Sunday, August 09, 2015

MORTAL DISAPPEARS [110]

British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 110
Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 109, (E 385)
"When the mortal disappears in improved knowledge cast away
The former things so shall the Mortal gently fade away
And so become invisible to those who still remain
Listen I will tell thee what is done in the caverns of the grave 

PAGE 114 [110] 
The Lamb of God has rent the Veil of Mystery soon to return
In Clouds & Fires around the rock & the Mysterious tree
As the seed waits Eagerly watching for its flower & fruit
Anxious its little soul looks out into the clear expanse
To see if hungry winds are abroad with their invisible army 
So Man looks out in tree & herb & fish & bird & beast
Collecting up the scatterd portions of his immortal body
Into the Elemental forms of every thing that grows
He tries the sullen north wind riding on its angry furrows
The sultry south when the sun rises & the angry east 
When the sun sets when the clods harden & the cattle stand
Drooping & the birds hide in their silent nests. he stores his thoughts
As in a store house in his memory he regulates the forms
Of all beneath & all above   & in the gentle West
Reposes where the Suns heat dwells   he rises to the Sun
And to the Planets of the Night & to the stars that gild
The Zodiac & the stars that sullen stand to north & south
He touches the remotest pole & in the Center weeps
That Man should Labour & sorrow & learn & forget & return
To the dark valley whence he came to begin his labours anew
In pain he sighs in pain he labours in his universe
Screaming in birds over the deep & howling in the Wolf
Over the slain & moaning in the cattle & in the winds
And weeping over Orc & Urizen in clouds & flaming fires    
And in the cries of birth & in the groans of death his voice 
Is heard throughout the Universe whereever a grass grows
Or a leaf buds   The Eternal Man is seen is heard   is felt
And all his Sorrows till he reassumes his ancient bliss

Such are the words of Ahania & Enion. Los hears & weeps 
And Los & Enitharmon took the Body of the Lamb 
Down from the Cross & placd it in a Sepulcher which Los had hewn
For himself in the Rock of Eternity trembling & in despair
Jerusalem wept over the Sepulcher two thousand Years"
The life we live in the material world is our mortal life engendered when the eternal spirit assumes a physical body. What Blake proposes to do is show us the process of putting aside mortality and assuming immortality. Awakening is one of the metaphors apropos for the process. We can imagine beginning to awaken: stirring, stretching, allowing a bit of light to enter our eyes. We are exiting the dream that absorbed our mind's activity.

When Jesus was crucified the mortal for him disappeared. For three days he was invisible to those who remained behind. Blake tells us of the work of the Lamb of God taking place in preparation for the resurrection during this period. For the individual the desired outcome is resurrection; for humanity it is apocalypse.

Blake's primary image for the fall of man is the division of the unified mind into portions which are unable to integrate their functions into an undivided whole. The Lamb of God is making it possible for Albion once again to recognize all of the manifestations of life as 'scatterd portions of his immortal body.' Although Blake draws together the forms of life, the Elemental Forces and the Zodiac, these are symbolic of the world of mortality. These represent the cyclical actions of material life: the activities of the grave from which the Eternal Man will exit when he resumes his 'ancient bliss'. The final verbal image on Page 110 is of Jesus being placed in the sepulcher to prepare for apocalypse.


Gates of Paradise, Keys, (E 269)
"13   But when once I did descry 
     The Immortal Man that cannot Die
14   Thro evening shades I haste away 
     To close the Labours of my Day
15   The Door of Death I open found                             
     And the Worm Weaving in the Ground
16   Thou'rt my Mother from the Womb 
     Wife, Sister, Daughter to the Tomb 
     Weaving to Dreams the Sexual strife
     And weeping over the Web of Life"   
1 Corinthians 15
[36] You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
[37] And what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.
[38] But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.
[39] For not all flesh is alike, but there is one kind for men, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.
[40] There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
[41] There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
[42] So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable.
[43] It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.
[44] It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.
[45] Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
[46] But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual.
[47] The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.
[48] As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven.
[49] Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
[50] I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
[51] Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
[52] in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
[53] For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality.

2 comments:

Susan J. said...

Wow. Ellie. This is AMAZING. thank you so much -

I've been thinking of you both all week, remembering deep times of Quaker Worship and all the Friends there --

Much love,

Susan J.

ellie said...

I was amazed at the congruence between the passage in Blake and the section of First Corinthians. Paul's writing had more influence on Blake than he ever acknowledged. It is interesting that images don't wear out or remain static. It is up to us to restate them and clothe them in garments which communicate in our own time.

For a very short time we were in the same place at the same time with you and Don, but it was such a rich experience for me that I long to repeat it. Perhaps I can cast it as an image of the 'severe contentions of friendship' which are the substance of Eternity.