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

Saturday, August 1, 2015

BOOK OF BRASS [80]


uga.edu
Four Zoas, Night VII
Page 80
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. Night V ended with a review of the event of the fall when Urizen and Luvah mutually agreed to upset the balance in man's mind by exchanging their functionality. We skip now to page 80 in Night VII and follow Urizen as he propagates his philosophy based on abstract theories rather than a consideration of man's Divine Humanity.  

Four Zoas, Night VII,  PAGE 80, (E 355)
"And Urizen Read in his book of brass in sounding tones 

Listen O Daughters to my voice Listen to the Words of Wisdom
So shall [ye] govern over all let Moral Duty tune your tongue 
But be your hearts harder than the nether millstone
To bring the shadow of Enitharmon beneath our wondrous tree   
That Los may Evaporate like smoke & be no more
Draw down Enitharmon to the Spectre of Urthona
And let him have dominion over Los the terrible shade

Compell the poor to live upon a Crust of bread by soft mild arts
Smile when they frown frown when they smile & when a man looks pale
With labour & abstinence say he looks healthy & happy
And when his children Sicken let them die there are enough
Born even too many & our Earth will be overrun
Without these arts If you would make the poor live with temper
With pomp give every crust of bread you give with gracious cunning 
Magnify small gifts reduce the man to want a gift & then give with pomp 
Say he smiles if you hear him sigh If pale say he is ruddy
Preach temperance   say he is overgorgd & drowns his wit
In strong drink tho you know that bread & water are all
He can afford   Flatter his wife pity his children till we can   

Reduce all to our will as spaniels are taught with art 
Lo how the heart & brain are formed in the breeding womb
Of Enitharmon how it buds with life & forms the bones
The little heart the liver & the red blood in its labyrinths
By gratified desire by strong devouring appetite she fills      
Los with ambitious fury that his race shall all devour

Then Orc cried Curse thy Cold hypocrisy. already round thy Tree 
In scales that shine with gold & rubies thou beginnest to weaken
My divided Spirit Like a worm I rise in peace unbound
From wrath Now When I rage my fetters bind me more  
O torment O torment A Worm compelld. Am I a worm
Is it in strong deceit that man is born. In strong deceit
Thou dost restrain my fury that the worm may fold the tree
Avaunt Cold hypocrite I am chaind or thou couldst not use me thus
The Man shall rage bound with this Chain the worm in silence creep
Thou wilt not cease from rage Grey Demon silence all thy storms
Give me example of thy mildness King of furious hail storms
Art thou the cold attractive power that holds me in this chain
I well remember how I stole thy light & it became fire
Consuming. Thou Knowst me now O Urizen Prince of Light  
And I know thee is this the triumph this the Godlike State
That lies beyond the bounds of Science in the Grey obscure

Terrified Urizen heard Orc now certain that he was Luvah  
And Orc began to Organize a Serpent body
Despising Urizens light & turning it into flaming fire   
Recieving as a poisond Cup Recieves the heavenly wine
And turning affection into fury & thought into abstraction 
A Self consuming dark devourer rising into the heavens

Urizen envious brooding sat & saw the secret terror
Flame high in pride & laugh to scorn the source of his deceit    
Nor knew the source of his own but thought himself the Sole author"

The import of this passage is that Urizen and Luvah are still locked in the original struggle which engulfed them as they fell. Luvah, as Orc, is able to stir up the passions of love and war which obstruct Urizen's imposition of his restrictive, sense based world-view. Each is terrified of the other's power but feels obliged to continue the struggle.
Wikipedia Commons Book of Urizen
Copy G, Plate 5

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