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

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.


No comments:

Post a Comment