William Blake 1979 Naropa Lectures continues – 10

Allen Ginsberg on William Blake’s “Europe” continues from here

AG (continues, reading from Blake) : “The horrent Demon rose, surrounded with red stars of fire,/Whirling about in furious circles round the immortal fiend./Then Enitharmon down descended into his red light,/And thus her voice rose to her children; the distant heavens reply’
Reed Bye:  What exactly happened there?  Enitharmon descending “into his red light”.
AG:  I’m not quite sure.  Actually, those four lines I don’t know.  I don’t know whether the “horrent Demon” is Urizen or the “horrent Demon”…
Reed Bye:  ..is Los.
AG:  … is Los descending, rising, surrounded by red stars of fire.  It would take a bit (of time).  I think one could look it up.  It would take a bit of time.  (Do you have) any idea?
Reed Bye:  Well….
AG:  Let’s see.. The “horrent Demon”..

Student:  In Yeats he says it’s Orc.
Student(2):  I think it’s Orc.
Reed Bye:  It’s Orc.
AG:  Okay.
Reed Bye:  Then it’s his mother …
AG:  Well, look at the illustration.
Reed Bye: … transferring to him.
AG:  Yeah.  Well, let’s see.  “Enitharmon herself, flirting with danger … lifts the bedclothes … from that ‘horrent Demon,’ for she believes him safely bound by Urizen –  or by Burke” –  the counter-revolutionary-  “she is a Marie Antoinette type, we shall see.”  This is Erdman‘s interpretation of that picture and that line, page 162, Europe, plate 4-I, which has those four lines “the horrent Demon.” – “His flaming head and the absence of visible manacles or chains indicate that she is mistaken.  The secret child has reached manhood; when Orc goes into action in ‘the vineyards of red France’ there will be no mock crowning of his ‘head with garlands of the ruddy’ wine.”

Then, the prior picture on page one-six-one also gives some hint of that.  Then the text of Erdman commenting on it says, “Halted but potentially swift flight eastward is indicated also in the scroll-garmented, huge-winged Cassandra.”  This is a prophecy, so there is kind of a Cassandra-figure, with her hanging down, “who should be soaring fast yet rains her black locks straight down toward the flaming orb of the new born.”  So that might be the “Enitharmon down descended into his red light.”  That may be some illustration of it.

And there is that flaming newborn bound together in a womb posture in the middle right-hand side of the painting.  See it?  Are you following it?  That’s on page one-six-one (of) The Illuminated Blake .  So that may be an illustration of “Enitharmon down descend(ing) into his red light”.  And “The horrent Demon rose surrounded with red stars of fire” – That would be the womb-like Orc being born.  That’s as near as I can make it.)

(to Student) You said Yeats said it was Orc?
Student:  Yeah.
AG:  This “horrent Demon”?
Student:  Yeah.
AG:  Okay.

to be continued

One comment

  1. Orc is a figment of Yeats imagination. Nothing more, nothing less. If Yeats loses focus, loses the nemory…Orc never was. Only Keats and Yeats were on Orcs side. And they lose. While the love of Wilde is on my side, the right side, and Orc was a weak puff of breath, like a hiccup….and he’s gone. Orc made no sound. Evaporated, silently like the…nothing. Like the tree in some forrest…..

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