Ginsberg on Blake continues – 82

William Blake – frontispiece (Plate 1) from America – A Prophecy (1793)

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

AG:   Now,  “The Spectre of Urthona”- ( line twenty-four – Book Four ) – ” … seeing Enitharmon writhd/His cloudy form in jealous fear and muttering thunders hoarse” – (And then, having a pang in his heart.. This is Urthona’s answer and the Imagination’s recollection of Eden, before everything bonified.  A paraphrase of the lines (in Milton) of Satan (talking) to Beelzebub in Book One of “Paradise Lost”):

“Tharmas I know thee, how are we alterd our beauty decayd/ But still I know thee tho in this horrible ruin whelmd/ Thou one the mildest son of heaven…” – (The body –  “mildest son of heaven.”) – ” …art now become a Rage/A terror to all living things. think not that I am ignorant/That thou art risen from the dead or that my power forgot/  I slumber here in weak repose. I well remember the Day/The day of terror & abhorrence/When fleeing from the battle thou fleeting like the raven/Of dawn outstretching an expanse were neer expanse had been/Drewst all the Sons of Beulah..” – (I guess all the sons of the subconscious) – “…into thy dread vortex following/Thy Eddying spirit down the hills of Beulah..” – (I guess drawing all the powers of dream and imagination.  Drawing them all around to create this bonified universe).

So then Imagination says – ” …All my sons..” – (Page three-two-seven, line nine)  – ” … All my sons/Fled from my side then pangs smote me unknown before. I saw/My loins begin to break froth into veiny pipes & writhe/Before me in the wind englobing trembling with strong           vibrations/The bloody mass began to animate…” – (So it’s a reference again to that bubbling polypic mess of skin and bones and meat and lymph) – “… I bending over/Wept bitter tears incessant. Still beholding how the piteous form/Dividing & dividing from my loins a weak & piteous/ Soft cloud of snow a female pale & weak I soft embracd/ My counter part & calld it Love  I named her Enitharmon/ But found myself & her together issuing down the tide/Which now our rivers were become delving thro caverns huge..” – (I was guessing that to be the womb).

Now here Blake enters into a phase of description of the birth of the human body from the womb, like a phylogeny recapitulating ontogeny, or something?  What’s the phrase?

Student:  Ontogeny.

AG:  Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.

So there’s almost a physiological description of the growth of the human body from the seed in the womb that’ll come on in the next pages and is rehearsed several times here.

“…I named her Enitharmon/ But found myself & her together issuing down the tide/Which now our rivers were become delving thro caverns huge/Of goary blood struggling to be deliverd from our bonds..”

So now a sort of myth is given in the next ten lines, a sort of seed myth of what the problem was in the poem.  The characters.

“… I beheld…” (flesh – this is on line twenty-four  – “I beheld flesh rotting upon the rocks”.  At least that’s how I interpret it) – “…I beheld thee rotting upon the Rocks/I pitying hoverd over thee I protected thy ghastly corse/From Vultures of the deep then wherefore shouldst thou rage/Against me who thee guarded in the night of death from harm/   Tharmas replied. Art thou Urthona My friend my old companion,/ With whom I livd in happiness before that deadly night/When Urizen gave the horses of Light into the hands of Luvah/Thou knowest not what Tharmas knows..” – (Well, so I think that’s sort of the seed of the myth repeated again – “Urizen gave the horses of Light into the hands of Luvah.”

Then Tharmas again complains,

“But my sweet Enion is vanishd…” – (on top of page fifty-one of Blake) – “…& I never more/ Shall see her unless thou O Shadow. wilt protect this Son..”- (Los) – “.. Of Enion” – (Los, the son of Enion) –   “…& him assist. to bind the fallen King” – (So Tharmas is again asking Urthona or Los, his representative, the poetic imagination or human creative imagination to find a form, to define a limit by meaning of artistic form.  To give a form to the error of reason so that it can be limited.  We’ll get to the rationale behind that).

In Jerusalem  you have the line, “But you cannot behold Him til he be revealed in his system.”  You can’t behold error, or Satan, till you see him.  You can’t behold him till you actually see his form.  It’s sort of like you can’t behold your neurosis until you know its origin, or you can’t behold your karma until you acknowledge your own aggression, or you can’t figure out a paranoic plot until you know the entire system.  It’s like R.D. Laing says, if you want to understand a schizophrenic then listen to the entire system and try to piece it together and then see what it defines, what the forms are.  That if you’ve got somebody (who’s) incoherent, basically you have to have the patience to listen to the assembly of incoherences to see the systematic relationship and find out what it is all symbolic of.  So, from this point of view, the role of imagination, or poetic imagination, in its fallen state, with body fallen and reason fallen,  if the fall is caused by emotion usurping the place of reason and reason falling and putting the body into chaos, making a dis-relation between body speech and mind, then you would have to at least give it a form. Acknowledge it, so to speak.  Acknowledge it and give it a form. See its definition, that is, see its mental definition but also see its linear definition.  Make it into a linear form so that you can deal with it.  So you can relate to it.

to be continued

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

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