Sunday, October 18, 2015


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 113

Four Zoas, Night VIII, PAGE 104 (FIRST PORTION) (E 376)
"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 
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

But when Rahab had cut off the Mantle of Luvah from    
The Lamb of God it rolld apart, revealing to all in heaven
And all on Earth the Temple & the Synagogue of Satan & Mystery
Even Rahab in all her turpitude Rahab divided herself
She stood before Los in her Pride among the Furnaces   
Dividing & uniting in Delusive feminine pomp questioning him

He answerd her with tenderness & love not uninspird    
Los sat upon his anvil stock they sat beside the forge 
Los wipd the sweat from his red brow & thus began
To the delusive female forms shining among his furnaces

I am that shadowy Prophet who six thousand years ago
Fell from my station in the Eternal bosom. I divided
To multitude & my multitudes are children of Care & Labour 
O Rahab I behold thee I was once like thee a Son
Of Pride and I also have piercd the Lamb of God in pride & wrath
Hear me repeat my Generations that thou mayst also repent

We now behold the Ends of Beulah & we now behold
Where Death Eternal is put off Eternally
Assume the dark Satanic body in the Virgins womb
O Lamb divin[e] it cannot thee annoy O pitying one
Thy pity is from the foundation of the World & thy Redemption
Begun Already in Eternity   Come then O Lamb of God 
Come Lord Jesus come quickly

So sang they in Eternity looking down into Beulah." 

Blake included no illustration on this page. We are reminded here of the work of Enitharmon who wove on her looms the bodies that clothed the specters of the dead. But the benevolent work of Enitharmon was assailed by forces which tore down the delicate structures of innocence by exposing them to the harsh conditions of experience.  Man's sojourn in the world of time and space related from the perspective of Eternity is the topic this passage. The Eternals observe the suffering of humanity knowing that their condition is temporary: that the suffering they endure will be shared by the Lamb of God who will put on the mantle of life and death.

There is no immediate transition as a result of the incarnation because the systems of oppression are ingrained in human minds. The presence of the Lamb exposes Rahab and Satan as delusions but they still must be dealt with. It takes Los - the Imagination, the Prophet, the Holy Spirit - to confront error in love in order to put it off Eternally.

In this context we may think of Rahab as the system of moral law externally, or as the Superego internally. Satan may be related to the Id as the source of energy and desire masquerading as the true man.  
Yale Center for British Art
Plate 100

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