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The works of William Blake, poetic, symbolic and critical/2/Ahania

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AHANIA.

It has been supposed that this was the poem which Blake intended to call "The Second Book of Urizen." None bearing that title is known. The suggestion is plausible and may be provisionally accepted.

Chapter I.

1. Fuzon, the son of Urizen corresponding to the Eternal Fire, on a chariot — that is on a mood-happiness, or sustaining emotion (compare letter to Hayley, November 20th, 1800, Gilchrist, Vol. I., p. 163), iron-winged, or propelled by attractive and sensuous love, — -sparkles of passion shooting from his hair — bis energy — down bis bosom (region of Emanation) and shoulders (region of the Spectre or egotism), on clouds of smoke (natural blood), rages his chariot, — makes his happiness a fury. He moulds his wrath into a vast globe as the thunderstone is moulded. He, and it, are identical symbols for Urizen's own silent burning mood.

2. Urizen's burning refuses to worship Urizen's darkness.

3. He threw the globe of wrath that lengthened into a beam, just as Urizen's tears lengthen into ropes of a net. The beam is the spear, or arrow, symbol of male potency and desire.

4. Urizen opposed the disk of the sun — the exterior sun — "a black shadow like an eye" (" Visions of the Daughters," p. 2) — which is feminine because it is material and is of the loins. It is the globe of his life-blood. It is in the void, the womb, the heart, and is within the Temple. All the regions are one within the other. 5. It was forged by Los during ten winters — number of multitude — before he caused it to take organic form during seven ages — number of manifestation.

6. But desire tore through the globe of blood and itself turned out to be double, — masculine and feminine, Fuzon and Ahania. (Albion's desire was also double and "was called Luvah and Vala." Night VII., l. 246.)

7. Ahania, invisible because hidden in him like Vala in Satan's loins (" Vala," Night VIII., 1. 252), shrieked. Urizen hid her, though invisible, under mountains of jealousy.

8. This caused her to fall outwards towards the "selfish centre," She fell, becoming a division of the Shadowy Female in chaos, — the Spectre or Personal region, circling the loins. She is abhorrent because she is hidden lust.

9. But visible fury and love, frank and masculine, remained as a light of Egypt — as the imaginative and God-like thing in this dark world — till Los beat it in the body of the sun and made it one with the blood, as the Spirit of God and the dark waters were made one in Genesis.

Chapter II.

1. Urizen frowned. The smile is prolific, the frown sterile. His lips took the colour of death, of tears, of contrition.

2. His forests, — his melancholy, — had bred contemplations which were monsters.

3. Of these, the one most typical of the personal in outer nature, a horned or two-sexed serpent, approached Urizen.

4. He struggled with Urizen for mastery. Both used poison of delusion and jealousy. But Urizen was the stronger, and killed the serpent.

5. Then he prepared a bow, — symbol of the sexes, — and having poisoned a rock, or envenomed the flesh of man with a mortal or exterior quality in its desires — (desire is always the Arrow, between the two horns, male and female, of the Bow) — he spoke to the Bow. 6. Oh ! Bow, — oh ! sexes, — of the cloud of secrecy, — the selfish jealousy of the natural blood — oh! nerve of that monster, — oh ! joy of the mortal sexuality, — send this mixture of Reason and law, this materialism — this rock — swift and invisible to the heart of my unmastered enthusiasm, Fuzon.

7. So saying — still suffering from the wounds of his struggle with the serpent — he laid the rock without on the bow-string.

8. At the same time Fuzon unloosed his moods of fury, his tigers, and believed that they had slain Urizen, and that he was God, now, eldest of things. (This is all another vision of the contest of Luvah and Ui'izen from the book of " Vala." Blake eventually dropped this as less connected with the main visions of the myth.)

9. Sudden sings the rock — (a song of death, a jealousy) — and flew into Fuzon' s bosom, "darkening present joy" ("Vala," Night III., l. 11), and deforming him with the spectrous deformity or insanity of egotism, other than that of impulse — the egotism of prohibition. He fell on the edge of the forests, — of the melancholy heart.

10. For the rock, falling to the loins, — the earth, — revealed itself on Sinai as the Table of the Law.

Chapter III.

1. The globe shook. Among symbolic motions, that of shaking, like shuddering, always precedes birth. Urizen anointed his wound. The ointment flowed down on the void. The void is the womb of Nature. The snake's poison, made of this ointment, is mortal love.

2. The tree of Mystery is brought forth. (It was afterwards Vala — or rather Vala was made into Mystery by the Serpent. Vala was mother of the babe Urizen, and thus was daughter of the old Urizen. She has two aspects, the attractive beauty of love, and the attractive beauty of morality. Hence she is both mother and daughter of the "Primal Priest.") 3. This tree grew because Urizen shrunk away from immensity. He wrote the book of iron (of mortal love) under its shade. It surrounded him because it takes the place of deserted Eternity as the folding serpent and the winding worm.

4. He with difficulty brought his books, his mental regions, out from under the shade of this tree, all but the book of iron — of love.

5. The tree still grows, the religion which consists in calling the laws of prudence the laws of God, yet triumphs over the region of the outer senses, the eternal, the void.

6. On this tree Fuzon's corpse, the generated body of restrained passion, is nailed.

Chapter IV.

1. The arrows of pestilence — the desires of mortal parentage — flew round the living dead-body of spontaneous simple passion.

2. For in Urizen's slumbers of abstraction, a white lake had formed in the air, which is at once the net of religion and the liquid of generation, the catcher of souls in dogma, and of souls in corporeal birth.

3. The body is the mind's excrement, and its darkness is an evil cloud from the disease of the soul. This cloud hardened on the lake, and became the bones of man.

4. Diseases, or tendencies to mortal growth and imaginations, hovered like birds on the cloud.

5. And they were netted and caught by Los around the bones.

6. Till many were organized into the thoughts that seem to us to be fleshly organs, but others remained mere unfulfilled tendencies of nature in the void; horrors because incomplete existences, "ruinous fragments of life." ("Urizen," chap. II., stanza 3.)

7. Round the pale living body of passion, fastened to the containing flesh, the arrows of pestitential indolent desire flew, and the imprisoned or nailed body was what is understood in the Bible by Israel in the wilderness, a reading indicated by the term "forty years."

8. The ideas of Reason grew more formal, and his fragments of life more hard and less malleable to the will, until the land where the Garden of Eden was to be emerged from the deeps.

9. And the serpent of that garden was composed of the dead passions of Urizen. It was born of them by accretion. Therefore, this is said in the ninth division. In the tenth — number of multitude — Fuzon's groans are heard. They are innumerable.

Chapter V.

1. The lamenting voice of Ahania, of Urizen's "indulgent self of weariness," of his "invisible lust," was heard round the Tree of Mystery, where his energy was nailed by religious restraints, weeping. She had no form, for she was an outcast of the mind where form dwells. Her tears from clouds, her fructifying drops from the blood, fell round the tree.

2. And the voice cried that it was far from the mind, and almost wholly non-mentalized into unconsciousness, or body or void.

3. From whence it could see his dark power and dark melancholy.

4. But he had despised her, though jealous, and cast her into the vegetating void of loneliness.

5. She could not even kiss the place where his feet, the nether portions of his imagination, had trod. But when his Head, Heart, Loins, had become Forgetfulness, Dumbness, Necessity, she was sent to the rocks which, with the snow and forests, overgrew them all, and sent to wander there with Necessity.

6. Where, she asked, was his golden palace, the light of his mind when he was in the South, golden region, where his imaginations rejoiced, his sons of Eternity sang ?

7. When his desires sported among eternal and mental mountains and valleys ?

8. When his bosom was open, not closed in flesh and bone.

9. When her soul was given to his sons, and his daughters to her chambers ; where indulgences and energies could live in harmony and love ?

10. And little innocent joys were born from them like innumerable babes ?

11. And even the external and female things of the void and of the flesh were happy as fatness, and odours and figs ?

12. Eternal science, which in the golden age was mercy, and the architecture of the happy heart, was sown as a seed with generous hand.

13. And the sweat was the symbol of healthy labour.

14. But dark flesh and dark jealousy and dark restraint have ended all the joy.


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