Sunday, December 15, 2013

Joy and Woe

From Auguries of Innocence we read:

Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.

If you know this you know Blake, and you know Life.

Joy is related to Innocence and woe to experiene.


Everyone loves a baby; do you wonder why? Because there's no hate:

Infant Joy

I have no name
I am but two days old.--
What shall I call thee?
I happy am
Joy is my name,--  
Sweet joy befall thee!

Pretty joy!
Sweet joy but two days old,
Sweet joy I call thee;
Thou dost smile. 
I sing the while
Sweet joy befall thee.

Enion's Laments are highlights ot 4Z.
In The Four Zoas at Erdman page 326 we read:

I have planted a false oath in the earth, it has brought forth a
     poison tree
I have chosen the serpent for a councellor & the dog
For a schoolmaster to my children
I have blotted out from light & living the dove & nightingale    
And I have caused the earth worm to beg from door to door
I have taught the thief a secret path into the house of the just
I have taught pale artifice to spread his nets upon the morning
My heavens are brass my earth is iron my moon a clod of clay
My sun a pestilence burning at noon & a vapour of death in night 

What is the price of Experience do men buy it for a song
Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No it is bought with the
Of all that a man hath his house his wife his children
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy
And in the witherd field where the farmer plows for bread in vain

It is an easy thing to triumph in the summers sun
And in the vintage & to sing on the waggon loaded with corn
It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted
To speak the laws of prudence to the houseless wanderer

To listen to the hungry ravens cry in wintry season
When the red blood is filld with wine & with the marrow of lambs

It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements
To hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughter
     house moan
To see a god on every wind & a blessing on every blast           
To hear sounds of love in the thunder storm that destroys our
     enemies house
To rejoice in the blight that covers his field, & the sickness 
     that cuts off his children
While our olive & vine sing & laugh round our door & our children
     bring fruits & flowers

Then the groan & the dolor are quite forgotten & the slave
     grinding at the mill
And the captive in chains & the poor in the prison, & the soldier
     in the field
When the shatterd bone hath laid him groaning among the happier

It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity
Thus could I sing & thus rejoice, but it is not so with me!
(Erdman 36-37)

Blake's Songs of Experience are the contraries of most of the Songs of Innocence:


[An early Song of Experience included in one late copy]        

Cruelty has a Human Heart
And Jealousy a Human Face
Terror, the Human Form Divine
And Secrecy, the Human Dress

The Human Dress, is forged Iron
The Human Form, a fiery Forge.
The Human Face, a Furnace seal'd
The Human Heart, its hungry Gorge.

Library of Congress
Gates of Paradise

    My Son! my Son! thou treatest me
     But as I have instructed thee
9    On the shadows of the Moon 
     Climbing thro Nights highest noon
10   In Times Ocean falling drownd                           
     In Aged Ignorance profound
11   Holy & cold I clipd the Wings 
     Of all Sublunary Things
12   And in depths of my Dungeons
     Closed the Father & the Sons 
(Erdman 268)                          

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