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

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


British Museum
Plate 10, Copy D
Orc, as revolution, can be analyzed into four segments: Palamabron (pity for the victims), Rintrah (just wrath), Bromion (impulse) and Theotormon (conformity). The violent destructiveness of revolution would fall into the province of Rintrah.

The text of Plate 10 of Europe addresses the role that Rintrah is asked to play as revolution develops in response the multiple infractions of the interests of the populace. Rintrah can assemble his forces to present a formidable army of destruction. The inscription added by Cumberland emphasizes the unintended consequences of allowing war to erupt.

The positive change which may be brought about by revolution is resisted by those interested in preserving the status quo. The picture presents the desire to prevent the outbreak of violence by those under threat, and by the forces of order which are committed to preserving the rule of law. The bearded man may represent any of various characters who resist change but one of them is Urizen, the perpetual conservative.   

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."

Cumberland's inscription is quoted from Edward Bysshe, The Art of English Poetry. The passage is from Virgil's The Aeneid translated by John Dryden.

"Thus Deluges descending on the Plains
Sweep o'er the yellow year &c,

The Aeneid of Virgil: Book II
[Aeneas observing Troy]
"Fear broke my slumbers; I no longer stay,
But mount the terrace, thence the town survey,
And hearken what the frightful sounds convey.
Thus, when a flood of fire by wind is borne,
Crackling it rolls, and mows the standing corn;
Or deluges, descending on the plains,
Sweep o'er the yellow year, destroy the pains
Of lab'ring oxen and the peasant's gains;
Unroot the forest oaks, and bear away
Flocks, folds, and trees, and undistinguish'd prey:
The shepherd climbs the cliff, and sees from far
The wasteful ravage of the wat'ry war."

No comments:

Post a Comment