Powerful Poem by William Blake

Poetical Sketches
Prologue, intended for a Dramatic Piece of King Edward the Fourth

O FOR a voice like thunder, and a tongue
To drown the throat of war! When the senses
Are shaken, and the soul is driven to madness,
Who can stand? When the souls of the oppressèd
Fight in the troubled air that rages, who can stand?
When the whirlwind of fury comes from the
Throne of God, when the frowns of his countenance
Drive the nations together, who can stand?
When Sin claps his broad wings over the battle,
And sails rejoicing in the flood of Death;
When souls are torn to everlasting fire,
And fiends of Hell rejoice upon the slain,
O who can stand? O who hath causèd this?
O who can answer at the throne of God?
The Kings and Nobles of the Land have done it!
Hear it not, Heaven, thy Ministers have done it!

I came across this while listening to the final song, Lullaby, on Loreena McKennitt’s first album, Elemental. It’s well worth a listen and I would recommend picking it up from your favourite local music store or directly from her website and record label, Quinlan Road. The narrator of the poem, which is set to Ms. McKennitt’s music, is the late Douglas Campbell, a great stage actor whose voice really lends power to the words.

This post is a bit of a departure for me but, like I said in the beginning, it’s not like this blog is meant to have a theme beyond documenting whatever I happen to have rattling around my head. 🙂

One comment

  1. Bob barker · · Reply

    Listen to the rotting christ version, for a voice like thunder on their newest album rituals. It is done right.

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