Saturday, August 29, 2015

4Z'S MANUSCRIPT [113]

The resource of the Four Zoas manuscript which is made available in the British Library is invaluable. The library has published online the manuscript of William Blake's Four Zoas. Although the text of the Four Zoas has been available through several sources including Erdman's The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake, it had been difficult to locate more than a few images before the British Library created their website. Clearly stated on the website is that this material in the public domain, making it available for study and enjoyment for all who wish to use it.
 

This is the manuscript on which Blake began to work in 1795 judging from the date on the title page. The reader can view the labor which Blake put into composing, revising and correcting his work as he tried to keep up with his own creative impulses which led him farther and farther from his original intent. Although he could never complete this piece of work, he could never discard it either. Near the end of his life he put the manuscript into the hands of John Linnell, his great friend and supporter in his later years.
 
Learn more from Erdman's Textural Notes on the Four Zoas (E 817).
 
A British Library Note:
Blake abandoned Vala, and resumed it as The Four Zoas after a period of depression. While the early parts deal with intellectual judgement and spiritual despair, the later stages of the poem hold out more hope. The work was abandoned in its manuscript form by 1807, and only rediscovered and published by the poet William Yeats and writer Edwin Ellis in 1893. - See more at: http://www.bl.uk/collection-items/manuscript-of-william-blakes-the-four-zoas#sthash.qbl277CN.dpuf
Blake abandoned Vala, and resumed it as The Four Zoas after a period of depression. While the early parts deal with intellectual judgement and spiritual despair, the later stages of the poem hold out more hope. The work was abandoned in its manuscript form by 1807, and only rediscovered and published by the poet William Yeats and writer Edwin Ellis in 1893. - See more at: http://www.bl.uk/collection-items/manuscript-of-william-blakes-the-four-zoas#sthash.qbl277CN.dpuf
Blake abandoned Vala, and resumed it as The Four Zoas after a period of depression. While the early parts deal with intellectual judgement and spiritual despair, the later stages of the poem hold out more hope. The work was abandoned in its manuscript form by 1807, and only rediscovered and published by the poet William Yeats and writer Edwin Ellis in 1893. - See more at: http://www.bl.uk/collection-items/manuscript-of-william-blakes-the-four-zoas#sthash.qbl277CN.dpuf
"Blake abandoned Vala, and resumed it as The Four Zoas after a period of depression. While the early parts deal with intellectual judgement and spiritual despair, the later stages of the poem hold out more hope. The work was abandoned in its manuscript form by 1807, and only rediscovered and published by the poet William Yeats and writer Edwin Ellis in 1893." 
 

Although you can view 72 images from the Four Zoas, there is no additional text available on this site. The page numbers which are used for identification in Erdman's The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake do not appear with the pictures. The total number of pages in Blake's manuscript is 133 so what is provided is not complete. Part of the material not included is Night I (pages 1-22). I have not found it easy to navigate this website but the effort is productive.

To read Blake's writing you probably need to enlarge the image: right click on image, select view image, enlarge by clicking on picture. Unfortunately you lose your place in manuscript when you look at enlargements.  

National Gallery Victoria
Edward Young's Night Thoughts
Night the Fourth Title Page, Page 71
The study of the Four Zoas which I began on May 5 with the post God & Man is far from complete because I covered less than 50 of Blake's 133 pages. I add another manuscript image today and text to enhance it. This full page image is placed following Page 113. The picture is one of those reused from Edward Young's Night Thoughts. Blake created this engraving for the title page of Night the Fourth, giving it the title The Christian Triumph. We are spectators as Jesus puts 'off the dark Satanic body' by parting 'the clothing of blood' from the 'integuments woven' - the spiritual body fit for Eternity.






Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 104, (E 378) 
"He stood in fair Jerusalem to awake up into Eden
The fallen Man but first to Give his vegetated body  
To be cut off & separated that the Spiritual body may be Reveald"
British Library Four Zoas Night VIII
Following page 113

Four Zoas, Night VIII, PAGE 104 (FIRST PORTION), (E 376) 
"And Enitharmon namd the Female Jerusalem the holy
Wondring she saw the Lamb of God within Jerusalems Veil
The divine Vision seen within the inmost deep recess
Of fair Jerusalems bosom in a gently beaming fire

Then sang the Sons of Eden round the Lamb of God & said 
Glory Glory Glory to the holy Lamb of God
Who now beginneth to put off the dark Satanic body
Now we behold redemption Now we know that life Eternal
Depends alone upon the Universal hand & not in us
Is aught but death In individual weakness sorrow & pain  

PAGE 113 (FIRST PORTION) 
We behold with wonder Enitharmons Looms & Los's Forges   
And the Spindles of Tirzah & Rahab and the Mills of Satan & Beelzeboul
In Golgonooza Los's anvils stand & his Furnaces rage 
Ten thousand demons labour at the forges Creating Continually
The times & spaces of Mortal Life the Sun the Moon the Stars 
In periods of Pulsative furor beating into wedges & bars
Then drawing into wires the terrific Passions & Affections
Of Spectrous dead. Thence to the Looms of Cathedron conveyd
The Daughters of Enitharmon weave the ovarium & the integument
In soft silk drawn from their own bowels in lascivious delight 
With songs of sweetest cadence to the turning spindle & reel
Lulling the weeping spectres of the dead. Clothing their limbs
With gifts & gold of Eden. Astonishd stupefied with delight
The terrors put on their sweet clothing on the banks of Arnon 
Whence they plunge into the river of space for a period till 
The dread Sleep of Ulro is past. But Satan Og & Sihon    
Build Mills of resistless wheels to unwind the soft threads & reveal
Naked of their clothing the poor spectres before the accusing heavens
While Rahab & Tirzah far different mantles prepare webs of torture
Mantles of despair girdles of bitter compunction shoes of indolence
Veils of ignorance covering from head to feet with a cold web

We look down into Ulro we behold the Wonders of the Grave
Eastward of Golgonooza stands the Lake of Udan Adan In
Entuthon Benithon a Lake not of Waters but of Spaces  
Perturbd black & deadly on its Islands & its Margins 
The Mills of Satan and Beelzeboul stand round the roots of Urizens tree
For this Lake is formd from the tears & sighs & death sweat of the Victims
Of Urizens laws. to irrigate the roots of the tree of Mystery
They unweave the soft threads then they weave them anew in the forms
Of dark death & despair & none from Eternity to Eternity could Escape
But thou O Universal Humanity who is One Man blessed for Ever
Recievest the Integuments woven Rahab beholds the Lamb of God
She smites with her knife of flint She destroys her own work
Times upon times thinking to destroy the Lamb blessed for Ever
He puts off the clothing of blood he redeems the spectres from their bonds
He awakes the sleepers in Ulro the Daughters of Beulah praise him
They anoint his feet with ointment they wipe them with the hair of their head"

2 comments:

Susan J. said...

How very timely! I just got off the phone with a friend who is working on a project involving the 4 Zoas in biblical context... thanks so much --

I'm going to print this off and send it to him - he doesn't do computers --

Have a great weekend!

Susan J.

ellie said...

Larry got into computers and William Blake around the same time. Exciting days there were when we were living in Arlington and going to the Church of the Savior in Washington DC. He was entirely dependent on print material of studying Blake. Access to good libraries in the metro area made it possible. The books he purchased in those days furnish many of the quotes I use in blogging today. I see that we purchased FEARFUL SYMMETRY at YES! bookstore in Georgetown in Dec. 1980.

The primitive computers we had in those early days would not have been any help. We had neither random access to stored data, nor search engines or the internet. I'm grateful for the ability to study Blake with tremendous assistance from digital resources.

Your friend's project sounds fascinating.

Bless you always.