Page:Works of William Blake; poetic, symbolic, and critical (1893) Volume 2.djvu/189

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175
EUROPE.

for dominion and the clouds obscure the moon — Los — and cover the world with cold and with increasing darkness. The meteorological symbolism then leaves us for a time to return when the clouds are dispersed and the trump of doom is sounded by Newton. There is a period of pleasant life before dawn, when the fish sport on the waves by the light of the moon. The sun then rises.

The significance of the Preludium is that it deals with the travail of the feminine principle when about to give birth to the soul or tendency that it has clothed in flesh. In the poem itself the Christian era is a great womb from which the imaginative life comes docked of its immortality and clothed with bodily reason.

For much more about the serpent-temple see "Jerusalem," page 67, 1. 34. It is there called "the polypus of generation," and is said to have its head, as in present poem, at Verulam, and its heart at Stonehenge. It is six-fold, and includes six symbolic cities — Verulam, Worcester, Chichester, Salisbury, Exeter and Bristol. Being in the south of England, it is a kind of image of the "serpent coiled in the south "of Jerusalem, (p. 14, 1. 3.) It is the Phallic symbol again of the Masculine in its separate and spectrous form. ("Jerusalem," p. 09, 11. 1 to 5.) Thus through the polypus we see that Reason is both feminine as a ratio of the five senses which are, in the aggregate, Nature who is Vala and Rahab ; and at the same time masculine as its serpentine symbol shows, because it is a destroyer and a warrior, in the form of a fructifier.

It is the "serpent temple" into which the sun was put. The sun is also the plough. On it, as such, Urizen "laid his hand." As such the bulls of Luvah drags it every morning out of the deep. Its quality of identity with the plough belongs to it as an outward symbol or organ of Time, the ever masculine potency.