“…every thing that lives is holy for the source of life/ Descends to be a weeping babe/ For the Earthworm renews the moisture of the sandy plain.”
Student: I think “every thing that lives is holy”, it appears in about three-to-four of his previous poems and..
AG: Yeah. And “the source of life/Descends to be a weeping babe,” or an earthworm, is from the Book of Thel where the clod of clay is telling Thel that it’s alright to be born in the material world, as long as she’s willing to die. Or to be like the worm, willing to die, and not question the situation.
‘Now my left hand I stretch to earth beneath/ And strike the terrible string/I wake sweet joy in dens of sorrow & I plant a smile/In forests of affliction/ and wake the bubbling springs of life in regions of dark death/ O I am weary lay thine hand upon me or I faint/I faint beneath these beams of thine/For thou has touchd my five senses & they answerd thee/Now I am nothing & I sink/And on the bed of silence sleep till thou awakest me..’
She’s talking here to whom? To Los?
Student: I think she’s talking to Los, because she’s trying to (bring him to) life.
AG: Yeah. Talking to Los. At first I thought she may have been praising Urizen‘s creation to Los, it seemed like. So she went over to (say goodbye), in line forty-eight, page three-seventeen:
“Farewell the God calls me away I depart in my sweet bliss/ She fled vanishing on the wind And left a cold corse/ In Los’s arms howlings began over the body of death/ Los spoke. Thy God in vain shall call thee if by my strong Power/I can infuse my dear revenge into his glowing breast”… So…
AG: Yeah, he fell dead and then Enitharmon returned in the dawn and bliss and sang this song, singing over Los, trying to revive him to life.
It’s a funny line that Blake has, either she or Blake (is speaking) – “… I seize the sphery harp I strike the strings” – (the harp of the spheres).
Student: You mean you think that might be Blake, maybe?
AG: Yeah. “thus she sang …” and then Blake proudly says, “I sieze the sphery harp I strike the strings,” and then gives the song of Enitharmon.
Student: Could be.
AG: Or, it’s, it’s… she is doing it, obviously. But he’s obviously set up a song here and is conscious of writing a big long poem – a big piece in the poem. Of inserting a big piece in the poem. Doing a bravura – an aria.
to be continued...
Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately eighteen minutes in and concluding at approximately twenty-and-a-half minutes in