Europe, a Prophecy

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LAMBETH Printed by Will: Blake: 1794

[ PLATEiii ]

Five windows light the cavern'd Man; thro' one he breathes the air; Thro' one, hears music of the spheres; thro' one, the eternal vine Flourishes, that he may recieve the grapes; thro' one can look. And see small portions of the eternal world that ever groweth; Thro' one, himself pass out what time he please, but he will not; 5 For stolen joys are sweet, & bread eaten in secret pleasant.

So sang a Fairy mocking as he sat on a streak'd Tulip, Thinking none saw him: when he ceas'd I started from the trees! And caught him in my hat as boys knock down a butterfly. How know you this said I small Sir? where did you learn this song? 10 Seeing himself in my possession thus he answered me: My master, I am yours. command me, for I must obey.

Then tell me, what is the material world, and is it dead? He laughing answer'd: I will write a book on leaves of flowers, If you will feed me on love-thoughts, & give me now and then 15 A cup of sparkling poetic fancies; so when I am tipsie, I'll sing to you to this soft lute; and shew you all alive The world, when every particle of dust breathes forth its joy.

I took him home in my warm bosom: as we went along Wild flowers I gatherd; & he shew'd me each eternal flower: 20 He laugh'd aloud to see them whimper because they were pluck'd. They hover'd round me like a cloud of incense: when I came Into my parlour and sat down, and took my pen to write: My Fairy sat upon the table, and dictated EUROPE.

[ PLATE1 ]


The nameless shadowy female rose from out the breast of Orc: Her snaky hair brandishing in the winds of Enitharmon, And thus her voice arose.

O mother Enitharmon wilt thou bring forth other sons? To cause my name to vanish, that my place may not be found.5 For I am faint with travel! t Like the dark cloud disburdend in the day of dismal thunder.

My roots are brandish'd in the heavens. my fruits in earth beneath Surge, foam, and labour into life, first born & first consum'd! Consumed and consuming!10 Then why shouldst thou accursed mother bring me into life?

I wrap my turban of thick clouds around my lab'ring head; And fold the sheety waters as a mantle round my limbs. Yet the red sun and moon, And all the overflowing stars rain down prolific pains.15

[ PLATE2 ]

Unwilling I look up to heaven! unwilling count the stars! Sitting in fathomless abyss of my immortal shrine. I sieze their burning power And bring forth howling terrors, all devouring fiery kings.

Devouring & devoured roaming on dark and desolate mountains5 In forests of eternal death, shrieking in hollow trees. Ah mother Enitharmon! Stamp not with solid form this vig'rous progeny of fires. I bring forth from my teeming bosom myriads of flames. And thou dost stamp them with a signet, then they roam abroad10 And leave me void as death: Ah! I am drown'd in shady woe, and visionary joy.

And who shall bind the infinite with an eternal band? To compass it with swaddling bands? and who shall cherish it With milk and honey?15 I see it smile & I roll inward & my voice is past.

She ceast & rolld her shady clouds Into the secret place.

[ PLATE3 ]


       The deep of winter came;
       What time the secret child,

Descended thro' the orient gates of the eternal day: War ceas'd, & all the troops like shadows fled to their abodes. Then Enitharmon saw her sons & daughters rise around.5 Like pearly clouds they meet together in the crystal house: And Los, possessor of the moon, joy'd in the peaceful night: Thus speaking while his num'rous sons shook their bright fiery wings Again the night is come t That strong Urthona takes his rest,10 And Urizen unloos'd from chains Glows like a meteor in the distant north Stretch forth your hands and strike the elemental strings! Awake the thunders of the deep.

[ PLATE4 ]

The shrill winds wake Till all the sons of Urizen look out and envy Los: Sieze all the spirits of life and bind Their warbling joys to our loud strings Bind all the nourishing sweets of earth5 To give us bliss, that we may drink the sparkling wine of Los And let us laugh at war, Despising toil and care, Because the days and nights of joy, in lucky hours renew.

Arise O Orc from thy deep den,10 First born of Enitharmon rise! And we will crown thy head with garlands of the ruddy vine; For now thou art bound; And I may see thee in the hour of bliss, my eldest born.

The horrent Demon rose, surrounded with red stars of fire,15 Whirling about in furious circles round the immortal fiend.

Then Enitharmon down descended into his red light, And thus her voice rose to her children, the distant heavens reply.

[ PLATE5 ]

Now comes the night of Enitharmons joy! Who shall I call? Who shall I send? That Woman, lovely Woman! may have dominion? Arise O Rintrah thee I call! & Palamabron thee! Go! tell the human race that Womans love is Sin!5 That an Eternal life awaits the worms of sixty winters In an allegorical abode where existence hath never come: Forbid all joy, & from her childhood shall the little female Spread nets in every secret path. My weary eyelids draw towards the evening, my bliss is yet but new. 10

[ PLATE8 ]

Arise O Rintrah eldest born: second to none but Orc: O lion Rintrah raise thy fury from thy forests black: Bring Palamabron horned priest, skipping upon the mountains: And silent Elynittria the silver bowed queen: Rintrah where hast thou hid thy bride!5 Weeps she in desart shades? Alas my Rintrah! bring the lovely jealous Ocalythron.

Arise my son! bring all thy brethren O thou king of fire. Prince of the sun I see thee with thy innumerable race: Thick as the summer stars:10 But each ramping his golden mane shakes, And thine eyes rejoice because of strength O Rintrah furious king.

[ PLATE9 ]

Enitharmon slept, Eighteen hundred years: Man was a Dream! The night of Nature and their harps unstrung: She slept in middle of her nightly song, Eighteen hundred years, a female dream!5


Shadows of men in fleeting bands upon the winds: t Divide the heavens of Europe: Till Albions Angel smitten with his own plagues fled with his bands The cloud bears hard on Albions shore: Fill'd with immortal demons of futurity:10 In council gather the smitten Angels of Albion The cloud bears hard upon the council house; down rushing On the heads of Albions Angels.

One hour they lay buried beneath the ruins of that hall; But as the stars rise from the salt lake they arise in pain,15 In troubled mists o'erclouded by the terrors of strugling times.

[ PLATE10 ]

In thoughts perturb'd, they rose from the bright ruins silent following The fiery King, who sought his ancient temple serpent-form'd That stretches out its shady length along the Island white. Round him roll'd his clouds of war; silent the Angel went, Along the infinite shores of Thames to golden Verulam.5 There stand the venerable porches that high-towering rear Their oak-surrounded pillars, form'd of massy stones, uncut With tool; stones precious; such eternal in the heavens, Of colours twelve, few known on earth, give light in the opake, Plac'd in the order of the stars, when the five senses whelm'd10 In deluge o'er the earth-born man; then turn'd the fluxile eyes Into two stationary orbs, concentrating all things. The ever-varying spiral ascents to the heavens of heavens Were bended downward; and the nostrils golden gates shut Turn'd outward, barr'd and petrify'd against the infinite.15

Thought chang'd the infinite to a serpent; that which pitieth: To a devouring flame; and man fled from its face and hid In forests of night; then all the eternal forests were divided Into earths rolling in circles of space, that like an ocean rush'd And overwhelmed all except this finite wall of flesh.20 Then was the serpent temple form'd, image of infinite Shut up in finite revolutions, and man became an Angel; Heaven a mighty circle turning; God a tyrant crown'd.

Now arriv'd the ancient Guardian at the southern porch, That planted thick with trees of blackest leaf, & in a vale 25 Obscure, inclos'd the Stone of Night; oblique it stood, o'erhung With purple flowers and berries red; image of that sweet south, Once open to the heavens and elevated on the human neck, Now overgrown with hair and coverd with a stony roof, Downward 'tis sunk beneath th' attractive north, that round the feet30 A raging whirlpool draws the dizzy enquirer to his grave:

[ PLATE11 ]

Albions Angel rose upon the Stone of Night. He saw Urizen on the Atlantic; And his brazen Book, That Kings & Priests had copied on Earth Expanded from North to South.5

[ PLATE12 ]

And the clouds & fires pale rolld round in the night of Enitharmon Round Albions cliffs & Londons walls; still Enitharmon slept! Rolling volumes of grey mist involve Churches, Palaces, Towers: For Urizen unclaspd his Book: feeding his soul with pity The youth of England hid in gloom curse the paind heavens; compell'd 5 Into the deadly night to see the form of Albions Angel Their parents brought them forth & aged ignorance preaches canting, On a vast rock, perciev'd by those senses that are clos'd from thought: Bleak, dark, abrupt, it stands & overshadows London city They saw his boney feet on the rock, the flesh consum'd in flames: 10 They saw the Serpent temple lifted above, shadowing the Island white: They heard the voice of Albions Angel howling in flames of Orc, Seeking the trump of the last doom

Above the rest the howl was heard from Westminster louder & louder: The Guardian of the secret codes forsook his ancient mansion,15 Driven out by the flames of Orc; his furr'd robes & false locks Adhered and grew one with his flesh, and nerves & veins shot thro' them With dismal torment sick hanging upon the wind: he fled Groveling along Great George Street thro' the Park gate; all the soldiers Fled from his sight; he drag'd his torments to the wilderness.20

Thus was the howl thro Europe! For Orc rejoic'd to hear the howling shadows But Palamabron shot his lightnings trenching down his wide back And Rintrah hung with all his legions in the nether deep

Enitharmon laugh'd in her sleep to see (O womans triumph)25 Every house a den, every man bound; the shadows are filld With spectres, and the windows wove over with curses of iron: Over the doors Thou shalt not; & over the chimneys Fear is written: With bands of iron round their necks fasten'd into the walls The citizens: in leaden gyves the inhabitants of suburbs30 Walk heavy: soft and bent are the bones of villagers Between the clouds of Urizen the flames of Orc roll heavy Around the limbs of Albions Guardian, his flesh consuming. Howlings & hissings, shrieks & groans, & voices of despair Arise around him in the cloudy t35 Heavens of Albion, Furious

[ PLATE13 ]

The red limb'd Angel siez'd, in horror and torment; The Trump of the last doom; but he could not blow the iron tube! Thrice he assay'd presumptuous to awake the dead to Judgment. A mighty Spirit leap'd from the land of Albion, Nam'd Newton; he siez'd the Trump, & blow'd the enormous blast! 5 Yellow as leaves of Autumn the myriads of Angelic hosts, Fell thro' the wintry skies seeking their graves; Rattling their hollow bones in howling and lamentation.


Then Enitharmon woke, nor knew that she had slept t And eighteen hundred years were fled10 As if they had not been She calld her sons & daughters To the sports of night, Within her crystal house; And thus her song proceeds.15

Arise Ethinthus! tho' the earth-worm call; Let him call in vain; Till the night of holy shadows And human solitude is past!

[ PLATE14 ]

Ethinthus queen of waters, how thou shinest in the sky: My daughter how do I rejoice! for thy children flock around Like the gay fishes on the wave, when the cold moon drinks the dew. Ethinthus! thou art sweet as comforts to my fainting soul: For now thy waters warble round the feet of Enitharmon.5

Manathu-Vorcyon! I behold thee flaming in my halls, Light of thy mothers soul! I see thy lovely eagles round; Thy golden wings are my delight, & thy flames of soft delusion.

Where is my lureing bird of Eden! Leutha silent love! Leutha, the many colourd bow delights upon thy wings:10 Soft soul of flowers Leutha! Sweet smiling pestilence! I see thy blushing light: Thy daughters many changing, Revolve like sweet perfumes ascending O Leutha silken queen!

Where is the youthful Antamon. prince of the pearly dew,15 O Antamon, why wilt thou leave thy mother Enitharmon? Alone I see thee crystal form, Floting upon the bosomd air: With lineaments of gratified desire. My Antamon the seven churches of Leutha seek thy love.20

I hear the soft Oothoon in Enitharmons tents: Why wilt thou give up womans secrecy my melancholy child? Between two moments bliss is ripe: O Theotormon robb'd of joy, I see thy salt tears flow Down the steps of my crystal house.25

Sotha & Thiralatha, secret dwellers of dreamful caves, Arise and please the horrent fiend with your melodious songs. Still all your thunders golden hoofd, & bind your horses black. Orc! smile upon my children! Smile son of my afflictions.30 Arise O Orc and give our mountains joy of thy red light.

She ceas'd, for All were forth at sport beneath the solemn moon t Waking the stars of Urizen with their immortal songs, That nature felt thro' all her pores the enormous revelry, Till morning ope'd the eastern gate. t35 Then every one fled to his station, & Enitharmon wept.

But terrible Orc, when he beheld the morning in the east,

[ PLATE15 ]

Shot from the heights of Enitharmon; And in the vineyards of red France appear'd the light of his fury. The sun glow'd fiery red! The furious terrors flew around! On golden chariots raging, with red wheels dropping with blood;5 The Lions lash their wrathful tails! The Tigers couch upon the prey & suck the ruddy tide: And Enitharmon groans & cries in anguish and dismay. Then Los arose his head he reard in snaky thunders clad: And with a cry that shook all nature to the utmost pole,10 Call'd all his sons to the strife of blood.


On 18 plates, including title, frontispiece (also issued separately), and two full-page designs representing death by famine and death by pestilence (the latter inscribed, upon a door in the picture, “LORD [H]AVE MERC[Y] ON US”). Two complete copies known; ten copies lacking prefatory poem; variant proofs of Plates 14 and 15. Copies and proof pages in the British Museum, the Paul Mellon Collection, and the Morgan Library were collated.


1:6 travel] for travail (perhaps—Blake never distinguished the two words)


Lines 3:9 to 4:14 are all treated by Keynes as the speech of Los, but three speakers may be distinguished: Los (3:9-14), the envious sons of Urizen (4:3-9), and Enitharmon (4:10-14). (Bloom disagrees; see Commentary.)

9:6 Shadows] A large initial “S” (distinctively colored in the Mellon copy) marks the beginning of the “dream” of history.

13:9 Then] Extra indention marks the end of the “dream”.

14:32 for All were forth at sport] mended in the copper from and all went forth to sport (text of proof copies a,b,c). On proof copy c an ink correction was made without the “for” and the rest of the paragraph was partially erased.

14:32-37 Lines deleted by erasure in one proof.

14:35 gate.] gate, and the angel trumpet blew! 1st rdg (In an intermediate state of the plate the last five words of the first reading are deleted but line 32 is not changed—proof in Morgan Library.)

The second of Blake's "Continental Prophecies" (see also America and The Song of Los), Europe presents in mythopoeic form the fundamental philosophical positions in conflict in Blake's revolutionary era. Historical events are reconfigured into their universalized representations through Blake's own cast of characters, including Enitharmon, the female personification of fallen nature and history, Orc, the spirit of revolt, and Los and Urizen, the "Eternals" who would become central to Blake's mythic system of the "Zoas." These contending forces lead beyond political revolution to an apocalypse of biblical scope. Only Copies H and K contain Plate 3, a whimsical prefatory statement about the poem's origin.

Blake etched in relief, with considerable white-line work in some designs, and first printed the eighteen plates of Europe in 1794. The first printing of that year produced proof Copies a-c. Copy A, lacking Plates 3, 8, 12-16, and with Plate 17 following Plate 11, may be an early version of the book before the missing plates were etched. Copies b and c are not working proofs or copies but gatherings of early impressions (some, as in Copy A, in early states). These groups lack the same seven plates absent from Copy A and are from the same first printing. Some posthumous impressions were added to these groups by nineteenth-century owners. Copies B-G were also produced in 1794, perhaps shortly after the proof printing. There are only two later printings: 1795 (Copies A and H) and 1821 (Copy K). Copy A contains some opaque water colors probably added by someone other than Blake. Copies I, L, and M are posthumous.

Второе из «Континентальных пророчеств» Блейка (см. Также «Америка» и «Песнь Лоса»), «Европа» представляет в мифопоэтической форме фундаментальные философские точки зрения в конфликте возникшем в революционную эпоху Блейка. Исторические события трансформируются в их универсальные образы, представленные персонажами Блейковской мифологии. Среди них: Энитармон, женское олицетворение падшей природы и истории; Орк, дух восстания; Лос и Уризен, «Вечные» — двое из «Четырёх Зоа», ставшие затем центральными образами мифологии Блейка в его более поздних «пророческих» книгах. Эти соперничающие силы выходят за пределы политической революции в апокалипсис библейского масштаба. Только копии H и K содержат Лист 3, причудливое предварительное повествование о происхождении этой поэмы.

Блейк выгравировал 18 листов «Европы» и впервые напечатал их в 1794 году. Многие из копий являются неполными.

Сперва он отпечатал пробные листы Копий a-c. Копия A, лишенная пластин 3, 8, 12-16, и плита 17, следующая плита 11, может быть ранней версией книги до того, как протравленные пропавшие пластины были выгравированы. Копии b и c не являются рабочими доказательствами или копиями, а встречами ранних впечатлений (некоторые, как в Копии A, в ранних состояниях). Этим группам не хватает семи тарелок, отсутствующих в Копии A, и из одной и той же первой печати. Некоторые посмертные впечатления были добавлены к этим группам владельцами девятнадцатого века. Копии B-G также были выпущены в 1794 году, возможно, вскоре после пробной печати. Есть только две более поздние версии: 1795 (Копии A и H) и 1821 (Копия K). Копия A содержит некоторые непрозрачные акварели, которые, возможно, добавили кто-то, кроме Блейка. Копии I, L и M являются посмертными.

Кэтлин Рейн пишет об этих строках: «Пейзаж такой же, как в „Тигре“: звёзды над головой, внизу бездна, „леса вечной смерти“. Образы, кричащие из дуплистых дерев напоминают дантевский лес самоубийц, наказанных превращением не только в те формы, что ниже человеческих, но ниже животных — в „растительность“ (vegetated), как Блейк сам постоянно пишет о низшей деградации жизни». (Рейн, Blake and Tradition, v. 2, p. 9)