Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
Selections from ‘The Four Zoas’
[Introduction to Night the First]
Sometimes Called ‘Vala’
(MS. circa 1797–1804)

(Four Zoas, Night I, ll. 1–8)

THE SONG of the Agèd Mother, which shook the heavens with wrath, 1
Hearing the march of long-resounding, strong, heroic Verse,
Marshall’d in order for the day of Intellectual Battle.
Four Mighty Ones are in every Man: a perfect Unity
Cannot exist but from the Universal Brotherhood of Eden,        5
The Universal Man, to Whom be glory evermore Amen.
What are the Natures of those Living Creatures the Heavenly Father only
Knoweth: no Individual knoweth, nor can know in all Eternity.
Note 1. 1–3 Originally beginning with:
This is the Song of Eno … Vala
Blake altered this to:
  1 The Song of the Agèd Mother, which shook the heavens with wrath,
  2 And thus beginneth the Book of Vala, which whosoever reads
  3 If with his Intellect he comprehend …
  6 The heavens shall quake; the Earth shall move and thunder, and the mountains
  7 With all their woods: the streams and valleys wail’d in dismal fear.
  4 To hear the sound of long resounding strong heroic verse,
  5 Marshall’d in order for the day of Intellectual Battle—
indicating the sequence of lines by the prefixed numerals. Later he deleted ll. 2, 3, 6, 7, changed To hear the sound in l. 4 to Hearing the march, and again numbered the remaining lines in the order given in my text. [back]

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