Monday, August 31, 2015

WAITING WITH PATIENCE [87]

George Rosso's first chapter of Blake's Prophetic Workshop investigates the perspectives that respected critics of the Four Zoas have published since Ellis and Yates first included the Four Zoas in The Works of William Blake in 1793. Each critic discerned different virtues and flaws, successes and failures, intents and influences. Rosso can't totally agree with any of his predecessors. In this statement he concludes that Blake's technique, which engenders confusion about his means and meaning, is integral to what he wants his reader to gain from his poem. The interaction between the reader and the text is intended to lead to an individual event of recognition.  

From Blake's Prophetic Workshop, Page 46:

"The poem's substantial achievement lies primarily in the way its experimental composite form delivers its powerful content. Blake's 'epic' exceeds the boundaries of its difficult, problematic structure because it treats both as meaning and as a means to individual and social liberation. I do not, I believe, simply invert formalistic assumptions about unity. Nor do I hedge the problem of formal incoherence. I try various critical approaches that direct attention to the contexts, both intrinsic and extrinsic, that readers must engage to participate in Blake's visionary epic theater.

 

Content and form need not perfectly align for a work to have impact. If a work lacks formal perfection, it can create an impact through sheer power. Its impact can reside in the force that links content and form, reverberating beyond the confines of artistic structure. I agree with Erdman that history is the force that disrupts the narrative structure of The Four Zoas, but I do not devalue the poem for this disruption. I think, rather, that the link between content and form can become a 'call' toward the social situation in which the work is created and received. I call this the kerygmatic meaning of the narrative."

ON HOMERS POETRY, (E 269)                  
"Every Poem must necessarily be a perfect Unity, but why Homers is
peculiarly so, I cannot tell: he has told the story of
Bellerophon & omitted the judgment of Paris which is not only a
part, but a principal part of Homers subject
  But when a Work has Unity it is as much in a Part as in the
Whole. the Torso is as much a Unity as the Laocoon
  As Unity is the cloke of folly so Goodness is the cloke of
knavery  Those who will have Unity exclusively in Homer come out
with a Moral like a sting in the tail: Aristotle says Characters
are either Good or Bad: now Goodness or Badness has nothing to do
with Character. an Apple tree a Pear tree a Horse a Lion, are
Characters but a Good Apple tree or a Bad, is an Apple tree
still: a Horse is not more a Lion for being a Bad Horse. that is
its Character; its Goodness or Badness is another consideration.
  It is the same with the Moral of a whole Poem as with the Moral 
Goodness
of its parts Unity & Morality, are secondary considerations &
belong to Philosophy & not to Poetry, to Exception & not to Rule,
to Accident & not to Substance. the Ancients calld it eating of
the tree of good & evil.
  The Classics, it is the Classics! & not Goths nor Monks, that
Desolate Europe with Wars."                                                        
British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 87
Four Zoas, Night VII, PAGE 87 [95] (FIRST PORTION) "For far & wide she [Vala] stretchd thro all the worlds of Urizens journey And was Ajoind to Beulah as the Polypus to the Rock Mourning the daughters of Beulah saw nor could they have sustaind The horrid sight of death & torment But the Eternal Promise They wrote on all their tombs & pillars & on every Urn These words If ye will believe your Brother shall rise again In golden letters ornamented with sweet labours of Love Waiting with Patience for the fulfilment of the Promise Divine And all the Songs of Beulah sounded comfortable notes Not suffring doubt to rise up from the Clouds of the Shadowy Female Then myriads of the Dead burst thro the bottoms of their tombs Descending on the shadowy females clouds in Spectrous terror Beyond the Limit of Translucence on the Lake of Udan Adan These they namd Satans & in the Aggregate they namd them Satan"

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Perga 10


William Blake's Illustrations of Dante's Purgatory
From Blake Archive

But when we were free, and in the open, above, where the Mount is set back, I, being weary, and both of us uncertain of our way, we stood still, on a level space, more lonely than a road through a desert. The length of three human bodies would span it, from its brink where it borders the void, to the foot of the high bank that ascends sheer. And this terrace appeared to me like that, as far as my eye could wing in flight, now to the left, and then to the right.
Our feet had not yet moved along it, when I saw that the encircling cliff, which, being vertical, lacked any means of ascent, was pure white marble, and beautified with friezes, so that not merely Polycletus, but Nature also, would be put to shame by it.
In front of us, so vividly sculpted, in a gentle attitude, that it did not seem a dumb image, the Angel Gabriel, appeared, who came to earth, with the annunciation of that peace, wept for, in vain, for so many years, that opened Heaven to us, after the long exile. You would have sworn he was saying: ‘Ave,’ since She was fashioned there, who turned the key to open the supreme Love. And these words were imprinted in her aspect, as clearly as a figure stamped in wax, Ecce ancilla Dei: behold the servant of God.

‘Do not keep your attention on one place alone’ said the sweet master, who had me on that side of him where the heart is: at which I moved my eyes about, and saw another story set in the rock, behind Mary, on the side where he was, who urged me onwards.

There, on the very marble, the cart and oxen were engraved, pulling the sacred Ark of the Covenant, which makes us fear, by Uzzah’s example, an office not committed to us. People appeared in front, and the whole crowd, divided into seven choirs, made one of my senses say ‘No’ they do not sing,’ another say ‘Yes, they do.’ Similarly, eyes and nose disagreed, between yes and no, over the smoke of incense depicted there.
There King David, the humble Psalmist, went, dancing, girt up, in front of the blessed tabernacle: and he was, in that moment, more, and less, than King. MichalSaul’s daughter, was figured opposite, looking on: a woman sad and scornful. I moved my feet from the place where I stood, to look closely at another story, which shone white in front of me, beyond Michal.
But when we were free, and in the open, above, where the Mount is set back, I, being weary, and both of us uncertain of our way, we stood still, on a level space, more lonely than a road through a desert. The length of three human bodies would span it, from its brink where it borders the void, to the foot of the high bank that ascends sheer. And this terrace appeared to me like that, as far as my eye could wing in flight, now to the left, and then to the right.
Our feet had not yet moved along it, when I saw that the encircling cliff, which, being vertical, lacked any means of ascent, was pure white marble, and beautified with friezes, so that not merely Polycletus, but Nature also, would be put to shame by it.
In front of us, so vividly sculpted, in a gentle attitude, that it did not seem a dumb image, the Angel Gabriel, appeared, who came to earth, with the annunciation of that peace, wept for, in vain, for so many years, that opened Heaven to us, after the long exile. You would have sworn he was saying: ‘Ave,’ since She was fashioned there, who turned the key to open the supreme Love. And these words were imprinted in her aspect, as clearly as a figure stamped in wax, Ecce ancilla Dei: behold the servant of God.

Purgatorio Canto X:46-72 King David dancing before the Ark

‘Do not keep your attention on one place alone’ said the sweet master, who had me on that side of him where the heart is: at which I moved my eyes about, and saw another story set in the rock, behind Mary, on the side where he was, who urged me onwards.
There, on the very marble, the cart and oxen were engraved, pulling the sacred Ark of the Covenant, which makes us fear, by Uzzah’s example, an office not committed to us. People appeared in front, and the whole crowd, divided into seven choirs, made one of my senses say ‘No’ they do not sing,’ another say ‘Yes, they do.’ Similarly, eyes and nose disagreed, between yes and no, over the smoke of incense depicted there.
There King David, the humble Psalmist, went, dancing, girt up, in front of the blessed tabernacle: and he was, in that moment, more, and less, than King. MichalSaul’s daughter, was figured opposite, looking on: a woman sad and scornful. I moved my feet from the place where I stood, to look closely at another story, which shone white in front of me, beyond Michal.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

4Z'S MANUSCRIPT [113]

The resource of the Four Zoas manuscript which is made available in the British Library is invaluable. The library has published online the manuscript of William Blake's Four Zoas. Although the text of the Four Zoas has been available through several sources including Erdman's The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake, it had been difficult to locate more than a few images before the British Library created their website. Clearly stated on the website is that this material in the public domain, making it available for study and enjoyment for all who wish to use it.
 

This is the manuscript on which Blake began to work in 1795 judging from the date on the title page. The reader can view the labor which Blake put into composing, revising and correcting his work as he tried to keep up with his own creative impulses which led him farther and farther from his original intent. Although he could never complete this piece of work, he could never discard it either. Near the end of his life he put the manuscript into the hands of John Linnell, his great friend and supporter in his later years.
 
Learn more from Erdman's Textural Notes on the Four Zoas (E 817).
 
A British Library Note:
Blake abandoned Vala, and resumed it as The Four Zoas after a period of depression. While the early parts deal with intellectual judgement and spiritual despair, the later stages of the poem hold out more hope. The work was abandoned in its manuscript form by 1807, and only rediscovered and published by the poet William Yeats and writer Edwin Ellis in 1893. - See more at: http://www.bl.uk/collection-items/manuscript-of-william-blakes-the-four-zoas#sthash.qbl277CN.dpuf
Blake abandoned Vala, and resumed it as The Four Zoas after a period of depression. While the early parts deal with intellectual judgement and spiritual despair, the later stages of the poem hold out more hope. The work was abandoned in its manuscript form by 1807, and only rediscovered and published by the poet William Yeats and writer Edwin Ellis in 1893. - See more at: http://www.bl.uk/collection-items/manuscript-of-william-blakes-the-four-zoas#sthash.qbl277CN.dpuf
Blake abandoned Vala, and resumed it as The Four Zoas after a period of depression. While the early parts deal with intellectual judgement and spiritual despair, the later stages of the poem hold out more hope. The work was abandoned in its manuscript form by 1807, and only rediscovered and published by the poet William Yeats and writer Edwin Ellis in 1893. - See more at: http://www.bl.uk/collection-items/manuscript-of-william-blakes-the-four-zoas#sthash.qbl277CN.dpuf
"Blake abandoned Vala, and resumed it as The Four Zoas after a period of depression. While the early parts deal with intellectual judgement and spiritual despair, the later stages of the poem hold out more hope. The work was abandoned in its manuscript form by 1807, and only rediscovered and published by the poet William Yeats and writer Edwin Ellis in 1893." 
 

Although you can view 72 images from the Four Zoas, there is no additional text available on this site. The page numbers which are used for identification in Erdman's The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake do not appear with the pictures. The total number of pages in Blake's manuscript is 133 so what is provided is not complete. Part of the material not included is Night I (pages 1-22). I have not found it easy to navigate this website but the effort is productive.

To read Blake's writing you probably need to enlarge the image: right click on image, select view image, enlarge by clicking on picture. Unfortunately you lose your place in manuscript when you look at enlargements.  

National Gallery Victoria
Edward Young's Night Thoughts
Night the Fourth Title Page, Page 71
The study of the Four Zoas which I began on May 5 with the post God & Man is far from complete because I covered less than 50 of Blake's 133 pages. I add another manuscript image today and text to enhance it. This full page image is placed following Page 113. The picture is one of those reused from Edward Young's Night Thoughts. Blake created this engraving for the title page of Night the Fourth, giving it the title The Christian Triumph. We are spectators as Jesus puts 'off the dark Satanic body' by parting 'the clothing of blood' from the 'integuments woven' - the spiritual body fit for Eternity.






Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 104, (E 378) 
"He stood in fair Jerusalem to awake up into Eden
The fallen Man but first to Give his vegetated body  
To be cut off & separated that the Spiritual body may be Reveald"
British Library Four Zoas Night VIII
Following page 113

Four Zoas, Night VIII, PAGE 104 (FIRST PORTION), (E 376) 
"And Enitharmon namd the Female Jerusalem the holy
Wondring she saw the Lamb of God within Jerusalems Veil
The divine Vision seen within the inmost deep recess
Of fair Jerusalems bosom in a gently beaming fire

Then sang the Sons of Eden round the Lamb of God & said 
Glory Glory Glory to the holy Lamb of God
Who now beginneth to put off the dark Satanic body
Now we behold redemption Now we know that life Eternal
Depends alone upon the Universal hand & not in us
Is aught but death In individual weakness sorrow & pain  

PAGE 113 (FIRST PORTION) 
We behold with wonder Enitharmons Looms & Los's Forges   
And the Spindles of Tirzah & Rahab and the Mills of Satan & Beelzeboul
In Golgonooza Los's anvils stand & his Furnaces rage 
Ten thousand demons labour at the forges Creating Continually
The times & spaces of Mortal Life the Sun the Moon the Stars 
In periods of Pulsative furor beating into wedges & bars
Then drawing into wires the terrific Passions & Affections
Of Spectrous dead. Thence to the Looms of Cathedron conveyd
The Daughters of Enitharmon weave the ovarium & the integument
In soft silk drawn from their own bowels in lascivious delight 
With songs of sweetest cadence to the turning spindle & reel
Lulling the weeping spectres of the dead. Clothing their limbs
With gifts & gold of Eden. Astonishd stupefied with delight
The terrors put on their sweet clothing on the banks of Arnon 
Whence they plunge into the river of space for a period till 
The dread Sleep of Ulro is past. But Satan Og & Sihon    
Build Mills of resistless wheels to unwind the soft threads & reveal
Naked of their clothing the poor spectres before the accusing heavens
While Rahab & Tirzah far different mantles prepare webs of torture
Mantles of despair girdles of bitter compunction shoes of indolence
Veils of ignorance covering from head to feet with a cold web

We look down into Ulro we behold the Wonders of the Grave
Eastward of Golgonooza stands the Lake of Udan Adan In
Entuthon Benithon a Lake not of Waters but of Spaces  
Perturbd black & deadly on its Islands & its Margins 
The Mills of Satan and Beelzeboul stand round the roots of Urizens tree
For this Lake is formd from the tears & sighs & death sweat of the Victims
Of Urizens laws. to irrigate the roots of the tree of Mystery
They unweave the soft threads then they weave them anew in the forms
Of dark death & despair & none from Eternity to Eternity could Escape
But thou O Universal Humanity who is One Man blessed for Ever
Recievest the Integuments woven Rahab beholds the Lamb of God
She smites with her knife of flint She destroys her own work
Times upon times thinking to destroy the Lamb blessed for Ever
He puts off the clothing of blood he redeems the spectres from their bonds
He awakes the sleepers in Ulro the Daughters of Beulah praise him
They anoint his feet with ointment they wipe them with the hair of their head"

Friday, August 28, 2015

Perga 9

The Angel Guarding Purgatory
From Canto IX:
Grasp’d in his hand a naked sword, glanc’d back
The rays so toward me, that I oft in vain
My sight directed. “Speak from whence ye stand:”
He cried: “What would ye? Where is your escort?
Take heed your coming upward harm ye not.”
“A heavenly dame, not skilless of these things,”
Replied the’ instructor, “told us, even now,
‘Pass that way: here the gate is.” — “And may she
Befriending prosper your ascent,” resum’d
The courteous keeper of the gate: “Come then
Before our steps.” We straightway thither came.
The lowest stair was marble white so smooth
And polish’d, that therein my mirror’d form
Distinct I saw. The next of hue more dark
Than sablest grain, a rough and singed block,
Crack’d lengthwise and across. The third, that lay
Massy above, seem’d porphyry, that flam’d
Red as the life-blood spouting from a vein.
On this God’s angel either foot sustain’d,
Upon the threshold seated, which appear’d
A rock of diamond. Up the trinal steps
My leader cheerily drew me. “Ask,” said he,
“With humble heart, that he unbar the bolt.”
Piously at his holy feet devolv’d
I cast me, praying him for pity’s sake
That he would open to me: but first fell
Thrice on my bosom prostrate. Seven times0
The letter, that denotes the inward stain,
He on my forehead with the blunted point
Of his drawn sword inscrib’d. And “Look,” he cried,
“When enter’d, that thou wash these scars away.”
Ashes, or earth ta’en dry out of the ground,
Were of one colour with the robe he wore.
From underneath that vestment forth he drew
Two keys of metal twain: the one was gold,
Its fellow silver. With the pallid first,
And next the burnish’d, he so ply’d the gate,
As to content me well. “Whenever one
Faileth of these, that in the keyhole straight
It turn not, to this alley then expect
Access in vain.” Such were the words he spake.
“One is more precious: but the other needs
Skill and sagacity, large share of each,
Ere its good task to disengage the knot
Be worthily perform’d. From Peter these
I hold, of him instructed, that I err
Rather in opening than in keeping fast;
So but the suppliant at my feet implore.”
Then of that hallow’d gate he thrust the door,
Exclaiming, “Enter, but this warning hear:
He forth again departs who looks behind.”
As in the hinges of that sacred ward
The swivels turn’d, sonorous metal strong,
Harsh was the grating; nor so surlily
Roar’d the Tarpeian, when by force bereft
Of good Metellus, thenceforth from his loss
To leanness doom’d. Attentively I turn’d,
List’ning the thunder, that first issued forth;
And “We praise thee, O God,” methought I heard
In accents blended with sweet melody.
The strains came o’er mine ear, e’en as the sound
Of choral voices, that in solemn chant
With organ mingle, and, now high and clear,
Come swelling, now float indistinct away.

The Angel Marks Dante with the Sevenfold
William Blake Illustrations of Dante
From GoodReads:
Dawn is approaching. Dante has a dream of A GOLDEN EAGLE that descends from the height of Heaven and carries him up to the Sphere of Fire. He wakes to find he has been transported in his sleep, that it was LUCIA who bore him, laying him down beside an enormous wall, through an opening in which he and Virgil may approach THE GATE OF PURGATORY.

Having explained these matters, Virgil leads Dante to the Gate and its ANGEL GUARDIAN. The Angel is seated on the topmost of THREE STEPS that symbolize the three parts of a perfect ACT OF CONFESSION. Dante prostrates himself at the feet of the Angel, who cuts SEVEN P’s in Dante’s forehead with the point of a blazing sword. He then allows the Poets to enter. As the Gates open with a sound of thunder, the mountain resounds with a great HYMN OF PRAISE.

dreaming Dante to awaken: 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

SECRETS OF ETERNITY [83]

Milton O Percival, on Page 33 of William Blake's Circle of Destiny, makes this statement about Vala who assumes many identities in the Four Zoas: 
"At the outset of her career and in her true nature Vala represents the gentle feminine emotions. As such she is the ideal which possessed Urizen when, in the early prophetic books, he came back from his 'dark contemplation' bearing his laws of mercy, pity, peace - the ideal which in the Four Zoas Luvah left in Albion's brain. As such she is the 'lily of Havilah,' the pure and the good, with which Albion falls in love."

 
"However it is one thing to arrive at mercy and pity spontaneously and quite another to make these virtues an abstract and rational ideal. Vala, who in her spontaneity was loved for her gentle purity, proves a jealous mistress."


Book of Urizen, Plate 4, (E 72)
6. Here alone I in books formd of metals
Have written the secrets of wisdom                            
The secrets of dark contemplation
By fightings and conflicts dire,
With terrible monsters Sin-bred:
Which the bosoms of all inhabit;
Seven deadly Sins of the soul.  

7. Lo! I unfold my darkness: and on
This rock, place with strong hand the Book
Of eternal brass, written in my solitude.

8. Laws of peace, of love, of unity:
Of pity, compassion, forgiveness.                                
Let each chuse one habitation:
His ancient infinite mansion:
One command, one joy, one desire,
One curse, one weight, one measure
One King, one God, one Law." 

Since Blake's original conception of the Four Zoas was a tale of Vala, we find her as a motivating force as the poem develops. Blake does not want his reader to focus on a single cause of the disintegration of the unified psyche, but Vala plays a significant role in the breakdown. As a character in the Four Zoas, Vala first appears on Page 10. We learn here of the dislocation of Luvah and Vala from the heart, where emotions properly reside, to the brain where man is expected to do his thinking. The distortion of emotional expression, when it acts as if it were in charge of making rational decisions produces misunderstandings and disasters.

On page 10 of the Four Zoas Blake associated Vala with the Zoa Luvah whose emanation she is. Here we see the movement from the heart made by Luvah and Vala, as precipitating the well known incident of Luvah seizing Urizen's horses of light while Vala's passivity resided in the brain.

Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 1O, (E 305) 
"But Enitharmon answerd with a dropping tear & frowning  
Dark as a dewy morning when the crimson light appears   
To make us happy let them weary their immortal powers   
While we draw in their sweet delights while we return them scorn
On scorn to feed our discontent; for if we grateful prove
They will withhold sweet love, whose food is thorns & bitter roots.
We hear the warlike clarions we view the turning spheres 
Yet Thou in indolence reposest holding me in bonds
Hear! I will sing a Song of Death! it is a Song of Vala! 
The Fallen Man takes his repose: Urizen sleeps in the porch
Luvah and Vala woke & flew up from the Human Heart 
Into the Brain; from thence upon the pillow Vala slumber'd.
And Luvah siez'd the Horses of Light, & rose into the Chariot of Day
Sweet laughter siezd me in my sleep! silent & close I laughd 
For in the visions of Vala I walkd with the mighty Fallen One
I heard his voice among the branches, & among sweet flowers." 

The fall of Albion in the
      version on page 83 is attributed to Albion's succumbing to the
      attractiveness and loveliness of the exterior, feminine, passive
      appearance of Vala in Beulah, the territory of Luvah.
http://web.archive.org/web/20160223042051/http://www.english.uga.edu/nhilton/Blake/FZ/fz83.jpg

Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 82, (E 358)
"The Shadow of Enitharmon answerd Art thou terrible Shade
Set over this sweet boy of mine to guard him lest he rend
PAGE 83 
His mother to the winds of heaven Intoxicated with
The fruit of this delightful tree. I cannot flee away
From thy embrace else be assurd so horrible a form
Should never in my arms repose. now listen I will tell
Thee Secrets of Eternity which neer before unlockd 
My golden lips nor took the bar from Enitharmons breast
Among the Flowers of Beulah walkd the Eternal Man & Saw
Vala the lilly of the desart. melting in high noon
Upon her bosom in sweet bliss he fainted   Wonder siezd
All heaven they saw him dark. they built a golden wall  
Round Beulah   There he reveld in delight among the Flowers
Vala was pregnant & brought forth Urizen Prince of Light 
First born of Generation. Then behold a wonder to the Eyes
Of the now fallen Man a double form Vala appeard. A Male
And female shuddring pale the Fallen Man recoild    
From the Enormity & calld them Luvah & Vala. turning down
The vales to find his way back into Heaven but found none
For his frail eyes were faded & his ears heavy & dull

Urizen grew up in the plains of Beulah   Many Sons
And many daughters flourishd round the holy Tent of Man     
Till he forgot Eternity delighted in his sweet joy
Among his family his flocks & herds & tents & pastures

But Luvah close conferrd with Urizen in darksom night
To bind the father & enslave the brethren Nought he knew
Of sweet Eternity the blood flowd round the holy tent & rivn   
From its hinges uttering its final groan all Beulah fell"

When Beulah falls the return to Eden is rerouted through Generation where man encounters the obstacles of experience. 


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Perga 8

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Purgatorio (disambiguation).

Plan of Mount Purgatory. As with Paradise, the structure is of the form 2+7=9+1=10, with one of the ten regions different in nature from the other nine.
This article is part of a series about
Dante's Divine Comedy
Inferno · Purgatorio · Paradiso
Purgatorio (pronounced [purɡaˈtɔːrjo]; Italian for "Purgatory") is the second part of Dante's Divine Comedy, following the Inferno, and preceding theParadiso. The poem was written in the early 14th century. It is an allegorytelling of the climb of Dante up the Mount of Purgatory, guided by theRoman poet Virgil, except for the last four cantos at which point Beatricetakes over as Dante's guide. In the poem, Purgatory is depicted as a mountain in the Southern Hemisphere, consisting of a bottom section (Ante-Purgatory), seven levels of suffering and spiritual growth (associated with the seven deadly sins), and finally the Earthly Paradise at the top. Allegorically, the poem represents the Christian life, and in describing the climb Dante discusses the nature of sin, examples of vice and virtue, as well as moral issues in politics and in the Church. The poem outlines a theory that all sin arises from love – either perverted love directed towards others' harm, or deficient love, or the disordered or excessive love of good things.



Dante and Virgil Approach the Angel who guards the entrance of Purgatory

Purgatorio IX:
"Reader! thou markest how my theme doth rise,
Nor wonder therefore, if more artfully
I prop the structure! Nearer now we drew,
Arriv’d’ whence in that part, where first a breach
As of a wall appear’d, I could descry
A portal, and three steps beneath, that led
For inlet there, of different colour each,
And one who watch’d, but spake not yet a word.
As more and more mine eye did stretch its view,
I mark’d him seated on the highest step,
In visage such, as past my power to bear.....
A heavenly dame, not skilless of these things,”
Replied the’ instructor, “told us, even now,
‘Pass that way: here the gate is.” — “And may she
Befriending prosper your ascent,” resum’d
The courteous keeper of the gate: “Come then
Before our steps.” We straightway thither came.
The lowest stair was marble white so smooth
And polish’d, that therein my mirror’d form
Distinct I saw. The next of hue more dark
Than sablest grain, a rough and singed block,
Crack’d lengthwise and across. The third, that lay
Massy above, seem’d porphyry, that flam’d
Red as the life-blood spouting from a vein.
On this God’s angel either foot sustain’d,
Upon the threshold seated, which appear’d
A rock of diamond. Up the trinal steps
My leader cheerily drew me. “Ask,” said he,
“With humble heart, that he unbar the bolt.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

BATTLE TOOK FORM [Title]

British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Title Page
Four Zoas, Title Page, (E 300) 
                    "THE FOUR ZOAS

          The torments of Love & Jealousy in 
                The Death and Judgement
               of Albion the Ancient Man

                 by William Blake 1797"
It seems that Blake did not originate the idea that he would write about Four Zoas and then develop his poetry around them. He began publishing his illuminated books in 1789 with the Book of Thel and Songs of Innocence. In about 1790 he began Marriage of Heaven and Hell (which he completed 2 years later.) In the books written between 1793 and 1795 there first appear personifications of contending factions within man. We learn of the activities of Urizen and Los, of Enitharmon and Ahania, of Orc and the Shadowy Female but the word Zoas does not appear.

The characters associated with the Zoas appeared in this order:
Urthona - 1792 - Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Enitharmon 1793 - America
Orc - 1793 - America
Los - 1794 - Europe
Shadowy Female - 1794 - Europe
Los and Urizen first appear as contending forces in the Book of Urizen - 1794
Ahania - 1795 - Book of Ahania
Tharmas - after 1797 - Four Zoas

Sometime during the time that Blake was composing Vala he integrated the entities he had created earlier into an organizing system to which he gave the name Zoas. He added a preliminary Night I to Vala around a new character, Tharmas, and renamed his poem the Four Zoas. The revised title page is the first appearance in Blake's poetry of Four Zoas. Outside of the Four Zoas the first reference is in the following passage from Milton.   

Milton, Plate  PLATE 35 [39], (E 135)
"So spake Ololon in reminiscence astonishd, but they
Could not behold Golgonooza without passing the Polypus
A wondrous journey not passable by Immortal feet, & none         
But the Divine Saviour can pass it without annihilation.
For Golgonooza cannot be seen till having passd the Polypus
It is viewed on all sides round by a Four-fold Vision
Or till you become Mortal & Vegetable in Sexuality
Then you behold its mighty Spires & Domes of ivory & gold        

And Ololon examined all the Couches of the Dead.
Even of Los & Enitharmon & all the Sons of Albion
And his Four Zoas terrified & on the verge of Death
In midst of these was Miltons Couch, & when they saw Eight
Immortal Starry-Ones, guarding the Couch in flaming fires        
They thunderous utterd all a universal groan falling down
Prostrate before the Starry Eight asking with tears forgiveness
Confessing their crime with humiliation and sorrow."
There are six references to Zoas in Milton, thirteen in Jerusalem, for a total of twenty mentions of the term in one form or another.

George Anthony Rosso, Jr. in Blake's Prophetic Workshop comments on the significance of the Four Zoas in the development of Blake's body of work:

"The Four Zoas is also where Blake works out his mature epic vision, expanding his scope from the Lambeth to the epic prophecies. It is where he becomes the most original and daring of Romantic poets, experimenting with the nature and limits of narrative, reaching some dead ends, but exploring regions untrod in literature. It is the imaginative space which Blake seeks to induce what he calls prophetic or expanded vision, challenging readers to engage in intellectual battle, thereby helping to transform a divided world into a community." (Page 11) 

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Perga 7

Lucia Carries Dante

From Puratorio IX:
My looks were turn'd.  "Fear not," my master cried,
"Assur'd we are at happy point.  Thy strength
Shrink not, but rise dilated.  Thou art come
To Purgatory now.  Lo! there the cliff
That circling bounds it!  Lo! the entrance there,
Where it doth seem disparted! Ere the dawn
Usher'd the daylight, when thy wearied soul
Slept in thee, o'er the flowery vale beneath
A lady came, and thus bespake me: I
Am Lucia.  Suffer me to take this man,
Who slumbers.  
Easier so his way shall speed."
Sordello and the other gentle shapes
Tarrying, she bare thee up: and, as day shone,
This summit reach'd: and I pursued her steps.
Here did she place thee.  First her lovely eyes
That open entrance show'd me; then at once
She vanish'd with thy sleep."  Like one, whose doubts
Are chas'd by certainty, and terror turn'd
To comfort on discovery of the truth,
Such was the change in me: and as my guide
Beheld me fearless, up along the cliff
He mov'd, and I behind him, towards the height.



Blake's Illlustrations of Dante
Lucia Carrying Dante in his sleep (Plate 77):
Lucia Carrying Dante in His Sleep
Blake's Illustrations of Dante
This from Poetry in Translation

Purgatorio Canto IX:106-145Te Deum Laudamus is the Ambrosian hymn sung at Matins and on solemn occasions. Saint Ambrose (c340-397AD) Bishop of Milan, opposed the Arian heresy, and chose simple metres.
There the high glory of the Roman prince was retold whose worth moved Gregory to intercession, and to great victory: I speak of the Emperor Trajan: and at his bridle was a poor widow, in the attitude of tearfulness and grief. A crowd, of horsemen, trampling, appeared round him, and the gold eagles, above him, moved visibly in the wind. The poor woman, among all these, seemed to say: ‘My lord, give me vengeance for my son who was killed, at which my heart is pierced.’ And Trajan seemed to answer her: ‘Now, wait, till I return.’ And she, like a person, urgent with sorrow: ‘My lord, what if you do not return?’ And he: ‘One who will be in place of me will do it.’ And she: ‘What merit will another’s good deed be to you, if you forget your own?’ At which he said: ‘Now be comforted, since I must fulfil my duty before I go: justice wills it, and pity holds me here.’
He who never sees anything unfamiliar to him, made this speech visible, which is new to us, because it is not found here.

Purgatorio Canto X:97-139 The Proud and their Punishment

While I was joying in seeing the images, of such great humility, precious to look at, for their Maker’s sake, the poet murmured: ‘See, here, many people, but their steps are few: they will send us on to the high stairs.’ My eyes, that were intent on gazing to find new things, willingly, were not slow in turning towards him.
Reader, I would not wish you to be scared away from a good intention, by hearing how God wills that the debt is paid. Pay no attention to the form of the suffering: think of what follows it: think that, at worst, it cannot last beyond the great Judgement.
I began: ‘Master, those whom I see coming towards us do not seem like persons, but I do not know what they look like, my sight errs so much.’ And he to me: ‘The heavy weight of their punishment, doubles them to the ground, so that my eyes, at first, were troubled by them. But look steadily there, and disentangle with your sight what is coming beneath those stones: you can see, already, how each one beats his breast.’
O proud Christians, weary and wretched, who, infirm in the mind’s vision, put your trust in downward steps: do you not see that we are caterpillars, born to form the angelic butterfly, that flies to judgement without defence? Why does your mind soar to the heights, since you are defective insects, even as the caterpillar is, in which the form is lacking?
As a figure, with knees joined to chest, is sometimes seen, carved as a corbel, to support a ceiling or a roof, which though unreal, creates a real discomfort in those who see it, even so, I saw these, when I paid attention. Truly, they were more or less bent down, depending as to whether they were weighted more or less, and the one who had most patience in its bearing, seemed to say, weeping: ‘I can no more.’

Purgatorio Canto XI:1-36 The Proud paraphrase the Lord’s Prayer

‘O our Father, who are in Heaven, not because of your limitation, but because of the greater love you have for your first sublime works, praised be your name and worth by every creature, as it is fitting to give thanks for your sweet outpourings. May the peace of your kingdom come to us, since we cannot reach it by ourselves, despite all our intellect, if it does not come to us itself. As Angels sacrifice their will to yours, singing Hosanna: so may men sacrifice theirs. Give us this day our daily bread, without which he who labours to advance, goes backward, through this harsh desert. And forgive in loving-kindness, as we forgive everyone, the evil we have suffered, and judge us not by what we deserve. Do not test our virtue, that is easily conquered, against the ancient enemy, but deliver us from him who tempts it. And this last prayer, dear Lord, is not made on our behalf, since we do not need it, but for those we have left behind.’
So those shades, praying good speed to us and themselves, went on beneath their burdens, like those that we sometimes dream of, weary, and unequal in torment, all around the first terrace, purging away the mists of the world.
If ever a good word is said, there, for us, by those who have their will rooted in the good, what can we say or do for them, here? Truly we should help them wash away the stain, that they have carried from here, so that, light and pure, they might issue to the starry spheres.



Sunday, August 23, 2015

ETERNAL MAN IS RISEN [126]

British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 126
Four Zoas, Night IX, PAGE 126, (E 395) "And now fierce Orc had quite consumd himself in Mental flames Expending all his energy against the fuel of fire The Regenerate Man stoopd his head over the Universe & in His holy hands recievd the flaming Demon & Demoness of Smoke And gave them to Urizens hands the Immortal frownd Saying Luvah & Vala henceforth you are Servants obey & live You shall forget your former state return O Love in peace Into your place the place of seed not in the brain or heart If Gods combine against Man Setting their Dominion above The Human form Divine. Thrown down from their high Station In the Eternal heavens of Human Imagination: buried beneath In dark Oblivion with incessant pangs ages on ages In Enmity & war first weakend then in stern repentance They must renew their brightness & their disorganizd functions Again reorganize till they resume the image of the human Cooperating in the bliss of Man obeying his Will Servants to the infinite & Eternal of the Human form Luvah & Vala descended & enterd the Gates of Dark Urthona And walkd from the hands of Urizen in the shadows of Valas Garden Where the impressions of Despair & Hope for ever vegetate In flowers in fruits in fishes birds & beasts & clouds & waters The land of doubts & shadows sweet delusions unformd hopes They saw no more the terrible confusion of the wracking universe They heard not saw not felt not all the terrible confusion For in their orbed senses within closd up they wanderd at will And those upon the Couches viewd them in the dreams of Beulah As they reposd from the terrible wide universal harvest Invisible Luvah in bright clouds hoverd over Valas head And thus their ancient golden age renewd for Luvah spoke With voice mild from his golden Cloud upon the breath of morning Come forth O Vala from the grass & from the silent Dew Rise from the dews of death for the Eternal Man is Risen"


This page concerning the restoration of Luvah and Vala was not included in Blake's Poetry and Designs which selected a limited number of passages from each of the  Nine Nights. I have followed their selection which included Night I in its entirety and a few pages from the other eight Nights. Frye, however, calls attention to Page 126 as including Blake's own description of his intended thesis.
 
Northrop Frye, Fearful Symmetry, Page 270:
"The theme of the Four Zoas is, first the loss of the identity of divine and human natures which brought about the Fall and and created the physical universe; second the struggle to regain this identity in the fallen world which was completed by Jesus; and, third, the apocalypse. This thesis is given most concisely in the following passage:

If Gods combine against Man Setting their Dominion above
The Human form Divine. Thrown down from their high Station       
In the Eternal heavens of Human Imagination: buried beneath 
In dark Oblivion with incessant pangs ages on ages
In Enmity & war first weakend then in stern repentance
They must renew their brightness & their disorganizd functions
Again reorganize till they resume the image of the human    
Cooperating in the bliss of Man obeying his Will
Servants to the infinite & Eternal of the Human form
From the point of view of this poem, therefore, the essential barrier between man and his divine inheritance is the belief in a nonhuman God founded on the fallen vision of an objective nature. This is what Blake means by "Religion.
...
Page 278
"The Plan of the Four Zoas is not difficult to follow. Night I deals with the fall of Tharmas and the end of the Golden Age; Night II with the fall of Luvah and the end of the Silver age; Night III with the fall of Urizen and the end of the Brazen Age; Night IV with the beginning of the Iron Age or humanity in its present form six thousand years ago and the establishment of fallen life (Adam) and death (Satan). Then comes the tracing of the Orc cycle, under the symbols of the birth and binding of Orc in Night V, Urizen's exploration of his dens in Night VI, the crucifixion of Orc and the triumph of moral virtue in Night VII. In Night VII, however, a double cricis takes place, one an imaginative advance, symbolized by the mingling of Los and the Spectre of Urthona, the other a consolidation of error symbolized by the birth of Rahab from the Spectre of Urthona and another character called the Shadow of Enitharmon. In Night VIII this antithesis sharpens into its final form, in the Incarnation of Christ and the epiphany of Antichrist respectively. Night IX deals with the apocalypse."

Nearing the end of the Apocalypse in the Book of Revelation, John writes:
 

Revelation 22
[1] And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
[2] In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
[3] And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
[4] And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
[5] And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
[6] And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
[7] Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.


In the Apocalypse described by John of Patmos and by Blake, the principles which guide Eternity transform man's earthly experience.