Ginsberg on Blake continues – 61

Urizen destroying Ahania  pencil study by Blake for The Book of Ahania (1795)

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

AG: “Then Man ascended mourning into the splendors of his palace/Above him…” –  Now comes another great stroke in Blake:  Her (Ahanias) analysis of how man (that would be Albion, or Urizen in his proper (image or) Urizen as a reasonable man) lost out to a projected image of himself, an image projected outside of himself that he thought was God.  An image of himself.  That, schizophrenic, projected an image of himself above himself and bowed down before it.  How man projected an abstract divinity above him.

“Above him rose…..’ – (His own shadow, actually.  It’s all Urizen’s fault) – “Above him rose a Shadow from his wearied intellect..” – (So Urizen, Prince of Light, his splendour faded, because he screwed up with Luvah, with the emotions.  Urizen’s splendor was faded because he got into a fight with the emotions and emotions won and started pushing him around.  Urizen tried to be a big emotional power and create a whole universe all by himself and Albion took a look at him and said, Uh-uh.  Splendor faded.  And so a shadow rose up..)

“… from his wearied intellect..” – (originally) -” Of living gold, pure, perfect, holy..” – (No, I guess, the Shadow was of living gold.  Yeah – an idealization) – “Of living gold, pure, perfect, holy; in white linen pure he  hover’d/A sweet entrancing self delusion, a watry vision of Man” – (“Watry vision” –  that’s Tharmas – body, sort of.  However that would fit) – “Soft exulting in existence all the Man absorbing!” – (In other words, the man gave up his power.  Here the man is almost like the modern use of the “man” –  when you use the phrase “The Man is coming” or “This is the Man.”  To a great musician – “This is the Man”  – Albion, the whole man, the whole hero) – “Soft exulting in existence all the Man absorbing!”

“Albion fell upon his face prostrate before the watry shadow” – (Actually, the water shadow is our bodies, I would imagine, in some way, because the whole thing is the delusion of Vala, too, the delusion of the material universe).

“Albion fell upon his face prostrate before the watry shadow/ Saying O Lord whence is this change thou knowest I am nothing/ And Vala trembled & coverd her face, & her locks were spread on the pavement/   I heard astonished at the Vision & my heart trembled within/ I heard the voice of the Slumberous Man” – (Fallen Albion) – “…. & thus he spoke…”

Student:  Who’s the “I” here?  That still….
AG:  The speaker is … this is the big long speech of …
Student:  Oh, Ahania.
AG:  … Ahania to Urizen, analyzing.
Student:  But this is Ahania?

Student:  Yes.

Student:  Is that “I”?

AG:  Yes, I believe that’s Ahania, because in a few moments, or in the next page, she’ll say, Urizen, why are you getting pale at this speech?  And he’ll begin contesting it.  So it’s amazing, but I think this whole thing –  these whole two pages- are all Ahania talking to Urizen.

Student:  Right, it’s just that she had quoted the Man in her vision before.
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  The other “I”, the one above it …
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  … was Albion.
AG:  Yeah.  Yeah, but I think now it’s returning to her voice.
Student:  Yeah, that’s interesting.  She repeats …
AG:  Yeah.
Student:  …he said, “I am nothing,” and then she repeats that in her her own ((manner) so to speak.

AG:  Um-hmm.  Yeah, I puzzled over this a while until I figured out this was all her exposition.

” I heard astonished at the Vision & my heart trembled within/I heard the voice of the Slumberous Man & thus he spoke/Idolatrous to his own Shadow words of Eternity uttering/O I am nothing when I enter into judgment with thee/If thou withdraw thy breath I die & vanish into Hades/If thou dost lay thine hand upon me behold I am silent/If thou withhold thine hand I perish like a fallen leaf/O I am nothing & to nothing must return again/If thou withdraw thy breath, behold I am oblivion.”

So this is the craven Job – Adam Man.  The Man of the Bible.  In a way Blake is turning this inside-out. Man worshipping his own shadow, his own intellectual projection, an abstract God.  Of course this is like the modesty of the Psalms – the person in the Psalms, a nd the modesty of the Jew overshadowed by the giant spectre above of Elohim, the creator.

Student:  Job.

AG:  And it is very similar to … what is that creature?  To this fellow, being created.  “Oh I am nothing”, turned into a worm. Created a worm by this judgemental big projection of his own.  At least that’s my take on that.

Student:  (So you sounded it out)
AG:  That’s why I’m reading it in a such a (horrific) voice. What?
Student:  And your impersonation (got to convey)) hubris of it)
AG:  Yes.
Student:  To me it sounded like the witch in the Wizard of Oz, when she’s giving up.(i
AG:  Well, yes.  The problem was intellect had become weak, and so was not critical enough, or not balanced enough, but why did…

to be continued

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

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