Ginsberg on Blake continues – 37

Statue of Sabrina – Goddess of the River Severn – classical sculpture of the subject in The Dingle, Quarry Park, Shrewsbury, England

Allen Ginsberg’s class on William Blake’s  “The Four Zoas” continues from here 

AG:  (quoting Blake)  –    “… Tyburns brook and along the River of Oxford” – (“Tyburn” is the place of the gallows.  “River of Oxford”, according to Bloom, is the theoretic center of the State Church, and therefore of a Druidic religion, a religion of human sacrifice. So that would be consonant with “Tyburn’s brook”) – “…and along the River of Oxford/ Among the Druid Temples…” –

“The Atlantic Mountains” in the next line – “…The Atlantic Mountains trembled” – (Earlier, the Atlantic Mountains had been used, I think in the book America  as symbolic of a lost Atlantis, actually, an Eden. The Atlantic Mountains that connected heaven and earth).

“…The Atlantic Mountains trembled/Aloft the Moon fled with a cry the Sun with streams of blood/From Albions Loins fled all Peoples and Nations of the Earth” – (And that line is interpreted as, from the first whole man in eternity, when it was broken up and separated out and particularized and solidified into the material creation, so from Albion’s loins nations and separated nations and peoples were divided, “fled”, Blake says).

“Jerusalem came down in a dire ruin over all the Earth/She fell cold from Lambeths Vales in groans & Dewy death” – (So that would be, using the Biblical terminology, applying it to his local places, according to the symbolism he interpreted from the local British places, like Tyburn or Oxford, Lambeth, the Severn.  What was the Severn? -“(The) brother and brother bathe in blood upon the Severn” –  I’ve forgotten.  I think Ostriker has a footnote about the Severn there.

Student:  It’s supposed to come from Geoffrey of Monmouth, I think.
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  Yeah.  Sabrina...
AG:  Yeah.  Do you know that story?
Student:  (goddess) to the river Severn.
AG:  Do you know that story, actually, at all?
Student:  No.  I don’t know who the young murderer is (there).
AG:  Yeah.  I saw the note to Geoffrey of Monmouth, but.. none of the notes gave the tale.
Student:  (I don’t know)

AG:  Then, line twenty-one – “Reuben slept on Penmaenmawr & Levi slept on Snowdon” – (These are sons of Jacob, and actually what was that thing in Jacob that was used later on?  I’ve forgotten.. Reuben and Levi were the sons of Jacob.  Let’s see.  Where did that come out of? Ezekiel or….
Student (2):  Genesis, isn’t it?
AG:  Let’s see.
Student:  Yeah, Genesis.
Student (2):  The story of Jacob from Genesis….
Student:  They became the autonomous founders of tribes of Israel …
AG:  Um-hmm.
Student:  … and the….
Student (2):   Twelve sons of Jacob and the twelve tribes of Israel..

AG:  Well, Reuben here is presumably the natural man and Levi the priestcraft, which would fit with what we’d had before, that the bards had fled to Snowdon – remember in (the) previous book? But the sons of Jacob?  Where else do we get Jacob?  Some other Jacob reference?  I’ve forgotten.  I saw it yesterday somewhere around the … I guess if you … I’ve forgotten.

Nam June Paik (who has been filming the class, breaks in, regarding the lighting):  “Is these two hot?  We can cut them….”

AG:  No, no, that’s alright.  No that’s not bothering me.  My mind is bothering me, but not the light.

to be continued

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

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