Tuesday, May 07, 2013

HORSES OF LIGHT

During 1793 to 1795 Blake reached a pinnacle of productivity. He mastered the art of producing illuminated books combining his poetry and etched images as integrated productions completely under his control. The images which had been germinating in his mind over an extended period of time found expression in a total of nine original books containing the nucleus of the myth of fall, struggle, redemption and apocalypse which would evolve as he continued to exercise his imagination.

1793 Visions of the Daughters of Albion
          America. A Prophecy
          For Children: The Gates of Paradise
1794 Songs of Experience
          Europe. A Prophecy               
          The [First] Book of Urizen
1795 The Song of Los
         The Book of Ahania
         The Book of Los

Yale Center for British Art
America. A Prophecy
Plate 15, Copy M




Although Blake continued to write, he did not continue to publish for several years. The Four Zoas which started out with the title Vala never went beyond the manuscript stage. Milton and Jerusalem bear the date 1804 on their title pages but work on them was extended for years after that. It is possible that Blake, after 1795, experienced a crisis of confidence which interrupted his output of poetry.

The squabble between Luvah and Urizen over the horses of light may represent the struggle which formed a roadblock preventing Blake from confidently issuing more books until he resolved the dissension in his mind between the emotional and rational needs which required attention and expression.
 
 
Four Zoas, Night I, Page 10, (E 305)
"The Fallen Man takes his repose: Urizen sleeps in the porch 
Luvah and Vala woke & flew up from the Human Heart          
Into the Brain; from thence upon the pillow Vala slumber'd.
And Luvah siez'd the Horses of Light, & rose into the Chariot of Day"

Four Zoas, Night I, Page 18, (E 311)
"The Eternal Man wept in the holy tent Our Brother in Eternity
Even Albion whom thou lovest wept in pain his family
Slept round on hills & valleys in the regions of his love
But Urizen awoke & Luvah woke & thus conferrd

Thou Luvah said the Prince of Light behold our sons & daughters  
Reposd on beds. let them sleep on. do thou alone depart
Into thy wished Kingdom where in Majesty & Power
We may erect a throne. deep in the North I place my lot
Thou in the South listen attentive. In silent of this night
I will infold the Eternal tent in clouds opake while thou       
Siezing the chariots of the morning. Go outfleeting ride
Afar into the Zenith high bending thy furious course
Southward with half the tents of men inclosd in clouds
Will lay my scepter on Jerusalem the Emanation
On all her sons & on thy sons O Luvah & on mine       
Till dawn was wont to wake them then my trumpet sounding loud
Ravishd away in night my strong command shall be obeyd
For I have placd my centinels in stations each tenth man
Is bought & sold & in dim night my Word shall be their law 
 
PAGE 22
Luvah replied Dictate to thy Equals. am not I
The Prince of all the hosts of Men nor Equal know in Heaven
If I arise into the Zenith leaving thee to watch
The Emanation & her Sons the Satan & the Anak
Sihon and Og. wilt thou not rebel to my laws remain             
In darkness building thy strong throne & in my ancient night
Daring my power wilt arm my sons against me in the Atlantic 
My deep   My night which thou assuming hast assumed my Crown
I will remain as well as thou & here with hands of blood
Smite this dark sleeper in his tent then try my strength with thee 
While thus he spoke his fires reddend oer the holy tent   
Urizen cast deep darkness round him silent brooding death
Eternal death to Luvah. raging Luvah pourd
The Lances of Urizen from chariots. round the holy tent
Discord began & yells & cries shook the wide firmament"

No comments: