William Blake: The Song of Los

(259 words)
  • David Punter (University of Bristol)

The Song of Los, probably written in 1794-5, is one of Blake's most startling indictments of tyranny. Although the first of its two parts, subtitled “Africa”, does have some more or less precise historical and geographical referent, it also gives Blake the opportunity to speak of some of his abiding general concerns:

These were the churches, hospitals, castles, palaces,
Like nets and gins and traps to catch the joys of Eternity,
And all the rest a desert;
Till like a dream Eternity was obliterated and erased.

Human institutions, no matter what their ostensible object, are all seen from this perspective as forces for the reduction and constraint of experience and as ways o…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Citation:
Punter, David. "The Song of Los". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 July 2001
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=7778, accessed 20 April 2014.]