Ginsberg on Blake continues – 78

“When Enion blind & age bent wept in direful hunger craving..” – (detail from the manuscript (from Book Two) of William Blake’s The Four Zoas (c.1797)

We’ve been serializing Allen’s 1979 Naropa class on William Blake

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

AG: Then she (Enion) begins her complaint, now – “These are the words of Enion heard from the cold waves of  despair/ O Tharmas I had lost thee..” – (In a sense, you could see the over-abstracted, over-intellectualized man complaining to his body.  Or the over-intellectualized lady-philosopher complaining to the jock.  Or, rereading it about the fifth time I began digging it’s like the voice of myself to me complaining about impotence, failing sex, getting to be fifty-three, the suppression of sex, or the body’s division away from joyful, easy getting laid..)

” O Tharmas I had lost thee. & when I hoped I had found thee/ O Tharmas do not thou destroy me quite but let/A little shadow…” – (Like a little bit of masturbation fantasy, if nothing else) – “…but a little showery form of Enion/Be near thee loved Terror. let me still remain & then do thou/Thy righteous doom upon me. only let me hear thy voice/ Driven by thy rage I wander like a cloud into the deep/ Where never yet Existence came, there losing all my life” – ( which is really psychologically exactly what people feel when they grow old and they feel that sex is departing and it’s never going to be again like it was before and it’s never going to be so easy and sooner or later it’s all going to go.  As if it never was).

” Where never yet Existence came, there losing all my life/ I back return weaker & weaker, consume me not away/ In thy great wrath. tho I have sinned. tho I have rebelld/ Make me not like the things forgotten as they had not been/Make not the thing that loveth thee. a tear wiped away..” – (That’s very sad.  That’s really a very affecting speech by her).

And Tharmas‘s reply, wrathful – “Image of grief thy fading lineaments make my eyelids fail/         What have I done!” – (He wants her to come back now) – “Why does thy piteous face Evanish like a rainy cloud..” – (If you look it up he’s got actually a big capital “E” – “Evanish like a rainy cloud”) – “Melting. a shower of falling tears. nothing but tears!” …“Substanceless, voiceless, weeping. vanishd. nothing but tears!”- (That’s sort of like the hungry ghost of sex returning on a seventy-year-old lady) – “Substanceless, voiceless, weeping. vanishd. nothing but  tears! – (Enion)

“Art thou for ever vanishd from the watry eyes of Tharmas/ Rage Rage shall never from my bosom. winds & waters of woe/ Consuming all to the end consuming  Love and Hope are ended” – (No more hard-on forever.  “Love and Hope are ended.”  That’s that menopausal nervous breakdown that most human beings think they have when love and hope are ended) –   “For now no more remaind of Enion in the dismal air/ Only a voice eternal wailing in the Elements” – (Like the Buddhist’s hungry ghosts, who never can get satisfied and whose bellies are huge and mouths are tiny and everything they eat turns to fire) – “Sleepless to wander round repelld on the margin of Non Entity..”

to be continued

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately forty-six minutes in and concluding at approximately forty-nine-and-a-half minutes in

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