Ginsberg on Blake continues – 83

ms. page from William Blake’s Vala, or The Four Zoas

Allen Ginsberg on William Blake’s The Four Zoas (Night the Fourth) continues from here

AG:  So, he’s saying, “… protect this Son/Of Enion – (Los) –   “… & him assist. to find the fallen King” – (Urizen) – “Lest he should rise again from death in all his dreary power/Bind him, take Enitharmon for thy sweet reward while I/ In vain am driven on false hope. hope sister of despair..”

Now Tharmas replies in line twelve –  “Now all comes into the power of Tharmas….” –

-I’m sorry.  It’s not Tharmas’s reply.  Tharmas continues, and now it’s Tharmas’s megalomania.  If he’s got Urizen working for him, if he’s got the Spectre of Urthona working for him – Imagination – he’s brought down reason, and so he says, like Hitler:

“Now all comes into the power of Tharmas. Urizen is falln/ And Luvah hidden in the Elemental forms of Life & Death/ Urthona is My Son O Los thou art Urthona & Tharmas/ Is God. The Eternal Man is seald..” – (Adam or Albion is now sealed, his fate is sealed) – ” … never to be deliverd” – ( from flesh. The Eternal Man will never get out of this trap , this mortal trap) – “… The Eternal Man is seald never to be deliverd/I roll my floods over his body my billows & waves pass over  him/ The Sea encompasses him & monsters of the deep are his  companions/ Dreamer of furious oceans cold sleeper of weeds & shells/Thy Eternal form shall never renew my uncertain prevails against thee/Yet tho I rage God over all..”

So then he repeats.    Now, the cause of this great fall is given in line twenty four or so – ” O why did foul ambition sieze thee Urizen Prince of Light”

That’s the key idea of the karma of this poem, that, apparently, the problem with all these people – Luvah, Urizen and Tharmas  – is ambition.  Or. he’s putting it in a very flat, straight-out, way, that they’re all over-ambitious – “” … why did foul ambition sieze thee Urizen Prince of Light/ And thee O Luvah prince of Love till..” – (The Body) – “… Tharmas was divided/And I what can I now behold but an Eternal Death.” –   (to Students) Who’s speaking here?

Student:  I think Tharmas was.
AG:  Tharmas still talking.
Student:  He talks to himself a bit.
AG:  Huh?
Student:  He never says … I mean he doesn’t….
AG:  It’s his speech on his fix.  It’s his own speech.
Student:  As if he were a king already, I guess, like a king would say.
AG:  Yeah.  Sort of a Hamlet-like speech.
Student:  Yeah.
AG:  Hamlet-al soliloquy.
Student:  Calling himself by his own name.
AG:  Yeah.

“And thee O Luvah prince of Love till Tharmas was divided” – Why were you siezed by foul ambition? – (Now, he’s stuck in this meat-life) – “Against the monstrous forms that breed among my silent waves  Is this to be A God far rather would I be a Man” – (And he’s finally getting the point – “Is this to be A God far rather would I be a Man,” then.

” To know sweet Science & to do with simple companions/Sitting beneath a tent & viewing sheepfolds & soft pastures/ Take thou the hammer of Urthona rebuild these furnaces/Dost thou refuse  mind I the sparks that issue from thy hair.”

So Urizen says that he’s having a nostalgic vision of pastoral innocence here:  “viewing sheepfolds & soft pastures.”

So, “I will compell thee.” – (Urthona, Los) – ” … to rebuild by these my furious waves/Death choose or life thou strugglest in my waters, now choose life” – (In a paraphrase of the Bible-Deuteronomy [Editorial note – Deuteronomy 30:19 – “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live“) .

So, with that admonition to the imagination to rebuild the world by giving a form to fallen reason … but what kind of form?  Tharmas leaves the scene, rolling away “on his furious chariots” into the Deep, leaving a void around Los.

to be continued

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately seventy-seven minutes and concluding at approximately seventy-nine minutes in 

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