Page:Works of William Blake; poetic, symbolic, and critical (1893) Volume 2.djvu/135

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121
THE FIRST BOOK OF URIZEN.

is not conscious life; that is, not anything except the potency of unfertilized maternity. (What is not conscious life is nothing to itself.) He was Urizen, with no other eternal attributes left than that of potency. And this was hidden.

2. Eternals propagate by division, and by their masculine portions, or States, acting on their feminine portions, or Spaces. Division is the first step of paternal action. Urizen divided and measured, he fertilized, as well as he could, his void. The void entered into, such is the eternal law, becomes a womb. Compare "Milton," p. 43, 1. 37. It was ninefold, and the number in itself was a promise of offspring. Change, but not light, appeared. In dark desire of fatherhood, yet with no creative imagination, Urizen struggled in desolate loneliness, for the senses, inhabitants of the North, are not Human company.

3. He sought to get offspring from the first forms of experience that came to hand. The dim, half-impersonal senses supplied him with what they had. His forsaken sensuous nature (the wilderness which he had deserted when he gave up joy for power, and imagination for mechanical contrivance and reason) supplied him with such feelings as beast, bird and fish may have, earth, air, and water being their makers, or as serpent, the great sign of Universal Material Nature, or as mere element, or fire and its opposite s, flaming wind, and cloudy vapour. He strove with all, the strife that the giver of fertility strives with the receiver. (In Eternity war and the chase give life, not death. Compare "'Milton," p. 34, l. 50, to p. 35, 1. 4.)

4. It was a silent activity, a dark revolving. (Revolving means conception.) There was neither sound, humanized passion, nor light,—eternal imaginative passion. There was only the heat of self-torment. He sought to have ideas without having joys. His enormous labours were mere misery, as of maternity, not joy, as of paternity. He was a self-contemplating shadow.

5. But Imagination with its Eternals saw him by his own