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

Thursday, November 5, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 125
Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 124, (E 394)
"Then Urizen commanded & they brought the Seed of Men            
The trembling souls of All the Dead stood before Urizen
Weak wailing in the troubled air East west & north & south

Page 125 
He turnd the horses loose & laid his Plow in the northern corner
Of the wide Universal field. then Stepd forth into the immense 

Then he began to sow the seed he girded round his loins
With a bright girdle & his skirt filld with immortal souls
Howling & Wailing fly the souls from Urizens strong hand         

For from the hand of Urizen the myriads fall like stars
Into their own appointed places driven back by the winds
The naked warriors rush together down to the sea shores
They are become like wintry flocks like forests stripd of leaves
The Kings & Princes of the Earth cry with a feeble cry           
Driven on the unproducing sands & on the hardend rocks
And all the while the flames of Orc follow the ventrous feet
Of Urizen & all the while the Trump of Tharmas sounds
Weeping & wailing fly the souls from Urizens strong hand
The daughters of Urizen stand with Cups & measures of foaming wine
Immense upon the heavens with bread & delicate repasts

Then follows the golden harrow in the midst of Mental fires
To ravishing melody of flutes & harps & softest voice
The seed is harrowd in while flames heat the black mould & cause
The human harvest to begin Towards the south first sprang 
The myriads & in silent fear they look out from their graves

Then Urizen sits down to rest & all his wearied Sons
Take their repose on beds they drink they sing they view the flames
Of Orc in joy they view the human harvest springing up
A time they give to sweet repose till all the harvest is ripe    

And Lo like the harvest Moon Ahania cast off her death clothes
She folded them up in care in silence & her brightning limbs
Bathd in the clear spring of the rock then from her darksom cave
Issud in majesty divine   Urizen rose up from his couch
On wings of tenfold joy clapping his hands his feet his radiant wings
In the immense as when the Sun dances upon the mountains
A shout of jubilee in lovely notes responding from daughter to daughter
From son to Son as if the Stars beaming innumerable
Thro night should sing soft warbling filling Earth & heaven
And bright Ahania took her seat by Urizen in songs & joy         

The Eternal Man also sat down upon the Couches of Beulah
Sorrowful that he could not put off his new risen body
In mental flames the flames refusd they drove him back to Beulah
His body was redeemd to be permanent thro Mercy Divine"

British Museum
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
Urizen, having been released from the misconceptions which blinded him to the true function which was his to perform, experiences an outpouring of creative energy. Freed from the garments which masqueraded for the lineaments of man, the seed which had been buried deep is unearthed and replanted in soil which is prepared to nourish it. 

Blake's poetry asks us to allow the symbol of the seed to be planted in us. And if it is, it will become active in our hearts, and minds and souls and bodies. The shifting of the imagery from 'souls of All the Dead,' to 'turnd the horses loose,' to 'sow the seed,' to 'fall like stars,' signals the transcendence of earthly events. The simultaneous harrowing of the seed and beginning of the harvest indicate the Eternal nature of the events being described.

The picture Blake uses with the text expands the imagery to include the seed as materialized humans carrying scraps of paper on which are written the words of life.

Mark 4
[20] And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

Revelation 14
[14] And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
[15] And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
[16] And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
Second Corinthians (JB Phillips Translation)
5:1-4 - We know, for instance, that if our earthly dwelling were taken down, like a tent, we have a permanent house in Heaven, made, not by man, but by God. In this present frame we sigh with deep longing for the heavenly house, for we do not want to face utter nakedness when death destroys our present dwelling - these bodies of ours. So long as we are clothed in this temporary dwelling we have a painful longing, not because we want just to get rid of these "clothes" but because we want to know the full cover of the permanent house that will be ours. We want our transitory life to be absorbed into the life that is eternal.

Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 6,(E 35)
    "A Memorable Fancy.                        

   As I was walking among the fires of hell, delighted with the 
enjoyments of Genius; which to Angels look like torment and
insanity. I collected some of their Proverbs: thinking that as
the sayings used in a nation, mark its character, so the Proverbs
of Hell, shew the nature of Infernal wisdom better than any
description of buildings or garments.
   When I came home; on the abyss of the five senses, where a
flat  sided steep frowns over the present world. I saw a mighty
Devil folded in black clouds, hovering on the sides of the rock,
with corroding fires he wrote the following sentence now
percieved by the minds of men, & read by them on earth.

   How do you know but ev'ry Bird that cuts the airy way,
   Is an immense world of delight, clos'd by your senses five?

     Proverbs of Hell.         

In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy."

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