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

Monday, November 2, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 121
Four Zoas, Night IX, PAGE 121, (E 390)  
"Urizen wept in the dark deep anxious his Scaly form
To reassume the human & he wept in the dark deep

Saying O that I had never drank the wine nor eat the bread
Of dark mortality nor cast  my view into futurity nor turnd 
My back darkning the present clouding with a cloud              
And building arches high & cities turrets & towers & domes
Whose smoke destroyd the pleasant gardens & whose running Kennels
Chokd the bright rivers burdning with my Ships the angry deep
Thro Chaos seeking for delight & in spaces remote
Seeking the Eternal which is always present to the wise         
Seeking for pleasure which unsought falls round the infants path
And on the fleeces of mild flocks who neither care nor labour
But I the labourer of ages whose unwearied hands
Are thus deformd with hardness with the sword & with the spear
And with the Chisel & the mallet I whose labours vast           
Order the nations separating family by family
Alone enjoy not   I alone in misery supreme
Ungratified give all my joy unto this Luvah & Vala
Then Go O dark futurity I will cast thee forth from these
Heavens of my brain nor will I look upon futurity more  
I cast futurity away & turn my back upon that void      
Which I have made for lo futurity is in this moment     
Let Orc consume let Tharmas rage let dark Urthona give
All strength to Los & Enitharmon & let Los self-cursd
Rend down this fabric as a wall ruind & family extinct          
Rage Orc Rage Tharmas Urizen no longer curbs your rage

So Urizen spoke he shook his snows from off his Shoulders & arose
As on a Pyramid of mist his white robes scattering
The fleecy white renewd he shook his aged mantles off
Into the fires Then glorious bright Exulting in his joy         
He sounding rose into the heavens in naked majesty
In radiant Youth. when Lo like garlands in the Eastern sky
When vocal may comes dancing from the East Ahania came
Exulting in her flight as when a bubble rises up
On to the surface of a lake. Ahania rose in joy                 
Excess of joy is worse than grief--her heart beat high her blood
Burst its bright Vessels She fell down dead at the feet of Urizen.
Outstretchd a Smiling corse they buried her in a silent cave
Urizen dropt a tear the Eternal Man Darkend with sorrow

The three daughters of Urizen Guard Ahanias Death couch    
Rising from the confusion in tears & howlings & despair
Calling upon their fathers Name upon their Rivers dark

And the Eternal Man Said Hear my words O Prince of Light"

This is one of the pages for which Blake wrote his text on a proof sheet of the engravings for Young's Night Thoughts which he had illustrated in 1795. The manuscript for 72 pages of the Four Zoas is made available by the British Library. A difficulty in using these pages is that the numbering does not match the numbering in Erdman's book. But you can read the text in Blake's hand and coordinate it to Erdman's text.

Wiki Commons
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
As we have been following the transformative process through which mankind may 'reassume his ancient bliss', we have reached the point where Urizen must reject the reasoning which led him into depths of dejection and destruction. His dissatisfaction with his role among the Eternals had impelled him to provoke insurrection. What followed was his attempt to take charge of more than his abilities could handle. He knows now that he cannot control the future, and that the other Zoas, although different from him,  are essential to the total man. As soon as Urizen resolves to cast out from his brain the faulty reasoning which has controlled him, he rises as a 'radiant youth' into another state of consciousness. Although his emanation Ahania appears to him, her time is not yet come. She is protected as the process develops further.

The image from Blake's Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts includes four female figures. The reclining woman suggests Urizen's emanation Ahania lying dead at his feet. Surrounding her are Urizen's three daughters: Eleth (head), Uveth (heart) and Ona (loins). Contrary to the peaceful scene presented in the image is the intimation that the daughters continue to knead the dough that makes the bread on which Orc is fed. Ahania had not yet 'put off her death clothes' (the divisions within her are in conflict). She could not experience internal reunion until the 'mental fires' of Orc had stimulated the growth of the 'human harvest' which would grow from the 'Seeds of Man' scattered by Urizen.

Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 79, (E 355)
"Urizen answerd Read my books explore my Constellations 
Enquire of my Sons & they shall teach thee how to War
Enquire of my Daughters who accursd in the dark depths
Knead bread of Sorrow by my stern command for I am God
Of all this dreadful ruin   Rise O daughters at my Stern command

Rending the Rocks Eleth & Uveth rose & Ona rose       
Terrific with their iron vessels driving them across
In the dim air they took the book of iron & placd above
On clouds of death & sang their songs Kneading the bread of Orc
Orc listend to the song compelld hungring on the cold wind
That swaggd heavy with the accursed dough. the hoar frost ragd   
Thro Onas sieve   the torrent rain pourd from the iron pail
Of Eleth & the icy hands of Uveth kneaded the bread
The heavens bow with terror underneath their iron hands
Singing at their dire work the words of Urizens book of iron
While the enormous scrolls rolld dreadful in the heavens above   
And still the burden of their song in tears was poured forth
The bread is Kneaded let us rest O cruel father of children

But Urizen remitted not their labours upon his rock

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"

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