The works of William Blake, poetic, symbolic and critical/2/The First Book of Urizen
THE FIRST BOOK OF URIZEN.
This is the story of one of the eternal states or moods of man, which are from everlasting. The individual enters these Moods and passes on, leaving them in the Universal Bosom, as travellers leave in space the lands through which they go. The name of the Mood is Urizen.
Urizen is seen in vision as the primeval priest, or spiritual father, assuming power among the spirits or imaginative moods of Great Eternity, an unimaginative mood by contrast, or rather he desires to be so in order to be a separate self—self-contemplating—and dominate other moods. The Eternals therefore gave him a place in the region of selfishness, of personality, of experience, the North, the iron land that the senses create in the mind, for the land of the South, from which he first came, is mind-created, not merely mind-analyzed. It is in the bosom of God, and no selfishness is allowed there, no personality that is not merely a means of brotherhood.
1. Separated from the imaginative, Urizen ceased to give light. He became a shadow. (Shadow means cloud or liquid, and has the qualities of blood, the dark region of sensuous action.) He became like a void, a vacuum, like nature that is not conscious life; that is, not anything except the potency of unfertilized maternity. (What is not conscious life is nothing to itself.) He was Urizen, with no other eternal attributes left than that of potency. And this was hidden.
2. Eternals propagate by division, and by their masculine portions, or States, acting on their feminine portions, or Spaces. Division is the first step of paternal action. Urizen divided and measured, he fertilized, as well as he could, his void. The void entered into, such is the eternal law, becomes a womb. Compare "Milton," p. 43, 1. 37. It was ninefold, and the number in itself was a promise of offspring. Change, but not light, appeared. In dark desire of fatherhood, yet with no creative imagination, Urizen struggled in desolate loneliness, for the senses, inhabitants of the North, are not Human company.
3. He sought to get offspring from the first forms of experience that came to hand. The dim, half-impersonal senses supplied him with what they had. His forsaken sensuous nature (the wilderness which he had deserted when he gave up joy for power, and imagination for mechanical contrivance and reason) supplied him with such feelings as beast, bird and fish may have, earth, air, and water being their makers, or as serpent, the great sign of Universal Material Nature, or as mere element, or fire and its opposite s, flaming wind, and cloudy vapour. He strove with all, the strife that the giver of fertility strives with the receiver. (In Eternity war and the chase give life, not death. Compare "'Milton," p. 34, l. 50, to p. 35, 1. 4.)
4. It was a silent activity, a dark revolving. (Revolving means conception.) There was neither sound, humanized passion, nor light,—eternal imaginative passion. There was only the heat of self-torment. He sought to have ideas without having joys. His enormous labours were mere misery, as of maternity, not joy, as of paternity. He was a self-contemplating shadow.
5. But Imagination with its Eternals saw him by his own light, though ho lay closed in forests, always the type of dark, melancholy, all absorbing vegetation.
6. But he had a kind of vitality, though it was harsh. He prepared thunders (thoughts), wheels (demonstrations and revenges), and terrible sounds as of sea, silence as of snow, scourging as of hail, hardness as of ice, and dreadfulness as of a thunderstorm in harvest time. Such were the offspring first begotten by the Primeval Priest, the unimaginative Mind, the tyrant Reason, alone in his self -hood.
1. At this time Earth was not, for when we contemplate mind in this portion of the vision that is its history, we do not yet see Earth, nor globes of attraction, nor any other personated forms of space. We do not see either the drop of water, or the drop of blood; only the first Shadow, the primal Cloud.
The Shadow (which contains the five senses, and their attendant of Reason), not having yet solidified is still gifted with the powers of imagination which it will desert in order to get power over imagination. Thus it belonged to the region of eternal life. But it had entered into Self-hood by self-contemplation (under the law, "what we look on we become," compare "Jerusalem." 5 p. 34, 1. 50), and was thus already beginning to be the great Satan, or Error, and receive a body, that it might be put off by death. It was for this that he was given a place in the North. But much must be seen before the vision will reveal that this is its meaning.
2. Suddenly, while Urizen was lying as a mere self-contemplating shadow, the sound of a trumpet was heard. This means that desire began. The story in this second chapter goes back a stage to tell more in detail what has been broadly hinted. At the sound of the trumpet the Heaven, that is to say, Urizen's propagative faculty, and vast clouds of blood rolled round his dim rock—for so must the hardness of a self-contemplative shadow be called.
3. And the trumpet caused creative imaginations and joys,—myriads of eternity, for these moods are also persons,—to hurry at its shrillness, at the intensity of the craving.
And with a terrible division eternity parted right and left. This eternity was Urizen's shadow. It was feminine, as all shadow must be. Its division was the loss of its virginity. Fragments of life were seen upon it, needing a male counterpart to enter into full existence. Urizen himself should be that counterpart.
4. But his self-begetting had only produced destructive forms. What else does reason and analysis engender? Yet fire ran over his regions and his deserts, for the heat of life abandons unwillingly the least creative part of mind.
5. But the fires gave no light, for they belonged all to the region of the five senses, the void, the womb, the feminine obscurity, experience. They were not the inspired light fires of prophecy.
6. And Urizen rushed into this region to hide himself in the contemplation of temporary mental states of the lower or sensuous plain. He would hide himself as the seed in the earth that he might bring forth harvest. But all he gained was that he fell under the curse of the unprophetic, non-eternal senses, and though eternal himself, tasted the bitterness of age and despair.
7. And his world became manifest to the prophetic eye of eternals outside it, as a black globe, and finally as a dark heart. It had the passion of growth, and its blood ran to quench the prophetic fires that beat on it from without, as in all of us happens to this day.
8. But this called up a spirit who had not yet advanced. Los, the Eternal Prophet, the moving or vehicular form of Urthona, the true regent of the northern land to which Urizen had come to dominate,—Los, labourer at furnaces whose bellows are lungs, and forger on anvils of affliction with a hammer that is the heart-beat, perceived Urizen's symbolic world to be part of his own machinery, and came forward to watch over it. All else in Eternity stood aloof. Los is Time, and he drew nearer as the other powers stood further off.
9. And Los wept and suffered, for though he is Time as seen by mortals, he is Eternity in himself, and all the self-hoods that are rent from Eternity are rent from his side. Urizen was so rent. He became darkness, blood, experience, mortality, all that is not imagination and inspiration. He became as the Feminine principle, without its lovable emotional symplicity. He became jealousy, which is always female uninstinctive, unmaternal made for destruction, even when it is the jealousy of God.
10. And when rent away he lay in a stony sleep.
11. This sleep of Urizen was his complete entrance into the unimaginative sphere, the clod of clay. It would have been death but for Los. (Elsewhere we read, Los is Time. Time is the Mercy of Eternity. Mercy changed death into sleep. The word summing up all this is Creation.)
12. Los howled (the howl is the sound-symbol for desire) in sign of his yearning to organize. Urizen was disorganized and rent from Eternity. Eternity is brotherhood and unity. Urizen had become self-hood and isolation. His organs that were lost were imaginative ideas. Without them Urizen had lost all that was distinctively masculine in his eternal or spiritual structure. He had entered into the feminine state. Los howled or desired over him as a male over a female, as he did again over Enitharmon, as Heavens over Hells, mind over energy; or as the spirit brooding in Genesis on the waters or the Breath on the Dust. But his desire not being for his own sake it healed the wound in him, made by the wrenching of Urizen apart.
13. Urizen having no desires outside himself could not heal. He slept because undesirous, yet was rifted with changes because still propagative by the potency not yet destroyed within him. He was an "Eternal" still.
14. Till Los (seeing that there is no way out of Self-hood but by its own perfection, as there is none out of the circle of the senses but by their expansion till all circles unite in an infinite circle, just as many soap-bubbles coalesce in one) aroused his fires, horrified at the restrictiveness of clay.
Chapter III. (misnumbered IV. by Blake as may be seen in the facsimile).
1. Los, viewing this deathly sleep, was astonished and frightened at the vision of hurting bones, for bones are symbol of sense confined within the narrow nerves, not free to roam the firmament of intuitive inspiration.
2. And he was astonished and frightened at the sulphurous Immortal, perturbed and raging, for Sulphur is symbol of opaque generative bodily disturbance, with no expansion fit for Immortals, and its rage is not their wrathful creativeness.
3. And Urizen raged in pitch—the horror of the dark heart—and nitre, destructive intellect, round the furious limbs of Los, round those ideas that were his prophetic members.
4. Therefore Los began to form nets and gins, that are systems of thought and life, and by correspondence, organs of the body. And he cast these round to catch the troubles of Urizen as our organs catch the perishable pains that, by the law of Merciful Creation, shall die with them.
5. And though Los, being also Time, binds nothing but change the great Unbinder, yet he binds this fast, and so the changes of Urizen in Iron of Experience and Brass of Passion were bound.
6. And these were the changes.
1. In his perturbed sleep, as the dark ages of torment rolled over Urizen, Los by his beating on the rivets thus divided the night.
2. While the Immortal in sleep became more and more mortal, and his ideas entered more and more into the strange form in which, to this hour, inheritance is passed on from father to son by the sulphurous fluid of transmittable life.
3. But the spiritual side of mortality is the mortal or temporary part of mind called Reason, Religion, Morality, cold, without imaginative fire, and clear, without mixture of blood; it settles at last in the soul, snowy cold, from the spent heats of passion. It settles after rolling. Its waves are billows of eternal death. Compare "Jerusalem," p. 39, 1. 8.
4. Then is the head a mere forgetfuluess of eternity, the heart a dumbness to love, the loins a necessary law of nature, and man's mind is locked away by the pre-occupation and kept as in fetters of ice from eternity, the free Imagination, while ever still Time beats, and those fetters are as ice of iron and brass,— cold experience, cold emotion.
5. Then is the mind enclosed in brain and skull, for so much of it as works is but a function of an organ.
6. And in the first age of this sort of life the expansive nerves of eternity become, in comparison, the bony chain of Time.
7. In the second age the senses that are of the blood disengage from these, as a darkened Eve from a darkened Adam.
8. In the third, by marriage of these obscure ones, the limited eyesight—for eyes are ever a symbol of marriage—becomes fixed in its narrowness and materialism.
9. In the fourth, by fruitfulness of this marriage, in pangs of child-bearing hope, the ears—symbolic gates of the World of Generation—are created.
10. In the fifth, the nostrils, symbol of outer world breathed into inner heart, are the next visionary forms.
11. And in the sixth, the tongue and throat, whose craving and whose receiving are more material and dark than that of ear or nostril, come to the growing obscurity.
12. Then eye, ear, nostril, throat—all the four gates of the cloudy region of sense being shrunk to the capacity that they own in this place of night, the completed self -hood arises and "with his left hand south and his right north, turns away from the light, the east, towards the vegetative region of the west — place of setting sun and falling dew.
1 & 2. Still hints of eternity may be gathered, for Vision sends its message even to the mortal eye, but all the rest of the wisdom and joy of eternal life rolls in vain like myriads in a crowd that is an ocean, singing unadmitted round a fast closed wall of rock.
3. And Urizen's true life became obliterated like a dream, for so seems the world of imagination to the world of outer reason, or experience.
4. And with a shudder —symbol of the separation of a child from its mother, of the total isolation of a self-hood — Los smote those two worlds apart in Urizen. Then, since by organizing him Los had mingled with Urizen, entering into his inert by prophetic power, as male mingles with female, they were both found together in one dark silent void.
5. And this void was not fertilized. It had the virginity of primaeval night, and the beholding of it struck horror into the soul of Los.
6. Los wept. But tears are fruitful. Pity, a feminine, a child-bearing possibility, began in the void as he saw Urizen in chains.
7. And fertilizing power poured down the cliffs or upright rocks of the intellectual petrification and system he had created, for immortal potency was still within it.
And this Pity, by further separation of nerves and blood, as the sea, in Genesis, divides from the dry land, became more emphatically the feminine red drop of the body.
Such division occurred in Los, through pity of Urizen, before his death-image, and such takes place in the immortal imagination of each man as he weeps over the cold corpse, Reason.
And now, though in so elementary a manner was it manifest that the vision seemed remote, as a far star seems, yet this division was beheld by the eternal brotherhood of ideas that people the imaginative eternity.
8. And by the bodying power of tears and cries, this mere globe, this embryonic pity in the air — for the air is the heart — took presently the female form.
9. At sight of emotion separate from imagination Eternity shuddered, as Los had shuddered at the sight of separated Reason and Self-hood. This shudder delivered that female form, as a born child, as a divided region.
10. And the Eternals gave her her name and fled, for imagination flies from unimaginative reason.
11. And the Eternals demanded a tent, a system of experienced emotion to hide the new couple.
12. And they began to weave it. It is, in the mind science, in the body generativeness. We shall be told in another book that in social life it is architecture. (" Milton," p. 24, 1. 56.) It is construction, a nearer approach to creation than analysis, or reason, though not the same thing.
1. Los who had pitied separate Reason, now pitied separate emotion. He saw that she could be fructified and attempted to fructify her. But the sentiments shrink from the exultations, — love trembles before prophecy, — space quivers under the power of Time ; Pity fled.
2. But Los presently succeeded in his object, and the shudder of the Eternals again marked an epoch in the great story of the fructifications.
3. And Enitharmon — as the female now is called — felt herself engendering helplessness, for such is that which vision beholds as a worm, — and the Eternals began to erect the tent they had woven.
4. But the helplessness lay not instantly organized, as an infant is not born the moment it is conceived.
5. By day, by the light of imagination, it was beheld as an infant. But by night, that is to say, when ib was seen in its dark and mortal aspect, it was no more than a worm. Therefore, day revealed it in air, night in earth, day in the bosom, night in the womb.
6. But as a secondary part of the great law that Time, as a portion of eternity, or prophetic creation, is the Mercy of Eternity ; yet when time acts through generation on blood, or Imagination on Pity, the offspring enters the region of Pain and Poison called by mortals Life, through the gate of its own helplessness. The worm became a serpent. Its hissings revealed its growth. As hot iron hisses quenched in water, so the prophecy of its father became quenched in the pity of its mother, and joined into nature in itself. Then came a cry. Pain followed the quenching. Then with many throes, or many maternities, this birth passed the lower or animal experiences. It was transmitted through the elements by the vehicles of life in each. The fish bore its pain in the sea, the birds in the air, the beasts in the earth, as the serpent had through quenching fire. Finally it took form as infant, Humanity.
7. And in this shape it manifested itself; a gloomy vision to the eyes of the dwellers in imagination.
8. They shrieked ; birth is terror. Their powers were paralyzed, for the shadow of the body is a paralyzing weight on the powers of light in mind.
9. And in the shape so beheld, delving the womb of earth, it issued forth, bringing the flames of its paternity with it, for the child was male.
10. Eternity closed the mental powers in the woven tent of system, that no more prophecy could behold them as before.
VOL. II. 9
1. The child was named Orc. He is desire personified. He feeds on the milk of pity, turning it to mortal fire.
2. Los aroused Enitharmon, dividing her pitying sleep with the cleaving of passionate wakefulness. In so doing, desire began to threaten to enter into her. This aroused the jealousy of Los. He felt it tighten his bosom like a girdle. By pity he threw it off in the region of generative love. But by day, by imaginative light, he perceived what was happening to Enitharmon, and jealousy bound his breast again.
3. The often broken and still renewing girdle, falling on the rock of memory, grew there to a chain.
4. So they took desire to a high moral place of the masculine activity of mind, and Orc, being led to this mountain, was bound there, though Enitharmon wept. Yet beneath the shadow of deathful analysings, Pity and Prophecy bound Desire to morality by the chain grown on memory.
5. And the deathful shadow, being Urizen, heard the child's voice, and the child's nature began to enter into him. He also wished to have sons. He began to awake to life, and since all mortal things exist in the mortal part of mind, all things began to awake as this awoke.
6. Then the temporal mind began to explore the sensuous capacities which are the dens in which it dwells.
7. And as an immortal, when alone, only propagates by division, he began to prepare means of division suitable to his region.
8. Having prepared these fourfold, like the fourfold forms of life through which Orc went before born into human form, he planted a garden of fruits, for his four stages had been mechanical and earthy, and vegetation, not humanity, was their highest outcome. From this garden came the smell of ripe figs, mentioned in the second chapter of "Tiriel."
9. But Los, calling up his energy, poured round Enitharmon fires of prophecy to defend her from the cold positive of temporal desire, and the cold negative of analytic and moral reason.
10. And she became the mother of many prophetic or imaginative forms of living thought.
1. Urizen explored his dens, in all the three regions, or head, heart, loins, these being seen in his earthy northern place of abode as mountain, moor and wilderness. He took a globe of imagination to see by, and as he went forms of life from his forsaken mountains — for he had left his original southern hills for the northern — struggled so far after him, and annoyed him as dreams annoy reasonable men.
2. They were dread terrors, delighting in blood, not friendly shapes as when in the south. They loomed brokenly in his night, and terrified him.
3. The worst were the most complete, for some were self-hoods as organized as he. Tiriel, Utha, Grodna, and Fuzon, rulers of the sub-division of the northern world, of the air, water, earth, fire of the earth, came to his sight. His daughters too — that is, his instinctive, not his mental subdivisions — arose from lower animals and herbs, growing by accretion of the lesser divisions, not by division of greater.
4. But no divisions of moral intellect can have the completeness of the whole, no truth can tell all truth, no law enact every restriction, no mortal consent to perfect mortal pi'udence. So he cursed the sons and daughters of his mind for not being purely mechanical products of experience.
5. For he saw that mind lived by breaking down experience. The ox moaning in the slaughter-house, showed him the strength desti'oyed to feed strength; and the dog shut from the wintry door, showed desire barred out lest it should satisfy itself at the expense of desire. The door opened to the ox, led it to death; that shut on the dog closed it from life.
VOL. II. 9 *
The ox is natural strength, the dog is natural craving. So Urizen wept, and called it Pity, and his tears flowed down on the winds; and the air being the region of the heart, tears became to him the Eve within his ribs, as the drop of blood to Los.
6. And his tears fructified the region of air in their way, for they were breathed in by his nostrils that lead to error, the world when everything that enters becomes a self-hood. And the cold shadow so born followed him wherever he went over the three-fold infinite number, or thrice ten abodes, or cities, of his numerous divided offspring.
7. And the shadow took shape as a web of tears, a female thing, not complete, yet recognizable in embryo.
8. And he twisted this net into a system as dogma and theology twist vision and mysticism.
9. And then the female was born, and perceived as the Net of Religion.
1. Then the mental sub-divisions of Urizen contracted into organisms of bodily narrowness as he himself had contracted, and as men's intellects do under Religion when Religion is a net, not an inspiration.
2. And these mentally shrunken creatures that should have been infinite, though seven feet high, were dwarfs compared to that giant stature into which they should have grown.
3. For six days earth was made by the shrinkage of these intellectual powers, usually called creation, and on the seventh day they were completely bounded from all visionary life, and they rested in that hope which a literature, more modern than Blake's, has called Agnosticism. This is the story of the creation of the delusion called Nature, not of Creation in the full sense of the term. For Creation produced the means by which that delusion was able to delude, and also our escape by death from its power. 4. And their three-fold infinite organic emotional dwelling-places shrunk to a mortal's heart, and died a mortal's death.
5. And they buried their imaginative emotions in restriction, and the laws of prudence being so formed were called laws of God, Morality having put on the aureole.
6. And the salt floods of bitter passion beat round those dwelling-places of emotion, whose symbolic name is Africa; but this shrunken portion, Egypt.
7. The self-hoods within self-hood, under Urizen's cold mental unimaginativeness, had ever less and less of brother-hood, for the formulas of intellect do not mingle as those of mysticism, nor the moralities sympathize as the inspirations.
8. So Fuzon, the one fire-like child of this northern universe, called his enthusiasms together and left earth, dropping the contemplation of experience altogether.
9. And religion, the shrinking tendency, the salt, or astringent female of tearful nets, became a globe, a region.
Analysis of Personal Changes.
Urizen, going North, enters into the Personality of Urthona, whose vehicular form is Los, and whose region Earth, and the gate of generation.
Here he solidifies until he becomes a black globe, shaped like a heart.
This solidification sets free from the mingling a portion of Urthona's masculine potency which belongs to him as a vehicle, not as a region. This is Los. (Compare "Jerusalem," p. 53, l. 1.)
The globe is, as compared with Los, feminine. Los, desiring and pitying over it, weeping and howling, organizes it as though engendering on it till it is complete; but, for lack of desire, quite dead and motionless. At this, though himself confined within the same stillness, he pities it. The first female, Pity, or Enitharmon, begins. While Urizen lies asleep, Los, wedded to Enitharmon, produces desire and binds him to a rock lest lie should contaminate Pity.
Bound to the rock he is in touch with Urizen in his moveless Northern state, and, awake with desire, Urizen moves. He sheds tears that become a second and cold female, who produces, by simply shrinking* up into moralities, the ideas that divide from Urizen's infinity. Her race all die. Enitharmon, enclosed by Los with inspiration, bears a race that live.
Symbols of the Book of Urizen.
The characteristic of this book is, on a supei-ficial review, its use of some favourite terms which belong to the symbolic vocabulary of Jacob Boehmen. These are, in particular, Sulphur, Pitch and Nitre. But the adaptation of them to the myth is Blake's own, as is his use of Boehmen's Quaternary, or Four Divisions, wherever found.
Reference to the other books and to the chapters on the Zoas, the Elements, and the Contraries will supply detailed explanations of much that will show a more subtle symbolism than can be indicated in a rapid analysis of the story of the poem.
Numbering of the Poem.
There is a secondary, but completely sustained, symbolism in the numbering of the chapters and stanzas.
The number three especially indicates correspondences with hidden things, or ideas overlaid by their symbols as the body of Christ by the rock of Joseph's tomb.
The number is often repeated, that is to say, the three stanzas become six before the darkness is dispelled. This is to indicate the six days of creation, during which God entombed his ideas in that which appeals to the darker, or sense-portion of our imaginations. It also indicates what Boelimen calls "three dark creations." Bat the examination of this closely would lead to the study of a mysticism other than Blake's, and not endorsed by him in its absolute completeness. The number seven is the number of manifestation. It will always be found at the head of a stanza in which development reaches a point of characterization or imaginative visibility not arrived at before. The number nine always indicates birth. It is the number of the months of gestation. By comparing the ninth with the seventh stanza of such chapters as contain both the difference between the symbolic use of the idea of generation and that of manifestation will be clear.
The number ten, as in Swedenborg's account of the biblical numbers, always indicates completeness, even the completeness of numberlessness in the case of multitudes. Twelve is the double six, and emphasizes the cadence by repetition.
Fourteen, the double seven, introduces a second manifestation of some self-hood, some signalized character.
The numbering of the chapters has the same significance as that of the stanzas. The difference in length of the chapters is introduced to enable them to contain the number of stanzas appropriate respectively to the significance of each.It will be noticed that Blake thought of beginning the third chapter after the tenth stanza of the second, but saw that the second needed fourteen stanzas, and took out the word. He forgot to alter IV. into III. at the beginning of the true Chapter III., and so in his own copies there are always two Chapters IV. The error is an oversight of no consequence when a consideration of the significance of the numbers enables us to be certain of the true reading.
C. 1-12. — The general structure of the book may be seen by the following table of correspondences: —
Head. Heart. Loins.
Self- Opaque- Tossing-
Head. Heart. Loins.
Spine. Heart. Eyes.
Earth. Air. Fire.
Time. Space. Ten-
(Spirit) (Essence) dency
Head. Heart. Loins.
Ears. Nostrils. Tongue.
Earth. Air. Water.
Memory. Religion. The
Though different in expression and distribution of emphasis the main structures is in agreement with Jacob Boehmen's scheme of creation. The first triad is identical with the alchemical categories, salt, mercury and sulphur ; as contraction, motion, and whirling. It must be remembered, too, that the first and second of any triad produce the third, as alchemical salt and mercury produce sulphur.
To recapitulate the abstract of the book: iu the first chapter a self-hood arises in eternity ; in the second it hides itself in darkness, and so enters the womb of nature ; in the third it tosses with agony, and these tossings are fixed into various states of consciousness in the fourth chapter; the fifth sees the creation of an organized outer nature ; and the sixth the birth of passion, the product of the states of consciousness and their nature; the seventh and eighth chapter see the rise respectively of memory and moral restraint, and these solidify in the ninth into the mortal body.
Prologue, l. 2. — "Religion" used in its common Blakean sense of restriction.
L. 3. — North is equivalent to matter.
C. 2, v. 2, l. 1. — A trumpet means a creative or unimaginative thought; musical instruments are always generative.
V. 2, l. 2. — The cold clouds of Urizen are changed by the "fury" into "clouds of blood" to symbolize the making into emotional life of the self-hood, through its contest with its opposite universal existence.
V. 3, l. 8. — A harmony of all forms of life had existed in eternity. When the self-hood is separated, away from it, he takes with him but fragments of life, being himself a fragment. The mere contractive and. repellent forms symbolized by the " frowning cliffs " remain with him.
V. 8, l. 1. — The dark globe is, among other things, the globe of the earth; globes are always self -hoods in their most elementary form of centres of attraction, hence Blake considered the world of reality and unimagination to be flat, thus viewed as the mere nether limit for the feet of spirits. When Urizen formed this cave-like opacity about him, he entered the womb of nature, from which he is born as man's reason in the last, chapter.
C. 3 , v. 1. l. 2. — " A clod of clay " is the term constantly applied to the beginning of material life in the womb.
V . 2, 3-V. 2, 3. — Pitch, nitre and sulphur are an alchemical first triad referring to earth, air, and fire, respectively. Blake uses them here to express a triple agony of the intellectual, moral and emotional faculties, or of the head, heart and loins.
C. 4, v. 4, l. 7.— "Iron," head; " breast," loins.
V. 6-11. — The order of the states: "bones," "heart," "eyes," "ears," "nostrils," and " tongue," is an epitome of the book from Chapter IV. to the end. The making of bones is analogous to the whole process of fixing the states. The making the heart to birth of Enitharmon, who issues from the breast of Los as a globe of blood in Chapter V. The eyes having a correspondence to the union of Los and Enitharmon to produce Ore in Chapter VI. Eyes being always connected with marriage in the sense of a union of the mental states, and the "spaces" of outer nature. The ears, the first faculty of the last triad, are analogous to the chaining of Ore, the entrance of the logos into the darkness of physical life. The nostrils refer to the air or free spiritual essence entering Ulro or Error, and becoming restrictive and restrictor, i.e. to the. making of the net of religion. The tongue corresponds to the final product, the vegetative body.
V. 12, l. 2, 3. — The significance of Urizen casting his left arm to the south and his right to the north, is that he re- verses the position of Los, who faces always to the east, like the good spirits in Swedenborg. Urizen, like Swedenborg's spirits of ill, faces westward — or to the vegetative world.
C. 5, v. 4. — Los extinguishes the furnaces in their place in the spiritual south with a blow from their opposite, the north of darkness and matter.
Once more, as often said elsewhere, this account of the book does not exhaust its meanings. The reader who is enabled by these hints to find so much in it as is now described will probably find more for himself, to the increase of his enjoyment of all the rest of Blake's books.