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

Thursday, July 30, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 66
 Los elevates the sun, the symbol of the imagination. This is the spiritual sun which is associated with the Divine Vision and the Divine Family. There is another material sun which Luvah's bulls each morning drag out of the Deep. Since the dimmer light of reason is associated with the material sun, it is Urizen whom we see in the "Disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea". Blake said of the natural sun, "that is the Greek Apollo. He is Satan" - a name he applied to the fallen Urizen.

At the sides of Los are four figures in different positions and conditions. Upper right is a falling figure; it could be any one of the Zoas as he lost the ability to perceive the Divine Vision and began his descent into the deeps. Below this figure is is a bowed figure appearing to lament the condition that has resulted from the division and fall from the Unity of Eden. To the lower left is a figure attempting, to rise in the way that becomes possible when the Selfhood is annihilated through embracing Brotherhood. The rising figure above is returning to Eden having traversed the road of experience and mastered the consciousness of individuated wholeness.

This image may have been inserted between Night V and Night VI to indicate that one cycle in the process of redemption had been completed and another was to begin. Attention shifted to Urizen whose exploration of the Dens of Urthona would reveal the depths of the fall, and intimate modifications which were needed.
Vision of Last Judgment, (E 565)
"What it
will be Questiond When the Sun rises  do  you  not  see  a  round 
Disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea O no no I see an Innumerable
company of the Heavenly host crying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord
God Almighty I question not my Corporeal or Vegetative Eye any
more than I would Question a Window concerning a Sight I look
thro it & not with it." 
Milton, Plate 21 [23], (E 116)
"But all the Family Divine collected as Four Suns
In the Four Points of heaven East, West & North & South
Enlarging and enlarging till their Disks approachd each other;
And when they touch'd closed together Southward in One Sun       
Over Ololon: and as One Man, who weeps over his brother,
In a dark tomb, so all the Family Divine. wept over Ololon."
Four Zoas, Nigh IX, Page 138, (E 406)
"The Sun has left his blackness & has found a fresher morning     
And the mild moon rejoices in the clear & cloudless night 
And Man walks forth from midst of the fires the evil is all consumd
His eyes behold the Angelic spheres arising night & day
The stars consumd like a lamp blown out & in their stead behold
The Expanding Eyes of Man behold the depths of wondrous worlds 
One Earth one sea beneath nor Erring Globes wander but Stars
Of fire rise up nightly from the Ocean & one Sun
Each morning like a New born Man issues with songs & Joy" 
Milton, Plate 22 [24], (E 116)
"While Los heard indistinct in fear, what time I bound my sandals
On; to walk forward thro' Eternity, Los descended to me:         
And Los behind me stood; a terrible flaming Sun: just close
Behind my back; I turned round in terror, and behold.
Los stood in that fierce glowing fire; & he also  stoop'd down
And bound my sandals on in Udan-Adan; trembling I stood
Exceedingly with fear & terror, standing in the Vale             
Of Lambeth: but he kissed me and wishd me health." 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 65

Four Zoas, Night V, PAGE 65, (E 317) 
"Thy pure feet stepd on the steps divine. too pure for other feet
And thy fair locks shadowd thine eyes from the divine effulgence
Then thou didst keep with Strong Urthona the living gates of heaven
But now thou art bound down with him even to the gates of hell

Because thou gavest Urizen the wine of the Almighty             
For steeds of Light that they might run in thy golden chariot of pride
I gave to thee the Steeds   I pourd the stolen wine
And drunken with the immortal draught fell from my throne sublime

I will arise Explore these dens & find that deep pulsation
That shakes my caverns with strong shudders. perhaps this is the night
Of Prophecy & Luvah hath burst his way from Enitharmon
When Thought is closd in Caves. Then love shall shew its root in deepest Hell

                   End of the Fifth Night"    

The plight of Urizen resembles the plight of Luvah. Both participated in the rebellion in heaven both suffer the loss of their freedom to remain part of the Divine Brotherhood in Eternity. The diminishment of their conditions manifests in reduction of the environs which the inhabit. Caves and caverns enclose them.

 "perhaps this is the night Of Prophecy & Luvah hath burst his way from Enitharmon When Thought is closd in Caves. Then love shall shew its root in deepest Hell"
The final lines of Night V tantalize us with the possibility that the dark bondage is coming to an end: that the night of Enitharmon's Joy will cease, that Reason will escape the bonds of Newton's sense-based law.

Blake is showing us that the errors of reason and the errors of love are two sides of one coin. Reason and Love had both been trapped in their basic assumptions about the contributions which they should make to the psyche. The Imagination could flower if Love were not distorted into repression and aggression. Thought could exit the cave of doubt and fear if it broke the bounds of false assumptions about love and death and the other contraries.

The image Blake associates with the text on this final page of Night V indicates that the dilemmas are unsolved. An angry reaction will follow the rebelliousness of Urizen and Luvah.

We may be reminded of a passage in Milton which expresses the threat of facing Los' anger over the difficulty of extracting Albion from his impasse. In this situation also Imagination will keep searching for a solution with the resources at his command.    

Milton, PLATE 23 [25], (E 118)
"let us descend & bring him [Albion] chained
To Bowlahoola O father most beloved! O mild Parent!
Cruel in thy mildness, pitying and permitting evil
Tho strong and mighty to destroy, O Los our beloved Father!      

Like the black storm, coming out of Chaos, beyond the stars:
It issues thro the dark & intricate caves of the Mundane Shell
Passing the planetary visions, & the well adorned Firmament
The Sun rolls into Chaos & the Stars into the Desarts;
And then the storms become visible, audible & terrible,          
Covering the light of day, & rolling down upon the mountains,
Deluge all the country round. Such is a vision of Los;
When Rintrah & Palamabron spake; and such his stormy face
Appeard, as does the face of heaven, when coverd with thick storms
Pitying and loving tho in frowns of terrible perturbation   

But Los dispersd the clouds even as the strong winds of Jehovah, 

And Los thus spoke. O noble Sons, be patient yet a little
I have embracd the falling Death, he is become One with me
O Sons we live not by wrath. by mercy alone we live!"

Harold Bloom in Blake's Apocalypse concludes his comments on Night V by stating:
"Overcome by a consciousness of his loss Urizen resolves to explore the dens of the world in which he has awakened. He seeks to 'find that pulsation that shakes my caverns with strong shutters,' for the pulsation of Orc's energy is a threat to the bounded mind. With this unholy resolution to a sinister quest, Night V uneasily ends." (Page 235)

Engraved colored image from Young's Night Thoughts.


Sunday, July 26, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 64
 Four Zoas, Night V, PAGE 64 (E 343)
"Once how I walked from my palace in gardens of delight
The sons of wisdom stood around the harpers followd with harps
Nine virgins clothd in light composd the song to their immortal voices
And at my banquets of new wine my head was crownd with joy

Then in my ivory pavilions I slumberd in the noon 
And walked in the silent night among sweet smelling flowers
Till on my silver bed I slept & sweet dreams round me hoverd
But now my land is darkend & my wise men are departed

My songs are turned to cries of Lamentation
Heard on my Mountains & deep sighs under my palace roofs         
Because the Steeds of Urizen once swifter than the light
Were kept back from my Lord & from his chariot of mercies

O did I keep the horses of the day in silver pastures
O I refusd the Lord of day the horses of his prince
O did I close my treasuries with roofs of solid stone            
And darken all my Palace walls with envyings & hate

O Fool to think that I could hide from his all piercing eyes
The gold & silver & costly stones his holy workmanship
O Fool could I forget the light that filled my bright spheres
Was a reflection of his face who calld me from the deep          

I well remember for I heard the mild & holy voice
Saying O light spring up & shine & I sprang up from the deep 
He gave to me a silver scepter & crownd me with a golden crown
& said Go forth & guide my Son who wanders on the ocean 

I went not forth. I hid myself in black clouds of my wrath       
I calld the stars around my feet in the night of councils dark
The stars threw down their spears & fled naked away
We fell. I siezd thee dark Urthona In my left hand falling

I siezd thee beauteous Luvah thou art faded like a flower
And like a lilly is thy wife Vala witherd by winds               
When thou didst bear the golden cup at the immortal tables
Thy children smote their fiery wings crownd with the gold of heaven"

One way of looking at this passage is as a confession. An idyllic condition is described in a past Golden Age. The speaker confesses that he refused to provide his 'steeds' to the Lord and as a consequence he fell taking with him Urthona and Luvah.

This account follows the awful situation among Los, Enitharmon and Orc which we have been following throughout Night V. Urizen has been released because of the stirring of Orc in the cavern in which he was chained. The role of Urizen in this situation is that of superego, the psychic function which is assigned to control behavior. Orc, the fallen Luvah, represents the id which is in need of restraint. Los in this scenario is the ego which has turned to the superego to cool the excess energy of Orc. By using the Oedipal situation as his metaphor, Blake has suggested that the behavior which requires suppression is of a sexual nature.

When the Zoas lose the balance which creates a personality which functions in a healthy way, they neglect functions they should perform and incorrectly perform their own assignments. We have been observing this in Tharmas, Los, Luvah and Urizen. Blake now begins a deeper exploration of the distortion in the performance of Urizen's responsibilities.

Blake indicates that Urizen, the control mechanism, confessed that he had refused his steeds to the Lord. Urizen seems to be confessing that his sexuality has not conformed to religious requirements. Further, Urizen confesses that he has not been obedient to the Lord's request that he provide guidance for his Son. The nature of Urizen's infractions seem to be of a religious nature. 

Blake ties his account of the fall of Urizen to Milton's account in Paradise Lost of the fall of Satan. Both characters, through pride in their exalted position, refused to submit to the superior role of their Lord's Son. Jealousy once again proved to be a root cause in the destruction of a relationship which should have been preserved. 

Paradise Lost by John Milton
Book V 

"He, of the first,
If not the first Archangel, great in power,   660
In favour, and preminence, yet fraught 
With envy against the Son of God, that day
Honoured by his great Father, and proclaimed
Messiah, King Anointed, could not bear,
Through pride, that sight, and thought himself impaired.  665
Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain,
Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour
Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolved
With all his legions to dislodge, and leave
Unworshiped, unobeyed, the Throne supreme."

Friday, July 24, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 63
 Four Zoas, Night V, Page 63, (E 342) 
"Into the iron rock & grew a chain beneath the Earth
Even to the Center wrapping round the Center & the limbs
Of Orc entering with fibres. became one with him a living Chain
Sustained by the Demons life. Despair & Terror & Woe & Rage
Inwrap the Parents in cold clouds as they bend howling over      
The terrible boy till fainting by his side the Parents fell

Not long they lay Urthonas spectre found herbs of the pit
Rubbing their temples he reviv'd them. all their lamentations
I write not here but all their after life was lamentation

When satiated with grief they returnd back to Golgonooza 
Enitharmon on the road of Dranthon felt the inmost gate          
Of her bright heart burst open & again close with a deadly pain
Within her heart Vala began to reanimate in bursting sobs  
And when the Gate was open she beheld that dreary Deep  
Where bright Ahania wept. She also saw the infernal roots        

Of the chain of Jealousy & felt the rendings of fierce howling Orc

Rending the Caverns like a mighty wind pent in the Earth
Tho wide apart as furthest north is from the furthest south 
Urizen trembled where he lay to hear the howling terror
The rocks shook the Eternal bars tuggd to & fro were rifted      
Outstretchd upon the stones of ice the ruins of his throne
Urizen shuddring heard his trembling limbs shook the strong caves

The Woes of Urizen shut up in the deep dens of Urthona

Ah how shall Urizen the King submit to this dark mansion
Ah how is this! Once on the heights I stretchd my throne sublime 
The mountains of Urizen once of silver where the sons of wisdom dwelt
And on whose tops the Virgins sang are rocks of Desolation

My fountains once the haunt of Swans now breed the scaly tortoise
The houses of my harpers are become a haunt of crows
The gardens of wisdom are become a field of horrid graves        
And on the bones I drop my tears & water them in vain"

The Chain of Jealousy began to develop when Los saw his son Orc as a rival for Enitharmon's affection. Each link resulted as a development led to behaviors that sunk him deeper into destruction. 

For Los these were links of the Chain of Jealousy:
Los resented Orc,
Los became obsessed with Enitharmon's relationship to Orc,
Los chained Orc,
Los couldn't release Orc,
Orc stirred in the underground cavern,
Urizen was woken by Orc's stirring,
Urizen escaped from Urthona's dens.

Each link of the chain further enslaved Los. In the image Los measures the infant with the span of his hand knowing that it will grow and develop and become another link in the chain.

Blake's desire was to have the most complete use of his imagination that was possible. He saw that his emotional live had the power to interfere with his freedom to use his imagination. He tried to limit emotion in order to enjoy his visionary imagination. But when he chained desire, he couldn't access it's energy to apply it to the creative activities of his imagination. His desire was forced into the unconscious where its stirrings brought to life the reasoning mind which escaped from its constraints. By trying to release imagination from emotion he has enslaved it to reason.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 62
Four Zoas, Night V, PAGE 62, (E 342)
"His loins inwove with silken fires are like a furnace fierce
As the strong Bull in summer time when bees sing round the heath
Where the herds low after the shadow & after the water spring
The numrous flocks cover the mountain & shine along the valley
His knees are rocks of adamant & rubie & emerald                 
Spirits of strength in Palaces rejoice in golden armour
Armed with spear & shield they drink & rejoice over the slain
Such is the Demon such his terror in the nether deep

But when returnd to Golgonooza Los & Enitharmon
Felt all the sorrow Parents feel. they wept toward one another   
And Los repented that he had chaind Orc upon the mountain
And Enitharmons tears prevaild   parental love returnd
Tho terrible his dread of that infernal chain   They rose
At midnight hasting to their much beloved care
Nine days they traveld thro the Gloom of Entuthon Benithon       
Los taking Enitharmon by the hand led her along
The dismal vales & up to the iron mountains top where Orc
Howld in the furious wind he thought to give to Enitharmon
Her son in tenfold joy & to compensate for her tears
Even if his own death resulted so much pity him paind            

But when they came to the dark rock & to the spectrous cave
Lo the young limbs had strucken root into the rock & strong
Fibres had from the Chain of Jealousy inwove themselves
In a swift vegetation round the rock & round the Cave
And over the immortal limbs of the terrible fiery boy            
In vain they strove now to unchain. In vain with bitter tears
To melt the chain of Jealousy. not Enitharmons death
Nor the Consummation of Los could ever melt the chain
Nor unroot the infernal fibres from their rocky bed
Nor all Urthonas strength nor all the power of Luvahs Bulls      
Tho they each morning drag the unwilling Sun out of the deep
Could uproot the infernal chain. for it had taken root"

Jealousy is rooted in the inability to be confident in one's own abilities and status. Los was unable to view Orc as other than threat to his own position. Even when he intended to release Orc - his emotions - he found that his resistance had been hardened to the extent that he was not capable of freely expressing his emotional nature which he had projected onto Orc .

It is important to remember that although Orc was portrayed as the son of Los, he was also the fallen form of Luvah. Blake was using the reaction that Los had to the entanglement of Enitharmon with her son, to explore the relationship of the Imagination and the Emotions as expressed in a fallen world. Another dimension of the relationship of Los and Orc was between each representing a different approach to change - either incremental or through revolution. But the point that is made most clearly in this passage is that many decisions are irrevocable.   

Monday, July 20, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 60

Four Zoas, Night V, Page 59, (E 340)
"But now the times return upon thee Enitharmons womb
Now holds thee soon to issue forth. Sound Clarions of war
Call Vala from her close recess in all her dark deceit
Then rage on rage shall fierce redound out of her crystal quiver 

So sung the Demons round red Orc & round faint Enitharmon 
Sweat & blood stood on the limbs of Los in globes. his fiery Eyelids
Faded. he rouzd he siezd the wonder in his hands & went
Shuddring & weeping thro the Gloom & down into the deeps

Enitharmon nursd her fiery child in the dark deeps              
Sitting in darkness. over her Los mournd in anguish fierce
Coverd with gloom. the fiery boy grew fed by the milk
Of Enitharmon. Los around her builded pillars of iron 
Page 60 
And brass & silver & gold fourfold in dark prophetic fear
For now he feard Eternal Death & uttermost Extinction  
He builded Golgonooza on the Lake of Udan Adan
Upon the Limit of Translucence then he builded Luban
Tharmas laid the Foundations & Los finishd it in howling woe     

But when fourteen summers & winters had revolved over
Their solemn habitation Los beheld the ruddy boy
Embracing his bright mother & beheld malignant fires
In his young eyes discerning plain that Orc plotted his death
Grief rose upon his ruddy brows. a tightening girdle grew        
Around his bosom like a bloody cord. in secret sobs
He burst it, but next morn another girdle succeeds

Around his bosom. Every day he viewd the fiery youth
With silent fear & his immortal cheeks grew deadly pale
Till many a morn & many a night passd over in dire woe          
Forming a girdle in the day & bursting it at night
The girdle was formd by day by night was burst in twain
Falling down on the rock an iron chain link by link lockd

Enitharmon beheld the bloody chain of nights & days
Depending from the bosom of Los & how with griding pain 
He went each morning to his labours. with the spectre dark
Calld it the chain of jealousy. Now Los began to speak  
His woes aloud to Enitharmon. since he could not hide
His uncouth plague. He siezd the boy in his immortal hands
While Enitharmon followd him weeping in dismal woe              
Up to the iron mountains top & there the Jealous chain
Fell from his bosom on the mountain. The Spectre dark
Held the fierce boy Los naild him down binding around his limbs
The accursed chain O how bright Enitharmon howld & cried  
Over her son. Obdurate Los bound down her loved joy"
In Blake's Poetry and Designs, Mary Lynn Johnson and Hugh Grant move to Night V of the Four Zoas without including any passages from Nights III and IV. On page 60 of the Four Zoas we learn that 'Tharmas laid the foundation.' Reviewing the role Tharmas has played thus far in Blake's narrative, we are forced to ask, "Foundation for what?" The answer will be revealed gradually as Albion sleeps and various portions of his psyche strive to evolve into forms which will meld into a cohesive whole.

If we are too caught up in this passage as a story of domestic violence occurring in our world, we may miss much of what Blake implies. The child of Enitharmon is Orc the fallen form of Luvah or the emotional life. His birth is an aspect of psychological development when the maturing individual begins to unleash emotions of sexual love and just wrath. Since Enitharmon had fallen to a greater degree than had Los, there is a greater affinity between mother and son. Los could see that rebellion could destroy his constructive work, so he pushed his son away and into the arms of Enitharmon and her distorted worldview.

Los became embroiled in an internal conflict that he couldn't win. If he rejected Orc he became enslaved to his own jealousy. If he bound Orc he was overcome by guilt. Los was the vehicular form of Urthona, the Zoa of intuition and imagination. So Orc (Luvah) had gained the power to emasculate the imagination. Blake, who knew this conundrum from experience, paid careful attention to Los' struggle against Orc or Luvah or Vala - three forms of the same Zoa - because he wanted to emphasize its importance.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 36

Four Zoas, Night II, PAGE 36, (E 325) 
"To listen to the hungry ravens cry in wintry season
When the red blood is filld with wine & with the marrow of lambs

It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements
To hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughter house moan
To see a god on every wind & a blessing on every blast           
To hear sounds of love in the thunder storm that destroys our enemies house
To rejoice in the blight that covers his field, & the sickness that cuts off his children
While our olive & vine sing & laugh round our door & our children bring fruits & flowers

Then the groan & the dolor are quite forgotten & the slave grinding at the mill
And the captive in chains & the poor in the prison, & the soldier in the field
When the shatterd bone hath laid him groaning among the happier dead

It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity
Thus could I sing & thus rejoice, but it is not so with me!

Ahania heard the Lamentation & a swift Vibration
Spread thro her Golden frame. She rose up eer the dawn of day 

When Urizen slept on his couch. drawn thro unbounded space
Onto the margin of Non Entity the bright Female came
There she beheld the Spectrous form of Enion in the Void   
And never from that moment could she rest upon her pillow

          End of the Second Night"

The focus of Enion's lament turns to the suffering in the world among its creatures and in the destruction brought about by natural disasters. Next she turns to the suffering inflicted on humans by other humans.

Tharmas is the 'parent power' the originator of the proliferation of entities man perceives. Tharmas symbolically is represented by the father, his emanation Enion bears the characteristics of the mother. She is led to lament over the fallen world because it is her children who comprise it. The irony of Enion's position is that her inclination to grieve over the straits of her children created a vast distance between her and them. Her original function would have included rejoicing in the instinctual output of the psyche; her fallen appearance is the mourner blinded by her grief.

Her lamenting led to a further decline in the unity of Albion. Ahania, Urizen's emanation, responded to Enion's song by discarding her role as the pleasure enjoyed by the reasoning mind. Having empathized with the suffering world, Enion could not 'rejoice in the tents of prosperity'. Ahania resonated to Enion's realization and had her consciousness simultaneously transformed.

We have seen Albion incrementally losing the ideal functioning of his psyche. He loses:
Tharmas - his instinct to live as a finely tuned body;
Enion - his ability to maintain an image of himself as healthy and happy;
Enitharmon - his impulse to create forms which could embody his thoughts;
Ahania - his delight in forms which his mind created.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 35

Four Zoas, Night II, Page 34, (E 324)
"Ah happy blindness Enion sees not the terrors of the uncertain 
Thus Enion wails from the dark deep, the golden heavens tremble
Page 35
I am made to sow the thistle for wheat; the nettle for a nourishing dainty
I have planted a false oath in the earth, it has brought forth a poison tree
I have chosen the serpent for a councellor & the dog
For a schoolmaster to my children
I have blotted out from light & living the dove & nightingale    
And I have caused the earth worm to beg from door to door
I have taught the thief a secret path into the house of the just
I have taught pale artifice to spread his nets upon the morning
My heavens are brass my earth is iron my moon a clod of clay
My sun a pestilence burning at noon & a vapour of death in night 

What is the price of Experience do men buy it for a song
Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No it is bought with the price
Of all that a man hath his house his wife his children
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy
And in the witherd field where the farmer plows for bread in vain

It is an easy thing to triumph in the summers sun
And in the vintage & to sing on the waggon loaded with corn
It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted
To speak the laws of prudence to the houseless wanderer"
Mary Lynn Johnson and John Grant selected portions of Blake's writing to include in their 1979 book Blake's Poetry and Designs. We shall continue working through the Four Zoas by following their selection of exerpts. Their introduction to the Four Zoas includes these statements: 

Page 214
"It is an attempt to coordinate and expand the separate stories told in Blake's earlier books into one grand story of mankind from his origins to the end of time. As  in the earlier prophecies, the action seems to take place simultaneously within the consciousness of the human race over the course of history and within the mind of each individual during his lifetime."

Page 218, Note 6
"Enion's song, written in Blake's fine copperplate hand, has apparently been carefully revised. Enion, the emanation of Tharmas, falls furthest into nonentity and her fall draws Ahania away from Urizen. Enion's poignant laments are heard at the ends of Nights II, III and VIII, the latter two in antiphony with Ahania. These female voices, drifting up from nonexistence, serve as choral commentary on the main  action."  

Enion's lament begins by her acknowledging the erroneous choices she has made. She sees specific consequences of turning away from her role as Tharmas' emanation. Each decision which resulted from her misguided attempt to escape from Tharmas forced her further into a world where her existence was precarious.

She has learned from her suffering but is still trapped in her dilemma. She could turn from her bitter experience if she were not so weak, so hungry, so desperate to be in the right.  

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 23

Blake originally began the Four Zoas with the title Vala. Night II was the first of the Nights in the early manuscript. On page 209 of Blake's Apocalypse, Harold Bloom explains Blake's rationale in restructuring his poem to include the fall of Tharmas as described in Night I:

"The account of Night I of The Four Zoas has emphasized intellectual symbolism mostly by explicit translation. Yet as one reads on in the poem, or rereads Night I, one feels less and less the need for such translation. The Four Zoas does not reduce to a structure of ideas; indeed the poem is primarily a series of dramatic scenes or dialectic encounters, illustrating "the torments of Love and Jealousy" that brought about and continue to maintain the suffering condition of mankind. But since the encounters are utterly within the self, Blake does insist upon the reader's firm grip on the argument.
Night I has described the fall of Tharmas, or catastrophe as seen from the perspective of the lost power of Innocence, the lost ability to move instantly from desire to realization. Night II changes this perspective to the self-induced ruin of desire itself. The loss of Eden is followed by the darkening of the next stage of Man, the agony of passion deprived of every generous impulse once primal to it. Night II of The Four Zoas was once Night I of Vala, and contains more poetry of the highest order than the present Night I does. Yet Blake was correct in creating the new first book of his poem, though he sacrificed rhetorical immediacy in doing so. The fall of Tharmas is fundamental for everything that comes after it, and the comparative abstractness of much in Night I allows the subsequent parts of the poem to concentrate their energies on a vividness and directness in presentation that could not otherwise be achieved."

Four Zoas, Night II, PAGE 23, (E 313)
                  Night the [Second]          
Rising upon his Couch of Death Albion beheld his Sons
Turning his Eyes outward to Self. losing the Divine Vision
Albion calld Urizen & said. Behold these sickning Spheres  
Whence is this Voice of Enion that soundeth in my Porches  
Take thou possession! take this Scepter! go forth in my might    
For I am weary, & must sleep in the dark sleep of Death     
Thy brother Luvah hath smitten me but pity thou his youth   
Tho thou hast not pitid my Age   O Urizen Prince of Light

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     
First he beheld the body of Man pale, cold, the horrors of death
Beneath his feet shot thro' him as he stood in the Human Brain
And all its golden porches grew pale with his sickening light
No more Exulting for he saw Eternal Death beneath
Pale he beheld futurity; pale he beheld the Abyss                
Where Enion blind & age bent wept in direful hunger craving"

Sunday, July 12, 2015


Four Zoas, Night I, Page 21 [22], (E 312) 
"Jerusalem his Emanation is become a ruin  
Her little ones are slain on the top of every street
And she herself le[d] captive & scatterd into the indefinite
Gird on thy sword O thou most mighty in glory & majesty
Destroy these opressors of Jerusalem & those who ruin Shiloh     

So spoke the Messengers of Beulah. Silently removing
The Family Divine drew up the Universal tent
Above High Snowdon & closd the Messengers in clouds around
Till the time of the End. Then they Elected Seven. called the Seven
Eyes of God & the Seven lamps of the Almighty                    
The Seven are one within the other the Seventh is named Jesus

The Lamb of God blessed for ever & he followd the Man
Who wanderd in mount Ephraim seeking a Sepulcher
His inward eyes closing from the Divine vision & all
His children wandering outside from his bosom fleeing away

End of The First Night"

Blake explored the fall of Tharmas and its immediate consequences in Night I of the Four Zoas. He ended on a positive note by indicating that guidance and protection would be provided for Albion as he wandered in the world of mortality.

The suffering brought about by the fall of Tharmas was most obvious in Jerusalem, the spiritual dimension of the Divine Humanity. Although at the Eternal level, she slumbered through the turmoil of Albion's ordeal, in the world of experience she suffered from the inability to be active among her children, and to be recognized as a saving force. Although the Messengers from Beulah would have chosen violence to avenge her, that path was not taken. The Family Divine withdrew from the ensuing calamities but left a remnant of Seven representatives to provide sanctuary for Albion.

We are reminded that Jerusalem in addition to being the portion of Man which is often called his Soul, is also a city within which in found the temple of the children on Israel. The holy Ark of the Covenant, symbolizing God's Justice and Mercy, lay in the innermost portion of the temple providing the spiritual heart of the people.

The mentions of Shiloh and mount Ephraim are further examples of Blake's use of biblical locations to enhance the connection between events within Man, in the Britain (High Snowdon) of his day, and in biblical Israel. 

Friday, July 10, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 21
Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 22 [21], (E 313)
"The Daughters of Beulah beheld the Emanation they pitied
They wept before the Inner gates of Enitharmons bosom
And of her fine wrought brain & of her bowels within her loins
Three gates within Glorious & bright open into Beulah 
From Enitharmons inward parts but the bright female terror       
Refusd to open the bright gates she closd and barrd them fast
Lest Los should enter into Beulah thro her beautiful gates

The Emanation stood before the Gates of Enitharmon    
Weeping. the Daughters of Beulah silent in the Porches
Spread her a couch unknown to Enitharmon here reposd             
Jerusalem in slumbers soft lulld into silent rest
Terrific ragd the Eternal Wheels of intellect terrific ragd
The living creatures of the wheels in the Wars of Eternal life
But perverse rolld the wheels of Urizen & Luvah back reversd
Downwards & outwards consuming in the wars of Eternal Death" 

As the fall progressed Albion's emanation Jerusalem descended to Ulro with Albion. She finds herself barred from reentering Beulah as is Los. Enitharmon has substituted her vision of the world under female control for the Vision held by Jerusalem and Los. She blocks the gates of heart, and brain and loins forcing the avenue of return to be diverted through a long detour.

Jerusalem with her vision of the divine order is removed from the field of activity by causing her to sleep as Urizen and Luvah alter the direction in which the mechanism of creation moves. The intellect is induced to direct its efforts toward moving away from the eternal, invisible and toward the temporal, material.

Wikimedia Commons
Plate 37, detail

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 20

Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 22 [20], (E 311)
"Luvah replied Dictate to thy Equals. am not I
The Prince of all the hosts of Men nor Equal know in Heaven
If I arise into the Zenith leaving thee to watch
The Emanation & her Sons the Satan & the Anak
Sihon and Og. wilt thou not rebel to my laws remain             
In darkness building thy strong throne & in my ancient night
Daring my power wilt arm my sons against me in the Atlantic 
My deep   My night which thou assuming hast assumed my Crown
I will remain as well as thou & here with hands of blood
Smite this dark sleeper in his tent then try my strength with thee 

While thus he spoke his fires reddend oer the holy tent
Urizen cast deep darkness round him silent brooding death
Eternal death to Luvah. raging Luvah pourd
The Lances of Urizen from chariots. round the holy tent
Discord began & yells & cries shook the wide firmament

Beside his anvil stood Urthona dark. a mass of iron
Glowd furious on the anvil prepard for spades & coulters   All
His sons fled from his side to join the conflict pale he heard
The Eternal voice he stood the sweat chilld on his mighty limbs
He dropd his hammer. dividing from his aking bosom fled          
A portion of his life shrieking upon the wind she fled
And Tharmas took her in pitying Then Enion in jealous fear
Murderd her & hid her in her bosom embalming her for fear
She should arise again to life Embalmd in Enions bosom
Enitharmon remains a corse such thing was never known            
In Eden that one died a death never to be revivd
Urthona stood in terror but not long his spectre fled
To Enion & his body fell. Tharmas beheld him fall
Endlong a raging serpent rolling round the holy tent
The sons of war astonishd at the Glittring monster drove         
Him far into the world of Tharmas into a cavernd rock

But Urizen with darkness overspreading all the armies
Sent round his heralds   secretly commanding to depart
Into the north Sudden with thunders sound his multitudes
Retreat from the fierce conflict all the sons of Urizen at once  
Mustring together in thick clouds leaving the rage of Luvah
To pour its fury on himself & on the Eternal Man

Sudden down fell they all together into an unknown Space
Deep horrible without End. Separated from Beulah far beneath
The Mans exteriors are become indefinite opend to pain           
In a fierce hungring void & none can visit his regions"

This passage reads like a precis of the fall as it occurs throughout Blake's poetry. All four of the Zoas and two of their Emanations are mentioned in this narrative. Luvah refuses to submit to the plan of Urizen and proposes to attack Albion on his own. As Luvah and Urizen enter their rage against each other, Urthona's sons abandon their father to enter the conflagration. Urthona is being dismembered as another portion of his life - Enitharmon - flees to be taken in by Tharmas.

Blake would have seen the fracturing of Urthona as the most tragic of the symptoms of the fall which he observed. Urthona's function as an Eternal Zoa was to hold the vision without which there could be no cohesion among the parts which contributed to the Eternal Man. Urthona had been the light of consciouness of the unified working of the Undivided Eternal dimension. When he lost his sons and his daughter, the outer evidence which supported his inner confidence failed. Urthona lost too his Spectre, and he entered a serpent form forced into the underground. Urthona had occupied the Zenith of man's functioning. Now that position was occupied by Urizen, and Urthona was forced to the Nadir. Henceforth his influence would occupy the subconscious which would seldom be consulted by the reason or the emotions.   

Wikipedia Commons
Visionary Heads
Head of Job
Perhaps Blake modeled Urthona on Job, an individual who whose understanding of God was transformed by enduring suffering. The two began as favored by God to bring blessings to their fellows. However they found that their misconceptions about the workings of the Eternal world led to breakdowns. They were both torn down in order to be rebuilt as suitable vessels to carry the message of completeness.


Monday, July 6, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 21 [19], (E 310)  
"Then those in Great Eternity met in the Council of God
As one Man for contracting their Exalted Senses

They behold Multitude or Expanding they behold as one
As One Man all the Universal family & that one Man 
They call Jesus the Christ & they in him & he in them            
Live in Perfect harmony in Eden the land of life
Consulting as One Man above the Mountain of Snowdon Sublime

For messengers from Beulah come in tears & darkning clouds
Saying Shiloh is in ruins our brother is sick Albion He 
Whom thou lovest is sick he wanders from his house of Eternity   
The daughters of Beulah terrified have closd the Gate of the Tongue
Luvah & Urizen contend in war around the holy tent

So spoke the Ambassadors from Beulah & with solemn mourning 
They were introducd to the divine presence & they kneeled down
In Conways Vale thus recounting the Wars of Death Eternal  

The Eternal Man wept in the holy tent Our Brother in Eternity
Even Albion whom thou lovest wept in pain his family
Slept round on hills & valleys in the regions of his love
But Urizen awoke & Luvah woke & thus conferrd

Thou Luvah said the Prince of Light behold our sons & daughters  
Reposd on beds. let them sleep on. do thou alone depart
Into thy wished Kingdom where in Majesty & Power
We may erect a throne. deep in the North I place my lot
Thou in the South listen attentive. In silent of this night
I will infold the Eternal tent in clouds opake while thou       
Siezing the chariots of the morning. Go outfleeting ride
Afar into the Zenith high bending thy furious course
Southward with half the tents of men inclosd in clouds
Will lay my scepter on Jerusalem the Emanation
On all her sons & on thy sons O Luvah & on mine  
Till dawn was wont to wake them then my trumpet sounding loud
Ravishd away in night my strong command shall be obeyd
For I have placd my centinels in stations each tenth man
Is bought & sold & in dim night my Word shall be their law"
The crisis created by the alteration of consciousness initiated by the instinctual functioning of the mind is not unnoticed by the mind as a whole. The Universal Family identified as Jesus the Christ draw together to confront the threat. In Beulah the sickness had originated; from Beulah come the signals that two other Zoas had become involved in destroying the precarious balance of mental functioning. 

The Eternal Man, the everlasting Word, is the one Man who weeps over the departure of Albion, the Divine Humanity, from his house in Eternity. Measures must be taken to restrict the spread of Eternal Death. Thus was the holy tent drawn up and the gate of the tongue closed.

The fracture which Tharmas and Enion created provided an opening for Urizen and Luvah to vie for control of the mind. Urizen (reason) proposes to move into Urthona's domain - the intuitive imaginative area. He plans to gain control of Albion's emanation Jerusalem, further damaging Albion's ability to recover. He aims to establish his rule of law to replace consensus as the mode of operation. He seeks the cooperation of Luvah (emotions) who will take over the territory abandoned by Urizen. 

The conflict of forces contending for control:

British Museum
Young's Night Thoughts
Sketch for Night IX, page 34
British Museum
Young's Night Thoughts
Watercolor for Night IX, page 34

Saturday, July 4, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 18
Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 18, (E 310)
"Why is the Sheep given to the knife? the Lamb plays in the Sun
He starts! he hears the foot of Man! he says, Take thou my wool
But spare my life, but he knows not that winter cometh fast..

The Spider sits in his labourd Web, eager watching for the Fly
Presently comes a famishd Bird & takes away the Spider           
His Web is left all desolate, that his little anxious heart
So careful wove; & spread it out with sighs and weariness.

This was the Lamentation of Enion round the golden Feast
Eternity groand and was troubled at the image of Eternal Death
Without the body of Man an Exudation from his sickning limbs     

Now Man was come to the Palm tree & to the Oak of Weeping
Which stand upon the Edge of Beulah & he sunk down
From the Supporting arms of the Eternal Saviour; who disposd
The pale limbs of his Eternal Individuality
Upon The Rock of Ages. Watching over him with Love & Care 
End of First Night"
Page 18 is one of two pages which Blake concludes with the words 'End of First Night.' After Page 18 there are four additional pages which are considered to be pages of the manuscript of the First Night. Blake initially seems to have intended to end the First Night with this image of a final separation of Tharmas and Enion as they exit from Beulah into the world of mortality. Enion was able to see the destruction of the complete psyche in a world of nature which on longer reflected the innocence of Eden. Tharmas was able to see the same disintegration in the body which has become subject to the decay of death. Their combined vision of the total man as body and spirit had been a cohesive force which cemented each of the functions of the psyche into a harmonious unity. The chain reaction of the fall reached critical mass when they steped across the border of the edge of Beulah between the Palm tree and the Oak. Eden had been left for Beulah, now Tharmas and Enion abandon Beulah as well.

For a recap of the events which led to the exit from Beulah, read DRIVEN OUTWARD, which comments on Page 5.

Blake's illustration can be seen as the Eternal Saviour reaching down and laying in a manger a divine child. A faint sketch of a kneeling figure receives the child to her care.  


Thursday, July 2, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 17

Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 17, (E 310) 
"Enion blind & age-bent wept upon the desolate wind 

Why does the Raven cry aloud and no eye pities her?
Why fall the Sparrow & the Robin in the foodless winter?
Faint! shivering they sit on leafless bush, or frozen stone

Wearied with seeking food across the snowy waste; the little     
Heart, cold; and the little tongue consum'd, that once in thoughtless joy
Gave songs of gratitude to waving corn fields round their nest.

Why howl the Lion & the Wolf? why do they roam abroad?
Deluded by summers heat they sport in enormous love
And cast their young out to the hungry wilds & sandy desarts"    

Following are passage from William Blake's Circle of Destiny by Milton Percival which shed light on Enion and the source of her suffering:
Page 295
"The Fall drags Enion into the indefinite of matter - into the Grave, whence she speaks with a comprehensive knowledge of the suffering of nature." 

Page 173
"She feels herself on the way to the dark, blank, abstract matter where she would be but a 'shadow in oblivion.' To prevent that extinction, she weaves a nature that is but a 'shadowy semblance' of eternal nature, but which is nevertheless full of 'mazes of delusive beauty' wherein she can be protected as under the 'shadowy wings.'"

Page 174
"Man's conception of Being is reshaped to accord with his new beliefs. Urthona (man's essential self) is reborn as Time and Space in the persons of Los and Enitharmon. The temporal replaces the eternal. The concepts Time and Space cost Enion her claim to spiritual reality. As the finite and spacial take hold on the mind of man, the Earth-Mother withers into a thing of clay. Descending into matter she goes outward into the strife of the four elements.
The inner spirit turned self-righteous, the body pays the price in Enion's blood. Creature is the prey of creature. The curse placed on the earth in Genesis is in effect."

Page 368
"It is not until a dual universe has been achieved that death and decay make their appearance. They come into being with Los' generative world, in which the sexes are separate, in which good and evil struggle with one another, and Tharmas and Enion are known as distinct and antithetical principles. In the world as it is shaped after the Flood, not only are form and matter regarded as distinct, but the one is felt to be living, the other dead. Yet they both contribute their characteristics to the the physical world. Mortality is the logical outcome of their union."

Earlier posts may also help in understanding Enion and her anguish: 
Tharmas as the Zoa of the body in his fallen state is not matter but spirit with no expression in matter. Enion, the emanation of Tharmas becomes matter without association with spirit.

Feeling responsible for the suffering which manifests in Nature she wanders bent and blind and assumes the pain all around her.

Enion separated from Tharmas weaves from the outer and inner ability to perceive, a material instrument of perception; the physical body enclosing the spirit.