America. A Prophecy, Plate 12, 'Thus Wept the Angel Voice....', Tate online learning resource
William Blake
America. A Prophecy, 'Thus Wept the Angel Voice....' 1793
Bentley Cop M, Plate 12

In America: A Prophecy, Orc is described as ‘Lover of Wild Rebellion, and transgressor of God’s Law’. He symbolises the spirit of rebellion and the love of freedom which provoked the American War of Independence and the French Revolution.

Orc appears in four of Blake’s prophetic books: America, Europe, The Book of Urizen and The Four Zoas. In contrast to Urizen, a bearded old man who represents law and repression, Orc is a vigorous youth, surrounded by the fires of revolutionary passion and unrepressed lust. The scholar Foster Damon believes that the name Orc derives either from Cor (the Latin word for heart), or from Orca, meaning ‘whale’.