The Four Zoas – Ginsberg on Blake continues – 3 from William Blake’s The Four Zoas – from the British Library

Allen Ginsberg lecturing on William Blake (The Four Zoas) continues from here

AG: (In) the next passage, the Eternal Mother, Eno, one of the daughters of Beulah of the world of imagination, is now going to take a look at the interior of the universe.  That’s from lines ten to twenty.  From lines nineteen on we’ll have Los and Enitharmon delighting in the moony spaces of Eno, living in the world of imagination and creative energy lacking a social purpose, unbodied, without the full integrity of Tharmas –  living in Beulah, wandering in Beulah, the unconscious, looking around for a way to get things together, a way to live, and then beginning to quarrel.  So there’s a spat between the brother and sister beginning on page three-oh-one.

I think we’ve read some of this through already, or have we?  – The great line that we had before that Dick Barnes  (sic) pointed out about Eno – “(Then) Eno a daughter of Beulah took a Moment of Time/And drew it” – (that’s on page three hundred) – “Then Eno a daughter of Beulah took a Moment of Time/And drew it out to Seven thousand years with much care & affliction/And many tears & in Every year made windows into Eden” – (So this is like the subconscious imagination now trying to check out (or) trying to create a space, a kind of feminine space, where you can look back and look into the original un-fallen state of Eden.

“She also took an atom of space & open’d its center/Into Infinitude & ornamented it with wondrous art/Astonish’d sat her Sisters of Beulah to see her soft affections/To Enion & her children & they ponder’d these things wond’ring/And they Alternate kept watch over the Youthful terrors/  They saw not yet the Hand Divine for it was not yet reveal’d..” – (The Divine Hand.  How to get back to Eden.  Like the final saving grace.  Nobody could figure that out yet) – “But they went on in Silent Hope & Feminine repose/But Los & Enitharmon delighted in the Moony spaces of Eno’ – (Eno the Eternal Mother, coming out of Beulah.  Beulah, the sort of land of dream, land of subconscious, land of unconscious) – “Nine Times they livd among the forests, feeding on sweet fruits/ And nine bright Spaces wanderd weaving mazes of delight” – (Nine).

Student:  Does that have a relationship to the nine nights?

AG:  Well, let’s see.  (Harold) Bloom’s footnote says “nine in Gnostic terminology is the number of incompletion. –  You haven’t got it complete.  You haven’t got it together, so it’s nine.  It’s an uneven number, it’s an odd number. Traditionally, in hermetic counting, apparently.  So perhaps the significance is nine months of gestation or nine months of incomplete dream world.  Not real world but dream world.  They’re wandering around in a dream world.

“Snaring the wild Goats for their milk they eat the flesh of Lambs” – (odd) – “A male & female naked & ruddy as the pride of summer.” – However – “Alternate Love & Hate in his breast; hers Scorn & Jealousy/In embryon passions, they kiss’d not nor embrac’d for shame & fear” – (Well, there’s some kind of…  they’re still ruled by a shame-scene, apparently. It’s still.. Well, let’s see what it says) – “they kiss’d not nor embrac’d for shame & fear” – (This is sort of like Adam and Eve, after the creation.  See, In Blake there’s some element that his fall, here, Tharmas’s fall, is the beginning of the creation as given in Genesis.  So Los and Enitharmon are, so to speak, Adam and Eve, virginal and not fucking in the Garden of Eden, prohibited.  Or maybe after they ate the apple, beginning to know shame and fear.  In any case.. “..they kiss’d not nor embrac’d for shame & fear/His head beam’d light & in his vigorous voice was prophecy/He could controll the times & seasons, & the days & years/She could controll the spaces, regions, desart, flood & forest/But had no power to weave a Veil of covering for her sins/ She drave the Females all away from Los/And Los drave all the Males from her away/They wanderd long, till they sat down upon the margin’d sea./ Conversing with the visions of Beulah in dark slumberous bliss” – (Sort of a heavy dream world, dark dream world) – “But the two youthful wonders wanderd in the world of..” – (two youthful wonders, these two youthful wonders) – “wanderd in the world of Tharmas”/ Thy name is Enitharmon; said the fierce prophetic boy” – (Another great line in Blake!) – “While thy mild voice fills all these Caverns with sweet harmony/ O how our Parents sit & mourn in their silent secret bowers” – (The parents –  Tharmas and Enion) – “But Enitharmon answerd with a dropping tear & frowning/Dark as a dewy morning when the crimson light appears/To make us happy let them weary their immortal powers/While we draw in their sweet delights while we return them scorn/Or scorn to feed our discontent..” – (This is like Eve tempting Adam) – “..for if we grateful prove/They will withhold sweet love, whose food is thorns & bitter roots” – (So here Blake is analyzing sweet love as a kind of hypocrisy originating in thorns and bitter roots, originating in discontent.  In separation.  In sundering to begin with) –

“We hear the warlike clarions we view the turning spheres/ Yet Thou in indolence reposest holding me in bonds/Hear! I will sing a Song of Death! it is a Song of Vala!”

Now what is Vala?

to be continued

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

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