Introduction: ‘The Sun is Gone Down’

  • Jeremy Tambling


Blake’s art celebrates dawn, the theme of the picture ‘Albion Rose’ or ‘Glad Day’, which is inscribed: ‘Albion rose from where he labourd at the Mill with Slaves/Giving himself for the Nations he danc’d the dance of Eternal Death’ (E. 671, K. 160). The lyric ‘And did those feet’ from the Preface to Milton anticipates day, its ‘dark Satanic mills’ (E. 95–6, K. 480–1) like Albion’s mill, representing ‘the same dull round’ (E. 2, K. 97).1 C.H. Parry (1848–1918) set it in 1916 for the patriotic ‘Fight for Right’ movement of Sir Francis Younghusband (1863–1942), a British army officer and explorer, responsible for the invasion of Tibet in 1903, and touched with a belief in world religion. Parry repeated the performance for a Women’s Demonstration meeting at the Albert Hall in 1917, while at a Suffrage Demonstration concert on 13 March 1918, Millicent Fawcett wanted it as the Women’s Voters Hymn. The Women’s Institute took it up when it started in 1924. Elgar rescored it in 1922 for the Leeds Festival, and since 1953 it has been sung at the last night of the Promenade concerts, so associating Blake with Thomson’s ‘Rule Britannia’ (1740).2


Full Moon Sweet Flower Single Identity Pleasure Principle Death Drive 
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© Jeremy Tambling 2005

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  • Jeremy Tambling

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