Thursday, March 29, 2012


This is a continuation of the post Blake's Vala.

So Vala, the sinless soul in her Eternal form, comes under the influence of Luvah, the God of love. He constructs a beautiful house in her pleasant world which becomes permanent rather than remaining transitory.

Blake was calling into our minds the myth of Psyche and Cupid. Psyche an unblemished virgin attracted the attention of Cupid. Because of a prediction in an oracle that she would marry a monster, her parents left her to die on a mountaintop. She did not die but awoke in a beautiful hidden valley where she entered a house built for her by Cupid the god of love. She disobeyed the god by lighting a candle that she may see his countenance when he visited her in the darkness of night. Thus began her journey of restitution and redemption.

In Blake's myth it is Albion the giant body of the Eternal Man who is enchanted by the beauty of Vala as she is manifest in Nature's 'net of gold and silver twine.' Albion turned away from Jerusalem and embraced Vala. Spiritual beauty had thus been divided from natural beauty. Jerusalem was withdrawn from the bosom of Albion to be joined with Jesus. Vala became united with Albion. Temporarily the arrangement was felicitous, but Vala divided from Jerusalem and Luvah (whose emanation she was) began a decline which we will follow in a later post.

Jerusalem, PLATE 20, (E 165)
"But when they saw Albion fall'n upon mild Lambeths vale:
Astonish'd! Terrified! they hover'd over his Giant limbs.
Then thus Jerusalem spoke, while Vala wove the veil of tears:
Weeping in pleadings of Love, in the web of despair.

Wherefore hast thou shut me into the winter of human life
And clos'd up the sweet regions of youth and virgin innocence:
Where we live, forgetting error, not pondering on evil:
Among my lambs & brooks of water, among my warbling birds:
Where we delight in innocence before the face of the Lamb:
Going in and out before him in his love and sweet affection.

Vala replied weeping & trembling, hiding in her veil.

When winter rends the hungry family and the snow falls:
Upon the ways of men hiding the paths of man and beast,
Then mourns the wanderer: then he repents his wanderings & eyes
The distant forest
; then the slave groans in the dungeon of
The captive in the mill of the stranger, sold for scanty hire.
They view their former life: they number moments over and over;
Stringing them on their remembrance as on a thread of sorrow.
Thou art my sister and my daughter! thy shame is mine also!
Ask me not of my griefs! thou knowest all my griefs.

Jerusalem answer'd with soft tears over the valleys.

O Vala what is Sin? that thou shudderest and weepest
At sight of thy once lov'd Jerusalem! What is Sin but a little
Error & fault that is soon forgiven; but mercy is not a Sin
Nor pity nor love nor kind forgiveness! O! if I have Sinned
Forgive & pity me! O! unfold thy Veil in mercy & love!
Slay not my little ones, beloved Virgin daughter of Babylon
Slay not my infant loves & graces, beautiful daughter of Moab
I cannot put off the human form I strive but strive in vain
When Albion rent thy beautiful net of gold and silver twine;
Thou hadst woven it with art, thou hadst caught me in the bands
Of love; thou refusedst to let me go
: Albion beheld thy beauty
Beautiful thro' our Love's comeliness, beautiful thro' pity.
The Veil shone with thy brightness in the eyes of Albion,
Because it inclosd pity & love; because we lov'd one-another!
Albion lov'd thee! he rent thy Veil! he embrac'd thee! he lov'd

Astonish'd at his beauty & perfection, thou forgavest his furious
I redounded from Albions bosom in my virgin loveliness.
The Lamb of God reciev'd me in his arms he smil'd upon us:

He made me his Bride & Wife: he gave thee to Albion.
Then was a time of love: O why is it passed away!"

Blake first gave the title Vala to the poem now called the Four Zoas. He begins the poem with these words:

Four Zoas , Night I, Page 3, (E 301)
Night the First
The Song of the Aged Mother which shook the heavens with wrath
Hearing the march of long resounding strong heroic Verse
Marshalld in order for the day of Intellectual Battle

Four Mighty Ones are in every Man; a Perfect Unity
Cannot Exist. but from the Universal Brotherhood of Eden
Universal Man. To Whom be Glory Evermore Amen

Los was the fourth immortal starry one, & in the Earth
Of a bright Universe Empery attended day & night
Days & nights of revolving joy, Urthona was his name"

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