ABSTRACT

Even though she speaks some of the most powerful eman­ cipatory lines in English poetry, Oothoon’s words remain a lament, a faint cry delivered on the margins of history. It seems that neither Oothoon nor the Daughters of Albion, in fact, reap much benefit from the revolutionary fires of Ore which con­ sume British colonialism in Blake’s America (1793) and Euro­ pean monarchy in Europe (1794), for both Oothoon and the Daughters lack a political constituency that can voice their demands. Moreover, the very utopian energy of O othoon’s protestations becomes the measure of her historical marginality, for she struggles in vain to find a place from which to

speak within the violent hierarchies that constrain her. Politic­ ally, like the Daughters of Albion (who, as the opening lines of the poem hint, are a “ trembling lamentation” 1.1), Oothoon is condemned to vocal insubstantiality. In a bitter irony, she shifts between ringing declaration and silence, unheard.