Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Theft of the Sun

At the Blake Primer we may read as follows:
"the Fall began when Luvah seized Urizen's chariot of the sun in effect
blotting out the sun of Urizen. For a while (feminine) feeling ruled the world",
cf (The Four Zoas, Night 1, 10.13; Erdman 305):

"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"

I don't know how many times Blake tells (or at least refers to)
Luvah stealing the chariot of the Sun from Urizen. This was obviously an especilly
meaningful metaphor for Blake. For years he struggled against the
conflict in his own mind between 'common sense' and his strong
feelings. Urizen represented the 'way of the world', conformity,
'going along to get along'. Luvah represented all the love, the
indignant anger, the joy, the 'Heaven' that came to him periodically.

He represented these primeval impulses with a multiplicity of images,
metaphors, symbols! Sun was one of the most basic:

In one of the earliest of his poems, the Ecchoing Green (Erdman 8), we
"The Sun does arise,
And make happy the skies"
We may surmise that in this early stage (1789) the Sun as a spiritual symbol had
not yet become a part of his experience.

But in 1802 in a Letter 23 (to Butts; Erdman 722):
"Another Sun feeds our lifes streams"
What? what? Another Sun? Yes, Blake presents two kinds of life with two Suns:
1. The Material life of this world.
2. Eternal Life (Visions for now!):
"....what it will be Questiond When the Sun rises do you not see a round Disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea O no no I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host crying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty...."
(From Visions of the Last Judgment; Erdman 565-6)

At any point we might find some difficulty over which Sun Blake is talking about, but that's something worth puzzling over.

Blake wrote one verse twice, in maybe the most puzzling use of the Sun. The first occurrence near the end of Plate 6 of America in the most dramatic revelation of the Apocrypha. The whole passage is worth repeating here:
The morning comes, the night decays, the watchmen leave their
The grave is burst, the spices shed, the linen wrapped up;
The bones of death, the cov'ring clay, the sinews shrunk & dry'd.
Reviving shake, inspiring move, breathing! awakening!
Spring like redeemed captives when their bonds & bars are burst;

Let the slave grinding at the mill, run out into the field:
Let him look up into the heavens & laugh in the bright air;
Let the inchained soul shut up in darkness and in sighing,
Whose face has never seen a smile in thirty weary years;
Rise and look out, his chains are loose, his dungeon doors are open.
And let his wife and children return from the opressors scourge;
They look behind at every step & believe it is a dream.
Singing. The Sun has left his blackness, & has found a fresher morning
And the fair Moon rejoices in the clear & cloudless night;
For Empire is no more, and now the Lion & Wolf shall cease."

And again near the end of The Four Zoas at Erdman page 406.

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