Blake seeks to provide the Golden String which can lead us through the labyrinth of our experience or his own poetry.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


How unlike Blake's usual method of writing is this fragment of a manuscript. Here he strings together abstractions instead of weaving a net of images. If this is a reflection of our poet's own psychic state he identifies his own envy as the root of his discontent as well as a motivation for his creativity. 
He departs from the litany of abstractions to present Hecate as an image of Envy and the mother of melancholy. Our understanding of Blake's evaluation of melancholy is enhanced by his associating it with 'heaven' and 'true joy.' The list of characteristics as it continues is long and depressing and ends with the ubiquitousness of Self love.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Fragment, (E 447) 
 "My Cup is fill'd with Envy's Rankest Draught a miracle No less can set me Right. Desire Still Pines but for one Cooling Drop and tis Deny'd, while others in Contentments downy Nest do sleep, it is the Cursed thorn wounding my breast that makes me sing. however sweet tis Envy that Inspires my Song. prickt. by the fame of others how I mourn and my complaints are Sweeter than their Joys but O could I at Envy Shake my hands. my notes Should Rise to meet the New born Day. Hate Meager hag Sets Envy on unable to Do ought herself. but Worn away a Bloodless Daemon The Gods all Serve her at her will so great her Power is[.] like. fabled hecate She doth bind them to her law. Far in a Direful Cave She lives unseen Closd from the Eye of Day. to the hard Rock transfixt by fate and here She works her witcheries that when She Groans She Shakes the Solid Ground Now Envy She controlls with numming trance & Melancholy Sprung from her dark womb There is a Melancholy, O how lovely tis whose heaven is in the heavenly Mind for she from heaven came, and where She goes heaven still doth follow her. She brings true joy once fled. & Contemplation is her Daughter. Sweet Contemplation. She brings humility to man Take her She Says & wear her in thine heart lord of thy Self thou then art lord of all. Tis Contemplation teacheth knowledge truly how to know. and Reinstates him on his throne once lost how lost I'll tell. But Stop the motley Song I'll Shew. how Conscience Came from heaven. But O who listens to his Voice. T'was Conscience who brought Melancholy down Conscience was sent a Guard to Reason. Reason once fairer than the light till fould in Knowledges dark Prison house. For knowledge drove sweet Innocence away. and Reason would have followd but fate sufferd not. Then down Came conscience With his lovely band The Eager Song Goes on telling how Pride against her father Warrd & Overcame. ... Indeed hate Controlls all the Gods. at will. Policy brought forth Guile & fraud. these Gods last namd live in the Smoke of Cities. on Dusky wing breathing forth Clamour & Destruction. alas in Cities wheres the man whose face is not a mask unto his heart Pride made a Goddess. fair or Image rather till knowledge animated it. 'twas Calld Selflove. The Gods admiring loaded her with Gifts as once Pandora She 'mongst men was Sent. and worser ills attended her by far. She was a Goddess Powerful & bore Conceit and Shame bore honour & made league with Pride & Policy doth dwell with her by whom she [had] Mistrust & Suspition. Then bore a Daughter called Emulation. who. married. honour these follow her around the World[.] Go See the City friends Joind Hand in Hand. Go See. the Natural the of flesh & blood. Go See more strong the ties of marriage love, thou Scarce Shall find but Self love Stands Between" 

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