Annotations to Boyd, (E 663)
"Every body naturally hates a perfect character...
the grandest Poetry is Immoral the Grandest characters
Wicked. Very Satan. Capanius Othello a murderer.
Prometheus. Jupiter. Jehovah, Jesus a wine bibber
Cunning & Morality are not Poetry but Philosophy the Poet is
Independent & Wicked the Philosopher is Dependent & Good
Poetry is to excuse Vice & show its reason & necessary purgation"
The origin of Orc is presented in several ways by Blake. Orc is said to be the firstborn son of Enitharmon and Los who were the first parents. This makes him equivalent to Cain (the first murderer) who was the first son of Adam and Eve, the first parents in the Book of Genesis. In Blake's myth it is not his younger brother with whom Orc quarrels but his father Los. As in many myths Los takes preventative measures to control his threatening son. Orc who represents energy and rebelliousness is taken to a distant mountain and chained to a rock.
Image from Wikimedia
Los & Orc
The image of being chained to a rock on a mountain recall the image of Prometheus who suffered the same punishment from the god Zeus for aligning himself with Humanity. Prometheus' disobedience was stealing fire from the gods and providing it to man. The fire which Prometheus stole could not be returned, nor could the fiery energy of Orc be extinguished.
So Luvah who in Eternity was the cup bearer for the Eternals becomes Orc the Generate Luvah. The Zoa of emotions became the embodiment of sacrifice and war.
Four Zoas, Night V, Page 64,(E 344)
"I siezd thee beauteous Luvah thou art faded like a flower
And like a lilly is thy wife Vala witherd by winds
When thou didst bear the golden cup at the immortal tables
Thy children smote their fiery wings crownd with the gold of heaven
Thy pure feet stepd on the steps divine. too pure for other feet
And thy fair locks shadowd thine eyes from the divine effulgence
Then thou didst keep with Strong Urthona the living gates of heaven
But now thou art bound down with him even to the gates of hell
Because thou gavest Urizen the wine of the Almighty
For steeds of Light that they might run in thy golden chariot of pride
I gave to thee the Steeds I pourd the stolen wine
And drunken with the immortal draught fell from my throne sublime"
Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 80, (E 365)
[spoken by Luvah]
"Art thou the cold attractive power that holds me in this chain
I well remember how I stole thy light & it became fire
Consuming. Thou Knowst me now O Urizen Prince of Light
And I know thee is this the triumph this the Godlike State
That lies beyond the bounds of Science in the Grey obscure
Terrified Urizen heard Orc now certain that he was Luvah
And Orc began to Organize a Serpent body
Despising Urizens light & turning it into flaming fire
Recieving as a poisond Cup Recieves the heavenly wine
And turning affection into fury & thought into abstraction
A Self consuming dark devourer rising into the heavens
Urizen envious brooding sat & saw the secret terror
Flame high in pride & laugh to scorn the source of his deceit
Nor knew the source of his own but thought himself the Sole author"
In Fearful Symmetry, Frye clarifies some aspects of the relationships among Blake's characters:
" Fallen life is imprisoned in death, and Urizen always gains the mastery over Luvah. Luvah, then is not only the energy of life but its suffering in the state of nature. The god of fertility must be a dying god. The Zoa corresponding to Luvah, in the visions of Ezekiel and John is the ox or bull, the sacrificial victim; and Jesus in his Luvah aspect is the slain Lamb of God, (not a dead body, which is Satan or Antichrist), with his blood pouring through the wounds of scourging, the crown of thorns , the nails and the spear, that Jesus appears in "Luvah's Robes of Blood." (Page 287)
Jerusalem, Plate 25, (E 170)
"The footsteps of the Lamb of God were there: but now no more
No more shall I behold him, he is closd in Luvahs Sepulcher.
Yet why these smitings of Luvah, the gentlest mildest Zoa?
If God was Merciful this could not be: O Lamb of God
Thou art a delusion and Jerusalem is my Sin!"
It is Orc who endures the cycle of devolution into worm and a serpent and is consumed in flames on the Tree of Mystery. Like Prometheus Orc was in both the the victim and saviour.