Page:Works of William Blake; poetic, symbolic, and critical (1893) Volume 2.djvu/177

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.
163
AMERICA.


or bodily languorous love, began in streaks of red ; and the belief in the corporeal restraint that morality had taught became turned like a plague upon them and infected them into a belief in corporeal licence. The flames of Ore, the imaginative passion, had driven this evil fortune upon them, so that every guardian spirit of every city in the regions of their minds, the true place of nakedness, were in Reason, — and whether of Bristol, or London, or York, — sickened. Bristol as a western town and a port is clearly a loin symbol, London is Urizen in Luvah's place. York is Tharmas and Theotormon, all are of the serpent regions, u length and breadth."

Every division and limb of Albion, — every organ (Ireland, Scotland, Wales), — felt the force of the wild fires. It affected them with an evil influence because they were tyrants and resisters. It tyrannized over them. Flesh grew like a cowl over the head even of the Bard, the Poetic Spirit never yet dead even in Albion's land of egotism and morality. In other words Los became Urizen, the Prester Serpent, Satan (com- pare " Vala," Night VII., 11. 516, 602 and VIII., 1. 458). The Priests become serpents, bodily devourers of dust, rather than take the enthusiasm of the imagination, — for the instinctive or female spirits or instincts even of religion, or restraint, rush up into the blood changed into passionate spirits, and in the long-drawn arches of the arter es feel that their youth is not yet over, though egotism, the one thing that can grow old, has long held them in fetters. Then followed a short reaction. The " frost " ; of the nameless shadowy female, the counterpart of Ore's fire men- tioned in the Preludium, triumphed over the fire in the torment long foretold. The body grew too strong for the spirit. The laws of prudence overwhelmed the rebellion of enthusiasm. Snow, leprosy, white age, the attributes of Urizen in the north, were the forces that conquered once more for a time. For Urizen is not always manifested as the dragon. He appears as the moral and legal tyrant, for restraint is the left

VOL. II. 11 *