NaPoWriMo: Day 5

Today’s poem is by guest poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, because the early nineteenth century appears to have a great deal in common with the early twenty-first.

"The Mask of Anarchy: Written on the Occasion of the Massacre at Manchester"

		1
As I lay asleep in Italy
There came a voice from over the Sea,
And with great power it forth led me
To walk in the visions of Poesy.

		2
I met Murder on the way--
He had a mask like Castlereagh--
Very smooth he looked, yet grim;
Seven blood-hounds followed him:

		3
All were fat; and well they might
Be in admirable plight,				10
For one by one, and two by two,
He tossed them human hearts to chew

		4
Which from his wide cloak he drew.
Next came Fraud, and he had on,
Like Eldon, an ermined gown;
His big tears, for he wept well,
Turned to mill-stones as they fell.

		5
And the little children, who
Round his feet played to and fro,
Thinking every tear a gem,			20
Had their brains knocked out by them.

		6
Clothed with the Bible, as with light,
And the shadows of the night,
Like Sidmouth, next, Hypocrisy
On a crocodile rode by.

		7
And many more Destructions played
In this ghastly masquerade,
All disguised, even to the eyes,
Like Bishops, lawyers, peers, or spies.

		8
Last came Anarchy: he rode			30
On a white horse, splashed with blood;
He was pale even to the lips,
Like Death in the Apocalypse.

		9
And he wore a kingly crown;
And in his grasp a sceptre shone;
On his brow this mark I saw--
'I AM GOD, AND KING, AND LAW!'

		10
With a pace stately and fast,
Over English land he passed,
Trampling to a mire of blood			40
The adoring multitude.

		11
And a mighty troop around,
With their trampling shook the ground,
Waving each a bloody sword,
For the service of their Lord.

		12
And with glorious triumph, they
Rode through England proud and gay,
Drunk as with intoxication
Of the wine of desolation.

		13
O'er fields and towns, from sea to sea,		50
Passed the Pageant swift and free,
Tearing up, and trampling down;
Till they came to London town.

		14
And each dweller, panic-stricken,
Felt his heart with terror sicken
Hearing the tempestuous cry
Of the triumph of Anarchy.

		15
For with pomp to meet him came,
Clothed in arms like blood and flame,
The hired murderers, who did sing		60
`Thou art God, and Law, and King.

		16
We have waited, weak and lone
For thy coming, Mighty One!
Our purses are empty, our swords are cold,
Give us glory, and blood, and gold.'

		17
Lawyers and priests, a motley crowd,
To the earth their pale brows bowed;
Like a bad prayer not over loud,
Whispering -- `Thou art Law and God.' --

		18
Then all cried with one accord,			70
`Thou art King, and God, and Lord;
Anarchy, to thee we bow,
Be thy name made holy now!'

		19
And Anarchy, the Skeleton,
Bowed and grinned to every one,
As well as if his education
Had cost ten millions to the nation.

		20
For he knew the Palaces
Of our Kings were rightly his;
His the sceptre, crown, and globe,		80
And the gold-inwoven robe.

		21
So he sent his slaves before
To seize upon the Bank and Tower,
And was proceeding with intent
To meet his pensioned Parliament

		22
When one fled past, a maniac maid,
And her name was Hope, she said:
But she looked more like Despair,
And she cried out in the air:

		23
`My father Time is weak and gray		90
With waiting for a better day;
See how idiot-like he stands,
Fumbling with his palsied hands!

		24
`He has had child after child,
And the dust of death is piled
Over every one but me--
Misery, oh, Misery!'

		25
Then she lay down in the street,
Right before the horses' feet,
Expecting, with a patient eye,			100
Murder, Fraud, and Anarchy.

		26
When between her and her foes
A mist, a light, an image rose,
Small at first, and weak, and frail
Like the vapour of a vale:

		27
Till as clouds grow on the blast,
Like tower-crowned giants striding fast,
And glare with lightnings as they fly,
And speak in thunder to the sky,

		28
It grew -- a Shape arrayed in mail		110
Brighter than the viper's scale,
And upborne on wings whose grain
Was as the light of sunny rain.

		29
On its helm, seen far away,
A planet, like the Morning's, lay;
And those plumes its light rained through
Like a shower of crimson dew.

		30
With step as soft as wind it passed
O'er the heads of men -- so fast
That they knew the presence there,		120
And looked, -- but all was empty air.

		31
As flowers beneath May's footstep waken,
As stars from Night's loose hair are shaken,
As waves arise when loud winds call,
Thoughts sprung where'er that step did fall.

		32
And the prostrate multitude
Looked -- and ankle-deep in blood,
Hope, that maiden most serene,
Was walking with a quiet mien:

		33
And Anarchy, the ghastly birth,			130
Lay dead earth upon the earth;
The Horse of Death tameless as wind
Fled, and with his hoofs did grind
To dust the murderers thronged behind.

		34
A rushing light of clouds and splendour,
A sense awakening and yet tender
Was heard and felt -- and at its close
These words of joy and fear arose

		35
As if their own indignant Earth
Which gave the sons of England birth		140
Had felt their blood upon her brow,
And shuddering with a mother's throe

		36
Had turnèd every drop of blood
By which her face had been bedewed
To an accent unwithstood,--
As if her heart had cried aloud:

		37
`Men of England, heirs of Glory,
Heroes of unwritten story,
Nurslings of one mighty Mother,
Hopes of her, and one another;			150

		38
`Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you --
Ye are many -- they are few.

		39
`What is Freedom? -- ye can tell
That which slavery is, too well --
For its very name has grown
To an echo of your own.<

		40
`'Tis to work and have such pay			160
As just keeps life from day to day
In your limbs, as in a cell
For the tyrants' use to dwell,

		41
`So that ye for them are made
Loom, and plough, and sword, and spade,
With or without your own will bent
To their defence and nourishment.

		42
`'Tis to see your children weak
With their mothers pine and peak,
When the winter winds are bleak,--		170
They are dying whilst I speak.

		43
`'Tis to hunger for such diet
As the rich man in his riot
Casts to the fat dogs that lie
Surfeiting beneath his eye;

		44
`'Tis to let the Ghost of Gold
Take from Toil a thousandfold
More than e'er its substance could
In the tyrannies of old.

		45
`Paper coin -- that forgery			180
Of the title-deeds, which ye
Hold to something of the worth
Of the inheritance of Earth.

		46
`'Tis to be a slave in soul
And to hold no strong control
Over your own wills, but be
All that others make of ye.

		47
`And at length when ye complain
With a murmur weak and vain
'Tis to see the Tyrant's crew			190
Ride over your wives and you--
Blood is on the grass like dew.

		48
`Then it is to feel revenge
Fiercely thirsting to exchange
Blood for blood -- and wrong for wrong --
Do not thus when ye are strong.

		49
`Birds find rest, in narrow nest
When weary of their wingèd quest;
Beasts find fare, in woody lair
When storm and snow are in the air,1		200

		50
`Asses, swine, have litter spread
And with fitting food are fed;
All things have a home but one--
Thou, Oh, Englishman, hast none!

		51
`This is Slavery -- savage men,
Or wild beasts within a den
Would endure not as ye do--
But such ills they never knew.

		52
`What art thou Freedom? O! could slaves
Answer from their living graves			210
This demand -- tyrants would flee
Like a dream's dim imagery:

		53
`Thou art not, as impostors say,
A shadow soon to pass away,
A superstition, and a name
Echoing from the cave of Fame.

		54
`For the labourer thou art bread,
And a comely table spread
From his daily labour come
In a neat and happy home.			220

		55
`Thou art clothes, and fire, and food
For the trampled multitude--
No -- in countries that are free
Such starvation cannot be
As in England now we see.

		56
`To the rich thou art a check,
When his foot is on the neck
Of his victim, thou dost make
That he treads upon a snake.

		57
`Thou art Justice -- ne'er for gold		230
May thy righteous laws be sold
As laws are in England -- thou
Shield'st alike the high and low.

		58
`Thou art Wisdom -- Freemen never
Dream that God will damn for ever
All who think those things untrue
Of which Priests make such ado.

		59
`Thou art Peace -- never by thee
Would blood and treasure wasted be
As tyrants wasted them, when all		240
Leagued to quench thy flame in Gaul.

		60
`What if English toil and blood
Was poured forth, even as a flood?
It availed, Oh, Liberty,
To dim, but not extinguish thee.

		61
`Thou art Love -- the rich have kissed
Thy feet, and like him following Christ,
Give their substance to the free
And through the rough world follow thee,

		62
`Or turn their wealth to arms, and make		250
War for thy belovèd sake
On wealth, and war, and fraud--whence they
 Drew the power which is their prey.

		63
`Science, Poetry, and Thought
Are thy lamps; they make the lot
Of the dwellers in a cot
So serene, they curse it not.

		64
`Spirit, Patience, Gentleness,
All that can adorn and bless
Art thou -- let deeds, not words, express	260
Thine exceeding loveliness.

		65
`Let a great Assembly be
Of the fearless and the free
On some spot of English ground
Where the plains stretch wide around.

		66
`Let the blue sky overhead,
The green earth on which ye tread,
All that must eternal be
Witness the solemnity.

		67
`From the corners uttermost			270
Of the bonds of English coast;
From every hut, village, and town
Where those who live and suffer moan
For others' misery or their own.2 

		68
`From the workhouse and the prison
Where pale as corpses newly risen,
Women, children, young and old
Groan for pain, and weep for cold--

		69
`From the haunts of daily life
Where is waged the daily strife			280
With common wants and common cares
Which sows the human heart with tares--

		70
`Lastly from the palaces
Where the murmur of distress
Echoes, like the distant sound
Of a wind alive around

		71
`Those prison halls of wealth and fashion,
Where some few feel such compassion
For those who groan, and toil, and wail
As must make their brethren pale--		290

		72
`Ye who suffer woes untold,
Or to feel, or to behold
Your lost country bought and sold
With a price of blood and gold--

		73
`Let a vast assembly be,
And with great solemnity
Declare with measured words that ye
Are, as God has made ye, free--

		74
`Be your strong and simple words
Keen to wound as sharpened swords,		300
And wide as targes let them be,
With their shade to cover ye.

		75
`Let the tyrants pour around
With a quick and startling sound,
Like the loosening of a sea,
Troops of armed emblazonry.

		76
`Let the charged artillery drive
Till the dead air seems alive
With the clash of clanging wheels,
And the tramp of horses' heels.			310


		77
`Let the fixèd bayonet
Gleam with sharp desire to wet
Its bright point in English blood
Looking keen as one for food.

		78
`Let the horsemen's scimitars
Wheel and flash, like sphereless stars
Thirsting to eclipse their burning
In a sea of death and mourning.

		79
`Stand ye calm and resolute,
Like a forest close and mute,			320
With folded arms and looks which are
Weapons of unvanquished war,

		80
`And let Panic, who outspeeds
The career of armèd steeds
Pass, a disregarded shade
Through your phalanx undismayed.

		81
`Let the laws of your own land,
Good or ill, between ye stand
Hand to hand, and foot to foot,
Arbiters of the dispute,			330

		82
`The old laws of England -- they
Whose reverend heads with age are gray,
Children of a wiser day;
And whose solemn voice must be
Thine own echo -- Liberty!

		83
`On those who first should violate
Such sacred heralds in their state
Rest the blood that must ensue,
And it will not rest on you.

		84
`And if then the tyrants dare			340
Let them ride among you there,
Slash, and stab, and maim, and hew,--
What they like, that let them do.


		85
`With folded arms and steady eyes,
And little fear, and less surprise,
Look upon them as they slay
Till their rage has died away.

		86
`Then they will return with shame
To the place from which they came,
And the blood thus shed will speak		350
In hot blushes on their cheek.

		87
 `Every woman in the land
Will point at them as they stand--
They will hardly dare to greet
Their acquaintance in the street.

		88
`And the bold, true warriors
Who have hugged Danger in wars
Will turn to those who would be free,
Ashamed of such base company.

		89
`And that slaughter to the Nation		360
Shall steam up like inspiration,
Eloquent, oracular;
A volcano heard afar.

		90
`And these words shall then become
Like Oppression's thundered doom
Ringing through each heart and brain,
Heard again -- again -- again--

		91
`Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number--
Shake your chains to earth like dew		370
Which in sleep had fallen on you--
Ye are many -- they are few.'

1. The following stanza is found in the Wise MS.
and in Mary Shelley’s edition of 1839, but is wanting in the Hunt MS. and
in the first edition of 1832:–

‘Horses, oxen, have a home,

When from daily toil they come;

Household dogs, when the wind roars,

Find a home within warm doors.’

2. The following stanza is found (cancelled) at this
place in the Wise MS.:–

‘From the cities where from caves,

Like the dead from putrid graves,

Troops of starvelings gliding come,

Living Tenants of a tomb.’

Swiped from UPenn.

Happy Birthday, William Blake

Today would be the 258th birthday of the British poet and printmaker William Blake. If you’d like to explore some Blake resources on this website, check out the online gallery for the Blake in the Heartland exhibit and my page of Blake resources, which has a PowerPoint on Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and a Prezi on Blake’s sources. You might also want to check out this description of my monograph. You can also select the “William Blake” link in the category cloud to the left to find more posts about Blake.

I was first introduced to the poetry of William Blake through the song “William Blake,” which appears on the Daniel Amos album Vox Humana. That song — which plays in the background of the Prezi mentioned above — inspired me to run over to the nearest B. Dalton bookseller and buy a copy of The Viking Portable Blake. I haven’t been bored with him since.

Rock and Romanticism Blog Up

I’ve set up a blog for the edited anthology Rock and Romanticism: 

https://rockandromanticism.wordpress.com/ 

All future updates will be posted to the blog, which has the CFP, information for contributors, ideas for future papers, videos of the songs featured in the anthology (building that up now) and, soon to come, a contributor list and a music player. My two previous posts about the anthology are still available on this site, but that information has been updated and better organized on the new blog.

Exhibit: Blake in the Heartland

Online Gallery | Main Exhibit Page

I’m happy to announce that the exhibit Blake in the Heartland has opened, and that Tiffin University is hosting a number of events this week related to this exhibit that are open to the public. Organized by Lee Fearnside and James Rovira of Tiffin University, Blake in the Heartland is a celebration of the work of British poet and printmaker William Blake, who continues to inspire responses to his work in art, television, film, and music.

This exhibit features reproductions of Blake’s works by Blake scholar and curator Dr. Michael Phillips, who has curated major Blake exhibits at the Ashmolean at Oxford, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Tate in London, the University of Toronto, and the Petite Palais in Paris. Dr. Phillips will be lecturing on his curating experiences as well as on Blake’s printmaking methods.

It also includes creative responses to the work of Blake by regional artists Robert McFate (Ohio) and Emily Brandehoff (KY), who originally developed these works for the exhibit INNCE/EXPCE. Curated by Keith Banner, this exhibit ran from June 28th to August 10th, 2013 at Thunder-Sky Gallery, Inc., in Cincinnati, OH.

Schedule of Events

April 8th

9:30 a.m. – Lecture by Dr. Michael Phillips on his curating experiences. Lecture presented in the Diane Kidd Gallery (coffee and light refreshments served).

1:00 p.m. – Printmaking demonstration for Tiffin University students in Hayes Center Room 111. Space is limited and registration is required; email fearnsidel@tiffin.edu.

6:30 p.m. – Lecture by Dr. Michael Phillips, “Printing in the Infernal Method: William Blake’s Method of Illuminated Printmaking” in Chisholm Auditorium (Frank’s Hall).

April 9th

9:30 a.m. – Demonstration of Blake’s printmaking techniques in Hayes Center Room 111 for area high school students. Space is limited and registration is required; email fearnsidel@tiffin.edu.

5:30 p.m. – Closing reception with artists’ talks in the Diane Kidd Gallery.

About William Blake

William Blake (1757-1827) was an English poet, printmaker, and painter whose work engages such topics as the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, slavery, psychology, mythology, politics, and religion. Blake continues to inspire artists in a variety of media. Lines of Blake’s poems or his visual works unexpectedly appear in films such as Mean Streets, Bladerunner, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, Dead Man, and Red Dragon. He has been particularly influential in music since the 1960s, inspiring the name for the band The Doors as well as several musical adaptations of his poems. More recently, Martha Redbone’s 2012 album The Garden of Love sets twelve of Blake’s songs to blues and folk music.

The exhibition is available for public viewing from March 19 through April 9, 2015.

Dr. James Rovira and Prof. Lee Fearnside would like to thank the Ohio Arts Council for the grant that helped make this exhibit and related events possible, and Columbian High School of Tiffin, OH for their letter of support, which helped us acquire the grant. We would also like to thank Tiffin University’s Alumni Association, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Graduate and Distance Education for their support.

For more information, contact Lee Fearnside, Director of the Diane Kidd Gallery, at 419-448-3427 or by email at fearnsidel@tiffin.edu.

If you are interested in having Michael Phillips visit your institution, or would like more information about a possible visit, please email James Rovira at jamesrovira@gmail.com.

Related links:

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Update on Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety

Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety

Great news: I happened to visit WorldCat for another reason today and, while there, checked the status of my book Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety. According to Worldcat, as of January 17th, 2015 my book has been purchased by 732 libraries/locations around the world. It’s currently available at (mostly university) libraries in the following countries or territories:

Afghanistan
Armenia
Australia
Belgium
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Botswana
Brazil
Canada
China
Columbia
Costa Rica
Cyprus
Denmark
Egypt
Finland
France
Georgia
Germany
Greece
Guyana
Honduras
Hong Kong
India
Iraq
Ireland
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Kuwait
Kyrgystan
Lebanon
Lithuania
Malaysia
Mexico
Mongolia
Montenegro
Morocco
Namibia
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nigeria
Norway
Philippines
Poland
Romania
Russian Federation
Serbia
Singapore
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Thailand
Turkey
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
Virgin Islands

That’s 60 countries on six continents. Someone needs to set up a library in Antarctica. If there is one down there, hey guys — would you buy a copy of my book? Ha.

Needless to say, I’m very pleased. If you’re not familiar with academic publishing in the humanities, over 700 libraries isn’t an academic bestseller, but it isn’t bad at all either. The predictable minimum sales for an academic book is around 200-300 copies, and very low-end publishers like Mellen set royalty payouts at around 500 copies over the first five years to almost ensure that no author will ever get royalties for their book — because most academic books don’t sell that many copies. By the way, after five years full ownership reverts to Mellen, so the author will never see royalties after that — don’t publish with Mellen unless you’re willing to give up ownership of your work forever. I highly recommend working with Bloomsbury/Continuum.

I’m very grateful to the faculty (both library and humanities) who supported the purchase of my book. I think I know who made the recommendations in Singapore and Croatia: thank you both, especially since it seems to be in most or all of the major libraries in Croatia. I was fortunate that Continuum/Bloomsbury published it, because they’re one of the better publishers. An academic publisher who actually backs their own product is a rare thing these days, and publishing with Continuum was a great experience. Excellent editorial process despite a few glitches, which were my own.

I’m especially grateful to Michael Phillips, Sherry Truffin, and Sheridan Lorraine for being my book’s first readers and for their valuable insight and editorial assistance.

I’ve also been fortunate enough to have had the book reviewed four times, so I’m very grateful to the reviewers for their work reviewing my book and for helping to spread the word, and I need to extend that gratitude to the journals that published these reviews. You can read excerpts of these reviews and find links to them on my book page.

I’ve added an errata page. Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety is currently available in paperback, hardcover, and eBook edition on both amazon.com and the publisher’s website.