Ginsberg on Blake continues – 51

Los and Enitharmon – William Blake (from the illustrations to Jerusalem – The Emanation of the Giant Albion)

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

AG: Then Los and Enitharmon reproach each other.  We’re on page three-sixteen of the Erdman (edition of Blake).  Incidentally, Los and Enitharmon are walking forth.  It’s a pretty passage:

“… step from star to star/(Or) standing on the Earth erect, or on the stormy waves/ Driving the storms before them or delighting in sunny beams/ While round their heads the Elemental Gods kept harmony.” – (“Elemental Gods” –  I checked out as fairies, genii, nymphs, gnomes, matter – air, fire, water, earth, possibly) –   “..While round their heads the Elemental Gods kept harmony..”

Then Los and Enitharmon have some sort of argument which actually I can’t figure out. But somewhat like the poet and the muse contesting. I don’t really understand what their contest is, though, except that they’re fallen – though not entirely fallen – they’re still somewhat spectral and separate from each other – which is to say,  Spiritual Beauty and Poetic Instinct (or Creative Instinct)

Does anybody have any idea of the basic nature of their argument there?  The argument goes from line fifteen –  “And Los said. Lo the Lilly Pale & the rose reddning fierce/Reproach thee & the beamy gardens sicken at thy beauty/I grasp thy vest..” – (or sex, I imagine) – “ my strong hand in vain” – (Actually, Spiritual Beauty continually evades him here) – “ … like water springs/ In the bright sands of Los, evading my embrace, then I alone/ Wander among the virgins in summer  Look they cry/The poor forsaken Los mockd by the worm the shelly snail/The Emmet & the beetle hark they laugh & mock at Los..” – (Well, actually,  little..) …
Student:  It seems like he can’t …
AG:  … creatures of nature.
Student:  … embody his Emanation, and that’s the thing that explains it…
AG:  Yeah.

Student:   …and the same with all Vala‘s children  -… children of nature. . reproach her, not wanting to be in these bodies… He’s blaming her for something… for not being able to embody his Emanation, so to speak …treating her as autonomous.

AG:  And Enitharmon answers that she is secure from the smitings of his power, secure from his grasp, secure from his physical grasp.

Student:  Well, “smitings of his power”  refers to back to the time that he hit her, I guess.

AG:  Yeah.  Well, so he drove her into some sort of …
Student:  Yeah.
AG:  … disembodied form.
Student:  That’s the way she views him, anyway. I think.

AG:  Yes.?
Student (2):  … I may not object to it, but I think that when you’re really horny, maybe you go around in love and say, the ants get it, the snails get it, why can’t I get it?.. something like that.
AG:  Yes.  Yes.  That the worm, the snail, the emmet – ‘”emmet” is an ant – worm, snail, emmet, beetle, have some kind of satisfactory ignorant life in nature, but Los is not able to make and particularly (is) not able to connect with Enitharmon..

Student (2):  Yeah, when she says that I disguise myself as Enion and tried to make….
AG:  That’s on the next page. Yes.  That’s in the next stanza.  And Los’s answer?
Student:  Now, blame me for that.
AG: Um-hmm.

Student (2):  To me that had the comfort of the reminiscence of Dante where Beatrice reproaches Dante for the same thing, I think –  for having given up on ideals – spiritual beauty – and embraced some kind of intellectual pursuits…. which is what I suppose, Ahania stands for – some kind of electric light right? –   Urizen’s..
AG:  Yes.
Student (2):  … Emanation.
AG:  Electrical pleasure.  The delight in some “sweet Science”.

Student (2):  I guess.  I suppose I’m projecting but it seems that the poet is being reproached for having gone into study in a way that led … that made him forget about her, made him take an intellectual delight, instead of the spiritual beauty that’s his real business.

AG:  Of course, he’s in a situation where he’s got to deal with a world created by pure reason and the two of them drawn down by their desires are conspiring to plant divisions between Urizen and Ahania.  So they have a function, though all of them are fallen. All the characters are fallen.  They’re slowly working out their proper functions.
She says, as you said, now, he blames her for taking on Ahania’s form and now the form of Enion.   At one moment before, blames Enitharmon for taking on the disguise of Urizen’s wife, or alternately, Urthona? …
Student:  No, Tharmas.
AG:  … Tharmas’s wife.  Sexual urge.  So one minute it’s intellectual beauty that she appears to be and the next minute it’s sexual beauty.

Student (2):  Yeah.  Although, don’t you think that Enion here is a real transformation of the sexual urge into what we’re dealing with..?. she’s the one that worries. I mean. these beautiful things, starting  off with the experience at the end of the book,  the image of  the spider with the birdy  (that is, he can’t stand the fact that the bird’s eating the spider) … he can’t be happy.
AG:  Um-hmm.  …In the flesh.

Student(2):  That seems to me that shows a desire to control everything.  Rather than.. in order that I should be happy, everybody should be full without eating, or something like that..
Enion is so attractive, except that her little voice there is what’s going to cause trouble for Ahania.  Ahania won’t be able to sleep anymore after….

AG:  Well, Enitharmon is also under the sway of Urizen and actually departs (and) leaves Los for a moment, or flees from Los, and goes to Urizen, saying that Urizen is calling her. So she also wants to control him and wants him to be her slave, wants Los to be her slave.
Student (2):  I’m talking about Enion..
AG:  Yeah.
Student (2):  Her concern for the whole universe which is so, as I said, it’s very sexy and attractive.

AG:  Well, Enion in relation to….
Student (2):   The monstrous desire to.. at least in the.. in a fallen world, the monstrous desire to control everything.
AG:  Um-hmm.  Now, who are we talking about now?  Enitharmon in her appearance as Enion?
Student (2):  How this … this, this little scheme, is sort of where they’re going to bring the voice of Enion to Ahania’s midnight pillow and that’s going to give Ahania insomnia, and never from that moment could she rest upon her pillow….And I’m saying that what the voice…
AG:  Yeah.
Student(2):  …of Enion says is that it’s intolerable that anybody be unhappy anywhere. Even a little spider.

AG:  Um-hmm.  Conducting the voice of Enion to Ahania at midnight.  How would that be clear?  How do you clarify that?  We passed over (it).  I went through that slightly, but the specific plot that Los and Enitharmon have is planting divisions between Urizen and Ahania by conducting, I guess, some instinctual generative spirit to disturb Ahania’s peaceful sleep relation with Urizen.
Student(3):  It seems like a sort of C.I.A. quality.
AG:  Yeah.  Except that the intelligence thing brought is the intelligence of generative life.  Of birth, giving birth..

Student (2):  Well …
AG:  ..rather than….
Student (2):  I think here Enion is old, aged… I mean, this…
AG:  Well, her complaint..
Student (2):  She doesn’t…
AG:  Okay, that’s her complaint, then.
Student(2):  … She doesn’t sound generative any more.
AG:  Yeah.
Student (2):  She sounds….
AG:  She had generated, she’s suffering the death consequent on that, so it’s like (the) suffering of mortal generation.  The suffering of mortal generation.
Student(2):  Yeah.
AG:  Okay.
Student (2):  That….
AG:  The suffering of having given birth and then withering, being rejected by it.

Student:  It’s like getting at the Zoas through the wives –  that is… using Tharmas and Urizen … so that they can’t… they would function in their proper roles… despite Enitharmon’s attitude to…

to be continued

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately three-and-a-quarter  minutes in and concluding at approximately thirteen-and-three-quarter minutes in

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