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

Saturday, December 19, 2015


In the post Urthona we saw that Blake created an image in the Book of Urizen which portrayed the four Elements as four faces of man. Blake reused the same copper plate to make modified images. The man emerging from the depths of a dark body of water later was pictured in an engraving in which he was alone. In the Small Book of Designs which he printed for his friend Ozias Humphery, Blake included this image which was a prototype for the Zoa Tharmas immersed in the water of materiality. 
British Museum
Small Book of Designs
The terms most closely associated with Tharmas are water, the body, the senses, and the Sea of Time and Space. The First Night of the Four Zoas gives an account of the fall of Tharmas which initiated the disintegration of the unified psyche. When Enion, the emanation of Tharmas, fled or was cast out, the implicit connection between the Eternal and the temporal was broken. As the Parent Power Tharmas is the source of life and the energy which sustains it.

Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 4, (E 301)
"In Eden; in the Auricular Nerves of Human life
Which is the Earth of Eden, he his Emanations propagated
Fairies of Albion afterwards Gods of the Heathen, Daughter of Beulah Sing
His fall into Division & his Resurrection to Unity
His fall into the Generation of Decay & Death & his Regeneration 
   by the Resurrection from the dead 

Begin with Tharmas Parent power. darkning in the West

Lost! Lost! Lost! are my Emanations      Enion O Enion
We are become a Victim to the Living We hide in secret 
I have hidden Jerusalem in Silent Contrition    O Pity Me 
I will build thee a Labyrinth also O pity me    O Enion   
Why hast thou taken sweet Jerusalem from my inmost Soul   
Let her Lay secret in the Soft recess of darkness & silence
It is not Love I bear to [Jerusalem] It is Pity      
She hath taken refuge in my bosom & I cannot cast her out.

The Men have recieved their death wounds & their Emanations are fled 
To me for refuge & I cannot turn them out for Pitys sake

Enion said--Thy fear has made me tremble thy terrors have surrounded me
All Love is lost Terror succeeds & Hatred instead of Love
And stern demands of Right & Duty instead of Liberty.
Once thou wast to Me the loveliest son of heaven--But now        
Why art thou Terrible and yet I love thee in thy terror till
I am almost Extinct & soon shall be a Shadow in Oblivion
Unless some way can be found that I may look upon thee & live
Hide me some Shadowy semblance. secret whispring in my Ear
In secret of soft wings. in mazes of delusive beauty             
I have lookd into the secret soul of him I lovd
And in the Dark recesses found Sin & cannot return

Trembling & pale sat Tharmas weeping in his clouds"
British Museum
Gates of Paradise
Copy B, Plate 6
Blake's image of Water in Gates of Paradise presents a picture of a man sitting in the rain and mournfully looking down into a body of water, feeling the same regret which Tharmas felt over the transition to the world of matter when he turned the Circle of Destiny.

Four Zoas, Night I, Page 5, (E 302)
"Tharmas groand among his Clouds 

Weeping, then bending from his Clouds he stoopd his innocent head
And stretching out his holy hand in the vast Deep sublime 

Turnd round the circle of Destiny with tears & bitter sighs 
And said. Return O Wanderer when the Day of Clouds is oer"

Wikipedia Commons
Book of Urizen
Plate 4
Although Tharmas is never named in the Book of Urizen, his presence is discernable. On Plate 4 we see an agonized figure sitting in water and showered by rain. On Page 5 we read of the ocean of voidness which appeared when Eternity was sundered.
Book of Urizen, Plate 5, (E 72)
"In living creations appear'd   
In the flames of eternal fury. 

3. Sund'ring, dark'ning, thund'ring!
Rent away with a terrible crash
Eternity roll'd wide apart                                       

Wide asunder rolling
Mountainous all around
Departing; departing; departing:
Leaving ruinous fragments of life
Hanging frowning cliffs & all between                            
An ocean of voidness unfathomable."

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