Allen Ginsberg on William Blake’s The Four Zoas continues from here
AG: Now, [continues reciting from Blake’s poem] “…She bore me sons & daughters/And they have taken her away & hid her from my sight/ They have surrounded me with walls of iron & brass, O Lamb/Of God clothed in Luvahs garments litle knows thou/Of death Eternal that we all go to Eternal Death/To our…” – (And then there’s a kind of interesting definition of eternal death) – “… Primeval Chaos in fortuitous concourse of incoherent/Discordant principles of Love & Hate” – (It’s sort of Blake’s attempt at definition of what the eternal death that all these characters might fall into. That mind might fall into – “Primeval Chaos in fortuitous concourse of incoherent/Discordant principles of Love & Hate.”)
“…I suffer affliction/Because I love. for I was love but hatred awakes in me/And Urizen who was Faith & Certainty is changd to Doubt..” – (And those are actually the Spectres. That’s the definition of their Spectral nature. “Urizen who was Faith & Certainty is changd to Doubt,” and “I was love but hatred awakes in me.” Luvah saying, I was love before but now I’m hatred. And Urizen, who was “Sweet Science”, faith and certainty, is now changed to doubt).
I don’t know who the “they” (are). The “they” is what I’m trying to figure out here. “She bore me sons & daughters/And they have taken….” So who would be the sons and daughters of Vala and.. Luvah.. who is speaking here, from the furnace? And the only one that I know of that comes from them I think is Orc.
Student: Is that the … who was it that….
AG: Well, now Albion and Vala at another point gave birth to Urizen, actually…So Vala’s the mother of… Vala – material nature or the “Shadowy Female”, natural religion or the vale of nature….
Student: I don’t think it’s natural religion, because when he says “they have surrounded me with walls of iron and brass” those are like the metals of Jehovah.
Student: A Jehovah figure..Urizen.
AG: Or the metals of the the worship of nature … the metals of the scientific worship of materialistic nature. Love has been surrounded with walls of iron and brass.
“…O Lamb/Of God clothed in Luvahs garments litle knowest thou/Of death Eternal” – (Now, he’s talking to himself, or to that element in him which will become Christ. Because there’s constant reference to Luvah’s garments – Luvah’s bloody garments. The bloody garments of Luvah, or just actually the human flesh – Emotion clothed in human flesh, perishing human flesh, or wound-able human flesh, crucifiable human flesh).
… O Lamb/Of God clothed in Luvahs garments litle knowest thou/Of death Eternal that we all go to Eternal Death” – So, “The hand of Urizen..” – Yes?
Student: (Surely Blake is) mistaken here, don’t you (think)? And I think that….
AG: Well, I think there is some… He is mistaken in that he’s got this big complaint about Urizen. He’s complaining against Urizen, and complaining against Vala.
“The hand of Urizen is upon thee because I have blotted out/That Human delusion to deliver all the sons” – (He’s “blotted out” Albion, that “human delusion”) – “…to deliver all the sons of God/From bondage of the Human form..” – (So actually it was his ambition at one point to overcome the balance and blot out the human form and become pure emotion).
Student: He’s the one that spilled the chariot, right?
Student: ..with the Prince of Light.
Student (2): (But it was on) instruction from Enion, wasn’t it? Or Enitharmon, I guess.
Student (2): Egged him on to do that. I don’t know.
Student : Now he’s….
AG: Where was that?
Student (2): In Book One.
AG: Book One. Can we return to that? Maybe that will clarify it. [Allen consults Book One of the poem]
Student: While you’re looking, may I just say that it sounds kind of self-serving. He seems to be especially….
AG: Well, yes. On page twenty-two there is that argument between Urizen and Luvah and Luvah says, (in lines nine to ten) – “… My night which thou assuming hast assumed my Crown/I will remain as well as thou & here with hands of blood/Smite this dark sleeper in his tent” – (That’s Albion, I guess) – “… then try my strength with thee” – (Urizen)
“Urizen cast deep darkness round him silent brooding death/Eternal death to Luvah,. raging Luvah poured…” – (So now we find Luvah in the fiery furnace of his emotions, actually – Luvah is actually in a furnace, but the furnace would be the burning of his own passions and emotions, and ambition as well).
Student: But don’t you think that….
AG: Hatred, actually.
Student: What Urizen’s doing there is..(hitting it).. which means that if it… if it’s purgatorial, in other words, if it’s going make him better, it means that the emotions are being subject to….
AG: The constraints of reason.
Student: ..(reason), whether they like it or not.
AG: Yes. (G.E.) Bentley Jr.)….
Student: The other side of that …
Student: … is that when you’re thinking emotionally, when you’re thinking with your loins as (Luvah is), reasoning from the loins…
Student: ….that means that your intellect gets trapped by your emotions so that you think things and you believe things, verbalize things, that are really projections of your emotions (and not meant accurate) at all, but feel to you, as the sufferer…
Student: …like thoughts.
AG: Yeah. That’s the key. The key.
“These were the words of Luvah patient in affliction/ Reasoning from the loins in the unreal forms of Ulros night..” – (He’s talking from his cock, talking through his penis, actually, there, or thinking with his cock, in the unreal forms of human intestines, of the human bowels, of the lowest of the human, the innards, reasoning from the innards, or trying to reason from the innards. But I’m a little confused, still)
“The hand of Urizen is upon thee because I have blotted out/ That Human delusion..” – (I’ve blotted out Albion) – “…to deliver all the sons of God/From bondage of the Human form..”
I’ve forgotten. I guess we’ll run across it sooner or later. This may refer to an action that takes place later in the poem
to be continued
Audio for the above can be heard here , beginning approximately forty-nine minutes in and continuing until approximately fifty-six-and-three-quarter minutes in