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

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 135
Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 134, (E 403)
"So loud so clear in the wide heavens & the song that they sung was this
Composed by an African Black from the little Earth of Sotha

Aha Aha how came I here so soon in my sweet native land  
How came I here Methinks I am as I was in my youth
PAGE 135 
When in my fathers house I sat & heard his chearing voice
Methinks I see his flocks & herds & feel my limbs renewd
And Lo my Brethren in their tents & their little ones around them

The song arose to the Golden feast the Eternal Man rejoicd
Then the Eternal Man said Luvah the Vintage is ripe arise        
The sons of Urizen shall gather the vintage with sharp hooks
And all thy sons O Luvah bear away the families of Earth
I hear the flail of Urizen his barns are full no roo[m]
Remains & in the Vineyards stand the abounding sheaves beneath
The falling Grapes that odorous burst upon the winds. Arise      
My flocks & herds trample the Corn my cattle browze upon
The ripe Clusters The shepherds shout for Luvah prince of Love
Let the Bulls of Luvah tread the Corn & draw the loaded waggon
Into the Barn while children glean the Ears around the door
Then shall they lift their innocent hands & stroke his furious nose 
And he shall lick the little girls white neck & on her head
Scatter the perfume of his breath while from his mountains high
The lion of terror shall come down & bending his bright mane
And couching at their side shall eat from the curld boys white lap
His golden food and in the evening sleep before the Door     

Attempting to be more than Man We become less said Luvah
As he arose from the bright feast drunk with the wine of ages
His crown of thorns fell from his head he hung his living Lyre
Behind the seat of the Eternal Man & took his way
Sounding the Song of Los descending to the Vineyards bright      
His sons arising from the feast with golden baskets follow
A fiery train as when the Sun sings in the ripe vineyards
Then Luvah stood before the wine press all his fiery sons
Brought up the loaded Waggons with shoutings ramping tygers play
In the jingling traces furious lions sound the song of joy       
To the golden wheels circling upon the pavement of heaven & all
The Villages of Luvah ring the golden tiles of the villages
Reply to violins & tabors to the pipe flute lyre & cymbal
Then fell the Legions of Mystery in maddning confusion
Down Down thro the immense with outcry fury & despair            
Into the wine presses of Luvah howling fell the Clusters
Of human families thro the deep. the wine presses were filld
The blood of life flowd plentiful Odors of life arose
All round the heavenly arches & the Odors rose singing this son
PAGE 136 
O terrible wine presses of Luvah O caverns of the Grave
How lovely the delights of those risen again from death
O trembling joy excess of joy is like Excess of grief

So sang the Human Odors round the wine presses of Luvah

But in the Wine presses is wailing terror & despair              
Forsaken of their Elements they vanish & are no more
No more but a desire of Being a distracted ravening desire
Desiring like the hungry worm & like the gaping grave     
They plunge into the Elements the Elements cast them forth
Or else consume their shadowy semblance Yet they obstinate       
Tho pained to distraction Cry O let us Exist for
This dreadful Non Existence is worse than pains of Eternal Birth
Eternal Death who can Endure. let us consume in fires
In waters stifling or in air corroding or in earth shut up
The Pangs of Eternal birth are better than the Pangs of Eternal Death"   

Wikipedia Commons
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
If a housewife were to buy a bushel of apples to last through the winter, she would sort through the apples before she stored them. The bruised and damaged she would remove. A portion of those could be salvaged if used before decay could spread. But they could not be saved with the unblemished apples which were meant to provide nourishment through the lean times. Blake used the image of the vintage to portray the sorting process which removed what could not be preserved from the valuable uncontaminated products which had been gained through the experience of living in time.

The familiar characters of Urizen and Luvah play roles in this stage of apocalypse. The accounts of the fall of the Eternal Man into division involved Urizen and Luvah plotting to abandon their intended roles and assume the function of other Zoas. At this stage of the Four Zoas, Urizen had reassumed his position in the scheme of things, now Luvah's contamination of psychological functioning predicated on emotional decision making needed to be cleansed from the psyche. The pleasure principle based on fulfilling of desire maintained a tenacious hold and was not readily relinquished. 

Urizen as the mind's rational activity would gather the grapes without regard to their content for potential inclusion in the wine of life. Blake transitioned to focusing on the disposition of Luvah whose role in the fallen condition of man had to be reversed. The fruit that was gathered was the same that has been processed by various aspects of the natural world: the flocks and herds, the cattle, the bulls, and the lion, implying activities of the Zoas as they functioned in the natural environment. The Elemental order of the natural world sustained the continuation of the operation of the mind under control of emotional responses. The breaking of that order in the outer world removed the support which maintained Luvah's emotional control in the psyche. The old wine on which the sons of Luvah were drunk was a 'distracted ravening desire.' The 'odors of life' extracted by the winepress were the 'delights of those risen again from death.'

In Jerusalem Blake described the condition of torment when love led to jealousy which was followed by various 'species of contention.' Through the vintage Blake was, by removing the sources of infection, reversing the damage which resulted from becoming subject to this bondage.

Jerusalem, Plate 69, (E 223)
Devouring Jerusalem from every Nation of the Earth.    
Envying stood the enormous Form at variance with Itself
In all its Members: in eternal of love & jealousy:
Drivn forth by Los time after time from Albions cliffy shore,
Drawing the free loves of Jerusalem into infernal bondage;
That they might be born in Contentions of Chastity & in  
Deadly Hate between Leah & Rachel, Daughters of Deceit & Fraud
Bearing the Images of various Species of Contention
And Jealousy & Abhorrence & Revenge & deadly Murder.
Till they refuse liberty to the male; & not like Beulah
Where every Female delights to give her maiden to her husband"
If the grain were not harvested, winnowed and milled; if the grapes were not subjected to the winepress; it the unclean spirits were not cast out of the demoniac; apocalypse could not proceed.

Mark 5
[8] For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.
[9] And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.
[10] And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.
[11] Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.
[12] And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.
[13] And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.
[14] And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.
[15] And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: 


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