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

Sunday, November 16, 2014

EUROPE PLATE 16

British Museum
Europe
Plate 16, Copy D
Enitharmon had awakened from her sleep and been empowered by the dominance of Newton's thought which was replacing traditional religious interpretations and inhibitions. The form that Enitharmon's new freedom took was a degrading of sexual activity under her doctrine of chastity.
 
There are four couples named on this plate each of which, Damon in A Blake Dictionary tells us, is a further repression of the ideal sexual experience which is: "Cominglings: from the Head even to the Feet; And not a pompous High Priest entering by a Secret Place."
 
These are the are the four couples:
 
Ethinthus
& Manathu-Vorcyon
Leutha & Antamon
Oothoon & Theotormon
Sotha & Thiralatha.
 
Damon's understanding (Page 124) is that Blake is saying that when sex is not seen as holy, it first becomes a purely physical experience, then becomes identified as sinful, following that men and women are frustrated by abstinence. The final stage is preoccupation with the erotic dream and transferal of sexual energy to the aggression of war.
 
This plate presents the Night of Enitharmon's Joy to the extreme; it is she who "felt thro' all her pores the enormous revelry." But she wept at morning's light when Orc made his presence known.
Europe, PLATE 14, (E 65)
"Ethinthus queen of waters, how thou shinest in the sky:
My daughter how do I rejoice! for thy children flock around
Like the gay fishes on the wave, when the cold moon drinks the dew.
Ethinthus! thou art sweet as comforts to my fainting soul:
For now thy waters warble round the feet of Enitharmon.          

Manathu-Vorcyon! I behold thee flaming in my halls,
Light of thy mothers soul! I see thy lovely eagles round;
Thy golden wings are my delight, & thy flames of soft delusion.

Where is my lureing bird of Eden! Leutha silent love!
Leutha, the many colourd bow delights upon thy wings:            
Soft soul of flowers Leutha!
Sweet smiling pestilence! I see thy blushing light:
Thy daughters many changing,
Revolve like sweet perfumes ascending O Leutha silken queen!

Where is the youthful Antamon. prince of the pearly dew,
O Antamon, why wilt thou leave thy mother Enitharmon?
Alone I see thee crystal form,
Floting upon the bosomd air:
With lineaments of gratified desire.
My Antamon the seven churches of Leutha seek thy love.  

I hear the soft Oothoon in Enitharmons tents:
Why wilt thou give up womans secrecy my melancholy child?
Between two moments bliss is ripe:
O Theotormon robb'd of joy, I see thy salt tears flow
Down the steps of my crystal house.                              

Sotha & Thiralatha, secret dwellers of dreamful caves,
Arise and please the horrent fiend with your melodious songs.
Still all your thunders golden hoofd, & bind your horses black.
Orc! smile upon my children!
Smile son of my afflictions.                                     
Arise O Orc and give our mountains joy of thy red light.

She ceas'd, for All were forth at sport beneath the solemn moon 
Waking the stars of Urizen with their immortal songs,
That nature felt thro' all her pores the enormous revelry,
Till morning ope'd the eastern gate.                             
Then every one fled to his station, & Enitharmon wept.

But terrible Orc, when he beheld the morning in the east,"

Jerusalem, Plate 69, (E 223)
"Mutual Hate returns & mutual Deceit & mutual Fear.

Hence the Infernal Veil grows in the disobedient Female:
Which Jesus rends & the whole Druid Law removes away
From the Inner Sanctuary: a False Holiness hid within the Center,
For the Sanctuary of Eden. is in the Camp: in the Outline,
In the Circumference: & every Minute Particular is Holy:
Embraces are Cominglings: from the Head even to the Feet;
And not a pompous High Priest entering by a Secret Place."  
You may be curious about the illustration on this plate with its proliferation of growing, blooming, crawling and flying forms of life. This too is an aspect of Enitharmon who, as mother nature, has innumerable children including the three serpents at the bottom of the page. 
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