Thursday, November 14, 2013


British Museum
For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise
Plate 2

For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise, Plate 2, (E 260) 
"2 Water 
Thou Waterest him with Tears" 

For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise, Plate 19, (E 268) 
"2 Doubt Self Jealous Watry folly"


The dividing of consciousness into male and female as delineated in Plate 1, is followed by a recognition of further divisions. The next four plates portray the four elements of classical thought as ways in which the human consciousness manifests itself. 

Blake will in his prophetic works develop the symbol of water around his character Tharmas. In Plate 2 his image of man is surrounded with falling rain, his feet are touching what may be the rising water of a flood. The caption suggests that sorrow accompanies the condition of being dominated by water.

In the five words which Blake offers in his Key to this plate he suggests further separation and mistaken attitudes.

We may see this plate as a preview of Tharmas the Zoa of the Body and of sensation. Separated from the other Zoas by the flood of sense data in which he is immersed, he struggles to recover his emanation Enion whose laments reflect the Darwinian world.

Four Zoas, Night III, Page 45, (E 331)
"Enion return
Why does thy piteous face Evanish like a rainy cloud 
Page 46
Melting. a shower of falling tears. nothing but tears! Enion: 
Substanceless. voiceless, weeping. vanishd. nothing but tears! Enion
Art thou for ever vanishd from the watry eyes of Tharmas
Rage Rage shall never from my bosom. winds & waters of woe
Consuming all to the end consuming Love and Hope are ended 

For now no more remaind of Enion in the dismal air
Only a voice eternal wailing in the Elements"

Four Zoas, Night IV, Page 48, (E 332)
[Spoken by Tharmas to Los]
"But thou My Son Glorious in brightness comforter of Tharmas
Go forth Rebuild this Universe beneath my indignant power
A Universe of Death & Decay. Let Enitharmons hands               
Weave soft delusive forms of Man above my watry world
Renew these ruind souls of Men thro Earth Sea Air & Fire
To waste in endless corruption. renew thou I will destroy
Perhaps Enion may resume some little semblance
To ease my pangs of heart & to restore some peace to Tharmas"     

No comments: