Ginsberg-Blake continuing – 2 (“The Eternal Viper”)

Allen Ginsberg continues with his February 1979 review of William Blake’s “America – A Prophecy”

“Sound! Sound! my loud war-trumpets & alarm my thirteen Angels!”

AG: Now, who are they?  I think we went over that?  Those are the Tories, the finks, the Loyalists, the minions, the puppet rulers, George III’s Governors, the Thirteen Angels, the good guys. The Governors that will later meet and get scared, as Blake will describe it, at “the Eternal Viper self-renew’d.” [ “Ah vision from afar! Ah rebel form that rent the ancient/Heavens! Eternal Viper self-renew’d,rolling in clouds…“]. So, we know the Eternal Viper in this language of reverse heaven and hell, the Eternal Viper is a revolution, the Leviathan, the serpent that’s pictured here and there.  On Plate 11The Eternal Viper self-renew’d.. (the) rebel form.. rebel form, a general viper.

That’s funny.  There was in the 1920’s … what was that song?  Dah-dah duh-dah-dah duh-dah “If you’s a Viper.”

Student:  (that’d be..)

AG:  What was that?

Student: (..tea-pad songs)

Student:  Fats Waller

AG:  It’s the old … do you know the words?  What’s the word? –  A “viper smokes “muggles“.

Student:  Yeah, right.

AG:  “If you’s a viper.”

“The Eternal Viper self-renew’d” (laughs), “rolling in clouds.” (laughs) – (Why not? –  of grass smoke).  And there’s the grass growing right there!  So this is an extra-special footnote to Blake, in Plate 9,  ( Editorial note  –Plate 11 – sic),and a large harvest of grass) – Okay.

poster for Allen Ginsberg’s reading in Los Angeles in 1994 at Johnny Depp‘s The Viper Room

{Audio for the above can be found – here,  beginning at approximately four-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately five-and-a-quarter minutes in ]


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