Sunday, February 25, 2018


"Let it be" (Paul McCartney)
"What will be, will be" (Jay Livingston, Ray Evans)
"We don't know what will happen until it happens" (ellie)
"Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens" (David Byrne, Jerry Harrison)

Wikipedia Commons
The Book of Urizen
Copy G, Plate 22
There is widespread agreement that the human mind is not unified but divided. Blake dealt with the divisions in various ways. First he considered the mind to be capable of perceiving the Eternal through what we think of as intuition or what Blake called Imagination. Using the second division the mind could receive data from the natural of material world through what we think of as the senses. These two divisions resulted from the splitting of the original unified state of the mind which to Blake was the Fall.

The original state of the mind before the Fall, although not divided, was inclusive of multiple activities. Drawing away from the unity the activities became multiple entities within the mind, which Blake called Zoas. As the mind projected the Zoas outward onto what was external, the data received through the senses was perceived as independent entities.  

This brings us to Urizen, one of the four Zoas. He functioned in the undivided mind to provide certainty and faith in the divine scheme. He planted the seeds which would mature into new growth. His was the light which illumined all the activity. He was reason in the unfallen state. However outside of the integrated mental functioning of Eternity, Urizen attempted to replicate his role without the support of the integrated Brotherhood of Eternals. He aimed to take charge by imposing his patterns of thought on others, he formed institutions to replace organic processes of organization, he formulated a system of rules to prevent expressions of intuitive, spontaneous activity.

The synthetic processes through which he imitated Eternal reason, however, led further and further into doubt, despair and alienation. His political organization was tyranny, his religious outlook was Deism or Mystery, his social order was repression. He attempted to preempt Luvah's function into war, Tharmas' function into self-doubt, and Urthona's function into repetition of the same dull round. Urizen feared the outcome of his dark experiment and so gave priority to controlling the future. He attempted to enter the territory of Urthona because as Percival tells us, "This anticipatory view of the future is properly the realm of Urthona, whose imaginative vision must henceforth be troubled by Urizen's doubts and fears."       

Songs of Experience,Song 30,(E 18) 
"Hear the voice of the Bard!
Who Present, Past, & Future sees
Whose ears have heard,
The Holy Word,
That walk'd among the ancient trees."

Milton, Plate 7, (E 100) 
"Then Palamabron reddening like the Moon in an eclipse,        
Spoke saying, You know Satans mildness and his self-imposition,
Seeming a brother, being a tyrant, even thinking himself a brother
While he is murdering the just; prophetic I behold
His future course thro' darkness and despair to eternal death
But we must not be tyrants also! he hath assum'd my place      
For one whole day, under pretence of pity and love to me:
My horses hath he maddend! and my fellow servants injur'd:
How should he, he, know the duties of another? O foolish forbearance 
Would I had told Los, all my heart! but patience O my friends.
All may be well: silent remain, while I call Los and Satan."

Jerusalem, PLATE 15, (E 158)
"I see the Four-fold Man. The Humanity in deadly sleep
And its fallen Emanation. The Spectre & its cruel Shadow.
I see the Past, Present & Future, existing all at once
Before me; O Divine Spirit sustain me on thy wings!
That I may awake Albion from His long & cold repose."

Four Zoas, Night IX, PAGE 120, (E 389)  
"The voices of children in my tents to cries of helpless infants
And all exiled from the face of light & shine of morning
In this dark world a narrow house I wander up & down
I hear Mystery howling in these flames of Consummation
When shall the Man of future times become as in days of old 
O weary life why sit I here & give up all my powers
To indolence to the night of death when indolence & mourning
Sit hovring over my dark threshold. tho I arise look out
And scorn the war within my members yet my heart is weak
And my head faint Yet will I look again unto the morning 
Whence is this sound of rage of Men drinking each others blood
Drunk with the smoking gore & red but not with nourishing wine

The Eternal Man sat on the Rocks & cried with awful voice

O Prince of Light where art thou   I behold thee not as once
In those Eternal fields in clouds of morning stepping forth 
With harps & songs where bright Ahania sang before thy face
And all thy sons & daughters gatherd round my ample table
See you not all this wracking furious confusion
Come forth from slumbers of thy cold abstraction come forth
Arise to Eternal births shake off thy cold repose 
Schoolmaster of souls great opposer of change arise
That the Eternal worlds may see thy face in peace & joy
That thou dread form of Certainty maist sit in town & village
While little children play around thy feet in gentle awe
Fearing thy frown loving thy smile O Urizen Prince of light 

He calld[;] the deep buried his voice & answer none returnd"

Annotations to Lavater, (E 592)
"Lavater:  Whatever is visible is the vessel or veil of the
invisible past, present, future--as man penetrates to this more,
or perceives it less, he raises or depresses his dignity of
Blake: A vision of the Eternal Now--"

Book of Urizen, Plate 4, (E 71)
"4: From the depths of dark solitude. From
The eternal abode in my holiness,
Hidden set apart in my stern counsels
Reserv'd for the days of futurity,
I have sought for a joy without pain,                            

For a solid without fluctuation
Why will you die O Eternals?
Why live in unquenchable burnings?"

Four Zoas, Night I, Page 11, (E 306)
"I see, invisible descend into the Gardens of Vala
Luvah walking on the winds, I see the invisible knife
I see the shower of blood: I see the swords & spears of futurity
Tho in the Brain of Man we live, & in his circling Nerves.       
Tho' this bright world of all our joy is in the Human Brain.
Where Urizen & all his Hosts hang their immortal lamps
Thou neer shalt leave this cold expanse where watry Tharmas mourns

So spoke Los. Scorn & Indignation rose upon Enitharmon"

Four Zoas, Night IV, Page 34, (E 322)
"Urizen saw & envied & his imagination was filled                 
Repining he contemplated the past in his bright sphere
Terrified with his heart & spirit at the visions of futurity
That his dread fancy formd before him in the unformd void"

Four Zoas, Night VI, Page 74, (E 350)
"So he began to dig form[ing] of gold silver & iron      
And brass vast instruments to measure out the immense & fix
The whole into another world better suited to obey
His will where none should dare oppose his will himself being King
Of All & all futurity be bound in his vast chain"

Four Zoas, Night VIII, PAGE 101 (SECOND PORTION), (E 374) 
"To the four winds hopeless of future. All futurity 
Seems teeming with Endless Destruction never to be repelld 
Desperate remorse swallows the present in a quenchless rage

Terrified & astonishd Urizen beheld the battle take a form 
Which he intended not a Shadowy hermaphrodite black & opake
The Soldiers namd it Satan but he was yet unformd & vast
Hermaphroditic it at length became hiding the Male
Within as in a Tabernacle Abominable Deadly"

Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 121, (E 390)
"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"

No comments: