Saturday, December 28, 2013


Reposted from Sunday, December 13, 2009.
Illustrations  to Milton's Comus 
Thomas Set
Illustration 3
Blake was capable of making beautiful pictures of birth and renewal as he did in "On the Morn of Christ's Nativity." His poetry too could create lovely images of the gentle side of renewal and new beginnings. In The Four Zoas, as the process of rebuilding a world whose fallen state had made the critical reversal of direction, we find a passage which may surprise and delight us. Tharmas and Enion who had become aged and exhausted as they had wandered futilely in a world of pain and frustration, are the subjects of this passage. Plucking Grapes

The Four Zoas, Page 129 (E397)
"Then Vala lifted up her hands to heaven to call on Enion
She calld but none could answer her & the Eccho of her voice returnd

Where is the voice of God that calld me from the silent dew
Where is the Lord of Vala dost thou hide in clefts of the rock
Why shouldst thou hide thyself from Vala from the soul that wanders desolate

She ceas'd & light beamd round her like the glory of the morning

And She arose out of the river & girded on her golden girdle
And now her feet step on the grassy bosom of the ground
Among her flocks & she turnd her eyes toward her pleasant house
And saw in the door way beneath the trees two little children playing
She drew near to her house & her flocks followd her footsteps
The Children clung around her knees she embracd them & wept over them

Thou little Boy art Tharmas & thou bright Girl Enion
How are ye thus renewd & brought into the Gardens of Vala

She embracd them in tears. till the sun descended the western hills
And then she enterd her bright house leading her mighty children

And when night came the flocks laid round the house beneath the trees
She laid the Children on the beds which she saw prepard in the house
Then last herself laid down & closd her Eyelids in soft slumbers

And in the morning when the Sun arose in the crystal sky
Vala awoke & calld the children from their gentle slumbers

Awake O Enion awake & let thine innocent Eyes
Enlighten all the Crystal house of Vala awake awake
Awake Tharmas awake awake thou child of dewy tears
Open the orbs of thy blue eyes & smile upon my gardens

The Children woke & smild on Vala. she kneeld by the golden couch
She presd them to her bosom & her pearly tears dropd down

Why dost thou turn thyself away from his sweet watry eyes
Tharmas henceforth in Valas bosom thou shalt find sweet peace
O bless the lovely eyes of Tharmas & the Eyes of Enion"

This was not the end of the process or regeneration, but it was the sort of vision we are occasionally given in the midst of sorrow and woe, that provides hope that all will be well. Being able to see the possibility of starting afresh, of casting off the accumulated debris of traveling through a world of sorrow, eases our way along the path to Eternity.

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