Sunday, October 14, 2012

MILTON VS URIZEN

There are several encounters in Milton between Milton and Urizen. Although each is instructive, they are all inconclusive. The final mention of Urizen occurs in this passage:

Milton, Plate 39 [44], (E 141)
"He [Albion] strove to rise to walk into the Deep. but strength failing    
Forbad & down with dreadful groans he sunk upon his Couch
In moony Beulah. Los his strong Guard walks round beneath the Moon

Urizen faints in terror striving among the Brooks of Arnon
With Miltons Spirit: as the Plowman or Artificer or Shepherd
While in the labours of his Calling sends his Thought abroad 
To labour in the ocean or in the starry heaven. So Milton
Labourd in Chasms of the Mundane Shell, tho here before
My Cottage midst the Starry Seven, where the Virgin Ololon
Stood trembling in the Porch: loud Satan thunderd on the stormy Sea
Circling Albions Cliffs in which the Four-fold World resides     
Tho seen in fallacy outside: a fallacy of Satans Churches

Plate 40 [46]
I see thee strive upon the Brooks of Arnon. there a dread
And awful Man I see, oercoverd with the mantle of years.   
I behold Los & Urizen. I behold Orc & Tharmas;
The Four Zoa's of Albion & thy Spirit with them striving
In Self annihilation giving thy life to thy enemies
Are those who contemn Religion & seek to annihilate it
Become in their Femin[in]e portions the causes & promoters       
Of these Religions, how is this thing? this Newtonian Phantasm
This Voltaire & Rousseau: this Hume & Gibbon & Bolingbroke
This Natural Religion! this impossible absurdity
Is Ololon the cause of this? O where shall I hide my face
These tears fall for the little-ones: the Children of Jerusalem  
Lest they be annihilated in thy annihilation.

No sooner she had spoke but Rahab Babylon appeard
Eastward upon the Paved work across Europe & Asia
Glorious as the midday Sun in Satans bosom glowing:
A Female hidden in a Male, Religion hidden in War           
Namd Moral Virtue; cruel two-fold Monster shining bright
A Dragon red & hidden Harlot which John in Patmos saw

And all beneath the Nations innumerable of Ulro
Appeard, the Seven Kingdoms of Canaan & Five Baalim
Of Philistea. into Twelve divided, calld after the Names      
Of Israel: as they are in Eden. Mountain. River & Plain
City & sandy Desart intermingled beyond mortal ken

But turning toward Ololon in terrible majesty Milton
Replied. Obey thou the Words of the Inspired Man
All that can be annihilated must be annihilated   

That the Children of Jerusalem may be saved from slavery
There is a Negation, & there is a Contrary
The Negation must be destroyd to redeem the Contraries
The Negation is the Spectre; the Reasoning Power in Man
This is a false Body: an Incrustation over my Immortal           
Spirit; a Selfhood, which must be put off & annihilated alway
To cleanse the Face of my Spirit by Self-examination.

Plate 41 [48]
To bathe in the Waters of Life; to wash off the Not Human
I come in Self-annihilation & the grandeur of Inspiration
To cast off Rational Demonstration by Faith in the Saviour
To cast off the rotten rags of Memory by Inspiration
To cast off Bacon, Locke & Newton from Albions covering          
To take off his filthy garments, & clothe him with Imagination
To cast aside from Poetry, all that is not Inspiration"
British Museum

Michael Contending with Satan 
Study for illustration to Young's Night Thoughts
Milton and Blake both participate in the 'great battle' but there a many other entities as well. This battle is taking place in the natural world between natural religion and spiritual religion, in the mental world among the Four Zoas, in the Eternal world between Satan and Ololon.  The role of Urizen in this battle unfolds on several levels: spiritually as Satan, psychologically as the selfhood, morally as the Spectre and intellectually as the false reasoning.

These combatants are the Good Guys:
Blake
Milton
Albion
Ololon
Children of Jerusalem

and these are the Bad Guys:
Urizen
Satan
Fallen Zoas of Albion
Those who condemn religion and seek to annihilate it
Rahab Babylon (moral virtue)


The battle is not concluded with the defeat of Urizen but with the recognition of the forces that participate in the struggle. When the enemy is recognized as negation which by its nature can and must be destroyed, Milton consents to the annihilation of all that can be annihilated. This cleanses his mind, frees his spirit, releases his relationships, and alters his perception.

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