Saturday, January 16, 2016


Wikimedia Commons
Four Zoas, Night I
Page 3

Jerusalem, Plate 29 [33], (E 175)
"Vala replied in clouds of tears Albions garment embracing      

I was a City & a Temple built by Albions Children.
I was a Garden planted with beauty I allured on hill & valley
The River of Life to flow against my walls & among my trees
Vala was Albions Bride & Wife in great Eternity
The loveliest of the daughters of Eternity"

Blake often portrayed the original fall of man in terms of a plot between Urizen, man's reasoning mind and Luvah, man's emotional heart. But as the battleground shifted Luvah's emanation Vala, became prominent in the development of the myth. Blake's first epic was originally named Vala, not the Four Zoas.  Blake saw that man was enthralled by his attachment to the natural world represented by Vala. The object to which the emotions respond had replaced the activity of engaging in spontaneous emotional involvement. Man began to serve Vala, as Nature, instead of being served by nature. The label 'good' was attached to the feminine world of externals, resulting in the neglect of the masculine internal world. 

The Eternal world of Luvah and Vala had been Beulah, the state of sweet repose where there is no dissension and contraries are equally true. Outside of Beulah, Vala assumed several identities: she was the temptress who lured Albion away from Jerusalem; she was the veil which concealed from man the recognition of Eternity; she was the means by which the moral law was imposed on man; she was the instrument of vengeance when her religion of Mystery gained power. 

Yale Center for British Art
Plate 32
Vala & Enitharmon

Four Zoas, Night I, Page 1, (E 305)
"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 seiz'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."

Jerusalem, Plate 29 [33], (E 176)
"thou & I, hid the Divine Vision
In cloud of secret gloom which behold involve me round about  
Know me now Albion: look upon me I alone am Beauty
The Imaginative Human Form is but a breathing of Vala
I breathe him forth into the Heaven from my secret Cave          
Born of the Woman to obey the Woman O Albion the mighty
For the Divine appearance is Brotherhood, but I am Love"
Yale Center for British Art
Plate 51
Vala, Hyle, Skofield


Larry Clayton said...

Very good post, Ellie. Lots of useful links and appropriate size.

Susan J. said...

Hi Ellie - can you point me to more about this?
"Blake often portrayed the original fall of man in terms of a plot between Urizen, man's reasoning mind and Luvah, man's emotional heart."

I'm struggling to read a book about the Enlighenment, and I keep thinking about Blake and the Romantic Movement as opposed to the Enlightenment, and how sometimes it seems like life is a struggle between Truth and Love...

Have a great day, both o'y'all!


ellie said...

Hi Susan, you always give me a lot to think about.

The pendulum swings. Excesses in one direction provoke the opposite excesses. If the orthodox worldview of the 17-18th century had engendered superstition, feudalism, and economic deprivation, the time was ripe to try rationalism, republicanism and industrialization. But if the result of this swing was secularism, revolution, and dehumanization, the price was too high. Blake tried to make people aware of the costs which has been incurred by not applying all of the capabilities of man to providing a society which recognized man's spiritual, physical, emotional and intellectual needs.

The Spectre was the false reasoning which dominated the world Blake observed. Man's intellect had been given free reign to obscure the truth of revealed religion, to extract the most labor for the least reward from the masses, to oppress man with a moral law which deprived him of liberty, and to assume the internal throne which belonged to man's Soul.

The three things which abide are Faith, Hope and Love. Truth is not included because Truth cannot be stated inclusively. Truth replaces error until a higher truth can be attained. Living through Faith, Hope and Love facilitates reaching higher Truth. If the Enlightenment claimed to have attained to a permanent, universally applicable Truth it incorporated the seeds of for its own replacement.

Love knows it must be reborn moment by moment, Love knows it is not born to be served but to serve, Love knows that the Key to the Gate of Paradise is Mutual Forgiveness for each Vice.

Bless You,