Monday, September 28, 2009

The Circle of Destiny

In Night One of The Four Zoas, after a disheartening relationship with Enion, his emanation [wife?], Tharmas reluctantly
"Turnd round the circle of Destiny with tears & bitter sighs,
And said. Return O Wanderer when the Day of Clouds is oer" (Night 1; chapter 5, lines 11 and 12).

The Day of Clouds? Another name for the Circle of Destiny? Or we might call it 'this vale of tears'.

The Circle of Destiny! Percival wrote a book with that name, actually more elementary and hence better for new Blakeans than Fearful Symmetry by Northrup Frye.

The circle of destiny encapsulates Blake's myth perhaps more concisely than any thing else. The rest of The Four Zoas describes the journey Albion (and all of us as well) went through to get back to the Eden he had lost.

Well another concise statement of Blake's purpose came in Plate 12 of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: When Blake asked Ezekiel the reason for some of his bizarre behavior, he replied with "the desire of raising others [humans] into a perception of the infinite".

So what is the Circle of Destiny that Blake charged his character, Tharmas with? One of the best answers comes in Blake's magnificent Arlington Tempera.
Click on the picture for an enlargement.
More to come!
Tell me
what you think.

No comments: