The Four Zoas – Ginsberg on Blake continues  – 10

“Los” – (from William Blake’s Book of Urizen (1794) – from the copy in the Library of Congress

Allen Ginsberg Naropa class on William Blake’s The Four Zoas continues from – here

“I heard the sounding sea; I heard the voice weaker and weaker;/  The voice came & went like a dream, I awoke in my sweet  bliss.”  – Is that her (Luvah) talking?

Student:  Yes.

AG:  I don’t know quite who is talking.  I would guess it’s her.    But then he hits her!

“Then Los smote her upon the Earth twas long eer she revivd” –  (The prophet smote the muse.  The prophet hit his muse.  Imagine! He didn’t like what the muse prophesied, because she was prophesying (and) describing this state of fallen nature, and he just couldn’t (handle it)  He said, What?  And maybe it was all her fault because she was boasting and mocking him).

“Then Los smote her upon the Earth twas long eer she revivd/He answer’d, darkning more with indignation hid in smiles..” – (Oh, he’s a hypocrite on top of everything else!)

Imagination “dies not” –   Enitharmon –  muse  – Spiritual Beauty –  “I die not Enitharmon,  tho thou singst thy Song of Death/Nor shalt thou me torment  For I behold the Fallen Man/ Seeking to comfort Vala,  she will not be comforted/ She rises from his throne and seeks the shadows of her garden” – (Vala’s garden.  Daydream.) – ” Weeping for Luvah lost, in the bloody beams of your false morning/ Sickning lies the Fallen Man his head sick his heart faint/ Mighty achievement of your power!” – (He’s blaming her now. It’s just parallel to the Milton arguments in the Garden of Eden or the Biblical version of Eve seducing Adam and “Mighty achievement of your power!”)

“… Beware the punishment/  I see, invisible descend into the Gardens of Vala..”

Now here’s Loss prophecy.  Now here’s Los’s version.  Because she has given her prophecy, now Los – Spiritual Poetic Imagination in the fallen state – Spectral Imagination.  The prophecy of Spectral Imagination now coming up.

“Luvah walking on the winds, I see the invisible knife/ I see the shower of blood: I see the swords & spears of futurity..” – (Now, who’s that?  Crucifixion.  Jesus.,  or the body crucified, actually –  “I see the shower of blood,” “I see the invisible knife.. I see the swords & spears of futurity).”

“Tho’ this bright world of all our joy is in the Human Brain/Where Urizen & all his Hosts hang their immortal lamps/ Thou neer shalt leave this cold expanse where watry Tharmas  mourns/ So spoke Los.”

So he first began by calling for some kind of empathy and sympathy for …

Student:  Luvah.

AG:  … Tharmas and Enion.  She rejected it and gave some funny story, as I remember.  He’s coming back to that again and saying to her that she is never going to get out of this fix –  “cold expanse” now – frigidity, or whatever situation they’re in – as long as “watry Tharmas mourns.”

“So spoke Los. Scorn & Indignation rose upon Enitharmon/Then Enitharmon reddning fierce stretchd her immortal hands..” – (And what does she call for now?  She wants Urizen to come down and take over.  The worst is to come.

“Descend O Urizen..” – (she says) – “..descend with horse & chariots” – (Because Urizen, you remember, has horses.  He’s the plowman and that’s why he’s got horses.  He plows over the old territory and creates things new.  He refixes things. As Sweet Science he understands change and analyzes change, or plows over the bones, or “drives his cart over the bones of the dead”, so to speak, to find (or) create new earth.  For growth).

” Descend O Urizen descend with horse & chariots/ Threaten not me… – (She’s talking to her husband now –  “Don’t threaten me”) – “…O visionary” – (Los is the visionary.  Los the visionary poet) – “Threaten not me O visionary thine the punishment/The Human Nature shall no more remain nor Human acts/Form the rebellious Spirits of Heaven. but War & Princedom &  Victory & Blood/  Night darkend as she spoke! a shuddring ran from East to  West/ A Groan was heard on high. The warlike clarions ceast. the Spirits/Of Luvah & Vala shudderd in their Orb – an orb of blood!” – (So all of nature was turned into “an orb of blood” in this argument.  Well, that’s getting bad.  So something’s got to rescue the scene), and so now Blake introduces..

“Eternity groand & was troubled at the Image of Eternal Death/The Wandering Man bow’d his faint head and Urizen descended..” – (Who’s “The Wandering Man?)

Student:  Urizen.
Student:  Albion?
Student:  Yeah, I think Albion.
AG:  I think maybe Albion who wanders.
Student:  Los.  Isn’t Los the wanderer?
Student:  Yeah.
AG:  Yeah, I guess.  So he must be the Wanderer, right.   So, “The Wandering Man bow’d his faint head…”

He’s really overwhelmed by this speech.  Urizen comes down to take over and usurp the realms of imagination, as well as put down emotion and get into a battle with the emotion, as well as dominate the imagination.

Student:  (So that) Los bows his head …
AG:  And Urizen … yeah.
Student:  …bows down his head, descends..
AG:  And reason comes into it.
Student:  ..descends, as he bows his head, yeah.
AG:  So…

to be continued

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately eighty minutes in and concluding at approximately eight-six-and-a-quarter minutes in

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