The Book of Urizen

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THE [ FIRST ]BOOK of URIZEN t

LAMBETH. Printed by Will Blake 1794.

[ PLATE2 ]

PRELUDIUM TO THE [ FIRST ]BOOK OF URIZEN t

Of the primeval Priests assum’d power,
When Eternals spurn’d back his religion;
And gave him a place in the north,
Obscure, shadowy, void, solitary.
Eternals I hear your call gladly,5
Dictate swift winged words, & fear not
To unfold your dark visions of torment.

[ PLATE3 ]

Chap: I

1. Lo, a shadow of horror is risen
In Eternity! Unknown, unprolific!
Self-closd, all-repelling: what Demon
Hath form’d this abominable void
This soul-shudd’ring vacuum?—Some said5
«It is Urizen», But unknown, abstracted
Brooding secret, the dark power hid.

2. Times on times he divided, & measur’d
Space by space in his ninefold darkness
Unseen, unknown! changes appeard10
In his desolate mountains rifted furious t
By the black winds of perturbation

3. For he strove in battles dire
In unseen conflictions with shapes
Bred from his forsaken wilderness,15
Of beast, bird, fish, serpent & element
Combustion, blast, vapour and cloud.

4. Dark revolving in silent activity:
Unseen in tormenting passions;
An activity unknown and horrible;20
A self-contemplating shadow,
In enormous labours occupied

5. But Eternals beheld his vast forests
Age on ages he lay, clos’d, unknown
Brooding shut in the deep; all avoid25
The petrific abominable chaos

6. His cold horrors silent, dark Urizen
Prepar’d: his ten thousands of thunders
Rang’d in gloom’d array stretch out across
The dread world, & the rolling of wheels30
As of swelling seas, sound in his clouds
In his hills of stor’d snows, in his mountains
Of hail & ice; voices of terror,
Are heard, like thunders of autumn,
When the cloud blazes over the harvests35

Chap: II. t

1. Earth was not: nor globes of attraction
The will of the Immortal expanded
Or contracted his all flexible senses.
Death was not, but eternal life sprung

2. The sound of a trumpet the heavens40
Awoke & vast clouds of blood roll’d
Round the dim rocks of Urizen, so nam’d
That solitary one in Immensity

3. Shrill the trumpet: & myriads of Eternity, t

[ PLATE4 ]

Muster around the bleak desarts t
Now fill’d with clouds, darkness & waters
That roll’d perplex’d labring & utter’d
Words articulate, bursting in thunders
That roll’d on the tops of his mountains5
4: From the depths of dark solitude. From
The eternal abode in my holiness,
Hidden set apart in my stern counsels
Reserv’d for the days of futurity,
I have sought for a joy without pain,10
For a solid without fluctuation
Why will you die O Eternals?
Why live in unquenchable burnings?
72
5 First I fought with the fire; consum’d
Inwards, into a deep world within:15
A void immense, wild dark & deep,
Where nothing was: Natures wide womb
And self balanc’d stretch’d o’er the void
I alone, even I! the winds merciless
Bound; but condensing, in torrents20
They fall & fall; strong I repell’d
The vast waves, & arose on the waters
A wide world of solid obstruction
6. Here alone I in books formd of metals
Have written the secrets of wisdom25
The secrets of dark contemplation
By fightings and conflicts dire,
With terrible monsters Sin-bred:
Which the bosoms of all inhabit;
Seven deadly Sins of the soul. t30

7. Lo! I unfold my darkness: and on
This rock, place with strong hand the Book
Of eternal brass, written in my solitude.
8. Laws of peace, of love, of unity:
Of pity, compassion, forgiveness.35
Let each chuse one habitation:
His ancient infinite mansion:
One command, one joy, one desire,
One curse, one weight, one measure
One King, one God, one Law.40

Chap: III. t

1. The voice ended, they saw his pale visage
Emerge from the darkness; his hand
On the rock of eternity unclasping
The Book of brass. Rage siez’d the strong
2. Rage, fury, intense indignation45
In cataracts of fire blood & gall
In whirlwinds of sulphurous smoke:
And enormous forms of energy;
All the seven deadly sins of the soul

[ PLATE5 ]

In living creations appear’d t
In the flames of eternal fury.

3. Sund’ring, dark’ning, thund’ring!
Rent away with a terrible crash
Eternity roll’d wide apart5
Wide asunder rolling
Mountainous all around
Departing; departing; departing:
Leaving ruinous fragments of life
Hanging frowning cliffs & all between10
An ocean of voidness unfathomable.

4. The roaring fires ran o’er the heav’ns
In whirlwinds & cataracts of blood
And o’er the dark desarts of Urizen
Fires pour thro' the void on all sides15
On Urizens self-begotten armies. t

5. But no light from the fires. all was darkness
In the flames of Eternal fury

6. In fierce anguish & quenchless flames
To the desarts and rocks He ran raging t20
To hide, but He could not: combining
He dug mountains & hills in vast strength, t
He piled them in incessant labour,
In howlings & pangs & fierce madness
Long periods in burning fires labouring25
Till hoary, and age-broke, and aged,
In despair and the shadows of death.

7. And a roof, vast petrific around,
On all sides He fram’d: like a womb;
Where thousands of rivers in veins30
Of blood pour down the mountains to cool
The eternal fires beating without
From Eternals; & like a black globe
View’d by sons of Eternity, standing
On the shore of the infinite ocean35
Like a human heart strugling & beating
The vast world of Urizen appear’d.

8. And Los round the dark globe of Urizen,
Kept watch for Eternals to confine,
The obscure separation alone;40
For Eternity stood wide apart,

[ PLATE6 ]

As the stars are apart from the earth

9. Los wept howling around the dark Demon:
And cursing his lot; for in angui
Urizen was rent from his side;
And a fathomless void for his feet;5
And intense fires for his dwelling.

10. But Urizen laid in a stony sleep
Unorganiz’d, rent from Eternity t

11. The Eternals said: What is this? Death
Urizen is a clod of clay.10

[ PLATE7 ]

12: Los howld in a dismal stupor, t
Groaning! gnashing! groaning!
Till the wrenching apart was healed

13: But the wrenching of Urizen heal’d not
Cold, featureless, flesh or clay,5
Rifted with direful changes
He lay in a dreamless night
14: Till Los rouz’d his fires, affrighted
At the formless unmeasurable death.

[ PLATE 8 ]

Chap: IV:[a]

1: Los smitten with astonishment
Frightend at the hurtling bones

2: And at the surging sulphureous
Perturbed Immortal mad raging

3: In whirlwinds & pitch & nitre5
Round the furious limbs of Los

4: And Los formed nets & gins
And threw the nets round about

5: He watch’d in shuddring fear
The dark changes & bound every change10
With rivets of iron & brass;
6. And these were the changes of Urizen.
b1.12.6
[ PLATE10 ]
Chap: IV.[b]
1. Ages on ages roll’d over him!
In stony sleep ages roll’d over him!
Like a dark waste stretching chang’able
By earthquakes riv’n, belching sullen fires
On ages roll’d ages in ghastly5

Sick torment; around him in whirlwinds
Of darkness the eternal Prophet howl’d
Beating still on his rivets of iron
Pouring sodor of iron; dividing
The horrible night into watches.10
2. And Urizen (so his eternal name)
His prolific delight obscurd more & more
In dark secresy hiding in surgeing
Sulphureous fluid his phantasies.
The Eternal Prophet heavd the dark bellows,15
And turn’d restless the tongs; and the hammer
Incessant beat; forging chains new & new
Numb’ring with links. hours, days & years
3. The eternal mind bounded began to roll
Eddies of wrath ceaseless round & round,20
And the sulphureous foam surgeing thick
Settled, a lake, bright, & shining clear:
White as the snow on the mountains cold.
4. Forgetfulness, dumbness, necessity!
In chains of the mind locked up,25
Like fetters of ice shrinking together
Disorganiz’d, rent from Eternity,
Los beat on his fetters of iron;
And heated his furnaces & pour’d
Iron sodor and sodor of brass30
5. Restless turnd the immortal inchain’d
Heaving dolorous! anguish’d! unbearable
Till a roof shaggy wild inclos’d
In an orb, his fountain of thought.
6. In a horrible dreamful slumber;35
Like the linked infernal chain;
A vast Spine writh’d in torment
Upon the winds; shooting pain’d
Ribs, like a bending cavern
And bones of solidness, froze40
Over all his nerves of joy.
And a first Age passed over,
And a state of dismal woe.

[ PLATE 11 ]

7. From the caverns of his jointed Spine,
Down sunk with fright a red
Round globe hot burning deep
Deep down into the Abyss:

Panting: Conglobing, Trembling5
Shooting out ten thousand branches
Around his solid bones.
And a second Age passed over,
And a state of dismal woe.

8. In harrowing fear rolling round;10
His nervous brain shot branches
Round the branches of his heart.
On high into two little orbs
And fixed in two little eaves
Hiding carefully from the wind,15
His Eyes beheld the deep,
And a third Age passed over:
And a state of dismal woe.

9. The pangs of hope began,
In heavy pain striving, struggling.20
Two Ears in close volutions.
From beneath his orbs of vision
Shot spiring out and petrified
As they grew. And a fourth Age passed
And a state of dismal woe.25

10. In ghastly torment sick;
Hanging upon the wind;

[ PLATE13 ]

Two Nostrils bent down to the deep.
And a fifth Age passed over;
And a state of dismal woe.
11. In ghastly torment sick;
Within his ribs bloated round,5
A craving Hungry Cavern;
Thence arose his channeld Throat,
And like a red flame a Tongue
Of thirst & of hunger appeard.
And a sixth Age passed over:10
And a state of dismal woe.
12. Enraged & stifled with torment
He threw his right Arm to the north
His left Arm to the south
Shooting out in anguish deep,15
And his Feet stampd the nether Abyss
In trembling & howling & dismay.
And a seventh Age passed over:
And a state of dismal woe.

Chap: V.

I. In terrors Los shrunk from his task:20

His great hammer fell from his hand:
His fires beheld, and sickening,
Hid their strong limbs in smoke.
For with noises ruinous loud;
With hurtlings & clashings & groans25
The Immortal endur’d his chains,
Tho' bound in a deadly sleep.

2. All the myriads of Eternity:
All the wisdom & joy of life:
Roll like a sea around him,30
Except what his little orbs
Of sight by degrees unfold.

3. And now his eternal life
Like a dream was obliterated

4. Shudd’ring, the Eternal Prophet smote35
With a stroke, from his north to south region
The bellows & hammer are silent now
A nerveless silence, his prophetic voice
Siez’d; a cold solitude & dark void
The Eternal Prophet & Urizen clos’d40

5. Ages on ages rolld over them
Cut off from life & light frozen
Into horrible forms of deformity
Los suffer’d his fires to decay
Then he look’d back with anxious desire45
But the space undivided by existence
Struck horror into his soul.

6. Los wept obscur’d with mourning:
His bosom earthquak’d with sighs;
He saw Urizen deadly black,50
In his chains bound, & Pity began,
7. In anguish dividing & dividing
For pity divides the soul
In pangs eternity on eternity
Life in cataracts pourd down his cliffs55
The void shrunk the lymph into Nerves
Wand’ring wide on the bosom of night
And left a round globe of blood
Trembling upon the Void

[ PLATE15 ]

Thus the Eternal Prophet was divided
Before the death-image of Urizen
For in changeable clouds and darkness
In a winterly night beneath,
The Abyss of Los stretch’d immense:5
And now seen, now obscur’d, to the eyes
Of Eternals, the visions remote
Of the dark seperation appear’d.
As glasses discover Worlds
In the endless Abyss of space,10
So the expanding eyes of Immortals
Beheld the dark visions of Los,
And the globe of life blood trembling

[ PLATE18 ]

8. The globe of life blood trembled
Branching out into roots;
Fib’rous, writhing upon the winds;
Fibres of blood, milk and tears;
In pangs, eternity on eternity.5
At length in tears & cries imbodied
A female form trembling and pale
Waves before his deathy face

9. All Eternity shudderd at sight
Of the first female now separate10
Pale as a cloud of snow
Waving before the face of Los

10. Wonder, awe, fear, astonishment,
Petrify the eternal myriads;
At the first female form now separate15

[ PLATE19 ]

They call’d her Pity, and fled

11. "Spread a Tent, with strong curtains around them
«Let cords & stakes bind in the Void
That Eternals may no more behold them»

12. They began to weave curtains of darkness5
They erected large pillars round the Void
With golden hooks fastend in the pillars
With infinite labour the Eternals
A woof wove, and called it Science

Chap: VI.

1. But Los saw the Female & pitied10
He embrac’d her, she wept, she refus’d
In perverse and cruel delight
She fled from his arms, yet he followd

2. Eternity shudder’d when they saw,
Man begetting his likeness,15
On his own divided image.

3. A time passed over, the Eternals
Began to erect the tent;
When Enitharmon sick,
Felt a Worm within her womb.20

4. Yet helpless it lay like a Worm
In the trembling womb
To be moulded into existence
5. All day the worm lay on her bosom

All night within her womb25
The worm lay till it grew to a serpent
With dolorous hissings & poisons
Round Enitharmons loins folding,

6. Coild within Enitharmons womb
The serpent grew casting its scales,30
With sharp pangs the hissings began
To change to a grating cry,
Many sorrows and dismal throes,
Many forms of fish, bird & beast,
Brought forth an Infant form35
Where was a worm before.

7. The Eternals their tent finished
Alarm’d with these gloomy visions
When Enitharmon groaning
Produc’d a man Child to the light.40

8. A shriek ran thro' Eternity:
And a paralytic stroke;
At the birth of the Human shadow.

9. Delving earth in his resistless way;
Howling, the Child with fierce flames45
Issu’d from Enitharmon.
10. The Eternals, closed the tent
They beat down the stakes the cords

[ PLATE 20 ]

Stretch’d for a work of eternity;
No more Los beheld Eternity.
11. In his hands he siez’d the infant
He bathed him in springs of sorrow
He gave him to Enitharmon.5

Chap. VII.

1. They named the child Orc, he grew
Fed with milk of Enitharmon

2. Los awoke her; O sorrow & pain!
A tight’ning girdle grew,
Around his bosom. In sobbings10
He burst the girdle in twain,
But still another girdle
Opressd his bosom, In sobbings
Again he burst it. Again
Another girdle succeeds15
The girdle was form’d by day;
By night was burst in twain.

3. These falling down on the rock
Into an iron Chain
In each other link by link lock’d20

4. They took Orc to the top of a mountain.
O how Enitharmon wept!
They chain’d his young limbs to the rock
With the Chain of Jealousy
Beneath Urizens deathful shadow25

5. The dead heard the voice of the child
And began to awake from sleep
All things. heard the voice of the child
And began to awake to life.
6. And Urizen craving with hunger30
Stung with the odours of Nature
Explor’d his dens around

7. He form’d a line & a plummet
To divide the Abyss beneath.
He form’d a dividing rule:35

8. He formed scales to weigh;
He formed massy weights;
He formed a brazen quadrant;
He formed golden compasses
And began to explore the Abyss40
And he planted a garden of fruits

9. But Los encircled Enitharmon
With fires of Prophecy
From the sight of Urizen & Orc.
10. And she bore an enormous race45

Chap. VIII.

1. Urizen explor’d his dens
Mountain, moor, & wilderness,
With a globe of fire lighting his journey
A fearful journey, annoy’d
By cruel enormities: forms50
[ PLATE23 ]
Of life on his forsaken mountains
2. And his world teemd vast enormities
Frightning; faithless; fawning
Portions of life; similitudes
Of a foot, or a hand, or a head5
Or a heart, or an eye, they swam mischevous
Dread terrors! delighting in blood
3. Most Urizen sicken’d to see
His eternal creations appear
Sons & daughters of sorrow on mountains10
Weeping! wailing! first Thiriel appear’d
Astonish’d at his own existence
Like a man from a cloud born, & Utha
From the waters emerging, laments!
Grodna rent the deep earth howling15
Amaz’d! his heavens immense cracks
Like the ground parch’d with heat; then Fuzon
Flam’d out! first begotten, last born.
All his eternal sons in like manner
His daughters from green herbs & cattle20
From monsters, & worms of the pit.
4. He in darkness clos’d, view’d all his race,
And his soul sicken’d! he curs’d
Both sons & daughters; for he saw
That no flesh nor spirit could keep25
His iron laws one moment.
5. For he saw that life liv’d upon death
82

[ PLATE25 ]

The Ox in the slaughter house moans
The Dog at the wintry door
And he wept, & he called it Pity
And his tears flowed down on the winds
6. Cold he wander’d on high, over their cities5
In weeping & pain & woe!
And where-ever he wanderd in sorrows
Upon the aged heavens
A cold shadow follow’d behind him
Like a spiders web, moist, cold, & dim10
Drawing out from his sorrowing soul
The dungeon-like heaven dividing.
Where ever the footsteps of Urizen
Walk’d over the cities in sorrow.

7. Till a Web dark & cold, throughout all15
The tormented element stretch’d
From the sorrows of Urizens soul
And the Web is a Female in embrio t
None could break the Web, no wings of fire.

8. So twisted the cords, & so knotted20
The meshes: twisted like to the human brain

9. And all calld it, The Net of Religion

Chap: IX

1. Then the Inhabitants of those Cities:
Felt their Nerves change into Marrow
And hardening Bones began
In swift diseases and torments,
In throbbings & shootings & grindings5
Thro' all the coasts; till weaken’d
The Senses inward rush’d shrinking,
Beneath the dark net of infection.

2. Till the shrunken eyes clouded over
Discernd not the woven hipocrisy10
But the streaky slime in their heavens
Brought together by narrowing perceptions
Appeard transparent air; for their eyes
Grew small like the eyes of a man
And in reptile forms shrinking together15
Of seven feet stature they remaind

3. Six days they shrunk up from existence
And on the seventh day they rested
And they bless’d the seventh day, in sick hope:
And forgot their eternal life20

4. And their thirty cities divided
In form of a human heart
No more could they rise at will
In the infinite void, but bound down
To earth by their narrowing perceptions25

[ PLATE28 ]

They lived a period of years
Then left a noisom body
To the jaws of devouring darkness
5. And their children wept, & built
Tombs in the desolate places,5
And form’d laws of prudence, and call’d them
The eternal laws of God

6. And the thirty cities remaind
Surrounded by salt floods, now call’d
Africa: its name was then Egypt.10

7. The remaining sons of Urizen
Beheld their brethren shrink together
Beneath the Net of Urizen;
Perswasion was in vain;
For the ears of the inhabitants,15
Were wither’d, & deafen’d, & cold:
And their eyes could not discern,
Their brethren of other cities.

8. So Fuzon call’d all together
The remaining children of Urizen:20
And they left the pendulous earth:
They called it Egypt, & left it.

9. And the salt ocean rolled englob’d

The End of the [ first ]book of Urizen