William Blake – (Earth’s Answer)

AG: Okay, I don’t know the tune to “Earth’s Answer”.  Similar (to the Introduction), I guess.

“Earth rais’d up her head,/From the darkness dread & drear./Her light fled:/Stony dread!/And her locks cover’d with grey despair./Prison’d on watry shore/Starry Jealousy does keep my den/Cold and hoar/Weeping o’er/I hear the Father of the ancient men/ Selfish father of men/Cruel jealous selfish fear/Can delight/Chain’d in night/The virgins of youth and morning bear./ Does spring hide its joy/When buds and blossoms grow?/Does the sower?/Sow by night?/Or the plowman in darkness plow?/Break this heavy chain,/That does freeze my bones around/Selfish! vain,/Eternal bane!/That free Love with bondage bound.”

It took me a long time to figure out that the “that” has to be emphasized.  “That free Love.” That there free love.  That free love, and not “that free love should be bound with bondage” but “That free love bound in bondage.” –  “Break this heavy chain,/That does freeze my bones around/Selfish! vain,/Eternal bane!/ That free Love with bondage bound”. That way the line will fit.  Otherwise you’ll get – “Selfish! vain,/Eternal bane!/that free love with bondage…”

Student:  I don’t think I’m understanding the meaning of the word.

AG:  That is that there.  It means “that there”- “that there free love.”

Student:  This particular instance of love.

Student:  Yeah.

AG:  Oh, that the love of the virgins of youth and morning, spring’s joy, the spring heart is joy, the joy of spring.  That free love.  How can that be bound?  I don’t know what the grammatical thing would be.  What would the name of the grammatical function of that?  It could have two different functions.

Student:  Would “that” then be an object.  In other words, is he speaking of love as in this particular instance of love, or is he speaking of love in the greater?

AG:  No, this particular instance of love.  This instance.  That instance.

Student:  That instance.

AG:  So that way that would give the word “that” an accent.

Student:  Okay.

AG:  An emphasis.  And that makes it fit metrically.

Student:  Right.

AG:  Does that make sense to you now?

Student:  Yeah.

AG:  See, it took me a little while to figure (it out).  I always thought it was not that particular instance, I thought it was a different grammatical function there.  I thought it meant that “free Love should be with bondage bound” – “Selfish! vain,/Eternal bane!/That free Love with bondage bound.”  But it didn’t have that “should be” in there, so, therefore, what would “That free Love with bondage bound” mean?

Student:  Yeah.

AG:  It must be that –  A reference to that there or that particular.

Student:  Pointing.

AG:  Yeah, pointing –  That one.  Both.  “That does freeze my bones around.”  “Break this heavy chain”  (well, that could be either way.  The heavy chain that does freeze my (bones)), but he says, “That does freeze.”  He doesn’t say “Break this heavy chain,/That freezes my bones around,” so I interpret it as “that does” – “that chain does freeze my bones around.”

Student:  So… “Break this heavy chain,/…That free Love with bondage bound.”

AG:  Well, the “that” there I thought in reference to spring’s joy –  “Buds and blossoms”.  Because that was the nearest I could figure it.  It’s a very ambiguous thing.

Student (1):  How about free like as a bird?  To free love.

Student (2):  It would have to be “freeze”.

Student (1):  No, free, as in like to free a prisoner.

Student (2):  Yeah, but it would have to be like “freeze love.”

AG:  Yeah.

Student:  Oh, yeah I see.

AG:  Is he….

Student:  (Yeah)

AG:  Just going on to the… just digging the… the meaning is clear now in terms of the symbolism.  “The starry floor/The watry shore.”  – “Starry” being intellect, remember?  “Watry shore” – that’s the sea of time and space.  The lapsed soul weeping in the evening dew stuck in this “starry floor, watry shore”, is given only to the break of day.  You got to wake up from that.  You’ve got to wake up from the sleep of reason, from the Newtonian sleep in the material universe.  And earth’s answer is “Why am I prisoned in this watry shore?  Why am I prisoned in the material universe?”

Well, I wanted to sing.  Since we got this situation I wanted to sing more.

to be continued

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