Allen Ginsberg on William Blake’s “America- A Prophecy” continues from here
AG: Plate 6 – Finally, the Declaration of Independence. It’s the second great oration in Blake, since the great one we had (with) Oothoon’s beautiful rhetorical speech about the shadowy chamber of masturbation. So here is a Declaration of Independence, which, according to Alicia Ostriker‘s notes, includes life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness in its three parts. It’s Blake’s version of the Declaration of Independence. It makes use of all of his old imagery, (except you can either read it as his imagery symbolism – like the word “mill” which is the intellect, Urizenic intellect, or just “mill”m the capitalist, Satanic mill, or the “mill” where you’re imprisoned, you work, the workhouse. Or you can use the “sun has left its blackness” – remember we had “blackness” as the wrath covering the sun, the anger covering the sun? The Lion and the Wolf.. It ends, “For “Empire is (now) no More! and now the Lion & (the) Wolf shall cease.” We’ve had that line a number of times.)
So, before I read this, I want (to figure out that image) so that you’ll understand it, so let’s get the lion and the wolf (and) find out what they are. Remember “Empire is no More! and now the Lion & (the) Wolf shall cease”? The end of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell? And it comes up here and it’ll keep coming.
So let’s… According to Damon, (see) exactly what the “wolf” is – “(The wolf is) a predatory animal whose victims are the flocks which the noble Lion protects. Blake often refers to the warfare between the two – in various poems, like “Night“– [Allen sings the lines] “When wolves and tygers howl for prey/They pitying stand and weep..” – The lion – “Seeking to drive his…”
Student: ‘..thirst away”.
AG: “….thirst away,/And guide them from the sheep./But if they rush dreadful..”
Student: “The angels most heedful..”
AG: “… Receive each mild spirit,/ New worlds to inherit./ And there the lions ruddy eyes,/Shall flow with tears of gold..” – That’s in “Night”.
But, anyway, “Loud howls the eternal Wolf! the eternal lion lashes his tail!” – That’s in “America”. – ” Empire is no More! and now the Lion & Wolf shall cease” – Marriage of Heaven and Hell
So, the wolf, then is “predatory animal whose victims are the flocks which the” Lion feeds.” And on the next page, (page seven), you’ll see a ram and a bunch of little kids sleeping. They haven’t been preyed on by the wolf, yet.
Let’s see what he’s got (on the lion) Well, it’s pretty much self-evident, I think. Energy. (The) lion very often is, for Blake, the loins, oddly enough, the cock (or) the genitals, cunt – the lion. The energy there forms a trinity with head and heart. At any rate, we had it originally. But its relation to the wolf (is as) the protector, the spiritual protector, I guess, from the predator.
Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately sixty-two minutes in and concluding at approximately sixty-eight minutes in