It was eighteen hundred and nine
when William Blake was visited
by a vision of the divine
angel, which sat upon his bed,
and conferred on him God's power
to raise—by speech—the faithful dead.
"As writing's done, now come the hour
to act," the glorious angel said.
"To blaze against the shadowmist
spewed by the dark satanic mills.
Thy sole command is thus: Resist,
for all the shadow touches, it kills."
Then the angel disappeared, and
Blake was left alone. "An army
of undead," he thought, "to stand
with me against the vile industry?"
So it was that Blake visited
crypt, churchyard and cemetery,
where by pure incantation did
he resurrect the very
victims of the mine and factory.
He spoke; their limbs burst through the soil,
skeleton-men singing, "Glory
to the Almighty!" / "Accursed toil
killed you, but I grant you new life!"
Blake intoned, and, gazing at them,
a sea of white frothing strife,
knew they would create Jerusalem.
When the British Prime Minister,
Spencer Perceval, learned of Blake's
sorcery, he sensed sinister
times, telling parliament, "Mistake
at your peril the poet's crusade,
inhuman in its unnature,
aimed at the progress we have made,
as rumour. The legislature,"
he said, "must brace for civil war."
Meanwhile, Blake and his bone legion
wrecked utter havoc in the north,
cleansing greed-sin from the region.
Coal production fell—ton by ton.
Parliament did send a thousand men,
but still nothing could be done.
They fought. Blake beat them. ‘twas then
that drowning in desperation
Perceval turned to the great
industrialist, Ward. “Save our nation,”
he beseeched, “from its dreadful fate.
Our way of life is threatened, and
our common profits are at stake.”
Ward pondered. Then revealed his plan:
“A million souls, kiln-baked,
dismembered and reassembled
into one giant defender—”
“A million dead?” Perceval trembled.
“Would you rather we surrender?”
So it was done. Forced from their homes;
burnt, screaming; pleading for mercy.
From their congealed human loam
was born: a Titan of Industry!
one thousand feet tall. Steel plated.
Violent. With superhuman brawn.
Switched on—yet never to be sated.
“This beast,” said Blake, “we meet head on!”
as he rallied his undead troops
before their assault on London.
The city teemed with fresh recruits,
watching, waiting, in unabating
fog: their Titan’s excreted smog.
A general was just stating
how the fight would be a slog—
When Blake appeared on the horizon,
followed by a river of bone,
white warriors with sharpened limbs
under the banner of a tombstone.
“Now!” Ward instructed the Titan.
It lumbered forth: into the fray!
Met by the surging skeleton
wave, as Blake knelt down to pray,
and Perceval, looking away,
went mad from the clattering din.
British soldiers charged into grey
death. The Titan pushed deep within
Blake’s crumbling lines. Kneeling, he cried,
“Why, God, have you abandoned us?”
Ward laughed, and the Titan pounded
the undead into calcium dust.
The Titan was the master. / Jerusalem would not come to pass.