Saturday, August 13, 2016

BLAKE'S PSYCHE

Yale Center for British Art
America
Copy M, Plate 7 


Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 129, (E 398) 
"Where is the voice of God that calld me from the silent dew 
Where is the Lord of Vala dost thou hide in clefts of the rock 
Why shouldst thou hide thyself from Vala from the soul that wanders desolate"
 
 
Kathleen Raine
Blake and Tradition


There are many threads that are woven into Psyche's story. Her loveliness is emphasized from the beginning. Because of her perfection she is worthy to be sacrificed to appease the Gods who are punishing her people.

She lost her old life when she was sacrificed, but she simultaneously found a new life in a new place, with a new body, and with a new experience of sexual love.

She lost this new life too, through suspicion and disobedience.

If Psyche is thought of as the Soul and Cupid is thought of as Love, their union engenders the perfect existence. As the story is told there are influences, however, that drew the Soul away from the perfect unity. Doubt and disobedience destroyed the idyllic symbiosis.

Psyche had fallen into a third level of her descent but she had enough memory of her past circumstances to seek for her lost lover and the garden in which she originated.  

The path that Vala followed resembled Psyche's journey.

Vala too began as the most beautiful of the Daughters of Eternity. Her fall is not clearly described but somehow she was divided from Luvah, her other self, and drawn into the bosom of Albion.

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 when in day-break     

I emanated from Luvah over the Towers of Jerusalem
And in her Courts among her little Children offering up
The Sacrifice of fanatic love! why loved I Jerusalem!
Why was I one with her embracing in the Vision of Jesus
Wherefore did I loving create love, which never yet              
Immingled God & Man, when 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"

She was assigned the task of providing bodies for the souls whom Jerusalem released into Generation. But Vala, who like Psyche was influenced by other voices, continued to fall further and further into the errors which led to decadence and destruction.

Jerusalem, Plate 7, (E 149)
"Listen, I will tell thee what is done in moments to thee unknown:

Luvah was cast into the Furnaces of affliction and sealed,       
And Vala fed in cruel delight, the Furnaces with fire:
Stern Urizen beheld; urgd by necessity to keep
The evil day afar, and if perchance with iron power
He might avert his own despair: in woe & fear he saw
Vala incircle round the Furnaces where Luvah was clos'd:         
With joy she heard his howlings, & forgot he was her Luvah,
With whom she liv'd in bliss in times of innocence & youth!"

It was necessary for Vala to travel the road of experience, to be exposed to the pain and sorrow of living in a world which exhibited the symptoms of falling away from the Divine Vision. She was brought back, not through her own efforts, but through the restoration of the Vision which reunited the scattered portions of the Divine Humanity. She lived once again in the beautiful house which was constructed for her by her lover.

Perhaps the greatest similarity between Psyche and Vala is that although to each her beloved became invisible, his voice was discernible. Each was willing to seek what they had lost and listen for the loved voice. Even though they experienced failure and felt abandoned, they found ways to continue their search until the gate back into Eternity opened for them.

Jerusalem, Plate 61, (E 212)
[Mary speaks]
"Does the voice of my Lord call me again? am I pure thro his Mercy
And Pity. Am I become lovely as a Virgin in his sight who am
Indeed a Harlot drunken with the Sacrifice of Idols does he
Call her pure as he did in the days of her Infancy when She
Was cast out to the loathing of her person. The Chaldean took
Me from my Cradle. The Amalekite stole me away upon his Camels
Before I had ever beheld with love the Face of Jehovah; or known
That there was a God of Mercy: O Mercy O Divine Humanity!
O Forgiveness & Pity & Compassion! If I were Pure I should never
Have known Thee; If I were Unpolluted I should never have        
Glorified thy Holiness, or rejoiced in thy great Salvation."
 
Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 126, (E 395)
"Come forth O Vala from the grass & from the silent Dew
Rise from the dews of death for the Eternal Man is Risen

She rises among flowers & looks toward the Eastern clearness
She walks yea runs her feet are wingd on the tops of the bending grass
Her garments rejoice in the vocal wind & her hair glistens with dew    

She answerd thus Whose voice is this in the voice of the nourishing air
In the spirit of the morning awaking the Soul from its grassy bed

PAGE 127 
Where dost thou dwell for it is thee I seek & but for thee
I must have slept Eternally nor have felt the dew of thy morning
Look how the opening dawn advances with vocal harmony
Look how the beams foreshew the rising of some glorious power
The sun is thine he goeth forth in his majestic brightness  
O thou creating voice that callest & who shall answer thee

Where dost thou flee O fair one where dost thou seek thy happy place

To yonder brightness there I haste for sure I came from thence
Or I must have slept eternally nor have felt the dew of morning

Eternally thou must have slept nor have felt the morning dew 
But for yon nourishing sun tis that by which thou art arisen
The birds adore the sun the beasts rise up & play in his beams
And every flower & every leaf rejoices in his light
Then O thou fair one sit thee down for thou art as the grass
Thou risest in the dew of morning & at night art folded up 

Alas am I but as a flower then will I sit me down
Then will I weep then Ill complain & sigh for immortality
And chide my maker thee O Sun that raisedst me to fall

So saying she sat down & wept beneath the apple trees

O be thou blotted out thou Sun that raisedst me to trouble 
That gavest me a heart to crave & raisedst me thy phantom
To feel thy heat & see thy light & wander here alone
Hopeless if I am like the grass & so shall pass away

Rise sluggish Soul why sitst thou here why dost thou sit & weep
Yon Sun shall wax old & decay but thou shalt ever flourish 
The fruit shall ripen & fall down & the flowers consume away
But thou shalt still survive arise O dry thy dewy tears

Hah! Shall I still survive whence came that sweet & comforting voice
And whence that voice of sorrow O sun thou art nothing now to me
Go on thy course rejoicing & let us both rejoice together 
I walk among his flocks & hear the bleating of his lambs
O that I could behold his face & follow his pure feet
I walk by the footsteps of his flocks come hither tender flocks
Can you converse with a pure Soul that seeketh for her maker
You answer not then am I set your mistress in this garden 
Ill watch you & attend your footsteps you are not like the birds"

No comments: