Ginsberg-Blake continuing – 4

Allen Ginsberg ‘s class on William Blake’s  “America – A Prophecy” -continues from here

“Thus wept the Angel voice& as he wept the terrible blasts/Of trumpets, blew a loud alarm across the Atlantic deep./No trumpets answer; no reply of clarions or of fifes,/Silent the Colonies remain and refuse the loud alarm.”

AG: Then, there is a very strange little side issue:

“On those vast shady hills between America & Albions shore;/Now barr’d out by the Atlantic sea..” – (Now barred out by the sea of time and space, the Atlantic sea) – “… call’d the Atlantean hills” – (Apparently the Atlantean hills are Atlantis — the buried Atlantis or some sort of Shambhala kingdom – that connected Europe and America, according to some mythology.  I think  “Ariston the king of beauty” in line ten relates to that Atlantis myth, which goes back to Atlas shouldering the world – the entire world at once – and which will relate later on to Albion, the risen world or the risen mankind.

So there’s a vison, as the revolution begins, there’s a little vision of a primordial Utopia – Atlantis – where America and Europe were once connected by the “king of beauty”- by Ariston).

“Here on their magic seats the thirteen Angels sat perturb’d/For clouds from the Atlantic hover o’er the solemn roof.”

Then…”Fiery’..”.. on Plate 11.. Well, also, as you see, “Ariston … king of beauty” in a way, or Orc, is, in Plate 10, bursting from the flames, (as in Plate 8, the old Urizenic King was trying to hold down the flames).  So there is a parallel between the two figures. One has his right foot up and one his left.  Orc’s left leg imitates Urizen’s right, according to Erdman on page one-four eight of the Illustrations. “Both figures stretch out their arms, Urizen to hold on to his clouds, Orc to encourage his flames….”

You’ve got the pictures?  (If) you haven’t got pictures, go look.  Okay, get it together with the pictures.  John, go sit with somebody who’s got the pictures.

So in the middle of page hundred-and-forty-eight (of Erdman) , the little commentary: “The visibly stony womb of plate eight encloses Orc’s apocalype, with Urizen sitting over it like a hen on an egg, until two plates later it ‘gives birth’ to fiery Orc….”  (So it’s like contraries giving birth to each other, or a dialectic in which Urizen gives birth to Orc, or there are variations of the same energy; varieties of the same energy).

And there’s also a kind of pun, because he’s got the king of beauty emerging from flames, in a way.  You’ve got a beautiful youth –  fiery, a little frightened, (with hair like Charlie’s (sic)  [Charlie Ross, his teaching assistant], you know like hair kind of curly, coming out of his head, (his) eyes wide open, ((the) whites of his eyes (are) showing, actually) . “Then Los arose his head he rear’d in snaky thunders clad….”  That’s from later, in “Europe” – the “snaky thunders” of his head.

So:  “Fiery the Angels rose.”  So that’s sort of a literal picture of (a) fiery angel rising.

to be continued

[Audio for the above can be found here, beginning at approximately eight-and-a-quarter  minutes in and concluding approximately thirteen-and-three-quarter minutes in] 

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