America A Prophecy - Poem

Poem

The image "A Breach in a City" served as the frontispiece for America and was originally shown on its own at the Royal Academy during April 1784. The work was probably based on the Gordon riots at Newgate Prison during June 1780.

The implications of the work are taken up again in America with the King of England trembling as he sees Orc, the embodiment of the American colonies. The Angel of Albion believes Orc is the anti-christ and Orc believes the King of England is the same. This is followed by Orc's apocalyptic vision:

The morning comes, the night decays, the watchmen leave their stations;
The grave is burst, the spices shed, the linen wrapped up (37)

Orc provokes the Angel of Boston to rebellion:

"What God is he, writes laws of peace, & clothes him in a tempest
What pitying Angel lusts for tears, and fans himself with sighs
What crawling villain preaches abstinence & wraps himself
In fat of lambs? no more I follow, no more obedience pay."(126)

Together, the rebels are able to be freed of the psychological chains that bind them:

the five gates of their law-built heaven (222)

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