Thursday, August 27, 2015


Milton O Percival, on Page 33 of William Blake's Circle of Destiny, makes this statement about Vala who assumes many identities in the Four Zoas: 
"At the outset of her career and in her true nature Vala represents the gentle feminine emotions. As such she is the ideal which possessed Urizen when, in the early prophetic books, he came back from his 'dark contemplation' bearing his laws of mercy, pity, peace - the ideal which in the Four Zoas Luvah left in Albion's brain. As such she is the 'lily of Havilah,' the pure and the good, with which Albion falls in love."

"However it is one thing to arrive at mercy and pity spontaneously and quite another to make these virtues an abstract and rational ideal. Vala, who in her spontaneity was loved for her gentle purity, proves a jealous mistress."

Book of Urizen, Plate 4, (E 72)
6. Here alone I in books formd of metals
Have written the secrets of wisdom                            
The secrets of dark contemplation
By fightings and conflicts dire,
With terrible monsters Sin-bred:
Which the bosoms of all inhabit;
Seven deadly Sins of the soul.  

7. Lo! I unfold my darkness: and on
This rock, place with strong hand the Book
Of eternal brass, written in my solitude.

8. Laws of peace, of love, of unity:
Of pity, compassion, forgiveness.                                
Let each chuse one habitation:
His ancient infinite mansion:
One command, one joy, one desire,
One curse, one weight, one measure
One King, one God, one Law." 

Since Blake's original conception of the Four Zoas was a tale of Vala, we find her as a motivating force as the poem develops. Blake does not want his reader to focus on a single cause of the disintegration of the unified psyche, but Vala plays a significant role in the breakdown. As a character in the Four Zoas, Vala first appears on Page 10. We learn here of the dislocation of Luvah and Vala from the heart, where emotions properly reside, to the brain where man is expected to do his thinking. The distortion of emotional expression, when it acts as if it were in charge of making rational decisions produces misunderstandings and disasters.

On page 10 of the Four Zoas Blake associated Vala with the Zoa Luvah whose emanation she is. Here we see the movement from the heart made by Luvah and Vala, as precipitating the well known incident of Luvah seizing Urizen's horses of light while Vala's passivity resided in the brain.

Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 1O, (E 305) 
"But Enitharmon answerd with a dropping tear & frowning  
Dark as a dewy morning when the crimson light appears   
To make us happy let them weary their immortal powers   
While we draw in their sweet delights while we return them scorn
On scorn to feed our discontent; for if we grateful prove
They will withhold sweet love, whose food is thorns & bitter roots.
We hear the warlike clarions we view the turning spheres 
Yet Thou in indolence reposest holding me in bonds
Hear! I will sing a Song of Death! it is a Song of Vala! 
The Fallen Man takes his repose: Urizen sleeps in the porch
Luvah and Vala woke & flew up from the Human Heart 
Into the Brain; from thence upon the pillow Vala slumber'd.
And Luvah siez'd the Horses of Light, & rose into the Chariot of Day
Sweet laughter siezd me in my sleep! silent & close I laughd 
For in the visions of Vala I walkd with the mighty Fallen One
I heard his voice among the branches, & among sweet flowers." 

The fall of Albion in the
      version on page 83 is attributed to Albion's succumbing to the
      attractiveness and loveliness of the exterior, feminine, passive
      appearance of Vala in Beulah, the territory of Luvah.

Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 82, (E 358)
"The Shadow of Enitharmon answerd Art thou terrible Shade
Set over this sweet boy of mine to guard him lest he rend
PAGE 83 
His mother to the winds of heaven Intoxicated with
The fruit of this delightful tree. I cannot flee away
From thy embrace else be assurd so horrible a form
Should never in my arms repose. now listen I will tell
Thee Secrets of Eternity which neer before unlockd 
My golden lips nor took the bar from Enitharmons breast
Among the Flowers of Beulah walkd the Eternal Man & Saw
Vala the lilly of the desart. melting in high noon
Upon her bosom in sweet bliss he fainted   Wonder siezd
All heaven they saw him dark. they built a golden wall  
Round Beulah   There he reveld in delight among the Flowers
Vala was pregnant & brought forth Urizen Prince of Light 
First born of Generation. Then behold a wonder to the Eyes
Of the now fallen Man a double form Vala appeard. A Male
And female shuddring pale the Fallen Man recoild    
From the Enormity & calld them Luvah & Vala. turning down
The vales to find his way back into Heaven but found none
For his frail eyes were faded & his ears heavy & dull

Urizen grew up in the plains of Beulah   Many Sons
And many daughters flourishd round the holy Tent of Man     
Till he forgot Eternity delighted in his sweet joy
Among his family his flocks & herds & tents & pastures

But Luvah close conferrd with Urizen in darksom night
To bind the father & enslave the brethren Nought he knew
Of sweet Eternity the blood flowd round the holy tent & rivn   
From its hinges uttering its final groan all Beulah fell"

When Beulah falls the return to Eden is rerouted through Generation where man encounters the obstacles of experience. 

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