Saturday, February 7, 2009

To Winter

I am re-reading William Blake at the moment and I can tell you that there is no better time of year to do so than the beginning of February. Visionary, fantastic, damned and so damned interesting, Blake's poetry is full of the promise of the sublime Romantic Age. I am so lucky I am writing about this and not hideous Dickens.

O Winter! bar thine adamantine doors:
The north is thine; there hast thou built thy dark
Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs,
Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car.

He hears me not, but o'er the yawning deep
Rides heavy; his storms are unchain'd, sheathèd
In ribbèd steel; I dare not lift mine eyes,
For he hath rear'd his sceptre o'er the world.

Lo! now the direful monster, whose skin clings
To his strong bones, strides o'er the groaning rocks:
He withers all in silence, and in his hand
Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.

He takes his seat upon the cliffs,-the mariner
Cries in vain. Poor little wretch, that deal'st
With storms!-till heaven smiles, and the monster
Is driv'n yelling to his caves beneath mount Hecla.
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