Thursday, July 16, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 35
 Four Zoas, Night II, Page 34, (E 324)
"Ah happy blindness Enion sees not the terrors of the uncertain 
Thus Enion wails from the dark deep, the golden heavens tremble
Page 35
I am made to sow the thistle for wheat; the nettle for a nourishing dainty
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 price
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"
Mary Lynn Johnson and John Grant selected portions of Blake's writing to include in their 1979 book Blake's Poetry and Designs. We shall continue working through the Four Zoas by following their selection of exerpts. Their introduction to the Four Zoas includes these statements: 

Page 214
"It is an attempt to coordinate and expand the separate stories told in Blake's earlier books into one grand story of mankind from his origins to the end of time. As  in the earlier prophecies, the action seems to take place simultaneously within the consciousness of the human race over the course of history and within the mind of each individual during his lifetime."

Page 218, Note 6
"Enion's song, written in Blake's fine copperplate hand, has apparently been carefully revised. Enion, the emanation of Tharmas, falls furthest into nonentity and her fall draws Ahania away from Urizen. Enion's poignant laments are heard at the ends of Nights II, III and VIII, the latter two in antiphony with Ahania. These female voices, drifting up from nonexistence, serve as choral commentary on the main  action."  

Enion's lament begins by her acknowledging the erroneous choices she has made. She sees specific consequences of turning away from her role as Tharmas' emanation. Each decision which resulted from her misguided attempt to escape from Tharmas forced her further into a world where her existence was precarious.

She has learned from her suffering but is still trapped in her dilemma. She could turn from her bitter experience if she were not so weak, so hungry, so desperate to be in the right.  

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