Sunday, May 05, 2019


Four Zoas, Night VIII
Page 109
Enion's final lament appears late in Night VIII. Her laments have been silent since Night III because she has been wandering 'into the deep Where never yet Existence came.' But her wanderings have not been unproductive. Unlike Thel she accepted the challenge to explore the grave and death by entering into them and gaining experience of them not as observer but as a participant. As a generator of natural life she knew that she was also a generator of death in the natural world. Through entering into this desolation she learned to embrace what had once been the source of her fear and despair. This experience became a gate leading to an awakening to a new Enion who knew that the consciousness of immortality replaced the fear of mortality.

Blake was making the distinction between death as it is experienced in the natural world and death as a spiritual experience of entry into Eternal Life. The Circle of Destiny is a term Blake used for the cyclical process through which the natural world renews itself through a repetition of birth, life and death. Enion who had introduced such a process became aware of its futility. She saw that the culmination of humanity's journey through life was not to begin again the same dull round but to be transformed to an eternal dimension beyond the confines of natural life.

Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 113 [109], (E 384)
"Thus cries Ahania   Enion replies from the Caverns of the Grave

Fear not O poor forsaken one O land of briars & thorns
Where once the Olive flourishd & the Cedar spread his wings 
Once I waild desolate like thee my fallow fields in fear
Cried to the Churchyards & the Earthworm came in dismal state
I found him in my bosom & I said the time of Love
Appears upon the rocks & hills in silent shades but soon
A voice came in the night a midnight cry upon the mountains 
Awake the bridegroom cometh I awoke to sleep no more
But an Eternal Consummation is dark Enion
The watry Grave. O thou Corn field O thou Vegetater happy
More happy is the dark consumer hope drowns all my torment
For I am now surrounded by a shadowy vortex drawing 
The Spectre quite away from Enion that I die a death
Of bitter hope altho I consume in these raging waters
The furrowd field replies to the grave I hear her reply to me
Behold the time approaches fast that thou shalt be as a thing
Forgotten when one speaks of thee he will not be believd 
When the man gently fades away in his immortality

When the mortal disappears in improved knowledge cast away
The former things so shall the Mortal gently fade away
And so become invisible to those who still remain
Listen I will tell thee what is done in the caverns of the grave 
PAGE 114 [110] 
The Lamb of God has rent the Veil of Mystery soon to return
In Clouds & Fires around the rock & the Mysterious tree
As the seed waits Eagerly watching for its flower & fruit
Anxious its little soul looks out into the clear expanse
To see if hungry winds are abroad with their invisible army 
So Man looks out in tree & herb & fish & bird & beast
Collecting up the scatterd portions of his immortal body
Into the Elemental forms of every thing that grows
He tries the sullen north wind riding on its angry furrows
The sultry south when the sun rises & the angry east 
When the sun sets when the clods harden & the cattle stand
Drooping & the birds hide in their silent nests. he stores his thoughts
As in a store house in his memory he regulates the forms
Of all beneath & all above   & in the gentle West
Reposes where the Suns heat dwells   he rises to the Sun
And to the Planets of the Night & to the stars that gild
The Zodiac & the stars that sullen stand to north & south
He touches the remotest pole & in the Center weeps
That Man should Labour & sorrow & learn & forget & return 
To the dark valley whence he came to begin his labours anew
In pain he sighs in pain he labours in his universe
Screaming in birds over the deep & howling in the Wolf
Over the slain & moaning in the cattle & in the winds
And weeping over Orc & Urizen in clouds & flaming fires 
And in the cries of birth & in the groans of death his voice 
Is heard throughout the Universe whereever a grass grows
Or a leaf buds   The Eternal Man is seen is heard   is felt
And all his Sorrows till he reassumes his ancient bliss

Such are the words of Ahania & Enion. Los hears & weeps"  
In Blake's Four Zoas: The Design of a Dream, Brian Wilkie and Mary Lynn Johnson emphasize that Enion is not referring to seasonal renewal in her fourth lament:

"Something starts things budding every spring, whether there is any point or not: something deathless stirs in mankind despite the grave, and that stirring promises human resurrection. But nature provides only an analogy, not a proof or a dynamic. The active force in renewal, according to both Shelley's and Blake's vision, is the human will acting on love whose ultimate source is imagination. The seeds of new life in the human world are small acts of goodness struggling, as in Enion's song, to grow; they flourish in spite of natural cycles, not because of them, and in defiance of the limits seemingly imposed by physical death.
Yet repeated failures like those described here are an indirect reminder that opportunities for regeneration are repeated, in fact are omnipresent. The blindness of instinct may be exactly what allows man to start over after failing again and again...Much of his laborious renewal comes through his identifying himself with the pain as well as the joy of the universe." (Page 203)

Wilkie and Johnson find that in the 15TH chapter of 1ST Corinthians Paul affirms the same insight: that our hope is the resurrection, new birth to a new life in Christ not a reappearance of the old man who died in the crucifixion.

First Corinthians 15 (RSV)
[12]Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
[13] But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised;
[14] if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
[15] We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.
[16] For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised.
[17] If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
[18] Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
[19] If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.
[20] But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 

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