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

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."

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