Ginsberg on Blake continues – 95

“…Urthona, Northward in thick storms a Bow of Iron terrible thundering..” (William Blake from Jerusalem 

Allen Ginsberg on 1989 Naropa lecture on  William Blake’s The Four Zoas continues from here

“Where is Sweet Vala…” – (That’s Luvah‘s Emanation –  the material universe, the Shadowy Female, nature) – “Where is Sweet Vala gloomy prophet where the lovely form/That drew the body of Man from heaven into this dark Abyss…”

Then he goes on – “Draw thy bow Vala from the depths of hell thy black bow draw..” – ((For) Bloom and others from here on in (it’s) not only metaphysical (but) it’s also historical (and) physical.  There is an exposition by David Erdman who’s studied the history of the symbolism and (of) the time relating all of this to the Napoleonic Wars – the wars between Urizenic England and Luvah-Orcian France.  So the “black bow” is considered to be the cannons and muskets of war, by Bloom and others, and this is a call to revolution in a way)

“Draw thy bow Vala from the depths of hell thy black bow draw/ And twang the bow string to our howlings let thine arrows  black/Sing in the Sky as once they sang upon the hills of Light/When dark Urthona wept in torment of the secret pain..”  – (of repression by king and church and state).

(Urthona) – “He wept & he divided & he laid his gloomy head/Down on the Rock of Eternity on darkness of the deep/Torn by black storms & ceaseless torrents of consuming fire/ Within his breast his fiery sons chaind down & filld with cursings” – (“Fiery sons” would be rebellion coming out of the breast of imagination.  Revolution – armed revolution – by any means necessary, coming out of the imagination, when everything else is constricted and everything is kept in prison).

“And breathing terrible blood & vengeance gnashing his teeth with pain..” – (Los or Urthona, imagination) – “Let loose the Enormous Spirit in the darkness of the deep” – (“The Enormous Spirit”, I think, is Urthona’s Spectre) – “And his dark wife that once fair crystal form divinely clear/Within his ribs producing serpents whose souls are flames of fire”

And now political revolutions “return upon thee” – “But now the times return upon thee Enitharmons womb/Now holds thee soon to issue forth..- (Orc, Revolution) – “..Sound clarions of war/ Call Vala from her close recess in all her dark deceit/Then rage on rage shall fierce redound out of her crystal quiver/So sung the Demons round red Orc “-  (Demon.  Lover in a demon red form. Emotion in a form of demonic red blood revolution) – “So sung the Demons round red Orc & round faint Enitharmon/Sweat & blood stood on the limbs of Los in globes.”

Imagination is getting a little scared by what it’s producing here – “”… his fiery Eyelids/Faded” – (The poet is getting scared of the revolution he’s called up) – “….he rouzd he siezd the wonder in his hands..” – (red Orc) -” he roused and seized in his hands,/& went/Shuddring & weeping thro the Gloom & down into the deeps..

Here’s a picture of Orc, incidentally

Student:  It looks like he’s midwifing the birth here?
AG:  I think so.
This is the wonder that’s being born?  The fiery kid.  Do you know this image?  On the right here?
Student (2):  I have my back to it.
AG:  Yeah, big deal.  Easy to see.  This is put out here in town (Boulder), this little fiery revolution, Shambhala Press (their edition of Blake’s Milton)

to be continued

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

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