The Song of Los is a poem for orchestra, inspired by and named after the William Blake poem of the same name. A slow meandering yet obsessive opening builds until it collapses into a broad chorale, carried in the trombones, which then builds throughout the orchestra. A momentary glimpse of the previous music is heard towards the end, before the chorale returns in a resounding victory.
THE SONG of LOS
I will sing you a song of Los. the Eternal Prophet: He sung it to four harps at the tables of Eternity. In heart-formed Africa. Urizen faded! Ariston shudderd! And thus the Song began
Adam stood in the garden of Eden: And Noah on the mountains of Ararat; They saw Urizen give his Laws to the Nations By the hands of the children of Los. Adam shudderd! Noah faded! black grew the sunny African When Rintrah gave Abstract Philosophy to Brama in the East: (Night spoke to the Cloud! Lo these Human form’d spirits in smiling hipocrisy. War Against one another; so let them War on; slaves to the eternal Elements) Noah shrunk, beneath the waters; Abram fled in fires from Chaldea; Moses beheld upon Mount Sinai forms of dark delusion: To Trismegistus. Palamabron gave an abstract Law: To Pythagoras Socrates & Plato. Times rolled on o’er all the sons of Har, time after time Orc on Mount Atlas howld, chain’d down with the Chain of Jealousy Then Oothoon hoverd over Judah & Jerusalem And Jesus heard her voice (a man of sorrows) he recievd A Gospel from wretched Theotormon. The human race began to wither, for the healthy built Secluded places, fearing the joys of Love And the disease’d only propagated: So Antamon call’d up Leutha from her valleys of delight: And to Mahomet a loose Bible gave. But in the North, to Odin, Sotha gave a Code of War, Because of Diralada thinking to reclaim his joy. These were the Churches: Hospitals: Castles: Palaces: Like nets & gins & traps to catch the joys of Eternity And all the rest a desart; Till like a dream Eternity was obliterated & erased. Since that dread day when Har and Heva fled. Because their brethren & sisters liv’d in War & Lust; And as they fled they shrunk Into two narrow doleful forms: Creeping in reptile flesh upon The bosom of the ground: And all the vast of Nature shrunk Before their shrunken eyes. Thus the terrible race of Los & Enitharmon gave Laws & Religions to the sons of Har binding them more And more to Earth: closing and restraining: Till a Philosophy of Five Senses was complete Urizen wept & gave it into the hands of Newton & Locke Clouds roll heavy upon the Alps round Rousseau & Voltaire: And on the mountains of Lebanon round the deceased Gods Of Asia; & on the desarts of Africa round the Fallen Angels The Guardian Prince of Albion burns in his nightly tent ASIA The Kings of Asia heard The howl rise up from Europe! And each ran out from his Web; From his ancient woven Den; For the darkness of Asia was startled At the thick-flaming, thought-creating fires of Orc. And the Kings of Asia stood And cried in bitterness of soul. Shall not the King call for Famine from the heath? Nor the Priest, for Pestilence from the fen? To restrain! to dismay! to thin! The inhabitants of mountain and plain; In the day, of full-feeding prosperity; And the night of delicious songs. Shall not the Councellor throw his curb Of Poverty on the laborious? To fix the price of labour; To invent allegoric riches: And the privy admonishers of men Call for fires in the City For heaps of smoking ruins, In the night of prosperity & wantonness To turn man from his path, To restrain the child from the womb, To cut off the bread from the city, That the remnant may learn to obey. That the pride of the heart may fail; That the lust of the eyes may be quench’d: That the delicate ear in its infancy May be dull’d; and the nostrils clos’d up; To teach mortal worms the path That leads from the gates of the Grave. Urizen heard them cry! And his shudd’ring waving wings Went enormous above the red flames Drawing clouds of despair thro’ the heavens Of Europe as he went: And his Books of brass iron & gold Melted over the land as he flew, Heavy-waving, howling, weeping. And he stood over Judea: And stay’d in his ancient place: And stretch’d his clouds over Jerusalem; For Adam, a mouldering skeleton Lay bleach’d on the garden of Eden; And Noah as white as snow On the mountains of Ararat. Then the thunders of Urizen bellow’d aloud From his woven darkness above. Orc raging in European darkness Arose like a pillar of fire above the Alps Like a serpent of fiery flame! The sullen Earth Shrunk! Forth from the dead dust rattling bones to bones Join: shaking convuls’d the shivring clay breathes And all flesh naked stands: Fathers and Friends; Mothers & Infants; Kings & Warriors: The Grave shrieks with delight, & shakes Her hollow womb, & clasps the solid stem: Her bosom swells with wild desire: And milk & blood & glandous wine In rivers rush & shout & dance, On mountain, dale and plain.
The SONG of LOS is Ended. Urizen Wept.