Ginsberg on Blake – Europe – 3

Newton- William Blake (c.1804-5), ink and watercolor on paper, from the collection of the Tate Gallery. London

Allen Ginsberg’s Naropa  lecture on William Blake’s Europe – A Prophecy continues from here 

AG:   So.  We go down to..  “Enitharmon laugh’d in her sleep to see (O womans triumph)/  Every house a den..” – (This would be actually the Queen’s law here, the Queen’s proclamation against diverse, wicked, and seditious writings, which got everybody scared)

“Every house a den, every man bound; the shadows are filld/With spectres, and the windows wove over the curses of iron:/Over the doors Thou shalt not; & over the chimneys Fear is    written:/With bands of iron round their necks fasten’d into the walls/ The citizens: in leaden gyves the inhabitants of suburbs/ Walk heavy: soft and bent are the bones of villagers…”

So that’s similar to:

“I wander thro’ each charter’d street,/Near where the charter’d Thames does flow./In every face I meet I see/ Marks of weakness, marks of woe”, where the political proclamation of fear is printed actually in the very faces and visages of the citizens related to each (other), just walking around silent in thought on the street, worrying about their imprisonment, afraid to talk to their neighbors.  And that fear finally begins to show as the “mark of weakness, mark of woe” – familiar facial expression.  And if somebody takes acid, or wakes up in the middle of Enitharmon‘s dream, and sees those faces, there is suddenly a terrific glimpse of recognition, that everybody is actually thinking about the same thing but afraid to talk, and so it comes up in the pained expression – wrinkles around the eyebrows in the visage – and actually people are speaking through their expressions, speaking their pain through their expressions very clearly, once you wake up from the dream of Enitharmon.  Or wake up from the dream, in the sense of recognizing that there is that fear there already.  It isn’t the natural state of man and it isn’t the natural state of mind.

So.  Now, apparently Pitt tried to start the war several times.

“The red limb’d Angel siez’d, in horror and torment;/The Trump of the last doom; but he could not blow the iron tube!” – (The iron war tube.  That would be the war trumpet, actually; a declaration of war on the continent) – “Thrice he assay’d presumptuous to awake the dead to Judgment.”

Then –  “A mighty Spirit leap’d from the land of Albion,/Nam’d Newton; he siez’d the Trump, & blow’d the enormous  blast!”

Why Newton?  Why Newton?  Why put it onto Newton?  Because Blake is doing the whole cultural history of the West, and it isn’t a mere Prime Minister that can move the consciousness of a nation to war, it would have to be some intellectual spirit of the age, or an intellectual demon, that went deeper than the actor. And so it’s Newton who, as Foster Damon notes, was the ideological creator of the whole Anti-Jacobin universe.  Not really of a political movement, but of the entire starry, bounded, rational, limited, reasoning universe that, by its defense of its own order and proprieties, finally has to issue proclamations against diverse wicked and seditious writings. And finally, in order to create order, (it) has to declare war on Europe. In order to encourage law and order, it has to arm the police.  In order to create public security, has to create Secret Police, now known as Security Police, so that the Urizenic temperament, or the Newtonian rational mind, in attempting to describe the universe in an orderly way (in order) to abstract the universe and make the universe fit its own thought forms, finally has to create vast armies to put down surging energies that were not accounted for in the system, in this case the religious and monarchial system in France.  Blake (is) looking from England, where the demon, the red demon of Orc can be seen in reflection –  the redness of the fire of Orc can be seen in reflection on the continent.  (In this prophecy) he’s (imaginatively) looking across the channel to France, waiting for the French Revolution to break out and for some completely Libertarian spirit to emerge. Naked man.
And the only angel big enough to blow the universal historic trumpet is Newton, not Pitt.  So therefore he says the politicians don’t make it, it takes the intellectual angel to do it.

to be continued

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately fifteen minutes and concluding approximately twenty-one minutes in

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