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

Monday, October 27, 2014


British Museum
Plate 6, Copy D
To Blake Spirits are substantial, matter is ephemeral. Blake is aware of the interplay between matter and Spirit and brings it to our attention. On Plate 6 of Europe the sons of Urizen who have existence in matter are engaged in binding the spirits of life to the Earth. The joys of Eternity cannot be realized on Earth except through spiritual sensation, but Urizen will make an attempt to drink Los's 'sparkling wine.' As a result Orc is awakened in his dark cavern by Enitharmon who assumes some of his power and energy.

You may remember that Orc is the first son of Los and Enitharmon. However, Los who has so many sterling characteristics with which we are familiar, becomes jealous of Orc. It is from the chaining of Orc by Los that he is released on the occasion of Urthona relinquishing power to Urizen. We see in the picture Enitharmon lifting the covering from Orc whose fiery nature is exhibited in his flaming hair.

Europe, Plate 4, (E 62)                 
"The shrill winds wake                                            
Till all the sons of Urizen look out and envy Los:
Sieze all the spirits of life and bind
Their warbling joys to our loud strings                          

Bind all the nourishing sweets of earth                          
To give us bliss, that we may drink the sparkling wine of Los
And let us laugh at war,
Despising toil and care,
Because the days and nights of joy, in lucky hours renew.

Arise O Orc from thy deep den,                                   
First born of Enitharmon rise!
And we will crown thy head with garlands of the ruddy vine;
For now thou art bound;
And I may see thee in the hour of bliss, my eldest born.

The horrent Demon rose, surrounded with red stars of fire,
Whirling about in furious circles round the immortal fiend.

Then Enitharmon down descended into his red light,
And thus her voice rose to her children, the distant heavens

The hand written quotes below the picture which were selected from Edward Bysshe's The Art of English Poetry are related to the interface between the substantial things of Eternity and the shadowy things of the material world. From the Blake Archive we learn that the quotes are from Dryden's translations of Virgil and Ovid.

"Forms without body and impassive air"

"Thin shades the sports of winds are toss't
O'er dreary Plains, or tread the burning coast."

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