Page:Works of William Blake; poetic, symbolic, and critical (1893) Volume 2.djvu/26

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12
SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE.

Reason are words used precisely in the same sense as in the Books where the Reasoning Power builds Vala, identified with the Shadowy Female, from whose clouds, which are blood, doubts are not to be suffered to rise up. That is to say, Tharmas, whose evil aspect is that of the sunset, or blood-red spirit of Uncertainty, is not to be permitted again to kill Imagination, the Saviour.

Songs of Experience.

In the Introduction the Bard speaks out more clearly. Many visions had been seen and some prophetic books written between the date when these songs were engraved (1794) and that of the previous collection (1789).

The Bard speaks with the voice of the East, the sunrise, when in a golden cloud it renews, for earth, the golden age; when Luvah walked from the hands of Urizen in the shadow of Vala's garden (" Vala," Night IX., l. 371), and, speaking the holy word among the ancient trees, called the lapsed soul from the evening dew (I. 384), and showed her that she was sinless (l. 450), and was not, as had been supposed, Sin, though she became such when separate from Man (ll. 619, 620).

But Vala answers that while Jealousy has power, the night is not yet over, nor the morning come. In her all the females of the Prophetic Books speak, and the sin of all the males, as well as their own, is evident. The darkness which belongs to the state when " the masculine separates from the feminine, and both from man " — still has power. This is " Experience." "The Clod and the Pebble " brings out, for the first time in Blake's writings, a principle that must never be lost sight of, for if it escapes notice, the stories of his myths, and the alternately reproving and affectionate language in which he addresses or describes his personages — the "states and spaces " — cannot be understood. This principle is found in the great idea, that everything can be seen in a good or an evil aspect, yet its individuality remain the same.