Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Oothoon appears often in Blake's poetry in VDA, Europe, Song of Los, 
Milton, and Jerusalem.  Here are some of its occurrences:

Visions of the Daughters of Albion:
The story of Oothoon, engaged to Theotormon
raped by Bromion and lamenting her engaged husband's refusal to follow through.
It was bigger, perhaps in Blake's day than in ours, where
virginity does not have the coinage that it had then.
However Blake also used the name, Oothoon, in Europe, Song of Los, Milton and
In Europe:
I hear the soft Oothoon in Enitharmons tents:
Why wilt thou give up womans secrecy my melancholy child?
Between two moments bliss is ripe:
O Theotormon robb'd of joy, I see thy salt tears flow
Down the steps of my crystal house.                  
(Plate 14; Erdman 65)

Here Blake pretty much repeats the ideas and thoughts of VDA.
In The Song of Los:
Plate 3
Palambron gave an abstract Law:
To Pythagoras Socrates & Plato.
Times rolled on o'er all the sons of Har, time after time
Orc on Mount Atlas howld, chain'd down with the Chain of Jealousy
Then Oothoon hoverd over Judah & Jerusalem
And Jesus heard her voice (a man of sorrows) he recievd
A Gospel from wretched Theotormon.

Palambron is associated here with laws, of which Blake extremely disapproved.
In the Song of Los Jesus is presented as one of the conventional concepts of Jesus, 
far from the vision of Jesus that Blake came to have.


In Milton:

Plate 13 (Erdman 107)
But Elynittria met Leutha in the place where she was hidden.
And threw aside her arrows, and laid down her sounding Bow;
She sooth'd her with soft words & brought her to Palamabrons bed
In moments new created for delusion, interwoven round about,
In dreams she bore the shadowy Spectre of Sleep, & namd him
In dreams she bore Rahab the mother of Tirzah & her sisters
In Lambeths vales; in Cambridge & in Oxford, places of Thought
Intricate labyrinths of Times and Spaces unknown, that Leutha
In Palamabrons Tent, and
Oothoon was her charming guard.

Once again, as in Song of Los, Oothoon and Palamabron are shown
together.  We also see Leutha with Oothoon at the very beginning
of VDA:

"For the soft soul of America, Oothoon wanderd in woe,
Along the vales of Leutha seeking flowers to comfort her;
And thus she spoke to the bright Marygold of Leutha's vale
  Art thou a flower! art thou a nymph! I see thee now a flower;
  Now a nymph! I dare not pluck thee from thy dewy bed!

  The Golden nymph replied; pluck thou my flower Oothoon the
  Another flower shall spring, because the soul of sweet delight
  Can never pass away. she ceas'd & closd her golden shrine.

Oothoon pluck'd the flower saying, I pluck thee from thy bed
Sweet flower."
(Erdman 45-6)
Plate 14 (Erdman 66):
I hear the soft Oothoon in Enitharmons tents:
Why wilt thou give up womans secrecy my melancholy child?
Between two moments bliss is ripe:
O Theotormon robb'd of joy, I see thy salt tears flow
Down the steps of my crystal house.
Blake obviously drew on VDA for this plate in Milton. Oothoon and
Theotormon had become a symbol.
In Jerusalem:
Plate 16 (Erdman 112):
Jerusalem is his Garment & not thy Covering Cherub O lovely
Shadow of my delight who wanderest seeking for the prey.
So spoke Orc when
Oothoon & Leutha hoverd over his Couch
Of fire in interchange of Beauty & Perfection in the darkness
Opening interiorly into Jerusalem & Babylon shining glorious
In the Shadowy Females bosom.  
Plate 42 (Erdman 143):
And Los & Enitharmon rose over the Hills of Surrey
Their clouds roll over London with a south wind, soft
Pants in the Vales of Lambeth weeping oer her Human Harvest
Plate 37 (Erdman 183)
There is a Grain of Sand in Lambeth that Satan cannot find     
Nor can his Watch Fiends find it: tis translucent & has many
But he who finds it will find
Oothoons palace, for within
Opening into Beulah every angle is a lovely heaven
But should the Watch Fiends find it, they would call it Sin
And lay its Heavens & their inhabitants in blood of punishment
Here Jerusalem & Vala were hid in soft slumberous repose
Hid from the terrible East, shut up in the South & West.
(Jerusalem Plate 37; Erdman 183)
Plate 82 (Erdman 241)
I know I am Urthona keeper of the Gates of Heaven,
And that I can at will expatiate in the Gardens of bliss;
But pangs of love draw me down to my loins which are
Become a fountain of veiny pipes: O Albion! my brother!

(erdman 241)
Corruptibility appears upon thy limbs, and never more
Can I arise and leave thy side, but labour here incessant
Till thy awaking! yet alas I shall forget Eternity!
O when shall the Lamb of God descend among the Reprobate!
Surrey and Sussex are Enitharmons Chamber.
Where I will build her a Couch of repose & my pillars
Shall surround her in beautiful labyrinths:
Where hides my child? in Oxford hidest thou with Antamon?
In graceful hidings of error: in merciful deceit

This is the voice of "Urthona keeper of the Gates of Heaven", and
this: "So Antamon call'd up Leutha from her valleys of delight",  from the Song of Los.
Antamon is commonly thought of as the masculine seed. So we see Antamon, Leutha,
and Oothoon, all associated. Good for a post on Blake's Sexuality.

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