Thursday, October 18, 2012


How unlike Blake's usual method of writing is this fragment of a manuscript. Here he strings together abstractions instead of weaving a net of images. If this is a reflection of our poet's own psychic state he identifies his own envy as the root of his discontent as well as a motivation for his creativity. 
He departs from the litany of abstractions to present Hecate as an image of Envy and the mother of melancholy. Our understanding of Blake's evaluation of melancholy is enhanced by his associating it with 'heaven' and 'true joy.' The list of characteristics as it continues is long and depressing and ends with the ubiquitousness of Self love.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Fragment, (E 447)
 "My Cup is fill'd with Envy's Rankest  
Draught a miracle No less can set me Right. Desire Still
Pines but for
one Cooling Drop and tis Deny'd, while others in Contentments
downy Nest do sleep, it is the Cursed thorn wounding my breast
that makes me sing. however sweet tis Envy that Inspires my Song.
prickt. by the fame of others how I mourn and my complaints are
Sweeter than their Joys but O could I at Envy Shake my hands. my
notes Should Rise to meet the New born Day. Hate Meager hag Sets
Envy on unable to Do ought herself. but Worn away a Bloodless 
Daemon  The Gods all Serve her at her will so great her Power
is[.] like. fabled hecate She doth bind them to her law. Far in a
Direful Cave She lives unseen Closd from the Eye of Day. to the
hard Rock transfixt by fate and here She works her witcheries
that when She Groans She Shakes the Solid Ground Now Envy She
controlls with numming trance & Melancholy Sprung from her dark
womb There is a Melancholy, O how lovely tis whose heaven is in
the heavenly Mind for she from heaven came, and where She goes
heaven still doth follow her. She brings true joy once
fled. & Contemplation is her Daughter. Sweet Contemplation. She
brings humility to man Take her She Says & wear her in thine
heart lord of thy Self thou then art lord of all. Tis
Contemplation teacheth knowledge truly how to know. and
Reinstates him on his throne once lost how lost I'll tell. But
Stop the motley Song I'll Shew. how Conscience Came from heaven.
But O who listens to his Voice. T'was Conscience who brought
Melancholy down Conscience was sent a Guard to Reason. Reason
once fairer than the light till fould in Knowledges dark Prison
house. For knowledge drove sweet Innocence away. and Reason would
have followd but fate sufferd not. Then down Came conscience With
his lovely band The Eager Song Goes on telling how Pride against
her father Warrd & Overcame.
hate Controlls all the Gods. at will. Policy brought forth Guile
& fraud. these Gods last namd live in the Smoke of Cities. on
Dusky wing breathing forth Clamour & Destruction. alas in Cities
wheres the man whose face is not a mask unto his heart Pride made
a Goddess. fair     or Image rather till knowledge animated it.
'twas Calld Selflove. The Gods admiring loaded her with Gifts as
once Pandora She 'mongst men was Sent. and worser ills attended
her by far. She was a Goddess Powerful & bore Conceit and Shame
bore honour & made league with Pride & Policy doth dwell with
her by whom she [had] Mistrust & Suspition. Then bore a Daughter
called Emulation. who. married. honour these follow her around
the World[.] Go See the City friends Joind Hand in Hand. Go See.
the Natural the of flesh & blood. Go See more strong the ties of
marriage love, thou Scarce Shall find but Self love Stands

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