Allen Ginsberg lecturing on William Blake (The Four Zoas) continues from here
AG: So, Urizen is now offering all of his thoughts and all his intellect – i.e., the stars, the entire constructed firmament to Los, to the imagination, if Los will make a deal with him. But Los looks back. He says, “… Lo these starry hosts/ They are thy servants if thou wilt obey my awful Law/Los answerd furious…” – So Los now begins to compete with him – ( and says on page three-oh-three – so now there’s a little conversation between them. Los’s answer is “One must be master”) – “…Lo, I am also such/ One must be master, try thy Arts I also will try mine/For I perceive Thou has Abundance which I claim as mine?” – (So there begins a war between Urizen and Los) – Urizen startled stood but not Long soon he cried/Obey my voice young Demon I am God from Eternity to Eternity/Thus Urizen spoke (and)collected in himself..” – (got himself together) – “..in awful pride” – (solidified himself, withdrew into himself “in awful pride”).
And then, where is the next interesting shot? – Well, it gets very complicated. Actually, I sat and worked it all out as much as I could line-by-line. I don’t know if we have even time to do that. We’ll not even finish the first book today, (which I would like to do – get done with the first book).
A few things I would like to check out here. “the bright Sun..” – Line thirty-eight and thirty-nine – “But the bright Sun was not as yet; he filling all the expanse/Slept as a bird in the blue shell that soon shall burst away.” – (This is in relation to the marriage of Los and Enitharmon, according to (Alicia) Ostriker. Consequent on the victory of Urizen over the other Zoas – so this is the beginning of the marriage feast between Los and Enitharmon. The visible creation, however, has not yet been manifest and that’s what it means) – “… the bright Sun was not as yet; but filling all the expanse/Slept as a bird in the blue shell that soon shall burst away.” (That’s one of the prettiest lines in this, just independently of the entire fabric of the poem, that piece) – “… the bright Sun was not as yet; but filling all the expanse/Slept as a bird in the blue shell that soon shall burst away.” And, (even after) the number of times (I’ve) read this, I think it was only this morning that was the first time that I got the point, a little bit. Yeah?
Student: That image is used in Milton too.
Student: There Los became the shadowy prophet of eternity….
Student: Los is like the young bird yet unhatched (still attached to the parent bird) who hasn’t quite broken out…
AG: Blue shell is, I guess, space itself? – or blue space?. – The sky.
Student: (Un-named space)
AG: Yeah. “That soon shall be burst away.”
Now, Los repents of having hit Enitharmon. It was (brought about by) Enitharmon’s suggestion, actually, and seduction, a way, in a few pages previous. It was the victory of the feminine, which I interpret as the song of death of Vala – flying up from the human heart and taking over the brain of the mortal vegetable illusion of matter, (the) taking over of mortal life and death triumphing. So, he now changes his mind and in this marriage he decides to marry, or accommodate, to fallen spiritual beauty, to the appearance of the external world, and repents that he hit (Enitharmon):
“Los now repented that he had smitten Enitharmon” – line forty-one – “… he felt love/ Arise in all his Veins he threw his arms around her loins” – (so, he copulated, I guess) – “To heal the wound of his smiting” – (or, his smiting creates the cunt) –
“They eat the fleshly bread, they drank the nervous wine” – (Another great line! – “they drank the nervous wine.” Bloom interprets that line as acceptance of mortality).
tape one side one ends here
Audio for the above can be found here, beginning at approximately twenty-six minutes and concluding at approximately thirty-one-and-a-quarter minutes in