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

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Watercolour illustration for
Robert Blair's The Grave
Jerusalem, Plate 42, (E 189)
"The Spectres of the Dead cry out from the deeps beneath
Upon the hills of Albion; Oxford groans in his iron furnace
Winchester in his den & cavern; they lament against
Albion: they curse their human kindness & affection              
They rage like wild beasts in the forests of affliction
In the dreams of Ulro they repent of their human kindness."

In reading of the efforts of Los and Enitharmon to provide bodies for the Spectres of the Dead, I am reminded of the movie Wings of Desire in which there are spirits, (angels), who are sent to watch over the world but not interfere or interact with the human beings. The plot of the movie involves the spirits developing 'desire' which may make them choose to abandon their role as angels and descend to the material world where they would have physical bodies and emotions which they were capable of expressing. Some of the unembodied angels relinquish their flexible senses, their perception of the unity with the One Spirit, and their membership in the brotherhood of angels. They take on mortality and sexuality and descend into physical bodies.

Blake postulates a world in which there are spirits (refugees from the wars of Great Eternity), in a limbo which does not allow a return to the unity of all things. The alternative of gaining experience through the 'joy and woe' of living in the material is not open to them. The solution to the problem of the 'wandering fragments of spirits' (Damon) is to provide them bodies so that they can have a physical life in the material world: the world of time and space - of Los and Enitharmon. In Milton Ololon volunteers to descend to 'This World beneath, unseen before: this refuge from the wars Of Great Eternity!' To this refuge were sent the Spectres. By creating bodies for the wandering Spectres of the Dead Los and Enitharmon created our world: the world where we may experience imagination, intellect, and emotions within bodies of flesh and blood in this World beneath.

Four Zoas, Night VIIA, Page 87, (E 369)
"Urthonas Spectre terrified beheld the Spectres of the Dead
Each Male formd without a counterpart without a concentering vision
The Spectre of Urthona wept before Los Saying I am the cause
That this dire state commences I began the dreadful state
Of Separation & on my dark head the curse & punishment
Must fall unless a way be found to Ransom & Redeem 

But I have thee my [Counterpart Vegetating] miraculous
These Spectres have no [Counter(parts)] therefore they ravin
Without the food of life Let us Create them Coun[terparts]
For without a Created body the Spectre is Eternal Death

Los trembling answerd Now I feel the weight of stern repentance
Tremble not so my Enitharmon at the awful gates    
Of thy poor broken Heart I see thee like a shadow withering
As on the outside of Existence but look! behold! take comfort!
Turn inwardly thine Eyes & there behold the Lamb of God
Clothed in Luvahs robes of blood descending to redeem
O Spectre of Urthona take comfort O Enitharmon   
Couldst thou but cease from terror & trembling & affright
When I appear before thee in forgiveness of ancient injuries 
Why shouldst thou remember & be afraid. I surely have died in pain
Often enough to convince thy jealousy & fear & terror
Come hither be patient let us converse together because  
I also tremble at myself & at all my former life

Enitharmon answerd I behold the Lamb of God descending
To Meet these Spectres of the Dead I therefore fear that he
Will give us to Eternal Death fit punishment for such
Hideous offenders Uttermost extinction in eternal pain    
An ever dying life of stifling & obstruction shut out
Of existence to be a sign & terror to all who behold
Lest any should in futurity do as we have done in heaven
Such is our state nor will the Son of God redeem us but destroy

PAGE 98 [90] 
So Enitharmon spoke trembling & in torrents of tears

Los sat in Golgonooza in the Gate of Luban where   
He had erected many porches where branchd the Mysterious Tree
Where the Spectrous dead wail & sighing thus he spoke to Enitharmon

Lovely delight of Men Enitharmon shady refuge from furious war
Thy bosom translucent is a soft repose for the weeping souls
Of those piteous victims of battle there they sleep in happy obscurity
They feed upon our life we are their victims. Stern desire
I feel to fabricate embodied semblances in which the dead
May live before us in our palaces & in our gardens of labour 
Which now opend within the Center we behold spread abroad
To form a world of Sacrifice of brothers & sons & daughters  
To comfort Orc in his dire sufferings[;] look[!] my fires enlume afresh
Before my face ascending with delight as in ancient times

Enitharmon spread her beaming locks upon the wind & said   
O Lovely terrible Los wonder of Eternity O Los my defence & guide
Thy works are all my joy. & in thy fires my soul delights
If mild they burn in just proportion & in secret night
And silence build their day in shadow of soft clouds & dews
Then I can sigh forth on the winds of Golgonooza piteous forms  
That vanish again into my bosom   but if thou my Los
Wilt in sweet moderated fury. fabricate forms sublime 
Such as the piteous spectres may assimilate themselves into
They shall be ransoms for our Souls that we may live

So Enitharmon spoke & Los his hands divine inspired began
To modulate his fires studious the loud roaring flames
He vanquishd with the strength of Art bending their iron points
And drawing them forth delighted upon the winds of Golgonooza
From out the ranks of Urizens war & from the fiery lake
Of Orc bending down as the binder of the Sheaves follows   
The reaper in both arms embracing the furious raging flames
Los drew them forth out of the deeps planting his right foot firm
Upon the Iron crag of Urizen thence springing up aloft
Into the heavens of Enitharmon in a mighty circle

And first he drew a line upon the walls of shining heaven    
And Enitharmon tincturd it with beams of blushing love 
It remaind permanent a lovely form inspird divinely human
Dividing into just proportions Los unwearied labourd
The immortal lines upon the heavens till with sighs of love
Sweet Enitharmon mild Entrancd breathd forth upon the wind   
The spectrous dead Weeping the Spectres viewd the immortal works
Of Los Assimilating to those forms Embodied & Lovely
In youth & beauty in the arms of Enitharmon mild reposing"

Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 103, (E 376)
"Enitharmon wove in tears Singing Songs of Lamentations
And pitying comfort as she sighd forth on the wind the spectres
And wove them bodies calling them her belovd sons & daughters
Employing the daughters in her looms & Los employd the Sons 
In Golgonoozas Furnaces among the Anvils of time & space
Thus forming a Vast family wondrous in beauty & love
And they appeard a Universal female form created
From those who were dead in Ulro from the Spectres of the dead"

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