America Plate 11
Fiery the Angels rose, & as they rose deep thunder roll'd Around their shores: indignant burning with the fires of Orc And Bostons Angel cried aloud as they flew thro' the dark night. He cried: Why trembles honesty and like a murderer, Why seeks he refuge from the frowns of his immortal station! Must the generous tremble & leave his joy, to the idle: to the pestilence! That mock him? who commanded this? what God? what Angel! To keep the gen'rous from experience till the ungenerous Are unrestraind performers of the energies of nature; Till pity is become a trade, and generosity a science, That men get rich by, & the sandy desart is giv'n to the strong What God is he, writes laws of peace, & clothes him in a tempest What pitying Angel lusts for tears, and fans himself with sighs What crawling villain preaches abstinence & wraps himself In fat of lambs? no more I follow, no more obedience pay.
About the Textthe Angels rose: by that Blake meant of course the 13 angels of
the colonies; with Bostons Angel he called the readers' attention
to the trouble that started in Boston involving the 'boston teaparty'.
Try to read it this way:
as they flew thro' the dark night Boston's angel cried...
This plate may be construed as Blake's declaration of independence
from the conventional Christianity and interpretation of the Bible
that focuses on violence and war. Isn't it interesting that virtually
every war we've ever had has been ardently supported by the
About the Image
After the first sentence we see something like a swan flying high with
a man (representing the 13 angels) flying on its back.
At the bottom we see a serpent like dragon and on it's back a lady,
child and smaller child being assisted by his elder sibling.
When I think about the swan and the dragon, it appears that the swan
might reflect the declaration of independence and the dragon reflects
the final victory of the colonies, who of course have varied weight.
They have subdued and domesticated the dragon king.