Page:Works of William Blake; poetic, symbolic, and critical (1893) Volume 2.djvu/169

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155
AMERICA.


tomb. The eternal consequence of the fact that generation is the gate that leads to regeneration is that when passed through it is eternally destroyed. The Serpent in Canada, — the loins of the loins, — west of west ; the eagle in the heart, of the loins (now Mexico, centre of the western world), the lion in Peru (eyes of the loins, south of the western world) ; and the whale in the South sea (elsewhere called Erythrean, or of blood red), — the watery or growing liquid region of the loins, or Western world, all drag at the poor shadowy female, and forever she knows that " life feeds on death/' as another prophecy reminds us, and that this is the " torment long foretold."

The story of this prelude is told in "Vala," Night VII., line 61 1, and following lines. In line 622, an identical line from the prelude is repeated. The idea of the symbol of the iron vessels and of the "iron tongue" is explained by the expression " attractive " as applied to steel, line 633 (compare " Jerusa- lem," p. 82, 1. 69). The rending of the cloud is on line 696. In 701, 714, and 782 of the same Night, the Shadowy Female is mentioned, and in Night VIII. also, lines 26, 54, 74, 17, 82, 140, 415, 472, 474. The relationships of the symbol " shadowy female" are there thoroughly wrought out and its connection with length and breadth, the serpent, doubt, cruelty, and all else that is of the body. She, the shadowy female, speaks, and Ore replies at some length in " Milton," extra page 17. " Vala," Night IX., 1. 276, adds " the cloud is blood," and mentions its evil or pestilential side as a pro- ducer of doubt, Night VII., line 782.

The " caverns " which Ore rends when chained are the " caverns of the grave, the places of human seed," "Vala," Night VII., line 610; and are the " Dens " of Urthona, and of Urizen the great architect, builder of the human heart, and sower of the human harvest, whose "science" in "Vala," the shadowy female absorbs, Night VIII., line 140. Urizen, forgetful of his own laws, goes to embrace her, and falls into dragon form. "Vala," Night VIII., lines 415, and following.