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

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 16

Four Zoas, Night I, Page 16, (E 309)
"They melt the bones of Vala, & the bones of Luvah into wedges
The innumerable sons & daughters of Luvah closd in furnaces
Melt into furrows. winter blows his bellows: ice & Snow
Tend the dire anvils. Mountains mourn & Rivers faint & fail

There is no City nor Corn-field nor Orchard! all is Rock & Sand  
There is no Sun nor Moon nor Star. but rugged wintry rocks
Justling together in the void suspended by inward fires
Impatience now no longer can endure. Distracted Luvah

Bursting forth from the loins of Enitharmon, Thou fierce Terror
Go howl in vain, Smite Smite his fetters Smite O wintry hammers  
Smite Spectre of Urthona, mock the fiend who drew us down
From heavens of joy into this Deep. Now rage but rage in vain

Thus Sang the Demons of the Deep. the Clarions of War blew loud
The Feast redounds & Crownd with roses & the circling vine
The Enormous Bride & Bridegroom sat, beside them Urizen          
With faded radiance sighd, forgetful of the flowing wine
And of Ahania his Pure Bride but She was distant far

But Los & Enitharmon sat in discontent & scorn
Craving the more the more enjoying, drawing out sweet bliss
From all the turning wheels of heaven & the chariots of the Slain

At distance Far in Night repelld. in direful hunger craving
Summers & Winters round revolving in the frightful deep." 

The demons of the deep inhabit a scene of chaos. Los and Enitharmon, still their giant rather than earthly forms, observe the melting away, justling together, the smiting, and the rage; not with disgust, but with pleasure. Blake for a second time mentions the 'discontent & scorn' of Los and Enitharmon. Perhaps he is intimating that these are the two characteristics which create the chaotic conditions in the void.

Harold Bloom points out that Orc is the fierce Terror who bursts forth from the loins of Enitharmon. Another portent of the coming disintegration is the appearance of the Spectre of Urthona.

Milton Percival on Page 104 of William Blake's Circle of Destiny made a statement which can be applied to this page of the Four Zoas. This passage from Percival seems apropos for understanding the threat that the appearance of Urthona in sprectral form would pose. Percival links the transition period when there is a possibility either to rise or fall, with the characteristics of the Spectre whose doubt freezes him in the error which is leading to destruction. The suggestion is that Los and Enitharmon could still have stopped the fall by refusing to take pleasure in the suffering around them.

Percival: "When, however, the mind sinks into doubt, which is a disintegrating force, it falls (unless it is saved in Beulah) into the chaos and darkness and death of Ulro. In this state the Spectre has no body. By this Blake means not what we think of as a disembodied spirit but a creature of doubt and negation, impotent to emanate any emotional fabric wherein its troubled spirit may find rest. In the history of the race periods of this kind come between two ages, one dead the other powerless to be born. Lacking any positive faith or satisfying body of belief, the Spectre is little more than a thirst for 'existence,' an insatiable mental hunger. If man were dependent on his rational mind alone, he would have been lost forever when he first descended into Ulro; but he has an element of the imagination (Los) which cannot be utterly extinguished, and this comes to the rescue. Laboriously and imperfectly Los creates a succession of creeds and codes and beliefs wherein the disembodied Spectre can find temporary respite from his dark void of doubt and despair."

Blake may have intended for his image at the bottom of the page to show Enion holding her two infants as they observed the disintegration occurring in the void. At the center are two disconnected feet in the process of walking. 

Five times Blake mentions the feast which proved to be a pivotal moment in the Fall:  
(E 307)
"The Earth spread forth her table wide. the Night a silver cup
Fill'd with the wine of anguish waited at the golden feast
But the bright Sun was not as yet"

(E 308)
"And wintry woes succeed; successive driven into the Void
Where Enion craves: successive drawn into the golden feast

And Los & Enitharmon sat in discontent & scorn"   

(E 308)
"And Spirits of Flaming fire on high, govern'd the mighty Song.   

And This the Song! sung at The Feast of Los & Enitharmon"

(E 310)
"This was the Lamentation of Enion round the golden Feast
Eternity groand and was troubled at the image of Eternal Death"

(E 313)
"Urizen rose from the bright Feast like a star thro' the evening sky
Exulting at the voice that calld him from the Feast of envy" 

Sunday, June 28, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 15
Four Zoas, Night I, Page 15, (E 309)
"The Horse is of more value than the Man. The Tyger fierce
Laughs at the Human form. the Lion mocks & thirsts for blood
They cry O Spider spread thy web! Enlarge thy bones & fill'd
With marrow. sinews & flesh Exalt thyself attain a voice

Call to thy dark armd hosts, for all the sons of Men muster together       
To desolate their cities! Man shall be no more! Awake O Hosts
The bow string sang upon the hills! Luvah & Vala ride
Triumphant in the bloody sky. & the Human form is no more  

The listning Stars heard, & the first beam of the morning started back
He cried out to his Father, depart! depart! but sudden Siez'd 
And clad in steel. & his Horse proudly neighd; he smelt the battle
Afar off, Rushing back, reddning with rage the Mighty Father

Siezd his bright Sheephook studded with gems & gold, he Swung it round
His head shrill sounding in the sky, down rushd the Sun with noise
Of war, The Mountains fled away they sought a place beneath      
Vala remaind in desarts of dark solitude. nor Sun nor Moon

By night nor day to comfort her, she labourd in thick smoke
Tharmas endurd not, he fled howling. then a barren waste sunk�
Conglobing in the dark confusion, Mean time Los was born
And Thou O Enitharmon! Hark I hear the hammers of Los" 

In this passage simultaneous activities are occurring at various levels of mental processing. At the elemental level where things are valued for their utility, there are preparations for war. At the Eternal level or order, rearrangements are occurring which will create a reordering of experience. At the level of humanity, Los and Enitharmon are born as a male and a female.

The process Blake is describing is not unlike the process we read about in the first chapter of the Bible. In the creation story in the Book of Genesis, God's first acted to create Heaven and Earth. Next he created light. These were preliminary thoughts (or imaginings) which took place before he executed the orders which brought forth the elements (the waters, the firmament, the dry land, and the sun, moon and stars) from which he made all livings things. Creation is the setting into motion of the intentions which would unwind to reveal God's will.

The image at the bottom of the page is of a figure who is both linking heaven and earth and parting them from each other. Blake's understanding of the relationship of God and Man is that 'throughout Eternity' there is a link by which they are not two, but one, working together as the Human Form Divine. By changing the perspective as he writes, Blake gives us an experience of the process of the changing of perspective which he wants us to experience in our Humanity and in our Divinity. 

Genesis 1

[1] In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
[2] And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
[3] And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
[4] And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
[5] And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
[6] And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
[7] And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
[8] And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
[9] And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
[10] And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
[11] And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
[12] And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
[13] And the evening and the morning were the third day.
[14] And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
[15] And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
[16] And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
[17] And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
[18] And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
[19] And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
[20] And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
[21] And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
[22] And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
[23] And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
[24] And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
[25] And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
[26] And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
[27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
[28] And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
[29] And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
[30] And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
[31] And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Order of Days of Creation:
First - light 
Second - firmament, divided waters 
Third - dry land, growing things 
Fourth - sun, moon and stars 
Fifth - animals 
Sixth - man 

Friday, June 26, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 14
 Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 13, (E 308)
"And Los & Enitharmon sat in discontent & scorn  
The Nuptial Song arose from all the thousand thousand spirits
Over the joyful Earth & Sea, and ascended into the Heavens
For Elemental Gods their thunderous Organs blew; creating
Delicious Viands. Demons of Waves their watry Eccho's woke!
Bright Souls of vegetative life, budding and blossoming" 

 Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 14, (E 308)
"Stretch their immortal hands to smite the gold & silver Wires
And with immortal Voice soft warbling fill all Earth & Heaven.
With doubling Voices & loud Horns wound round sounding
Cavernous dwellers fill'd the enormous Revelry, Responsing!
And Spirits of Flaming fire on high, govern'd the mighty Song.   

And This the Song! sung at The Feast of Los & Enitharmon

Ephraim calld out to Zion: Awake O Brother Mountain
Let us refuse the Plow & Spade, the heavy Roller & spiked
Harrow. burn all these Corn fields. throw down all these fences
Fattend on Human blood & drunk with wine of life is better far   

Than all these labours of the harvest & the vintage. See the river
Red with the blood of Men. swells lustful round my rocky knees
My clouds are not the clouds of verdant fields & groves of fruit
But Clouds of Human Souls. my nostrils drink the lives of Men

The Villages Lament. they faint outstretchd upon the plain       
Wailing runs round the Valleys from the Mill & from the Barn 
But most the polishd Palaces dark silent bow with dread
Hiding their books & pictures. underneath the dens of Earth

The Cities send to one another saying My sons are Mad
With wine of cruelty. Let us plat a Scourge O Sister City
Children are nourishd for the Slaughter; once the Child was fed
With Milk; but wherefore now are Children fed with blood"
Los and Enitharmon sit together at their wedding feast serenaded by the Elemental Gods. What they hear is the consequences of the fall which has been set in motion by the striking of the blow by Los and the calling forth of Urizen by Enitharmon. The rulers of the elemental world know nothing of Eternity. They rejoice that time and space will bring to them souls whom they can enlist in conflict, one against the other.

Blake wrote of this point of transition when the mind becomes captive to perceiving not unity but division to great dramatic effect on Plate 5 of Europe
Europe, Plate 3, (E 61)
     The deep of winter came;                                    
     What time the secret child,
Descended thro' the orient gates of the eternal day:
War ceas'd, & all the troops like shadows fled to their abodes.

Then Enitharmon saw her sons & daughters rise around.            
Like pearly clouds they meet together in the crystal house:
And Los, possessor of the moon, joy'd in the peaceful night:
Thus speaking while his num'rous sons shook their bright fiery wings

Again the night is come 
That strong Urthona takes his rest,                              
And Urizen unloos'd from chains                                  
Glows like a meteor in the distant north
Stretch forth your hands and strike the elemental strings!
Awake the thunders of the deep."

Milton Percival, in William Blake's Circle of Destiny, demonstrates the irony of the this event as a Nuptial Feast. It is an acknowledgment that Los and Enitharmon are not joined but completely alienated. The harvest and the vintage are not to be enjoyed at this feast. This feast celebrates the pouring out of human life and the spilling of human blood.   

"The creation of the star world is preceded in the Four Zoas (the one complete account of the achievement) by the feast of mortality. This feast is also the nuptial feast of the youthful Los and Enitharmon. The appearance of Urthona, the essential man, in the male and female forms of Los and Enitharmon indicates that the rational mind now sees the universe as dual. Urizen apparently expects his star world to reconcile this duality, to minimize the consequence of a separation into Spectre and  Emanation, in a word to accomplish the 'marriage' of Los and Enitharmon. He draws his inferences, in true rational fashion, from the outward, rather than the inward principle. His true alliance is with Enitharmon, not with Los. Consequently the creation in which he hopes to reconcile the strife of the contraries is predominately feminine - a natural world. Law is its principle, and the stars are its symbol." (Page 150)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 13
Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 13, (E 308)
"They listend to the Elemental Harps & Sphery Song
They view'd the dancing Hours, quick sporting thro' the sky     
With winged radiance scattering joys thro the ever changing light

But Luvah & Vala standing in the bloody sky
On high remaind alone forsaken in fierce jealousy                
They stood above the heavens forsaken desolate suspended in blood
Descend they could not. nor from Each other avert their eyes
Eternity appeard above them as One Man infolded
In Luvah[s] robes of blood & bearing all his afflictions
As the sun shines down on the misty earth Such was the Vision    

But purple night and crimson morning & golden day descending
Thro' the clear changing atmosphere display'd green fields among
The varying clouds, like paradises stretch'd in the expanse
With towns & villages and temples, tents sheep-folds and pastures
Where dwell the children of the elemental worlds in harmony,     
Not long in harmony they dwell, their life is drawn away
And wintry woes succeed; successive driven into the Void
Where Enion craves: successive drawn into the golden feast

And Los & Enitharmon sat in discontent & scorn
The Nuptial Song arose from all the thousand thousand spirits
Over the joyful Earth & Sea, and ascended into the Heavens
For Elemental Gods their thunderous Organs blew; creating
Delicious Viands. Demons of Waves their watry Eccho's woke!
Bright Souls of vegetative life, budding and blossoming"

In this scene the location has shifted. We find ourselves viewing the Elemental, not the Eternal realities. This is the world of Time and Space of 'dancing Hours, quick sporting thro' the sky.' Seen as vision are Luvah and Vala poised above the world which has not yet felt the pain and strife they will bring.

The nuptial feast of Los and Enitharmon will introduce to the Elemental world 'Bright Souls of vegetative life, budding and blossoming.' Los and Enitharmon are seated at the table as time and space, but they are about to take on different forms. They will become the vehicles, chariots, which carry souls from Eternity to the Elemental world as vegetated beings.

In Milton Percival's William Blake's Circle of Destiny, on Page 166 we read:

"And the self - being outward and feminine and natural - is there to instigate these errors; and the woman is there to be their instrument.

When these and other forces come into action, there follows Blake's equivalent to Milton's war in heaven, and of the Greek's war of the Gods. In the Four Zoas four gods and four goddesses contend together. The archconspirators are Urizen and Luvah. Tharmas (the body) is a helpless and innocent victim. Enion, his outer self, retreats as far as possible to go - into the dark extremities  of the world, the mental conception of abstract matter. Tharmas becomes no more than the vital principle of a Stoic or a deistic world. Los and Enitharmon also pay the price, having to descend into the world of Generation. Urthona's body falls and becomes a serpent, the prototype of the serpentine religions." 


Monday, June 22, 2015


Luke 23 
[43] And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. 
[44] And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 
[45] And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. 
[46] And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. 
[47] Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man. 
[48] And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned. 
[49] And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things. 
[50] And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counseller; and he was a good man, and a just: 
[51] (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. 
[52] This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. 
[53] And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.

British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 12
 Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 12, (E 306)  
"Night darkend as she spoke! a shuddring ran from East to West
A Groan was heard on high. The warlike clarions ceast. the Spirits
Of Luvah & Vala shudderd in their Orb: an orb of blood!

Eternity groand & was troubled at the Image of Eternal Death
The Wandering Man bow'd his faint head and Urizen descended      
And the one must have murderd the other if he had not descended
Indignant muttering low thunders; Urizen descended
Gloomy sounding, Now I am God from Eternity to Eternity

Sullen sat Los plotting Revenge. Silent he eye'd the Prince
Of Light. Silent the prince of Light viewd Los. at length a brooded
Smile broke from Urizen for Enitharmon brightend more & more
Sullen he lowerd on Enitharmon but he smild on Los

Saying Thou art the Lord of Luvah into thine hands I give
The prince of Love the murderer his soul is in thine hands
Pity not Vala for she pitied not the Eternal Man                 
Nor pity thou the cries of Luvah. Lo these starry hosts
They are thy servants if thou wilt obey my awful Law

Los answerd furious art thou one of those who when most complacent
Mean mischief most. If you are such Lo! I am also such
One must be master. try thy Arts I also will try mine        
For I percieve Thou hast Abundance which I claim as mine

Urizen startled stood but not Long soon he cried
Obey my voice young Demon I am God from Eternity to Eternity

Thus Urizen spoke collected in himself in awful pride

Art thou a visionary of Jesus the soft delusion of Eternity   
Lo I am God the terrible destroyer & not the Saviour
Why should the Divine Vision compell the sons of Eden
to forego each his own delight to war against his Spectre 
The Spectre is the Man the rest is only delusion & fancy

So spoke the Prince of Light & sat beside the Seat of Los        
Upon the sandy shore rested his chariot of fire

Ten thousand thousand were his hosts of spirits on the wind:
Ten thousand thousand glittering Chariots shining in the sky:
They pour upon the golden shore beside the silent ocean.
Rejoicing in the Victory & the heavens were filld with blood 

The Earth spread forth her table wide. the Night a silver cup
Fill'd with the wine of anguish waited at the golden feast
But the bright Sun was not as yet; he filling all the expanse
Slept as a bird in the blue shell that soon shall burst away

Los saw the wound of his blow he saw he pitied he wept
Los now repented that he had smitten Enitharmon he felt love
Arise in all his Veins he threw his arms around her loins
To heal the wound of his smiting

They eat the fleshly bread, they drank the nervous wine"

Los finds his act of violence in smiting Enitharmon has repercussions far beyond the injury which it did to her. Enitharmon calls forth Urizen to oppose Los. The two children of Enion and Tharmas are related to the id. Urizen in this instance functions as the superego. He assumes the role of rule maker and enforcer in order to attempt to deny Los the ability to function as the intuition or spiritual sense. 

Blake intimates that the blow that Los struck was equivalent to Jesus commending his spirit into the hands of God as he died on the cross. Los' act, inadvertently,  initiated a process in which he would follow the journey which Jesus took through death and rebirth. The wound that Los opened, broadened and deepened as Urizen and Los attempted to take control of the psyche of man.

Several characteristics of Urizen are delineated in this passage. First is his inflated image of himself as 'God from Eternity to Eternity.' Second is his belief that he can negotiate with his fellow Zoas to gain power by setting them against each other. Third is his use of deceit to assume the appearance of friendly cooperation.

Los, although powerless to stop the flow of Urizen's development, is able of become aware of the best way he can act in response. First he understands that his own action has precipitated the situation. Second he feels sorrow and regret for his act of violence. Third he feels love toward the object of his aggression. Fourth he acts to repair the damage he has done.


Saturday, June 20, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 11

Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 11, (E 306)
"I heard the sounding sea; I heard the voice weaker and weaker;
The voice came & went like a dream, I awoke in my sweet bliss.
Then Los smote her upon the Earth twas long eer she revivd
He answer'd, darkning more with indignation hid in smiles
I die not Enitharmon tho thou singst thy Song of Death
Nor shalt thou me torment For I behold the Fallen Man
Seeking to comfort Vala, she will not be comforted
She rises from his throne and seeks the shadows of her garden
Weeping for Luvah lost, in the bloody beams of your false morning
Sickning lies the Fallen Man his head sick his heart faint

Mighty achievement of your power!
Beware the punishment
I see, invisible descend into the Gardens of Vala Luvah walking on the winds,
I see the invisible knife I see the shower of blood: I see the swords & spears of futurity
Tho in the Brain of Man we live, & in his circling Nerves.
Tho' this bright world of all our joy is in the Human Brain.

Where Urizen & all his Hosts hang their immortal lamps
Thou neer shalt leave this cold expanse where watry Tharmas mourns

So spoke Los. Scorn & Indignation rose upon Enitharmon
Then Enitharmon reddning fierce stretchd her immortal hands

Descend O Urizen descend with horse & chariots
Threaten not me O visionary thine the punishment
The Human Nature shall no more remain nor Human acts
Form the rebellious Spirits of Heaven. but War & Princedom & Victory & Blood"

TEXTUAL NOTES by David V Erdman, Four Zoas, (E 825)

 "In the margin are nine lines marked to follow 11 but then

          'Refusing to behold the Divine image which all behold
          And live thereby. he is sunk down into a deadly sleep
          But we immortal in our own strength survive by stern debate
          Till we have drawn the Lamb of God into a mortal form
          And that he must be born is certain for One must be All
          And comprehend within himself all things both small & great
          We therefore for whose sake all things aspire to be & live
          Will so recieve the Divine Image that amongst the Reprobate
          He may be devoted to Destruction from his mothers womb'"

The conflict between Los and Enitharmon takes place within the brain. However Los views consequences beyond Enitharmon's imaginings. Enitharmon is capable of initiating the descent of Urizen, with horses and chariots. In Blake's symbolic system Urizen is the reasoning mind, whereas horses are associated with Emotion and chariots with Imagination.

Los and Enitharmon are each unable to force the other to accept the direction in which the other wishes to lead. His attack on her pushes her in the direction of causing further disintegration of the Fallen Man. Enitharmon's power sickens the head and weakens the heart of  Albion.

Although Los declares that Enitharmon will not leave the unconscious herself, she exercises her power by infiltrating the conscious mind as it thinks and feels. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 10

Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 1O, (E 305) 
"But Enitharmon answerd with a dropping tear & frowning  
Dark as a dewy morning when the crimson light appears 
To make us happy let them weary their immortal powers 
While we draw in their sweet delights while we return them scorn
On scorn to feed our discontent; for if we grateful prove
They will withhold sweet love, whose food is thorns & bitter roots.
We hear the warlike clarions we view the turning spheres 
Yet Thou in indolence reposest holding me in bonds
Hear! I will sing a Song of Death! it is a Song of Vala!
The Fallen Man takes his repose: Urizen sleeps in the porch
Luvah and Vala woke & flew up from the Human Heart 
Into the Brain; from thence upon the pillow Vala slumber'd.
And Luvah siez'd the Horses of Light, & rose into the Chariot of Day
Sweet laughter siezd me in my sleep! silent & close I laughd
For in the visions of Vala I walkd with the mighty Fallen One 
I heard his voice among the branches, & among sweet flowers.

Why is the light of Enitharmon darken'd in dewy morn 
Why is the silence of Enitharmon a terror & her smile a whirlwind
Uttering this darkness in my halls, in the pillars of my Holy-ones
Why dost thou weep as Vala? & wet thy veil with dewy tears,
In slumbers of my night-repose, infusing a false morning?
Driving the Female Emanations all away from Los 
I have refusd to look upon the Universal Vision
And wilt thou slay with death him who devotes himself to thee
Once born for the sport & amusement of Man now born to drink up all his Powers"

This is the beginning of the split between Los and Enitharmon: between the internal functioning of prophecy and its outward manifestation.

The world that is occupied by Los and Enitharmon is unconscious, a dream world controlled by primitive instincts. Enitharmon finds that to compensate for her sense of imprisonment, she can create a fantasy in which she is the star. Because of her longing to glorify her individuality she refuses to look upon the Universal Vision.

This is an inner world which she can mold to her own interpretation. She creates an image of herself as walking with the Mighty Fallen One. She assumes the role of Vala. But the dream she creates is elusive; she cannot maintain it on her own.

It is Los who suffers the consequences of Enitharmon's disconnection from the Divine Vision. His ability to sense his prophetic vision is disturbed. She who should be his delight sucks from him the creative energy he needs. Enitharmon's error continues to infect the development of the psyche and the outer experience of mankind until it is removed.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 9

Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 9, (E 304)
"And then they wanderd far away she sought for them in vain   
In weeping blindness stumbling she followd them oer rocks & mountains
Rehumanizing from the Spectre in pangs of maternal love
Ingrate they wanderd scorning her drawing her Spectrous Life
Repelling her away & away by a dread repulsive power             
Into Non Entity revolving round in dark despair.
And drawing in the Spectrous life in pride and haughty joy  
Thus Enion gave them all her spectrous life

Then Eno a daughter of Beulah took a Moment of Time         
And drew it out to Seven thousand years with much care & affliction                                             
And many tears & in Every year made windows into Eden 

She also took an atom of space & opend its center
Into Infinitude & ornamented it with wondrous art
Astonishd sat her Sisters of Beulah to see her soft affections
To Enion & her children & they ponderd these things wondring     
And they Alternate kept watch over the Youthful terrors
They saw not yet the Hand Divine for it was not yet reveald
But they went on in Silent Hope & Feminine repose

But Los & Enitharmon delighted in the Moony spaces of Eno
Nine Times they livd among the forests, feeding on sweet fruits  
And nine bright Spaces wanderd weaving mazes of delight
Snaring the wild Goats for their milk they eat the flesh of Lambs
A male & female naked & ruddy as the pride of summer
Alternate Love & Hate his breast; hers Scorn & Jealousy
In embryon passions. they kiss'd not nor embrac'd for shame & fear
His head beamd light & in his vigorous voice was prophecy
He could controll the times & seasons, & the days & years
She could controll the spaces, regions, desart, flood & forest
But had no power to weave a Veil of covering for her Sins
She drave the Females all away from Los                          
And Los drave all the Males from her away
They wanderd long, till they sat down upon the margind sea.
Conversing with the visions of Beulah in dark slumberous bliss

But the two youthful wonders wanderd in the world of Tharmas
Thy name is Enitharmon; said the fierce prophetic boy       
While thy mild voice fills all these Caverns with sweet harmony
O how our Parents sit & mourn in their silent secret bowers" 

Enion's two infants immediately begin to pursue wayward, independent existences. Apparently their reasoning came from Enion's Spectrous Life. Eno who is the Aged Mother who shook the Heavens as the Four Zoas began, again intervened in the development of the two children. It is at this point that time and space become perceptible to the developing mind. The remnants of Enions awareness of Tharmas as the cohesive force of the body, become the framework for a world in which man can gain experience.
The benevolence of Eno provided a means for the psyche to develop through opening the unconscious to an exterior world. In Enion's hands are a square and a compass, Blake's symbolic instruments of creation. It was the first step in a perilous journey which would lead to a reunion of all the scattered pieces into an inclusive whole.
At the end of the passage we learn Enitharmon's name and the role of the boy as the fierce prophet, Los.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Another post on Page 8.
Four Zoas, Night I
   Page 8 
Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 8, (E 304)
"Till with fierce pain she brought forth on the rocks her sorrow & woe
Behold two little Infants wept upon the desolate wind.
The first state weeping they began & helpless as a wave
Beaten along its sightless way growing enormous in its motion to
Its utmost goal, till strength from Enion like richest summer shining
Raisd the bright boy & girl with glories from their heads out beaming
Drawing forth drooping mothers pity drooping mothers sorrow

They sulk upon her breast her hair became like snow on mountains
Weaker & weaker, weeping woful, wearier and wearier
Faded & her bright Eyes decayd melted with pity & love"      

Blake moves directly to the consequences of 'Enion entering the delusive world of the tempter.' A new development occurs. Blake is suggesting that just as Eve's encounter with the serpent led to the expulsion from Eden, Enion's encounter led to enormous changes which would alter the course of the developing psyche.

Remember that the Spectre which was drawn forth from Tharmas was 'rapturous in fury Glorying in his own eyes Exalted in terrific Pride.' He goes by the names tempter and Serpent as well.

In this account two unnamed infants are brought forth from Enion. They are the children of man's instinctual nature; produced when the level of consciousness had reached the point of desiring self-preservation and self-satisfaction. Energy has been transferred to them. They are born too early in the development of the psyche to have any sense of morality. Hungry infants that they are, they nourish themselves at the expense of the mother who responds to their initial weakness and helplessness.

If Enion can be thought of as awareness of the intuitive functioning of the physical body, her progeny may represent the movement of her awareness into functions which can operate in a broader field of activity. 

TEXTUAL NOTES by David V Erdman, Four Zoas, (E 823)
 7] Thirteen deleted lines follow:

          "But those in Great Eternity Met in the Council of God
          As One Man hovering over Gilead & Hermon
          He is the Good Shepherd He is the Lord & Master
          To Create Man Morning by Morning to Give gifts at Noon day 
          Enion brooded, oer the rocks, the rough rocks [?vegetating] groaning vegetate
          Such power was given to the Solitary wanderer.
          The barked Oak, the long limbd Beech; the Ches'nut tree; the Pine.  
          The Pear tree mild, the frowning Walnut, the sharp Crab, & Apple sweet,
          The rough bark opens; twittering peep forth little beaks & wings
          The Nightingale, the Goldfinch, Robin, Lark, Linnet & Thrush 
          The Goat leap'd from the craggy [Rock] , the Sheep awoke from the mould
          Upon its green stalk rose the Corn, waving innumerable
          Infolding the bright Infants from the desolating winds"

Friday, June 12, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 7
Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 7, (E 304)
"I thought Tharmas a Sinner & I murderd his Emanations
His secret loves & Graces Ah me wretched What have I done
For now I find that all those Emanations were my Childrens Souls
And I have murderd them with Cruelty above atonement
Those that remain have fled from my cruelty into the desarts 
And thou the delusive tempter to these deeds sittest before me

[Missing Lines]
Tharmas all thy Soft delusive beauty cannot
Tempt me to murder my own soul & wipe my tears & smile

In this thy world not mine! tho dark I feel my world within
Mingling his horrible brightness with her tender limbs then high she soard
Above the ocean; a bright wonder that Nature shudder'd at
Half Woman & half Spectre, all his lovely changing colours mix
With her fair crystal clearness; in her lips & cheeks his poisons rose
In blushes like the morning, and his scaly armour softening
A monster lovely in the heavens or wandering on the earth,"

Enion was jealous of Tharmas' ability to express himself. She failed to realize that what he produced was through her. When she facilitated the drawing out from Tharmas of his Spectre, which in his case was an attitude toward his sexuality which abstracted it from its human dimension, she destroyed her own creative ability. The missing lines tell us that Enion still has the self-knowledge to refuse unfeelingly to destroy what she retained of her divine nature.
The female consciousness expresses her awareness of her responsibility for the changes which have occurred in the male's attitudes. In contemporary society we see this pattern occurring. We see males and females attempting to manipulate each other. The shifting of attitudes of attractiveness, attempts to dominate, rejection and guilt, is followed by a return to the original attempts to lure the attention of the other. Behaviors observed in the outer world are not divorced from conditions within the individual's mind. If within the psyche predictable behaviors cannot be consistently produced, a corresponding distortion appears in relationships in the phenomenal world.

Blake's visionary portrayal of these fractures in the psyche shows us Enion entering the delusive world of the tempter. The deceptive appeal of the serpent mingles with her psychologically. Only contradictory terms can describe the situation - 'A monster lovely in the heavens or wandering on the earth.'

Apparently the final verse on this page intimates the mating of the Emanation and Spectre of Tharmas which will produce Los and Enitahrmon.

As in most of the pages of the Four Zoas, there are deleted lines. The Textural Notes for Page 7 shows these lines were deleted from the end of text:

"With Spectre voice incessant wailing; in incessant thirst 
Beauty all blushing with desire mocking her fell despair
Wandering desolate, a wonder abhorr'd by Gods & Men".

The beginning of the printed text is from the third line of the first paragraph of Page 7.

From the Textural Notes by David V Erdman:
"The undeleted original lines appear also on p 143 (a
smaller leaf but neatly written as if begun as fair copy, perhaps
of a draft preceding the large copperplate pages) and are there
revised." (E 821)


Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Four Zoas, Night I 
Page 6
Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 6, (E 303)
"She drew the Spectre forth from Tharmas in her shining loom
Of Vegetation weeping in wayward infancy & sullen youth
Listning to her soft lamentations soon his tongue began
To Lisp out words & soon in masculine strength augmenting he
Reard up a form of gold & stood upon the glittering rock        
A shadowy human form winged & in his depths
The dazzlings gems shone clear, rapturous in fury
Glorying in his own eyes   Exalted in terrific Pride

[Deleted lines in text:]
Searching for glory wishing that the heavens had eyes to See
And counting that the Earth would ope her Eyelids & behold
Such wondrous beauty repining in the midst of all his glory
That nought but Enion could be found to praise adore & love
Three days in self admiring raptures on the rocks he flamd
And three dark nights repind the solitude. but the third morn
Astonishd he found Enion hidden in the darksom Cave


She spoke What am I wherefore was I put forth on these rocks
Among the Clouds to tremble in the wind in solitude
Where is the voice that lately woke the desart Where the Face
That wept among the clouds & where the voice that shall reply
No other living thing is here.  The Sea the Earth. the Heaven
And Enion desolate where art thou Tharmas O return

Three days she waild & three dark nights sitting among he Rocks
While the bright spectre hid himself among the ?backing clouds
Then sleep fell on her eyelids in a Chasm of the Valley
The Sixteenth morn the Spectre stood before her manifest

[Continuation after deletion]
The Spectre thus spoke. Who art thou Diminutive husk & shell
If thou hast sinnd & art polluted know that I am pure
And unpolluted & will bring to rigid strict account
All thy past deeds [So] hear what I tell thee! mark it well! remember!
This world is Thine in which thou dwellest that within thy soul
That dark & dismal infinite where Thought roams up & down   
Is Mine & there thou goest when with one Sting of my tongue
Envenomd thou rolist inwards to the place whence I emergd
She trembling answerd Wherefore was I born & what am I
I thought to weave a Covering for my Sins from wrath of Tharmas"

The deleted lines are supplied in the Textural Notes written by David V Erdman in The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake. Page 816-846 provide notes on the manuscript for The Four Zoas including much deleted material.

S Foster Damon in A Blake Dictionary gives us a clue to understanding the process Tharmas underwent as his Spectre was drawn from him by Enion:

"All four Zoas have Spectres, even Urizen. However, we must not expect to understand them always as 'reason' but rather as their compulsive machinery. Thus the Spectre of Tharmas is the sexual potency of the male, which awakes and is divided at puberty, when the attraction and revulsion between the sexes begins." (Page 382)

Although the attraction of the female stimulates the masculine awakening, the male becomes enamored of his own masculinity. The female becomes a means which is foreign to his own 'dark and dismal infinite where Thought roams up & down.' The female finds that she cannot dissociate herself although she has inadvertently alienated herself from an essential aspect of herself.

The figure in the illustration appears passive but Blake may be picturing what is left of Tharmas after his Emanation and Spectre have departed. The experience of Tharmas reflects this statement of Luvah near the conclusion of the Four Zoas.

Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 135, (E 403)
"Attempting to be more than Man We become less said Luvah" 


Monday, June 8, 2015


Four Zoas, Night I

Page 5

Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 5, (E 302)
"In Eden, Females sleep the winter in soft silken veils
Woven by their own hands to hide them in the darksom grave
But Males immortal live renewd by female deaths.     in soft
Delight they die & they revive in spring with music & songs
Enion said Farewell I die     I hide. from thy searching eyes

So saying--From her bosom weaving soft in Sinewy threads
A tabernacle for Jerusalem she sat among the Rocks
Singing her lamentation. Tharmas groand among his Clouds
Weeping, then bending from his Clouds he stoopd his innocent head
And stretching out his holy hand in the vast Deep sublime       
Turnd round the circle of Destiny with tears & bitter sighs
And said.     Return O Wanderer when the Day of Clouds is oer

So saying he sunk down into the sea a pale white corse
In torment he sunk down & flowd among her filmy Woof
His Spectre issuing from his feet in flames of fire
In gnawing pain drawn out by her lovd fingers every nerve
She counted. every vein & lacteal threading them among
Her woof of terror. Terrified & drinking tears of woe
Shuddring she wove--nine days & nights Sleepless her food was tears
Wondring she saw her woof begin to animate. & not 
As Garments woven subservient to her hands but having a will
Of its own perverse & wayward Enion lovd & wept

Nine days she labourd at her work. & nine dark sleepless nights
But on the tenth trembling morn the Circle of Destiny Complete
Round rolld the Sea Englobing in a watry Globe self balancd
A Frowning Continent appeard Where Enion in the Desart
Terrified in her own Creation      viewing her woven shadow
Sat in a dread intoxication of Repentance & Contrition

There is from Great Eternity a mild & pleasant rest
Namd Beulah a Soft Moony Universe feminine lovely
Pure mild & Gentle given in Mercy to those who sleep
Eternally. Created by the Lamb of God around
On all sides within & without the Universal Man
The Daughters of Beulah follow sleepers in all their Dreams
Creating Spaces lest they fall into Eternal Death

The Circle of Destiny complete they gave to it a Space
And namd the Space Ulro & brooded over it in care & love
They said The Spectre is in every man insane & most
Deformd     Thro the three heavens descending in fury & fire
We meet it with our Songs & loving blandishments & give         
To it a form of vegetation But this Spectre of Tharmas
Is Eternal Death What shall we do O God pity & help
So spoke they & closd the Gate of the Tongue in trembling fear

What have I done! said Enion accursed wretch! What deed.   
Is this a deed of Love I know what I have done. I know
Too late now to repent. Love is changd to deadly Hate
A [ll] life is blotted out & I alone remain possessd with Fears
I see the Shadow of the dead within my Soul wandering
In darkness & solitude forming Seas of Doubt & rocks of Repentance
Already are my Eyes reverted. all that I behold                 
Within my Soul has lost its splendor & a brooding Fear
Shadows me oer & drives me outward to a world of woe
So waild she trembling before her own Created Phantasm"

An early manifestation of the breakup of the psyche in Blake's system becomes apparent as the integrity of the id was lost as it split into outer and inner entities. Before the id connects to an exterior world, its only function is to maintain the integrity of the organism. It cannot return to total unconsciousness once it has connected to the reality that sensation provides. In this light, the fall which man experiences is the journey to expanded consciousness and is initiated by Enion's withdrawal.

Harold Bloom, in Blake's Apocalypse, explains the process in this way using Blake's terminology:

"Beulah is a passive state, lit by the moon of pitying affection, not by the sun of active passion. It is a dreamworld, in that its Innocence is too disorganized to withstand the generative pressures of Experience. The function of the daughters of Beulah is to create spaces to keep the mind's sleep from becoming death. Beulah  is the slough of Eternity; it provides as much relaxation for the creative spirit as the spirit can afford. The world of unconditioned Imagination has definite form without fixed time and space. Time and space enter into Beulah as a relieving world of temporal appearances, a rest from the strenuous makings and unmakings of imaginative passion. The spaces of Beulah are momentary acts of indulgence, that even the most vigorous artists must grant himself; a provisional universe of illusory appearances, even of beliefs. But these forms do not insist upon themselves as realities, for they are only the wavering shadows in the water of Thel's existence, mutable visions of Innocence. The health of the  creative life, for Blake, lies in the willingness of these forms to sacrifice themselves so as to revive the mind's power to visualize fresh appearances.

Confronted with the Circle of Destiny, the phenomenal residue of Tharmas, the daughters of Beulah lose their courage and create a self-aggrandizing form, the state of Ulro." (Page 199)

These articles in Damon's A Blake Dictionary expand the understanding of these terms:
Circle of Destiny - "the revolving world of matter"
Ulro - "the world of death, not merely because all thing die here, but because they are spectres, 'dead to Eternity.'"
Beulah - "a refuge from the gigantic wars of ideas in Eternity"

Blake has created a picture which can be seen as various aspects of the situation he describes poetically. The angelic form connotes the protective function of the space Beulah, and the daughters who serve her. The failure of Beulah to prevent the Circle of Destiny from gaining control is seen in the mournful position the angel assumes, and in the surrounding water. Or the image can be looked at from the perspective of Tharmas, whose eternal nature represented by the angelic wings, is in the process of falling and producing the flood of sensation in a rising sea.

The reciprocal nature of the Zoa and his Emanation is evident. Enion begins weaving a covering for herself, Tharmas sets the Circle of Destiny in motion; Enion weaves an exterior garment; together the two create a space and name it Ulro; in response the Spectre of Tharmas arises in Ulro; Enion realizes her error and regrets her initial failure to return from the repose of Beulah to the dynamic activity of Eternity.

Saturday, June 6, 2015


Four Zoas, Night I 
Page 4
Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 4, (E 301)
"In Eden; in the Auricular Nerves of Human life
Which is the Earth of Eden, he his Emanations propagated
Fairies of Albion afterwards Gods of the Heathen, Daughter of Beulah Sing
His fall into Division & his Resurrection to Unity
His fall into the Generation of Decay & Death & his Regeneration
     by the Resurrection from the dead 

Begin with Tharmas Parent power. darkning in the West

Lost! Lost! Lost! are my Emanations      Enion O Enion
We are become a Victim to the Living We hide in secret
I have hidden Jerusalem in Silent Contrition    O Pity Me
I will build thee a Labyrinth also O pity me    O Enion
Why hast thou taken sweet Jerusalem from my inmost Soul
Let her Lay secret in the Soft recess of darkness & silence
It is not Love I bear to [Jerusalem] It is Pity
She hath taken refuge in my bosom & I cannot cast her out.
The Men have recieved their death wounds & their Emanations are fled
To me for refuge & I cannot turn them out for Pitys sake

Enion said--Thy fear has made me tremble thy terrors have surrounded me
All Love is lost Terror succeeds & Hatred instead of Love
And stern demands of Right & Duty instead of Liberty.
Once thou wast to Me the loveliest son of heaven--But now       

Why art thou Terrible and yet I love thee in thy terror till
I am almost Extinct & soon shall be a Shadow in
Oblivion Unless some way can be found that I may look upon thee & live
Hide me some Shadowy semblance. secret whispring in my Ear
In secret of soft wings. in mazes of delusive beauty            
I have lookd into the secret soul of him I lovd
And in the Dark recesses found Sin & cannot return
Trembling & pale sat Tharmas weeping in his clouds
Why wilt thou Examine every little fibre of my soul
Spreading them out before the Sun like Stalks of flax to dry    
The infant joy is beautiful but its anatomy
Horrible Ghast & Deadly nought shalt thou find in it
But Death Despair & Everlasting brooding Melancholy 

Thou wilt go mad with horror if thou dost Examine thus
Every moment of my secret hours Yea I know                      
That I have sinnd & that my Emanations are become harlots
I am already distracted at their deeds & if I look
Upon them more Despair will bring self murder on my soul
O Enion thou art thyself a root growing in hell
Tho thus heavenly beautiful to draw me to destruction      

Sometimes I think thou art a flower expanding
Sometimes I think thou art fruit breaking from its bud
In dreadful dolor & pain & I am like an atom
A Nothing left in darkness yet I am an identity
I wish & feel & weep & groan Ah terrible terrible"

From the beginning of the Four Zoas, Blake focuses on ambiguity and uncertainty. The two characters introduced on this page are Tharmas, the 'parent power', and his Emanation, Enion. The pristine world in which Tharmes and Enion lived in perfect harmony has already been disturbed by some unknown event.

The archer whom Blake pictures, may be thought of as Tharmas as he is 'darkening in the west'. An activity is beginning in him which is analogous to releasing arrows of thought from his bow of desire or intention. It is Enion who perceives the activity of Tharmas as threatening. Therefore the archer may be a picture of Enion's view of Tharmas rather than an objective representation of Tharmas' intention toward Enion. The deceit, the mistrust, the withdrawal, the accusations and misunderstandings are symptoms of some dysfunction in the 'Auricular Nerves of Human life Which is the Earth of Eden'.

The implication is of things going on in the unconscious mind. Tharmas has been identified as the id, the first of the psychic functions which operates in the human infant, but which continues to be the source of psychic energy throughout life. What goes on between Tharmas and Enion in Night I, represents a confusion in the functioning of the id, perhaps as the psyche matures through infancy, childhood and adolescence.