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

Monday, August 3, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 90

Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 98 [90], (E 370)
"So Enitharmon spoke trembling & in torrents of tears

Los sat in Golgonooza in the Gate of Luban where  
He had erected many porches where branchd the Mysterious Tree
Where the Spectrous dead wail & sighing thus he spoke to Enitharmon

Lovely delight of Men Enitharmon shady refuge from furious war
Thy bosom translucent is a soft repose for the weeping souls
Of those piteous victims of battle there they sleep in happy obscurity
They feed upon our life we are their victims. Stern desire
I feel to fabricate embodied semblances in which the dead
May live before us in our palaces & in our gardens of labour 
Which now opend within the Center we behold spread abroad
To form a world of Sacrifice of brothers & sons & daughters 
To comfort Orc in his dire sufferings[;] look[!] my fires enlume afresh
Before my face ascending with delight as in ancient times

Enitharmon spread her beaming locks upon the wind & said   
O Lovely terrible Los wonder of Eternity O Los my defence & guide 
Thy works are all my joy. & in thy fires my soul delights
If mild they burn in just proportion & in secret night
And silence build their day in shadow of soft clouds & dews
Then I can sigh forth on the winds of Golgonooza piteous forms  
That vanish again into my bosom   but if thou my Los
Wilt in sweet moderated fury. fabricate forms sublime 
Such as the piteous spectres may assimilate themselves into
They shall be ransoms for our Souls that we may live

So Enitharmon spoke & Los his hands divine inspired began  
To modulate his fires studious the loud roaring flames
He vanquishd with the strength of Art bending their iron points
And drawing them forth delighted upon the winds of Golgonooza 
>From out the ranks of Urizens war & from the fiery lake
Of Orc bending down as the binder of the Sheaves follows   
The reaper in both arms embracing the furious raging flames
Los drew them forth out of the deeps planting his right foot firm
Upon the Iron crag of Urizen thence springing up aloft
Into the heavens of Enitharmon in a mighty circle

And first he drew a line upon the walls of shining heaven    
And Enitharmon tincturd it with beams of blushing love

It remaind permanent a lovely form inspird divinely human
Dividing into just proportions Los unwearied labourd
The immortal lines upon the heavens till with sighs of love
Sweet Enitharmon mild Entrancd breathd forth upon the wind   
The spectrous dead Weeping the Spectres viewd the immortal works
Of Los Assimilating to those forms Embodied & Lovely
In youth & beauty in the arms of Enitharmon mild reposing

First Rintrah & then Palamabron drawn from out the ranks of war
In infant innocence reposd on Enitharmons bosom     
Orc was comforted in the deeps his soul revivd in them
As the Eldest brother is the fathers image So Orc became  
As Los a father to his brethren & he joyd in the dark lake
Tho bound with chains of Jealousy & in scales of iron & brass

But Los loved them & refusd to Sacrifice their infant limbs   
And Enitharmons smiles & tears prevaild over self protection
They rather chose to meet Eternal death than to destroy
The offspring of their Care & Pity Urthonas spectre was comforted
But Tharmas most rejoicd in hope of Enions return
For he beheld new Female forms born forth upon the air    
Who wove soft silken veils of covering in sweet rapturd trance
Mortal & not as Enitharmon without a covering veil

First his immortal spirit drew Urizen[s] Shadow away 
From out the ranks of war separating him in sunder
Leaving his Spectrous form which could not be drawn away     
Then he divided Thiriel the Eldest of Urizens sons
Urizen became Rintrah Thiriel became Palamabron
Thus dividing the powers of Every Warrior
Startled was Los he found his Enemy Urizen now
In his hands. he wonderd that he felt love & not hate     
His whole soul loved him he beheld him an infant
Lovely breathd from Enitharmon he trembled within himself"

The ending of Night VII of the Four Zoas is a turning point in the cycle of fall and recovery. Los and Enitharmon are able to modify their behaviors in such a way that  cooperation is possible. Los, in Enitharmon's view, had exhibited some of the characteristics of Orc - the fiery, unpredictability seething below the surface. Los had perceived that Enitharmon, like Urizen, tried to build a world in which she had dominion. Now they made the effort to allay their fears, let down their defenses and attempt to join their skills in a creative project.

The result exceeded expectations. Pieces of the psyche which had been torn asunder, were reunited and accepted themselves as vital parts of a totality.

An essay, Blake's Treatment of the Archetype, written by Northrop Frye is included in Blake's Poetry and Designs edited by Mary Lynn Johnson and John E Grant. In it Frye includes this insight into the process of reconciling the Zoas:

"The world of law, stretching from the starry heavens to the moral conscience, is the domain of Urizen in Blake's symbolism. It sits on a volcano in which the rebellious Titan Orc, the spirit of passion, lies bound, writhing and struggling to get free. Each of these spirits is Satanic or devilish to the other. While we dream, Urizen, the principle of reality, is the censor, or, as Blake calls him, the accuser, a smug and grinning hypocrite, an impotent old man, the caricature the child makes of the adult world that thwarts him. But as long as we are awake, Orc, the lawless pleasure principle, is an evil dragon bound under the conscious world in chains, and we all hope he will stat there.

The dream world is, however, not quite securely bound: every so often it breaks loose and projects itself on society in the form of war. It seems odd that we should keep plunging with great relief into moral holidays of aggression in which robbery and murder become virtues instead of crimes. It almost suggests that keeping our desires in leash and seeing that others do likewise is a heavy and sooner or later intolerable strain. On a closer view, even the difference between war and law begins to blur. The social contract, which from a distance seems a reasonable effort of cooperation, looks closer up as an armed truce founded on passion, in which the real purpose of law is to defend by force what has been snatched in self-will. Plainly, we cannot settle the conflict of Orc and Urizen by siding with one against the other, still less by pretending that either one of them is an illusion. We must look for a third factor in human life, one which meets the requirements of both the dream and the reality.

The third factor, called Los by Blake, might provisionally be called work, or constructive activity." (Page 511)
"Neither idleness nor drudgery can be work: real work is the creative act of a free man, and wherever real work is going on it is humanizing society as well as nature." (Page 512)
"For Blake  the function of art is to reveal the human or intelligible form of the world," (Page 514)    


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