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

Thursday, September 17, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 95

Four Zoas, Night VII, PAGE 87 [95] (FIRST PORTION), (E 367)
"For far & wide she stretchd thro all the worlds of Urizens journey
And was Ajoind to Beulah as the Polypus to the Rock
Mo[u]rning the daughters of Beulah saw nor could they have sustaind
The horrid sight of death & torment   But the Eternal Promise
They wrote on all their tombs & pillars & on every Urn     
These words   If ye will believe your B[r]other shall rise again
In golden letters ornamented with sweet labours of Love
Waiting with Patience for the fulfilment of the Promise Divine 

And all the Songs of Beulah sounded comfortable notes
Not suffring doubt to rise up from the Clouds of the Shadowy Female 
Then myriads of the Dead burst thro the bottoms of their tombs
Descending on the shadowy females clouds in Spectrous terror
Beyond the Limit of Translucence on the Lake of Udan Adan
These they namd Satans & in the Aggregate they namd them Satan"

Second part of text is on page 95 in David Erdman's The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake. 
"But in the deeps beneath the Roots of Mystery in darkest night
Where Urizen sat on his rock the Shadow brooded      
Urizen saw & triumphd & he cried to his warriors     

The time of Prophecy is now revolvd & all
This Universal Ornament is mine & in my hands
The ends of heaven like a Garment will I fold them round me      
Consuming what must be consumd then in power & majesty
I will walk forth thro those wide fields of endless Eternity
A God & not a Man a Conqueror in triumphant glory
And all the Sons of Everlasting shall bow down at my feet  
First Trades & Commerce ships & armed vessels he builded laborious  
To swim the deep & on the Land children are sold to trades 

Of dire necessity still laboring day & night till all
Their life extinct they took the spectre form in dark despair
And slaves in myriads in ship loads burden the hoarse sounding deep
Rattling with clanking chains the Universal Empire groans 

And he commanded his Sons found a Center in the Deep
And Urizen laid the first Stone & all his myriads
Builded a temple in the image of the human heart."
Yale Center for British Art
Illustrations to Young's Night thoughts
Blake's choice of a page from Night Thoughts to present his text found on page 87 and 95, provides a happy scene on two levels. The upper image is a contented, benevolent Daughter of Beulah observing below a happy group whose activities partake of the joyful Brotherhood of Eden.
But there is another level not visible in the picture but described in the text at the lower part of the page. In the deeps Urizen has created a world from his illusions in which he is not subject to any reality other than which he created in his own inflated fantasy of his power. In place of the human heart filled with love and compassion, he proposes to construct a temple, made with hands and in the shape of a heart. His structure for the worship of his own system of war and empire enlists 'myrids' to engage in the grand building project.
In Young's page of text that Blake illustrated for the published book, he highlighted the line: "Teaching, we learn; and, giving, we retain."

Second Corinthians 5
[1] For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  .

No comments:

Post a Comment