Monday, June 08, 2015


Four Zoas
Page 5
Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 5, (E 302)
"In Eden, Females sleep the winter in soft silken veils
Woven by their own hands to hide them in the darksom grave
But Males immortal live renewd by female deaths.     in soft
Delight they die & they revive in spring with music & songs

Enion said Farewell I die     I hide. from thy searching eyes

So saying--From her bosom weaving soft in Sinewy threads
A tabernacle for Jerusalem she sat among the Rocks
Singing her lamentation. Tharmas groand among his Clouds
Weeping, then bending from his Clouds he stoopd his innocent head
And stretching out his holy hand in the vast Deep sublime       
Turnd round the circle of Destiny with tears & bitter sighs
And said.     Return O Wanderer when the Day of Clouds is oer


So saying he sunk down into the sea a pale white corse
In torment he sunk down & flowd among her filmy Woof
His Spectre issuing from his feet in flames of fire
In gnawing pain drawn out by her lovd fingers every nerve
She counted. every vein & lacteal threading them among
Her woof of terror. Terrified & drinking tears of woe
Shuddring she wove--nine days & nights Sleepless her food was tears
Wondring she saw her woof begin to animate. & not 
As Garments woven subservient to her hands but having a will
Of its own perverse & wayward Enion lovd & wept

Nine days she labourd at her work. & nine dark sleepless nights
But on the tenth trembling morn the Circle of Destiny Complete
Round rolld the Sea Englobing in a watry Globe self balancd
A Frowning Continent appeard Where Enion in the Desart
Terrified in her own Creation      viewing her woven shadow
Sat in a dread intoxication of Repentance & Contrition

There is from Great Eternity a mild & pleasant rest
Namd Beulah a Soft Moony Universe feminine lovely
Pure mild & Gentle given in Mercy to those who sleep
Eternally. Created by the Lamb of God around
On all sides within & without the Universal Man
The Daughters of Beulah follow sleepers in all their Dreams
Creating Spaces lest they fall into Eternal Death

The Circle of Destiny complete they gave to it a Space
And namd the Space Ulro & brooded over it in care & love
They said The Spectre is in every man insane & most
Deformd     Thro the three heavens descending in fury & fire
We meet it with our Songs & loving blandishments & give         
To it a form of vegetation But this Spectre of Tharmas
Is Eternal Death What shall we do O God pity & help
So spoke they & closd the Gate of the Tongue in trembling fear


What have I done! said Enion accursed wretch! What deed.   
Is this a deed of Love I know what I have done. I know
Too late now to repent. Love is changd to deadly Hate
A [ll] life is blotted out & I alone remain possessd with Fears
I see the Shadow of the dead within my Soul wandering
In darkness & solitude forming Seas of Doubt & rocks of Repentance
Already are my Eyes reverted. all that I behold                 
Within my Soul has lost its splendor & a brooding Fear
Shadows me oer & drives me outward to a world of woe
So waild she trembling before her own Created Phantasm"

An early manifestation of the breakup of the psyche in Blake's system becomes apparent as the integrity of the id was lost as it split into outer and inner entities. Before the id connects to an exterior world, its only function is to maintain the integrity of the organism. It cannot return to total unconsciousness once it has connected to the reality that sensation provides. In this light, the fall which man experiences is the journey to expanded consciousness and is initiated by Enion's withdrawal.

Harold Bloom, in Blake's Apocalypse, explains the process in this way using Blake's terminology:

"Beulah is a passive state, lit by the moon of pitying affection, not by the sun of active passion. It is a dreamworld, in that its Innocence is too disorganized to withstand the generative pressures of Experience. The function of the daughters of Beulah is to create spaces to keep the mind's sleep from becoming death. Beulah  is the slough of Eternity; it provides as much relaxation for the creative spirit as the spirit can afford. The world of unconditioned Imagination has definite form without fixed time and space. Time and space enter into Beulah as a relieving world of temporal appearances, a rest from the strenuous makings and unmakings of imaginative passion. The spaces of Beulah are momentary acts of indulgence, that even the most vigorous artists must grant himself; a provisional universe of illusory appearances, even of beliefs. But these forms do not insist upon themselves as realities, for they are only the wavering shadows in the water of Thel's existence, mutable visions of Innocence. The health of the  creative life, for Blake, lies in the willingness of these forms to sacrifice themselves so as to revive the mind's power to visualize fresh appearances. 

Confronted with the Circle of Destiny, the phenomenal residue of Tharmas, the daughters of Beulah lose their courage and create a self-aggrandizing form, the state of Ulro." (Page 199)

These articles in Damon's A Blake Dictionary expand the understanding of these terms:

Circle of Destiny - "the revolving world of matter"

Ulro - "the world of death, not merely because all thing die here, but because they are spectres, 'dead to Eternity.'"

Beulah - "a refuge from the gigantic wars of ideas in Eternity"

Blake has created a picture which can be seen as various aspects of the situation he describes poetically. The angelic form connotes the protective function of the space Beulah, and the daughters who serve her. The failure of Beulah to prevent the Circle of Destiny from gaining control is seen in the mournful position the angel assumes, and in the surrounding water. Or the image can be looked at from the perspective of Tharmas, whose eternal nature represented by the angelic wings, is in the process of falling and producing the flood of sensation in a rising sea.

The reciprocal nature of the Zoa and his Emanation is evident. Enion begins weaving a covering for herself, Tharmas sets the Circle of Destiny in motion; Enion weaves an exterior garment; together the two create a space and name it Ulro; in response the Spectre of Tharmas arises in Ulro; Enion realizes her error and regrets her initial failure to return from the repose of Beulah to the dynamic activity of Eternity.

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