Blake seeks to provide the Golden String which can lead us through the labyrinth of our experience or his own poetry.
Monday, June 27, 2011
IS ALL JOY FORBIDDEN
Written on a sketch by Blake in the British Museum is the legend 'is all joy forbidden.' The image catches the sorrow of being closed off from all sources of joy. John Middleton Murry, author of William Blake, directs us to the causes of man's deepest sorrow in this fallen world:
"Man is already punished in that they 'know naught of sweet eternity'. To take from them the possibility of that knowledge is a crime against the Manhood.
In the Christianity we know, and which we have inherited, it was not so. Once let Eternity become a condition into which men enter after death, and Christianity may not merely condone War, as it does, but it may employ War, as it did. The life of the body is indifferent: the immortal soul fares on, unhindered to its appointed place. But if Eternity is here and now, the case is altered. The soul fares as the body, and to kill a body is to kill a soul.
Such was Blake's doctrine, and such was the doctrine of Jesus before him. Eternity is here and now. And for Blake the cause of the corruption of the true Religion is, first of all, to have told the Human Race that Woman's love is Sin, and, second , to have told it
'That an Eternal life awaits the worm of sixty winters
In an allegorical abode where existence has never come'
These illusions propagated by false Religion are not separate from one another. The Moral Law which 'Forbids all Joy' in life, and forbids most vehemently the deepest joy of all, must needs offer its victims the promise of happiness to come. But happiness is here and now, like Eternity. And Eternity is happiness in the here and now; nor is there any other." (Page 313)
In this account the fall of Albion leads to his forgetting his origin until 'Nought he knew Of sweet Eternity.'
Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 83, (E 358)
"Among the Flowers of Beulah walkd the Eternal Man & Saw
Vala the lilly of the desart. melting in high noon
Upon her bosom in sweet bliss he fainted Wonder siezd
All heaven they saw him dark. they built a golden wall
Round Beulah There he reveld in delight among the Flowers
Vala was pregnant & brought forth Urizen Prince of Light
First born of Generation. Then behold a wonder to the Eyes
Of the now fallen Man a double form Vala appeard. A Male
And female shuddring pale the Fallen Man recoild
From the Enormity & calld them Luvah & Vala. turning down
The vales to find his way back into Heaven but found none
For his frail eyes were faded & his ears heavy & dull
Urizen grew up in the plains of Beulah Many Sons
And many daughters flourishd round the holy Tent of Man
Till he forgot Eternity delighted in his sweet joy
Among his family his flocks & herds & tents & pastures
But Luvah close conferrd with Urizen in darksom night
To bind the father & enslave the brethren Nought he knew
Of sweet Eternity"
The ideas that ' Womans love is Sin' and that Eternal life is only experienced after death are associated in this passage with the forbidding of joy.
Europe, PLATE 5, (E 62)
"Now comes the night of Enitharmons joy!
Who shall I call? Who shall I send?
That Woman, lovely Woman! may have dominion?
Arise O Rintrah thee I call! & Palamabron thee!
Go! tell the human race that Womans love is Sin!
That an Eternal life awaits the worms of sixty winters
In an allegorical abode where existence hath never come:
Forbid all joy, & from her childhood shall the little female
Spread nets in every secret path.
My weary eyelids draw towards the evening, my bliss is yet but new."