Ginsberg-Blake continuing – 14

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

AG:  It’s really a supreme portrait of  an aged ego,  scared, like, really, (of) being overthrown, looking out from the space of the mind of heaven . Then getting scared  – “Weeping in dismal howling” –  this great professor of intellect who comes down from the heavens – “he dark descended howling/Around the smitten bands, clothed in tears & trembling shudd’ring cold. – “His stored snows he poured forth” (so there’s now a coldness, frigidity, put-down, satire, cynicism, “me-decade”) – “His stored snows he poured forth, and his icy magazines/He open’d on the deep, and on the Atlantic sea white shiv’ring” – (“icy magazines”,   oddly enough, that’s one of the phrases that I always dug, and it’s another one of these wart-like phrases, or weird, strange, interesting phrases in Blake –  “icy magazines”. Just the sound, for one (thing) – “icy magazines”.  But also the suggestion –  it’s the powder-magazines, obviously, you could say, as military – the word “magazine” is used for storing gunpowder, right?)

Student:  Uh-huh.

AG:  But also there seems to be some pun here, according to I think.. I read it in Erdman.  He’s..Blake is talking here about counter-revolutionary writers, who at the time were filling the journals of the day with all sorts of cold propaganda to halt the spread of revolution –  A situation which again you can find in today’s … what do you call it … slick paper literature, we call it – slick magazines.  You can find a very similar thing today.  Right now.  I got an invitation the other day from Tulane University, where I’ll be going this weekend … (or.. this weekend?  I guess (so)..Notre Dame, I think it is. Notre Dame) to take part in some kind of funny colloquium with Morley Safer, some guy from T.V.  Anybody ever hear of Safer or something?  Some news company.

Student:  Yes.

Student:  “60 Minutes”.

AG:  Yeah, that guy, and Ben Wattenberg.

Student:  Yeah.

AG:  ..who was a… Middle America. . the  Middle America guy.  And a whole bunch of people like that – and it’s called “The New Individualism”, which is the New American Aesopian Language for the new robot-type, the new narcissist, ass-licker police-state slave.

So the “icy magazines” is just a very funny pun by Blake, because he both means military magazines, and he is making a very elegant literary allusion here.  “His stored snows he poured forth, and his icy magazines/He open’d on the deep”  –  (this is all the bullshit that was being written in his day, he’s talking about) –  “… and on the Atlantic sea white shiv’ring/ Leprous his limbs, all over white, and hoary was his visage./Weeping in dismal howlings before the stern Americans/Hiding in dismal howlings before the stern Americans/Hiding the Demon red..” – (“The Demon red”, again, is Orc – revolution) – “..with clouds & cold mists from the earth;/Till Angels & weak men twelve years should govern o’er the strong..” – (“Till Angels & weak men (for) twelve years” – ( That would be between, perhaps, Bunker Hill and the storming of the Bastille. (17)76 or so, to 1789).

And his conception of “Angels & weak men … should govern o’er the strong” – that’s (a) kind of interesting phrase if you would use that on television now –  “Angels and weak men are governing America.”,  are “governing over the strong” –  if you consider the ‘Sixties radical sentiment.

“And then their end should come, when France reciev’d the Demons light” – (That would be the light of the revolution). Stiff shudderings shook the heav’nly thrones! France Spain &           Italy/ In terror view’d the bands of Albion..- (Well, because all these – Spain and Italy then – were also going through a revolutionary period.  1790…  – what was going on in Italy? – 1793?,  1792?… Do you know? – (to Student)  Toward the end of the eighteenth century, was there any transitional thing?

Student:  Yeah, it was a period of revolution, because it was.. all the small empires of Savoy was (were) trying to take over the Austria and the State of Vatican and the…

AG:  Uh-huh.

Student:  ..And the Kingdom of Sicily.

AG:  Was that some sort of Libertarian thing?

Student: Yeah

AG:  …also.

Student: Yeah

Student: And that was in Italy, you know, that was trying to keep together.

AG: I don’t know, does anyone know Spanish history well enough to know what was going on in Spain at the end of the  eighteenth-century? because anyway Blake is saying “..France Spain & Italy/ In terror view’d the bands of Albion, and the ancient Guardians,/Fainting with their own elements, smitten with their own plagues./They slow advances to shut the five gates of their law-built heaven  (well, that’s interesting, so it’s finally bringing it back home to the body and to the senses and to individual perception”).

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately forty-seven-and-a-half minutes  in and concluding at approximately  fifty-three-and-a-half minutes in 

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