Blake seeks to provide the Golden String which can lead us through the labyrinth of our experience or his own poetry.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
New York Public Library
We have posted in the past on Blake's worlds of Eden, Beulah and Golgonooza. With the help of Kay Parkhurst Easson and Roger Easson we will look at more of Blake's worlds. Perhaps they can reduce Blake's complex geography in Milton to more manageable proportions. The illusory spaces of Ulro, Entuthon Benython, and Udan-Adan are the focus of today's post.
Quotes from Milton: A Poem by William Blake:
Page 140 - "This [Blake's] geography is based upon Blake's rejection of two basic rationalistic premises: 1) that sensory data are the sole determinants in ascertaining the nature of the physical world and 2) that only the physical world exists. These assumptions derive from the physical sciences' rejection of the soul as focus for participation in this world and a concomitant rejection of the soul's eternal, infinite, and immortal point of awareness."
Page 142 - "This [Blake's] view of the physical world attests that Blake has returned the physical body of the individual, and the soul within it, to the center of the cosmos as the medieval world view had done before him."
Page 145 - "Thus we see nine regions in Blake's geography: the eternal spaces of Eden, Beulah, and Golgonooza; the created spaces of Allamanda, Bowlahoola, and Golgonooza; and the illusory spaces of Ulro, Entuthon Benython, and Udan-Adan."
Page 142 - "Blake names the chaos Ulro...
Ulro, then like the shell itself surrounds and underlies Eututhon Benython [which is] all the opaque surfaces we think we see, all the opaque surfaces a reasoning mind erects in its attempts know and hence control the universe: the surface of perceived objects, the surface of the body, the surfaces of the earth and the apparent surface of the sky. All the spaces between the surfaces we think we see beyond and the surface of our body, the empty space we feel we must control, Blake names Udan-Adan and he defines Udan-Adan as "a Lake not of Waters but of Spaces.""
The false assumptions we make by excluding the soul from the makeup of man and his ability to perceive, distort the world we see and present us with the world of illusion represented by Blake as Ulro, Entuthon Benython, and Udan-Adan: chaos, opacity, and emptiness.
In the Everlasting Gospel Blake warns that we 'Believe a Lie' when we trust 'the Eye' uninformed by the 'Soul & all its Gems.'
Everlasting Gospel, (E 520)
"And does the Sun & Moon blot out
Rooting over with thorns & stems
The buried Soul & all its Gems
This Lifes dim Windows of the Soul
Distorts the Heavens from Pole to Pole
And leads you to Believe a Lie
When you see with not thro the Eye
That was born in a night to perish in a night
When the Soul slept in the beams of Light."
Here is some of what Blake has to say about traveling in these illusory worlds in Milton.
Milton, PLATE I7 , (E 110)
"The Mundane Shell, is a vast Concave Earth: an immense
Hardend shadow of all things upon our Vegetated Earth
Enlarg'd into dimension & deform'd into indefinite space,
In Twenty-seven Heavens and all their Hells; with Chaos
And Ancient Night; & Purgatory. It is a cavernous Earth
Of labyrinthine intricacy, twenty-seven folds of opakeness
And finishes where the lark mounts; here Milton journeyed"
Milton,PLATE 26 , (E 123)
"And these the Labours of the Sons of Los in Allamanda:
And in the City of Golgonooza: & in Luban: & around
The Lake of Udan-Adan, in the Forests of Entuthon Benython
Where Souls incessant wail, being piteous Passions & Desires
With neither lineament nor form but like to watry clouds
The Passions & Desires descend upon the hungry winds
For such alone Sleepers remain meer passion & appetite;
The Sons of Los clothe them & feed & provide houses & fields"
Milton, PLATE 15 ,(E 109)
"But to himself he seemd a wanderer lost in dreary night.
Onwards his Shadow kept its course among the Spectres; call'd
Satan, but swift as lightning passing them, startled the shades
Of Hell beheld him in a trail of light as of a comet
That travels into Chaos: so Milton went guarded within."
Milton, PLATE 21 , (E 116)
"And Ololon said, Let us descend also, and let us give
Ourselves to death in Ulro among the Transgressors."