Friday, October 11, 2013

Europe Preludium

British Museum
Europe
Plate 3, Copy D


                   PRELUDIUM

The nameless shadowy female rose from out the breast of Orc:
Her snaky hair brandishing in the winds of Enitharmon,
And thus her voice arose.
mother Enitharmon wilt thou bring forth other sons?
To cause my name to vanish, that my place may not be found.  
For I am faint with travel!                                
Like the dark cloud disburdend in the day of dismal thunder.
My roots are brandish'd in the heavens. my fruits in earth
beneath Surge, foam, and labour into life, first born & first consum'd!
Consumed and consuming!                                      
Then why shouldst thou accursed mother bring me into life?
I wrap my turban of thick clouds around my lab'ring head;
And fold the sheety waters as a mantle round my limbs.
Yet the red sun and moon 
And all the overflowing stars rain down prolific pains.
(Erdman 60-61)

About the Text

The nameless shadowy female might be considered Nature before creation;
it is the collection of all manifested women who become named as those with the female
will. Her consort with Orc yielded a horde of fallen warriors, and she has had
enough for I am faint with travel! Blake meant travail.

She appeals to mother Enitharmon, an aspect of herself

(Blake used this idea again in Chapter VII of the First Book of Urizen:
"9. But Los encircled Enitharmon With fires of Prophecy
From the sight of Urizen & Orc
10. And she bore an enormous race)"

My roots are brandish'd in the heavens.
This indicates that she, the 'shadowy female' came from Eternity
and acted in materiality, the realization of falleness of all that she has
done, producing a  querulosus race.

The last part of the text shows how she rejects what is happening to her and her's:

Yet the red sun and moon,And all the overflowing stars rain down prolific pains.
These are the most tangible forms to materiality:
 For Blake, the stars represent cold reason and objective science.

About the Image

First reaction to this picture might be Christian of Pilgrims Progress, but he is
said to be dressed in the buff and blue of George Washington (See Erdman's The
Illuminated Blake, page 159). The 'assassin is lurking in the cave (said to
represent Parliament). the assassin is said to have the profile of Edmond Burke;

(Burke delivered a speech on the debate of the Aliens Bill on 28 December 1792.
He supported the Bill as it would exclude "murderous atheists, who would pull down
church and state; religion and God; morality and happiness".
The peroration included a reference to a French order for 3,000 daggers. Burke revealed a
dagger he had concealed in his coat and threw it to the floor: "This is what you are to gain by an alliance with France". Burke picked up the dagger and continued)

The central figure at the bottom with bat like wings said to resemble Charles Fox.

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