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

Friday, March 1, 2013


Yale Center for British Art
Plate 59
Matthew 7:5 "first cast out the beam out of thine own eye"

Blake chose the image of weaving to supplement the image of forging; the looms to supplement the furnaces. Exterior work is done at the looms which take the linear thread (of time) and weave it into a flat plane (of space). From the fabric is made garments to clothe the body. The image is well chosen to suggest a process which becomes increasingly distant from the original raw material which were of course wool from the sheep, thread from the silk worm and fiber from the flax and cotton plants. The Spectres of the Dead were given bodies of flesh and bones which they covered either with 'sweet clothing', 'gifts and gold of Edan' provided by Enitharmon and her daughters, or alternatively, with the clothing provided by Rahab and Tirzah: torture, despair, compunction, indolence and ignorance. 

The web of death is woven simultaneously with the web of life. The garment which is worn results from the mind within the body. The work of Los at his furnaces must eliminate error before the bright Light and Human form become visible within the garment. The inner life which Los builds provides the foundation. If the outer expression woven in Enitharmon's looms is in conformity with the inner lineaments and not seeking autonomy, regeneration becomes  possible.   

Four Zoas, Night VIII, PAGE 113 (FIRST PORTION), (E 376) 
"Thence to the Looms of Cathedron conveyd
The Daughters of Enitharmon weave the ovarium & the integument
In soft silk drawn from their own bowels in lascivious delight 
With songs of sweetest cadence to the turning spindle & reel
Lulling the weeping spectres of the dead. Clothing their limbs
With gifts & gold of Eden. Astonishd stupefied with delight
The terrors put on their sweet clothing on the banks of Arnon
Whence they plunge into the river of space for a period till 
The dread Sleep of Ulro is past. But Satan Og & Sihon 
Build Mills of resistless wheels to unwind the soft threads & reveal
Naked of their clothing the poor spectres before the accusing heavens
While Rahab & Tirzah far different mantles prepare webs of torture
Mantles of despair girdles of bitter compunction shoes of indolence
Veils of ignorance covering from head to feet with a cold web"

Jerusalem, Plate 73, (E 229)
"The Spectres of the Dead bowl round the porches of Los
In the terrible Family feuds of Albions cities & villages
To devour the Body of Albion, hungring & thirsting & ravning
The Sons of Los clothe them & feed, & provide houses & gardens
And every Human Vegetated Form in its inward recesses            
Is a house of ple[as]antness & a garden of delight Built by the
Sons & Daughters of Los in Bowlahoola & in Cathedron"

Jerusalem, Plate 85, (E 245)
"Thus Los sings upon his Watch walking from Furnace to Furnace.
He siezes his Hammer every hour, flames surround him as
He beats: seas roll beneath his feet, tempests muster        
Arou[n]d his head. the thick hail stones stand ready to obey
His voice in the black cloud, his Sons labour in thunders
At his Furnaces; his Daughters at their Looms sing woes
His Emanation separates in milky fibres agonizing
Among the golden Looms of Cathedron sending fibres of love
From Golgonooza with sweet visions for Jerusalem, wanderer."

Jerusalem, Plate 83, (E 242)
"The night falls thick: I go upon my watch: be attentive:
The Sons of Albion go forth; I follow from my Furnaces:
That they return no more: that a place be prepard on Euphrates
Listen to your Watchmans voice: sleep not before the Furnaces
Eternal Death stands at the door. O God pity our labours.     

So Los spoke. to the Daughters of Beulah while his Emanation
Like a faint rainbow waved before him in the awful gloom
Of London City on the Thames from Surrey Hills to Highgate:
Swift turn the silver spindles, & the golden weights play soft
And lulling harmonies beneath the Looms, from Caithness in the north  
To Lizard-point & Dover in the south: his Emanation
Joy'd in the many weaving threads in bright Cathedrons Dome
Weaving the Web of Life for Jerusalem. the Web of Life
Down flowing into Entuthons Vales glistens with soft affections."

Four Zoas, Night VIII, PAGE 100 (FIRST PORTION), (E 372) 
"Singing lulling Cadences to drive away
Despair from the poor wandering spectres and Los loved them 
With a parental love for the Divine hand was upon him
And upon Enitharmon & the Divine Countenance shone
In Golgonooza Looking down the Daughters of Beulah saw
With joy the bright Light & in it a Human form
And knew he was the Saviour Even Jesus & they worshipped" 

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