“A Prophecy”




Anyone read The Road by Cormac McCarthy? Did he glean any inspiration from this, William Blake’s 1793 poem about the American Revolution?


The strong voice ceas’d; for a terrible blast swept over the heaving sea:
The eastern cloud rent: on his cliffs stood Albion’s wrathful Prince,
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.

Solemn heave the Atlantic waves between the gloomy nations,
Swelling, belching from its deeps red clouds and raging fires.
Albion is sick! America faints! Enrag’d the Zenith grew.
As human blood shooting its veins all round the orbèd heaven,
Red rose the clouds from the Atlantic in vast wheels of blood,
And in the red clouds rose a Wonder o’er the Atlantic sea —
Intense! naked! a Human fire, fierce glowing, as the wedge
Of iron heated in the furnace; his terrible limbs were fire,
With myriads of cloudy terrors, banners dark, and towers
Surrounded: heat but not light went thro’ the murky atmosphere.

– William Blake (excerpt from “America: A Prophecy”)


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