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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XI. The Period of the French Revolution.

IX. Blake

§ 9. Europe and The Song of Los

Yet, some seed of song fell into the sandy wastes of Blake’s ethical disputations, and sprang up and blossomed in spite of the tearing up of noxious moral heresies in their neighbourhood. Such are the delicate minor melody of The Wild Flower’s Song, the lines I told my love, To My Myrtle—a notable instance, by the way, of Blake’s rigorous use of the file in his lyrics—and Cradle Song. He still has his old delight in natural beauty, though his perverse antipathies often stood in the way of its expression; and his utterance is almost always singularly clear, concise and unforced.

But, in the remaining Lambeth writings, Blake is no longer controlled by the exigencies of lyrical form, and the first freshness of his revolutionary enthusiasm is past; hence, his energy turns to exposition or affirmation, not so much of his own faith as of the errors of the opposite party. To this end, he invented the mystical mythology which is chiefly contained in The Book of Urizen (1794), with its complements The Book of Ahania and The Book of Los (1795). These trace the fallacies of the moral law to their premundane source. Europe (1794) and The Song of Los (1795), though they have the same mythological basis, come rather nearer in tone to America. The Urizen series, too, is written in a shorter and very irregular measure, generally containing three or four stresses. The other two works combine the fourteener and the shorter line.