starlady: "I can hear the sound of empires falling." (burning empires)
[personal profile] starlady
I read this aloud in lecture last month, because it was my lecture and I got to do whatever I wanted. It's stuck in my mind since then. Philip Pullman fans may recognize this passage as one of the epigraphs to The Amber Spyglass.

The morning comes, the night decays, the watchmen leave their stations;
The grave is burst, the spices shed, the linen wrapped up;
The bones of death, the cov'ring clay, the sinews shrunk & dry'd
Reviving shake, inspiring move, breathing! awakening!
Spring like redeemed captives when their bonds & bars are burst.
Let the slave grinding at the mill run out into the field:
Let him look up into the heavens & laugh in the bright air;
Let the inchained soul shut up in darkness and in sighing,
Whose face has never seen a smile in thirty weary years,
Rise and look out; his chains are loose, his dungeon doors  are open;
And let his wife and children return from the oppressor's  scourge.
They look behind at every step & believe it is a dream,
Singing: “The Sun has left his blackness, & has found a fresher morning,
And the fair Moon rejoices in the clear & cloudless night;
For Empire is no more, and now the Lion & Wolf shall cease.”

      --William Blake, "America: A Prophecy" (1793), plate 6