Ginsberg on Blake continues – 20

Enitharmon and Los – William Blake –  excerpted from “The First Book of Urizen” (1794)

Allen Ginsberg on William Blake continues from here

(but more specifically, from here)

AG: So.  Los.…  Yeah?

Student:  This dualistic marriage.

AG:  Yeah.

Student:  What does he mean by that?  I mean, he says, what’s-his-name says, at the end of this, this dualistic marriage, and that’s good for Urizen, because… Does the dualistic marriage (work like (with) “Heaven and Hell“)?

AG:  Yes.  The next passage will (explain that).  We’ll see. It’s immortal as distinct from an Edenic eternal world, which is created by the creation of the senses and the external world, which happens when Los and Enitharmon‘s Spectres …

Student:  Yeah.

AG:  … marry because … we’d have to go back to the beginning of the book.  What are they Spectres of?  They are Spectres of Enion and Enion was Tharmas‘s Emanation, and Tharmas was the parent body who got separated from his sexual …

Student:  Right.

AG:  … desire and was split in two and Enion was some kind of abstracted sex –  sexual abstraction that was outside of the body.  Craving or desire was created.  Then, let’s see … who screwed Enion and Enitharmon?  Does anybody remember?

Student:  Tharmas’s Spectre.

AG:  Pardon me?

Student:  Tharmas’s Spectre.

AG:  Tharmas’s Spectre copulated with Enion.  In other words, the Spectre of the body.  The body separated from its feelings or body from whom feelings had been abstracted or the body in whom feelings had been repressed and the feelings came out another way, as a separate entity.  Some kind of dualistic non-Edenic fallen form copulating with his own lust, created the brother and sister – Imagination and Spiritual Beauty – who then, in relating to that – Spectral desire, lust, Enion – humanized her somewhat through rejecting her, but they themselves became very proud of their independent existence.  Then Enitharmon began mocking Los, that that feminine nature had taken over and made a prophecy that the emotions would be crucified and Los got mad and hit her and….

Student:  Well, at that point he had acknowledged the dualistic … I mean, the conference before they get married, like in the book …

AG:  Yes.

Student:  … he makes it sound like it doesn’t happen till….

AG:  Oh, their marriage is an attempt to patch things up, sort of.  It’s already dualistic.

Student:  Yeah.

AG:  To patch things up by creating this pretty little eternal world.

Student:  Yeah, that’s what I’m understanding.  I felt that they were dualistic during the fight.

AG:  Yeah.  So the marriage is an attempt … It’s Urizen‘s idea, I guess.

Student:  Right.  (he’s Los there)

AG:  Yeah, because then he can be (Sir Isaac) Newton and plan out all the leaves of the trees.

Student:  Right.

AG:  And create the whole external world with the nerves of the eye.  However, once they get married, there they’re sitting – “Los & Enitharmon sat in discontent & scorn/ The Nuptial Song arose from all the thousand….” –  (This is line twenty, page three-oh-four) – So the thing seems to follow in order now.  There is like somebody high on acid but looking at more of what isn’t there) – “The Nuptial Song arose from all the thousand thousand  spirits/ Over the joyful Earth & Sea, and ascended into the Heavens/For Elemental Gods their thunderous Organs blew..” – ( The “Elemental Gods” I imagine are the senses) – “.For Elemental Gods their thunderous Organs blew; creating/Delicious Viands. Demons of Waves their watry Eccho’s woke!/Bright Souls of vegatative life, budding and blossoming/Stretch their immortal hands to smite the gold & silver Wires/And with immortal Voice soft warbling fill all Earth & Heaven./With doubling Voices & loud Horns wound round sounding/Cavernous..” – (Skull, I suppose) – “Cavernous dwellers fill’d the enormous Revelry, Responsing!/And Spirits of Flaming fire on high, govern’d the mighty Song,/And This the Song! sung at The Feast of Los & Enitharmon..”

Then, what comes on is this long song of war.  Of misrule and war and reversal.  Mountain called out to mountain, or – “Ephraim calld out to Zion” – (And that’s a very complicated phrase.  “Ephraim calld out to Zion.”  – The two mountains have symbolic significance in the Bible.  Mount Ephraim had to do with Gilead, which was balmy and peaceful.  Zion had to do with bloodshed and war.  So, mountain called out to mountain, here means a rejection of mercy for bloodshed).

“…..Awake O Brother Mountain/ Let us refuse the Plow & Spade, the heavy Roller & spiked/Harrow, burn all these Corn fields, throw down all these fences/Fattend on Human blood & drunk with wine of life is better far/Than all these labours of the harvest & the vintage.

Well, the mighty song is fattened on human song and drunk with wine of life.  It’s again like in the cannibalistic feast of fleshly bread and nervous wine.

They seem to relate to the senses.  That previous passage about the watery echo – “Demons of Waves and watry Eccho “- apparently sound.  I suppose related.  Tharmas?  Who was related to water?

Student:  Tharmas, yeah.

AG:  Tharmas was related to water.  So this is the chaotic fallen Tharmas.  I imagine it is simply the rising of the senses and the rising of the world of the senses.

Now, there’s a song of war.  I guess that’s the Luvah turned to war – emotions turned to war.  There seems to be some economics into it, too.

“The Villages Lament, they faint outstretchd upon the plain/Wailing runs round the Valleys from the Mill & from the Barn/But most the polishd Palaces dark silent bow with dread/ Hiding their books & pictures. underneath the dens of Earth/ The Cities send to one another saying My sons are Mad/With wine of cruelty….”

“The Horse is of more value than the Man. The Tyger fierce/Laughs at the Human form. the Lion mocks & thirsts for blood/They cry O Spider spread thy web! Enlarge thy bones & fill’d/With marrow. sinews & flesh Exalt thyself attain a voice/Call to thy dark armd hosts, for all the sons of Men muster together/To desolate their cities! Man shall be no more!/ Awake O Hosts/The bow string sang upon the hills! Luvah & Vala ride/Triumphant in the bloody sky. & the Human form is no more

Now, the human form here would not mean the human mortal earthly form, but would be the original Albion-Edenic, I presume. And Luvah riding triumphant in the bloody sky would be war.

Student:  I think there is a tendency to make a parody of… to do that..
AG:  Um-hmm.
Student:  ..after the French Revolution.
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  In Blake’s day.. because, well, I mean it’s any war …
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  … it could be the apocalyptic war from the Book of Revelation but also because….
AG:  He’s using language from the Book of Revelation, yeah.
Student:  Yeah.  But in that time, the French Revolution…
AG:  Yes.
Student:  …(he uses the words and)  the rhetoric of the Apocalypse…
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  …so it’s meant, I think, to make us realize that stuff was going around and around us now.  I mean, we can translate that …
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  …into present day.

AG:  Well, Erdmans long biography (of Blake called Blake – Prophet Against Empire)  relates most of this imagery to the French Revolution …

Student:  Right.

AG:  … itself.  Though later on, I think, Erdman suggests that passion – Luvah – and reason – Urizen – can symbolize, for his day, France- passion of revolution – and England – repression of the revolution, or some kind of over-rationalistic repression of the emotion of Luvah.  So Luvah and Urizen occasionally, according to Erdman, are symbols for France and England and the political wars of his day.

Student:  If you go back to classical times you can (see some of these elements) with Helen & Paris
AG:  Um-hmm.
Student:  … and Aphrodite & Ares – the attraction of love with war…
AG:  Yes.
Student:  …and love with the same kind of mythos
AG:  Yeah.

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

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