Sunday, August 25, 2013

america 0

Ruler and Oppressed

David Erdman, who wrote Prophet Against Empire. told us that 'Gwin, King of Norway', a poem written several years before America a Prophecy was a very apt precursor to Blake's America a Prophecy. Gwin might be considered a type, of which there are many antitypes in Blake's poetry. The second antitype might be 'Europe a Prophecy, but there are many others.  Gwin might be considered a pattern for the old story of this 'vale of tears'.
The shrewd 'gets ahead' and all too often at the expense of his less gifted brothers.  That's the story of life beginning with Genesis and coming right down to the 21st century (look also at Amos).

The outcome is also everlasting:
The Grey Monk:
"The hand of Vengeance found the Bed
To which the Purple Tyrant fled
The iron hand crushd the Tyrants head
And became a Tyrant in his stead."
(Erdman 490)


 Come, kings, and listen to my song,
When Gwin, the son of Nore,
Over the nations of the North His cruel sceptre bore:
 The Nobles of the land did feed Upon the hungry Poor;
They tear the poor man's lamb, and drive The needy from their door!
 The land is desolate; our wives And children cry for bread;
 Arise, and pull the tyrant down; Let Gwin be humbled.

Gordred the giant rous'd himself From sleeping in his cave;
Erdman (page 21) related Gordred to George Washington.)
He shook the hills, and in the clouds The troubl'd banners wave.
Beneath them roll'd, like tempests black, The num'rous sons of blood;
Like lions' whelps, roaring abroad, Seeking their nightly food.
 Down Bleron's hills they dreadful rush, Their cry ascends the clouds;
The trampling horse, and clanging arms Like rushing mighty floods!
 Their wives and children, weeping loud, Follow in wild array,
Howling like ghosts, furious as wolves In the bleak wintry day.

 "Pull down the tyrant to the dust, "Let Gwin be humbled," They cry;
"and let ten thousand lives Pay for the tyrant's head."
Ten thousand lives is modest when compared to what it cost to put
down, Hitler for example.
 From tow'r to tow'r the watchmen cry, "O Gwin, the son of Nore,
"Arouse thyself! the nations black, "Like clouds, come rolling o'er!"
 Gwin rear'd his shield, his palace shakes, His chiefs come rushing round;
... They stand around the King;
Then suddenly each seiz'd his spear, And clashing steel does ring,
 The husbandman does leave his plow, To wade thro' fields of gore;
The merchant binds his brows in steel, And leaves the trading shore:
 The shepherd leaves his mellow pipe, And sounds the trumpet shrill;
 The workman throws his hammer down To heave the bloody bill.
...Gwin leads his host as black as night, When pestilence does fly.
 With horses and with chariots-- And all his spearmen bold,
March to the sound of mournful song, Like clouds around him roll'd.
 Gwin lifts his hand--the nations halt; "Prepare for war," he cries--
Gordred appears!--his frowning brow  Troubles our northern skies.
The armies stand, like balances Held in th' Almighty's hand;--

 "Gwin, thou hast fill'd thy measure up, "Thou'rt swept from out the land."
(like Blake's Nebuchadnezzar)
wiki common
Blake's comment on Daniel

Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Rosenwald LC

 And now the raging armies rush'd, Like warring mighty seas;
 The Heav'ns are shook with roaring war, The dust ascends the skies!
 Earth smokes with blood, and groans, and shakes, To drink her childrens' gore,
A sea of blood; nor can the eye See to the trembling shore!
 And on the verge of this wild sea Famine and death doth cry;
The cries of women and of babes. Over the field doth fly.
 The King is seen raging afar; With all his men of might;
Like blazing comets, scattering death Thro' the red fev'rous night.
 Beneath his arm like sheep they die, And groan upon the plain;
The battle faints, and bloody men Fight upon hills of slain.
 Now death is sick, and riven men Labour and toil for life;
 Steed rolls on steed, and shield on shield, Sunk in this sea of strife!
 The god of war is drunk with blood, The earth doth faint and fail;
 The stench of blood makes sick the heav'ns; Ghosts glut the throat of hell!
 O what have Kings to answer for, Before that awful throne!
When thousand deaths for vengeance cry, And ghosts accusing groan!
 Like blazing comets in the sky, That shake the stars of light,
Which drop like fruit unto the earth, Thro' the fierce burning night;
 Like these did Gwin and Gordred meet, And the first blow decides;
Down from the brow unto the breast Gordred his head divides! Gwin fell;
the Sons of Norway fled, All that remain'd alive;
..Who mourn'd his sons, and overwhelm'd The pleasant south country.
(Erdman 417-20) .

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