AG: Would someone like to read Enion‘s song? Anybody got a good operatic voice?
AG: Huh? Why don’t you?
Student (1): I … don’t know.
Student: (I can’t…)
Student: I’ll do it.
AG: Okay. Michael (sic)
Student (Michael begins reading) – “I am made to sow…”
Student (Michael continues reading): “I am made to sow the thistle for wheat; the nettle for a nourishing dainty/I have planted a false oath in the earth, it has brought forth a poison tree/ I have chosen the serpent for a councellor & the dog/For a schoolmaster to my children/ I have blotted out from light & living the dove & nightingale/I have taught the thief a secret path into the house of the just/I have taught pale artifice to spread his nets upon the morning/My heavens are brass my earth is iron my moon a clod of clay/My sun a pestilence burning at noon & a vapour of death in night/ What is the price of Experience do men buy it for a song/ Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No it is bought with the price/Of all that a man hath his house his wife his children/Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy/And in the witherd field where the farmer plows for bread in vain”
AG: Just that last stanza is really beautiful. It seems to be…. This is the part that Bloom says he thought Blake himself was complaining about the sufferings …
Student (3): Some people say it’s …
AG: … of being Blake.
Student (3): … a pun – “What is the price of Experience”, meaning the Songs of Experience
…do we buy it for a song?
Student (3): No, it cost me my entire life.
Student(3): But it’s a sort of joke – the song.
AG: Yeah. Yeah.
Student (3): And the Songs of Experience
AG: Experience and wisdom “bought with the price/Of all that a man hath his house his wife….” (to Michael) You read that well – his house, his wife and his children.” – But that’s funny – “Wisdom is sold in the desolate market” but “none come to buy.”
Student (3): “None come to buy”, right.
Student: Do you know that line from (Ezra) Pound, I think it’s “Hugh Selwyn Mauberly” – “We see to kalon/Decreed in the market place”, ” or something like that?
Student: It’s the Greek word of beauty.
Student: It echoes. This one sort of echoes that…
AG: Yeah.. It’s also there’s a parallel with Kabir – “If love were for sale in the marketplace for the price of a head, I’d give my head.” Kabir, incidentally, is a kind of 14th century Indian Blake figure – (a) Blakean figure, considered by Indians to be the great visionary-saint poet, with songs – short songs, that are very, very similar to (Blake’s)“Proverbs of Hell” (in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell)
“Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy.” That’s Blake’s books, I guess. “Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy/And in the witherd field where the farmer plows for bread in vain.” So he gets wise from the suffering of plowing for bread in vain in the withered field.
So (these are) the actual difficulties. And then, she goes on…
to be continued
Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately twenty-six-and-a-half minutes in and concluding approximately thirty minutes in