Monday, June 05, 2017


British Museum
Pan teaching a boy to play on the pipes

The satyr Pan is not an innocent character. The pipe which bears his name was contrived in a moment of anger when the Nymph he hoped to possess was turned into a reed. He repented of his wrath at having broken the reed into segments by constructing the pieces into a pipe for making music. The young Blake's picture, however, captured the innocent side of Pan, the patron of shepherds, instructing a boy in the art of playing the Pan Pipe by blowing over the openings of the reeds.
Blake began the Songs of Innocence by adopting the role of the shepherd teaching a song to a child and preparing to write his songs with a makeshift reed pen. 

Songs of Innocence, Plate 4, (E 7)
"Piping down the valleys wild
Piping songs of pleasant glee
On a cloud I saw a child.
And he laughing said to me.

Pipe a song about a Lamb;    
So I piped with merry chear,
Piper pipe that song again--
So I piped, he wept to hear.

Drop thy pipe thy happy pipe
Sing thy songs of happy chear,        
So I sung the same again
While he wept with joy to hear

Piper sit thee down and write
In a book that all may read--
So he vanish'd from my sight.
And I pluck'd a hollow reed.

And I made a rural pen,
And I stain'd the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
Every child may joy to hear       

Plate 5  
The Shepherd. 
How sweet is the Shepherds sweet lot,
Yale Center for British Art
Plate 7
From the morn to the evening he strays:
He shall follow his sheep all the day
And his tongue shall be filled with praise. 
For he hears the lambs innocent call,
And he hears the ewes tender reply,
He is watchful while they are in peace,
For they know when their Shepherd is nigh."

Near the end of Four Zoas the peace of innocence was returned. Mankind had learned through experience to re-assimilate the broken pieces of his psyche and live in harmony recognizing that everything that lives is holy.
Four Zoas, Night IX,Page ( E 403)  
"The song arose to the Golden feast the 
Eternal Man rejoicd 
Then the Eternal Man said Luvah the Vintage 
is ripe arise 
The sons of Urizen shall gather the vintage 
with sharp hooks 
And all thy sons O Luvah bear away the 
families of Earth 
I hear the flail of Urizen his barns are full 
no room 
Remains & in the Vineyards stand 
the abounding sheaves beneath 
The falling Grapes that odorous burst upon the winds. 
Arise My flocks & herds trample the Corn my cattle browze upon 
The ripe Clusters The shepherds shout for Luvah prince of Love 
Let the Bulls of Luvah tread the Corn & draw the loaded waggon 
Into the Barn while children glean the Ears around the door 
Then shall they lift their innocent hands & stroke his furious nose 
And he shall lick the little girls white neck & on her head
Scatter the perfume of his breath while from his mountains high
The lion of terror shall come down & bending his bright mane
And couching at their side shall eat from the curld boys white lap
His golden food and in the evening sleep before the Door"

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