William Blake’s America – A Prophecy – 8

Allen Ginsberg on William Blake’s “America – A Prophecy” continues from here 

AG: So now we get on to the actual prophecy. We get on.  The “Preludium is interesting because the actual prophecy is history, and that’s clear.  The “Preludium” was the one where he got all of his mythology, all of his secret thought.  That’s why I’ve gone to such lengths trying to expound that one.

You could get more on the politics of Africa, Canada, and so forth, if you want to check it out in Erdman’s Prophet Against Empire – page 259 and page 261.  If you ever want to look it up in the library.  Erdman, BlakeProphet Against Empire  page 259 to 261.  If you want to know what his basic ideas are of Africa, Canada, Mexico, Lion – Peru.  You’ll notice, in lines 13 to 18, he introduces the lion (and) the whale, as part of nature –  so it’s a revolution in nature and spirit.  It’s a spiritual revolution.  That is, (in) the lines between 10 and 15 in Plate 1, he has the eagle and whale as part of nature, and then in Plate 2, he’s got them associated with countries, so he’s bringing it down to politics. He’s applying (it).  So the first plate is the spiritual revolution, the second plate the political revolution. It’s built like a brick shithouse — it’s really amazing.  The whole thing.

So, Prophecy, Plate III:  –  “The Guardian Prince of Albion burns in his nightly tent..” – (The Guardian Prince is otherwise known as his Guardian Angel, and he’s George III. This is the same language as “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”,  where the Angel turns out to be the evil guy, and the Devil, or serpent (or the demonic), turns out to be the real Angel. Turns out to be the real good guy, or the real revolutionary.)

“The Guardian Prince of Albion burns in his nightly tent,/Sullen fires across the Atlantic glow to America’s shore:/Piercing the souls of warlike men, who rise in silent night,/ Washington,” – (Military) – “Franklin,” – (Politics) – “Paine,” – (Ideology) – “and Warren, Gates” – (Army) – “Hancock & Green…”

Washington spoke:  “Friends of America look over the Atlantic sea;/ A bended bow is lifted in heaven, and a heavy iron chain/ Descends, link by link from Albions cliffs across the sea, to bind/ Brothers & sons of America..” – ( That heavy iron chain is sort of a funny resonance with the chains that bind down Orc on the ground; that is, that the imagination has chained him still, or the poetic imagination has chained him.  On another level, Urizenic imagination, the king’s imagination, the royal imagination, the law imagination, the Jehovaic imagination, the militarist imagination, a heavy iron chain is descending from England to America) –

“..till our faces pale and yellow;/ Heads depress’d, voices weak, eyes downcast, hands work-bruis’d,/Feet bleeding on the sultry sands, and the furrows of the whip/ Descend to generations that in future times forget.”

“The strong voice ceas’d; for a terrible blast swept over the heaving sea;/ The eastern cloud rent; on his cliffs stood Albions wrathful Prince..” – (King George III) – “A dragon form clashing his scales at midnight he arose,/ And flam’d red meteors round the land of Albion beneath,/ His voice, his locks, his awful shoulders, and his glowing  eyes,/Appear to the Americans upon the cloudy night.”

to be continued

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately fifty minutes in and concluding at approximately fifty-four minutes in 


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