Sunday, October 21, 2012

Visions of the Daughters of Albion 3

Plate 5
LC Rarebooks

But when the morn arose, her lamentation renewd,
The Daughters of Albion hear her woes, & eccho back her sighs.
O Urizen! Creator of men! Mistaken Demon of heaven: 
Thy joys are tears! thy labour vain,to form men to thine image. 
How can one joy absorb another? are not different joys 
Holy, eternal, infinite! and each joy is a Love. 
Does not the great mouth laugh at a gift? & the narrow eyelids mock 
at the labour that is above payment, and wilt thou take the ape 
For thy councellor? or the dog, for a schoolmaster to thy children?

Does he who contemns poverty, and he who turns with abhorrence  
From usury: feel the same passion or are they moved alike?
How can the giver of gifts experience the delights of the  merchant?
How the industrious citizen the pains of the husbandman.
How different far the fat fed hireling with hollow drum;
Who buys whole corn fields into wastes, and sings upon the heath:

How different their eye and ear! how different the world to them!
With what sense does the parson claim the labour of the farmer?
What are his nets & gins & traps. & how does he surround him
With cold floods of abstraction, and with forests of solitude,
To build him castles and high spires. where kings & priests may
Till she who burns with youth. and knows no fixed lot; is bound
In spells of law to one she loaths: and must she drag the chain
Of life, in weary lust! must chilling murderous thoughts. obscure
The clear heaven of her eternal spring? to bear the wintry rage
Of a harsh terror driv'n to madness, bound to hold a rod     
Over her shrinking shoulders all the day; & all the night
To turn the wheel of false desire: and longings that wake her
To the abhorred birth of cherubs in the human form
That live a pestilence & die a meteor & are no more.
Till the child dwell with one he hates. and do the deed he loaths
And the impure scourge force his seed into its unripe birth
E'er yet his eyelids can behold the arrows of the day.

Does the whale worship at thy footsteps as the hungry dog?
Or does he scent the mountain prey, because his nostrils wide
Draw in the ocean? does his eye discern the flying cloud     
As the ravens eye? or does he measure the expanse like the
Does the still spider view the cliffs where eagles hide their
Or does the fly rejoice. because the harvest is brought in?
Does not the eagle scorn the earth & despise the treasures
But the mole knoweth what is there, & the worm shall tell it
Does not the worm erect a pillar in the mouldering church yard?
(Erdman 48-9)


In Works (click on compare) the wavy line can be seen as a grape vine with flowers
but no fruit, which emphasizes the general futility of the lamentation of Oothoon addressed to Urizen. 
It's made up of a series of questions:

How can one joy absorb another? a good question: the rich man's 
joy is at the cost of any chance for joy to the poor, whom he has cheated.

wilt thou take the ape For thy councellor?  Oh boy! Isn't that what our American voters do in their choices?

How can the giver of gifts experience the delights of the  merchant?
Short answer: he can't.
With what sense does the parson claim the labour of the farmer?
Boy! that's a good one; as a parson I couldn't.

The paragraph beginning Till she who burns with youth.. more clearly
addresses the subject of the poem, but it expands into an indictment
of British marriage customs, where the wife serves at (and only at) 
the pleasure of her husband (her Lord and Master). Blake fought for 
the rights of women.
Of the two images in this plate the upper one can be seen as a grapevine (mentioned above).
The lower image can be seen as a reclining woman. Erdman (page 133) says it addresses the 'till she who burns..' passage. Is it Oothoon?
She is covered below the waist.

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