Thursday, August 13, 2015


British Library Four Zoas Manuscript Page 121
Four Zoas, Night IX, PAGE 121, (E 390) "Urizen wept in the dark deep anxious his Scaly form To reassume the human & he wept in the dark deep Saying O that I had never drank the wine nor eat the bread Of dark mortality nor cast my view into futurity nor turnd My back darkning the present clouding with a cloud And building arches high & cities turrets & towers & domes Whose smoke destroyd the pleasant gardens & whose running Kennels Chokd the bright rivers burdning with my Ships the angry deep Thro Chaos seeking for delight & in spaces remote Seeking the Eternal which is always present to the wise Seeking for pleasure which unsought falls round the infants path And on the fleeces of mild flocks who neither care nor labour But I the labourer of ages whose unwearied hands Are thus deformd with hardness with the sword & with the spear And with the Chisel & the mallet I whose labours vast Order the nations separating family by family Alone enjoy not I alone in misery supreme Ungratified give all my joy unto this Luvah & Vala Then Go O dark futurity I will cast thee forth from these Heavens of my brain nor will I look upon futurity more I cast futurity away & turn my back upon that void Which I have made for lo futurity is in this moment Let Orc consume let Tharmas rage let dark Urthona give All strength to Los & Enitharmon & let Los self-cursd Rend down this fabric as a wall ruind & family extinct Rage Orc Rage Tharmas Urizen no longer curbs your rage So Urizen spoke he shook his snows from off his Shoulders & arose As on a Pyramid of mist his white robes scattering The fleecy white renewd he shook his aged mantles off Into the fires Then glorious bright Exulting in his joy He sounding rose into the heavens in naked majesty In radiant Youth. when Lo like garlands in the Eastern sky When vocal may comes dancing from the East Ahania came Exulting in her flight as when a bubble rises up On to the surface of a lake. Ahania rose in joy Excess of joy is worse than grief--her heart beat high her blood Burst its bright Vessels She fell down dead at the feet of Urizen. Outstretchd a Smiling corse they buried her in a silent cave Urizen dropt a tear the Eternal Man Darkend with sorrow The three daughters of Urizen Guard Ahanias Death couch Rising from the confusion in tears & howlings & despair Calling upon their fathers Name upon their Rivers dark And the Eternal Man Said Hear my words O Prince of Light"
This is one of the pages for which Blake wrote his text on a proof sheet of the engravings for Young's Night Thoughts which he had illustrated in 1795. The manuscript for 72 pages of the Four Zoas is made available by the British Library. A difficulty in using these pages is that the numbering does not match the numbering in Erdman's book. But you can read the text in Blake's hand and coordinate it to Erdman's text.

As we have been following the transformative process through which mankind may 'reassume his ancient bliss', we have reached the point where Urizen must reject the reasoning which led him into depths of dejection and destruction. His dissatisfaction with his role among the Eternals had impelled him to provoke insurrection. What followed was his attempt to take charge of more than his abilities could handle. He knows now that he cannot control the future, and that the other Zoas, although different from him,  are essential to the total man. As soon as Urizen resolves to cast out from his brain the faulty reasoning which has controlled him, he rises as a 'radiant youth' into another state of consciousness. Although his emanation Ahania appears to him, her time is not yet come. She is protected as the process develops further.

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