Sunday, May 08, 2011

Jerusalem and The Four Zoas

This picture came from the Library of Congress.
This material is taken from the Primer; the pictures have been added but will be included in a later version.


Every (male) character in Blake has an emanation; this conforms to Heraclitus' doctrine of contraries, and indicates the ultimate duality. The (male) character represents active energy (especially in Great Eternity), which the (female) emanation represents passive repose. (when Albion fell things changed!)
[Blake thereby unfortunately and unwittingly insulted in a deadly way many if not all 'women's libbers'. But Blake had simply followed the virtually universal principle of mythopoetic sex. Some very secure women find it possible to excuse this violation of 'pc' from one born two centuries ago, just as they excuse the apostle Paul for a few of his unfortunate remarks. We all have failings, and Blake taught above all forgiveness.]
Albion's emanation, Jerusalem, remains eternal through all the Wheel of Destiny; Blake gave her fallen component other names, particularly Vala, Tirzah, and Rahab.

Yale Center for British Art

When I began to attempt The Four Zoas, I soon realized that Blake saw much more than I can possibly see. Reading it is always an adventure: how much can you grasp? There will always be more to strive for.
No matter how much you study Blake much will always remains opaque to many (or most) of us. In that respect he's very like the Bible. In fact he began the poem with a verse from St. Paul, which tell us what he means to do with the poem:
    4 lines of Greek text; Ephesians 6: 12: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but
    against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the
    darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
    (King James version)]>

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