bow like that of night,
    When pestilence is shot from heaven: no other arms she need!
     Invulnerable though naked, save where clouds roll round her loins
    Their awful folds in the dark air: silent she stood as night;
    For never from her iron tongue could voice or sound arise,
   But dumb till that dread day when Orc assay'd his fierce embrace.
   'Dark Virgin,' said the hairy youth, 'thy father stern, abhorr'd,
  Rivets my tenfold chains while still on high my spirit soars;
  Sometimes an Eagle screaming in the sky, sometimes a Lion
   Stalking upon the mountains, and sometimes a Whale, I lash
  The raging fathomless abyss; anon a Serpent folding
  Around the pillars of Urthona, and round thy dark limbs
   On the Canadian wilds I fold; feeble my spirit folds,
   For chain'd beneath I rend these caverns: when thou bringest food
  I howl my joy, and my red eyes seek to behold thy face--
  In vain! these clouds roll to and fro, and hide thee from my sight.'

   Silent as despairing love, and strong as jealousy,
  The hairy shoulders rend the links; free are the wrists of fire;
   Round the terrific loins he seiz'd the panting, struggling womb;
  It joy'd: she put aside her clouds and smiled her first-born smile,
 As when a black cloud shews its lightnings to the silent deep.

   Soon as she saw the terrible boy, then burst the virgin cry:

   'I know thee, I have found thee, and I will not let thee go:
   Thou art the image of God who dwells in darkness of Africa,
   And thou art fall'n to give me life in regions of dark death.
On my American plains I feel the struggling afflictions
   Endur'd by roots that writhe their arms into the nether deep.
  I see a Serpent in Canada who courts me to his love,
   In Mexico an Eagle, and a Lion in Peru;
   I see a Whale in the south-sea, drinking my soul away.
   O what limb-rending pains I feel! thy fire and my frost
   Mingle in howling pains, in furrows by thy lightnings rent.
   This is eternal death, and this the torment long foretold.'

Font size:
Collection  PDF     
 

Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on May 02, 2023

2:05 min read
1,078

Quick analysis:

Scheme AXXXBXCBCCXCXXACCXCB CXXXD X AAXCDXXXXXX
Closest metre Iambic heptameter
Characters 2,297
Words 411
Stanzas 4
Stanza Lengths 20, 5, 1, 11

William Blake

William Blake was an English poet, painter and printmaker. more…

All William Blake poems | William Blake Books

27 fans

Discuss the poem America, A Prophecy with the community...

0 Comments

    Translation

    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)

    Citation

    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

    Style:MLAChicagoAPA

    "America, A Prophecy" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 21 Jun 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/39087/america,-a-prophecy>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    June 2024

    Poetry Contest

    Join our monthly contest for an opportunity to win cash prizes and attain global acclaim for your talent.
    9
    days
    18
    hours
    19
    minutes

    Special Program

    Earn Rewards!

    Unlock exciting rewards such as a free mug and free contest pass by commenting on fellow members' poems today!

    Browse Poetry.com

    Quiz

    Are you a poetry master?

    »
    Do not go gentle into that good _______. Rage, rage against the dying of the light
    A fire
    B end
    C day
    D night