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

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Before Blake completely formulated his fourfold system he wrote of Rintrah because he had met him in his own life and in his own psyche. He knew that wrath, justified or unjustified, gained expression and left a trail of destruction. Rintrah is modeled on the Old Testament prophets who warned Israel of her defeat and deportation for abandoning adherence to God's laws. The 'voice of one crying in the wilderness' as articulated by John the Baptist is the voice of Rintrah also. The wrath of which the prophets warned was often reflected back on them and they became alienated outcasts from their society. 

British Museum
Copy D, Plate 7
The wrath which Rintrah represented could be modulated if the mercy, expressed by Palamabron, accompanied him as he sought to right the ever-present wrongs he encountered. Rintrah's plow broke the hardened crust on the soil to enable Palamabron to access the workable clay with which to create.

Rintrah armed with a spear and protected by chain mail is associated with the wars devastating Europe in Blake's time. The existing order was broken up preparatory to rearranging the political landscape of Europe.

On page 333 of Fearful Symmetry, Northrop Frye states:
"The Rintrah or strong class of men is thus a 'Reprobate' class: its members are always looked on as dangerous nuisances. They accept none of the conventional values of society and are revolutionaries, iconoclasts and blasphemers of Nobodaddy."  

Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 2, (E 33)
"Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burdend air;
Hungry clouds swag on the deep"

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." 

Europe, Plate 8, (E 62)
Arise O Rintrah eldest born: second to none but Orc:
O lion Rintrah raise thy fury from thy forests black:
Bring Palamabron horned priest, skipping upon the mountains:
And silent Elynittria the silver bowed queen:
Rintrah where hast thou hid thy bride!                           
Weeps she in desart shades?
Alas my Rintrah! bring the lovely jealous Ocalythron.

Arise my son! bring all thy brethren O thou king of fire.
Prince of the sun I see thee with thy innumerable race:
Thick as the summer stars:                                       
But each ramping his golden mane shakes,
And thine eyes rejoice because of strength O Rintrah furious king."

Milton, Plate 8, (E 101)
"Then Los took off his left sandal placing it on his head,
Signal of solemn mourning: when the servants of the Mills
Beheld the signal they in silence stood, tho' drunk with wine.
Los wept! But Rintrah also came, and Enitharmon on
His arm lean'd tremblingly observing all these things

And Los said. Ye Genii of the Mills! the Sun is on high
Your labours call you! Palamabron is also in sad dilemma;
His horses are mad! his Harrow confounded! his companions enrag'd.
Mine is the fault! I should have remember'd that pity divides the soul
And man, unmans: follow with me my Plow. this mournful day    
Must be a blank in Nature: follow with me, and tomorrow again
Resume your labours, & this day shall be a mournful day

Wildly they follow'd Los and Rintrah, & the Mills were silent
They mourn'd all day this mournful day of Satan & Palamabron:
And all the Elect & all the Redeem'd mourn'd one toward another  
Upon the mountains of Albion among the cliffs of the Dead.

They Plow'd in tears! incessant pourd Jehovahs rain, & Molechs
Thick fires contending with the rain, thunder'd above rolling
Terrible over their heads; Satan wept over Palamabron
Theotormon & Bromion contended on the side of Satan            
Pitying his youth and beauty; trembling at eternal death:
Michael contended against Satan in the rolling thunder
Thulloh the friend of Satan also reprovd him; faint their reproof.

But Rintrah who is of the reprobate: of those form'd to destruction
In indignation. for Satans soft dissimulation of friendship!  
Flam'd above all the plowed furrows, angry red and furious,
Till Michael sat down in the furrow weary  dissolv'd in tears
Satan who drave the team beside him, stood angry & red
He smote Thulloh & slew him, & he stood terrible over Michael
Urging him to arise: he wept! Enitharmon saw his tears         
But Los hid Thulloh from her sight, lest she should die of grief
She wept: she trembled! she kissed Satan; she wept over Michael
She form'd a Space for Satan & Michael & for the poor infected[.]
Trembling she wept over the Space, & clos'd it with a tender Moon

Los secret buried Thulloh, weeping disconsolate over the moony Space     

But Palamabron called down a Great Solemn Assembly,
That he who will not defend Truth, may be compelled to
Defend a Lie, that he may be snared & caught & taken"

Milton, Plate 9, (E 103)
"Judgment: and Lo! it fell on Rintrah and his rage:           
Which now flam'd high & furious in Satan against Palamabron
Till it became a proverb in Eden. Satan is among the Reprobate.

Los in his wrath curs'd heaven & earth, he rent up Nations
Standing on Albions rocks among high-reard Druid temples
Which reach the stars of heaven & stretch from pole to pole. 
He displacd continents, the oceans fled before his face
He alter'd the poles of the world, east, west & north & south
But he clos'd up Enitharmon from the sight of all these things"

Milton, Plate 11 [12], (E 105)
"And it was enquir'd: Why in a Great Solemn Assembly           
The Innocent should be condemn'd for the Guilty? Then an Eternal rose

Saying. If the Guilty should be condemn'd, he must be an Eternal Death
And one must die for another throughout all Eternity.
Satan is fall'n from his station & never can be redeem'd
But must be new created continually moment by moment          
And therefore the Class of Satan shall be calld the Elect, & those
Of Rintrah. the Reprobate, & those of Palamabron the Redeem'd
For he is redeem'd from Satans Law, the wrath falling on Rintrah,
And therefore Palamabron dared not to call a solemn Assembly
Till Satan had assum'd Rintrahs wrath in the day of mourning   
In a feminine delusion of false pride self-deciev'd.

So spake the Eternal and confirm'd it with a thunderous oath"

Milton, Plate 29 [31], (E 128)
"On Albions Rock Los stands creating the glorious Sun each morning
And when unwearied in the evening he creates the Moon
Death to delude, who all in terror at their splendor leaves
His prey while Los appoints, & Rintrah & Palamabron guide
The Souls clear from the Rock of Death, that Death himself may wake 
In his appointed season when the ends of heaven meet.

Then Los conducts the Spirits to be Vegetated, into
Great Golgonooza, free from the four iron pillars of Satans Throne
(Temperance, Prudence, justice, Fortitude, the four pillars of tyranny)
That Satans Watch-Fiends touch them not before they Vegetate. "   

One of the questions asked and answered by Blake through his poem Milton is how to dissipate the anger and its residue produced by opposing the forces which prevent the return to Eden.


No comments:

Post a Comment