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

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


New York Public Library Milton
Plate 10, Copy C
Ulro is the internal condition of blackness, opacity, and darkness which occurs when the Divine Vision is lost. It is the abode of Satan and those who are in the state of Satan. It is entered into from Beulah when Eternity falls 'in love with the productions of time.' Through the failure of Love to maintain Faith it is experienced as a fall into the void outside of existence where no light penetrates. The return to Beulah and Eden from Ulro is through Generation which is provided as a mercy by the 'ever pitying one who sees all things.'

Milton O Percival in William Blake's Circle of Destiny explains Ulro in this way:

"Nevertheless the potentialities for descent are inherent in Beulah. Danger lies in the space by which the indefinite is put off.

The nature of a Female Space is this: it shrinks the
Organs Of Life till they become Finite & Itself seems Infinite.

In short, the illusions of Beulah are taken for the reality. The portion is taken for the whole. The circumscribed belief becomes infinite and eternal, the senses shrink to the organic level, and correspondingly, the physical form appears real.

With the acceptance of space as real, 'Satanic spaces' make their appearance. Unlike the spaces of Beulah, which are illusory but evanescent, the Satanic spaces of Ulro look to their own perpetuation. Within them the phenomenal world (both ethical and physical) struggles to be taken for the real; the outer form declares itself to be more important than the inner spirit. Instead of returning the mind, after a temporary confinement in some limiting but evanescent and therefore merciful space, to the visionary reality, these spaces attempt to have their temporal illusions accepted as permanent realities.
The flexible spaces of Beulah here become 'perturbed, black and deadly.' Everything within this world is 'without internal light.' The souls which inhabit it have 'neither lineament nor form.' Satan whose world it is, is 'opaque, immeasurable.' ... The incoherence of Ulro is Blake's analogue for the primal chaos. Both await the shaping of the creative imagination."    

Milton, Plate 9, (E 103)
"Thus Satan rag'd amidst the Assembly! and his bosom grew     
Opake against the Divine Vision: the paved terraces of
His bosom inwards shone with fires, but the stones becoming opake!
Hid him from sight, in an extreme blackness and darkness,
And there a World of deeper Ulro was open'd, in the midst
Of the Assembly. In Satans bosom a vast unfathomable Abyss."

Milton, Plate 14 [15], (E 108)
"Then Milton rose up from the heavens of Albion ardorous!         
The whole Assembly wept prophetic, seeing in Miltons face
And in his lineaments divine the shades of Death & Ulro
He took off the robe of the promise, & ungirded himself from the oath of God

And Milton said, I go to Eternal Death! The Nations still
Follow after the detestable Gods of Priam; in pomp               
Of warlike selfhood, contradicting and blaspheming.
When will the Resurrection come; to deliver the sleeping body
From corruptibility: O when Lord Jesus wilt thou come?
Tarry no longer; for my soul lies at the gates of death.
I will arise and look forth for the morning of the grave.       
I will go down to the sepulcher to see if morning breaks!
I will go down to self annihilation and eternal death,
Lest the Last Judgment come & find me unannihilate
And I be siez'd & giv'n into the hands of my own Selfhood
The Lamb of God is seen thro' mists & shadows, hov'ring          
Over the sepulchers in clouds of Jehovah & winds of Elohim
A disk of blood, distant; & heav'ns & earth's roll dark between
What do I here before the Judgment? without my Emanation?
With the daughters of memory, & not with the daughters of inspiration[?]
I in my Selfhood am that Satan: I am that Evil" 

Milton, Plate 19 [21], (E 112)
"They are the Four Zoas that stood around the Throne Divine!
But when Luvah assum'd the World of Urizen to the South:
And Albion was slain upon his  mountains, & in his tent;     
All fell towards the Center in dire ruin, sinking down.
And in the South remains a burning fire; in the East a void.
In the West, a world of raging waters; in the North a solid,
Unfathomable! without end. But in the midst of these,
Is built eternally the Universe of Los and Enitharmon:       
Towards which Milton went, but Urizen oppos'd his path."

Milton, Plate 29 [31], (E 127)
"And if he move his dwelling-place, his heavens also move.
Wher'eer he goes & all his neighbourhood bewail his loss:
Such are the Spaces called Earth & such its dimension:
As to that false appearance which appears to the reasoner,       
As of a Globe rolling thro Voidness, it is a delusion of Ulro"

Milton, Plate 41 [48], (E 142)
"Then trembled the Virgin Ololon & replyd in clouds of despair

Is this our Feminine Portion the Six-fold Miltonic Female      
Terribly this Portion trembles before thee O awful Man
Altho' our Human Power can sustain the severe contentions
Of Friendship, our Sexual cannot: but flies into the Ulro.
Hence arose all our terrors in Eternity! & now remembrance
Returns upon us! are we Contraries O Milton, Thou & I            
O Immortal! how were we led to War the Wars of Death
Is this the Void Outside of Existence, which if enterd into
Becomes a Womb? & is this the Death Couch of Albion
Thou goest to Eternal Death & all must go with thee"                 

Milton, Plate 10 [11], (E 104)
"Every thing in Eternity shines by its own Internal light: but thou
Darkenest every Internal light with the arrows of thy quiver
Bound up in the borns of jealousy to a deadly fading Moon
And Ocalythron binds the Sun into a Jealous Globe
That every thing is fixd Opake without Internal light         

So Los lamented over Satan, who triumphant divided the Nations"

Four Zoas, Night VI, PAGE 71 (SECOND PORTION), (E 348)
"He [Urizen] could not take their fetters off for they grew from the soul
Nor could he quench the fires for they flamd out from the heart
Nor could he calm the Elements because himself was Subject
So he threw his flight in terror & pain & in repentant tears

When he had passd these southern terrors he approachd the East   
Void pathless beaten With iron sleet & eternal hail & rain
No form was there no living thing & yet his way lay thro
This dismal world. he stood a while & lookd back oer his former
Terrific voyage. Hills & Vales of torment & despair
Sighing & Wiping a fresh tear. then turning round he threw       
Himself into the dismal void. falling he fell & fell
Whirling in unresistible revolutions down & down
In the horrid bottomless vacuity falling failing falling
Into the Eastern vacuity the empty world of Luvah

The ever pitying one who seeth all things saw his fall           
And in the dark vacuity created a bosom of clay 
When wearied dead he fell his limbs reposd in the bosom of slime
As the seed falls from the sowers hand so Urizen fell & death
Shut up his powers in oblivion. then as the seed shoots forth
In pain & sorrow. So the slimy bed his limbs renewd"              

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