|British Museum |
For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise
For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise, Plate 3, (E 261)
"3 Earth He struggles into Life"
For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise, Plate 19, (E 268)
"3 Struggling thro Earths Melancholy"
Blake was aware that there were parts of his mind which were hidden to him. Earth symbolized to him the buried or underground aspects of himself. He pictures Earth as the individual struggling to escape into the open or into 'Life' as he says in the caption.
Blake's use of the term Earth's Melancholy gives us a clue that he is tying his analysis of the Four Elements with the Four Humors of Greek Medicine. The Black Bile is associated with the Earth. It "makes one pensive, melancholy and withdrawn. It encourages prudence, caution, realism, pragmatism and pessimism." The Melancholy type engages in internal work; for his work to appear externally he must engage in struggle.
Urthona is the Zoa associated with Earth. For Blake he embodied the zenith of man's mental work, the imagination, even though his place was underground. Urthona's work is done through his expressed form: the blacksmith, prophet, poet, artist named Los.
Four Zoas, Night I, Page 3, (E 301) "Los was the fourth immortal starry one, & in the Earth Of a bright Universe Empery attended day & night Days & nights of revolving joy, Urthona was his name Page 4 In Eden; in the Auricular Nerves of Human life Which is the Earth of Eden, he his Emanations propagated Fairies of Albion afterwards Gods of the Heathen, Daughter of Beulah Sing His fall into Division & his Resurrection to Unity His fall into the Generation of Decay & Death & his Regeneration by the Resurrection from the dead Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 86, (E 368) "Even I already feel a World within Opening its gates & in it all the real substances Of which these in the outward World are shadows which pass away Come then into my Bosom & in thy shadowy arms bring with thee My lovely Enitharmon. I will quell my fury & teach Peace to the Soul of dark revenge & repentance to Cruelty So spoke Los & Embracing Enitharmon & the Spectre Clouds would have folded round in Extacy & Love uniting Page 87 But Enitharmon trembling fled & hid beneath Urizens tree But mingling together with his Spectre the Spectre of Urthona Wondering beheld the Center opend by Divine Mercy inspired He in his turn Gave Tasks to Los Enormous to destroy That body he created but in vain for Los performd Wonders of labour They Builded Golgonooza Los labouring builded pillars high And Domes terrific in the nether heavens for beneath Was opend new heavens & a new Earth beneath & within Threefold within the brain within the heart within the loins A Threefold Atmosphere Sublime continuous from Urthonas world"
As I wrote in an earlier post:
The level of imagination represents a transformation or conversion to a spiritual perception. At this level the spirit will speak through the words, not just with or in the words. If Blake is inspired himself, (and he seemed to believe that he was a prophet in the same sense as the OT prophets;) his words can transmit to our spirits through a direct connection with the spirit in him. This level of communication, which Blake called Imagination, was his primary interest. His time, his energy, his goods, his thought, his labor were directed toward expressing Imagination and trying to awaken it in others. Through Imagination we get the fullest understanding of Blake. Non-sensory perception is represented by Urthona (the creative imagination of the individual.)