STEMS OF GENERATION: THE FIGURE OF THE VICTIM IN THE POETRY OF WILLIAM BLAKE by LAWRENCE MACKAY MATHEWS B.A . , Carleton Un ivers i ty , 1969 M.A., Carleton Un ivers i t y , 1971 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN THE REQUIREMENTS DOCTOR OF PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF FOR THE DEGREE OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of English) We accept th is thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF .BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1976 (c) Lawrence Mackay Mathews , 1976 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s u n d e r s t o o d tha t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I ag ree that ABSTRACT In the major prophecies, Blake has much to say about human s a c r i f i c e ("Druidism") and about the f igure of Jesus as Lamb of God. My purpose is to invest igate Bilake's use of the motif of victijnhood in order to determine how i t s presence affects the meanings of ind iv idual poems, and how i t evolved during the course of his poetic career. In the poems of the e a r l i e r per iod, from Poet ica l Sketches to the l a te r minor prophecies, Blake explores the moral and psychological dimensions of the experience of victimhood - - though not in the content of r i t u a l s a c r i f i c e - - and constantly questions i t s value. His presentation of the f igure of the v ic t im i s character ized by an irony which i l luminates two basic dramatic s i t ua t i ons , which foreshadow his l a t e r preoccupation with Druidism and with Jesus. In one group of poems (some of the Songs of Innocence and e a r l i e r minor prophecies), the v ic t im 's suf fer ing i s associated in some s i gn i f i can t way with a v is ion of an unfal len wor ld, but th is v is ion never becomes rea l i zed . In a second group (some of the Songs of Experience and l a te r minor prophecies), Blake focuses on the re la t ion of i i i the v ic t im to the person or force responsible for causing him harm. In some of these poems, the v ic t im i s able to escape from his bondage, but f inds that he can do th is only by making some other character his v ic t im. The central theme of the major prophecies is the bringing into existence of a world in which the role of v ic t im need no t .ex i s t . Some of the l y r i c s of the Picker ing Manuscript provide evidence that Blake's at t i tude towards victimhood undergoes a fundamental change a f ter the period of the e a r l i e r poems: for the f i r s t time we f ind c ryp t i c assert ions about the e f f i cacy of s a c r i f i c i a l su f fe r ing . In The Four Zoas, Jesus, in Night V I I I , i s revealed as the ef f icac ious s a c r i f i c i a l v ic t im par excel lence. But Blake does not make any f a c i l e repudiation of his e a r l i e r presentation of the f igure of the v ic t im. Luvah undergoes a number of i r on i c experiences of victimhood which estab l ish him as a parody of a Ch r i s t - f i gu re ; but in the apocalypse of Night IX, he escapes from his ro le as perennial v ic t im only to become the tor turer of the "Human Grapes" in his wine-press. In th is way, his story i s consistent with the i r o n i c v is ion of victimhood presented in the e a r l i e r poems. Yet Blake has c lear ly discovered a pos i t i ve meaning for victimhood in the C ruc i f i x i on , as Jesus descends "to Give his vegetated body / To be cut off & separated that the S p i r i t u a l body may be Jteveald." But he does not attempt to reconci le th is new v is ion with the e a r l i e r one, and Luvah's story provides an i r on i c counterpoint to the Lamb of God's, i i i despite the poem's opt imis t ic conclusion. In Mi 1 ton and Jerusalem, Blake presents his mature v is ion o f Jesus as s a c r i f i c i a l v ic t im. He a lso c l a r i f i e s the re la t ion of the Cruc i f i x ion to the multitudinous examples of Drui d s a c r i f i ce which have parodied i t throughout fa l l en h is to ry . In both Mi 1 ton and Jerusalem, Jesus is the Lamb of God who vo luntar i ly assumes the role of v ic t im in a unique s a c r i f i c i a l act . The act is unique because i t has the e f fec t of br inging to an end the need for Druid s a c r i f i c e , understood not merely in terms of r i t ua l slaughter but rather in terms of the psychology which prevents men from re la t ing to each other in ways other than those of v ic t im and tormentor. In both poems, the Cruc i f i x ion implies the restorat ion of the unfal len world fo r those men who respond to Jesus by acknowledging him as Saviour and Lord, and act ing accordingly. The appropriate way. of acting i s demonstrated by M i l t on , and Ololon in Mi 1 ton, and by Los and, u l t imate ly , Albion in Jerusalem. Blake's Jesus and the Jesus of the New Testament are precise counterparts. They transform the i r respective worlds by par t i c ipa t ing as vict ims in a r i t ua l s a c r i f i c e . In so doing, they resolve the major thematic issue in the wider l i t e ra r y context in which they appear (the whole B i b l e , Blake's to ta l oeuvre). TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction 1 Chapter One 2 3 Chapter Two 1 0 0 Chapter Three . . . • 176 Chapter Four 2 2 9 Conclusion 288 Bibl iography . . . 296 i v INTRODUCTION Near the end of Blake's greatest prophecy, there i s a dialogue between Albion and Jesus. Albion asks a question which Blake himself has, throughout his poetic career, been asking and t ry ing to answer: "Cannot Man ex is t without Mysterious / Offer ing of Se l f for Another, i s th is Friendship & Brotherhood." Jesus rep l ies at some length, in language quite free from the perplexing vocabulary of Blake's l a t e r myth: Jesus sa id . Wouldest thou love one who never died For thee or ever die for one who had not died fo r thee And i f God dieth not for Man & giveth not himself Eterna l ly for Man Man could not exist. ' fo r Man i s Love: As God i s Love: every kindness to another i s a l i t t l e Death In the Divine Image nor can Man e x i s t but by Brotherhood' In a sense, the purpose of th is d isser ta t ion w i l l be to provide a context fo r th is speech, to describe the mental landscape through which Blake had to t rayel before he could arr ive at the complete s imp l i c i t y of the words of Jesus. The dialogue ushers in Jerusalem's apocalypt ic conclusion. A lb ion , fear ing that Jesus is in danger, demonstrates his readiness to die for his Friend by throwing himself " in to the Furnaces of a f f l i c t i o n , " where he discovers that 1 2 A l l was a V i s i o n , a l l a Dream: the Furnaces became Fountains of L iv ing Waters flowing from the Humanity Divine And a l l the C i t i es of Albion rose from the i r Slumbers . . . (96:36-8, E253) In br inging Jerusalem to a close with an .apocalypse prefaced by a gesture of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e which i s i t s e l f a response to the greater s e l f - s a c r i f i c e of Jesus, Blake is fo l lowing a pattern establ ished in his e a r l i e r major prophecies, H i l t on and The Four Zoas. In Mi l ton, as in Jerusalem., there are "Laws of Etern i ty" which dictate that "each sha l l mutually / .Ann ih i l a te himself for others good" (38:35-6, E138). M i l t on , the central character, learns about these iliaws by l i s t en ing to the Bard's Song, which has for i t s climax a v is ion of Jesus as Saviour: "He died as a Reprobate, he was Punish'd as a Transgressor! / Glory! Glory! Glory! to the Holy Lamb of God" (13:27-8, E106). Mi l ton responds to th is v is ion by descending to "Eternal Death," a process which involves an act of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e ca l led "Ann ih i la t ion of Sel fhood," which he describes f u l l y in his celebrated perorat ion: The Negation i s the Spectre; the Reasoning Power in Man This is a fa lse Body: an Incrustat ion over my Immortal S p i r i t ; a Selfhood, which must be put of f & annih i la ted alway To cleanse the Face of my S p i r i t by Self-examinat ion. (40:34-7, El 41) When Mi l ton and his emanation, 01olon, have both performed th is ac t , the way fo r apocalypse has been made ready. The Jesus of the parousia appears; at the poem's end, " A l l Animals upon the Ear th, are preard in a l l t he i r strength / To go forth to the Great Harvest & Vintage of the Nations" (42:39-43:1 , El4.3). The las t pages of The Four Zoas describe th is harvest in terms of a communion s a c r i f i c e . "Human Grapes" become "Human Wine" in "the wine presses of Luvah" (136:1-137:32, E'389-90). Urizen and his sons reap "the wide Universe" (132:7, E385), whose "wondrous harvest" i s l a te r made into "the Bread of Ages" (138:17, E391). Northrop Frye has suggested that the production of the bread and wine i s here symbolic of the " reun i t ing of a l l nature in the body and blood of a universal Man. . . . the great communion 2 feast in which human l i f e i s reintegrated into i t s real form." The Zoas who are engaged in th is task — with the exception of Luvah, whose case, as we sha l l see, is somewhat problematic — are doing so as a demonstration of the i r commitment to Jesus, the "Divine Lamb" who, in Night V I I I , has "d ied for a l l / And a l l in him died. & he put o f f a l l morta l i ty" (107:37-8, E368). The resu l t of the Zoas 1 labours, insp i red by the Lamb's s a c r i f i c e , is a regenerated heaven and ear th: The Sun has l e f t h is blackness & has found a fresher morning And the mi ld moon rejoices in the c lear & cloudless n ight . And Man walks forth from the midst of the f i r es the ev i l i s a l l consumd His eyes beholld the Angel ic spheres a r i s ing night & day The stars consumd l i k e a lamp blown out & in the i r stead behold The Expanding Eyes of Man behold the depths of wondrous worlds (138:20-5, E391) The appearance of th is pattern - - C r u c i f i x i o n , gesture of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e in response, apocalypse — in each of the major prophecies can hardly be coincidence. The role enacted by Jesus as the divine v ic t im who vo luntar i l y suffers c ruc i f i x i on and 4 death i s c lea r l y of central s ign i f i cance in a l l three. But Jesus is only one of many vict ims in Blake's poetry, although he i s the itiost important. In th is study I sha l l invest igate the evolut ion of the f igure of the v ic t im during the course o f Blake's poet ic career, and the way the presence of vict ims af fects the meanings of ind iv idual poems. The emphasis w i l l be on the major prophecies because they are Blake's most important works, and i t i s there that the f igure of the v ic t im i s more prominent. • But vict ims of some kind are present almost everywhere in Blake's poetry from Poet ica l Sketches to The Ghost of Abel . Their su f fer ing and death does not always have redemptive connotations. Indeed, throughout most of Blake's wr i t ings — including large portions of the major prophecies themselves — the v ict im does not contribute to the restorat ion of an unfal len wor ld ; rather his presence i s a sign that the world'is_ f a l l e n . In "A Descr ipt ive Catalogue," Blake i den t i f i es the F a l l i t s e l f with the s lay ing of a primordilal v i c t im : The Strong Man represents the human sublime. The Beaut i fu l man represents the human pa the t ic , which was in the wars of Eden divided into male and female. The Ugly man represents the human reason. They were o r i g i n a l l y one man, who was fou r fo ld ; he was seihf-di vi ded, and his real humanity s l a i n upon the stems of generat ion, and the form of the fourth was l i k e the Son of God. How he became divided i s a subject of great subl imity and pathos. (E533) Blake's poetry is set in the world which came into existence as a consequence of th is o r ig ina l c r u c i f i x i o n . The "stems of generation" occupy a central posi t ion in th is wor ld, whose inhabitants suf fer 5 and d ie , and cause the suf fer ing and death of o t h e r s . J Blake does not f l i nch from these fac ts . But nei ther does he accept them as f i n a l . In "A Vis ion of the Last Judgment," he describes his work as "Vis ionary or Imaginative . . . an Endeavour to Restore . . . the Golden Age" (A Vis ion of The Last Judgment, E545). Blake never loses s ight of th is goa l , though he never under-estimates the cost of achieving i t . In those poems of his which present images of the v i c t im , the tension between Golden Age and stems of generation i s revealed in i t s f u l l subl imity and pathos. The Oxford Engl ish Di ctioriary provi des two convenient def in i t ions of " v i c t im , " one having to do with the technical vocabulary of r i t ua l s a c r i f i c e , the other expressing the more common meaning of the word. Both are useful for our purposes. The f i r s t sense of " v i c t im , " according to the OED, i s "A l i v i n g creature k i l l e d and offered as a s a c r i f i c e to some deity or supernatural power"; s p e c i f i c a l l y , the word is "appl ied to Chr is t as an of fer ing for mankind." More genera l ly , a v ic t im i s "A person who i s put to death or subject to torture by another; one who suffers severely in body or property through cruel or oppressive treatment"; and "One who i s reduced or destined to su f fe r under some oppressive or destruct ive agency." The second de f in i t i on is the more important for discussion of Blake's poetry to the end of the period of the minor prophecies. By the time of The Four Zoas, however, Blake had begun to place his vict ims in the more r igorously del ineated 6 context of the s a c r i f i c i a l r i t e . This raises two questions which must be answered before we can proceed to examine the poems more c lose ly . Some account must be given for the abrupt change in Blake's use of the v ic t im- f igure at the beginning of the period of the major prophecies. Some account, too, needs to be given of the t rad i t ions upon which Blake drew in order to present his new v is ion of the v ic t im as par t i c ipant in s a c r i f i c i a l r i t u a l . The answers to the two questions are re la ted in that both have to do with changes in Blake's at t i tude towards Chr i s t i an i t y . There seems l i t t l e doubt that Blake, in his m id - fo r t i es , underwent an experience which may f a i r l y be described as a conversion. Morton Paley has observed that " i t JB lake 's conversion experiencej was both sudden and gradual, occurr ing in several v is ionary moments 4 during a period of perhaps three years . " Probably the s ing le most important of these moments occurred in August, 1803. Blake has l e f t th is descr ipt ion of i t in a l e t t e r to Wi l l iam Hayley,, dated October 23, 1804: 5 For now! 0 Glory! and 0 Del ight ! I have en t i re l y reduced that spectrous Fiend to his s t a t i o n , whose annoyance has been the ruin of my labours for the l a s t passed twenty years of my l i f e . He i s the enemy of conjugal love and i s the Jup i te r of the Greeks, an iron-hearted tyrant , the ruiner of ancient Greece. I speak with perfect confidence and certa inty of the fact which has passed upon me. Nebuchadnezzar had seven times passed over him; I have had twenty; thank God I was not a l t o -gether a beast as he was; but I was a slave bound in a m i l l among beasts and d e v i l s ; these beasts and these devi ls are now, together with myself , become chi ldren of l i gh t and l i b e r t y , and my feet and my w i fe ' s feet are free from fe t te rs . 0 lovely 7 Felpham, parent of Immortal Fr iendship, to thee I am eterna l ly indebted fo r my three years ' rest from perturbation and the strength I now enjoy. Suddenly, on the day af ter v i s i t i n g the Truchsessian Gal lery of p ic tu res , I was again enlightened with the l i g h t I enjoyed in my youth, and which has for exact-l y twenty years been closed from me as by a door and by win-dow-shutters. . . . — he i s become my servant who domineered over me, he is even as a brother who was my enemy. (E702-3) However we may in terpre t th is experience, i t undoubtedly points to a radical reor ientat ion of Blake's s p i r i t u a l l i f e . We should not be surpr ised to see his new att i tude expressed in the way he makes thematic use of material, as central to Chr i s t ian i t y as the Cruc i f i x i on . Precise dating of the d i f fe rent Nights o,f The Four Zoas i s impossible; Dayid Erdman tenta t ive ly suggests 1796-1807 as the period during which the poem was wr i t ten (E737-8). G. E. Bentley, J r . has demonstrated, however, that nearly a l l references to Jesus except those in Night VIII (probably the l as t to be composed) are addit ions to the manuscript.^ This would make i t possible to hypothesize that Blake's experiences during the three-year period Paley suggests inspi red him to attempt to revise his poem in accordance with his new, more "Chr i s t i an " v i s i on . The presentation of Jesus as s a c r i f i c i a l v ic t im in Night VIII is congruent .with that in Mi 1 ton and Jerusalem, although Blake does make some s i gn i f i can t modi f icat ions in the l a t e r poems; In th is way, the facts of Blake's biography lend p l a u s i b i l i t y to the claim that his at t i tude towards the f igure of the victimbundergoes a profound change in the middle of his career. Chr i s t i an i t y provides much of the imagery through which 8 th is changed at t i tude expresses i t s e l f . In passages already referred to in the opening pages of th is Introduct ion, Jesus i s the "God" who "d ieth . . . fo r Man," the "Holy Lamb of God," the "Divine Lamb" who "put of f a l l mor ta l i t y . " But the triumphant language of redemption is set against a language of fa l lenness which centres on Blake's notion of "Druidism." Northrop Frye expl icates the s ign i f i cance of the Druids for Blake in terms which are convenient fo r our purposes. Af ter g iv ing a b r i e f account of the work of the antiquaries Jacob Bryant and Edward Davies, both of whom had much to say about the Druids, Frye says th is about Blake: To Blake the essent ia l point to which a l l th is led was simple enough. There seemed to be evidence, preserved in C lass ica l w r i t e r s , that the B r i t i s h Druid cul ture i s the oldest on record. To Blake's contemporaries, with a greater pr imi t iv ism in the i r b i as , that suggested an i dea l i za t i on of the Druid period in which the word "Druid" would be prac-t i c a l l y synonymous with " i nsp i red bard." Thus Co l l i ns speaks of Thomson as a Druid in his elegy on that poet.' In C o l l i n s ' Ode to Liberty the episode corresponding to Blake's f a l l of A t l a n t i s , the deluge which made B r i t a i n an i s l a n d , i s fol lowed by a descr ipt ion of a temple of l i be r t y hidden in A lb ion 's forests and associated with Dru ids, an associat ion which i s impossible in Blake. For as there i s equal evidence that.Druid c i v i l i z a t i o n was one of murderous human s a c r i f i c e , there seemed to Blake l i t t l e point in i d e a l i z i n g i t . : Their c i v i l i -zat ion had evident ly decl ined from a s t i l l e a r l i e r one, and a h int of what that e a r l i e r one was i s contained in the A t lan t i s legend, and thence, by the process we have traced before, to the giant A lb ion , the Northern myth of Ymir which t e l l s of his f a l l , and f i n a l l y , a l os t myth of a Golden Age of which even the Bible preserves only a reminiscence. Th is , then, i s the key to a l l mythologies, or at leas t to the B r i t i s h and B i b l i -cal ones; and, armed with t h i s , one may proceed to wr i te an epic which w i l l re -es tab l ish the unity of B r i t i s h and B i b l i c a l symbolism, los t since Spenser.7 9 Druidism, then, i s a B r i t i s h re l i g ion of human s a c r i f i c e which is int imately associated with both the C lass ica l and B i b l i c a l myths of the F a l l . This i s Blake's rat ionale for making the outrageous-sounding assert ion that "Adam was a Druid, and Noah; also Abraham was ca l led to succeed the Dru id ica l age, which began to turn a l l ego r i c and mental s i g n i f i c a t i o n into corporeal command, whereby human s a c r i f i c e would have depopulated the earth" (A Descript ive Catalogue, E533). But Druidism was important to Blake ch ie f l y because he found so much evidence that the s p i r i t u a l at t i tude i t embodied was the s p i r i t u a l at t i tude which had characterized the so -ca l l ed Chr is t ian e ra , and which continued to character ize the l i f e of Blake's own time. Peter F. F isher defines the primary meaning of the term, fo r Blake: "The name 'Druidism' comes to symbolize . . . the arrogant reduction of the inner s a c r i f i c e of g man's natural s e l f to the imi ta t ive r i t e of human s a c r i f i c e . " When Jesus enters the action of the major prophecies in his ro le 9 as Lamb of God, i t i s Druidism over which he must somehow triumph. This tension between Druidism and C h r i s t i a n i t y , cruc ia l to the meaning of the major prophecies, has no d i rec t counter-part in the e a r l i e r poetry, nor does there appear to be any obyious progression in Blake's use of his v i c t im- f igu res , such as would prepare his reader for the l a t e r works. This d iscont inu i ty i s re f lec ted in the organizat ion of th is d i sse r ta t ion . In the f i r s t chapter, I sha l l discuss the poems of the e a r l i e r per iod, from Poet ica l Sketches to the Book of Ahania (1795), one of the l a tes t 10 of the minor prophecies. These works, in which nei ther Jesus nor Druidism plays any s i gn i f i can t r o l e , do contain many examples of characters who may be classed as vict ims in the second, broader de f in i t i on provided by the O E D . ^ This discussion should prepare us for some of the manifestations of victimhood found in the works examined in the second chapter, The Four Zoas and the Picker ing Manuscript poems, which are probably contemporaneous with the f i r s t major prophecy.^ These works bear witness to the impact of Blake's conversion experience; th is i s espec ia l l y true of Night VIII of The Four Zoas, in which Jesus vo lun tar i l y becomes a v ic t im in a Druid r i t u a l s a c r i f i c e i den t i f i ed with the C ruc i f i x i on . The th i rd and fourth chapters w i l l deal with Mi l ton and Jerusalem respect ive ly . Again the focus w i l l be on Jesus in his ro le as Lamb of God, and on his re la t ion to the many examples o f Druid s a c r i f i c e found in these works. Here Blake ref ines and deepens the v is ion he presents in The Four Zoas. The b r i e f conclusion w i l l include a discussion of The Ever!ast ing Gospel and The Ghost of Abel . The organization of the f i r s t chapter i s to be explained in some deta i l in i t s opening pages. Here I want only to ind icate in a general way the approach I sha l l be tak ing. During the period represented by these poems, Blake explores the moral and psychological dimensions of the experience of victimhood, and constantly questions i t s value. His presentation of the f igure of the v ic t im i s characterized by an irony which i l luminates two basic dramatic s i tua t ions . n These s i tuat ions dimly foreshadow his l a te r preoccupation with Jesus and with Druidism. In one group of poems, the v ic t im 's suf fer ing i s associated in some s i gn i f i can t way with a v is ion of an unfal len wor ld , but this v is ion never becomes rea l i zed . In a second group, Blake focuses on the re la t ion of the v ic t im to the person or force responsible for causing him harm. The f i r s t group (generally speaking, composed of the e a r l i e r poems, though I am not arguing for a r i g i d d i s t i nc t ion on the basis of chronology) includes "How Swee t l Roam'jidS'? from Poeti cal Sketches, "The Chimney Sweeper" and "Holy Thursday" from Songs of Innocence, T i r i e l , The Book of The l , and Visions of the Daughters of A lb ion. In some of the poems of the second group - - a number of examples occur in Songs of Experience the v ic t im i s unable to free himself from his role largely because his victimhood has become an integral part of his i den t i t y , often without his r ea l i z i ng t h i s . P late 16 of The Marriage of Heaven and Hel l provides a convenient t rans i t ion to the other poems in th is group, poems in which the v ic t im i s able to escape from his bondage, but f inds that he can do th is only by making someone else his v ic t im. In America and Europe, Ore is successful in freeing himself from his chains, but f inds himself inev i tab ly becoming an oppressor infihis turn. In The Book of Urizen and The Book of Ahaii ia, the vict ims are tormented by characters who are motivated by the fear that they might themselves become v ic t ims. I t is apparently impossible for the v ic t im and the person who causes his suf fer ing to arr ive at a state of concord or 12 even of mutual understanding. The poems in the f i r s t group, with the i r jux taposi t ion of suf fer ing and v i s i o n , br ing to mind — in an i r on i c way - - the notion of Jesus as the suf fer ing v ic t im who makes possible a return to unfal lenness. The poems in the second group, with t he i r emphasis on the f u t i l i t y of the struggle for power in the fa l l en wor ld , ant ic ipate what Blake w i l l l a te r have to say about Druidism. In the poems to be discussed in the f i r s t chapter, then, Blake takes a deeply pess imis t ic view of the phenomenon of v ic t im-hood. The pessimism finds expression in the irony with which the f igure of the v ic t im i s invar iab ly presented. The value of his experience i s never aff irmed. I f there i s a s ing le l i ne which summarizes the sa l i en t charac ter is t i cs of his wor ld, i t i s the one whidisembodies Ur izen 's percept ion: "he saw that l i f e l i v ' d upon death" (The Book of Urizen 23: 27, E80). Some of the characters are capable of imagining a world in which the role of v ic t im would be abol ished, but they lack the power to act e f f ec t i ve l y . But the central theme of the major prophecies i s the br inging into existence of jus t such a world. I n .a l l three, Jesus i s presented as the person whose experience of victimhood does resu l t in the restorat ion of unfal lenness. In the second chapter, I sha l l discuss the works which provide evidence that Blake's at t i tude towards victimhood undergoes a fundamental change in the middle of his career. In some of the Picker ing Manuscript l y r i c s , "The Mental T rave l le r " fo r example, 13 Blake's treatment of the v ic t im i s congruent to that in the e a r l i e r poems. In others, however, he moves, for the f i r s t t ime, in the d i rec t ion of e x p l i c i t moral eva luat ion, in a non- i ronic sense ("Mary," "Long John Brown"). In "The Grey Monk" and some of the "Auguries of Innocence," he makes some cryp t ic assert ions about the e f f icacy of s a c r i f i c i a l su f fe r ing . The v ic t im i s , in some unexplained way, a l l i e d with a beneficent power much stronger than the one responsible for his su f fe r ing : And the b i t t e r groan of the Martyrs woe Is an Arrow from the Almighties Bow (E481) K i l l not the Moth nor But ter f ly For the Last Judgment draweth nigh (E482) In The Four Zoas, Jesus, in Night V I I I , i s revealed as the ef f icac ious s a c r i f i c i a l v ic t im par excel lence. He descends "to Give his vegetated body / To be cut o f f & separated that the Sp i r i t ua l body may be Reveald" (104:37-8, E363). This i s unquestionably a long step in the d i rec t ion of New Testament Chr isto logy. But Blake does not make any f a c i l e repudiation of his e a r l i e r presentation of the f igure of the v ic t im in the f a l l en world. The poem contains a wealth - - i f that i s the word - - of s a c r i f i c i a l imagery, much of i t centred on Luyah, who undergoes a number of i r on i c experiences of victimhood. Usual ly he i s presented as a parody of a Chr i s t - f i gu re . In Night I I , he i s a misguided scapegoat whose goal i s "to de l iver a l l the Sons of God / From the bondage of the Human Form" (27:17-18, E311); in 14 Night VII (b) , he i s c ruc i f i ed but his s a c r i f i c e has no redemptive power. In the apocalypse of Night IX, he presides over the c rue l t ies of the wine-press, act ing consistent ly with the i r on i c v is ion of victimhood Blake has presented in the poems discussed in the f i r s t chapter. Luvah has escaped his role as perennial v i c t im only to become the p r ies t who sac r i f i ces the "Human Grapes": "They howl & writhe in shoals of torment in f ie rce flames consuming / In chains of i ron & in dungeons c i r c l e d with ceaseless f i r e " (136:22-3, E389) and so on. I t seems inconsistent that th is example of "Druid" s a c r i f i c e should be part of the same redemptive process which includes the s a c r i f i c i a l o f fer ing of Jesus (who i s almost invar iab ly referred to as "Lamb of God"). Blake has c lea r l y discovered a pos i t i ve meaning for victimhood in the C ruc i f i x i on , but he does not attempt to reconci le th is new v is ion with the negative one which he had developed in the l y r i c s and minor prophecies. Although the poem ends as op t im is t i ca l l y as poss ib le , with a regenerated cosmos, the two types of s a c r i f i c e haye coexisted uneasily with each other, Luvah's story providing an i r on i c counterpoint to the Lamb of God's. Blake did not, of course, complete a de f i n i t i ve rev is ion of The Four Zoas; i t i s possible to speculate that his treatment of the re la t ion between Jesus and Luvah would have been very d i f fe rent i f he had. In the t h i r d and fourth chapters, I sha l l examine Mi l ton and Jerusalem, poems in which Blake presents his mature v is ion of Jesus as s a c r i f i c i a l v i c t im. He also c l a r i f i e s the re la t ion of 15 the Cruc i f i x ion to the multitudinous examples of Druid s a c r i f i c e which have parodied i t throughout fa l l en h is tory . The central thesis of these chapters w i l l be that Blake's Jesus is prec ise ly pa ra l l e l to the Jesus of the New Testament. In Both Mi l ton and Jerusalem, Jesus is the Lamb of God who vo lun tar i l y assumes the role of v ic t im in a unique s a c r i f i c i a l act. The act is unique because i t has the ef fect of br inging to an end the need for Druid s a c r i f i c e . In both Blake and the New Testament, the Cruc i f i x ion implies the restorat ion of the unfal len world for those men who respond to Jesus by acknowledging him as Saviour and Lord, and by act ing accordingly. The appropriate way of act ing i s demonstrated by M i l t on , in the poem which bears his name, and by Los (and, u l t imate ly , Albion) in Jerusalem. Mi l ton and Los are Blakean versions of the pr imi t ive Chr ist ians whose l i ves are described in the New Testament, and the members of Blake's audience - - t h e a r t i s t s or "Young Men of the New Age" in Mi 1 ton and the P u b l i c , Jews, De is ts , and Christ ians of the four chapters of Jerusalem - - are exhorted to imitate these exemplary f igures. Blake's Jesus and the Jesus of the New Testament transform the i r respective worlds by pa r t i c ipa t ing as victims in a r i t ua l s a c r i f i c e . In so doing, they resolve the major thematic issue in the wider l i t e ra r y context in which they appear (the whole B i b l e , Blake's to ta l OeUvre). This account of the s ign i f i cance of Jesus in the major prophecies is at yariance with most contemporary Blake c r i t i c i s m . Northrop 16 Frye, the c r i t i c of genius who has made much of Blake accessib le to us, is perhaps the most i n f l uen t i a l f igure here. In examining Blake's presentation of Jesus, he claims to be able to d is t inguish "a Jesus of action and a Jesus of passion." The l a t t e r receives short s h r i f t from Blake, according to Frye: The Jesus of pass ion i is a foredoomed v ic t im who speaks of a coming 'hour , ' who goes through a s a c r i f i c i a l r i t ua l and who, a f ter a conquest of death and h e l l , f loats o f f e lus ive ly in to the sky in a supreme anticl imax af ter a supreme v ic tory . This Jesus of passion, then, i s not so much a divine and human unity as a cloven 'nature , 1 a suf fer ing man and an exhaled d i v i n i t y . His suffer ings do not reveal the character of a joyous Creator but the character of P i l a t e and Caiaphas, and the Jesus of passion, according to Blake, i s the 'Satanic body of Hol iness' which Jesus had to assume in order to consolidate e r ro r , and show what the opposite of Chr i s t i an i t y i s J 2 This i s b r i l l i a n t l y persuasive rhe to r i c ; but i t i s not substantiated by deta i led textual commentary. However, much post-Fearful Symmetry c r i t i c i s m which does purport to come to grips with the complexities of indiv idual poems, seems to begin with the assumption that ' Frye 's analysis of "the Jesus of passion" i s v a l i d . Some examples taken from recent scholarship w i l l i l l u s t r a t e my point. Mary Lynn Johnson explains the purpose of Blake's "Chr isto logy" in this way: "Blake evident ly wanted to draw a para l le l between the theological enigma of how Jesus' death benefi ts man and the human problem of how the imagination saves man, and to use th is pa ra l l e l to l ibera te mankind from a re l ig ion of blood-13 s a c r i f i c e by awakening the ind iv idual imagination of each reader." In order to achieve th is purpose, Johnson continues, Blake transformed the " t r a d i t i o n a l " Atonement: "the Atonement becomes the re ject ion 17 of blood s a c r i f i c e in the enactment of mental s a c r i f i c e through 14 s e l f - a n n i h i l a t i o n . " Florence Sandler 's account pa ra l l e l s Johnson's in i t s ins istence on the importance of Blake's transformation of t r a d i t i o n : But Blake would be equally c r i t i c a l of the Chr is t ian in te r -pretat ion by the author of the Ep is t le to the Hebrews, who explains the s ign i f i cance of the saying that at the time of the Cruc i f i x ion the vei1 of the temple was rent in twain by the thesis that , whi le previous sac r i f i ces in Israel had been only temporarily e f fec t ive since they had to be repeated every year on the Day of Atonement when the High P r ies t entered the Holy of Ho l i es , now the Sac r i f i ce of Jesus as V i c t im , the one, perfect and su f f i c i en t S a c r i f i c e , is e f fec t ive for Sin fo r a l l time and a l l men; and that Jesus, a P r i es t a f ter the order of Melchizedek, having entered the ve i l of the Father 's pres-ence, cont inual ly offers that Sac r i f i ce to the Father on our behalf. Blake w i l l have Jesus as nei ther P r i es t nor V ic t im. On the contrary, the rending of the ve i l means for him, in the s p i r i t of Protestant iconoclasim, the exposing of the falsehood of the very notion of Mystery, Priesthood and Sacn f i ce (any s a c r i f i c e , that i s , except the " s a c r i f i c e " of the contr i te h e a r t ) . 1 5 Br ie fe r i l l u s t r a t i o n s are provided by David Wagenknecht's comments on Mi 1 ton and Mollyanne Marks's observations on Jerusalem. Wagen-knecht, exp l i ca t ing some of the i n t r i cac ies of the Bard's Song, pauses to note that "we can see again that Blake i s pr imar i ly interested in the Cruc i f i x ion as an emblem of human suf fer ing care fu l ly cu l t i va ted and maintained and perpetuated by our fa l l en idea of goodness. For the Atonement Blake subst i tutes the epiphany of God as breaker of the law of Jehovah's v i r tue . . Marks argues that , in the concl udi ngplates of Jerusalem, "Blake disposes of the anomaly of a God who would demand the s a c r i f i c e of his only son" ; Blake does t h i s , she continues, by presenting the Cruc i f i x ion 1 8 in a new l i g h t : "The s a c r i f i c e of s e l f on the cross becomes l i t e r a l l y the act which redeems the f a l l and prec ip i ta tes the v ic t im into E t e r n i t y . " ^ These examples share two common denominators. F i r s t , " h i s t o r i c a l " or " t r a d i t i o n a l " Chr i s t i an i t y i s invar iab ly characterized in pejorat ive terms, presumably because the c r i t i c believes that such descript ions furnish a f a i r account of Blake's a t t i tude. Second, Blake is presented as the poet who corrects the fa lse perception of Jesus embodied by the Chr is t ian f a i t h ; he does th is by rad i ca l l y transforming t rad i t i ona l concepts of the Atonement. According to Henry Crabb Robinson, Blake did ca l l the Atonement "a hor r ib le doctr ine" but only in reference to "the Atonement in i t s ordinary 1 8 C a l v i n i s t i c Sense." The " C a l v i n i s t i c Sense" represents only 1Q one p o s s i b i l i t y ; there are a number of other " t r a d i t i o n a l " accounts. ( I t i s surely s i gn i f i can t that Blake thought i t necessary to make the qua l i f i ca t i on . ) Hy own approach, then, proceeds from the assumption that i t i s possible Blake took t rad i t i ona l Ch r i s t i an i t y rather more ser iously than the foregoing quotations would lead one to be l ieve. I have also t r i ed to approach each of his works on i t s own terms, neither hunting for " rad ica l transformations" nor assuming that they do not ex i s t . F i n a l l y , I have t r i ed to be mindful of the fact that Blake i s a poet, not a theologian. In A Vis ion of the Last Judgment, he wr i tes : 19 I f the Spectator could Enter into these Images in his Imagination approaching them on the Fiery Chariot of his Con-templative Thought i f he could Enter in to Noahs Rainbow or in to his bosom or could make a Fr iend & Companion of one of these Images of wonder which always int reats him to leave mortal things as he must know then would he ar ise from his Grave then would he meet the Lord in the A i r & then he would be happy (E550) My purpose i s not to abstract a theological system from Blake's work, but rather to show the reader how to enter in to some of Blake's Images. NOTES 'Jerusa lem 96:20-1 , 23-8 (E253). A l l quotations from Blake are taken from The Poetry and Prose of Wi11iart Blake, ed. David V. Erdman (1965; fourth p r in t ing with r ev i s i ons , Garden C i t y , N. Y . : Doubleday, 1970). This ed i t ion w i l l be c i ted in the text as E. 2 Fearful Symmetry: A Study of Wi l l iam Blake (1947; rpt. Pr inceton, N. J . : Princeton Univ. P ress , 1969), p. 290. 3 S. Foster Damon, in A Blake Di ct ionary: The Ideas and Symbols of Wi11i am Blake (1965; rpt. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1971), defines "The World of Generation" as "the state of the Darwinian struggle for l i f e . . . where ' L i f e l i ves upon death & by devouring appetite a l l things subsist on one another'" (p. 150). The quotation i s from The Four Zoas 87:19-20, E354. For man to be " s l a i n upon the stems of generation" is for him to) be subject to the same p r inc ip le of mortal i ty as a l l other forms of l i f e in the fa l l en world. The unnatural qua l i ty of the image of impalement suggests that th is s i tua t ion is rad i ca l l y at variance with man's proper destiny. More s p e c i f i c a l l y , the phrase suggests the C r u c i f i x i o n , the Cross i t s e l f being a "stem." 4 Morton D. Paley, Energy and the Imagination: A Study of the Development of Blake's Thought (Oxford: Clarendon Press , 1970), p. 142. 5 The dating of August, 1803 is made possible by the reference to "the Truchsessian Gal lery of p i c tu res . " See Geoffrey Keynes' comment, in his ed i t ion of Blake's Complete Writings (London: Oxford Univ. Press , 1966), p. 852n. See Bent ley 's ed i t ion of Vala or The Four Zoas: A Facsimi le of the Manuscript, a Transcr ipt of the Poem, and a Study of Its Growth and Signi f icance (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963), p. 171. 20 21 Fearful Symmetry, p. 175. This passage also explains why Blake saw no incongruity in using such C lass ica l terms as "Golden Age" interchangeably with b i b l i c a l ones such as "Eden" and "Jerusalem." P The Val ley of V i s i on : Blake as Prophet and Revolut ionary, ed. Northrop Frye "(Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1961), p. 34. Q The word "Druid" and i t s der ivat ives — " D r u i d i c a l , " "Druidism," "D ru i d ' s , " and "Druids" — appear a to ta l of twice in The Four Zoas, eleven times in M i l t o n , forty-two times in Jerusalem. See David V. Erdman, ed. A Concordance to the Writihgs of Wi11iam Blake ( I thaca, N. Y . : Cornell Univ. Press, 1967), I5$6 - T . Although the word i s not s i gn i f i can t in The Four Zoas, the form of Druid s a c r i f i c e is nonetheless present there. ^ Actual ly Druidism does make an appearance in Europe (1794), although i t is not named as such. However, an unmistakably Druid temple is described in a passage which relates i t s "serpent-form" to the concept of the F a l l : Thought chang'd the i n f i n i t e to a serpent; that which p i t i e t h : To a devouring flame; and man f led from i t s . face and hid In forests of n ight ; then a l l the eternal forests were div ided Into earths r o l l i n g in c i r c l es of space, that l i k e an ocean rush'd And overwhelmed a l l except th is f i n i t e wal l of f l e sh . Then was the serpent temple form'd, image of i n f i n i t e Shut up in f i n i t e revolut ions, and man became an Angel ; Heaven a mighty c i r c l e turn ing; God a tyrant crown'd. (10:16-23, E62) This account presents "man" as a v i c t im , author of his own mis-fortune, in a sense pa ra l l e l to that in which the "one man" is Use l f -d iv ided . . . his real humanity s l a i n on the stems of generation." ^ Erdman tentat ive ly dates the Picker ing Manuscript poems as belonging to "the late Felpham period" (E777); th is would place the dates of composition wi th in the three-year span suggested by Paley as the one during which Blake underwent his conversion experience. 12 Fearful Symmetry, p. 387. 13 " 'Separat ing What Has Been M ixed ' : A Suqgestion for a Perspective on Mi 1 ton," Blake Studies , 6:1 (1973)~ 14. Johnson, 17. 1 0 "The Iconoclast ic Enterpr ise: Blake's Cr i t ique of 'M i l ton ' R e l i g i o n , ' " Blake Stud ies, 5:1 (1972), 27. 1 C Blake's Night: Wi11iam Blake and the Idea of Pastoral (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press , 1973), pp. 248-9. ^ " S e l f - S a c r i f i c e : Theme and Image ih Jerusalem," Blake Stud ies, 7:1 (1974), 49. 18 See G. E. Bentley, J r . , Blake Records (Oxford: Clarendon Press , 1969), p. 548. (Excerpts from Robinson's "Reminiscences" appear as an appendix, pp. 536-495) 19 For the theological impl icat ions of Blake's putative statement, see J . G. Davies, The Theology of Wi l l iam Blake (Oxford Clarendon Press, 1948), pp. 116-22. CHAPTER ONE Vi rg in Fancies and Bones from the Bi'rth The most famous poem in Poet ica l Sketches, the song which begins "How sweet I roam'd from f i e l d to f i e l d " (E404), const i tutes Blake's f i r s t attempt to present the s i tua t ion of the v ic t im as a manifestat ion of the fal lenness of the human condit ion.^ The "golden cage" is of course a mild subst i tute for the stems of generation, and the accents here are c lear ly pathet ic rather than sublime. But i f the t rad i t i on that Blake wrote i t at the age of fourteen is t rue, the poem may record one of his e a r l i e s t glimpses in to the world in which one's " rea l humanity" is perpetual ly being s l a i n . The speaker has been seduced by "the prince of love , " who f i r s t " l ed me through his gardens f a i r , / Where a l l his golden pleasures grow," but f i n a l l y "caught me in his s i l ken net, / And shut me in his golden cage." Why the prince of love has done t h i s , remains a mystery: He loves to s i t and hear me s i ng , Then, laughing, sports and plays with me; Then stretches out my golden wing, And mocks my loss of l i be r t y . 23 24 I t i s easy enough to in terpret this poem as a statement about e ro t i c love: the i n i t i a l del ight of in fatuat ion is eventually superseded by a sense of bondage. But in the poem's dramatic context, the motivation of the prince of love i s l e f t unexplained. He has del iberate ly enacted a scheme of entrapment, and at the end of the poem the v ic t im i s helpless and bewildered, a source of amusement to his captor. Love has been i m p l i c i t l y defined in terms of cruel ty and decei t . Since we do not know why the prince of love has captured the speaker, the e f fec t is to ra ise questions about the nature of love which the poem does not answer. Is the i m p l i c i t de f in i t i on i r on i c or not? Blake leaves the question open. In one s i gn i f i can t respect, th is poem provides a good i n t ro -duction to the works to be discussed in this chapter. The poem presents a descr ipt ion of a s i tua t ion involv ing a v ic t im. The question of the meaning of the v ic t imis experience i s l inked to the question of the value of a paradisal v is ion associated with i t . F. W. Bateson asserts that the "moral" of the poem is that one should d is t rus t "apparent kindness and f l a t t e r y that d isgu ise, under the aesthet ic t i t i l l a t i o n s they provide, the actual ' l oss of l i b e r t y . ' " The pr ince 's decei t fu l a r t i s t r y contrasts with the v ic t im 's naive b e l i e f that the "gardens f a i r " have been prepared for his enjoyment. The speaker f inds that his perception of th is paradise i s ul t imately inseparable from his experience as a v ic t im. Blake would continue to be in t r igued by s i tuat ions in which a 25 v is ion of the Golden Age is experienced from the perspective of the stems of generation. The phrases used in the t i t l e of th is chapter are taken from the speeches of vict ims who have been insp i red to give voice to t he i r in tu i t i ons about an ideal mode of human existence. As Blake continues his invest igat ion of the phenomenon of victimhood, i t seems less and less l i k e l y that such v is ions can be made rea l . Oothoon, with her " v i rg in fancies" (Visions of the Daughters of A lb i on 6:21, E49), remains in bondage at the end of her poem. But i t i s possible to conclude that, i f she were to be set f ree , she could set about changing the world to make i t correspond to her notion of what i t should be. By the time we have f in ished The Book of Ahania, however, we can no longer maintain th is i l l u s i o n . For Ahania, paradise ex is ts only in the i r recoverable past. The bur ia l of the "bones from the b i r th " (The Book of Ahania 5:46, E89) implies that Oothoon's miraculous " v i rg in fanc ies , " i f they see the l i gh t at a l l , w i l l be s t i l l b o r n . By the end of the period of the minor prophecies, i t has become clear that one character 's freedom i s , of necess i ty , another's bondage, and that consequently there i s no escape for anyone from the s i tua t ion in which one may avoid the suf fer ing of the v ic t im only by i n f l i c t i n g pain upon others. As I suggested in the Introduct ion, Blake's presentation of the v ic t im in these poems can be considered under two major headings: those poems pr imar i ly concerned with the v ic t im 's 26 suf fer ing in re la t ion to an unreal ized v is ion of paradise, and those pr imar i ly concerned with the v ic t im 's re la t ion to his tormentor. To a certa in extent, th is d i s t i nc t ion i s a r t i f i c i a l , since some treatment-of both major aspects i s evident in v i r t u a l l y every poem in which the f igure of the v ic t im appears. But in nearly a l l cases, one aspect i s emphasized far more strongly than the other, and during the period which precedes the major prophecies, Blake's in te res t seems to s h i f t gradually from the f i r s t to the second. Because there are no c lear ly -de l ineated stages in B lake 's use of the v ic t im- f igure in the period preceding The Picker ing Manuscript and The Four Zoas, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to organize th is chapter in a way which seems other than arb i t ra ry . The constant factor i s the irony which characterizes Blake's treatment of victimhood in these poems, and the irony becomes progressively darker. In an attempt to re f l ec t th is progression, I have chosen to divide the material into three main sect ions. In the f i r s t , I w i l l discuss the Songs of innocence, and the ear ly minor prophecies, T i r i e l , The Book of The! and Visions of the Daughters of A lb ion ; in the second, the Songs of Experience and Plate 16 of The Marriage of Heaven and H e l l ; in the t h i r d , the l a t e r minor prophecies, America, Europe, The Book of Urizen and The Book of Ahania. This th ree -d i v i s ion , roughly chronological pattern provides the most e f f i c i e n t means of analyzing Blake's presentation of the v ic t im-f igure in his e a r l i e r poetry. 27 While i t i s common for the Songs of Innocence and the Songs of Experience to be discussed in d i rect conjunction with each other, I have chosen not to do t h i s , not merely because the Songs of Innocence were engraved separately f i ve years before Blake's combined edi t ion of the Songs, but because his treatment of the v ic t im- f igures in Innocence i s more congruent with his treatment of those f igures in the e a r l i e r minor prophecies than of those in Experience. In the poems of th is f i r s t sec t ion , Blake emphasizes the i r on i c d ispar i ty between the v ic t im 's role as suf ferer and his ro le as v is ionary. The v ic t im- f igures in two of the Songs of Innocence, i n T i r i e l , i n The Book of The l , and in Vis ions of the Daughters of A lb ion , a l l possess, in some form, a v is ion of an unfal len world. Yet they cannot share this v is ion with other characters in these poems who do not know what i t i s to su f fe r as a v ic t im. But the e a r l i e r minor prophecies also provide a convenient t rans i t ion between the Songs of Innocence and the Songs of Experience, because, in them, the v i c t im- f igu res , T i n e l , The l , and Oothoon, a l l make gestures of r e b e l l i o n , although they are unable to free themselves from the i r ro les. In the Songs of Experience, Blake analyzes the causes of th is i n a b i l i t y , and f inds them in the complex, at times symbiotic re la t ionship which obtains between the v ic t im and his tormentor. The fact that , in these poems, strong emphasis i s placed upon th is re la t ionsh ip , i s what separates them from the works discussed in the f i r s t sect ion of th is chapter. But there i s a s i gn i f i can t 28 l i nk between the two groups of poems, as w e l l . Blake continues to reveal that the v ic t im 's experience is characterized by i rony, in this case an irony flowing from the d ispar i ty between the v ic t im 's se l f -percept ion and the understanding of his s i tua t ion which presents i t s e l f to the readers of the poem. Plate 16 of The Marriage of Heaven and H e l l , with i t s myth of the interdependence of P r o l i f i c and Devouring, seems to codify the material presented dramatical ly in many of the Songs of Experience. The f i na l sect ion of the chapter deals with the l a te r minor prophecies. In America, Europe, The Book of t lr izen and The Book of Ahania, Blake reveals , with increasing c l a r i t y , a v is ion of a world in which the v ic t im may indeed escape from his r o l e , but only by becoming someone e l s e ' s tormentor. The irony of th is s i tua t ion is obvious, and i t has been discussed by many c r i t i c s in the broader context implied by the phrase "the Ore cyc le . " I t i s here that one may speak, more confidently than elsewhere in th is chapter, of a progression. The irony subtly hinted at in America has come, in The Book of Ahania, to occupy the centre of the poem's meaning. I t i s a long and at times meandering journey from "How Sweet I Roam'd" to.Ahania, but Blake's at t i tude towards his vi ct im-f igures does not change, as he cont inual ly questions the meaning and value of t he i r su f fer ing. He draws no e x p l i c i t conclusions, but the landscape through which the journey proceeds becomes increasingly inhospitable to human desires and aspi ra t ions. 29 I t has frequently been pointed out that the f igure of the Lamb dominates the Songs of Innocence. Yet Ch r i s t ' s role as 3 s a c r i f i c i a l lamb is never e x p l i c i t l y mentioned. However, in two poems, "The Chimney Sweeper" (El0) and "Holy Thursday" (E13), the central characters are lamblike victims (though they are not, of course, l i t e r a l l y c r u c i f i e d ) . ^ Both poems have c lear ly -def ined oppressors: the men who are responsible for shaving Tom Dacre's hair in "The Chimney Sweeper," and the beadles and "wise guardians of the poor" in "Holy Thursday." Tom's status as a v ic t im i s so obvious that no elaborat ion i s required. The chi ldren of "Holy Thursday" are not vict ims in the sense that they are phys ica l ly harmed. But i t i s quite c lear that the Ascension Day serv ice ex is ts pr imar i ly to serve the psychological needs of the adu l ts , and in that sense, the chi ldren are being used. Like Tom, they are being deprived of nothing less than the i r freedom. In both poems, the victims are d i rec t l y associated with the f igure of the lamb. Tom's unshorn head " c u r l ' d l i ke a lambs back"; the char i ty chi ldren are compared to "multitudes of lambs." Thus the basic s i tua t ion of s a c r i f i c e - - with pa r t i cu la r reference to i t s supreme Chr is t ian mani festat ion, the c ruc i f i x i on of Chr is t ~ i s present in both poems. Yet the vict ims in both poems f ind that the i r role provides them with the occasion for a l l i be ra t i ng imaginative experience: Tom's dream, and the ch i ld ren 's song. But in both cases, the value of this experience i s ca l led in to question by the speaker's commentary. 30 In pa r t i cu la r , problems have been raised by the l as t l i ne of each poem, which presents the speaker's in terpre ta t ion of the s ign i f i cance of what he has described: "So i f a l l do the i r duty, they need not fear harm"; "Then cherish p i t y , l es t you drive an angel from your door." V i r t ua l l y every c r i t i c who has wr i t ten about the poems has commented on the d iscont inu i ty between these precepts and the v is ions which have insp i red them. But there i s no agreement on the s ign i f i cance of the d iscont inu i ty . In the case of "The Chimney Sweeper," the reason for the disagreement l i e s in Blake's careful character izat ion of Tom3 and the speaker. I t i s possible for the reader to accept e i ther one as "B lake 's spokesman," depending upon his own presuppositions and convict ions. Thus i f the c r i t i c i s a "hard-headed r e a l i s t , " he w i l l argue that the speaker's perception of the s i tua t ion i s superior to Tom's; i f he espouses some doctrine of " imagination" or " v i s i o n , " he w i l l assert that Blake speaks through Tom. A th i rd group of c r i t i c s attempts to reconci le Tom's dream with the speaker's moral by assigning some re la t i ve l y esoter ic meaning to the word "duty" in the l as t l i n e . I t i s poss ib le , though, that what Blake i s doing in the poem is ra i s ing questions rather than answering them. Neither character i s his sole authentic spokes-man, nor i s i t necessary to reconci le the very real dif ferences 5 in the i r respective points of view. Blake systemat ical ly develops the two characters in terms of contrast. In the f i r s t stanza, we learn about the speaker. 31 C r i t i c s have been impressed by the absence of s e l f - p i t y here, E. D Hi rsch 's comment being the most extreme: "The speaker re-counts his Ch r i s t l i ke suffer ings with an acceptance l i k e Ch r i s t ' s own."^ Certa in ly the speaker shows no emotion as he t e l l s of his mother's death, his betrayal by his fa ther , and the squalor of his present condi t ion. But i t seems jus t as possible that this "acceptance" i s that of the psychopath rather than the sa i n t , that the speaker has los t or repressed his a b i l i t y to feel strongly about matters which should st imulate intense emotional responses. Or, poss ib ly , i t i s not a question of.acceptance at a l l , but of r i g i d l y con t ro l l i ng the expression of what one does f e e l . In the second stanza, Tom, unlike the speaker, exhib i ts strong emotion about a re la t i ve l y unimportant matter, the shaving of his ha i r . The speaker t r ies to console him: once Tom's ha i r has been shaved, the soot can no longer spo i l i t . Presumably, the speaker does feel for Tom; he seems to be motivated by something higher than s e l f - i n t e r e s t . But the i m p l i c i t argument here i s iden t i ca l to the one which underlies the f i r s t stanza: deny part of your humanity (your white ha i r or your capacity to express strong feel ings about cruel ty and in jus t i ce ) and you w i l l not be so vulnerable to the harm which the world may do to you. (you may be the person who does not have to c ry ) . I t i s i r on i c . t ha t the f i r s t stanza seems to indicate that the speaker has accepted th is specious consolation in the context of his own misery. 32 This i s not to deny that his intent ions are good, that he genuinely wishes to a l l ev ia te Tom's su f fe r ing . But his consolatory remark i s not only i n t e l l e c t u a l l y unsat is fy ing in i t s e l f , i t seems to assume that the mental state which makes such consolation necessary is unalterable. The best one can hope for i s that i t s inhabitants w i l l "never mind i t , " and respond with s to i c acceptance. However, th is i s not good enough for Tom. He becomes "quiet" a f ter l i s t en ing to the speaker, but i t i s his dream that expresses his real reaction to his i n i t i a t i o n into the role of sweep. The s ign i f i cance of the deta i ls of Tom's dream is obvious enough. The Angel helps the sweeps to escape from the death- in-l i f e of the i r da i ly routine to a pastoral heaven where they enjoy the green f i e l d s , r i ve r and sunshine. Cleansed, reborn, " a l l the i r bags l e f t behind," they are no longer subject to any oppression, even that of the law of grav i ty . At the dream's conclusion, the Angel gives Tom a message to take back to the world of his waking l i f e : " i f he'd be a good boy, / He'd have God for his father & never want joy. " Tom returns from his dream with the f i rm con-v ic t ion that there i s a joy fu l transcendent r ea l i t y beyond the degradation of his earthly ex is tence, and that i f he i s "good" he w i l l eventual ly.be allowed to par t i c ipa te in i t . This contrasts sharply with the speaker's in terpretat ion of the ent i re episode. He has nothing to say about God or joy. He can only report that Tom i s "happy & warm" in the cold morning of the las t stanza. Whether we consider the l a s t l i ne to be i r o n i c 33 or not, i t i s c lear from the speaker's e a r l i e r attempt to console Tom that , for him, duty l i e s at least par t ly in helping to reconci le others to existence in the wretched world of the sweeps. Absence of harm is the best he can hope fo r ; and even t h i s , as we have seen, is achieved only by abandoning part of his humanity. Tom's way of coming to terms with his l i f e is rad i ca l l y opposed to the speaker 's. Tom expresses his emotions. He weeps at the outrage to his humanity when his hatr has been cut ; he does not try to control himself. The concomitant of his power to surrender himself to emotional impulse i s his power to par t i c ipa te in the l i be ra t i ng v is ion of the dream, and l a te r to allow the v is ion to inf luence his waking l i f e . The speaker, on the other hand, successfu l ly restra ins the expression of his emotions but does not himself experience a v i s i o n , nor does he rea l i ze that Tom's dream has i t s roots in the capacity to weep. While Tom puts his fa i t h in transcendence, the speaker sees hope only in resigning oneself to one's present misery, and in attempting to be "happy & warm" in the face of i t . Neither Tom's at t i tude nor the speaker's i s presented un-equivocal ly as " r i gh t , " yet the question of which at t i tude i s preferable seems an important one. I f Tom's, dream i s no. more than pathet ic w ish- fu l f i lment , the speaker's moral i ty i s evidence of a hea l th ie r , more mature response to the rea l i t y of the i r s i t ua t i on . In e i ther case, the experience of one character comments i r o n i c a l l y on the experience of the other. Thus we f ind strenuous 34 disagreement among the c r i t i c s , one, for example, arguing that the speaker i s "stronger" than Tom while another argues that the speaker is "unhappily corrupt . "^ "Holy Thursday" presents a para l le l c r i t i c a l problem. There i s only one central character, the speaker, but again there i s a d iscont inu i ty of v is ion and precept, between his report of the ch i ld ren 's song and the moral iz ing l as t l i n e . C r i t i c a l debate has centred on th is question of the s ign i f i cance of the conclusion. When the speaker t e l l s us to "cher ish p i t y , l e s t you drive an angel from your door," should we take i t as Blake's own in junc t ion , or should we take i t i r o n i c a l l y , as a sign that the speaker has not understood what he has witnessed? (Fortunately there i s no debate about the meaning of " p i t y . " ) As in "The Chimney Sweeper," the source of th is d iscont inu i ty i s a contrast , not this time between the speaker and another character, but between the chi ldren and the adults he describes. In the l as t l i n e , the speaker seems del iberate ly to adopt the adul ts ' point of view, even though the contrast has favoured the ch i ld ren. The contrast i s presented s t r i k i n g l y in the f i r s t s tanza, in which the adults are represented by the "Grey headed beadles," who order the chi ldren about with "wands as white as snow." Grey and white are answered by the v i v i d "red & blue & green" of the ch i ld ren 's c lo th ing. The wands suggest author i ty , regimentation, and possibly even enchantment, but the chi ldren have retained the i r spontaneity, f lowing l i k e the waters of the Thames. The second 35 stanza i s given over en t i re ly to a descr ipt ion of the ch i l d ren , who are compared to flowers and lambs, and praised for the "radiance a l l the i r own." The l a s t stanza begins with the descr ipt ion of the ch i ld ren 's song: "Now l i k e a mighty wind they raise to heaven the Voice of song / Or l i ke harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among." Hirsch has noted the connection between these l ines and the b i b l i c a l accounts of Pentecost in Acts and of the seats g around the heavenly throne in Revelat ion. Like the dream in "The Chimney Sweeper," the song i s a vehicle which affords the victims access to a transcendent r e a l i t y , here i den t i f i ed with the Chr is t ian heaven. The next l i ne sh i f t s our at tent ion back to the adu l ts : "Beneath them s i t the aged men wise guardians of the poor." Much has been made of the fact that the guardians s i t beneath the chi ldren and that , on Ascension Day, i t i s only the ch i ld ren 's voices that r i se to heaven .^ The poem's f i r s t ten and one-half l ines have led us to a point at which we are ready to celebrate the ch i ld ren 's release through t he i r song, from a s p i r i t u a l bondage presided over by the "Grey headed beadles" and "aged men." The chi ldren seem to cast o f f the world of the adults jus t as the sweeps in Tom's dream leave a l l the i r bags behind. I t i s only in the second ha l f of the eleventh l i n e , in which these aged men are described as "wise" that we become aware of an i rony. I f the guardians are wise, why are they "beneath" the ch i ld ren , and why do they not 36 par t ic ipate in the heavenly song? The l i t e r a l answers to those questions imply something more s i gn i f i can t . The Ascension Day r i tua l requires that the chi ldren occupy makeshift ga l l e r i es b u i l t espec ia l l y for the o c c a s i o n , ^ and that they s ing while the adults l i s t e n . The guardians are to be enter ta ined, much as the prince of love i s entertained by the speaker of "How sweet I roam'd." I t i s the adults who i n s i s t on the r i g i d separation of r o l es , yet they remain earthbound while the ch i ld ren 's voices reach heaven. I t seems, then, that the adject ive "wise" is i r on i c here. In th is context the f ina l l ine occurs, ra i s ing the question of whether the speaker i s aware of the i rony. Now the speaker appears to have modified his at t i tude toward the ch i ld ren. He seems to evaluate the i r song in the same way as the speaker of "The Chimney Sweeper" evaluated Tom's dream, as something whose s ign i f i cance i s that i t teaches us how l i f e can be made bearable in a miserable world. He shows no in terest in transforming that world. One of the impl icat ions of the l a s t l i ne i s that some people w i l l continue to have a "door" from which others may be dr iven. The d iv is ions between guardians and chi ldren w i l l remain; the poor wi l laalways be with us. Just as the speaker of "The Chimney Sweeper" speaks of happiness and warmth rather than "God" and " joy , " the speaker of "Holy Thursday" does not consider r ea l i z i ng in his own l i f e the pentecostal and apocalypt ic dimensions of the ch i ld ren 's song. Like the "aged 37 men," the speaker i s ( f igura t i ve ly ) s i t t i n g rather than s ing ing. The poem does not t e l l us whether he i s r ight to do so. There i s no author i ta t ive answer to the question of whether the ch i ld ren 's response to the i r condit ion is superior to t he i r guardians'. The "heavenly" aspect of the song may be e i the r i l l u s o r y or prophetic. The speaker's advocacy of p i t y may be a sign e i ther of his maturity (he does not need ecs ta t i c experience) or his lack of perception (he does not understand that one must share the ch i ld ren 's v i s i on ) . In both poems, then, we f ind Blake using the motif of v ic t im-hood to create an ambiguity l e f t unresolved in the poem i t s e l f . The central meanings depend upon evaluation of a paradisal or heavenly v is ion experienced by vict ims who are i m p l i c i t l y compared to Jesus. But the vict ims do not e f fec t i ve l y communicate the i r v is ions to the people who observe them. In th is respect, Tom and the char i ty chi ldren seem to be f a i l e d (or i ron ic ) Chr is t -f igures. Yet the question of the v a l i d i t y of the perception afforded by the i r visionssremains open. Appealing to the notion of Innocence as a state does not seem to help much here. I f we hypothesize that the speakers are Innocent, what can we i n f e r about the vict ims? Northrop Frye has suggested that the Songs of Innocence s a t i r i z e Experience and the Songs of Experience s a t i r i z e 12 Innocence. Perhaps, in the poems we have j us t examined, two types of innocence s a t i r i z e each other. One thing i s ce r ta in , however. The existence of the i n s t i t u t i o n ' o f victimhood i s 38 i t s e l f a sign of the world 's apparently unalterable fa l lenness. Next I want to consider a group of minor prophecies - -T i r i e l , The Book of The l , Vis ions of the Daughters of Albion — in which the central characters are vict ims who attempt to re ject the i r roles in a way that Tom and the char i ty chi ldren do not. Each v ic t im 's actual experience i s juxtaposed with a v is ionary a l ternat ive which is apparently not r e a l i z a b l e , and cer ta in ly not rea l i zed . T i r i e l speaks of a paradise he has l o s t , Thel searches unsuccessful ly fo r a human equivalent of the i d y l l i c existence enjoyed by the L i l l y , Worm and Clod of C lay , Oothoon does discover the v is ion Thel i s looking f o r , but i s 13 unable to par t ic ipa te in the joyfu l l i f e i t promises. In these poems, vict ims rebel overt ly against the i r fa tes , but the i r rebe l l ion is unsuccessful. I t may seem odd to place T i r i e l in the same category as Thel and Oothoon. But his l as t speech i s both an attack on his fa ther , Har, and an act of se l f -d iscovery in which he i den t i f i es himself - - and a l l men - - as vict ims of "the fa ther . " There is an obvious irony in the fact t h a t . l i r i e l has himself been "the father" for most of the poem, cursing his sons and daughters 14 out of a wrath which i s not explained. Yet his f i na l recognit ion that he, too, i s a v i c t im , appears to be a perception of the t ru th , not a fur ther i r on i c twist in the presentation of his moral bl indness. T i r i e l describes his s p i r i t u a l s i tua t ion without i n i t i a l l y i den t i f y ing himself as a v ic t im: The ch i ld springs from the womb, the father ready stands to form The infant head while the mother i d l e plays with her dog on her couch The young bosom is cold fo r lack of mothers nourishment & milk Is cut o f f from the weeping mouth with d i f f i c u l t y & pain The l i t t l e l i ds are l i f t e d & the l i t t l e nos t r i l s opend The father forms a whip to rouze the sluggish senses to act And scourges o f f a l l youthful fancies from the new-born man Then walks the weak in fant inssorrow compelld to number footsteps Upon the sand. &c And when the drone has reachd his crawling length Black berr ies appear that poison a l l around him. (8:12-22, E281-2) To th is point in the speech, T i r i e l might wel l be re fer r ing to his attempt to control the l i ves of his own ch i ld ren , and at 15 least one c r i t i c has taken the passage to mean that alone. However, the l ines which fol low make i t c lear that T i r i e l sees himself as a v ic t im: Such was Ti r i e l Compelld to pray repugnant & to humble the immortal s p i r i t T i l l I am sub t i l as a serpent . in a paradise Consuming a l l both f r u i t s & flowers inseetss & warbling birds And now my paradise i s f a l l n & a drear sandy p la in Returns my th i r s t y hissings in a curse on thee 0 Har Mistaken father of a lawless race my voice i s past (8:22-8, E282) The repet i t ion of the word "compel ld," and, espec ia l l y , the i den t i f i ca t i on of both the ch i l d and T i r i e l with the serpent whose home is a paradise which has now f a l l e n , are unequivocal signs that T i r i e l i s here depict ing himself as v ic t im not " fa ther , though some c r i t i c s have not recognized t h i s . ^ I t i s not, of course, that T i r i e l i s simply attempting to . deny respons ib i l i t y for his act ions. Rather i t i s that in 40 "Consuming a l l , " he is not act ing as the fa ther , whose function i s to "form / The in fant head," to "rouze the sluggish senses to ac t , " and so on - - in shor t , to impose a cer ta in mentality upon the ch i l d . Instead he i s being l i ke the ch i l d who res is ts th is process of s o c i a l i z a t i o n . Forced to pray and to act with the appearance of humi l i ty , he has used gui le to perform destruct ive acts in protest against his condi t ion. He admits in th is speech that the protest has been f u t i l e , and, indeed, se l f -des t ruc t i ve : "now my paradise i s f a l l n , " he laments, having himself consumed i t s contents. Even though he i s responsible for many deaths, T i r i e l has in one important sense remained a v ic t im. The only death that could free him from th is ro le would be that of his 'own fa ther , Har, since he believes that Har's laws are the cause of his bondage. But Har does not d ie , and consequently T i r i e l never experiences freedom. His only triumph is to see his condit ion for what i t . i s . But his l as t gesture i s as f u t i l e as a l l his other act ions: "He ceast outstretchd at Har & Hevas feet in awful death" (8:29). Unlike T i r i e l , Thel does not d ie , but she i s l i ke him in that s;het recognizes her need to stop being a v ic t im. Her quest for ident i ty is the central theme of The Book of The!. Ult imately she must choose whether to define herse l f as a v ic t im or as someone who rejects that role in order to l i v e in accordance with her own v i s i on . At the end of the poem, she makes a gesture of re jec t ion . But she has not achieved an adequate perception 41 of an unfal len existence, and i t does not seem poss ib le , given the conditions of her wor ld, that such a gesture can be successfu l . Thel 1 s struggle i s an ambiguous one. We can see th is c lear ly i f we compare Thel with Oothoon, the pr inc ipa l v ic t im in Visions of the Daughters of A lb ion. Oothoon is unequivocally presented as a sympathetic f i gu re , one whose desire to escape from her s i tuat ion i s en t i re ly j u s t i f i e d . Thel has been judged much more harshly. There i s a t rad i t i on in Blake c r i t i c i s m of condemning Thel 's return to the vales of Har (the act by which she attempts to deny her role as vict im) as a sign of s p i r i t u a l f a i l u r e . ^ 18 But recently several c r i t i c s have challenged th is view. I t i s now possible to take the pos i t ion that The l , though not of Oothoon's s ta ture , i s nevertheless react ing to a pa ra l l e l s i t ua t i on . In terms of the poem's ac t ion , the main point at. issue i s the extent to which Thel should imitate the non-human characters with whom she converses: L i l l y , Cloud, Worm and Clod of Clay. These characters not only w i l l i n g l y accept the i r status as v ic t ims , they celebrate i t . Thel is at one point persuaded to adopt the i r a t t i tude , but f i n a l l y rejects i t . Blake prepares for th is re-jec t ion by qu ie t ly developing a contrast between Thel and the others during the ser ies of dialogues which takes up most of the poem. The i n i t i a l cause of The l 's d i ssa t i s fac t i on with her l o t i s her sense that her l i f e is without purpose. In the vales of Har, a l l i s evanescent, and th is seems to rob experience of meaning: 42 0 l i f e of th is our spr ing! why fades the lotus of the water? Why fade these chi ldren of the spring? born but to smile & f a l l . Ah! Thel is l i k e a watry bow, and l i k e a part ing c loud, Like a re f lec t ion in a g lass, l i k e shadows in the water. (1 :6-9, E3) I t is not that she fears death;>rather, she longs for i t : "Ah! gentle may I lay me down, and gentle rest my head. / And gentle sleep the sleep of death" (1:12-13,' E3). At th is po int , her conversation with the L i l l y begins. The L i l l y , too, is aware of her own transience but re jo ices in i t because she i s " v i s i t e d from heaven and he that smiles on a l l " (1:19). and has fa i th in an a f t e r l i f e , be l iev ing she w i l l " f l ou r i sh in eternal vales" (1:25). Thel suggests that the key fac tor d is t ingu ish ing the L i l l y ' s pos i t ion from her own i s that theli'.Tflvy benefi ts others: Thy breath doth nourish the innocent lamb, he smells thy milky garments, He crops thy f lowers, while thou s i t t e s t smi l ing in his face, Wiping his mi ld and meekin mouth from a l l contagious ta in ts (2:4-6, E4) In a sense, the ILi j ly is the Lamb's v ic t im.here, although Thel does not al lude to the L i l l y ' s death. Thel he rse l f has no useful function to perform, and consequently no one w i l l notice her absence: "But Thel i s l i ke a fa in t cloud kindled at the r i s i n g sun: / I vanish from my pearly throne, and who sha l l f i nd my place" (2:11-12). Thus she begins her iden t i t y quest by declar ing her/wish to confer value upon her experience by performing acts of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e . That she i s u l t imately unable to do so does not necessar i ly imply that she has f a i l e d , however. I t may mean 43 only that her goal has changed during the course of the poem. Thel 's casual ly disparaging reference to the " f a i n t cloud" causes the L i l l y to suggest that she coverse with one of the clouds in the morning sky above them. Thel asks the Cloud, "Why thou complainest not when in one hour thou fade away: / Then we sha l l seek thee but not f ind" (3:2-3) . The Cloud repl ies that his "passing away" is not in vain. Like the L i l l y , he contributes to the l i f e of others, and what appears to be his death is in fac t his marriage to "the f a i r eyed dew": The weeping v i r g i n , trembling kneels before the r isen sun, T i l l we ar ise l i n k ' d in a golden band, and never par t ; But walk uni ted, bearing food to a l l our tender flowers (3:14-16, E4) Again Thel recognizes that what separates her from the other denizens of the vales of Har i s her i n a b i l i t y to s a c r i f i c e herse l f fo r others: Dost thou 0 l i t t l e Cloud? I fear that I am not l i ke thee; For I walk through the vales of Har. and smell the sweetest f lowers; But I feed not the l i t t l e f lowers: I hear the warbling b i r ds , But I feed not the warbling b i rds , they f l y and seek the i r food; But Thel del ights in these no more because I fade away, And a l l sha l l say, without a use th is shining woman l i v ' d , Or did she only l i v e , to be at death the food of worms. (3:16-23, E5) The Cloud repl ies that to be the food of worms i s a worthy dest iny, and proof that The! does have a "use, " l i ke the L i l l y and Cloud. She i s therefore no exception to the general rule that "every thing that l i v e s , / Lives not alone, nor fo r i t s e l f " (3:26-7). Thel 's conversation with the Clod of Clay (who speaks for the 44 Worm) convinces her that the Cloud i s r ight . The Clod of Clay re i terates the Cloud's pos i t ion ("we l i v e not for ourselves" - -4:10) and goes on to elaborate a theology in which a benevolent God treasures and cares fo r a l l his creatures, even "the meanest th ing. " But she also stresses the l im i ta t ions of her own under-standing. Her par t i c ipa t ion in the world she has described i s i ns t i nc t i ve and emotional: "But how th is i s sweet maid, I know not, and I cannot know, / I ponder, and I cannot ponder; yet I l i v e and love" (5:5-6) . Thel 's response reveals her acceptance of her role in the ecology of the vales of Har. I f God cherishes the worm, Thel decides, then she should have no qualms about providing food for i t : That God would love a Worm I knew, and punish the ev i l foot . That w i l f u l , b ru i s ' d i t s helpless form: but that he cher ish 'd i t With milk and o i l . I never knew; and therefore did I weep, And I complaind in the mi ld a i r , because I fade away, And lay me down in thy cold bed, and leave my shining l o t . (5:9-13, E5) At this po in t , then, Thel appears ready to embrace her s a c r i f i c i a l role on the same terms as the H i l l y and the Cloud, and to re jo ice in i t . I f God cherishes the worm, he must also cherish her, and she need therefore feel no anxiety about the transience of her l i f e . What sets Thel apart from the other characters i s prec ise ly the fact that she has both the need and the capacity to make such a choice. She alone is human, a "shin ing woman" with the power to determine her own iden t i t y through a process o f quest ioning, seeking and choosing. Her a b i l i t y to experience a l ienat ion in the 45 world of the L i l l y , Cloud and Clod of Clay is thus a sign of her super ior i ty . There i s no ind icat ion that these other characters were ca l led upon to make the decision Thel f inds herse l f moved to make. The opposite i s impl ied by the Clod's statement that she knows not and cannot know how i t i s that she i s cherished by God. Thel , in accepting an iden t i t y which, in one sense, makes her the "food of worms," i s ind ica t ing her desire to l i ve in the vales of Har on the same terms as the other characters. She has chosen to stop choosing, to end her quest by adopting the role of v ic t im imposed automatically upon the L i l l y and the Cloud. Thus she attempts to renounce her humanity. The Clod of Clay inv i tes Thel to enter her "house," and Thel learns at f i r s t hand what i t means to be the food of worms: She saw the couches of the dead, & where the f ibrous roots Of every heart on earth in f i xes deep i t s rest less tw is ts : A land of sorrows & of tears where never smile was seen. (6 :3-5, E6) This is obviously not the experience of death spoken of by the L i l l y and the Cloud. Unless one adopts the un l ike ly hypothesis that they were l y i n g , i t seems certain that the fact of The l 's human nature w i l l i t s e l f guarantee that she cannot share the 19 f e l i c i t y of the non-human characters. This implies that her gesture of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e i s f u t i l e . I t w i l l not br ing her the happiness enjoyed by the L i l l y and the Cloud. This point i s made in the speech del ivered by a voice emanating from "her own grave p lo t . " What the voice revea ls , 46 among other th ings, i s that TheVs attempt to renounce her humanity i s va in , because she must continue to make judgments and choices: Why cannot the Ear be closed to i t s own destruction? Or the g l i s tn ing Eye to the poison of a smileji Why are Eyel ids stored with arrows ready drawn, Where a thousand f igh t ing men in ambush l i e ? Or an Eye of g i f t s & graces, show'ring f r u i t s & coined gold! Why a Tongue impressed with honey from every wind? Why an Ear, a whir lpool f ie rce to draw creations in? Why a Nos t r i l wide inhal ing te r ror trembling & a f f r i gh t Why a tender curb upon the youthful burning boy! Why a l i t t l e curtain of f lesh on the bed of our.desire? (6:11-20, E6) Many c r i t i c s have argued that the main thrust of th is speech i s 20 to iliament the powerof the f i ve senses. Thel 's subsequent retreat to the vales of Har i s thus taken to be evidence of her i n a b i l i t y to embrace the sensual wisdom which could have saved 21 her. But David Wagenknecht makes an in te res t ing point when he comments, "the valedictory of this ' s p i r i t u a l f a i l u r e , ' were we to hear i t from the l i p s , say, of Oothoon, might be interpreted 22 as at least on the threshold of v i s i o n . " The comparison with Oothoon is worth pursuing. In her speech at the end of Vis ions of the Daughters of A lb ion , she ar t i cu la tes a v is ion of a world in which men and women enjoy the del ights of sensory experience in a context free from the consciousness of ev i l and death, in which " t rees . & b i rds . & beasts. & men. behold t he i r eternal joy" and "every thing that l i ves is ho ly ! " (8 :8 , 10, E49-50). The voice from Thel 's grave, with i t s knowledge of " f r u i t s & coined gold" and "honey from every wind" has learned something of th is paradise. What the voice laments i s that such experiences 47 inexpl icab ly co-ex is t with those infected by the smi le 's poison, the eye l ids ' arrows and the int imat ion that death w i l l one day end the perception of the world made possible by the senses. Imp l ic i t in this speech i s the v is ion of a world in which the senses retain the i r power, but are no longer vehicles fo r the perception of ev i l and decay. I t may seem that such a world i s the one already enjoyed by the Cloud and the L i l l y , but Blake's point here is that The l , with her more complex consciousness, cannot share with them a simple existence rooted in innocent sensory experience. Para-dox i ca l l y , her attempt to do th is (by iden t i f y ing hersel f as a s a c r i f i c i a l v ic t im ~ "food of worms" - - which leads to the inv i ta t i on to enter the house of the Clod of Clay) has resul ted in the ra is ing of the question of her humanity in a more ins i s ten t form. In the " land unknown," her sense of a l ienat ion has i n t e s i f i e d , not disappeared. When Thel s tar ts from her seat and "with a shr iek" f lees back to the vales of Har (6:21-2), she i s acknowledging that her decision to accept the role of v ic t im was wrong. I t is not that the non-human characters have de l iberate ly misled her , but rather that her s p i r i t u a l needs d i f f e r from the i r s . In pa r t i cu la r , t he i r experience (or, more p rec i se l y , innocence) has been ordered for them; they fol low a pattern of behaviour which requires no imaginative ac t i v i t y on the i r part . The l , on the other hand, w i l l have to organize her own innocence in 'a way that does not deny the claims of the senses but does deal s a t i s f a c t o r i l y with the facts of death and e v i l , which so obsess the "voice of sorrow" she hears at her grave. Her return to the vales of Har i s thus an attempt to re ject the role of v i c t im , which she had already t a c i t l y declared herse l f ready to accept. Like T i r i e l , she has at l as t seen her s i tua t ion c l ea r l y . The question of whether she succeeds (or can succeed) in changing i t is l e f t open. Oothoon, i n Vis ions of the Daughters of A lb ion , i s de f i n i t e l y unsuccessful in her attempt to escape the v i c t im 's ro le . The f i r s t plate presents a var ia t ion of Thel 's s tory. Oothoon, i n love with Theotormon, wanders d isconsolate ly through "the vales of Leutha," where she plucks a "br ight Marygold" (at the f lower 's request), a gesture s ign i f y ing her w i l l i n g par t i c ipa t ion in the natural cycle represented by the Cloud and the L i l l y in The Book of Thel . This pa ra l l e l s Thel 's decision to accept the fact that her destiny i s to be the food of worms. Oothoon then travels to the equivalent of Thel 's " land unknown," but, unl ike The l , 23 she does not have the opportunity to return to her former s ta te . She i s raped by Bromion, who promptly labels her a har lo t (1:18, E45) and claims dominion over her , using imagery which associates her with both the American continent i t s e l f and with the Afr ican slaves imported to work there: "Thy sof t American pla ins are mine, and mine thy north & south: / Stampt with my signet are the swarthy chi ldren of the sun" (1:20-1). Bromion i s thus i den t i f i ed as an exp lo i te r whose values may be defined 49 in terms of both material wealth and a morali ty which i s pur i tan ica l and hypoc r i t i ca l . The t h i r d character, Theotormon, i s more power-fu l than Bromion, and he immediately imprisons both Bromion and Oothoon: Then storms rent Theotormons l imbs; he r o l l d his waves around. And folded his black jealous waters round the adulterate pa i r Bound back to back in Bromions caves te r ror & meekness dwell (2 :3 -5 , E45) From this point on, Theotormon s i t s at the cave's entrance lamenting the s infu lness of the "adul terate pa i r , " f o r i t i s evident that he shares Bromion's mora l i t y , although he i i s not a hypocr i te. Oothoon begins by adopting a moral posture s im i l a r to Theotormon's, although her heart is not in i t . He bel ieves that she should experience g u i l t because Bromion has raped her. Accordingly she of fers herse l f as a v ic t im to "Theotormons Eagles" : Oothoon weeps not: she cannot weep! her tears are locked.up; But she can howl incessant wr i th ing her so f t snowy l imbs. And c a l l i n g Theotormons Eagles to prey upon her f l e sh . (2:11-13, E45) The absurdity of th is s i tua t ion quick ly becomes apparent, as Theotormon presides approvingly whi le Oothoon allows herse l f to be tormented in order to expiate a s in she did not commit: I c a l l with holy voice! kings of the sounding a i r , Rend away th is de f i l ed bosom that I may r e f l e c t . The image of Theotormon on my pure transparent breast. The Eagles at her c a l l descend & rend t he i r bleeding prey; Theotormon severely smi les, her soul re f lec ts the smi le ; As the c lear spring mudded with feet of beasts grows pure & smi les. (2:14-19, E45) 50 It i s as i f Thel had vo luntar i l y entered her own grave, and assumed the anguish expressed by the "voice of sorrow" although she had done nothing to deserve i t . Thel reacts by f l e e i n g ; Oothoon cannot f lee but she soon rebels. Her f i r s t major speech (2:21-3:20) i s an assert ion of her own pu r i t y , the grounds fo r the assert ion being perceptual rather than moral. Oothoon does not claim that Bromion has erred in c a l l i n g her a ha r lo t , but rather that Bromion's (and Theotormon1s) standards of judgment are i r re levant even i f applied honestly. Her attempt to re jec t the ro le of v ic t im i s rooted not in moral analysis of her s i tua t ion but in a new v is ion of her wor ld: Ar ise my Theotormon I am pure. Because the night i s gone that c l o s ' d me in i t s deadly black. They to ld me that the night and day were a l l that I could see; They to ld me that I had f i ve senses to inc lose me up. And they i n c l o s ' d my i n f i n i t e brain in to a narrow c i r c l e . And sunk my heart in to the Abyss, a red round globe hot burning T i l l a l l from l i f e I was ob l i te ra ted and erased. (2:28-34, E46) In terms of the poem's dramatic s i t u a t i o n , Oothoon ls ins ight causes her to reverse her previous at t i tude towards her moral s tatus. Addressing Theotormon, she asks "How can I be d e f i l d when I re f l ec t thy image pure?" (3:16), a question which indicates that she now considers her new in tu i t ions about herse l f and her world to be v a l i d , overr id ing Theotormon's author i ty. Oothoon ar t i cu la tes her new v is ion in the long speech which takes up the ent i re second ha l f of the poem. In p rac t ica l terms, the speech i s a f a i l u r e , fo r she i s unable to change Theotormon's 51 a t t i tude , and i s , phys i ca l l y , as much in bondage at i t s conclusion as she i s at i t s beginning. But i f she cannot free herse l f from the role of v i c t im , she i s able to see c lear ly what i t i s that prevents men from achieving the l i f e of joy that is wi thin t he i r grasp. In the f i r s t sect ion of th is speech, she describes the soc ia l structure of the fa l l en world in. terms of exp lo i ta t i on : Does he who contemns poverty, and he who turns with abhorrence From usury: #eel the same passion or are they moved a l ike? How can the giver of g i f t s experience the del ights of the merchant? How can the industr ious c i t i z e n the pains of the husbandman. How d i f ferent f a r the fa t fed h i r e l i n g with hollow drum; Who buys: whole corn f i e l ds into wastes, and sings upon the heath: How d i f ferent the i r eye and ear! how d i f fe rent the world to them!' With what sense does the parson claim the labour of the farmer? (5:10-17, E47) Usurer, merchant, " industr ious c i t i z e n , " land speculator , parson: each one ex is ts by taking advantage of others, the ones who are t ru ly generous or productive. Oothoon goes on to describe a marriage in pa ra l l e l terms. The br ide , "she who burns with youth, and knows no f ixed l o t , " is in Oothoon's own pos i t i on , "bound / In spe l l s of law to one she loaths" (5:21-2). In a l l of these cases, the vict imsaare apparently powerless. Oothoon's so lut ion to the problem of oppression i s not (as one might have expected) p o l i t i c a l revolut ion. Instead, she advocates that there should be a radical change in the way men perceive t he i r world. Af ter a passage in which she i n s i s t s on the authent ic i ty of ind iv idual perception (8:33-41), she asserts that the model for th is new kind of v is ion i s to be found in childhood: 52 Infancy, f ea r l ess , l u s t f u l , happy! nest l ing for del ight In laps of p leasure; Innocence! honest, open, seeking The vigorous joys of morning l i g h t ; open to v i rg in b l i s s . . . (6 :3-5 , E48) But the joyous l i f e of childhood i s destroyed when the ch i l d learns "modesty, sub t i l modesty" (6 :7) , Oothoon argues. The experience of victimhood i s thus reproduced in the inner l i f e of the i n d i v i d u a l , as "des i re" i s mut i la ted for the sake of " r e l i g i o n . " The r i t u a l through which th is i s accomplished i s masturbation: The moment of desi re! the moment of desire! The v i rg in That pines fo r man; sha l l awaken her womb to enormous joys In the secret shadows of her chamber; the youth shut up from The lus t fu l joy sha l l forget to generate. & create an amorous i mage In the shadows of his curtains and in the folds of his s i l e n t p i l l ow. Are not these the places of re l ig ion? the rewards of continence? The s e l f enjoyings of s e l f denial? Why dost thou seek re l ig ion? (7 :3-9 , E49) Oothoon concludes her speech with a v is ion of unrestrained sexua l i t y , which she presents as the possible a l ternat ive to the f a l l en soc ia l and psychological r e a l i t y she has jus t described. This v is ion of "the heaven of generous love" (7:29) includes the w e l l -known passage in which Oothoon celebrates the " love ly copulation b l i s s on b l i s s " (7:26) which Theotormon w i l l enjoy with the " g i r l s of mi ld s i l v e r , or of furious gold" (7:24) she w i l l have generously procured for him. Her account culminates with an image of apocalypse: "And t rees. & b i rds . & beasts. & men behold the i r eternal joy" (8:8) and a f ina l in junc t ion : "Ar ise and drink your b l i s s , for every thing that l i ves i s holy ! " (8:10). 53 But Oothoon's rhetor ic cannot, in i t s e l f , free her from her s i tua t ion as a v ic t im. At the end of the poem she has not been able to communicate her v is ion to Theotormon, and her analysis of soc ia l tyranny and sexual repression does not include an out l ine of any method by which these problems might be solved. Her perception of her own "pur i ty " and of the holiness of a l l l i f e i s achieved spontaneously. I t i s one thing to assert that men must return to the innocence of childhood and another to explain how th is i s to be done. Yet , in another sense, Vis ions of the Daughters of Albion i s a profoundly op t im is t i c poem. There i s nothing to counter the impl icat ion that , in a world populated by men and women who share Oothoon's at t i tudes and values, the paradise she describes at the end of her speech could come into being. Oothoon is bound, but the potent ia l for joy in a world of l ibera ted Oothoons would seem to be unl imited. In poems such as Ameri ca and Europe, however, Blake shows that the problem is considerably more complex than that. Victims who are successful in repudiating the i r roles do not, i t turns out, preside over the b i r th of a mi l lenn ia l kingdom, but inev i tab ly f i nd themselves act ing l i k e the very characters who had oppressed them. In the Songs of Experiehce, however, victims do not repudiate t he i r ro les . ("To Ti rzah" i s the one exception to th is ru le . ) In these poems, Blake analyzes th is f a i l u re and discovers i t s 54 or ig in in the psyche of the v i c t im , although ex te rna l , soc ia l r ea l i t y is often an important secondary fac tor . The vict ims in Experience, unl ike those in Innocence, are not consoled by v is ions of paradise; instead they are preoccupied with the i r own suf fer ing and i t s sources. Within th is general framework, Blake describes a wide var ie ty of s i tuat ions involv ing v ic t ims. In th is sec t i on , I w i l l deal with a representative se lect ion of these poems. My intent i s not to provide exhaustive analyses; I merely wish to iden t i f y the psychological charac ter is t i cs common to vict ims in Experience. In the poems about to be examined, the v ic t im perceives him-s e l f to be at the mercy of a cruel oppressor who causes his su f fe r ing . Like Oothoon, he seems simply to lack the power to free himself from the bondage which has been imposed upon him. But the s i tua t ion i s more complex than at f i r s t appears. In "The Human Abstract" and "London" Blake asserts his b e l i e f that tyranny of a l l kinds depends for i t s power upon the mental stateoof thosepit oppresses. The v ic t im in a number of the Songs of Experience i s deluded about the nature of his s i t ua t i on . His i n a b i l i t y to escape from his suf fer ing i s rooted in a psychological bondage which d is tor ts his perception of the wor ld, and prevents him from rea l i z i ng the freedom which seems to be within his grasp. "The Clod & the Pebble" (E19) provides a convenient s ta r t ing point fo r our d iscussion. In th is poem, Blake presents an i r on i c juxtaposi t ion of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e and sel f ishness in such a way 55 as to suggest that the two are mutually dependent. The s e l f -s a c r i f i c i a l Clod interprets the meaning of love as the g iv ing of s e l f for others: Love seeketh not I t s e l f to please, Nor for i t s e l f hath any care; But fo r another gives i t s ease, And bui lds a Heaven in Hel ls despair. The Clod assumes that there i s "another" who is in need of some-thing which Love can give i t , and that Love must s a c r i f i c e i t s own "ease" in order to do th i s . This suggests that the "other," w i l l i n g to receive what Love gives i t , i s en t i re l y s e l f i s h , depend-ing for i t s happiness upon the suf fer ing of someone e l se . The Pebble, in i t s rep ly , reveals i t s e l f to be jus t such a being: Love seeketh only Se l f to p lease, To bind another to i t s de l igh t ; Joys in anothers loss of ease, And bui lds a Hell in Heavens despite. The Clod's s a c r i f i c e w i l l be e f f icac ious only i f there i s a Pebble to accept i t s benef i ts . I f everyone sought to please another "not I t s e l f , " no selves would be pleased, since s a c r i f i c e inev i tab ly involves giv ing up one's own "ease. " I f the Clod bui lds a Heaven for the Pebble, the Pebble must l i v e there in the knowledge that i t has b u i l t a. Hel l fo r the C lod , which has now Tost i t s ease. Both Clod and Pebble accept th is s i t ua t i on . Harold Bloom has explained what th is impl ies: "Both Clod and Pebble are caught in the s i n i s t e r moral d i a l e c t i c that is a mark of Experience, for nei ther believes that any i nd i v i dua l i t y can ex i s t 56 except at the expense of another. In terms of our study, th is means that the Pebble becomes the tyrannical oppressor we f ind elsewhere in the Songs o f Experience with the f u l l co-operation of the Clod, who vo lun ta r i l y adopts the role of v ic t im. This i s not to say that there are characters in these poems who consciously share the Clod's philosophy of Love. Rather, some characters choose to define t he i r ident i ty in terms of t he i r victimhood, i r o n i c a l l y depending upon the i r oppressors to supply the i r l i ves with meaning. Such characters do not bel ieve in the value of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e , but nevertheless f i nd themselves f u l f i l l i n g the Clod's funct ion. Inev i tab ly , they are d i s s a t i s f i e d with t he i r l o t , yet t he i r poems suggest that the i r suf fer ing is the resu l t of a mental tyranny they have imposed upon themselves. Both Pebble and Clod, fo r example, would agree to the proposit ions advanced by the speaker of "The Human Abstract" (E27): P i t y would be no more, I f we did not make somebody Poor: And Mercy no more could be, I f a l l were as happy as we The Clods of th is world must resign themselves to the i r poverty and i l l luck, which allows others to experience the del ights of fee l ing p i ty and acting merc i fu l l y . For the joy which comes to the person who performs an act of mercy i s as dependent upon . "anothers loss of ease" as any of the more obvious ways of "b inding" another for one's own de l ight . Characters in the Songs, of Experience 57 who f ind themselves in the Clod's posi t ion w i l l in terpret the i r s i tua t ion as one of bondage. But in both "The Human Abstract" and in "London" (E26), Blake i s careful to indicate that th is bondage has i t s source in the mind of the v i c t im ; soc ia l exp lo i ta t ion is merely a symptom of the psychological def ic ienc ies of the people who suf fe r from i t . In "The Human Abst ract , " th is power which binds man i s symbolized by "The Tree of Mystery": The Gods of the earth and sea, Sought thro' Nature to f ind th is Tree But the i r search was a l l in va in : There grows one in the Human Brain S i m i l a r l y , in "London," i t i s the famous "mind-forg"d manacles" that bind Chimney-sweeper, So ld ie r , Har lo t , "every Man" to the soc ia l roles that destroy them. I t i s true that these people are the vict ims of the i ns t i t u t i ons of Church and S ta te ; but i f the Tree of Mystery were not growing tn the i r b ra ins , . the ins t i t u t i ons would have no power over them. "Infant Sorrow" (E28) presents c lear ly the re la t ion between soc ia l and psychological bondage.• The speaker is representative of any consciousness which comes to rea l i ze that i t i s trapped in the Clod's posi t ion, without being able to share the Clod's se l f lessness . As in "How sweet I roam'd," the speaker knows that he is a v ic t im but he does not know why. Here the oppressive i ns t i t u t i on i s nei ther the Church nor the Sta te , but rather the fami ly , composed of a groaning mother and weeping father. But 58 the speaker, despite the fact that he is both "he lp less" and "naked," i s s t i l l able to r e s i s t : "Struggl ing in my fathers hands: / S t r i v ing against my swadling bands." Society has defined the in fan t ' s ro le in Clod l ike terms. But whi le the "swadling bands" are real enough, they do not necessar i ly portend l i f e - l o n g imprison-ment. Ch i ld ren, a f ter a l l , outgrow them in time. Yet eventually the speaker decides to stop s t ruggl ing. In the l as t l ines of the poem, he reveals his decision to define himself as a v ic t im: "Bound and weary I thought best / To sulk upon my mothers breast . " Wolf Mankowitz b r i l l i a n t l y summarizes the main thrust of the poem: "This i s the b i r th of a representative c i t i zen of Blake's London. I t i s already in the process of forging 25 i t s own mental manacles." No longer merely the v ic t im of the father , the speaker has now become his accomplice. The Tree of Mystery has taken root in his bra in . A s im i l a r tree provides the central image for "A Poison Tree" (E28), another poem which emphasizes the v ic t im 's autonomy. The action unfolds with parab le- l i ke s imp l i c i t y . The speaker is the oppressor, motivated so le ly by his desire to revenge himself on his " f oe . " The "poison t ree" of the t i t l e i s an image of his wrath, which he nurtures un t i l i t bears an "apple b r igh t . " The 26 poem has been discussed as a parody of Genesis, and i t i s cer ta in ly possible to see the speaker as a Blakean car icature of God. But an even more remarkable charac te r i s t i c of th is speaker 59 i s his p a s s i v i t y / 7 He does not need to attack his foe d i r ec t l y . The apple 1 appears: And ray foe beheld i t shine And he knew that i t was raine. And into my garden s t o l e , When the night had ve i led the pole; In the morning glad I see; My foe outstretchd beneath the t ree. Again i t i s the v ic t im 's own action that brings about his down-f a l l , though th is time the action involves the transgression of a moral code. The foe does not foresee the consequences of his the f t , but he does know the act i s wrong. Thus moral weakness in "A Poison Tree" is the counterpart of psychological weakness in " Infant Sorrow." None of th is is to excuse the at t i tude of the vengeful speaker of "A Poison Tree," but his ro le in the foe's demise is secondary, l i k e the role of the family i n " Infant Sorrow." I t i s s i gn i f i can t that several c r i t i c s who have commented on "A Poison Tree" have been struck by the s i m i l a r i t y between 28 the speaker and his foe. The poem presents us with an unequivocal statement of the oppressor's dependence upon the co-operation — conscious or otherwise - - of the v ic t im. The vict ims in " Infant Sorrow" and "A Poison Tree" have defined themselves as such by the i r own act ions. The in fant decides to su lk , the foe decides to steal the apple. "Ear th 's Answer" (El8) presents us with a d i f ferent s i t u a t i o n , one invo lv ing a speaker who wishes to escape from an experience of victimhood which has apparently been forced upon her. This poem is a response to the 60 "Introduct ion" (E18) to the Songs of Experience, an introduct ion in which the speaker, a "Bard, " reports that he has heard "The Holy Word / . . . Ca l l ing the lapsed Soul" (that i s , Earth h e r s e l f ) , and then, in the l as t two stanzas, del ivers the Holy Word's speech himself. I t i s , of course, essent ia l to read the two poems in 299 conjunction with each others. The Bard, "Who Present, Past & Future sees, " i s invested with the highest possible author i ty. Northrop Frye has described him as being " i n the t rad i t i on of the Hebrew prophets, who derive the i r i nsp i ra t ion from Chr is t as Word of God, and whose l i f e i s a l i s t en ing for and speaking with 30 that Word." There can be no doubt that the Bard is a credib le wi tness, and that we are meant to bel ieve him when he says that the " lapsed Soul" . . . might cont ro l1 , The s tar ry po le ; And fa l l en fa l l en l i gh t renew! The Holy Word then c a l l s for Earth to " re tu rn , " to "Turn away no more." The night of the world 's fal lenness is about to be transformed into anaapocalyptic morning. In the meantime, the fa l l en world i t s e l f i s a g i f t which w i l l sustain i t s inhabitants as long as necessary: The star ry f l oo r The watry shore Is g i v ' n thee t i l l the break of day In approaching "Ear th 's Answer," then, we can begin by assuming the correctness of several pieces of information: Earth i s " lapsed , " and therefore responsible fo r the fal lenness of her 61 s i t ua t i on ; she has the power to control her environment* to renew the fa l l en l i g h t ; 'but in order to do t h i s , she must heed the Holy Word, and learn to perceive her world in terms of a night which must soon give way to the dawn. In shor t , what she needs is the sor t of v is ionary experience enjoyed by Tom Dacre and the chi ldren of "Holy Thursday." "Ear th 's Answer," however, reveals that her own perception of her s i tua t ion i s u t te r ly at variance with that of the Bard (and the Holy Word). She seeshherself as a helpless v i c t im , sac r i f i ced by "the Father of the ancient men," the god of "Jea lousy, " who has imprisoned her with a "heavy cha in . " Taken by i t s e l f , th is is a pathet ic enough p ic ture. But when Earth 's account is compared with the Bard ' s , i t becomes necessary to question the basis for Earth 's response, espec ia l ly her refusal or i n a b i l i t y to see hersel f as a " lapsed Soul" whom the "Holy Word" wishes to save. As in the case of some of the poems we have previously examined, a double perspective has been set up. But here one version (the Bard's) i s c lear ly intended to be the correct one, and the 31 other (Earth 's) to be fa l se . What traps Ear th , f i n a l l y , i n the Clod's posi t ion i s nothing other thanhher own fa i l u re to perceive her s i tua t ion c l ea r l y . The language of the l a s t s tanza, in pa r t i cu l a r , reminds us of "The Clod & the Pebble": Break th is heavy chain, That does freeze my bones around S e l f i s h ! va in , 62 Eternal bane! That free Love with bondage bound. The Clod's notion of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e demanded the existence of a s e l f i s h Pebble to take advantage of another's " loss of ease." Ear th , bound by the "heavy cha in , " begins with the fact that she has l o s t herrown ease. Since she i s unable to admit that she i s a " lapsed Sou l , " and hence responsible for her own condi t ion, she must postulate the existence of an.oppressor who has bound her for his own de l ight . This i s not to say that "the Father of the ancient men" i s not " r e a l , " but that his true at t i tude towards Earth i s much d i f fe rent from what she thinks i t to be. No less than the speaker of " Infant Sorrow," she has made a del iberate choice to define her ident i ty in terms of her victimhood. A concomitant of th is choice i s that she must abdicate her power to renew the " f a l l e n f a l l en l i g h t , " and assume the absolute helplessness of the v ic t im. The rhetor ica l questions of the t h i r d and fourth stanzas, which lament the "darkness" that permeates heraexperience of the fa l l en wor ld, are heavi ly i r on i c because Earth has the capacity to change the s i tua t ion she complains of. In f a i l i n g to respond to the Holy Word, she 32 is herse l f binding " f ree Love with bondage." We f ind a psychology s im i l a r to Earth 's in the speaker of "The Chimney Sweeper" (E22). This poem has been read (by Foster Damon, for instance) as Blake's straightforward attack on the soc ia l i ns t i t u t i ons which countenance the oppression of the sweeps: 63 "Blake accuses the Church d i rec t l y fo r the depraving of these ch i ldren. Because a ch i l d s t i l l carr ies some of his happiness with him wherever he goes is no j u s t i f i c a t i o n for making him l i ve 33 by such te r r i b l e work." Damon's statement i s cer ta in ly cor rec t , as f a r as i t goes. But i t ignores the subt lety of Blake's presentation o-f the sweep himself. There are two p o s s i b i l i t i e s for in terpretat ion of the sweep's a t t i tude: e i ther he i s naively t e l l i n g the t ruth as he understands i t , or he i s de l iberate ly adopting a pose designed to win the sympathy of the adult passerby who questions him. In e i ther case, however, there are grounds fo r seeing him as something other than merely an innocent v i c t im s a c r i f i c e d by a society composed of cruel adul ts. Of course the sweep's suf fer ing i s both real and unjust. But his speech reveals an obsession with that i n j us t i ce that borders upon the se l f - indu lgen t : Because I was happy upon the heath, And sm i l ' d among the winters snow: They clothed me in the clothes of death, And taught me to sing the notes of woe. I f we assume that the sweep bel ieves th is i s t rue, then he i s subject to a se l f -de lus ion that pa ra l l e l s Ear th ' s . He assigns fan tas t i c motives to the actions of those who exp lo i t him. According to him, his parents did not make him become a sweep for economic reasons, as one might expect, but rather out of some i r r a t i ona l desire to destroy his happiness. For the sweep to hypothesize the more probable motive would require him to recognize that his suf fer ing was not uniquely important but only the by-product of forces which act on everyone in his soc ie ty . The sweep i s l i k e Earth in that his primary in te res t i s neither to transcend the fa l l en world nor to reconci le himself to i t , but rather to j u s t i f y himself and accuse his oppressors. He i s infected with the s p i r i t u a l malaise common to a l l men trapped in the state of Experience. Thus the l a s t stanza moves to no pos i t i ve reso lu t ion , but only an i n tens i f i ed consciousness of pain and i n j u s t i c e : And because I am happy, & dance & s ing , They think they have done me no in ju ry : And are gone to praise God & his P r i es t & King Who make up a heaven of our misery. The at t i tude i m p l i c i t in these l ines may be compared with the att i tudes of the sweeps in the Songs of Innocence version of "The Chimney Sweeper." Neither Tom Dacre nor the speaker of that poem shows any in te res t in i nd i c t i ng the men responsible for the i r degradation. But the sweep of Experience i s interested so le ly in es tab l ish ing his case against his parentsj and beyond them, the t r i n i t y of "God & his P r i es t & King," which sustains the i r cruel despotism. While he i s s t i l l able (at times) to be "happy, & dance & s i n g , " such experiences have not resulted in anything resembling Tom's dream-vision or the char i ty ch i ld ren 's Pentecostal song. The echo of "The Clod & the Pebble" in the l a s t l i ne again 65 reminds us of the reciprocal re la t ion between the two characters in that poem. The "heaven" of "God & his P r i es t & King" depends upon the sweep's "misery." Like the Clod, the sweep has l os t his "ease. " But so have the chi ldren in the two Songs of Innocence we have examined, yet they have not allowed th is to destroy the i r capacity to experience nmaginative v i s i o n . By choosing to in terpret his experience exc lus ive ly in terms of i n j us t i ce and bondage, the sweep of Experience i s , l i k e the Clod, i m p l i c i t l y admitting the need for an oppressor to give his l i f e meaning. The extent to which the sweep himself i s conscious of th is need remains an open question. But whether he s incere ly bel ieves what he i s saying to his adult l i s t e n e r , or whether he i s s t r i v i n g to create an e f f e c t , i t i s s t i l l the role of the v ic t im, that provides him with the means of coming to terms with the facts of his existence^ 34 Victims appear in several other Songs of Experience, but two are pa r t i cu la r l y important from our point of view because they present s i gn i f i can t var iat ions on the victim-theme as we have so far seen i t in the Songs. "A L i t t l e Boy Lost" (E28) and "To Tirzah" (E30) are also s t r i k i ng ant ic ipat ions of l a t e r developments in Blake's use of the f igure of the v ic t im. The f i r s t poem fore-shadows the Druid sac r i f i ces of the major prophecies; the second (a la te addit ion to the Songs) makes reference to the "Death of Jesus" as a means of l i be ra t ing the speaker from his bondage to T i r zah , preparing us for the Lamb of God who is to become so important to the l a t e r Blake. The t i t l e character of "A L i t t l e Boy Lost" does not choose 35 to define himself as a v ic t im. Unlike the characters who wander through the streets of "London," he i s free of psychological bondage, of the "mind-forg'd manacles" which imprison them. The boy's utterance belongs to Innocence rather than Experience: Nought loves another as i t s e l f Nor venerates another so. Nor i s i t possible to Thought A greater than i t s e l f to know. And fa ther , how can I love you, Or any of my brothers more? I love you l i k e the l i t tc le b i rd That picks up crumbs around the door. The boy apparently intends th is speech to be a confession of his love for a l l God's creatures, but the P r i es t in terprets i t as simple defiance of his power. The P r i e s t ' s response, obscenely excessive as i t i s , reveals the "most holy Mystery" which governs soc ie ty . The boy is not merely executed but s a c r i f i c e d , "burn'd . . . in a holy p lace, / Where many had been burn'd before." His ancestry in Blake's canon may be traced back to the prisoners in the B a s t i l l e in The French Revolution (16-53, E283-5); his descendants, in the major prophecies, are leg ion . The v is ion of "A L i t t l e Boy Lost" is one of unmitigated s p i r i t u a l bleakness, as the ro le of s a c r i f i c i a l v ic t im i s forced upon the one person in the poem who has the imaginative potent ia l to transform i t s world. "To T i rzah" — wr i t ten s i g n i f i c a n t l y l a te r than the other Songs of Experience — presents us with a OC .mirror image of that v i s i on . Or ig ina l l y in bondage to T i r zah , 67 "Mother of my Mortal Par t , " the speaker i s a v ic t im who has been l ibera ted from his ro le not by his own s t rugg le , but by "The Death of Jesus," a phrase whose meaning remains enigmatical ly undeveloped in the context of th is poem. Nor i s anything sa id about the way in which the speaker has come to rea l i ze that the Cruc i f i x ion has set him f ree. But "To T i rzah" i s the only poem in Songs of Experience in which a v ic t im successfu l ly repudiates his r o l e , and, from our perspect ive, i t thereby provides a f i t t i n g conclusion to the work. Plate 16 of The Marriage of Heaven and He!1 const i tutes an appropriate companion-piece to the Songs of Experience in that i t , too, features vict ims who experience a bondage which i s some-thing other than at f i r s t appears: The Giants who formed th is world into i t s sensual existence and now seem to l i v e in i t in chains, are in truth the causes of i t s l i f e & the sources of a l l a c t i v i t y , but the chains a re , the cunning of weak and tame minds, which have the power to r es i s t energy, according to the proverb, the weak in courage i s strong in cunning. Thus one port ion of being, is the P r o l i f i c , the other, the Devouring: to the devourer i t seems as i f the producer was in his chains, but i t i s not so , he only takes portions of existence and fancies that the whole. (E39) These paragraphs leave the reader wondering why the P r o l i f i c does not burst out of i t s i l l u s o r y chains, but in the b r ie f t h i rd paragraph, Blake explains fur ther : "But the P r o l i f i c would cease to be P r o l i f i c unless the Devourer as a sea recieved the excess of his de l igh ts . " The P r o l i f i c depends f o r . i t s iden t i t y upon the existence of the Devouring. Blake goes on to assert that "existence" 68 i t s e l f depends upon the simultaneous presence of P r o l i f i c and Devouring elements: Some w i l l say, Is not God alone the P r o l i f i c ? I answer, God only Acts & Is , in ex is t ing beings or Men. These two classes of men are always upon ear th, & they should be enemies; whoever t r i es [PL 17] to reconci le them seeks to destroy existence. Rel ig ion is an endeavour to reconci le the two. Note. Jesus Chr is t d id not wish to unite but to separate them, as in the Parable of sheep and goats! & he says I came not to send Peace but a Sword. (E39) Blake uses th is notion of P r o l i f i c and Devouring to add a dimension of irony to the l a t e r minor prophecies. In these poems, characters escape the i r roles as v ic t ims , only to discover a truth Oothoon was fortunate never to have to learn: that one ceases to be a y ic t im only to become an exp lo i te r of vict ims oneself. Of course, "Without Contraries i s no progression" (E34), but whatever th is means in the context of The Marr iage, the "progression" we see in America, EUrOpe, The Book of Urizen and The Book of Ahania invar iab ly turns out to be i r o n i c , the fa lse progression of the Ore cyc le . Edward J . Rose makes a s i g n i f i c a n t connection when he comments that "Ore and Urizen are the ' P r o l i f i c ' and the "Devouring, 1 37 each demanding the other 's presence." In the poems we are about to examine, P r o l i f i c and Devouring are not.always represented by Ore and Urizen respect ive ly , but in each can be found the struggle charac te r i s t i c of the Ore cycle as Northrop Frye describes i t : "Urizen must eventual ly gain the mastery over Ore, but such a 38 Urizen cannot be anotherpower but Ore h imsel f , grown o l d . " 69 In America, Ore escapes from his role as v ic t im and over-comes a tyrannical oppressor. The same thematic elements are present as in Vis ions of the Daughters of A lb ion : sexual (Ore's rape of the "shadowy daughter of Urthona"), soc ia l (the l i be ra t ion of the Americans from B r i t i s h tyranny) and perceptual (the apocalypt ic imagery indicates that men's sensory experience of the world i s to be transformed). In each of these cases, Ore's v ic tory en ta i l s the adoption of the role of tyrant. In order to accomplish his work of l i b e r a t i o n , he must subjugate others. By the end of the poem, the f a l l en world in which Ore and the Americans struggle for freedom has not been replaced by the kind of world Oothoon envisages at the end of her poem. There are s t i l l v ict ims and tormentors, although the actors who play the parts of P r o l i f i c and Devouring have changed. The resu l t i s an irony which i s under-s ta ted, but present nonetheless. In the Rreludium, Ore's i n i t i a l s i tua t ion i s s im i l a r to Oothoon's: imprisoned in " tenfo ld chains," his s p i r i t neverthe-less soars "on high" (1:12, E50). I t i s not c lear why Urthona has made Ore his v ic t im in th is way, since Urthona himself does not appear in the poem. In any event, Ore i s ab le, unl ike Oothoon, to break free from his bonds through sheer physical s t rength, driven by his sexual desire for the daughter of Urthona: S i l en t as despair ing love, and strong as jea lousy, The hairy shoulders rend the l i n k s , free are the wr is ts of f i r e ; Round the t e r r i f i c lo ins he s i e z ' d the panting s t ruggl ing womb: I t j o y ' d : she put aside her clouds & smiled her f i r s t -born smi le ; As when a black cloud shews i t s l i gh t 'n ings to the s i l e n t deep (2 :1-5 , E50-1) At f i r s t th is seems to herald the triumph of sexual i ty which Oothoon ca l led for in her l a s t speech. But in f ac t , Ore's act of s e l f - l i b e r a t i o n i s also the act by which the daughter becomes his v ic t im. I n i t i a l l y , of course, the rape appears to l ibera te her, as w e l l : i t gives her the power of speech, which she uses to ha i l Ore as her saviour: I know thee, I have found thee, & I w i l l not l e t thee go; Thou art the image of God who dwells in darkness of A f r i c a ; And thou ar t f a l l ' n to give me l i f e in regions of dark death (2 :7-9, E51) But a f ter a passage in which she i den t i f i es herse l f with regions of the new wor ld, thus Introducing the p o l i t i c a l theme, she i s s t r icken with pa in: 0 what limb rending pains I f e e l , they f i r e & my f ros t Mingle in howling pains, in furrows by thy l ightnings rent ; This is eternal death; and th is the torment long foreto ld (2:15-17, E51) Thus Ore has freed himself from his own bondage only to plunge the daughter of Urthona into torment. The Preludium ends with an episode i l l u s t r a t i n g the d is i l lus ionment of the "stern Bard" who has been narrat ing the poem: "Asham'd of his own song," he breaks his harp in rage (2:18-21, E51). The Preludium is hardly a song of l i b e r t y : as one character sets himself f ree , another 39 i s enslaved. At the beginning of the main part of the poem, which Blake ca l l s "A Prophecy," i t i s the American people who are in bondage, as Washington declares in his opening speech: 71 A bended bow i s l i f t e d in heaven, & a heavy iron chain Descends l ink by l i nk from Albions c l i f f s across the sea to bind Brothers & sons of America, t i l l our faces are pale and ye l low; Heads deprest, voices weak, eyes downcast, hands work-bru is 'd , Feet bleeding on the su l t r y sands . . . (3 :7-11, E51) On the next plate Ore riises out of the A t l an t i c to help the 40 colonis ts rend the i r chain. In so doing, he must oppose "Albions wrathful P r ince , " a "dragon form" also known as "Albions Angel , " the tyrant responsible for the oppression of the Americans. This confrontation begins on Plate 7, with A lb ion 's Angel 's accusation that Ore i s "serpent-form'd" (7:3) . At f i r s t th is accusation seems misguided, since to th is point.Ore has been i den t i f i ed only as "a Human f i r e f i e rce glowing" (4 :8 ) , a person-i f i c a t i o n of the Americans' rebel l ious energy. Yet Ore, in his rep ly , c lea r l y acknowledges his serpentine nature: "The te r ror answerd: I am Ore, wreath'd round the accursed tree" ( 8 : 1 ) . ^ In terms of theme, the two characters are of course d iametr ica l ly opposed. Ore's credo ("every thing that l i ves i s holy , l i f e del ights in l i f e ; / Because the soul of sweet del ight can never be d e f i l ' d " - - 8:13-14) contrasts with the negative stance of A lb ion 's Angel , who laments that his "punishing demons" are unable to destroy the Americans (9:3-8). But the fact that the serpent imagery i s common to both Ore and A lb ion 's Angel suggests that an 42 i r on i c s i m i l a r i t y underl ies the thematic opposi t ion. When A lb ion 's Angel , with h is m i l l i ons of t roops, causes the plagues to be sent to destroy the Americans, Ore, whose "red 72 flames" are i den t i f i ed with the f igh t ing s p i r i t of the co lon i s t s , causes the plagues to reco i l upon the i r source. This action prec ise ly pa ra l l e l s Ore's rape of the daughter of Urthona in the Preludium (except for the fact that she was not responsible for Ore's binding). Ore, in f reeing the Americans from.their bondage, creates a new class of v ic t ims, composed of the Americans' former oppressors. He thereby becomes an oppressor h imsel f , and the i n s t i t u t i o n of victimhood i s perpetuated: then the Pest i lence began in streaks of red Across the limbs of Albions Guardian, the spotted plague smote B r i s to l s And the Leprosy Londons S p i r i t , s ickening a l l t he i r bands . . . (15:1-3, E55) David Erdman has argued convincingly that Blake presents the revolut ion as a harvest s a c r i f i c e . The plagues are the "diseases of the earth" (13:15), aimed at the co lon is ts ' crops. For Erdman, the key to the poem.is that "every declarat ion of the r ights of man i s a declarat ion by hungry people that they sha l l have bread even i f they must become war l i ke " ; thus "the revolut ionary war . . . i s a harvest s a c r i f i c e made by people with opened eyes and an enlightened soc ia l program for cu l t i va t ing 43 the earth as a garden paradise." This account emphasizes the revolut ion 's pos i t i ve aspect (as, indeed, the poem i t s e l f does). But s a c r i f i c e s , however "enl ightened" those who conduct them may be, require v ic t ims. I t i s true that Ore, in se lec t ing his v ic t ims , acts with a certain j us t i ce rot charac te r i s t i c of A lb ion 's Angel. The reco i l i ng 73 plagues are, as one c r i t i c has noted, "plagues only to the orthodox""*" - - the various "Guardians" and " S p i r i t s " of B r i t a i n ' s p o l i t i c a l , commercial and re l ig ious establishment (London, B r i s t o l , and "ancient mi te r 'd York" respec t i ve ly ) , and the "Bard of Albion" (who represents the corruption o f ar t in the serv ice of empire). The mi l l i ons of soldi 'ers in the army of A lb ion 's Angel su f fe r , too — but only un t i l they divest themselves of t he i r armour: "The mi l l ions sent up a howl of anguish and threw o f f t he i r hammerd m a i l , / And cast the i r swords & spears to ear th , & stood a naked multitude" (15:4-5, E55). There i s also a benef ic ia l s ide-e f fec t of Ore's counter-attack: "the female s p i r i t s of the dead pining in bonds of r e l i g i on " (15:23) are set free by Ore's f i r es and respond j o y f u l l y to t he i r sexual rejuvenat ion, no longer oppressed by "the Pr ies ts in rus t l i ng sca les" (15:19), the agents of moral tyranny who function at the grassroots l e v e l . In thematic terms, i t i s easy enough to evaluate the reversal of the plagues and i t s aftermath. I t s i gn i f i e s the triumph of the forces of p o l i t i c a l and sexual l i be r t y . Obviously the fate of A lb ion 's Angel and his immediate fol lowers i s a matter of r e l a t i ve l y minor concern for the reader. I f there must be su f fe r ing , they are doubtlessly the characters who should experience i t . But in a world in which l i be r t y has triumphed, why should there be any suf fer ing at a l l ? Why should the f igure of the vict im/reappear in any guise? The poem does not answer these quest ions, but i t s c los ing l ines 74 indicate that Blake is aware of the tension between Ore's a c t i v i t i e s as l i be ra to r and as oppressor, and chooses not to resolve i t . Ore struggles to extend l i be r ty to the realm of perception i t s e l f by attacking the " l aw-bu i l t heaven" occupied by the "Heav'nly thrones" of "France Spain & I ta ly" (16:16). These " thrones," the colleagues of A lb ion 's Ang£:l and his underl ings, are representative of that mental i ty which i s in bondage to the tyranny of the f ive senses. I t i s they who have been unable to share Ore's imaginative perception that "every thing that l i ves is holy . " Like Oothoon, Ore cannot communicate his v i s ion to those in need of i t ; unl ike Oothoon, he has the power to harm his enemies, and h'e does not hesi tate to use i t . The imperial powers, now Ore's v i c t ims , make an inef fectua l attempt to defend themselves: They slow advance to shut the f ive gates of the i r law-bu i l t heaven F i l l e d with b las t ing fancies and with jrri 1 dews of despair With f ie rce disease and l u s t , unable to stem the f i res of Ore; But the f i ve gates were consum'd, & the i r bolts and hinges melted And the f ie rce flames burnt round the heavens, & round the abodes of men (16:19-23, E56) In terms of the imagery, Ore has become the Devourer, his enemies the P r o l i f i c (though they have b u i l t the i r heaven, paradox ica l ly , with laws). The c r i t i c s who ha i l th is passage as a proclamation of Ore's ultimate triumph miss this po in t ; they also f a i l to not ice that Ore's f i r es have not completed t he i r task by the 45 end of the poem. Here a comparison with Ore's v is ionary speech of Plate 6 may be. usefu l . There he ar t icu la tes his revolut ionary goal by means of imagery in which l i be ra t i on of the oppressed i s not v i t i a t e d by the enslavement of t he i r former oppressors, 75 a world in which i t i s possible to s ing : The Sun has l e f t his blackness, & has found a fresher morning And the f a i r Moon rejo ices in the c lear & cloudless n ight ; For Empire i s no more, and now the Lion & Wolf sha l l cease. (6:13-15, E52) There is an obvious i r on i c gap between Plate 6 and the passage which ends the poem, and the gap ex is ts because Ore has f a i l e d to transcend the ty rant 's ro le which the fac t of his own l i be ra t ion has imposed upon him. Europe, as some c r i t i c s have noted, i s c losely re lated to 46 America, but i s expressive of a bleaker v i s i o n . In America, Ore's attempt to free the Americans from p o l i t i c a l tyranny was success fu l , even i f the success was undercut by the fact that i t occurred at the expense of others. In Europe, however, i t i s not c lear that anyone is t ru l y l ibera ted from anything. I t appears that , at the end of the poem, Ore is about to overthrow Enitharmon. However, th is exchange of power, should i t take p lace, would not br ing with i t even the l imi ted moral triumph implied by Ore's v ic tory over A lb ion 's Angel in Amen ca. A comparison of the two Preludiums w i l l ind icate the di f ference in emphasis. In Ameri ca , Ore l iberates himself from bondage at the expense of the "shadowy daughter of Urthona." The Preludium to Europe features the same female f i gu re , now i den t i f i ed as the "nameless shadowy female" (1 :1 , E59 ) . ^ 7 Like Ore, she sees herse l f i n i t i a l l y as a v ic t im. Unable to free herse l f , she ca l l s for a sayiour to de l iver her. The rest of the poem, "A Prophecy," 76 provides an i r on i c answer to her request. The burden of her lament i s that her l i f e has been rendered meaningless by the fac t that she is i den t i f i ed with the P r o l i f i c , whose works are constantly being destroyed by the Devouring: My roots are brandish'd in the heavens, my f r u i t s in earth beneath Surge, foam, and labour in to l i f e , f i r s t born & f i r s t consum'd! Consumed and consuming.' Then why shouldst thou accursed mother br ing me into l i f e ? (1:8-11, E59) The "nameless shadowy female" is aware of the irony of her s i t ua t i on . Her f r u i t s are not only "consumed" but also "consuming," them-selves i den t i f i ed with the forces of the Devouring. Even acts of creat ion are int imately associated with destruct ion. She seizes the "burning power" of the stars and from i t creates "howling te r ro rs , a l l devouring f i e r y kings" (2 :3-4 , E59). But she has retained a v is ion of a higher s ta te , since she has experienced "v is ionary joy" as wel l as "shady woe" (2:12), and in the l a s t l ines of the Preludium she ca l l s for someone to impose a human order upon the f lux of experience: And who sha l l bind the i n f i n i t e with an eternal band? To compass i t with swaddling bands? and who sha l l cherish i t With milk and honey? (2:13-ili5, E60) The rest of the poem, "A Prophecy," const i tutes a kind of i r on i c 48 commentary on her questions. "A Prophecy" i s divided into three main sect ions. The f i r s t (3:1-9:5) is concerned with the b i r th of Chr is t and Enitharmon's subsequent corruption of the Chr is t ian mental i ty. (Enitharmon 77 i s the "accursed mother" of the Preludium.) The second sect ion (9:16-13:8) describes the American Revolution and i t s aftermath from a d i f ferent perspective than the one taken in Ameri ca . The th i rd (13:9-15:11) centres on Enitharmon's response to the events described in the second. In each sec t i on , Ore and Enitharmon appear in a s i tua t ion of con f l i c t with each other. Although th is con f l i c t never expresses i t s e l f in terms of one character 's d i rec t aggression against the other, i t does become more intense as the poem progresses. But from the point of view of the shadowy female, i t hardly matters who the ult imate v i c to r ( i f any) w i l l be, fo r neither Ore nor Enitharmon can help bring her "v is ionary joy" to f r u i t i o n . The potent ia l for real l i be ra t ion in Europe i s represented by Jesus, the "secret ch i l d " of the opening l inesoof the Prophecy, a passage patterned af ter the opening of M i l ton 's Nat iv i ty Ode. But Jesus disappears from the action immediately, and nothing 49 i s heard of him again. The reason for th is is that Enitharmon perverts the message of C h r i s t i a n i t y , herrgoal being "That Woman, lovely Woman! may have dominion" (6:3) . Instead of Jesus, i t i s Ore who arr ives on the scene to s tay, r i s i n g up at the ca l l of 50 e i ther Los or Enitharmon: Ar ise 0 Ore from thy deep den, F i r s t born of Enitharmon r i s e ! And we w i l l crown thy head with garlands of the ruddy v ine ; For now thou ar t bound; And I may see thee in the hour of b l i s s , my e ldest born. The horrent Demon rose, surrounded with red stars of f i r e , Whir l ing about in furious c i r c les round the immortal f iend. (4:10-16, E60-1) 78 Ore is bound, as he was in the Preludium of America. Though he takes no d i rect part in the action of the f i r s t part of the Prophecy, he is establ ished as the representative of the thematic opposite to Enitharmon. The "garlands of the ruddy vine" ident i fy him as a god o f drunkenness and excess, in obvious contrast to 51 Enitharmon's puritanism. But, as in the case of Ore's re la t ion to Alb ion 's Angel in America, there i s an i r on i c l i nk between them. Enitharmon apparently needs to make use of his energy, for i t i s only a f ter he has r isen that she descends "down . . . into his red l i gh t " (4 :17) , and begins to give orders to i ns t i t u te her repressive mental regime. Her reign is undisputed for "the eighteen hundred years of the Chr is t ian era. At the end of the f i r s t sect ion of the Prophecy, Ore remains bounds, and human history i s "a female dream" (9:5) fashioned by the sleeping Enitharmon. The second section begins in medias res with a scene borrowed from America, Ore's v ic tory over A lb ion 's Angel when the plagues "recoi l ' . 1 " In Europe, however, we hear nothing of the l i be ra t i on of the American co lon i s t s , or of the regeneration of the B r i t i s h "female s p i r i t s of the dead." Instead, the emphasis i s on Ore's destruct ive power, as he burns his v i c t im , A lb ion 's Angel, in a r i t ua l f i r e : They saw his boney feet on the rock, the f lesh consum'd in flames: They saw the Serpent temple l i f t e d above, shadowning the Island white: They heard the voice of Albions Angel howling in flames of Ore, Seeking the trump of the l a s t doom (12:10-13, E63) 79 Presumably the s a c r i f i c e does set free the "youth of England" who have been "h id in gloom" emanating from Alb ion 's Angel (12:5). But Blake does not celebrate Ore's role as l i be ra to r here. The common people provide the focus for the con f l i c t between Ore and Enitharmon, but there i s no passage in which images of freedom dominate. Instead, Blake chooses to emphasize the "howl" of Ore's defeated enemies (12:14, 2 1 ) . 5 2 Enitharmon's response to the s i tua t ion i s puzz l ing : Enitharmon laugh 1d in her sleep to see (0 womans triumph) Every house a den, every man bound; the shadows are f i l l d With spectres, and the windows wove over with curses of i r on : Over the doors Thou sha l t not ; & over the chimneys Fear i s wr i t ten : With bands of i ron round the i r necks fas ten 'd in to the wal ls The c i t i z e n s : in leaden gyves the inhabitants of suburbs Walk heavy: so f t and bent are the bones of the v i l l age rs (12:25-31, E63) Apparently these people are the same ones being set free by Ore's execution of A lb ion 's Angel. Michael Tol ley has made one p laus ib le suggestion for the reason for Enitharmon's odd 53 response: delusion. Whatever the explanat ion, the passage serves to develop the i r o n i c pa ra l l e l between Ore and Enitharmon already introduced in the. f i r s t sec t ion. Although the i r at t i tudes to the people are in opposit ion to each other, Ore's work of l i be ra t ion i s accomplished through the s a c r i f i c e of A lb ion 's Angel, while Enitharmon's ro le as oppressor i s c lear ly indicated by the quoted passage. In the th i rd sect ion of the Prophecy, Enitharmon awakes to discover that Ore poses a real threat to her sovereignty. The context of human suf fer ing i s v i r t u a l l y forgot ten, as the 80 action sh i f t s back to Enitharmon's "c rys ta l house" (13:14). She orders her chi ldren about in "the sports of night" (13:13) as she did at the beginning of the Prophecy; but when the night is over Enitharmon weeps as Ore returns to earth and begins to es tab l ish his kingdom by v io lence: But t e r r i b l e Ore, when he beheld the morning in the east , Shot from the heights of Enitharmon; And in the vineyards of red France appear'd the l i gh t of his fury. (14:37-15:2, E65) At l as t Enitharmon sees c lear ly how powerful Ore i s ; she can no longer ignore the fact of his act ive presence in human h is tory . Her response indicates that she sees his action as a d i rec t threat to her: "Enitharmon groans & cr ies in anguish and dismay" (15:8). Apparently she fears Ore is about to usurp her power, although th is does not happen in the poem i t s e l f . The fac t that the c o n f l i c t is l e f t unresolved has led one c r i t i c to complain that Blake has here produced "the most inconclusive of his con-54 e lus ions. " But in a sense th is judgment i s unfai r because Europe's l as t words ("the s t r i f e of blood") provide an adequate ind icat ion of the goal to which the action has led . Whether Ore defeats Enitharmon or not, the two characters can be re lated to each other only as v ic t im and tormentor. The nameless shadowy female's desire for "v is ionary joy" is to remain unsatiated. As in America and Europe, Blake in The Book of Unzen uses the v ic t im- f igure to estab l ish an i r on i c l ink between two characters representing thematic opposites. In th is poem the two characters are Ur izen, who i s responsible for the F a l l , and Los, who seeks 81 to reverse i t s e f fec ts . Urizen creates the fa l l en world by destroying the o r ig ina l unity of the E te rna ls , but the theme of victimhood does not appear un t i l a f ter the b i r th of Ore, the son of Los and Enitharmon, more than halfway through the poem. The b i r th so shocks the unfal len Eternals that they close the tent with which they have enveloped the "Void" (19:6, E77) of the fa l l en world. This act ion deprives Los of his a b i l i t y to perceive E te rn i t y : 10. The Eterna ls , closed the tent They beat down the stakes the cords St re tch 'd for a work of e te rn i t y ; No more Los beheld Etern i ty . 11. In his hands he s i e z ' d the in fant He bathed him in springs of sorrow He gave him to Enitharmon. (19:43-20:5, E78-9) Los responds to th is s i tua t ion by experiencing an emotion Blake i den t i f i es as "Jealousy," and this leads d i rec t l y to his s a c r i f i c e of Ore: 4. They took Ore to the top of a mountain. 0 how Enitharmon wept! They chain* d (his young limbs to the rock With the Chain of Jealousy Beneath Urizens deathful shadow (20:21-5, E79) Los's motive is never explained. Some c r i t i c s have suggested that his jealousy is insp i red by Ore's re la t ionsh ip with Enitharmon, but there i s no ind icat ion in the text that the mother's love for her ch i l d i s pa r t i cu la r l y intense. A l l we learn about i t i s that Ore i s "Fed with milk of Enitharmon" (20:7); no reference is made to emotional attachment. On the other hand, there i s no 82 e x p l i c i t statement that the s a c r i f i c e is Los 's revenge for having been cut o f f from E te rn i t y , though c r i t i c s have suggested that t h i s , 55 too, i s a p o s s i b i l i t y . Nor does i t help much to re late Ore's s a c r i f i c e to a pa r t i cu la r source or model, because there are too many p o s s i b i l i t i e s . (Ore has beenpplausibly i den t i f i ed with Isaac, 56 Oedipus, Prometheus, Chr i s t , Adonis and Orpheus.) I t may be that Blake del iberate ly leaves Los's motive vague in order to indicate that the psychology of v ic t im iza t ion inev i tab ly holds sway in the fa l l en world. I f even Los, who has e a r l i e r been i den t i f i ed as the "Eternal Prophet" (10:7, 10:15, 14:34, 57 15:1) i s not immune to i t , th is psychology must be a l l -pervad ing. But Los has accomplished nothing by his ac t ion , which, fa r from providing him with a sa t i s f y ing sense of his i den t i t y , has served only to demonstrate that he i s a representative f a l l en being. Ore's cr ies awaken Ur izen, who, "craving with hunger" (20:30), 58 begins to explore his "dens." This ac t i v i t y leads him to a perception of his s i tua t ion which pa ra l l e l s that of Los at Ore's b i r t h . At that po in t , Los is no longer able to behold Etern i ty . 59 While Urizen has no in teres t in Etern i ty as such, he does wish to impose order upon the fa l l en world. His chi ldren prevent him from doing t h i s , just as Ore ( i nd i rec t l y ) i s responsible for cutt ing Los o f f from Etern i ty : 4. He in darkness c l o s ' d , view'd a l l his race And his soul s i cken 'd ! he curs 'd Both sons & daughters; fo r he saw That no f lesh nor s p i r i t could keep His i ron laws one moment. 83 5. For he saw that l i f e l i v ' d upon death (23:22-7, E80) Los experiences "Jea lousy" ; fo r Ur izen, the emotion aroused is "P i t y " (25:4) , which seems more pos i t i ve . But, as several 60 c r i t i c s have pointed out, Ur izen 's P i ty i s hypoc r i t i ca l . His ins ight that l i f e l i ves upon death appl ies to himself as wel l as to his ch i l d ren , for we soon learn that his l i f e depends upon the i r deaths. Urizen has been i den t i f i ed as "the primeval P r i es t " in the poem's f i r s t l i ne (2 :1 , E69); now he fabr icates "The Net of Rel ig ion" (25:22), the instrument by which his vict ims are to be s a c r i f i c e d , pa ra le l l i ng Los's Chain of Jealousy. The form of torment Urizen chooses i s the slow death through physical and mental destruct ion which characterizes " l i f e " in the fa l l en world. Disease, a reduction in the capacity of the senses, even a shrinkage in physical s ize prepare Ur izen 's vict ims to accept the fact of the i r own deaths. Their weakness causes them to worship Urizen as God, thus ensuring that his own " l i f e " w i l l continue: No more could they r i se at w i l l In the i n f i n i t e vo id , but bound down To earth by the i r narrowing perceptions They l i v e d a period of years Then l e f t a noisom body To the jaws of devouring darkness 5. And the i r chi ldren wept, & b u i l t Tombs in the desolate p laces, And form'd laws of prudence, and c a l l ' d them The eternal laws of God (27:45-28:7, E82) An irony here i s that Urizen is imi ta t ing Los, the prophet -ar t i s t , 84 whose proper role i s to help restore the world to i t s unfal len s ta te . The most s i gn i f i can t of Los 's invent ions, i t appears, has been the i ns t i t u t i on of victimhood i t s e l f . In The Book of Ur izen, the victim-theme again performs the function of es tab l ish ing an i r on i c l inkage between two characters whose thematic s ign i f icances are opposed. This t ime, however, the irony i s c loser to the centre of the poem's meaning than in e i ther America or Europe. The pa ra l l e l s between Los and Urizen are more overt than the ones between Ore and Alb ion 's Angel and between Ore and Enitharmon in the e a r l i e r poems. The Book of Urizen ends with the revo l t of Fuzon, which is fur ther described in The Book of Ahania. Again the s i tua t ion involves two characters — in th is case Fuzon and Urizen — who represent opposing thematic values. Fuzon, l i ke Ore in Ameri ca and Europe, is associated with f i r e and passion; he characterizes Urizen as a "Demon of Smoke," an "abstract non-enti ty" (2:10-11, E83). But unl ike Los and Urizen in the preceding poem, they confront each other d i rec t l y . Each one sees his own role as that of the oppressor, and the other 's as that of the v ic t im. Each, in turn, emancipates himself from his s i tua t ion as v ic t im at the 61 expense of the other. At the beginning of the poem, Fuzon has broken free from the Net of Re l ig ion , and he attacks Urizen d i rec t l y . He hurls a globe of flame which becomes a "hungry beam" d iv id ing "the cold lo ins of Urizen" (2:29). Fuzon bel ieves erroneously that Urizen i s 85 now dead. In th is s i tua t ion we might expect Oothoon or the Ore of America to attempt in some way to restore the world to i t s unfal len s ta te . But Fuzon has no v is ion to pa ra l l e l those of Oothoon's l as t speech or of Ore's speech on Plate 6 of Ameri ca. His response i s simply to usurp Ur izen 's former role and declare himself the "primeval P r ies t " of The Book of UriZen; 8. While Fuzon his tygers unloosing Though Urizen s l a i n by his wrath. I am God. sa id he, e ldest of th ings! (3:36-8, E85) Fuzon has accepted Ur izen 's maxim: l i f e l i ves upon death. His s lay ing (as he thinks) of Urizen has, he be l ieves , elevated him to Godhead. I t i s p rec ise ly at th is point that Urizen begins to r e t a l i a t e . He launches a poisoned rock with a bow made from an "enormous dread Serpent" (3:13), which s t r i kes Fuzon and k i l l s him. Ur izen, having thus released himself from victimhood, reassumes his e a r l i e r ro le : 6. The corse of his f i r s t begotten On the accursed Tree of MYSTERY: On the topmost stem of th is Tree Urizen n a i l ' d Fuzon's corse. (4 :5-8, E86-) Fuzon is not simply dead, however, but a "pale l i v i n g Corse" whose suf fer ing on the Tree associates him pr imar i ly with Chr is t ~ in an i r on i c sense, since Fuzon's suf fer ing i s not redemptive ~ fi? but also with a number of other h i s t o r i ca l and l i t e r a r y f igures. As in the case of Ore in The Book of Ur izen , i t may be that Blake 86 associates Fuzon with the widest possible range of vict ims in order to make a general statement about the s ign i f i cance of the v ic t im- f igure . The best commentary here i s perhaps Ahania 1s lament "round the Tree of Fuzon" (4:48) , which takes up the second ha l f of the 63 poem. Her speech has been compared to Oothoon's, although her v is ion of paradise i s set in the actual past rather than the hypothetical future. She reca l l s the time before the F a l l , when her re la t ionship with Urizen was the i d y l l i c one that Oothoon longed to share with Theotormon, and her potent ia l fo r c rea t i v i t y was f u l f i l l e d : 10. When I found babes of b l i s s on my beds, And bosoms of milk in my chambers F i l l ' d w i t h eternal seed 0!-eternal b i r ths sung round Ahania, In interchange sweet of t he i r joys . (5:19-23, E'88) Ahania i s also l i k e Oothoon in that her speech accomplishes nothing. She too i s a v i c t im , one for whose p l igh t Fuzon and Urizen are j o i n t l y responsib le, since Urizen rejects Ahania at the moment Fuzon's beam enters his lo ins (2:30-7). In the passage which concludes her speech, she uses language which echoes Earth 's in "Ear th 's Answer" as she addresses Ur izen: Cruel jealousy! s e l f i s h fear! Se l f -des t roy ing : how can de l igh t , Renew in these chains of darkness Where bones of beasts are strown On the bleak and snowy mountains Where bones from the b i r th are buried Before they see the l i g h t . (5:41-7, E89) 87 This las t image inev i tab ly reminds the twentieth-century reader of Samuel Beckett: "They give b i r th astr ide of a grave, the 64 l i gh t gleams an ins tan t , then i t ' s night once more." But Ahania's v is ion of desolation i s more radical than Pozzo's in Waiting for Godot: in her account, even the instant of l i gh t i s denied. With The Book of Ahania, Blake's i r o n i c v is ion of victimhood has been presented in i t s most extreme form. For Ahania, the tragedy is not that the wrong character has won the struggle ( for example, Urizen as representative of "reason" instead of Fuzon as representative of "energy"). Rather i t i s that the struggle has taken place at a l l . Ur izen 's ult imate v ic tory over Fuzon has done nothing to restore her o r ig ina l joy. Her lament for her broken re la t ionship with Urizen i s by impl icat ion a polemic against the i ns t i t u t i on of victimhood i t s e l f . In that sense, i t also const i tutes an appropriate choric response to v i r t u a l l y a l l of the poems examined in th is chapter. NOTES Harold Bloom has ant ic ipated th is point , c a l l i n g the poem "an esoter ic parable of the f a l l of nature." See Blake 's Apocalypse: A Study in Poet ic Argument (1963; rpt . Garden C i t y , N. Y . : Doubleday Anchor, 1965), p. 9. 2 Selected Poems of Wil l iam Blake, ed. F. W. Bateson (London: Heinemann, 1957), p. 99n. 3 In "A Cradle Song" (E l l ) and."On Anothers Sorrow" (E l7 ) , mention i s made of Chr i s t ' s suf fer ing ("Thy maker lay and wept for me / Wept for me for thee for a l l " ; "He becomes a man of woe / He doth feel the sorrow too") . However, there i s no d i rec t reference to the Cruc i f i x i on . In "The Lamb" (E8), Ch r i s t ' s iden t i t y as Lamb of God i s not e x p l i c i t l y al luded to. ^ In "The L i t t l e Black Boy" (E9), the speaker declares his readiness to perform an act of Ch r i s t l i ke s e l f - s a c r i f i c e ("111 shade1him from the heat t i l l he can bear, / To lean in joy upon our fathers knee"). But the occasion to perform th is act does not ar ise in the poem i t s e l f . 5 For the " r e a l i s t " approach, see Joseph H. Wicksteed, Blake 's Innocence and Experience: A Study of the Songs and Nanuscripts (London and Toronto: J . M. Dent & Sons; New York: E. P. Dutton, 1928), pp. 109-10 and D. G. Gi11 ham, Blake's Contrary States: The 'Songs of Innocence and of Experience' as Dramatic Poems (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1966), pp. 38-44. Both c r i t i c s express ideologica l a l legiance to the rea l i t y p r i nc i p l e . Af ter discussing the dream, Wicksteed continues, "but now as always we return to earth where the test of v is ion l i e s " ; duty l i e s not in "the dreaming of dreams" but i s rather "so to comfort one another with vis ionary thought that our dreams sha l l undo the harship of r i s i n g in the dark and cold" (pp. 109-10). For Gi l lham, too, the question of whether Tom's dream is " t rue" is a side, i ssue: the important point i s that Tom is aware of the p o s s i b i l i t y of "a world which sympathy may give order to" and the experience may 88 89 af fect his future conduct. Like Wicksteed, Gillham interprets "duty" in terms of comfort, in th is case the speaker's attempt to console Tom: "One's duty l i e s in doing what must be done, and i t happens that th is i s , fo r him Ithe speaker], an exercise of fe l low- fee l ing" (p. 42). Thus both Wicksteed and Gillham embrace the values and outlook of the speaker. For the approach which emphasizes the v a l i d i t y of imaginative percept ion, see Donald Dike, "The D i f f i c u l t Innocence: Blake's Songs and Pas to ra l , " ELH, 28 (1961), 371; Bloom, p. 37; Wallace Jackson, "Wi l l iam Blake in 1789: Unorganized Innocence," Modern Language Quarter ly , 33 (1972), 399. Dike, a f ter admitting that "Tom's v i s ion is an answer to wishes," asserts that "wishing is one necessary means to the apprehension of r e a l i t y " ; Bloom argues that the dream is flawed because i t does not get f a r enough away from the fa l l en wor ld: the Angel 's promise i s not only "the loving fatherhood of God," but also "the d i rec t project ion . . . of the Church's d i sc ip l i na ry promise to i t s explo i ted charges"; Jackson writes en thus ias t i ca l l y of "the v is ion of innocence that l i ves wi thin the c h i l d , which sustains i t s e l f i f only one i s f a i t h fu l to i t s terms." These c r i t i c s a l l regard the l as t l i ne as i r o n i c , proof that the speaker i s deluded. For .D ike, "The irony of the conclusion i s almost b ru ta l . D iscreet ly i r re levan t to the most s i gn i f i can t content of the dream, the moral drawn from i t cautions that obedience i s the safest pol icy! ' (372). Bloom argues that the ent i re l as t stanza i s i r o n i c , Blake's protest "against the confining and now se l f -dece iv ing t rust of Innocence" (p. 37). Jackson believes that the moral i s " h y p o c r i t i c a l , " spoken with "the ra t i ona l i z i ng voice of experience," and that "Tom's v is ion has nothing to do with duty" (399). These c r i t i c s i m p l i c i t l y opt for Tom for the r o l e of Blake's spokesman. For examples of the th i rd approach, which involves the invention of some unusual meaning fo r "duty," see Robert F. Gleckner, The Piper & The Bard: A Study of Wi11iam Blake (Detro i t : Wayne State Univ. Press , 1959), p. 110; Hazard Univ. of Washington Press, 1963) , p. 262; E. D. H i rsch, J r . , Innocence and Experience: An Introduction to Blake (New Haven and London: Yale Univ. Press , 1964) , pp. 26, 186; and Anne Kostelanetz Mel l o r , Blake's Human Form Divine (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: . U n i v . of Ca l i f o rn ia Press, 1974), p. 13. Gleckner argues that "there i s no duty on earth except to a t ta in the power of v i s i o n " ; Adams asserts that the duty i s to wage "mental war," as Los does against Urizen in the myth Blake la te r developed; Hirsch considers the l as t l i ne to be "the one flaw in the poem," but suggests nonetheless that "duty" should be interpreted as broadly as poss ib le : " I t is the Duty of Mercy, P i t y , and Love"; Me l lo r , rather more fulsomely, says that "duty" means "one's loya l ty or commitment to one's capacity for d i v i n i t y ; one's obedience to that inner desire or command which urges us to f u l f i l , in our ind iv idua l actions and characters, God's holy w i l l and love . " A l l four of these accounts are unsat is factory , and for the same reason. I t is possible that the speaker i s re fer r ing to Tom's "duty" to get up and go to work, though his e a r l i e r conduct towards Tom indicates that he has a higher concept of his own duty to others. But the poem contains no in ternal 90 evidence that he means by "duty" anything so extraordinary as these c r i t i c s suggest. 6 H i rsch , p. 184. 7 Gi l lham, p. 40; Jackson, 398. o Wicksteed, H i rsch , Dike and Gillham a l l f ind the l a s t l i ne to be an appropriate non- i ronic conclusion. Wicksteed says of the speaker: "His v is ion has to ld him that the chi ldren whom our g i f t s of p i ty go to help are seen by the v is ionary as angels round the throne of God" (p. 103)..Dike concludes that the l as t l i n e provides evidence that the v i s ion i s "over but not forgotten . . . l i t ] invokes compassion by i t s demonstration that the chi ldren are not only wretched but also humanly exce l len t : however degraded, s t i l l angel ic presences who cannot be rebuffed with impunity" (374), See also H i rsch , p. 196 and Gi l lham, p. 196. S. F. Bo l t , Bloom, Adams and Jackson take the opposing view. Bol t sp.eaks of the l as t l i ne with " i t s impl icat ion that the exercise of p i t y i s a prudent precaution against the wrath of a God o f thunder." See "Wi l l iam Blake (1) The 'Songs of. Innocence,'" P o l i t i c s and Le t te rs , 1 (1947), rpt . as "The 'Songs of Innocence'" in Wi l l iam Blake: Songs of Innocence and Experience, ed. Margaret Bo t t ra l l (London: MacMi l lan, 1970), p. 122. (The quotation appears in an "Author 's Postscr ip t " not included in the a r t i c l e as o r i g i n a l l y publ ished.) Jackson argues that the l i ne reveals the inadequacy of the speaker, who "preaches the moral of his own corrupted v is ion in which ' p i t y ' i s the rigorous and stony-eyed, truth of an abstract moral i ty" (399). See also Bloom, p. 39 and Adams, p. 259. g H i rsch , p. 196. The b i b l i c a l references are to Acts 2.1-2 and Revelation 4 .4-5. ^ See, espec ia l l y , Robert F. Gleckner, "Irony in Blake's 'Holy Thursday," 1 Modern Language Notes, 71 (1956), 412-15. 1 1 Gleckner, "Irony in Blake's 'Holy Thursday, '" 412-13. 12 Fearful Symmetry: A Study of Wi l l iam Blake (1947; rpt. Princeton Univ. Press , 1969T, p. 2377 13 Also relevant here i s the long speech of the Abbe de Si eyes i n The French Revdluti on (206-40, E292-3). De Si eyes i s not him-s e l f a v i c t im , but he envisages a time when the oppressed people of France (the peasants and so ld ie rs ) w i l l rebel against nobles and c lergy , whose subsequent repentance w i l l make possible the advent of a golden age in which the regenerate P r i e s t ' s prayer 91 w i l l be answered: 1 , 1 . . . and the happy earth sing in i t s course, / ' "The mild peaceable nations be opened to heav'n, and men walk with the i r fathers in b l i s s " 1 (236-7, E293). But de Sieyes' v is ion i s l i k e Oothoon's in that i t remains at the level of unrealized prophecy (at l e a s t , in that part of the poem which i s extant) . 14 This point about the unexplained wrath has been made by Bloom, p. 24. 15 G. E. Bentley, S r . , in the introduct ion to his ed i t ion of the poem - - Wi H i am Blake, T i r i e l : Facsimile and Transcr ipt of the Manuscript, Reprodiiction of the Drawings, and a Commentary on the Poem (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967) - - prefaces his quotation of the passage by saying " T i r i e l has t r ied to form man-kind in the image he conceives, but he f inds that he must curb and destroy part of the ch i l d to make th is possib le" (p. 17). 1 g Bentley, fo r example, suggests that "In the process of curbi.ng the 'youthful fanc ies ' T i r i e l himself degenerates" (p. 17). Bentley supplies a period a f ter the words "Such was T i r i e l , " though none appears in the manuscript and the fol lowing l ines do not make grammatical sense unless "Such was T i r i e l " i s the p r inc ipa l clause of a new sentence. The word "Such" should therefore be taken to refer to the status of the ch i l d in the f i r s t part of the speech, not of the father. For a view pa ra l l e l to Ben t ley ' s , see Nancy Bogen, "A New Look at Blake's T i r i e l , " Bu l l e t i n of the New York Pub l ic L ibrary , 74 (1970), 16T. She ca l l s T i r i e l ' s l as t speech "essen t i a l l y a denunciation of Har but actual ly of h imsel f . " She does not recognize that he sees himself as a v ic t im: "He alone is to blame for his outcast state and his kingdom's dec l ine , he r e a l i z e s . " Anne Mel lor argues that while T i r i e l does not, in fac t , rea l i ze t h i s , i t i s something he should r e a l i z e : "Although T i r i e l at t r ibutes his downfall to Har . . . we know that he has only himself to blame" (p. 29). Wi l l iam Hal loran, however, asserts that T i r i e l does present himself • as a v i c t im , "a serpent forced by the laws of Har to crawl on the ground." See "B lake 's T i r i e l : Snakes, Curses and a B less ing , " South A t l an t i c Quarter ly, 70 (1971), 176. 17 ii See S. Foster Damon, Wil l iam Blake: 'H is 'Phi losophy 'and Symbols (1924; rpt. Gloucester, Mass. : Peter Smith, 1958), p. 75; Stanley Gardner, i n f i n i t y on the Anvi 1: A C r i t i c a l Study of Blake's Poetry (Oxford: Basi l B lackwel l , 1954), p. 40; Gleckner, The Piper & The Bard, p. 166; Bloom, p. 58; Michael J . To l l ey , "The Book of Thel and Night Thoughts," Bu l l e t i n of the New York Publ ic L ib rary , 69 (1965), 380; Morton D. Paley, Energy an(Tthe Imagination: A Study of the Development of Blake's Thought (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970), p. 35; Roland A. Duerksen, "The L i fe- in-Death Theme in The Book of The l , " Blake Studies 92 2:2 (1970), 20-1 ; Rodger L. Tarr , '"The Eagle' versus 'The Mole ' : The Wisdom of V i r g i n i t y in Cornus and The Book of The ! , " Blake Studies, 3:2 (1971), 192-3; D. G Gi l lham, Wil l iam Blake (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1973), p. 191. I o See John Beer, Blake's Vis ionary Universe (Manchester and New York: Manchester Univ. Press and Barnes & Noble, 1969), p. 72; Mary Lynn Johnson, "Beulah, 'Mne Seraphim,' and Blake's The l , " Journal of English and Germanic Ph i lo logy , 69 (1970), 271-7 passim. ; Nancy Bogen, e d . , W i l l i am Blake, The Book of Thel : A Facsimi le and a C r i t i c a l Text (Providence: Brown Univ. Press and New York: The New York Publ ic L ib ra ry , 1971), p. 31; David Wagenknecht, B lake 's Night: Wi11iam Blake and the Idea of Pastoral (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press , 1973), p. 162; Me l lo r , pp. 34-7. 19 Beer makes th is point : "The promise of the blend of innocence and experience that characterizes the creatures of nature has not been f u l f i l l e d in man" (p. 72). 20 See, fo r example, Mark Schorer, WilIiam Blake: The P o l i t i c s of V is ion (New York: Henry Ho l t , 1946), p. 236; H. M. Margol iouth, Wi l l iam Blake (London: Oxford Univ. Press , 1951), p. 56; Gleckner, The Piper & The Bard, pp. 169-70; Bloom, p. 58; S. Foster Damon, A Blake Dict ionary: The Ideas and Symbols of Wi l l iam Blake (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1965), pp. 52, 401; Duerksen, 20; Johnson, 271. 21 This may be the place to mention the sexual dimension of the theme. I bel ieve Johnson is r ight to see Thel 's sexual i ty as an image of her psyche: "Her v i r g i n i t y i s a physical sign of her psychological se l f -enc losure . . . " (266). See Me l l o r , pp. 34-7, fo r an argument that The l , at the end of the poem, i s no longer shackled by sexual i n h i b i t i o n . 22 Wagenknecht, p. 149. 23 On Oothoon's re la t ion to The l , see John Beer, B lake 's Humanism (Manchester and New York: Manchester Univ. Press and Barnes & Noble, 1968), pp. 40-1 and Me l lo r , p. 58. 24 Bloom, p. 142. Most c r i t i c s take the pos i t ion that the Clod's account i s the " r igh t " one, or at least that i t i s pre-ferable to the Pebble 's . See Damon, Wil l iam Blake, p. 285; Schorer, p. 239; Frye , pp. 72-3; Gleckner, The Piper & The Bard, p. 75; and Beer, Blake's Humanism, p. 72. Others argue on behalf of the Pebble. See Wolf Mankowitz, "Wi l l iam Blake (2) The Songs of Experience," P o l i t i c s and Le t te rs , 1 (1947), rpt. as "The"Songs of Experience"' in WTl 1iam~Blake: Songs of Innocence and Experience, ed. Margaret Bo t t r a l l (London: MacMi l lan, 1970), pp. 128-9; and 93 Jean H. Hagstrum, "Wi l l iam Blake's 'The Clod & the Pebble ' " in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Li tera tare: Essays in Honour of Alan Dugald McKi l lop , ed. Carro l l Camden (Chicago and London: Univ. of Chicago Press , 1963), pp. 381-8 passim. S t i l l others fol low Bloom in f ind ing both Clod and Pebble to be in e r ro r : Adams, pp. 252, 272; and Gi11 ham, Blake's Contrary Sta tes , pp. 220-1. Hirsch argues that the two att i tudes complement each other in a pos i t i ve way; see pp. 104, 216-17. 25 Mankowitz, p. 134. 2 6 By Gleckner, The Piper & The Bard, pp. 256-8. 27 This point has been made by Damon, Wi11i am Blake, p. 280. See Adams, p. 244; H i rsch , p. 275; G i l l ham, Blake's Contrary Sta tes , p. 177. 29 The de f i n i t i ve discussion of the " Introduct ion" i s Northrop Frye, "B lake 's Introduction to Experience," Huntington Library Quarter ly , 21 (1957), rpt . in Blake: A C o l l e c t i o n o f C r i t i c a l Essays, ed. Northrop Frye (Englewood C l i f f s , N. J . : Prent ice-H a l l , 1966), pp. 23-31. 30 "B lake 's Introduction to Experience," p. 25. 31 Frye ("Blake's Introduction to Experience," pp. 30-1), Adams, (p. 25) and Gil lham (Blake's Contrary Sta tes, pp. 158-60) a l l take the pos i t ion that Earth i s in er ror here. Gleckner, Bloom and Hirsch disagree. Gleckner argues that "Earth does answer the voice of the Bard to some extent, for in her protest against the bonds of ' f ree Love, ' she echoes the complaint of Oothoon in the V is ions" (The Piper & The Bard, p. 237). But th is begs the question of whether the dramatic context of "Ear th 's Answer" d i f fe rs s i g n i f i c a n t l y from that of Vis ions of 'the Daughters of A lb ion. Bloom thinks i t i s the respons ib i l i t y of "the Bard, and a l l men," to "act to break the freezing weight of Jealousy's chain" which, Earth be l ieves , binds her (p. 142). Bloom's pos i t ion i s based on the assumption that Frye i s wrong to argue that the Bard speaks with absolute author i ty , but his own counter-argument i s feeble: "The Bard of Experience sees what i s , what was, and what is to come, but does not necessar i ly see them a l l as a s ing le mental form, which is .the. clue to. his t rag ic mental er ror through-outh,the Introduction" (p. 138). But the wording of l i ne two does not make i t c lear the he necessar i ly does not see themjail as a "s ing le mental form" e i the r , so Bloom is hardly j u s t i f i e d in assuming the presence of " t r ag i c mental e r ro r . " In f ac t , the evidence suggests the opposite: according to the l i ne i t s e l f 94 ("Who Present, Past , & Future sees " ) , the Bard is able to v io la te the sequence of clock t ime, and impose an imaginative form upon his temporal mate r ia l , g iv ing the present precedence over the other two tenses; and the fact that there i s one verb ("sees") and that i t i s in the present tense, suggests, i f anything, that he does see a l l three as "a s ing le mental form." Later , Bloom argues that "The Bard . . . thinks of man as a ' lapsed S o u l , 1 and Blake of course does not, as the Marriage has shown us" (p. 138). Bloom is here repeating Gleckner's f a l l a c y , assuming that a proposit ion which may be i m p l i c i t in one poem can be imported, without regard for context, to another. Hirsch argues that Earth 's speech parodies the " In t roduct ion. " He points out many elements of "Ear th 's Answer" which contain i r on i c echoes of corresponding elements in the poem which precedes i t (pp. 213-15). For example: "The Bard had seen Earth actua l ly a r i s i n g ; Earth quite properly answers: 'Look, does th is grey despair appear to be a resur rec t ion? ' " (p. 214). The problem with, this approach i s that i t begs the question of the target of the i rony. Hirsch simply assumes that the Bard i s the target , when in fac t i t i s Earth herse l f . 32 Earth 's at t i tude might be compared with that of the speaker of "Mad Song" (E407) in POetical Sketches: "I turn my back to the east , / From whence comforts have i nc reas ' d . " Since her poem is an "Answer," she has heard the Bard speaking, but she does not heed his ca l l to "Turn away no more." 3 3 Wil l iam Blake, p. 283. Adams (pp. 262-3) and Hirsch (pp. 229-31 ) also in terpre t the poem pr imar i ly as soc ia l comment. However, Gleckner (The Piper & The Bard, pp. 247-50) and Gillham (Blake's Contrary Sta tes , pp. 44-8) are both c r i t i c a l of the sweep. 3 ^ "The F ly " (E23) is the most important of these, not because the f l y i s a v ic t im but because the poem's speaker shares the psychology of the vict ims in the Songs of Experience we have examined so fa r . See Warren Stevenson j^Ar t fu l Irony in Blake's 'The F l y , ' " Texas Studies in Li teratUre and Language, 10:1 (1968), 77-82, espec ia l ly th is descr ipt ion of the speaker's mental i ty : "Since he does not care whether he l i ves or d ies , so long as his l imi ted and l im i t i ng assumptions about the nature of r ea l i t y are correct , the speaker is indeed l i k e a f l y , mindlessly content to be buffeted about by fate l i k e the shuttlecock being struck by the g i r l ' s batt ledore in the poem's i l l u s t r a t i o n " (81). Although the speaker does not.perceive himself to be at the mercy of any par t i cu la r person, he needs the "b l i nd hand" of fate to define his iden t i t y . For the sake of completeness, one might also refer to the "Babes reducd to misery" in "Holy Thursday" (E19) and to the speaker of "The Garden of Love" (E26), whose "joys & desires" are bound by the br iars of the "P r ies ts in black gowns." Harold Bloom's 95 in terpretat ion of "The Tyger" (E24) is also relevant here. See Blake's Apocalypse, pp. 146-8, in which Bloom argues that the speaker "desires to delude himself" (p. 146) and that by the end of the poem he i s "prostrate before a mystery en t i re l y of h is own creat ion" (p. 147). This does not make the speaker a v i c t im , but i t does i l l u s t r a t e the psychology I have been f ind ing in the other Songs. F ina l l y there is "The Sick Rose" (E23), with i t s ambiguous re la t ionship between rose and worm. 35 For commentary, see Damon, Wil l iam Blake, p. 282; Wicksteed, pp. 178-9; Gleckner, The Pi per & The Bard, pp. 252-3; Adams, pp. 204-5; Bloom, p. 154; Hirsch 7 pp. 277-8; Beer, Blake's Humanism, p. 73; Kathleen Raine, Blake and T rad i t i on , Bol l ingen Se r i es , No. 35 (Pr inceton, N. J . : Princeton Univ. Press, 1968), I, 343; Me l l o r , p. 54. Only Gillham c r i t i c i z e s the boy ,bb tit this approach i s predicated upon the baseless assumption that the boy " i s paraphrasing, parrot -wise, something he has heard, without being aware of the impl icat ions of his words" (Blake's Contrary States, p. 86). 36 For commentary, see Damon, Wi l l iam Blake, p. 281; Wicksteed, pp. 183-6; Gleckner, The Piper & The Bard, pp. 269-71; Adams, pp. 273-4; Bloom, pp. 155-6; Gi l lham, pp. 231-6; H i rsch , pp. 281-91; Kathryn R. Kremen, The Imagination of the Resurrect ion: The Poet ic Continuity of a Rel igious Mot i f in DOnhe, Blake, and Yeats (Lewisburg, P a . : Bucknell Univ. Press, 197277 p. 150; Me l lo r , p. 189. For a discussion of the dat ing, see Erdman, E722. 3 7 "Good-bye to Ore and A l l That," Blake Studies, 4:2 (1972), 142. 38 Fearful Symmetry, p. 210. See pp. 207-35 for Frye 's c l a s s i c exposit ion of the Ore cyc le. 39 There has been a tendency to ignore or to gloss over the negative aspect of the shadowy daughter's experience. Thus Damon asserts that "She y ie lds hersel f completely to him" (Wil l iam Blake, p. 112); Schorer says that the Preludium ends with her recognit ion of sa lvat ion (p. 286); and Erdman suggests that the context is that of a "Behmenesque Genesis," althoug his quotations from "Behtnen" do not furnish pa r t i cu la r l y close pa ra l l e l s to Blake's text : see "America: New Expanses," in Blake's Vis ionary Forms Dramatic, ed. David V. Erdman and John E. Grant (Pr inceton, N. J . : Princeton Univ. Press , 1970), p. 96. Bloom argues that "her sexual pleasure does not overcome the i nh ib i t i ng e f fec t of the ins t ruct ion she had long received" (p. 126), although there i s no reference in the poem to any such ins t ruc t i on . Beer suggests that her las t words do no more than " s t r i ke the necessary warning not" that "The energies of revolut ion . . . in themselves produce only destruction and pain" (Blake's Humanism, p. 113). 96 40 The para l le l i sm with the Preludium has been noted by Gardner, p. 58 and by Beer, Blake's Humanism, p. 114. 41 Bloom, in his commentary in Erdman s e d i t i o n , appears to miss the point when he comments that A lb ion 's Angel 's speech on Plate 7 i s " i r o n i c , " because " i t is the Angel who i s actua l ly 'serpent - form'd ' " (E815). Elsewhere he argues that Ore only appears as a serpent to A lb ion 's Angel: "Ore ascribes his serpent-appearance in Angel ic eyes as being due to his attempt to pul l down nature, the accursed tree of Mystery" (Blake's Apocalypse, p. 130). But th is does not explain why Ore should ident i fy himself as a serpent; his reply to A lb ion 's Angel includes nothing that indicates "Angel ic eyes" have not seen c lea r l y . The resu l t , fo r the reader, i s wel l described by David Wagenknecht: "while the con f l i c t i s raging, i t i s absolutely impossible, on the basis of the imagery, to d is t inguish between the antagonists'" (p. 190). 42 There i s also the fact that both are, from the outset , associated with the colour red. A lb ion 's Angel " f lam'd red meteors round the land of Alb ion" (3:16); the f i r s t appearance of Ore i s described in this way: As human blood shooting i t s veinss a l l round the orbed heaven Red rose the clouds from the A t l a n t i c in vast wheels of blood And in the red clouds rose a Wonder o 'e r the A t l an t i c sea (4 :5-7, E52) This associat ion continues throughout the poem. 43 Blake: Prophet Against Empire A Poet 's Interpretat ion of the History of his own Times (1954; rev. ed. Pr inceton, N. J . : Princeton Univ. Press, 1969), pp. 249, 251. 44 Bloom, Blake's Apocalypse, p. 134. 45 Most commentators are unrestrained in the i r enthusiasm for Ore's achievement, or for what they think Ore i s about to achieve. Damon, for example, asserts that "everything created i s consumed, reveal ing Eterni ty" (Wil l iam Blake, p. 112); Frye admits the process of consummation has not been completed but seems op t im is t i c : "The poem ends with a v is ion of the imagination burst ing through the sense un t i l the chaos of earth and water that we see begins to dissolve in f i r e " (Fearful Symmetry, p. 206); Gardner speaks of "the triumph of innocent desire (p. 63); Beer has no doubts about the outcome: "This f i na l attempt at defence i s doomed to f a i l u r e " (Blake's Humanism, pp. 118-19); Mel l o r celebrates the passage as a "triumphant prophecy of freedom" (p. 67). But Bloom (Blake's Apocalypse, p. 136) and Kremen (p. 160) admit that the question of Ore's v ic tory i s l e f t open at the end of the poem. See also 97 W. J . T. M i t c h e l l , "B lake 's Composite Ar t , " in Blake's Vis ionary Forms Dramatic, ed. David V. Erdman and John E. Grant (Pr inceton, N. J . : Princeton Univ. Press, 1970), p. 79; and, in the same volume, Robert Simmons, "Ur izen : The Symmetry of Fear," p. 161n. 46 See Bloom, Blake's Apocalypse, p. 158 and Michael J . To l ley , "Europe: ' t o those ycha in 'd in s l e e p , ' " in Blake's Visionary Forms Dramatic, ed. David V. Erdman and John E. Grant (Pr inceton, N. J . : Princeton Univ. Press, 1970), p. 115. 47 Bloom suggests that the act ion of the Preludium takes place af ter she has "mated with Ore in the America Preludium" (Blake's Apocalypse, p. 157). See also Damon, Wi l l iam Blake, p. 342. 48 See Wagenknecht, pp. 195-6, for some of the impl icat ions of the questions. 49 Many c r i t i c s have taken the pos i t ion that Ore and Jesus are to be i den t i f i ed in Europe, or that the "secret ch i l d " i s rea l l y Ore and not Jesus. Thus Damon asserts that the secret ch i l d "brings Jesus i r r e s i s t i b l y to mind, though the Chi ld i s rea l l y Ore" (Wil l iam Blake, p. 115); Frye speaks of "Ore's appearance as Jesus" (Fearful Symmetry, p. 216); Erdman describes the secret ch i l d as "Ore-Chr is t (Prophet Against Empire, p. 265); Bloom asserts that the secret ch i l d i s both Ore and Jesus (Blake's Apocalypse, p. 158), and Kremen., too, makes th is i den t i f i ca t i on (p. 161). To l l ey ' s discussion of th is question is the most thorough. He takes the pos i t ion that the secret ch i l d i s Jesus and that Jesus i s not Ore: " i t seems an over -s imp l i f i ca t ion to ident i fy Ore with Chr is t . The two are c lear ly d i f fe rent ia ted at the beginning of the Prophecy" ("Europe," p. 144). See also pp. 119-22. Although Tol ley does not make the point e x p l i c i t l y , i t might be added that one way Blake c lea r l y d ist inguishes between the two i s simply by having the secret ch i l d descend at his b i r th (3 :3) , while Ore r ises from his "deep den" (4:10). 50 There i s some disagreement on th is point. Damon (Wil l iam Blake, p. 343), Bloom (Blake's Apocalypse, pi 160) and Beer (Blake's Humanism, p. 123) a l l ident i fy the speaker as Los. Erdman (Prophet Against Empire, p. 266) and Tol ley ("Europe," pp. 126^7) are more convincing in arguing that i t i s Enitharmon who speaks here. In any case, the matter does not af fect my argument. Beer i den t i f i es Ore here as "the los t Dionysus, source of energy in man" (Blake's Humanism, p. 123). 98 52 Blake's use of the "Serpent temple" in Europe, although i t is not s p e c i f i c a l l y i den t i f i ed as "Dru id i c , " cer ta in ly ant ic ipates his use of the motif of human s a c r i f i c e in the major prophecies. 53 "Although Ore's flames are consuming the f lesh of A lb ion 's Angel , a paragraph interrupts to remind us that , meanwhile, a l l appears to Enitharmon to be under r i g i d contro l " ("Europe," p. 141). 54 Bloom, Blake's Apocalypse, p. 173. 55 Damon admits that "The reason for Los 's act ion i s not made p la in in Urizen" (Wil l iam Blake, p. 119), though he also asserts that Ore's re la t ionsh ip with Enitharmon i s the cause (Wil l iam Blake, pp. 118-19; Blake Dic t ionary, p. 54). Margoliouth (p. 106) and Bloom (Blake's Apocalypse, p. 185) echo th is l a t t e r view, Bloom adding that the fact that "the ch i l d has cost him Etern i ty" i s also relevant. W. J . T. M i tche l l argues that Los adopts "the ro le of jealous fa ther - f igure" when he " f i n d s ' t h a t his creat ion exceeds his c o n t r o l " ; see "Poet ic and P i c t o r i a l Imagination in Blake's The Book of Ur i zen , " Eighteenth-Century Studies, . 3 (1969), 94. See also Paley 's discussion of "Jealousy' (pp. 74-6). 56 See, among others, Margol iouth, p. 106; Bloom, Blake's Apocalypse, p. 185; Paley, p. 75; Wagenknecht, p. 169. 57 One c r i t i c , Les l ie Tannenbaum, has gone so far as to suggest that th is i s the def in ing charac te r i s t i c of the poem's world: "the world of Generation i s b u i l t upon human s a c r i f i c e , Los's chaining of Ore." See "B lake 's Art of Cryps is : The Book of Urizen and Genesis," Blake Studies, 5:1 (1972), 153. 58 Tannenbaum suggests that "Urizen as Abel-Elohim-Satan thr ives on human s a c r i f i c e and thus awakens from his sleep only when the sac r i f i ced Ore cr ies out" (154). 59 Although there is one reference to his "eternal creat ions" (23:9) and another to his "eternal sons" (23:19), i t i s his perception of them in the wor ld.of "Nature" that concerns him. 6 0 Damon, Wi l l iam Blake, p. 119|;> Margol iouth, p. 107; Gardner, p. 97; Bloom, Blake's Apocalypse, p. 187; Wagenknecht, p. 95. 61 Morton Paley has described the s ign i f i cance of th is c y c l i c a l ac t ion : "The outcome is i r o n i c a l : the energy p r inc ip le triumphs only to become s im i l a r to what i t rebel led against , so that repressive reason achieves the f i na l v ic tory" (p. 81). Paley l i s t s and discusses nine such f igures (pp. 81-5). Others are mentioned by Frye (Fearful Symmetry, pp. 214-15) and Bloom (Blake's Apocalypse, p. 190). 63 By Margol iouth, p. I l l and Bloom, Blake's Apocalypse, p. 193. 6 4 Waiting fo r Godot (New York: Grove Press, 1954), p. 57. CHAPTER TWO The Mantle of Luvah and the Lamb of God The c r i t i c who sets out to approach The Four ZOas by way of i t s s a c r i f i c i a l imagery i s immediately impressed by the extent to which the Cruc i f i x ion has come to dominate Blake's imagination. Jesus is of course himself a central f igure in the poem, and his death upon the " t ree of Mystery" (106:3, E365) in the c ruc ia l Eighth Night is the most important s ingle event in the poem. But many of those s a c r i f i c i a l s i tuat ions in which Jesus i s not d i rec t l y involved are cer ta in ly presented with the Cruc i f i x ion as an i ron i c point of reference. In fac t , although the name of Jesus is invoked constant ly, i t i s not un t i l Night VII (a) that he descends in order to par t ic ipate in the poem's act ion. Through-out most of the poem, the role of s a c r i f i c i a l v ic t im has been performed by Ore and Luvah, in s i tuat ions which correspond to those examined in the l as t chapter: t he i r victimhood i s a sign of fa l lenness, the "freedom" of one character depends upon another's bondage, l i f e l i ves upon death. But Ore and Luvah are f i n a l l y revealed, 100 i r o n i c a l l y , as mirror images of Jesus, the Lamb of God whose s a c r i f i c e somehow has the e f fec t of transforming the world. In The Four Zoas, then, Blake struggles with the problem of discovering redemptive meaning in a s a c r i f i c i a l s i tua t ion which is i t s e l f i den t i f i ed with fa l lenness. The fact that Blake introduces the f igure of Jesus in th is context may suggest that he i s reaching for easy so lu t ions. But th is i s not the case. Blake does not merely re-create s i tuat ions he has previously used as vehicles for i rony, and assert that these s i tuat ions now have redemptive potent ial because of the par t i c ipa t ion of a character named Jesus. The presence of Jesus, on the contrary, raises the question of how victimhood can be the source of redemption. Ronald Grimes has put the issue concise ly : "Two things Blake is sure of : that Jesus is savior and that Jesus died. The question i s how these roles can be reconc i led. "^ In this chapter I w i l l attempt to show 2 how Blake, in The Four Zoas, does attempt to reconci le the two. But before discussing that poem in d e t a i l , I should l i k e to consider some of the l y r i c s from the Picker ing Manuscript, and one re lated poem from the Notebook. The Picker ing Manuscript dated by Erdman as belonging to "the la te Felpham period" (E777) -reveals that Blake's treatment of the v ic t im was becoming quite d i f ferent from what i t had been during the period of the minor prophecies. Jesus is not e x p l i c i t l y mentioned in these poems, but in them Blake does begin to come to terms with the problem of re la t ing the dimension of s a c r i f i c e represented by Ore and Luvah in The Four Zoas to the one represented by Jesus. The Notebook poem "My Spectre around me night & day" (E467) does make d i rec t reference to Jesus ( in his role as "Dear Redeemer"). I t i s also a good introduct ion to the Picker ing Manuscript because i t ant ic ipates two new developments in Blake's treatment of victimhood which become cent ra l ly important there. I t i s a d i f f i c u l t poem to deal with because there are cer ta in ly two speakers, but Blake does not c lear ly indicate which speeches 3 belong to which character. I t w i l l not be necessary to attempt to unravel that question here, since the answer would not a f fec t the meaning of the s a c r i f i c i a l imagery i t s e l f . Like several of the Picker ing Manuscript poems, "My Spectre around me" i s concerned with re lat ions between the sexes. Set in "A Fathomless & boundless deep," the poem descr ibes, in dialog form, the male's pursui t of the female. The exot ic se t t ing i s complemented by the violence of the s a c r i f i c i a l imagery and the crudity of the character izat ion: Seven of my sweet loves thy kni fe Has bereaved of the i r l i f e Their marble tombs I b u i l t with tears And with cold & shuddering fears and so on, unt i l a total of twenty-eight of the speaker's loves has fa l l en prey to the s a c r i f i c i a l kn i fe . But i t may wel l be this same speaker who, several stanzas l a t e r , threatens . . . to end thy cruel mocks Annih i la te thee on the rocks And another form create To be subservient to my Fate 103 I t seems point less to discuss these characters in terms pf moral r e s p o n s i b i l i t y ; they are possessed by emotions which have the in tens i ty of madness: Never Never I return S t i l l for Victory I burn L iv ing thee alone 111 have And when dead 111 be thy Grave Yet i t i s also in this poem that , for the f i r s t t ime, an a l ternat ive to the unending suf fer ing of the vict ims i s suggested: Throughout a l l Etern i ty I forgive you you forgive me As our Dear Redeemer said This the Wine & this the Bread Unfortunately, the characters do not put th is suggestion in to pract ice. But the notion that the sor t of re la t ion between the v ic t im and his tormentor which we have found in the Songs and minor prophecies can be rad ica l l y transformed in to a communion r i t ua l representative of mutual forgiveness, i s a s t a r t l i n g new departure for Blake. I t i s equally unusual that the poem's e x p l i c i t l y stated moral should be free of i rony; but here there i s no hint that the suggestion about mutual forgiveness is any-thing other than a straightforward so lut ion to the problem which the poem ra ises . These two apparently contradictory tendencies f i nd expression in separate groups of poems in the Picker ing Manuscript. In one group, which includes "The Golden Net," "The Crystal Cabinet," and "The Mental T rave l l e r , " there i s no overt moral iz ing at ' a l l . As in the narrat ive part of "My Spectre around me," e th ica l 104 norms have no relevance to the act ion. The characters cannot foresee the consequences of t he i r decis ions: they are dr iven, the i r l i ves governed by powerful forces they nei ther understand nor contro l . As character izat ion becomes less important, se t t ing leaps in to new prominence. The strangeness of the world of these poems seems to emphasize the unnatural qua l i t y o f the i n s t i t u t i o n of victimhood i t s e l f . The v ic t im 's s i tua t ion i s presented as the symptom of the fal lenness of human experience, absurd in the cruel ty and in jus t i ce with which i t i s inev i tab ly associated. The second group includes "Mary," "The Grey Monk," "Long John Brown & L i t t l e Mary B e l l , " "Wi l l iam Bond," and some of the "Auguries of Innocence." In these poems, Blake moves in the opposite d i rec t i on , having his speaker make e x p l i c i t moral evaluations of the actions of his characters. Of course he has done th is before, in the Songs of Innocence and of Experience. However when one of the Songs concludes with a moral - - " I f a l l do the i r duty they need not fear harm" - - i t can invar iab ly be construed as i r on i c in some sense. But there i s no irony i m p l i c i t in these judgments: A l l Faces have Envy sweet Mary but thine The Hermits Prayer & the Widows tear Alone can free the World from fear And there goes Miss Be l l with her fusty o ld Nut Seek Love in the P i t y of others Woe What these two new developments in the presentation of the v ic t im-f igure have in common is that both indicate Blake's d i ssa t i s fac t i on 105 with his e a r l i e r approach of probing for moral and psychological i rony. In the Picker ing Manuscript poems, he has begun to search for pos i t ive answers to the questions raised by the Songs and minor prophec ies. 4 "The Golden Net" (E474) is the f i r s t of the poems in which Biliake defines the p i t i l e s s l y i r r a t i ona l nature of the i n s t i t u t i o n of victimhood. Character izat ion is minimal. The speaker, a young man, becomes the v ic t im of "Three V i rg ins" bearing "a Net of Golden Twine." The encounter is described with an emphasis on s u r r e a l i s t i c d e t a i l : The one was Clothd in flames of f i r e The other Clothd in i ron wire The other Clothd in tears & sighs Dazling br ight before my Eyes They ca l l out to the speaker, weeping in d i s t ress . He i s moved, and begins to weep in sympathy. The net i s borne a l o f t ; the speaker strays under i t and is trapped. This seems to fol low the pattern establ ished in the Songs of Experience: the v ic t im in some way contributes to his own downfall . I f the young man had passed the Virg ins by, he would not have los t his freedom. The c losest pa ra l le l is "A Poison Tree," but there is a c ruc ia l . d i f ference. The " foe" s tea ls the apple as a del iberate act of aggression against the speaker. In "The Golden Net," the v ic t im 's response to the apparent suf fer ing of the Vi rg ins is generous and warm-hearted. I t is c lear ly 5 unjust that he should suf fer for i t . In th is respect, the poem more c losely resembles "How sweet I roam'd," in which the speaker 106 i s deceived by the prince of l o v e . 0 However the poem's parable i s in terpreted, account must be taken of the moral absurdity of the speaker's fate. A s im i l a r point can be made about "The Crystal Cabinet" (E479), in which the speaker i s not seduced, but, l i k e the chimney sweeper of Experience, is captured as he dances upon the heath: The Maiden caught me in the Wild Where I was dancing merr i ly She put me into her Cabinet And Lockd me up with a golden Key V i r t u a l l y a l l commentators on the poem have seen the primary meaning of i t s parable as s e x u a l . 7 I f th is is so , i t s meaning seems to be that sexual i ty res is ts a l l human attempts to impose order upon i t . In the opening s tanza, the v i c t im ize r i s of course the inscrutable Maiden. The speaker i s overcome by the v is ionary landscape he f inds wi th in the Cabinet ("Another England there I saw / Another London with i t s Tower"). F ina l l y he attempts to possess the Maiden - - or at least "Another Maiden l i k e hersel f " - -but the attempt f a i l s : I strove to s ieze the inmost Form With ardor f ie rce & hands of flame But burst the Crystal Cabinet And l i ke a Weeping Babe became Again, i t seems inappropriate to say that the speaker i s morally 8 at f au l t here. In s t r i v i n g " to sieze the inmost Form," he i s attempting to give the f u l l e s t possible expression to the "ardor f ie rce" that possesses him. There i s no ind icat ion that he is 107 conscious of committing a s in or crime. Nothing in his previous experience of the Cabinet would lead him to bel ieve that his act w i l l have the unhappy consequences i t does have: A weeping Babe upon the w i ld And Weeping Woman pale ree l ind And in the outward a i r again I f i l l d with woes the passing wind The speaker's attempt to exchange roles has f a i l e d , as v ic t im and seductress share the same fate. There is no ind ica t ion that e i ther one should be judged g u i l t y , since the speaker has acted in ignorance and the Maiden's motive i s l e f t unexplained. The mot i f of victimhood has been used to inv i te the reader to contemplate the anarchic power of the force which animates sexual experience. "The Mental Trave l le r " (E475) i s of course by far the most complex poem in the Picker ing Manuscript, and a f u l l analysis i s beyond the scope of th is chapter. But no discussion of victimhood can ignore the r i t e described in the t h i r d through the seventh stanzas. I t invo lves, i n i t i a l l y , a male ch i l d and an o ld woman 9 in a s i tua t ion resembling that of "To T i r zah" : And i f the Babe i s born a Boy He's given to a Woman Old Who na i l s him down upon a rock Catches his shrieks in cups of gold She binds iron thorns around his head She pierces both his hands & feet She cuts his heart out at his side To make i t feel both cold & heat But the speaker here makes no attempt to expl icateVhis s t r i k i n g image of s a c r i f i c e , unl ike the speaker of "To T i r zah , " who a l legor izes his experience in terms of mortal i ty and the fa l l en senses. Yet the image is ex t raord inar i ly r ich in meaning, as c r i t i c s have d i s c o v e r e d . ^ 108 The male c h i l d , l i ke the speaker of the e a r l i e r poem, i s f i n a l l y able to re ject his ro le as v ic t im and become an oppressor in his turn , although here his v ic t im i s not Jesus but the female f igure herse l f : T i l l he becomes a bleeding youth And she becomes a V i rg in br ight Then he rends up his Manacles And binds her down for his del ight I f the language is from "The Clod & the Pebble" and the dramatic s i tua t ion from "To T i r zah , " the moral and psychological dimension of the SongsoofcExperienee is nevertheless absent. The gruesome visual d e t a i l , the way in which the ch i l d is associated with such figures as Jesus and Prometheus, the fan tas t i c nature of the poem's world ("she grows young as he grows o l d " ) , a l l serve to distance the characters, to make i t impossible for the reader to judge them as he might judge Tirzah and the speaker of "To T i r zah . " As in the case of "The Golden Net" and "The Crystal Cabinet," the motif of victimhood i s used to character ize a world in which e th ica l values seem to have no meaning. The poems in the second group, on the other hand, act almost as paradigms for some of Blake's concepts of value. "Mary" (E478) is perhaps the simplest example. In th is poem, the l i f e of a beaut i fu l woman i s poisoned by the envy of people who are i n f e r i o r to her. The opening stanzas describe a v i l l age ba l l at which Mary impresses everyone with her beauty and grace. The next day, however, the v i l l a g e r s ' envy begins to express i t s e l f : "Some sa id she was proud some ca l led her a whore / And some when she passed by shut to the door." Mary responds by 109 making hersel f "p la in & neat," hoping to become acceptable to the v i l l a g e r s , but she f a i l s : "Proud Marys gone Mad said the Chi ld in the S t ree t . " The poem ends with Mary in de ject ion, facing a l i f e of unhappiness because of her super io r i t y , moral as wel l as phys i ca l , to the people she l i ves among. The innovative feature of the poem, when we compare i t to the Songs, i s that the moral issue is presented without i rony. Mary, the v i c t im , i s unequivocally r i gh t ; the v i l l a g e r s , her tormentors, are wrong. ^ Smallness of mind and meanness of s p i r i t destroy the natural a r i s toc ra t , the person "born with a d i f ferent Face." In th is s i t u a t i o n , victimhood i s as symptomatic of the fal lenness of human experience as i t i s in those Picker ing Manu-sc r ip t poems we have j us t discussed. But in "Mary," the moral perspective i s invoked by the speaker, and l e f t unshaded with irony by the poet. There i s l e f t the i m p l i c i t suggestion that the problem the poem raises can be solved in moral terms. A pa ra l l e l point may be made about "Long John Brown & L i t t l e Mary B e l l " (E487). Like the characters in "The Crystal Cabinet" and "The Mental T rave l l e r , " John and Mary are "d r i ven . " The forces which drive them are personi f ied by Mary's Fairy and John's Devi l - But here moral judgment i s again relevant, in Mary's case i f not in John's. Mary's Fairy i s the tormentor, that aspect of her sexual i ty that has been corrupted by a moral code which teaches that "Love 12 is a S i n . " John's f rust rated Devi l forces him to eat himself to death. John i s thus presented as an innocent v i c t im , apparently not responsible for his fate. But Mary's case i s d i f fe ren t . Af ter John's death the Fairy deserts her, and i s replaced by John's Dev i l . Mary, l i ke the Maiden of "The Crystal Cabinet," becomes a v ic t im in her turn. But in th is poem i t i s c lear that the reader i s expected to make an adverse judgment upon Mary. The devastating l a s t l i ne emphasizes that she has acted wrongly. The speaker's tone precludes irony here: we are meant to see Mary, with her " fusty old Nut" as the author of her own misfortune. "Wi l l iam Bond" (E'4'88) has a happier ending. It i s the only one of Blake's l y r i c s in which the notion of mutual for -giveness, advanced tentat ive ly at the end of "My Spectre around me," is presented as f u l l y rea l i zed . i n the action of the poem. Wi l l iam, apparently betrothed to Mary Green, f a l l s in love with another woman. He i s then subject to attacks of conscience, symbolized by the "Angels of Providence," which drive away the Fa i r ies of sexual i ty and.cause him to f a l l s i ck . Bedridden, he 14 resembles the c ruc i f i ed Chr is t : "And on his Right.hand was Mary Green / And on his l e f t hand was his s i s t e r Jane." But in this poem the woman ends the v ic t im 's suf fer ing with an act of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e , as she refuses to i n s i s t on her r igh t to act as a moral oppressor. She asks Wi l l iam i f he loves someone e l s e , and of fers to release him from his commitment i f he wishes i t . He rep l i es : Yes Mary I do another Love Another I love far bet ter than thee And Another I w i l l have for my Wife Then what have I to do with thee This l a s t l ine reminds us of the at t i tude of the speaker of "To T i rzah . " I t indicates that he has understood his own s i tua t ion to be that of a v i c t im , explo i ted by Mary. He sees th is as his opportunity to escape frojn bondage. Yet the grounds fo r his re ject ion of her indicate that he has now become an exp lo i te r , and she his v ic t im. But th is s a c r i f i c e has nothing to do with moral i ty as such: For thou are Melancholy Pale And on thy Head i s the cold Moons shine But she i s ruddy & br ight as day And the sun beams dazzle from her eyne Here Wi l l iam is the p r ies t of a re l ig ion of beauty which decrees that the "Melancholy Pale" must be cast out in favour of the "ruddy & br ight . " Mary fa in ts at the dec lara t ion , .and.is placed beside Wil l iam in bed. When she awakens, The Fa i r i es that f led from Wil l iam Bond Danced around her Shining Head They danced over the P i l low white And the Angels of Providence l e f t the Bed The Fa i r ies of sexual i ty replace the Angels of repression: this represents Wi l l iam's pa ra l l e l act of " forg iveness, " though i t is not a moral decision but a spontaneous.emotive response. Freed from his moral obl igat ion to Mary, he ' i s able to pardon her spurious aes the t i c .s in of omission (she does not have sun-beams dazzl ing from her eyes). So Wi l l iam refuses to make the re ject ion of "the cold Moons sh ine. " The moral i s e x p l i c i t : 112 Seek Love in the P i t y of others Woe In the gentle r e l i e f of anothers care In the darkness of night & the winters snow In the naked & outcast Seek Love there This speech could wel l have been del ivered by the speakers of "The Chimney Sweeper" and "Holy Thursday" in the Songs of Innocence. The speaker accepts the fal lenness of the wor ld; people w i l l continue to experience "Woe" and "ca re . " Here, however, there is no v is ion placed in apposit ion to the concluding precept, such as we f ind in the Songs of Innocence. There is no dream of paradise,.no pentecostal .song.. The c losest thing to i t i s perhaps Wi l l iam's v is ion of the beaut i fu l woman for whom he wanted to leave Mary. But she, l i k e the Three Virgins of "The Golden Net," and the Maiden of "The Crystal Cabinet" proves to be less desirable than she at f i r s t appeared. So far we have considered s i x of the Picker ing Manuscript poems which make use of the f igure of the v ic t im. Three have presented s i tuat ions in which Blake's irony is no longer d i rected at the characters, but at the unnaturalness of the i ns t i t u t i on of victimhood i t s e l f . The other three have presented s im i l a r s i tuat ions as vehicles for the working out of e th ica l problems. "The Grey Monk" (E480) belongs to the second group, but i s also the poem which perhaps best allows us to see that these approaches are complementary rather than contradictory. In th is poem, the suf fer ing i s p o l i t i c a l rather than sexual. The jyionk himself i s a martyr, i den t i f i ed with the c ruc i f i ed 113 Chr is t : "The blood red ran from the Grey Monks side / His hands & feet were wounded wide." But he i s not the only v i c t im: there is also a mother with starv ing ch i ld ren , a whole society in bondage to a "merci less Tyrant." Although a rebe l l ion is in progress, the Monk recognizes that i t s resu l t can only be the replacement of one "Tyrant" with another with no a l l ev i a t i on of human su f fe r ing . Events prove him r igh t : The hand of Vengeance found the Bed To which the Purple Tyrant f l ed The i ron hand crushd the Tyrants head And became a Tyrant in his stead Within th is grim scenario of apparently endless tyranny, the Monk utters a prophetic speech, for which he claims divine i nsp i ra t i on . The framework of misery in the e x t e r n a l , . p o l i t i c a l r ea l i t y does not cast the prophecy in an i r on i c l i g h t , however, for the Monk accurately predicts the outcome of the rebe l l i on . But he also suggests that al ternati ve courses of act ion are open. His speech i s remarkable for i t s fusion of the moral with the y is ionary : But vain the Sword & vain the Bow They never can work Wars overthrow The Hermits Prayer & the Widows tear Alone can free the World from fear For a Tear is an In te l lec tua l Thing And a Sigh i s the Sword of an Angel King And the b i t t e r groan of the Martyrs woe Is an Arrow from the Almighties Bow Forgiyeness, eyen i f i t i s the supreme moral act , i s , as "Wi l l iam Bond" has taught us, not enough to br ing about the Golden Age; by i t s e l f , i t gives access.to the "Comforter of Night ," without 114 causing the sun to r i s e . But nei ther does analysis of the fal lenness of human experience ( for which victimhood i s the image in "The Golden Net," "The Crystal Cabinet," and "The Mental T rave l le r " ) provide a means for changing the world. I t i s as i f B lake's problem as an a r t i s t pa ra l l e l s the problem the Grey Monk faces in his role of prophet in a society which is perpetual ly destroying i t s e l f : how can one move from the world of the stems of generation to the Golden Age? (That such movement i s possible does not occur to the other characters in the Picker ing Manuscript.) Blake's answer, u l t imate ly , was to wr i te the major prophecies. The Grey Monk, in his own prophecy, suggests what i s necessary for an answer: to achieve a perspective from which i t can be seen that human desire creates the world we l i ve i n . The martyr suf fer ing on the stems of generation can, with his own tears and s ighs, be contr ibut ing to the bui ld ing up of Jerusalem. The Monk's prophecy i s related to a number of the "Auguries of Innocence" (E481), in which the suf fer ing of animals i s sa id to have a supernatural dimension: A Robin Red breast in a Cage Puts a l l Heaven in a Rage A Horse misusd upon the Road Cal ls tp Heaven for.Human'blood A Skylark wounded in the wing A Cherubim does cease to sing In such s i t ua t i ons , the human tormentors are to be subject to some mysterious re t r i bu t ion : 115 He who sha l l hurt the l i t t l e Wren Shal l never be beloved by Men ' He who the Ox to wrath has movd Shal l never be by Woman lovd The wanton Boy that k i l l s the Fly Shal l feel the Spiders enmity Closest in s p i r i t to the Monk's utterance, however, i s the couplet which raises the p o s s i b i l i t y of something beyond re t r i bu t ion : The Lamb misusd breeds Publ ic s t r i f e And yet forgives the Butchers Knife The appropriate response to the Butcher's kni fe is forgiveness; the appropriate response to the sword and bow is the i n te l l ec tua l tear and the angel ic s igh. In "The Grey Monk," the Hermit, the Widow and the Martyr somehow have the power to.transform the wor ld, though the way th is power works is not revealed. Cer ta in ly these vict ims d i f f e r from others we have met in Blake's poetry - - Tom Dacre, Oothoon, and Ahania, fo r example. Blake's notion of victimhood has obviously changed. I t has moved in the d i rect ion of Chr is t ian orthodoxy, whose centre is the s a c r i f i c i a l v ic t im whose suf fer ing and death redeems the world. But Blake has not repudiated his e a r l i e r analysis of v ic t im-hood, e i ther . The context in which the Monk utters his prophecy i s s i g n i f i c a n t : while i t i s possible for Hermit and Widow tO' free the world from fear , the l i be ra t ion does not occur in the poem i t s e l f . The Monk's assert ions about the redemptive power' of s a c r i f i c i a l suf fer ing do not become achieved r e a l i t y . Blake seems to be suggesting that the Chr is t ian concept of redemptive 116 s a c r i f i c e provides an a l ternat ive to the kind of s a c r i f i c e which has appeared in his previous poetry. But in "The Grey Monk" these a l ternat ives are simply juxtaposed against each other. No attempt i s made to explain how the.two are re la ted , how one may be transformed in to the other. Blake does make th is attempt in The Four Zoas. He begins by presenting the F a l l in terms of victimhood in a way charac te r is t i c of some of the Picker ing Manuscript poems. He explores the s a c r i f i c i a l s i tua t ion ch ie f ly through Ore and Luvah, f igures whose sac r i f i ces provide many i r o n i c echoes of the C ruc i f i x i on . At the same t ime, however, he makes frequent reference to Jesus in a way which suggests that his s a c r i f i c e , l i ke those of the Hermit, Widow, and Martyr in "The Grey Monk," provides a means of redeeming the world. F i n a l l y , Jesus enters the poem's ac t i on , and the tension between the two types of s a c r i f i c e i s rea l i zed dramat ical ly : When Urizen saw the Lamb of God clothd in Luvahs robes Perplexd & t e r r i f i d he Stood tho well he knew that Ore Was Luvah But he now beheld a new Luvah . (101:1-3, E358) The reader who has paid careful at tent ion to Blake's use of the f igure of the v ic t im in the e a r l i e r Nights need not share Ur izen's perplexi ty about the meaning of th is event, which occurs at the beginning of Night VI I I . Instead, he w i l l be in a posi t ion to understand how Bl;ake uses th is f igure as a vehic le for the presentation of the poem's climax in the Eighth Night and apocalypt ic denouement in the Ninth. 117 Night I of The Four Zoas establ ishes the context of fa l lenness in a number of ways, and i t i s s i gn i f i can t that Blake makes frequent use of the concept of victimhood in order to do t h i s . Victimhood appears,in several d i f fe ren t forms. The story of Tharmas and Enion at the outset , the story of Luvah and Vala as narrated by Los and Enitharmon, the song sung at the wedding feas t , and Enion's lament a l l possess charac ter is t i cs made fami l i a r to us through our examination of the motif in Blake's e a r l i e r poetry. At the same time Jesus i s present, and even i den t i f i ed as the saviour , but he takes no redemptive ac t ion. As in "The Grey Monk," Blake juxtaposes the s a c r i f i c i a l a l ternat ives without, as ye t , attempting to integrate them. The Fa l l begins with Tharmas, "Parent power darkning in the West," and he immediately perceives his fal lenness in terms of victimhood: he and Enion, his emanation, have become "a Vict im 15 to the L iv ing" (4:6-8, E297). More important, the two characters re late to each other as tor turer and v ic t im in accordance with the pattern of male-female behaviour establ ished in some of the Picker ing Manuscript poems, espec ia l l y "The Mental T r a v e l l e r . " ^ But there is a d i f ference. Each presides over the other 's death, but unwi l l ing ly . The mere fact that they ex i s t in the fa l l en world guarantees that they must become executioners. Enion's f i r s t speech reveals that she sees herse l f as Tharmas's vi ct im: Thy fear has made me tremble thy terrors have surrounded me A l l Love i s los t Terror succeeds &. Hatred instead of Love 118 And stern demands of Right & Duty instead of L iber ty . Once thou wast to Me the l o v e l i e s t son of heaven--But now Why ar t thou Ter r ib le and yet I love thee in thy te r ror t i l l I am almost Ext inct & soon sha l l be a Shadow in Obl iv ion Unless some way can be found that I may look upon thee & l i v e (4:17-23, E297-8) The irony here is that Tharmas i s a most reluctant tor turer . The " ter ror " to which Enion refers is not ter ror that Tharmas has de l iberate ly insp i red in her. Apparently he experiences something akin to ter ror himsel f: "Trembling & pale sat Tharmas weeping in his clouds" (4:28, E298). Yet the resu l t i s the same as i f he had consciously set out to make her his v ic t im: "Enion said Farewell I die I hide from thy searching eyes" (5 :5 , E298). As soon as th is occurs, t he i r roles reverse. Tharmas's death is i den t i f i ed with, a process by which Enion weaves his Spectre from his o r ig ina l body, although she too i s unhappy in her ro le : So saying he sunk down into the sea a pale corse In torment he sunk down & flowd among her f i lmy Woof His Spectre issuing from his feet in flames of f i r e In gnawing pain drawn out by her lovd. f ingers every nerve She counted, every vein & lacteal threading them among Her woof of ter ror . T e r r i f i e d & drinking tears of woe Shuddring she wove--nine days & nights Sleepless her food was (5:13-19, E298-9) Her task completed, Enion feels "Repentance & Cont r i t ion" (5:28, E299). Thus the story of the f a l l of Tharmas and Enion serves, at the beginning of the poem, to ident i fy victimhood with fa l lenness. Pathos is evoked on behalf of each character in his role as 119 tormentor as wel l as in his p l igh t as v ic t im. Already i t is c lear that any redemptive action w i l l have to free the character from any s i tua t ion involv ing v ic t ims, rather than merely from the role of v ic t im. At the same time Blake indicates that there is a type of s a c r i f i c e charac te r i s t i c of the unfal len world of Eden, one whose purpose i s the renewal of l i f e : In Eden Females sleep the winter in sof t s i l ken ve i l s Woven by the i r own hands to hide, them in the darksom grave But Males immortal l i ve renewed by Female deaths, in sof t Del ight they die & they revive in spring with music & songs (5:1-4, E298) The " s a c r i f i c e " in which Tharmas and Enion are forced to par t ic ipa te i s obviously a parody of th is Edenic r i t u a l , but Blake as yet gives no hint as to how the fa l l en version can be redeemed. The notion of victimhood next appears in the story of Luvah and Vala. Enitharmon narrates the f i r s t part of th is ta le in the form of a "Song of Va la" which t e l l s how Luvah and Vala l e f t the "Human Heart" to usurp Ur izen's role as ru le r of the Bra in : another version of the F a l l . Her primary purpose in singing the song is apparently to arouse Los's jea lousy, a goal she achieves. From our point of view, the most s i gn i f i can t thing about Los 's reply is that he evokes an image of Luvah as s a c r i f i c a l v ic t im: I see, i n v i s i b l e descend into the Gardens of Vala Luvah walking on the winds, I see the i n v i s i b l e knife I see the sshoweroofbbTood (11:12-14, E302) At one point Blake added a n ine- l ine passage which he l a t e r decided to delete. In th is passage, which was to precede the 120 l ines quoted above, Los speaks of the time when the "Lamb of God" w i l l be "drawn . . . in to a mortal f o r m . " 1 7 This suggests that there i s a d i rec t connection between Jesus as Lamb of God 18 and Luvah as s a c r i f i c i a l v ic t im in the Gardens of Vala. Howeverj i t i s important to note that Blake did decide to delete the passage, and that he therefore did not wish to ident i fy Jesus with Luvah at th is point in the poem. Short ly a f te r th is there i s another passage in which Luvah and Jesus are re lated d i r e c t l y , but i t i s again made c lear that they are not to be i den t i f i ed . The scene in question occurs at the wedding feast of Los and Enitharmon: But Luvah & Vala standing in the bloody sky On high remaind alone forsaken in f ie rce jealousy They stood above the heavens forsaken desolated suspended in blood Descend they could not. nor from each other avert the i r eyes Eterni ty appeard above them as One Man info lded In Luvahls] robes of blood & bearing a l l his a f f l i c t i o n s As the sun shines down on the misty earth Such wastthe v Vision (13:4-10, E303) Harold Bloom does not hesi tate to refer to th is passage as "the v is ion of Luvah as the Chr is t " (E867), but the issue i s not quite so c lear -cu t . The One Man i s de f in i te l y Jesus, for he is e x p l i c i t l y i den t i f i ed as such l a te r in Night I (see 21:4-5, E306). However i t does not fol low that Jesus is being presented as Luvah. Luvah, with Va la , remains powerless, "a lone, " " fo r -saken," "deso la te , " for the duration of the v i s i on . The One Man appears above them, associated with Luvah's "robes of blood" and " a f f l i c t i o n s , " but not the t o t a l i t y o f his character. 121 What, then, is the meaning of the v is ion? One might almost reverse Bloom's formulation and suggest that i t s aim is to es tab l ish the distance between Luvah and Jesus by presenting an image of Chr is t as Luvah and contrast ing th is image with the rea l i t y of Luvah as he i s . There i s , of course, some d i f f i c u l t y with Luvah's "robes of blood" because, as Grimes complains, "Blake is not e x p l i c i t as to the meaning of the phrase but simply repeats the 19 phrase again and again. Morton Paley brings together the two major associat ions the phrase evokes when he suggests that "'Luvahs robes of b lood, ' emblematic of the Incarnat ion, are no doubt derived from the scar le t robe which Jesus was forced to wear .,20 while he was mocked and beaten. The robes of blood have to do not only with the Incarnation in a general way, but, more s p e c i f i c a l l y , with the Cruc i f i x i on i t s e l f . Blake stresses th is point by adding that the One Man bears Luvah's a f f l i c t i o n s , as we l l . But a d i s t i nc t ion must be made between a passage such as th is and the one in Night VII (a) in which Los has a v is ion of "the Lamb of God / Clothed in Luvahs robes of blood descending to redeem" (87:44-5, E355). Here the One Man does not descend, and hence does not redeem. The purpose of the v is ion then seems to be to show that Jesus has the potent ia l to take redemptive action but that , at th is point in the poem, he does not take i t . There remains a separation between the One Man who appears in Luvah's robes of b lood, and Luvah and Vala themselves. Los's v is ion of "the 122 i n v i s i b l e kni fe" and "the shower of blood" provides the correct account.of the nature of s a c r i f i c e in the fa l l en world. The v is ion of the One Man i s l i k e the Monk's assert ion about the value of s a c r i f i c i a l su f fe r ing , and l i ke the v is ion of the s a c r i f i c i a l deaths of the Females in Eden presented in connection with the Tharmas-Enion narra t ive . I t indicates that the s i tua t ion in the fa l l en world i s not hopeless, but i t also reveals that there i s a vast gu l f to be crossed before, redemption can occur. The other references to Jesus in Night I are consistent with th is pattern. In one passage he i s i den t i f i ed as the "Eternal Saviour" : Now Man was come to the Palm tree & to the Oak. of Weeping Which stand upon the Edge of Beulah & he sunk down From the Supporting arms of the Eternal Saviour; who disposd The pale limbs of his Eternal Ind iv idua l i t y Upon the Rock of Ages. Watching over him with Love & Care (18:11-15, E306) But Jesus, in th is scene, does not perform the s a c r i f i c i a l act which brings about sa l va t i on ; instead he watches over the fa l l en Man without taking d i rect act ion. to redeem him. S i m i l a r l y , another passage contains a .v is ion of the "Council of God" in "Great E te rn i t y " ; i t s members perceive As One Man a l l the Universal family & that one Man They c a l l Jesus the Chr is t & they in him & he in them Live in Perfect harmony in Eden the land of l i f e Consulting as One Man above the Mountain of Snowdon Sublime (21:497, E306) Again the point about Jesus is that he does not yet descend to redeem the fa l l en world. He i s , however, concerned about i t s 123 fa l l en condit ion. Af ter l i s ten ing to the appeal from the "Messengers of Beulah," the members of the Council of God e lec t the "Seven Eyes of God": The Seven are one wi th in the other the Seventh i s named Jesus The Lamb of God blessed for ever & he fol lowd the Man Who wanderd in mount Ephraim seeking a Sepulcher His inward eyes c los ing from the Divine v is ion & a l l His chi ldren wandering outside from his bosom f lee ing away (19:11-15, E308) Jesus' main function in Night I, then, i s to " fo l low" the f a l l en Man, to watch over him with "Love & Care." I t i s not yet a matter of intervening d i rec t l y in that portion of the poem's act ion which is set in the fa l l en wor ld, and th is p o s s i b i l i t y i s not 21 even mentioned e x p l i c i t l y in^ the passages we have jus t examined. The other manifestations of victimhood in Night I are the song sung at the wedding feast of Los and Enitharmon,and.Enion's lament, which fol lows i t . The banquet i t s e l f includes a communion s a c r i f i c e which commentators unanimously ident i fy as a parody 22 of true communion. Blake does not make much of th is aspect of the wedding, dismissing i t in a s ingle l i n e : "They eat the f l esh ly bread, they drink the-nervous wine" (12:44, E303). However the song which celebrates the marriage of Los and Enitharmon depicts at some length a world governed by the i ns t i t u t i on of human s a c r i f i c e , in the spec i f i c form of war: Ephraim ca l l d out to Zion: Awake 0 Brother Mountain Let us refuse the Plow & Spade, the heavy.Rol ler & spiked Harrow, burn a l l these Corn f i e l d s , throw down a l l these fences Fattend on Human blood & drunk with wine of l i f e i s better f a r Than a l l these labours of the harvest & the vintage. See the r i ve r 124 Red with the blood of men. swel ls l u s t f u l round my rocky knees My clouds are not the clouds of verdant f i e lds & groves of f r u i t But Clouds of Human Souls my nos t r i l s drink the l i ves of Men (14:7-14, E304) Luvah and Vala are the de i t ies who preside over this carnage — they " r ide / Triumphant in the bloody sky" (15:7-8, E304) - -but they eventual ly become vict ims in the i r turn as "the hammers of Los / . . . melt the bones of Va la , & the bones of Luvah in to wedges" (15:20-16:1, E305), and Luvah i s reborn, no longer triumphant in the.sky but ."Burst ing forth from the lo ins of Enitharmon" (16:9, E305), himself subject to the torment of 23 l i f e in the fa l l en world. Enion's lament, which follows the Song, provides a d i f ferent perspective on the same s i tua t i on . Her use of animal imagery to describe the inev i tab le cruel ty of l i f e in the world of Los and Enitharmon creates a pathos which i s absent from the Song. A l l beings in th is wor ld, the world of f a l l en human h is to ry , must at d i f ferent times be both exp lo i te r and v i c t im , but there i s nothing redemptive about e i ther ro le : The Spider s i t s in his labourd Web, eager watching for the Fly Presently comes a famished B i rd & takes away the Spider His Web is l e f t . a l l desolate, that his l i t t l e anxious heart So careful wove; & spread i t out with sighs and weariness (18:4-7, E306) Thus both the Song and the lament present v is ions of a world governed by the psychology of victimhood. These v is ions have the same pess imis t ic force as the presentations of the f igure of the v ic t im in The Book of Urizen and The Book of Ahania. 125 The pr inc ipa l e f fec t of the presence of the s a c r i f i c e motif in Night I, then, i s to ident i fy the presence of victimhood with the fal lenness of humanity. The pessimism which th is s i tua t ion inev i tab ly generates is mit igated somewhat by the appearance of Jesus as a potent ial redeemer. Thus Blake has defined the problem of redemption but not presented a so lu t i on , even i m p l i c i t l y . For i t i s not yet c lear to the reader how Jesus could redeem . the wor ld, even i f he were to descend "In Luvahjs] robes of blood & bearing a l l his a f f l i c t i o n s " (13:9, E303). The question of how the "Eternal Saviour" can act e f fec t i ve l y in the context of the world of The Four Zoas i s l e f t unanswered unt i l much 1ater i n the poem. Night II contains the f i r s t of the parodies of the Cruc i f i x ion to appear in the poem, Luvah's period of torment in "the Furnaces of a f f l i c t i o n . " Luvah sees himself as a Ch r i s t - f i gu re ; his goal has been "to de l iver a l l the sons of God / F r o m bondage of the Human form" (27:17-18, E311). But his suf fer ing is not redemptive / * 24 ( in fac t , Luvah himself sees i t as no more than a punishment), and his o r ig ina l aim i s mistaken, as several c r i t i c s have pointed o u t . 2 5 Although the furnaces are U r i zen ' s , i t i s Vala who assumes the ro le of to r tu re r , while Urizen watches in horror , rea l i z i ng that he i s himself a potent ia l v ic t im: Luvah was cast into the Furnaces of a f f l i c t i o n & sealed And Vala fed. in cruel de l igh t , the furnaces with f i r e Stern Urizen beheld.urg'd by necessity to keep 126 The ev i l day a far , & i f perchance with i ron power He might avert his own despair ; in woe & fear he saw Vala i n c i r c l e round the furnaces where Luvah was c l o s ' d In joy she heard his howlings, & forgot he was her Luvah With whom she walked in b l i s s , in time of innocence & youth (25:40-26:3, E310-11) Bloom comments that "Luvah has become a Tammuz or Adonis, and Vala the goddess to whom he i s sac r i f i ced " (E869). It.might also be pointed out that th is example of victimhood in the fa l l en world is consistent with i t s various manifestations in Night I. However Luvah's speech from the furnaces introduces a.new dimension. Luvah speaks of himself in a way that inv i tes the reader to compare him with the c ruc i f i ed Chr is t . In the opening l ines of his speech he refers to himself as the Creator of men: " I f I indeed am Valas King & ye 0 sons of Men / The workmanship of Luvahs hands" (26:5-6, E311). Later he makes other remarks which seem designed to remind us of Jesus. He claims that "I su f fer a f f l i c t i o n / Because I love" (27:13-14, E311); he speaks of his mission "to de l iver a l l the sons of God/./ From bondage" (27:17-18, E311); he feels sorrow for the sins of the world: "0 Urizen my enemy I weep for thy stern ambition" (27:19, E311). Luvah knows that he i s not Jesus. He also knows that he has f a i l e d to achieve his goa l , but he i s unable to connect these two pieces of information, as he presumes to lecture the Lamb of God on the e f f i cacy of s a c r i f i c e : They have surrounded me with walls of i ron & brass, 0 Lamb Of God clothed in Luvahs garments . l i t t le knowest thou Of death Eternal that we a l l go to Eternal Death To our Primeval Chaos in for tu i tous concourse of incoherent Discordant pr inc ip les of Love & Hate (27:9-13, E311) 127 The function of th is passage i s to es tab l ish an i r on i c distance between Luvah and Jesus. In the New Testament, Jesus offers himself as a s a c r i f i c i a l v ic t im so that men may enjoy eternal l i f e . Here, Luvah proclaims that his own s a c r i f i c e cannot be a means of avoiding "Eternal Death," and that the Lamb of God him-s e l f could not be more e f fec t i ve . This arrogance combines with other facets of Luvah's character to make~it c lea r that Blake intends him to be a parody of a Chr i s t - f i gu re . Luvah i s both unable to control his own emotional state - - " f o r I was love but hatred awakes in me" (27:14, E311) — and ignorant of the d i rec t ion in which salvat ion l i e s , fo r the bondage from which he wishes to l ibera te men i s , as we have already noted, the "bondage of the Human form" (27:18, E311). Further, Luvah's act of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e i s hardly d is in terested. He spends most of his speech in reminiscence about Va la , and concludes with a pathet ic appeal — "0 when w i l l you return Vala the Wanderer" (27:20, E311) - - which would be more moving i f i t were not fo r the fact that Luvah is unable to recognize her as his tor turer . Thus Blake uses the Chr is t ian notion of the Cruc i f i x ion for a fami l i a r thematic purpose: to reveal the extent of the world's fa l lenness. The only character w i l l i n g to assume the role of saviour i s woefully i l l -equ ipped for the task: s e l f i s h , myopic, misguided, in Idesperate need of redemption himself. Luvah's par t i c ipa t ion in the s a c r i f i c i a l r i t e of. the "Furnaces of 128 a f f l i c t i o n " resul ts only in his own immolation, and Vala 's as wel1: And when Luvah age af ter age was quite melted with woe The f i res of Vala faded l i ke a shadow co ld & pale An evanescent shadow, l as t she f e l l a heap of Ashes Beneath the furnaces a woful heap in l i v i n g death (28:31*6, E311) The whole episode i l l u s t r a t e s the fact that i t i s impossible for a character who is himself fa l l en to perform a redemptive act. I f he attempts to do so, he w i l l f a i l ; and only his need to delude himself w i l l prevent him from seeing the true nature of the s a c r i f i c e in which he i s involved. This point i s made again l a te r in Night II by Enitharmon's Song, which pa ra l l e l s the Song sung at the wedding feast in Night I as a gloss on the act ion which has preceded i t . Enitharmon celebrates a s a c r i f i c a l s i ta tu ion which i s s im i l a r to the one involv ing Luvah and Va la , in that the female f igure adopts the role of p r i es t l y to r turer : The joy of woman i s the Death of her most best beloved Who dies for Love of her In torments of f ie rce jealousy & songs of adoration (34:63-5, E317) The Song is i t s e l f the vehic le by which she makes Los her v i c t im: Thus sang the Lovely one in Rapturous delusive trance Los heard reviv ing he s iezd her in his arms delusive hopes Kindl ing She led him into Shadows & thence f led outstretched Upon the immense l i k e a br ight rainbow weeping & smi l ing & fading (34:93-6, E318) Los's in fatuat ion does not lead to his death, but the s i tua t ion i s c lear ly s im i l a r to the one presented in the Song. I t i s also 129 related in a s i gn i f i can t way to the Luvah-Vala s i t u a t i o n , though here the perspective is d i f fe ren t , fo r the irony i s di rected pr imar i ly at the female f igure. Enitharmon's trance i s as "de lus ive" as Los's hopes. Her song i s one of triumph, but she i s subject to the same laws as Va la , who at Luvah1s death herse l f becomes "a heap of Ashes." (Enitharmon's use of the word "K ind l ing" c lear ly has i r on i c resonance here.) The s i tua t ion of victimhood in the fa l l en world i s inev i tab ly destruct ive for both v ic t im and tormentor. As in Night I, the presence of Jesus serves to provide a distancing perspective on the action in the fa l l en world. Besides the reference to the Lamb of God in Luvah's speech from the furnaces, there are two d i rec t references to Jesus in Night IT. Onewof these fol lows one of the patterns establ ished in Night I, as Jesus appears above the action but does not enter i t : "And the Divine Vis ion appeard in Luvahs robes of blood" (32:14, E315). A second, more elaborate passage shows Jesus in his role as one who watches with love and care over the fa l l en Luvah, but, again, takes no redemptive ac t ion : For the Divine Lamb Even Jesus who is the Divine Vis ion Permitted a l l l e s t Man should f a l l in to Eternal Death For when Luvah sunk down himself put on the robes of blood Lest the. state ca l l d Luvah should cease. & the Divine Vis ion Walked in robes of blood t i l l he who s lep t should awake (33:11-15, E315) I t is important to note that what Jesus does here i s not to ra ise Luvah from his posi t ion as one who has "sunk down"; at th is po int , his function i s to prevent the fa l len Man from lapsing 130 into "Eternal Death" rather than to accomplish the work which w i l l bring Eternal L i f e . Although Jesus dons Luvah's robes of blood, he does not descend af ter he has done so. As in the o r ig ina l v is ion of the One Man in Night I (13:8-9, E303), a s i gn i f i can t gap remains between the fa l l en Luvah and Jesus. In Night I I , then, Blake's use of the f igure of the v ic t im 28 again emphasizes the fal lenness of the world. In pa r t i cu la r , Luvah's parody-cruc i f ix ion reveals the imposs ib i l i t y of atone-ment by the s a c r i f i c e of a fa l l en would-be saviour. But by counterpointing the image of a f a i l e d Chr is t - f igure with a merci fu l Jesus who has not yet descended, Blake raises the reader's expectation that somehow the solut ion to the problem of s a c r i f i c e l i e s in an act of divine s e l f - s a c r i f i c e which is not a parody of the Cruc i f i x i on . There i s nothing in Nights III and IV to correspond to Luvah's suffer ings in the furnaces of a f f l i c t i o n . In Night I I I , the only d i rec t reference to victimhood was never integrated into the tex t ; i t survives only as a marginal note which contains the image of "an a l t a r of victims to Sin / & Repentance" (E751). In Night IV, however, there is an episode in which Jesus for the f i r s t time takes part in action set in the fa l l en world. While th is marks a new departure in Blake's presentation of Jesus in The Four Zoas, i t does not involve the use of the v ic t im-f igure. The daughters of Beulah ask Jesus to resurrect the fa l l en A lb ion , in language calculated to remind the reader of 131 the New Testament story of the ra is ing of Lazarus. Jesus decl ines to do what they ask but promises, " I f ye w i l l Bel ieve your Brother sha l l r i se again" (56:18, E331); he then proceeds to take action which sets boundaries to the F a l l : "L im i t / Was put to Eternal 29 Death" (56:23-4,,3E'331). This prepares for his redemptive work. The fact that he appears "c lo thd in Luvahs garments" (56:5, E330) and i s i den t i f i ed as the "Saviour mi ld & gentle" (56:17, E331) provides a h in t of the way he i s to accomplish that work. From our point of view, one of the most remarkable features of Nights V, VI and VII (b) is that there i s no mention of Jesus in them. There are, however, two further parodies of the C ruc i f i x i on , the binding of Ore in Night V and the l i t e r a l c ruc i f i x i on of Luvah in VII (b). Both of these accounts fol low the pattern establ ished by Luvah's suf fer ing in the furnaces of a f f l i c t i o n , in that Blake indicates c lear ly by his treatment of the incident that the v ic t im is to be compared with Jesus in certa in respects, but is essen t ia l l y an i r on i c f igure whose s a c r i f i c e does not br ing redemption. The story of the binding of Ore in Night V i s a r e t e l l i n g of the same incident in The Book of Unzen , but there are important d i f ferences. For example, Blake's presentation of Ore's b i r th inv i tes d i rec t (and i ron ic ) comparison with the Na t i v i t y : "The Enormous Demons woke & howld around the new born king / Crying Luvah King of Love thou ar t the King of rage & death" (58:21-2, E333). W. H. Stevenson has noted the s ign i f i cance of the phrase "new born king" and of the presence of a demonic, instead of 30 angel ic choir . A king of love who is also a king of rage and death does not seem a promising candidate for saviour. Further, in the account of the events leading up to his s a c r i f i c e , there is a strong suggestion that Ore i s a d i rec t threat to Los, rather than an innocent v i c t im , as in The Book of Ur izen: But when fourteen summers & winters had revolved over Their solemn habitat ion Los beheld the ruddy boy Embracing his br ight mother & beheld malignant f i r es In his young eyes discerning p la in that Ore plot ted his death (60:6-9, E334) Los is thus to some extent j u s t i f i e d — in terms of the ethics of the f a l l en wor ld, at any rate - - in h is decision to s a c r i f i c e Ore. But the resul t of his action i s , i r o n i c a l l y , to in tens i fy the misery of the fa l l en condi t ion. The descr ipt ion of the physical process of the s a c r i f i c e contrasts with the pa ra l l e l account in The Book of Ur izen, in which Los and Enitharmon bind Ore when "They chain 'd his young limbs to the rock / With the Chain of Jealousy" (20:23-4, E79). In The Four Zoas, a much more precise echo of the Cruc i f i x ion is included: "Los na i ld him down binding around his limbs / The accursed chain" (60:28-9, E334). But the most remarkable innovation in Blake's treatment of Ore's s a c r i f i c e l i e s in his descr ipt ion of the v ic t im 's mental s ta te : His limbs bound down mock at his chains for over them a flame Of c i r c l i n g f i r e unceasing plays to feed them with l i f e & bring The virtues of the Eternal worlds ten thousand thousand s p i r i t s Of l i f e lament around the Demon going forth & returning At his enormous ca l l they f lee in to the heavens of heavens 133 And back return with wine & food. Or dive into the deeps To bring the t h r i l l i n g joys of sense to quel l his ceaseless rage (61:11-17, E334) At one l e v e l , th is may be a continuation of the parody of the Cruc i f i x i on : the s p i r i t s bring "wine & food" to the v ic t im instead of the v i n e g a r - f i l i e d sponge. But the main thrust of the passage suggests a more s t a r t l i n g invers ion. Ore does not die in order to redeem the fa l l en world. Instead he continues to l i v e , sustained by the f i r e which feeds his limbs with l i f e . He becomes the source, not of the sa lvat ion of mankind, but of the renewal of l i f e in the fa l l en world: His bosom is l i ke starry heaven expanded a l l the stars Sing round, there waves the harvest & the vintage re jo ices , the Springs Flow into r ivers of del ight , there the spontaneous flowers Drink laugh & s ing, the grasshopper the Emmet & the Fly The golden Moth bui lds there a house & spreads her s i l ken bed (61:27-31, E335) This paradisal v is ion of the earth i s i den t i f i ed with Ore's bosom. Blake in fac t organizes his descr ipt ion of the c ruc i -f ied Ore by considering d i f ferent parts of the body in turn - -l imbs, eyes, n o s t r i l s , locks, bosom, l o i n s , knees - - and the passage is held together by the recurrent imagery of f i r e and flames. So fa r Ore's c ruc i f i x i on might be understood in terms of a f u l f i l lmen t of the prophecy of Plate 14, The Marriage of Heaven and H e l l . Ore cer ta in ly experiences "an improvement of sensual enjoyment" and his f i r e may at f i r s t seem to be that by which "the whole creation w i l l be consumed, and appear i n f i n i t e , and holy whereas i t now appears f i n i t e & corrupt" (E38). But the l as t item in the descr ipt ive catalogue undercuts th is in te rpre ta t i " S p i r i t s of strength in Palaces re jo ice in golden armour / Armed with spear & sh ie ld they drink & re jo ice over the s l a i n " (62:6-7, E335). At this point the reader i s reminded that Ore's intense involvement with "the t h r i l l i n g joys of sense" is no more than a p a l l i a t i v e " to quel l his ceaseless rage" (61:17, E334). His suf fer ing is rooted in something other than love, and that which may express i t s e l f in terms of " r i ve rs of del ight" and flowers that "Drink laugh & s ing" may equal ly wel l manifest i t s e l f as "the forests / Of w i ld beasts" where "the l i on glares the tyger & wolf howl" (61:24-5, E335). Ore's creat ive power, expressed in the imagery of vintage and harvest, i s apparently inseparable from the destruct ive force of his rage. But the meaning of Ore's c ruc i f i x i on i s not made f u l l y c lear unt i l Los and Enitharmon return to the mountaintop and attempt to free the i r son. They f ind that they cannot do t h i s , for the Chain of Jealousy had taken root Into the i ron rock & grew a chain beneath the Earth Even to the Centre wrapping round the Centre & the limbs Of Ore entering with f i b res , became one with him a L iv ing Chain Sustained by the Demons l i f e (62:32-63:4, E335-6) Ore's c ruc i f i x i on has, as i t were, i t s e l f become a Fa l l wi th in the F a l l . The sensual apocalypse that he has experienced i s a s i gn , not that the creation has become i n f i n i t e and holy but that i t has sunk to a new depth. Like Luvah in Night I I , Ore 135 i s a parody of Ch r i s t ; he is k ing , not only of love, but also of rage and death. The energy released by his c ruc i f i x i on i s without moral d i rec t ion . Los, the p r ies t - f i gu re of th is s a c r i f i c e , has not made the world safer for himself but has unleashed forces which br ing misery both to him and to Enitharmon: "Despair & Terror & Woe & Rage / Inwrap the Parents" (63:4-5, E336) and the narrator adds " a l l the lamentations / I wr i te not here but a l l t he i r a f te r l i f e was lamentation" (63:8-9, E336). The fact that the Chain has taken root indicates that the c ruc i f i ed Ore w i l l continue to preside over the fa l l en world. Such a world w i l l r es i s t Los's attempts to impose a humanizing order upon i t . As in The Book of Ur izen, Ore's cr ies awake Urizen from his s leep, and Night VI of The Four Zoas describes Ur izen 's explorat ion of his dens. However no attempt i s made to develop Ur izen's Web into an image of s a c r i f i c e pa ra l l e l to the Chain of Jealousy. In the e a r l i e r poem, the Web is i den t i f i ed as the Net of Re l ig ion , and Urizen uses i t in order to enslave his sons and daughters. In The Four Zoas, i t i s never c lear that the Web has th is funct ion. The passage in which i t i s described i s ex t raord inar i l y obscure, even by Blakean standards: And the Web of Urizen st re I t jchd d i re fu l sh iv r ing in clouds And ut ter ing such woes such bursts such thunderings The eyel ids expansive as morning & the Ears As a golden ascent winding round to the heavens of heavens Within the dark horrors of the Abysses l i on or tyger or scorpion For every one opend within into Etern i ty at w i l l (73:35-74:1, E343) One commentator has suggested that the d i f f i c u l t y with these 136 l ines stems from a manuscript omission. The Web seems to be an instrument of to r ture , but i t s precise function i s not indicated c lear ly enough for the reader to in terpret the passage with any cer ta in ty . Later in Night V I , however, Urizen uses the Web in a way which has no pa ra l l e l with anything that happens in The Book of Ur izen. He enters the Web himself as a protect ion against the Spectre of Urthona: Then Urizen arose upon the wind back many a mile Ret i r ing into his dire Web scat ter ing f leecy snows As he ascended howling loud the Web vibrated strong From heaven to heaven from globe to globe. (75:25-8, E345) Whatever the meaning of th is gesture, i t has nothing to do with 33 victimhood. The reason for th is may again be found in Blake's developing preoccupation with the Cruc i f i x i on . Instead of using the Net of Rel ig ion as an i r on i c contrast to the Chain of Jealousy in connection with the f igure of the v i c t im , Blake avoids s a c r i f i c e imagery in Night V I , but presents a new version of the Cruc i f i x ion in Night VII (b) , which bears an i r on i c re la t ion to Ore's c ruc i f i x i on in Night V. In Night VII (b) , as in the Preludium to Ameri ca, Ore breaks free from his chains, inspiredrby his possessive love for the "nameless shadowy female": S i l en t as despair ing love & strong as Jealousy Jealous that she was Vala now become Urizens har lo t And the Harlot of Los & the deluded har lot of the Kings of Earth His soul was gnawn in sunder The hairy shoulders rend the l inks free are the wr is ts of f i r e 137 Red rage redounds he rouzd his l ions from his forests black They howl around the flaming youth rending the nameless shadow And running the i r immortal course thro s o l i d darkness borne (91:13-20, E395) In the context of The Four Zoas, the most s t r i k i ng thing about Ore's conduct is that , once he i s f ree , he makes no attempt to f u l f i l l the pos i t i ve potent ia l i m p l i c i t in the descr ipt ion of his c ruc i f i x i on in Night V. Imagery of harvest and vintage i s completely out of place here; ins tead, i t i s Ore's "Red rage" that finds expression in his freedom. The resu l t i s yet another version of a pattern already long fami l i a r to us: the s a c r i f i c i a l v ic t im escapes from that role only to force others to become his v ic t im. Ore's assumption of that role i s not, as in Ameri ca , s i g n i f i e d by his rape of the shadowy female (which i s described b r i e f l y as "the flaming youth rending the nameless shadow"). Instead, his l i be ra t i on allows him to preside over the outbreak of war: Loud sounds the war song round red Ore in his ItriumphantJ fury And round the nameless shadowy Female in her howling te r ro r When a l l the Elemental Gods jo ind in the wondrous Song Sound the War trumpet t e r r i f i c souls c lad in a t t rac t ive steel Sound the s h r i l l f i f e serpents of war (91:21-5, E395) Ore's triumphs i s at f i r s t described ( in the Song of the Elemental Gods) in terms of general ized carnage: The arrows flew from cloudy bow a l l day. t i l l blood From east to west flowd l i k e the human veins in r ivers Of l i f e upon the pla ins of death & val leys of despair (92:6-8, E396) But the vict ims whose blood flows so f reely are soon i den t i f i ed 138 with Luvah, as Luvah is c ruc i f i ed in a passage whose language contains obvious echoes of the Gospel c ruc i f i x i on narra t ives: they give the Oath of blood They cast the lo ts into the helmet, They vote the death of Luvah & they na i l d him to the tree They piercd him with a spear & l a i d him in a sepulcher To die a death of Six thousand years bound round with desolat ion The sun was black & the moon r o l l d a useless globe thro heaven (92:11-16, E396) In terms of narrat ive sequence, th is passage poses a problem, since i t is not c lear whether i t should be part of the Song of the Elemental Gods, or whether i t occurs a f ter the end of 34 the Song. Considered as imagery, however, the t rans i t ion from Ore as v ic tor ious god. of war to Luvah as helpless v ic t im makes perfect sense. To say that Ore's m i l i t a r y forces have been defeated by Urizen is somewhat beside the point. I t would be more correct to say that Ore has defeated himself , for the energy wasted when the blood f l ows ! " l i ke human veins in r tvers / Of l i f e " is his own energy. Although the descr ipt ion of Ore's c ruc i f i x i on in Night V seems to indicate that th is energy has a pos i t ive potent ia l fo r transforming the wor ld, the " r i ve rs of del ight" which then flowed in Ore's bosom (61:29, E335) have for the i r counterparts only the bloody r ivers in "the plains of death & val leys of despair , " once he has achieved l i be ra t i on . Sac r i f i ce leads only to fur ther s a c r i f i c e , not to redemption. The point of the b i b l i c a l language used in the descr ipt ion of Luvah's c ruc i f i x i on is not to ident i fy Luvah with Jesus, but to d is t inguish them. The c ruc i f i x i on which resul ts from the 139 l ibera t ion of Ore does not redeem the world but merely confirms i t in i t s fa l lenness. I t i s s i gn i f i can t that Blake here avoids speaking of Jesus as the wearer of Luvah's robes of blood but 35 speaks simply of "the death of Luvah." Luvah's death has no redemptive power. Although the deta i l s of cast ing l o t s , na i l i ng the v ic t im to the t ree , p ierc ing him with a spear, and lay ing him in a sepulcher are obvious a l lus ions to the Cruc i f i x ion of Ch r i s t , the fact that Luvah does not experience resurrect ion on the th i rd day indicates that Blake i s again evoking the image of the-central Chr is t ian s a c r i f i c e only to r ing an i r o n i c change upon i t . Instead Luvah dies the death of s i x thousand years of f a l l en h i s to ry , and the moment of unnatural darkness which occurred when Jesus was c ruc i f i ed is extended to embrace the en t i re per iod. Luvah's s a c r i f i c e , l i k e Ore's in Night V, thus const i tutes a parody of the C ruc i f i x i on . Ore has freed himself only to become a p r i es t -f i gu re ; the history of the fa l l en human condit ion is apparently one of an endless ser ies of c ruc i f i x i ons . L i fe l i ves upon death. Thus far in The Four Zoas, then, Blake has used therJiiotif. of s a c r i f i c e to a r t i cu la te a pessimism as dark as that of the l a te r minor prophecies. In Night VII (a) , which was probably wr i t ten to replace VII (b) , there i s at l a s t a de f in i te movement towards redemption. Af ter yet another parody of the Cruc i f i x ion in which Ore i s again the v ic t im, Blake makes a dramatic innovation in his presentation fo the sac r i f i ce .mo t i f . Both Los and the Spectre of Urthona recognize the need for s e l f - s a c r i f i c e , and th is recognit ion i s followed by a v is ion of "the Lamb of God" descending to enter the poem's action for the f i r s t time. Night VII (a) ends with Los and Enitharmon creat ing works of art which prepare the way for the real Incarnation which occurs in Night VI I I . Night VII (a) begins with the confrontation of Ur izen, completing the process of explor ing his dens, and Ore, c ruc i f i ed as in Night V. Urizen recognizes the " t h r i l l i n g joys of sense" which Ore experiences but he does not understand them, for the joy he knows is e i ther i l l u s o r y , or made possible only by the suf fer ing of others: Sure thou ar t bathd in r ivers of del ight on verdant f i e lds Walking in joy in br ight Expanses sleeping on br ight clouds With v is ions of del ight so lovely that they urge thy rage Tenfold with f ie rce desire to rend thy chain & .howl in fury And dim ob l iv ion of a l l woe & desperate repose Or is thy joy founded on torment which others bear for thee (78:36-41, E347) This l as t quest ion, as Harold Bloom.points out, i nd i rec t l y reveals Ur izen's fear that "Ore's torment should prove v i ca r ious , a suf fer ing for the salvat ion of others." For Ur izen, as the "God / Of a l l th is dreadful ru in" (79:23-4, E348), has a vested in teres t in preventing others from achieving salvat ion through Ore's s a c r i f i c e , since th is would mean the loss of his hegemony. The facts that Urizen i den t i f i es himself as God and that Ore is described in terms appropriate to the c ruc i f i ed Chr is t - -"Lo my feet & hands are na i ld to the burning rock" (79:1, E347; repeated in 79:17) - - indicates that Blake i s here presenting 141 yet another parody of Ch r i s t ' s c r u c i f i x i o n , one in which a p r i es t l y deity sac r i f i ces his v ic t im to perpetuate the wor ld 's fa l l en condi t ion. Ur izen's anxiety about the s i tua t ion i s i n tens i f i ed when he rea l izes that Ore i s Luvah, fo r Luvah (another Eternal) represents a real threat to him. To the notion of a Chr is t -f igure who i s c ruc i f i ed fo r a s e l f i s h father i s then added that of a rebel l ious Chr is t who even adopts a Satanic appearance: And Ore began to Organize a Serpent body Despising Urizens l i gh t & turning i t in to flaming f i r e Recieving as a poisond Cup Recieves the heavenly wine And turning af fect ion into fury & thought into abstract ion A Se l f consuming dark devourer r i s i ng into the heavens (80:44-8, E349) Ore's response to Urizen here, expressed mainly through the 37 parody of the communion s a c r i f i c e , makes i t impossible f o r the reader to view his c ruc i f i x i on as redemptive or exemplary in any way. Ore's energy i s " S e l f consuming," aimed at destruct ion rather than regeneration. On the other hand, Ur izen's own act ion is equally f u t i l e and s e l f i s h : he made Ore In Serpent form compelld st retch out & up the mysterious tree He sufferd him to Climb that he might draw a l l human forms Into submission to his w i l l nor knew the dread resu l t (81:3-6, E349) Taking advantage of Ore's se l f -de l us ion , . Urizen i s able to control his v ic t im 's response in such a way that Ore, in drawing " a l l human forms into submission to his w i l l , does not know the "dread resu l t " : that Urizen i s using the c ruc i f i x i on s i tua t ion to main-tain control of the "dreadful ru in" which i s the fa l l en world. 142 W. H. Stevenson has pointed out that the passage contains references to two verses in John's Gospel: "And as Moses l i f t e d up the serpent in the wi lderness, even so must the Son of man be l i f t e d up" (3.14) and "And I, i f I be l i f t e d up from the ear th , w i l l draw op a l l men unto me" (12.32). The context of Night VII (a) makes both a l lus ions extremely i r on i c . Urizen l i f t s up Ore not, as in John, "That whosoever bel ieveth in him should not per i sh , but have eternal l i f e " (3.15), but rather so that l i f e may continue to l i v e upon death. S i m i l a r l y , Ore draws a l l men to him not. in order to save them but so that they may suf fe r the "dread resul t " of l i v i n g under Ur izen's domination. In t h i s , the l a s t parody of the Cruc i f i x i on in The Four Zoas, then, Urizen and Ore appear as car icatures of the Father and Jesus in the New Testament, each s e l f i s h l y concerned to express his own w i l l to power, neither in terested in redeeming the world. The movement towards redemption begins l a t e r in Night VII (a ) , with an incident involv ing a d i f ferent group of characters, 39 Los, Enitharmon, and the Spectre of Urthona. The movement begins when the characters acknowledge t he i r own need for redemption; however, redemption cannot occur through the i r own power. What i s possible for them is the making of gestures of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e : Los embracd the Spectre f i r s t as a brother Then as another S e l f ; astonishd humanizing & in tears In Se l f absement Giving up his Domineering lus t (85:29-31, E353) Such a gesture cannot in i t s e l f make i t possible for the characters involved to transcend t he i r fa l lenness , but i t does bring to a hal t the process that moves in the opposite d i rec t i on . No longer does i t seem necessary for the endless chain of s a c r i f i c e to continue. The exp lo i t e r ' s l i f e need not depend upon his v ic t im 's death, as Los proclaims the v is ionary a l te rna t ive : "I w i l l quel l my fury & teach / Peace to the Soul of dark revenge & repentance to Cruelty" (86:11-12, E354). But Los i s unable to convince Enitharmon that th is i s a feas ib le course of ac t ion , fo r her sense of her own fal lenness runs much deeper. She has eaten the "ruddy f r u i t " of the Tree of Mystery: I t was by that I knew that I had Sinnd & then I knew That without a ransom I could not.be savd from Eternal death That L i f e l i ves upon Death & by devouring appetite A l l things subs is t on one another thenceforth in Despair (87:17-20, E354) Enitharmon knows that she i s incapable of saving herse!,f, and knows too that the fa l l en world i s governed by the psychology of s a c r i f i c e ; as in The Book of Ur izen, l i f e l i ves upon death. She therefore cannot envisage the "ransom" which might save her from "Eternal death," and inv i tes Los, "Eat thou also of / The f r u i t & give me proof of l i f e Eternal or I die" (87:22-3, E354). Los does as she asks, and he'too experiences despair. His desire to replace revenge and cruel ty with peace and repentance has been thwarted; in himself,, 'he lacks the power to break the chain of s a c r i f i c e . But i t i s at th is point that Jesus, the Lamb of God, reappears 144 Los sees him in a v i s i o n , and ca l l s out to Enitharmon: "Turn inwardly thine Eyes & there behold the Lamb of God / Clothed in Luvahs robes of blood descending to redeem" (87:44-5, E355). For the f i r s t t ime, Jesus prepares to enter the poem's ac t ion , although the way in which he is to redeem the fa l l en world i s not made c lea r at th is point. Enitharmon then sees the v i s i o n , but disagrees that the Lamb of God's mission involves redemption: Enitharmon answered I behold the Lamb of God descending To Meet these Spectres of the Dead I therefore fear that he Wi l l give us to Eternal Death (87:53-5, E355) This debate between Los and Enitharmon i s not immediately resolved, for Jesus has not completed his descent by the end of Night VII (a). However, Los and Enitharmon prepare for his coming by creating works of art . The sa l i en t feature of these vis ionary works i s that they present images of a world in which acts of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e have replaced the exp lo i ta t ion of the v ic t im by his tormentor. Thus Los describes his work as a "comfort" to those in the fa l l en wor ld, not the agency by which that world i s to be transformed: Stern desire I feel to fabr icate embodied semblances in which the dead May l i v e before us in our palaces & in our gardens of labour Which now opend wi th in the Center we behold spread abroad To form a world of Sac r i f i ce of brothers & sons & daughters To comfort Ore in his dire suffer ings (90:8-13, E356) " S a c r i f i c e " here means s e l f - s a c r i f i c e . (Erdman notes — E757 - -that Blake o r i g i n a l l y wrote " l i f e & love" instead of " S a c r i f i c e . " ) In the world Los creates in his a r t , then, acts such as his own gesture of " S e l f abasement" in uni t ing with the Spectre w i l l be presented as central to a t ru ly humanized existence. The audience for these works of art - - the "Spectres of the Dead" who " rav in / Without the food of l i f e " (87:37-8, E355) — w i l l at l a s t see an a l ternat ive to the i ns t i t u t i on of victimhood. They are now devourers, exp lo i te rs , as Los points out: "They feed upon our l i f e we are the i r v ict ims" (90:8, E358); however, Enttharmon agrees that change is poss ib le : fabr icate forms sublime Such as the piteous spectres may assimi late themselves into They sha l l be ransoms for our Souls that we may l i ve (90:22-4, E356) This l as t l ine seems to suggest that Los and Enitharmon are merely to assume the role of exp lo i ters themselves. Certa in ly the i r motive is essen t ia l l y s e l f i s h , since the goal of the i r a r t i s t i c endeavours i s se l f -p reserva t ion . There i s considerable irony in the fact that Los creates works of ar t whose theme is s e l f - s a c r i f i c e , but does i t out of s e l f - i n t e r e s t . However, Los and Enitharmon soon become committed to the i r creations and are unwi l l ing to regard them as merely a "ransom," a means by which the i r own l i ves are to be preserved: But Los loved them & refusd to Sac r i f i ce the i r in fant limbs And Enitharmons smiles & tears preva i ld over s e l f protect ion They rather chose to meet Eternal death than to destroy The of fspr ing of the i r Care & P i ty (90:50-3, E357) I r on i ca l l y , a r t i s t i c creation has become an act of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e , 146 despite the or ig ina l intent ions of the creators. The Spectre of Urthona and the Spectres of the Dead have thus both been given new l i f e through Los's s e l f - s a c r i f i c e . But Los has acted spontaneously in both cases, and the consequences of his acts have come as a surpr ise to him. When he embraces the Spectre of Urthona, i t is "astonishd humanizing & in tears" (85: 30, E353); when he creates his works of a r t , the resu l t is equally unexpected: "S ta r t led was Los he found his Enemy Urizen now / In his hands, he wonderd that he f e l t love & not hate" (90:64-5, E357). Although both acts point the way to redemption, Los has not had a c lear sense of d i r ec t i on , nor has redemption been achieved by the end of the Night. For Los to embrace the Spectre, and to feel love fo r his creations does not a l t e r the fact that he ex is ts in a world in which acts of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e are happy •A + 40 acci dents. By the end of Night VII (a ) , then, redemption has not yet ar r ived. Los 's accomplishments have been real but l im i ted . I t remains for the Lamb of God to complete his descent and per-form the act of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e which w i l l make i t possible for men to enjoy an unfal len existence once again. In Night V I I I , Jesus, the Lamb of God, descends to earth and dies as the v ic t im in a s a c r i f i c i a l r i t e much l i k e the c ruc i f i x ions of Ore and Luvah e a r l i e r in the poem. In f ac t , the pr ies t - f igures who preside over th is s a c r i f i c e are unable to discern any di f ference at a l l . But the Lamb of God is unique 147 among the various s a c r i f i c i a l vict ims in The Four Zoas in that his suf fer ing and death has redemptive power. Blake defines the nature of th is power when he describes the purpose of the Lamb's incarnat ion: to awake up in to Eden The fa l l en Man but f i r s t to Give his vegetated body To be cut o f f & separated that his Sp i r i t ua l body may be Reveald (104:36-8, E363) To restore " f a l l e n Man" to his unfal len state (Eden) i s the ult imate goal . Blake explains the e f f i cacy of the Lamb's s a c r i f i c e in terms of two re la ted ideas, g i f t and reve la t ion. Only Jesus, of a l l the vict ims in The Four Zoas, f ree ly gives his body to be c ruc i f i ed . This i s obvious enough in the cases of Ore and Luvah, but the Lamb of God's act of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e i s unique even in comparison to those of Los in Night VII (a). For Los's act in embracing the Spectre "as another Se l f " is something he does spontaneously in an attempt to overcome his own fa l lenness ; s i m i l a r l y , his motivation in creat ing works of ar t i s rooted in s e l f - i n t e r e s t , as he wishes to protect himself and Enitharmon from the ravages of the "piteous spectres." But the Lamb of God has no fal lenness of his own to overcome, and no need to free himself from the role of v ic t im. The act by which he accepts the l im i ta t ions of the "vegetated body" and then gives that body to be "cut o f f & separated" i s a g i f t to.those who are bound by the i r roles as pr iests and v ic t ims. In performing th is act , the Lamb of God causes the "Sp i r i t ua l body" to be revealed. It i s prec ise ly by the death of his "vegetated body" that th is occurs. The " reve la t ion" of the Sp i r i t ua l body is thus, in a sense, simply the revelat ion that the vegetated body of Jesus i_s a g i f t , with a l l that th is impl ies: namely that there ex is ts an unfal len world in which s e l f - s a c r i f i c e i s the governing e th ica l p r i nc i p l e . Therefore the s a c r i f i c e of the Lamb of God reveals both the corruption of the f a l l en world and the glory of the un fa l len , because the one can at l as t be measured against the other. The death of Jesus, who vo lun tar i l y bears Luvah's sorrows and receives his cruel wounds (105:55-6, E364), reveals by contrast the sel f ishness which informs the psychology of s a c r i f i c e in the fa l l en world: "the Temple & the Synagogue of Satan & Mystery" (106:40, E365 ) . 4 1 The Lamb of God's s a c r i f i c e i s redemptive because those who understand i t s s ign i f i cance can choose to perform s im i l a r acts of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e in the i r own l i v e s . By w i l l i n g l y accepting one's role as v i c t im , one transforms the s i tua t ion in which victimhood occurs. The transformation occurs because such acceptan demonstrates the existence of p r inc ip les other than those.which govern the struggles of the spectres who inhabit "vegetated bodies. To die such a death i s to put o f f morta l i ty by iden t i f y ing oneself with the Divine Lamb who remains immortal and unfal len despite his death in the fa l l en wor ld, for " A l l mortal things" are made permanent that they may be put of f Time af ter time by the Divine Lamb who died for a l l And a l l in him died. & he put of f a l l morta l i ty (107:36-8, E368) 149 The d i f f i c u l t y with th is plan of salvat ion is that i t i s open to mis in terpretat ion. Ur izen, Tirzah and Rahab, the major p r i es t -f igures in Night V I I I , are a l l unable to grasp the s ign i f i cance of the Lamb of God's s a c r i f i c e . Jerusalem herse l f , a f igure Bloom iden t i f i es as "the s p i r i t u a l l i be r t y of mankind," and 42 Stevenson as "the sum of a l l l os t souls seeking redemption," is deluded by Rahab at. the end of the Night. This prepares for the apocalypt ic conclusion to the poem in Night IX. Night VIII begins with another v is ion of Jesus perceived by Los and Enitharmon. Jesus i s again i den t i f i ed as the saviour , and the fa l l en Man begins to revive as he l i e s "In the saviours arms, in the arms of tender mercy & lov ing kindness" (99:14, E357). However, as at the end of Night VII (a ) , Jesus has not yet descended to the fa l l en world. Los and Enitharmon produce works of ar t which allow the Daughters of Beulah to experience the i r own v is ion of "the Saviour Even Jesus" (100:10, E358), appearing "beyond the P i t of death & destruct ion" (100:13, E358). the purpose of th is introductory sect ion seems to be to indicate that the prophet -ar t is t has a v a l i d but l imi ted role in the redemptive process. He i s insp i red by a v is ion of eternal truth - -"Then A l l in Great Etern i ty Met in the Council of God / as one Man Even Jesus" (99:1-2, E357) — and can communicate that v is ion to others, in th is case the Daughters of Beulah. But in thei, context of The Four Zoas, the a r t i s t i s not the saviour. The Lamb of.God becomes incarnate through the works of Los and 150 Enitharmon, but he is not the i r creat ion. Their works are the means by which Jesus manifests himsel f , much as the b i b l i c a l God spoke through his prophets. Los and Enitharmon maintain an at t i tude of humil i ty as they continue with the i r task: "Wondring with love & Awe they f e l t the divine hand upon them" (99:18, E357). The central sect ion of Night VIII consists of a ser ies of three pairs of contrast ing v is ions of s a c r i f i c e . The f i r s t member of each pa i r emphasizes the fa i l u re of the p r ies t - f i gu re (Ur izen, T i rzah , Rahab) to understand the nature of the Lamb's redemptive act of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e . .The second member presents a contrast ing vis ion, which reveals the Lamb's paradoxical triumph. In the l as t of these v i s i ons , Jesus i s c r u c i f i e d , and his work of sa lvat ion i s at l as t accomplished for a l l to see. In the f i r s t , Urizen perceives the presence of the Lamb of God but i s unable to comprehend i t s s ign i f i cance . The sequence of events which connects the two allows the reader to see c lear ly how Jesus d i f fe rs from the other s a c r i f i c i a l vict ims in Blake's poetry to th is point . Ur izen's response to his i n i t i a l v i s ion of "the Lamb of God clothed in Luvahs robes" (101:1, E358) i s to perform an act which i s the mirror image of the Lamb's act of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e . His ins ight into the re la t ion between the Lamb of God and Luvah inspi res him to adopt the role of p r ies t again, and make Los and Enitharmon his v ic t ims , "To undermine the World of Los & tear br ight Enitharmon / To the four winds" (100:34-101:30, E359). The s a c r i f i c e takes the form of war. Ur izen, as usua l , is con-cerned pr imar i ly with se l f -p reserva t ion , his goal being to "avert / H i s own despair even at the cost of every thing that breathes" (101:21-2, E360). However, he f a i l s to do t h i s , because he i s inf luenced by Vala 's lament for Luvah. Vala incor rec t ly i den t i f i es Jesus as Luvah's murderer: "I see the murderer of my Luvah clothd in robes of blood / He who assumd my Luvahs throne in times of 43 Ever last ing" (103:3-4, E360). Her " tears of sorrow incessant" (103:25, E361) cause Ur izen 's Web of Rel ig ion to f a l l upon him-s e l f , with the resu l t that his struggle to destroy the world of Los and Enitharmon ends in a parody of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e : "Himself tangled in his own net in sorrow lus t repentance" (103:31, E361). He has been unable e i ther to avert his own despair or to harm Los and Enitharmon; neither he nor Vala has understood the v is ion of the Lamb of God clothed in Luvah's robes. The counterpart to th is story of f u t i l i t y and confusion i s provided by the v is ion of Jesus which appears in the "inmost deep recess / Of f a i r Jerusalems bosom" (104:3-4, E361): Then sang the Sons of Eden round the Lamb of God & said Glory Glory Glory to the holy Lamb of God Who now beginneth to put of f the dark Satanic body Now we behold redemption Now we know that l i f e Eternal Depends alone upon the Universal hand & not in us (104:5-9, E361-2) Redemption consists in put t ing .o f f "the dark Satanic body." In th is context, the word "Satanic" refers pr imar i ly to the 152 warfare which Urizen had i n i t i a t e d : T e r r i f i e d & astonishd Urizen beheld the bat t le take a form Which he intended not a Shadowy hermaphrodite black & opake The Soldiers namd i t Satan but he was yet unformd & vast (101:33-5, E359) The "dark Satanic body" i s thus the ba t t l e , which i s , as we have seen, a form of the i ns t i t u t i on of s a c r i f i c e : the means by which Urizen wishes to make vict ims of Los and Enitharmon. To put o f f th is body i s , therefore, to re ject the i ns t i t u t i on of s a c r i f i c e as such, not merely to move from the role of v ic t im to p r ies t . But i t i s not c l ea r , at th is point in Night V I I I , exact ly how the Lamb of God is to accomplish t h i s . In the next .v is ion of s a c r i f i c e , Rahab makes her f i r s t appearance as a p r i es t - f i gu re . She i s a tor turer much l i k e the Vala of Night I I , who presides over the a f f l i c t i o n s of Luvah in the furnaces. Here, however, the Lamb of God i s the v i c t im , and the emphasis i s placed upon Rahab's i n a b i l i t y both to achieve her goal and to understand what i s in fact occurr ing: But thou 0 Universal Humanity who i s One Man blessed for Ever Recievest the Integuments woven Rahab beholds the Lamb of God She smites with her knife of f l i n t She destroys her own work . Times upon times th inking to destroy the Lamb blessed for Ever He puts o f f the c loth ing of blood he redeems the spectres from thei r bonds He awakes the sleepers in Ulro the Daughters of Beulah praise him They anoint his feet with ointment they wipe them with the ha i r of thei r head (113:31-7, E362) Rahab's intent ion i s to "destroy the Lamb blessed for Ever," but she is unable to grasp the truth that the act by which she does th is i s the act by which Jesus performs his redemptive work. Just as Ur izen, e a r l i e r in the Night, becomes entangled in his own Web, so Rahab "destroys her own work." Again Blake makes the point that the presence of the Lamb of God powerfully transforms the i ns t i t u t i on of s a c r i f i c e , in such a way that the v i c t im , even in death, triumphs over the p r ies t . Again, however, the Way in which the Lamb does th is i s l e f t unexplained. The v ic tory of Jesus is proclaimed, but i t s essence has not yet been revealed. It i s in the v is ion which contrasts with Rahab's s a c r i f i c e of the Lamb that we f i n a l l y learn what the essent ia l features of the Lamb's s a c r i f i c e are. As Los describes to Enitharmon the v is ion he has experienced, we discover that Rahab with her knife of f l i n t (or whoever else may be responsible for the Lamb's death) i s merely an unwitt ing instrument of the divine purpose. In the key passage discussed e a r l i e r in th is sec t ion , we f ind that !the Lamb's s a c r i f i c e may best be understood in terms of the concepts of g i f t and reve la t ion: Los sa id to Enitharmon P i t y ing I saw P i ty ing the Lamb of God Descended thro Jerusalems gates To put o f f Mystery time a f te r time & as a Man Is born on Earth so was he born of Fair .Jerusalem In mysterys woven mantle & in the Robes of Luvah He stood in f a i r Jerusalem to awake up into Eden The fa l l en Man but f i r s t to Give his vegetated body To be cut o f f & separated that the Sp i r i t ua l body may be Reveald (104:31-8, E363) What i s emphasized here i s the Lamb's free choice in al lowing himself to be born "as a Man / Is born on Earth" and thereby assuming the role of v ic t im. The function of the p r ies t is r e l a t i ve l y unimportant; Rahab (or Urizen) i s not even mentioned. 154 The d i s t i nc t i on between "vegetated body" and "Sp i r i t ua l body" indicates that there i s a dimension of rea l i t y involved in the Lamb's s a c r i f i c e which i s not perceived by Rahab. What i s , for the p r i es t - f i gu re , another expression of the psychology of v ic t im-hood at work in the fa l l en wor ld, i s , for the person able to share Los's v i s i o n , the redemptive act which makes that psychology obsolete. The l as t pa i r of v is ions c l a r i f i e s the d i s t i nc t ion between the vegetated and s p i r i t u a l bodies, by means of the Cruc i f i x ion story. Rahab with her kni fe of f l i n t can destroy only the vegetated body. In th is part of Night V I I I , this notion i s elaborated both in terms of the Gospel accounts.of the Cruc i f i x ion of Jesus - -"Urizen c a l l d together the Synagogue of Satan in dire Sanhedrin / To Judge the Lamb of God to Death as a murderer & robber" (105: 5-6, E363)—- end in terms of the destruction of the physical body in a r i t ua l conducted by Rahab, Tirzah and the "Daughters of Amalek": Go Noah fetch the g i rd le of strong brass heat i t red hot Press i t around the lo ins of th is expanding cruel ty Shriek not so my only love Bind him down S is ters bind him down on Ebal mount of Cursing Mai ah come forth from Lebanon & Hog!ah from Mount s ina i Come circumscribe th is tongue of sweets & with a Screw of i ron Fasten th is Ear into the Rock Milcah the task is thine Weep not so s i s te rs weep not so our l i f e depends on th is Or mercy & truth are f l ed away from Shechem & Mount Gi lead Unless my beloved i s bound upon the Stems of Vegetation (105:44-53, E364) Again we see the delusion of the p r ies t - f i gu res ("our l i f e depends on t h i s " ) ; but th is time the physical suf fer ing of the v ic t im i s 155 described with greater in tens i ty and in more d e t a i l . Of the three v is ions which present the attempts of the pr iests to maintain t he i r dominion over the fa l l en world by s a c r i f i c i n g a v i c t im , th is one seems most strongly to stress the fact that they have appeared to triumph. The "song of the Females of Amalek" (from which the above quotation i s excerpted) presents the v ic t im himself as en t i re l y quiescent and passive. I f the v ic t im were only Luvah, appearance would no doubt be in correspondence with r e a l i t y . But th is v ic t im i s the Lamb of God himself , although he has taken on the role which has to th is point in the poem been Luvah's. This f i na l v is ion of the Lamb as redeemer contrasts with the two.ear l ie r ones. The song of the Sons of Eden (104:5-9, E361-2) and Los's visiion of the Lamb descending (104:31-8, E363) both emphasize the v ic tory of Jesus but omit mention of his suf fer ings. Now, however, Blake presents the two as inseparable. The Lamb's triumph occurs in the midst of his su f fe r ings , at p rec ise ly the point at which his defeat, in the eyes of the wor ld, is most ignominious: The Lamb of God descended thro the twelve portions of Luvah Bearing his sorrows and rec[ iev] ing a l l his cruel wounds Thus was the Lamb of God condemnd to Death They na i ld him upon the tree of Mystery weeping over him And then mocking & then worshipping ca l l i ng him Lord & King I t i s most s i gn i f i can t that the Lamb f ree ly accepts the role of Luvah in th is s i t u a t i o n ; and i t i s c lear that Rahab and the other p r ies t - f igu res do not recognize his true nature. Af ter his death, (105:55-106:3, E364-5 Rahab smites him with her knife of f l i n t , and the real meaning of the e a r l i e r descr ipt ion of her action ("She destroys her own work") becomes c lea r : But when Rahab had cut o f f the Mantle of Luvah from The Lamb of God i t r o l l d apart , reveal ing to a l l in heaven And a l l on Earth the Temple & the Synagogue of Satan & Mystery Even Rahab in a l l her turpitude (113:38-41, E365) This revelat ion of the nature of the Lamb d i f fe rs from the e a r l i e r v is ions granted to the Sons of Eden and 'to Los and Enitharmon in that i t i s pub l i c , revealed to " a l l i n heaven / And a l l on ear th . " I r o n i c a l l y , Rahab's own action resul ts in the unvei l ing of the truth that Luvah and the Lamb of God are not i d e n t i c a l , and that i t i s the Lamb who has been c ruc i f i ed in Luvah's place. Contrary to what she had be l ieved, his death was an act of s e l f - s a c r i f i ce, redemptive because i t reveals the extent of the Lamb's love for f a l l en man, and the l im i ted nature of the power of Satan and Rahab (that i s , the power animating the i ns t i t u t i on of s a c r i f i c e ) in the fa l l en world. I t remains only for the other major characters in the poem to perceive th is truth and apply i t to the i r own l i ves for the apocalypse to occur. Jerusalem, however, f a i l s to perceive the s ign i f i cance of the Lamb's s a c r i f i c e : Jerusalem saw the Body dead upon the Cross She f l ed away Saying Is th is Eternal Death Where sha l l I hide from Death P i ty me Los p i ty me Urizen & l e t us bu i ld A Sepulcher & worship Death in fear while yet we l i v e Death ! God of A l l from whom we r i se to whom we a l l return (106:7-11, E365) Even a f ter Rahab's true nature has been revealed, Jerusalem is unable to free herse l f from th is new bondage. By the end of Night V I I I , she has become completely subject to Rahab's domination Rahab triumphs over a l l she took Jerusalem Captive A Wi l l i ng Captive by delusive arts impelld To worship Urizens Dragon from to o f fe r her own Children Upon the bloody A l ta r . (111:1-4, E371) Jerusalem, in whose bosom the Lamb of God has appeared " i n a gently beaming f i r e " (104:4, E361), has degenerated into a p r i es t -f i gu re , and t h i s , fo r B lake, i s a powerful image of the s p i r i t u a l degeneration which has character ized the Chr is t ian era. In h i s t o r i c a l terms, Jerusalem's er ror i s responsible for the unnecessari ly lengthy period between the Cruc i f i x ion and the apocalypse, a period during which she has "wept over the Sepulcher two thousand Years" (110:33, E371). Only in the Ninth Night does the true nature of the re la t ion between these two events become apparent. Neither Jerusalem nor Jesus plays a central role in the Ninth Night, but, in the opening lines,-Biliake does provide an explanation of the connection between the poem's l as t two Nights. Jerusalem is now to be understood pr imar i ly in her role as c i t y rather than woman, and dramatic attent ion i s focused on Los and Enitharmon as bu i lders : And Los & Enitharmon bui1ded Jerusalem weeping Over the Sepulcher & over the Cruc i f ied body Which to the i r Phantom Eyes appear'd s t i l l in the Sepulcher But Jesus stood beside them in the S p i r i t Separating Their S p i r i t from the i r body. (117:1-5, E371) 158 Jesus' s a c r i f i c e has enabled him to insp i re them to perform the same work in themselves as ind iv iduals that he had accomplished during his incarnat ion in Night VI I I , when He stood in f a i r Jerusalem to awake up in to Eden The fa l l en Man but f i r s t to Give his vegetated body To be cut o f f & separated that the Sp i r i t ua l body may be Reveald (104:36-8, E363) Further evidence that there i s a d i rec t connection between Jesus' act of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e and the dest in ies of the ind iv idual Zoas i s provided by a deleted l i ne o r i g i n a l l y intended to fol low 104:37: "And then ca l l Urizen & Luvah & Tharmas & Urthona" (E759). In Night IX, then, Jesus has already performed the act of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e essent ia l fo r the redemption of the wor ld ; his new role i s to insp i re the Zoas to give the i r own vegetated 44 bodies that t he i r s p i r i t u a l bodies may be revealed. This act of giv ing does not involve the fo r fe i tu re of the i r l i v e s ; no repet i t ion of the Cruc i f i x ion i s necessary. What i s required from the Zoas i s , ra ther , a gesture of a l legiance to the Lamb, a dedicat ion.of the i r l i v e s . However, only three of the four Zoas do, in f ac t , make such a gesture. In Night IX, Los, Urizen and Tharmas a l l help to bring Jesus' work to i t s f i na l f r u i t i o n by re ject ing the psychology of f a l l e n s a c r i f i c e and embracing the new, redemptive pattern establ ished in Night VI I I . But Luvah f a i l s to respond to the Lamb's work of sa lva t ion . When he has at l a s t been l ibera ted from the role of v ic t im ( in which he has been imprisoned for most 159 of the poem), he adopts the role of p r i es t l y tor turer . His function in Night IX pa ra l l e l s Rahab's in the preceding Night: he unwitt ingly ass is ts in the process that leads to redemption for others. But his rebel l iousness resul ts in his separation from the other Zoas. There is no place loV him in the poem's f i na l v is ion of a regenerated wor ld, although, as we sha l l see, provis ion is made fo r his eventual return. As noted in the discussion of Night VI I I , the essent ia l charac ter is t i cs of Jesus' s a c r i f i c e are that i t i s a g i f t to the inhabitants of the fa l l en wor ld, and that i t provides them with reve la t ion . Jesus "Came & Died w i l l i n g beneath Tirzah & Rahab" (115:50, E366) and his death reveals both the fal lenness of the world of the vegetated body and (by contrast) the glory of the s p i r i t u a l body. In Night IX, Los, Urizen and Tharmas a l l imitate Jesus by performing an act of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e which i s accompanied by an apocalypt ic v i s ion . The common source of these v is ions i s the Book of Revelat ion, and the i r theme is l ibera t ion from the bondage of the fa l l en world. The Ninth Night opens with Los and Enitharmon weeping over Jesus' corpse, unaware that he is standing beside them " in the Spi r i t " : T e r r i f i e d at Non Existence For such they deemd the death of the body. Los his vegetable hands Outstretchd his r ight hand branching out in f ibrous Strength Siezd the Sun. His l e f t hand l i ke dark roots coverd the Moon And tore them down cracking the heavens across from immense to immense (117:5-9, E371-2) 160 Los's attempt to destroy the physical universe is a gesture of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e because he bel ieves i t w i l l lead to his own destruct ion. The gesture i s rooted in despair , but is a genuine act of s e l f -giv ing since he does not attempt to gain anything for himself by i t . Because he believes that Jesus has entered the state of "Non Exis tence," and because l i f e without Jesus (that i s , wi th-out hope of redemption) would be worthless, Los begins to dismantle the vegetable cosmos with his own "vegetable hands." This has an unexpected resu l t : Then f e l l the f i r es of Etern i ty with loud & s h r i l l Sound of Loud Trumpet thundering along from heaven to heaven A mighty sound a r t i cu la te Awake ye dead & come To Judgment (117:10-13, E372) There fol lows a v is ion based on the Revelation motif of the mi l lenn ia l kingdom, as humanity shakes of f the chains of p o l i t i c a l and s p i r i t u a l oppression. Just as the Lamb's s a c r i f i c e in Night VIII revealed both "the Synagogue of Satan & Mystery" and (by impl icat ion) the glory of his own s p i r i t u a l body, Los 's v is ion reveals the extent of the fa l len world's degradation, and provides a glimpse of the world which i s to replace i t . Unlike the case of the v is ion in Night V I I I , however, fal lenness is revealed only as i t i s in the process of destruct ion. Fallenness is here again epitomized by the "Synagogue of Satan & Mystery," though i t i s expressed in other types of imagery (espec ia l ly that of p o l i t i c a l tyranny) as w e l l : 161 In the f ie rce flames the limbs of Mystery lay consuming with howling And deep despair. Rat t l ing go up the flames around the Synagogue Of Satan Loud the Serpent Ore ragd thro his twenty Seven Folds. The tree of Mystery went up in fo ld ing flames (119:1-4, E373) The consuming f i r es make i t possible for a redeemed humanity to enjoy the glory of the mil lennium: From the c lo t ted gore & from the hollow den Star t forth the trembling mi 11 ions into flames of mental f i r e Bathing the i r Limbs in the br ight v is ions of Eterni ty (119:21-3, E373) Ur izen's experience follows the pattern establ ished by Los. By th is point in the poem, he has degenerated in to a "dragon of the Deeps" (120:51, E375). But when the Eternal Man ca l l s on him to repent, he does so, renouncing his s e l f i s h plans to organize the world according to " f u tu r i t y . " Futur i ty i s the notion that joy must always be postponed unt i l the advent of some nebulous Utopian e ra , and that , in the meantime, we must labour in misery in order to prepare for i t . Since Urizen has ordered his own l i f e according to th is myth, his decision to re ject i t const i tutes an act of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e which pa ra l l e l s Los 's attempt to destroy the universe: Then Go 0 dark fu tu r i t y I w i l l cast thee forth from these Heavens of my brain nor w i l l I look upon fu tur i ty more I cast fu tu r i t y away & turn my back upon that void Which I have made for lo fu tu r i t y is in this moment (121:19-22, E375-6) The immediate resul t of th is declarat ion i s the resurrect ion of Ahania, Ur izen 's emanation. Although she dies again almost ins tant ly - - through "Excess of Joy" (121:36, E376) - - even this 162 i s a hopeful s i gn , as the Eternal Man prophesies that br ight Ahania sha l l awake from death A glorious Vis ion to thine Eyes . . . . . . Regenerate She & a l l the lovely Sex From her sha l l learn obedience & prepare for a wintry grave That spr ing may see them r ise in tenfold joy & sweet del ight (122:6-7, 12-14, E376) Ahania's death i s thus a sign of the restorat ion of the unfal len world of Eden, in which the emanations engage in continual s e l f -. . . 45 s a c n f i ce. The episode of Ahania's resurrect ion and death i s followed by an apocalyptic v is ion which, l i ke that of Los, i s based on a motif taken from the Book of Revelat ion. Ur izen's v is ion is centred, appropr iate ly, on the resurrect ion of the dead. Again the desolation of man's fa l l en state i s juxtaposed with the glory of the coming of the Kingdom. Tyrants, p r i e s t s , merchants and warriors are attacked by the i r v ic t ims. In a pa r t i cu la r l y s t a r t l i n g image, "the chi ldren of s i x thousand years / Who died in infancy" enjoy the i r revenge as they "Rend limb from limb the Warrior & the tyrant" who, since death i s no more, keep " reuni t ing in pain" (123:7-8, 10, E377). There i s , of course, irony in the fact that the earthly vict ims have now become torturers in the i r turn, not having learned to forg ive. Jesus arr ives in the midst of a confrontation between an unjust judge and his former pr isoner: And af ter the flames appears the Cloud of the Son of.Man Descending from Jerusalem with power and great Glory A l l nations look up to the Cloud & behold him who was Cruc i f ied The Prisoner answers you scourgd my father to death before my face 163 While I stood bound with cords & heavy chains, your h ipocr isy Shal l now avai l you nought. So speaking he dashd him with his foot (123:27-32, E378) But the v is ion concludes with a powerful image of g lo ry , as the four l i v i n g creatures around the heavenly throne are described: "Fourfo ld each in the other re f lec ted they are named L i f e ' s in Etern i ty / Four Starry Universes going forward from Etern i ty to Etern i ty" (123:38-9, E378). Tharmas, too, imitates the Lamb's pattern of s e l f - g i v i n g , although in his case there i s a longer period between the i n i t i a l gesture of s a c r i f i c e and the v is ion which that gesture insp i res . Desir ing reunion with Enion, his emanation, he renounces his power over the seas of the fa l l en wor ld , an act which pa ra l l e l s Ur izen 's re ject ion of f u tu r i t y : "Ar ise 0 Enion ar ise for Lo I have calmd my seas" (129:27, E383). Tharmas has since Night I i den t i f i ed himself with the chaot ic energy of the oceans; his re ject ion of that ident i ty here s i g n i f i e s his wi l l ingness to enter into a harmonious re la t ionship with his fel low l i v i n g creatures. I t also prepares the way for his apocalypt ic v i s i o n , one based on the moti f of the overthrow of Mystery: Lo how the Pomp of Mystery goes down in to the Caves Her great men howl & throw the dust & rend the i r hoary ha i r Her del icate women & chi ldren shriek upon the b i t t e r wind Spoi ld of t he i r beauty the i r ha i r rent & the i r skin shr ive ld up (134:10-14, E387) Again the destruction of one aspect of the f a l l e n world i s presented simultaneously with a v is ion of the l ibe ra t ion of the oppressed, who now enter a redeemed existence: 164 Are these the Slaves that groand along the streets of Mystery Where are your bonds & task masters are these the prisoners Where are your chains where are your tears why do you look around I f you are th i r s ty there i s the r i ve r go bathe your parched limbs The good of a l l the Land i s before you for Mystery i s no more (134:25-9, E387) The las t of the four apocalypt ic v is ions in Night IX i s associated with Luvah. However, i t i s quite d i f fe rent from the others. Luvah performs no act of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e in imi ta t ion of Jesus. Instead, the Eternal Man simply assigns him the task of winemaking. Luvah's acceptance is described in a passage which has not received the attent ion i t deserves: Attempting to become more than Man We become less sa id Luvah As he arose from the br ight feast drunk with the wine of ages His crown of thorns f e l l from his head he hung his l i v i n g Lyre Behind the seat of the Eternal Man (135:21-4, E388) The f i r s t l ine has been interpreted as a sign that Luvah has recognized his e r ro r , that he can now act in accordance with 46 the teachings of Jesus. But Jesus, as we have seen, proclaims the gospel of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e . When Luvah allows his crown of thorns to f a l l from his head, he i s refusing to make the gesture of a l legiance to Jesus which the other three Zoas have already made. "Attempting to be more than man" i s a f a i r descr ipt ion of the way Luvah i s about to act.. In a. sequence based on the Revelation motif of the winepress of the wrath of God, he assumes the role of a p r i es t who indulges his passions to such an extent that he is led beyond the bounds of the :human. I t is in terest ing to note that he f i n a l l y does become less than human, "put for 165 dung on the ground by the Sons of Tharmas & Urthona" (137:24, E390). Unlike Los, Urizen and Tharmas, then, Luvah refuses to respond pos i t i ve l y to the Lamb's work of sa lva t ion . The apoca-l y p t i c v is ion with which his experience i s associated i s presented as a parody of the v is ions of the other Zoas. While theirs a l l centre on the image of a l ibera ted humanity, Luvah's presents an image of humanity enslaved and in torment: But in the Wine Presses the Human Grapes Sing not nor dance They howl & writhe in shoals of torment in f i e rce flames consuming In chains of i ron & in dungeons c i r c l e d with ceaseless f i r es In p i ts & dens & shades of death in shapes of torment & woe The Plates the Screws and Racks & Saws & cords & f i r es & floods The cruel joy of Luvahs daughters lacerat ing with knives And whipfs] t he i r Victims & the deadly sports of Luvahs sons (136:21-7, E389) Luvah and Vala together preside over th is scene of carnage. Their v ic t ims , the "Human Grapes," are ul t imately transformed: "But the Human Wine stood wondering in a l l t he i r de l igh t fu l Expanses / The Elements subside the heavens r o l l d on with vocal harmony" (137:32-3, E390). There i s a pa ra l l e l here with Rahab's s a c r i f i c e of the Lamb of God: She smites with her kni fe of f l i n t She destroys her own work Times upon times thinking to destroy the Lamb blessed for Ever He puts o f f the c loth ing of blood he redeems the spectres from the i r bonds (113:33-5, E362) Luvah and Vala (together with the i r sons and daughters) f ind a " c rue l joy" in tormenting and murdering the i r v ic t ims , yet the very acts by which they do th is are the acts which change the Human Grapes into Human Wine. Like the "Lamb blessed for Ever," 166 the Grapes are not destroyed; in both cases, t he i r to r tu rer i r o n i c a l l y performs the act which makes redemption poss ib le . In the f i na l pages of The Four Zoas, Blake care fu l l y describes a s i tua t ion in which Luvah is i so la ted from the other Zoas. F i r s t of a l l , the Eternal Man banishes Luvah and Vala to a "world of shadows" which i s probably to be i den t i f i ed with the Gardens of Va la , a place which has been ca l led a " land of doubts & shadows" (126:22, E380) and a "world of shadowy forms" (131:22, E385): Luvah & Vala woke & a l l the sons & daughters of Luvah Awoke they wept to one another & they reascended To the Eternal Man in woe he cast them wai l ing in to The world of shadows thro the a i r t i l l winter i s over & gone (137:28-31, E390) The las t phrase seems to indicate that the banishment i s to be only a temporary one, although nei ther Luvah nor Vala reappears before the end of the poem. Luvah's i so la t i on is a theme integrated into Blake's descr ipt ion of the communion s a c r i f i c e which marks the end of the fa l l en world. The Zoas produce from that world the bread and wine for a r i t ua l described by Frye as "the reuni t ing of a l l nature into the body 47 and blood of a universal Man." Luvah has sole respons ib i l i t y fo r the production of the wine (the sons of Tharmas and Urthona arr ive to separate the wine from the lees only a f ter Luvah and his family have been cast out; the other three Zoas work co-48 operat ively to bake the bread. F i n a l l y , Luvah i s absent from the v is ion of a redeemed cosmos with which the poem c loses , although Tharmas and Urthona are mentioned by name (138:33, 167 139:4-7, E391-2) and Urizen i s present as the "Plowman" (138:29, E 3 9 1 ) . 4 9 But Luvah's i so la t i on need not be considered i r revocable . E a r l i e r in the Ninth Night, Luvah and Vala have received th is warning from Ur izen , who has been delegated authori ty by the "Regenerate Man" (126:3): Luvah & Vala henceforth you are Servants obey & l i v e You sha l l forget your former state return 0 Hove in peace Into your place the place of seed not in the. brain or heart I f Gods combine against Man Set t ing the i r Dominion above The Human form Divine. Thrown down from the i r high Stat ion In the Eternal heavens of Human Imagination: buried beneath In dark ob l iv ion with incessant pangs ages on ages In Enmity & war f i r s t weakend then in stern repentance They must renew the i r brightness & the i r disorganizd functions Again reorganize t i l l they resume the image of the human Cooperating in the b l i s s of Man obeying his Wi l l Servants to the i n f i n i t e & Eternal of the Human form (126:6-17, E380) The wine-press sequence has shown Luvah and Vala attempting to set the i r dominion "above / The Human form Div ine. " The attempt has f a i l e d , jus t as Rahab's attempt to destroy the Lamb of God has f a i l e d . But Luvah and Vala are redeemable: the i r "s tern repentance" w i l l lead to t h e i r resumption of "the image of the human." Like the other Zoas, Luvah must make a gesture of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e ; he must renounce his own w i l l and become obedient to the w i l l of the Regenerate Man. When he has done t h i s , he w i l l presumably r i se to re jo in the other Zoas in t he i r experience of the reign of "sweet Science" (139:10, E392). E a r l i e r in th is chapter, I suggested that Blake's problem as an a r t i s t p a r a l l e l l e d that of the Grey Monk as a prophet. 168 Both have v is ions of a Golden Age, a world free from fear ; both rea l i ze that the world i s f a l l e n , the men who l i ve there impaled upon the stems of generation. How can a world characterized by fa l l en s a c r i f i c e be transformed into the Golden Age? The Grey Monk's impassioned but laconic proclamation of the power of widows and hermits foreshadows the more elaborate Christology of The Four Zoas. Men in the fa l l en world are s l a i n on the stems of generat ion, but i t i s in such s i tuat ions that the power to restore that world to i t s unfal len state manifests i t s e l f . More s p e c i f i c a l l y , Blake, during the course of the poem's composition, discovered a pos i t i ve meaning for s a c r i f i c e in the Cruc i f i x ion of Jesus. Support for th is in terpretat ion may be found in the textual c r i t i c i s m of G. E. Bent ley, J r . Bentley has establ ished that a l l the references to Jesus except those in Night VIII and those on 50 two pages of Night 11 are addit ions to the or ig ina l manuscript. I t seems, then, that Blake's f i r s t intent ion was to use the f igure of the v ic t im for i r o n i c purposes only (as in the case of the various parodies of the Cruc i f i x ion discussed above) . ^ However the impact of the notion of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e incarnate in the f igure of Jesus caused him to transtfoVm his o r ig ina l v is ion in a dramatic 52 way. The Mantle of Luvah, the garb of the perennial v ic t im of the i ron i c c r u c i f i x i o n , is also the garment in which the Lamb of God has chosen to dress himself. NOTES The Divine Imagination: Hi 11iam Blake's Major Prophetic Visions (Metuchen, N. J . : The Scarecrow Press and the American Theological Library Assoc ia t ion , 1972), p. 114. 2 Grimes's d iscuss ion.o f the role of s a c r i f i c e in the major prophecies (pp. 113-20) is valuable and s t imu la t ing , but his own attempt to answer the question he poses i s disappoint ing. This i s due large ly to the fac t that he misinterprets Blake 's at t i tude to the Cruc i f i x i on : "Jesus i s the Chr is t not because of , but in sp i te of his c ruc i f i x i on " (p. 116). 3 Hazard Adams is the only c r i t i c so far to have analyzed the poem in d e t a i l . See Wi l l iam Blake: A Reading of the Shorter Poems (Seat t le : Univ. of Washington Press, 1963), pp. 101-20. His conclusion i s that the poem is unfinished (p. 120). See also the b r i e fe r discussions by S. Foster Damon, Wil l iam Blake: His Philosophy and Symbols (1924; rpt. Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1958), p. 132; Mark Schorer, Wi l l iam Blake: The P o l i t i c s of V is ion (New York: Henry Ho l t , 1946), pp. 269-70; and Harold Bloom, Blake's Apocalypse: A Study in Poet ic Argument (1963; rpt. Garden C i t y , N. Y . : Doubleday Anchor, 1965), pp. 312-15. 4 In d iscussing the poems of the Picker ing Manuscript, one is frequently tempted to expl icate by means of Blake's mythic system. But Harold Bloom's f ine comment i s worth keeping in mind: "A c r i t i c who translates a poem l i ke The Mental T rave l le r or The Crystal Cabinet back into the more technical vocabulary of The Four Zoas does Blake the d isserv ice of concealing the kind of popular art or higher s imp l i c i t y that Blake labored to a t ta in" (Blake's Apocalypse, pp. 316-17). 5 A contrary view i s maintained by Adams, who argues that "Central to the poem i s the problem of misplaced p i ty or erroneous act ion resu l t ing from that emotion. . . . Our speaker should have been wary of those images we have learned to associate with 169 170 delusion and enclosure - - the t r i p l e form, the t ree , and the net - - but he i s consumed with p i ty for the women, who are putt ing on qui te a show of gr ie f " (p. 130). I t i s cer ta in ly a p i ty that the speaker had not read Adams' book, though i t i s d i f f i c u l t to see how he can be blamed fo r t h i s . Adams goes on to speculate: "His i n te res t , however, i s undoubtedly sexual , fo r his own dist ress i s that he imagines what woes love and beauty undergo when held in a state of repression, which may well be a re f lec t ion of his own condit ion" (p. 130). But the poem does not contain evidence to support such a conclusion, and Adams' use of the verb "may" indicates that he i s aware of t h i s . 6 H. M. Margoliouth has noted the connection between these poems. See Wi l l iam Blake (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1951), p. 63. 7 See, among others, Damon, p. 298; Adams, pp. 121-8; Bloom, pp. 326-30; John Beer, Blake's Humanism (Manchester and New York: Manchester Univ. Press and Barnes & Noble, 1968), pp. 88-9. g Again a contrary view has been advanced, th is time by A lv in Greenberg, who argues that "the f a i l u re of the protagonist here i s that of se l f -de lus ion . . . . he i s deluded into seeing the world in which he has been locked as an Edenic v i s i o n : ' a l i t t l e lovely Moony N igh t . ' " See "The Real World of Blake's Manuscript L y r i c s , " BuckhetM Review, 13:2 (1965), 42. Certa in ly the speaker i s deluded about the nature of the Cabinet-world. But the d i f f i c u l t y with Greenberg's argument i s that there i s no evidence of se l f -de lus ion here: that i s , the speaker i s provided with no clue that the world of the Cabinet i s i l l u s o r y , unt i l i t i s too l a te . He has no basis for making the judgment Greenberg thinks he should make. Greenberg's subsequent comment about the speaker's cu lpab i l i t y ("Seeking to possess a maiden prec ise ly as a maiden had possessed him, he has been trapped into exerc is ing the s e l f i s h ways of the world . . .") ignores the fact that at th is point the speaker i s act ing in accordance with his uncont ro l l -able passion insp i red by the " threefo ld Smile" that " F i l l e d me that l i k e a flame I burned." 9 This connection has been pointed out by Adams, pp. 84-5. ^ The mostuimportant discussions are the fo l lowing: Northrop Frye, Fearful Symmetry: A Study of Wi l l iam Bliake (1947; rpt. Pr inceton, N. J . : Princeton Univ. Press, 1969), pp. 227-9; John H. Sutherland, "B lake 's 'Mental T r a v e l l e r , ' " ELH, 22 (1955), rpt . in Pi scussi ons of Wi11iam Blake, ed. John E. Grant (Boston: D. C. Heath, 1961), pp. 86-92; Irene H. Chayes, "P la to ' s Statesman Mythi in Shel ley and Blake," Comparative L i te ra tu re , 13 (1961), 171 358-69; Adams,-pp. 77-100; Bloom, pp. 316-25; Martin K. Nurmi, "Joy , Love and Innocence in Blake's 'The Mental T r a v e l l e r , ' " Studies in Romanticism, 3 (1964), 109-17; Gerald E. Enscoe, "The Content of V i s i on : Blake's 'Mental T r a v e l l e r , ' " Papers on Language and L i te ra tu re , 4 (1968), 400-13; Kathleen Raine, Blake and Tradi t ion (Pr inceton, N. J . : Princeton Univ. Press, 1968), I, 313-20; Morton D. Paley, Energy and the Imagination: A Study of the Development of Blake's Thought (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970), pp. 122-32. 1 1 Adams again disagrees. He believes that Mary i s wrong to humble herse l f , and wrong to f a l l into despair when th is gambit f a i l s : " . . . in humbling her beauty she rejects everything and turns back in to the selfhood. As a resu l t , the world in i t s spectral form consumes her with despair , eating from within in the form of a memory she cannot erase" (p. 140). But th is ignores the fact that , in the world of the poem, Mary.has no v iable a l te rna t ive . Adams seems to admit th is himself when he says that "she seems redeemable" and goes on to lament the absence of a male character "who has the power to r i se above the spectral condit ion and ' f o rg i ve ' his emanation" (p. 141). In the absence of such a character, Mary can hardly be blamed for turning "back into the sel fhood." 12 Damon iden t i f i es the Devil as "the Puri tan conscience," the Fairy as "the joy of l i f e " (p. 300). This requires him to in terpret the s ix th l i ne to mean that the D e v i l , not the F a i r y , says that "Love i s a S i n . " Adams interprets the Devil as John's "energy," the Fai ry as Mary's "seductive Rahab power" (pp. 135-6). 13 See also Adams' discussion of tone in the poem (pp. 136-7) which he prefaces with the remark that "Blake s t r i kes a tone . . . which shows that he i s not merely describing a state of a f fa i r s but savagely condemning that state and those a f f a i r s . " 14 This point has been made.by Adams, p. 145. 15 Bloom i den t i f i e s the "L i v i ng " as the other Zoas, who have not yet f a l l en (E865). 16 W. H. Stevenson has noted the connection with "The Mental T rave l l e r , " though he speaks of the "everturning cycle of l i f e and death" rather than the f igure of the v ic t im. See The Poems of Wi l l iam Blake (London: Longman, 1972), p. 296n. 1 7 The passage is reproduced on E745. 18 Harold Bloom treats the passage as an in tegra l part of the poem, and asserts that "Los i s prophesying that the fa l l en Luvah 172 or man of passion w i l l reappear in the generative world as a redeeming Lamb of God" (Blake's Apocalypse, p. 219). 19 Grimes, p. 113. He concludes that the thrust of the phrase i s to distinguish Jesus from Luvah rather than to ident i fy the two: "In the major Prophecies Jesus only appears to be Orcian. He i s not Luvah; he only wears Luvah's robes" (p. 114). 20 "The Figure of the Garment in The Four Zoas, Mi 1 ton and Jerusalem" in Blake's Sublime Al legory: Essays on The Four Zoas, Mil ton, Jerusalem, ed. Stuart Curran and Joseph Anthony Wi t t re i ch , J r . (Madison, Wis. and London: Univ. of Wisconsin Press , 1973), p. 122. 21 There i s only one other mention of Jesus in Night I, Ur izen 's question addressed to Los: "Ar t thou a v is ionary of Jesus the so f t delusion of Etern i ty" (12:25, E303). 22 See, fo r example, Bloom, Blake's Apocalypse, pp. 219-20 and E867; Grimes, p. 95; Mary LynnuJohnson and Brian Wi l k i e , "On Reading The Four Zoas: Inscape and Analogy," i n Blake's Sublime A l legory : Essays on The Four Zoas, M i l t on , Jerusalem, ed. Stuart Curran and Joseph Anthony Wi t t re i ch , J r . (Madison, Wis. and London: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1973), p'i 209; Thomas R. Frosch, The Awakening of A lb ion: The Renovation of the Body in the Poetry of Wi l l iam Blake (Ithaca and London: Cornell Univ. Press, 1974), p. 167. 23 Bloom points out that Luvah is reborn in the form of Ore, though he i s not so i den t i f i ed in the Song (Blake's Apocalypse, pp. 220-1). 24 "The hand of Urizen i s upon me because I b lot ted out / That Human delusion" (27:16-17, E311). 25 See, fo r example, Bloom, Blake's Apocalypse, pp. 232-3 and E869-70; Johnson and W i l k i e , p. 212; David Wagenknecht, Blake's Night: Wi l l iam Blake and the Idea of Pastoral (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press , 1973), p. 168. 26 Wagenknecht has made th is point (p. 167). 27 One c r i t i c , Thomas J . J . A l t i z e r , has completely missed Blake's irony here. He -quotes from the passage just discussed and comments: "With these words, Blake i s s t ruggl ing to create a new v is ion of the C ruc i f i x i on , a v is ion that w i l l unveil Calvary as a s a c r i f i c e of God to God, the s a c r i f i c e of a broken and even castrated div ine Humanity to a transcendent and sovereign God 173 who i s the Spectre of the 'Great Humanity D i v i ne . ' " See The New Apocalypse: The Radical Chr is t ian Vis ion of Wil l iam Blake (n.. p.: Michigan State Univ. Press, 1967), pp. 77-8. For an e f fec t ive c r i t i c i s m of A l t i z e r ' s general approach, see Grimes,-, pp. 154-6. For a deta i led discussion of the passage which i s sens i t ive to the d i s t i nc t i on between Luvah's point of view and B l a k e ' s , see Wagenknecht, pp. 166-8. Wagenknecht-argues that Luvah i s best understood as a Blakean transformation of Mi l ton 's Satan. 28 There are two other inc identa l references to vict ims in Night I I , both of them images of the fa l l en nature of the world Urizen creates: the "Druid Temples" (25:8, E310) and the sons of Ur izen 's "Shadowy Feminine Semblance" who s a c r i f i c e vict ims on a brass a l t a r (30:35-6, E313). 29 For a more detai led account of th is episode, see Johnson and W i l k i e , p. 222. 30 Stevenson, p. 352n. He goes ontto suggest that there i s a "general s i m i l a r i t y " between the Demons' song and Mi l ton 's Nat iv i ty Ode. 31S Anne Mel lo r has noted that th is act const i tutes a parody of the C ruc i f i x i on . See Blake's Human Form Pi vine (Berkeley: Univ. of Ca l i f o rn i a Press, 1974), p. 184. 32 Stevenson, p. 368n. See Bloom, Blake's Apocalypse, pp. 264-5 and E876. 34 H. M. Margoliouth and John Beer both assert that the c ruc i f i x i on scene i s part of the song. See Wil l iam Blake's Vala (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956), p. 141 and Blake's Vis ionary Universe (London and New York: Manchester Univ. Press and Barnes & Noble, 1969), p. 121. Oavid Erdman takes the opposite view. See Blake: Prophet AgainstrEmpire. A Poet 's Interpretat ion of the History of his own Times (1954; rev. ed. Pr inceton, N. J . : Princeton Univ. Press, 1969), p. 327n. W. H. Stevenson suggests that the c ruc i f i x i on sequence, while not part of the song, i s nonetheless " i n t r u s i v e , " because "Luvah is Ore, but Ore i s not now destroyed" (p. 397n.). Most c r i t i c s tend to assume, without arguing the po in t , that the passage i s part of the narrat ive sequence. See, fo r example, Schorer, p. 329; Bloom, Blake's Apocalypse, p. 267; Me l lo r , p. 188. 35 David Wagenknecht, who speaks of "the i den t i f i ca t i on of Luvah and Chr is t in Night VII (b)" (p. 254), misses th is point . As we have seen, Blake does not hesi tate to l ink Luvah and Jesus by name when i t su i ts his purpose. There must be a reason for his re f ra in ing from doing so here. 36 37 38 39 Blake's Apocalypse, p. 271. This has been noted by Bloom, E877. Stevenson, p. 377n. For the de f i n i t i ve discussion of the Spectre of Urthona, see Northrop Frye, Fearful Symmetry, pp. 292-9. 4 0 Anne Mel lor argues that in Night VII (a) , "psychic in teg-rat ion" and a r t i s t i c creation are "two modes of sa lvat ion on earth which the corrupted human form can achieve" (p. 207). Although her subsequent discussion reveals that she rea l izes th is sa lvat ion is not achieved i_n Night VII (a ) , she i s apparently unaware that such salvat ion can be achieved in The Four Zoas only with the d i rec t par t i c ipa t ion of Jesus. (She ignores the reference to Los's v is ion of the "Lamb of God . . . descending to redeem.") Mel l o r ' s "two modes of sa lva t ion" are two kinds of acts of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e . But the agent who performs these acts cannot bring about sa lvat ion i f he i s himself a part of the fa l l en wor ld, as Los i s . The "corrupted human form" can make gestures but not transform r e a l i t y . 41 This contrast i s made more e x p l i c i t in a deleted passage reproduced by Erdman (E760): Arid Rahab s t r i p d . o f f Luvahs robes from o f f the lamb of God Then f i r s t she saw his glory & her har lot form appeard In a l l i t s turpitude beneath the divine l i gh t . . . Bloom, Blake's Apocalypse, p. 283 and Stevenson, p. 411n. 43 See Bloom, Blake's Apocalypse, p. 283 and Stevenson, p. 410n. Bloom appears to contradict himself (E880) when he says that Vala " i d e n t i f i e s Ore as Luvah's s l aye r . " The "robes of blood image surely i den t i f i es the murderer as the Lamb of God, who has just been described.as "c lothed in Luvahs robes" (101:1, E358). Nowhere in the poem is Ore described as wearing robes of blood or Luvah's robes. 44 Jesus and Jerusalem make only two further appearances in Night IX: in the prophetic words spoken by the Eternal man to the fa l l en Urizen (122:1-20, E3>76, espec ia l l y 122:1 and 16-20) and in Ur izen 's apocalypt ic v is ion (123:27-9, E378). See 5:1-4, E298 (discussed above). Bloom notes the connec t ion (E882). 175 46 Grimes, for example, says of Luvah that "only at the eschatological dawn of v is ion does he learn from Jesus that 'Attempting to be more than Man We bevome l e s s ' " (p. 90). 47 Fearful Symmetry, p. 290. 48 Los ( in his regenerate form of Urthona), Urizen and Tharmas are a l l e x p l i c i t l y mentioned in the passage which describes the baking of the bread (138:1-15, E391), while Luvah is con-spicuously absent. 49 Jean H. Hagstrum overlooks th is point when he wri tes that " i n the majest ic coda of Night IX . . . there i s a place for Tharmas and Urthona, but none for Urizen and Luvah." See "Babylon Rev is i ted , or the Story of Luvah and Vala" in Blake's Sublime Al legory: Essays on The Four Zoas, M i l t on , Jerusalem, ed. Stuart Curran and Joseph Anthony Wi t t re i ch , J r . (Madison, Wis. and London: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1973), p. 115. Ur izen 's ro le as Plowman has been described e a r l i e r in Night IX (123:23-125:2, E378-9). 50 See Vala or The Four Zoas: A Facsimi le of the Manuscript, a Transcr ipt of the Poem, and a Study of Its Growth and Sigr i i f icance (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963), p. 171, where Bentley points out that "the only New Testament names in the poem . . . are found in the added sections or in Night VIII or pages 122 and 123 of Night IX, seems to suggest that both those Nights were wr i t ten considerably af ter the Nights preceding them were completed. This i s pa r t i cu la r l y s t r i k i ng when we observe that Blake was at some pains to inser t references to Jerusalem, Jesus, the Lamb of God, and the Saviour in the e a r l i e r Nights in added passages, espec ia l l y in Nights I and I I ." 51 The account of the s e l f - s a c r i f i c e of the emanations in Eden in Night I is also a l a t e r addit ion to the text. See Erdman's comment, E740. 52 Bentley i s the c r i t i c who has most c lear ly seen the role of the f igure of the v ic t im in the development of Blake's notions of fal lenness and redemption. He wri tes that "The e a r l i e r Pro-phecies are, in a sense, b i t t e r analyses of the cause and nature of man's f a l l en s ta te . The er ror is i d e n t i f i e d , but there i s l i t t l e cause for hope. In The Four Zoas i s accomplished the Prophecy of the Marriage of Heaven and He!1: ' the whole creation w i l l be consumed and appear i n f i n i t e and holy , whereas i t now appears f i n i t e & corrupt . ' This pu r i f i ca t i on is at leas t par t ly caused by the c ruc i f i x i on of ' the Body of the Lamb' (page 110) and the intervent ion of ' those in Eden' (115). In The Four Zoas Blake describes the redemption of f a l l en nature. This redemption i s based upon his e a r l i e r v i s i o n , but i t s nature grew and changed as the Prophecy was being wr i t ten" (p. 190). CHAPTER THREE Mi I ton: The Value of the Saviour 's Blood Mi l ton, no less than The Tour Zoas, i s a highly Chr istocentr i c poem. In The Four Zoas, Jesus i s the Lamb of God who descends from an unfal len heavenly realm to the fa l l en wor ld, in order to communicate a v is ion of his glory to mankind. Jesus trans-; forms the r i t ua l of Druid s a c r i f i c e by his par t i c ipa t ion in i t as a v i c t im , and thereby awakens the fa l l en Man "up into Eden." Only through the s a c r i f i c e of his "vegetated body" can his "Sp i r i t ua l body" be revealed, and only a f te r the "Sp i r i t ua l body" has been revealed can the " f a l l e n Man" be awakened. The emphasis on awakening and revelat ion in connection with the Lamb's s a c r i f i c e suggests that Blake understands the F a l l pr imar i ly in terms of perception rather than mora l i ty . But the Cruc i f i x ion makes i t possible fo r men to experience the salvat ion of restored v is ion in a way which pa ra l l e l s the New Testament experience of sa lvat ion as forgiven s i n . In Mi 1 ton, Jesus i s again the Lamb of God; but Blake's exposit ion of the meaning of his s a c r i f i c e is modelled more c losely on i t s New Testament source. 176 177 The most extensive discussion of s a c r i f i c e in the New Testament appears in the Ep is t le to the Hebrews. One of the central themes of this discussion i s that Chr i s t ' s s a c r i f i c e puts an end to the need for a l l fur ther s a c r i f i c e s . The wr i te r contrasts Chr is t with the high p r ies t who must each year repeat the r i t ua l of atonement:1 24. For Chr is t is not entered in to the holy places made with hands, which are the f igures of the t rue; but into heaven i t -s e l f , now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25. Nor yet that he should o f fer himself of ten, as the high p r ies t entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26. For then he, must often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away s in by the s a c r i f i c e of himself. 27. And as i t i s appointed unto men once to d ie , but a f ter th is the judgment: 28. So Chr is t was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him sha l l he appears the second time without s in unto sa lva t ion . (Hebrews 9.24-8) Chr i s t ' s s a c r i f i c e is s u f f i c i e n t " to put away s i n " ; no longer i s i t necessary for the high p r ies t to make his annual v i s i t to the sanctuary with "blood of o thers . " The C ruc i f i x i on , i t s e l f a s a c r i f i c e involv ing bloodshed, has made obsolete the i ns t i t u t i on of r i t u a l s a c r i f i c e in the fa l l en world. The wr i te r of Hebrews has already reminded his audience that "without shedding of blood is no remission" (9.22), but Ch r i s t ' s blood i s enough to e f fec t that remission. Chr is t has borne "the sins of many." Chr ist ians should not expect th is act to be repeated, nor should they maintain the system of s a c r i f i c e which was va l i d under the Old Covenant: instead they should look for Jesus to "appear the second time without s in unto sa l va t i on . " 178 In The Four Zoas, Blake does not fol low th is pat tern, even though Chr i s t ' s s a c r i f i c e i s of central importance in that poem. The descent of Jesus in Night VIII does not br ing the need for Druid s a c r i f i c e to an end. The event which ushers in the golden age is the s a c r i f i c e of the Human Grapes in Luvah's winepress at the end of Night II. This s a c r i f i c e is presented as an essent ia l l ink in the chain of events which leads to the restorat ion of the unfal len world. The s a c r i f i c e of Jesus has not, in i t s e l f , been s u f f i c i e n t to eradicate the need for Luvah's Druid cu l t of r i t ua l . , . 2 s a c n f i ce. In Mi l ton, however, Blake moves c loser to the New Testament view of the Cruc i f i x i on . Mi l ton i s a fol lower of Jesus who learns that the meaning of the Cruc i f i x ion i s that i t has indeed made further s a c r i f i c e unnecessary. There need be no more v ic t ims. Men have ignored this t ru th , and the Chr is t ian era has been characterized by the continuation of Druid s a c r i f i c e . Pr ies ts continue to o f fe r the "blood of others" to the i r gods as though Jesus had never l i v e d , even though such pr iests often ident i fy themselves as Chr is t ians . Mi l ton must f i r s t recognize that he has himself been such a p r i e s t , and then he must act on that recogni t ion. But th is does not imply that Mi l ton should attempt to re-enact the s a c r i f i c e of Jesus. Blake's point is not that men w i l l enter Eden because they have been c ruc i f i ed . Blake's equivalent of sa lvat ion occurs only for those men who re jec t the i n te l l ec tua l and psychological system which requires them to be e i ther c r u c i f i e r or c ruc i f i ed . But here Mi l ton presents a paradox which para l le l s 179 the New Testament interpretat ions of the C ruc i f i x i on . I t is only Jesus who makes i t possible for Mi l ton to re ject the i ns t i t u t i on of Druid s a c r i f i c e , and Jesus only in his role as c ruc i f i ed saviour. The re la t ion of Blake's poems to Chr is t ian t rad i t ion i s of course a perennial ly controversial subject. I t i s also one which many c r i t i c s have been reluctant to discuss. Mary Lynn Johnson's comment that discussion of Mi l ton involves "a Chr is to logy, whether 3 we l i k e i t or not" s t r i kes a charac te r i s t i c note of exasperation. Central to any Christology i s a theory of the C r u c i f i x i o n , and Johnson at once acknowledges the d i f f i c u l t y : " I t is not enough to say that in some i l l o g i c a l , inexp l icab le way-Jesus, who i s man's own imaginat ion, saves man. Blake evident ly wanted to draw a pa ra l l e l between the theological enigma of how Jesus' death benefi ts man and the human problem of how the imagination saves man, and to use th is pa ra l l e l to l ibera te mankind from a re l i g ion of blood-s a c r i f i c e by awakening the imagination in each reader." Johnson does not attempt to work out this " p a r a l l e l " in d e t a i l . The con-clusion to her b r i e f d iscuss ion, however, i l l u s t r a t e s a weakness common to many c r i t i c a l analyses of Blake's use of New Testament language. In the same paragraph, she writes of Jesus that "h is s a c r i f i c e i s not a payment for s in but a se l f - ann ih i l a t i ng process of l i be ra t ing the human s p i r i t from i t s obsession with s in and death, a process in which every human being par t ic ipates as - -for whatever reason - - he breaks out of his sel fhood." The 180 assumption underlying th is passage i s that the burden of Blake's argument is expressed by means of the psychological vocabulary he invented himself - - " S e l f - a n n i h i l a t i n g , " in th is case — and that he employs New Testament terminology only to indicate the more c lear ly what a vast gulf separates him from the New Testament wri te rs . The central thesis of th is chapter w i l l involve the posi t ion that such assumptions are wrong, that the Jesus of N i l ton is c loser to the Jesus of the New Testament than most c r i t i c s have been w i l l i n g to recognize. When Blake invents new terms, such as "ann ih i la t ion of se l fhood," t he i r meanings must be establ ished by the i r context in language which is drawn d i rec t l y from the New Testament. In pa r t i cu l a r , when he wri tes of the Cruc i f i x ion in Mi 1 ton, Blake takes care to present i t in a way which corresponds to the New Testament notion of a s a c r i f i c e designed to br ing s a c r i f i c e to an end. This has been overlooked. When Mary Lynn Johnson wri tes of the " s i gn i f i can t new forms" of the t rad i t i ona l Chr is t ian concepts of Incarnat ion, Atonement and Resurrection which Blake creates in M i l t on , she asserts that "the Atonement becomes the re ject ion of blood s a c r i f i c e in the enactment of mental 4 s a c r i f i c e through s e l f - a n n i h i l a t i o n . " The wr i te r of Hebrews could agree with Johnson's Blake that the Cruc i f i x ion involves "the re ject ion of blood s a c r i f i c e " in that i t makes al 1 fur ther blood s a c r i f i c e unnecessary. But i t i s c lear from the context that Johnson would say that Blake interprets the Cruc i f i x ion i t s e l f 181 as an example of "blodd s a c r i f i c e " which is also to be rejected. I bel ieve that she i s mistaken. Examination of the poem w i l l show that "the enactment of mental s a c r i f i c e " i s an option open only to those who have understood the Cruc i f i x ion as a "blood s a c r i f i c e . " The re la t ion between the two forms of s a c r i f i c e i s complementary, not a n t i t h e t i c a l . This point has also been missed by the authors of the only two discussions of Mi l ton which deal in deta i l with i t s presentation of the s a c r i f i c e of Jesus. Both Florence Sandler and David 5 Wagenknecht misrepresent Blake's re la t ion to the New Testament. Sandler invokes the context of the Ep is t l e to the Hebrews and then argues that "Blake w i l l have Jesus as nei ther P r ies t nor V ic t im" and that "the rending of the ve i l means fo r him . . . the exposing of the falsehood of the very notion of Mystery, Priesthood and S a c r i f i c e (any s a c r i f i c e , that i s , except the ' s a c r i f i c e ' of the cont r i te hear t ) . " Wagenknecht asserts that "For the Atonement Blake subst i tutes the epiphany of God as the breaker of the law of Jehovah's v i r t ue . " ^ But in M i l t o n , Jesus is the person who makes fa lse the notion of Mystery, Priesthood and S a c r i f i c e , not by breaking the law but by making obsolete the psychology which divides the world into law-breakers and law-keepers — the psychology which animates Druid s a c r i f i c e . That men have been deceived about the meaning of Jesus' s a c r i f i c e is one of the central assert ions of the invocation 182 on Plate 2. Blake asks his Muses to reveal the source of th is dece i t , and outl ines b r i e f l y the fa lse doctrine which th is mysterious source has insp i red : Te l l also of the False Tongue! vegetated Beneath your land of shadows: of i t s s a c r i f i c e s , and Its o f fe r ings ; even t i l l Jesus, the image of the Inv i s ib le God Became i t s prey; a curse, an o f fe r ing , and an atonement For Death Eternal in the heavens of A lb ion , & before the Gates Of Jerusalem his Emanation, in the heavens beneath Beulah (2:10-15, E95) Northrop Frye has i den t i f i ed the b i b l i c a l source of the False g Tongue as James 3.6: "And the tongue i s a f i r e , a world of i n i q u i t y : so i s the tongue among our members, that i t de f i le th the whole body, and setteth on f i r e the course of nature; and i t i s set on f i r e of h e l l . " Such a tongue i s fa lse both because i t t e l l s l i e s and because i t counterfei ts the f i e r y tongues of Pentecost. But the associat ion with f i r e i s also relevant to the context provided by Hebrews. The sac r i f i ces of the False Tongue would inev i tab ly be burnt o f fe r ings , and the wr i te r contrasts these with C h r i s t ' s : 5. Wherefore when he cometh into the wor ld, he s a i t h , S a c r i -f i ce and o f fe r ing thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6. In burnt of fer ings and sac r i f i ces for s in thou hast had no pleasure. 7. Then sa id I, Lo, I come ( in the volume of the book i t i s wr i t ten of me,) to do thy w i l l , 0 God. 8. Above whence s a i d , S a c r i f i c e and of fer ing and burnt o f fe r -ings and o f fer ing for s in thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure there in ; which are offered by the law; 9. Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy w i l l , 0,,God. He taketh away the f i r s t , that he may es tab l ish the second. 183 10. By the which w i l l we are sanc t i f i ed through the body of Jesus Chr is t once for a l l . (Hebrews 10.5-10) Here a careful d i s t i nc t ion i s made between the "burnt of fer ings and sac r i f i ces for s i n " and "the body of Jesus Ch r i s t , " the f i r s t kind of s a c r i f i c e and the second. In the invocation to M i l t on , Blake i m p l i c i t l y makes a pa ra l l e l d i s t inc t ion between the sac r i f i ces of the False Tongue and the s a c r i f i c e of Jesus. However, th is d i s t i nc t ion w i l l be overlooked by the reader who does not take ser ious ly the New Testament nuances in the language. Most c r i t i c s have simply assumed, with Florence Sandler, that Blake means to condemn the notion of s a c r i f i c e i t s e l f . The invocation might seem to provide some j u s t i f i c a t i o n for Sandler 's approach. Blake emphasizes that the False Tongue has made Jesus " i t s prey." But i t i s important to remember that the False Tongue has done th is only insofar as i t has deceiVed men about the s ign i f i cance of the C ruc i f i x i on . Most c r i t i c s g ident i fy the False Tongue with some aspect of Satan. The father of l i e s has convinced men that the Cruc i f i x ion is to be regarded as merely one more example of the " s a c r i f i c e s and of fer ings" which have been performed incessant ly throughout human h is tory . The context of the whole poem makes i t c lear that i t i s only in th is l im i ted sense that the False Tongue has made Jesus i t s prey. (Otherwise - - fo r example - - Mi l ton would hardly conclude with the triumphant appearance of the Jesus of the paroUsia.) The False Tongue, then, has bl inded men to the unique character 184 of the Cruc i f i x i on . In th is sense, Mi l ton himself is a representative "Chr i s t i an " who has inher i ted a fa lse Etern i ty in which he i s i den t i f i ed with his role as p r i es t - f i gu re . As a resu l t , he i s "Unhappy tho in heav'n," l i ke Satan in Paradise Lost : Say f i r s t ! what mov'd M i l t on , who walkd about in Etern i ty One hundred years , pondring the i n t r i ca te mazes of Providence Unhappy tho in heav'n, he obey'd, he murmur'd not. he was s i l e n t Viewing his S i x fo ld Emanation sca t t e r ' d thro' the deep In torment! To go into the deep her to redeem & himself perish? (2:16-20, E95) M i l ton 's s i tua t ion can be analyzed in terms fam i l i a r to us from the preceding chapters of th is study: his ident i ty as the v ic tor ious p r ies t depends upon the s a c r i f i c e of a tormented v ic t im. Although he i s unhappy with th is s i t u a t i o n , the only a l ternat ive he can conceive of - - since he, too, has been deluded by the False Tongue - - i s to exchange places with his suf fer ing Emanation, "redeeming" her by "per ish ing" himself. As always with Biliake, we should be a le r t to the p o s s i b i l i t y of i rony. Having establ ished the context of New Testament language in the invocat ion, Blake has now al luded to the most famous verses in the Gospels: "For God.so loved the wor ld, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever bel ieveth in him should not per i sh , but have ever las t ing l i f e . For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the wor ld ; but that the world through him might be saved" (John 3.16-17). Obviously, anyone who sees himself as the redeemer of another does not t ru ly "be l ieve" in Jesus. Only Jesus has power to redeem. I f Mi l ton thinks that he can, in the Chr is t ian sense, redeem his Emanation himself , and that he can accomplish his mission by vo luntar i l y per ishing for her, he i s mistaken. Yet Blake's language here suggests that th is i_s_ the way he wants his reader to in terpret Mi l ton 's adventure. This irony i s compounded by the next l i n e , "What cause at length mov'd Mil ton to th is unexampled deed?" (2:21, E95). The deed, rather obviously, is_ "exampled" in the sense that Jesus has descended to redeem the world by dying on the Cross. It i s "unexampled" in that no one who fol lows Jesus need imitate his s a c r i f i c e in the way Mi l ton apparently intends. Yet these l ines do provide a real foreshadowing of the poem's ac t i on , fo r Mi l ton does "per ish" in another sense, the sense in which Paul speaks of the.death of the o ld man ( in Romans 6, for example) and the putt ing on of "newness of l i f e " (6.4) through the power of Jesus. To "per ish" in th is sense is to perform the "mental s a c r i f i c e " or the " s a c r i f i c e of a contr i te heart" mentioned by Johnson and Sandler. But Mi l ton i s able to do th is only because of the physical s a c r i f i c e of Jesus, which involves the shedding of real blood and the experience of real death. S i m i l a r l y , Mi l ton par t ic ipates in Ololon's redemption when he speaks to her the "Words of the Inspired Man" (41:29, El41) at the poem's conclusion. But Mi l ton i s not her sav iour , for the power of his Words depends upon the power of the "Truth" he has heard in the Song of the Bard, who has sung "According to the insp i ra t ion of the Poet ic Genius / Who i s the eternal 186 a l l -p ro tec t i ng Divine Humanity" (14:1-2, E107). The content of both the Bard's Song and Mi l ton 's speech on Plate 41 has much to do with the notion of Jesus as saviour. None of this becomes c lear in Plate 2 i t s e l f , except for the fact that M i l ton 's s i tua t ion i s that of the p r ies t in the r i t ua l of Druid s a c r i f i c e . While Blake's use of b i b l i c a l language i s obscure, and perhaps even de l iberate ly mis leading, the Plate does raise the issue of the in terpretat ion of the C r u c i f i x i o n , an issue central to the meaning of the Bard's Song. From the perspective of the False Tongue, Jesus i s one more in a ser ies of " i t s s a c r i f i c e s , and / Its o f fe r ings . " (The use of the p lura l i s s i gn i f i can t here; the False Tongue would deny the uniqueness of Jesus' s a c r i f i c e . ) The other perspective i s evoked by the phrase "redeem & . . . per ish" which reminds the reader of John 3.16, and i t s v is ion of a lov ing God who sends his only begotten Son to die a s a c r i f i c i a l death that s a c r i f i c e might cease. By l i s ten ing to the Bard's Song, Mil ton learns which of these i s the correct one. The Bard's Song presents the fa l l en world as governed by Druid s a c r i f i c e . The Song's central myth concerns the three classes of men, the E l e c t , the Redeemed, and the Reprobate. The Elect are the p r i e s t - f i g u r e s , and in the Redeemed and the Reprobate we can discern two types of v ic t ims , d ist inguishable by the i r d i f fe r ing at t i tudes towards the i r ro les . Satan, Palamabron and Rintrah 187 are the characters who (respect ively) represent each of the three classes in the dramatic events described by the Bard. Blake prepares us for th is myth by descr ibing a contemporary London scene in terms of r i t ua l s a c r i f i c e : "Between South Molton Street & St ra t fo rd P lace: Calvarys foot / Where the Victims were preparing fo r Sac r i f i ce . . . " (4:21-2, E97). The Cruc i f i x ion i s not over, the Victims being the young so ld iers t ra in ing fo r bat t le near the gallows at Tyburn. 1^ 1 This i s c lear ly a world under the dominion of the False Tongue, the world in which men cont inual ly re-enact the r i t ua l of the high p r ies t who enters the sanctuary with the blood of o t h e r s . 1 1 (For the Druid p r i e s t , of course, the blood is human: Blake i s sens i t i ve to the d i s t i nc t ion between 1 o Hebraic and Dru id ic s a c r i f i c e . ) But Blake immediately reminds his reader of the truth that "Ch r i s t took on Sin in the Vi rg ins Womb, & put i t o f f on the Cross" (5 :3 , E97). Again the context of Hebrews i s evoked: "but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away s in by the s a c r i f i c e of himself" (9.26). Sin has been "put away" or "put o f f , " but the world has not rea l ized i t and the agony of Calyary has been needlessly p ro longed . 1 3 Blake also makes us aware that , h i s t o r i c a l l y , Mi l ton did par t ic ipa te in such a r i t ua l in his role as p r i es t : "Charles c a l l s on Mi l ton for Atonement. Cromwell i s ready" (5:39, E98). Mi l ton and Cromwell both bel ieved that the execution of Charles would benef i t the English nat ion. Florence Sandler has pointed 188 out that Charles cer ta in ly understood his own death to be Chr is t -l i k e , and Mi l ton understood his own role in that death to be 14 p r i e s t l y . The Bard's Song i s set in E te rn i t y , but what i t has to say about s a c r i f i c e i s to be re lated d i rec t l y to the h i s t o r i ca l r e a l i t y of M i l ton 's time and of B lake 's . M i l ton 's ident i ty as a member of the E lec t i s establ ished ear ly in the Song: "For the Elect cannot be Redeemd, but Created cont inual ly / By Offer ing & Atonement in the c rue l ! J t i es of Moral Law" (5:11-12, E98). David Wagenknecht relates th is concept of the Elect to the Chr is t ian doctrine of the Cruc i f i x ion in a way that i s relevant to our puprose: "the E lec t are the audience for and demanders of the Cruc i f i x ion of Chr i s t , understood in terms 15 of legal exaction rather than in terms of love . " Wagenknecht's statement is pa r t i cu la r l y important because, almost alone in recent Mi l ton c r i t i c i s m , i t implies that pos i t ive value may be ascribed to some aspect of the C ruc i f i x i on . The E l e c t ' s in tepretat ion is obviously insp i red by the False Tongue, a fact Blake drives home by making Satan the representative of the E lec t in the story the Bard t e l l s (7:1-4, E99). What the Bard's Song does for Mi l ton is to reveal the C ruc i f i x i on ' s pos i t i ve value, and cause him to repudiate his p r i es t l y ro le . From our point of view, the deta i ls of Satan's quarrel with Palamabron are unimportant. Rather i t s s ign i f i cance l i e s in the way i t presents the main characters in terms of the i r s a c r i f i c i a l ro les . Redeemed and Reprobate (Palamabron and Rintrah) are both 189 vict ims of the E lec t . The dif ference between them is that the Redeemed are anxious to escape the i r f a te , while the Reprobate, "form"d / To destruct ion from the mother's womb" (7 :2-3 , E99), take pride in the i r stance as transgressors and outlaws. Rintrah intervenes in the quarrel on Palamabron's side (8:34-6, E101), even though the matter does not concern him d i r e c t l y ; he thereby establ ishes his ident i ty as one who w i l l defy the Elect even i f he must su f fe r for i t . (His most obvious ancestor here i s the Ore of The Four Zoas.) But i t i s Satan who occupies most of the Bard's a t tent ion. Satan reveals his E lec t nature in the Great Solemn Assembly in Palamabron's tent: He created Seven deadly Sins drawing out his in fernal s c r o l l , Of Moral laws and cruel punishments upon the clouds of Jehovah To pervert the Divine voice in i t s entrance to the earth With thunder of war & trumpets sound, with armies of disease Punishments & deaths musterd & number'd; Saying I am God alone There i s no other! l e t a l l obey my pr inc ip les of moral i nd i v i dua l i t y I have brought them from the uppermost innermost recesses Of my Eternal Mind, transgressors I w i l l rend o f f for ever, As now I rend th is accursed Family from my covering. (9:21-9, E102) In th is pa r t i cu la r s i t ua t i on , the v ic t im is Palamabron, whom Satan accuses of " ingrat i tude" and "mal ice" (9:20). Again Rintrah t r i es to intervene on Palamabron's behal f , but "Satan not having the Science of Wrath, but only of P i t y / Rent them asunder, and wrath was l e f t to wrath, & p i ty to p i ty" (9:46-7, E103). Thus the p r ies t - f i gu re attempts to "rend of f for ever" Rintrah and Palamabron, both of whom haye transgressedhKiis "Moral Laws." 190 But a l l of th is has revealed to those in the Great Solemn Assembly that Satan i s himself a transgressor. I r o n i c a l l y , he has been possessed by Rintrah 's reprobate fury (9:19) and the revelat ion of his true nature, of the "vast unfathomable Abyss" in his bosom (9:35) has made i t impossible for the Eternals to take ser ious ly his accusations against Palamabron. For Satan has in e f fec t condemned himself by his own act of rage — " i t became a proverb in Eden. Satan i s among the Reprobate" (9:11) — and af ter causing the separation of Rintrah and Palamabron, "He sunk down a dreadful Death" (9:48). But Satan i s not "among the Reprobate" in the sense that he has become a v ic t im. He has merely descended to the fa l l en wor ld , where he presides over the re l i g ion of human s a c r i f i c e , Druidism: And the M i l l s of Satan were separated into a moony Space Among the rocks of Albions Temples, and Satans Druid sons Offer the Human Victims throughout a l l the Earth . . . (11:6-8, E104) Satan's act of se l f - reve la t i on has confused the s i tua t ion in the Eternal world. The judgment of the Great Assembly had already fa l l en "on Rintrah and his rage" (9:10), a decision which now seems c lea r l y unjust. Now the Eternals are faced with the quest ion, "Why in a Great Solemn Assembly / The Innocent should be condemn'd fo r the Gui l ty?" (11:15-16, El04). One of the members of the Assembly responds to th is quest ion: "Saying. I f the Gui l ty should be condemn'd, he must be an Eternal Death / A n d one must die for another throughout a l l Etern i ty" (11:17-18, 191 El04). An "Eternal Death" requires an executioner — who by that act of wrath would himself become " G u i l t y . " The person who condemns Satan becomes, by his ac t , a Satan ic . f igure himself , and must, according to the pr inc ip les of j us t i ce in the fa l l en wor ld , be condemned by someone e lse . This i s essen t ia l l y the same s i tua t ion as the one examined in the minor prophecies, in which the v ic t im who i s successful in freeing himself from that ro le can only become an oppressor himself , i f he i s to reta in his "freedom." The unident i f ied Eternal goes on to apply th is general p r inc ip le to the pa r t i cu la r s i tua t ion in which the Assembly f inds i t s e l f : Satan i s f a l 1 1 n from his s tat ion & never can be redeem'd But must be new Created cont inual ly moment by moment And therefore the Class of Satan sha l l be c a l l d the E lec t , & those of Rintrah. the Reprobate, & those of Palamabron the Redeem'd For he i s redeem'd from Satans Law, the wrath f a l l i n g on Rin t rah, And therefore Palamabron dared not to ca l l a solemn Assembly T i l l Satan had assum'd Rintrahs wrath in the day o f mourning In a feminine delusion of fa lse pride s e l f - d e c i e v ' d . (11:19-26, ET04) Palamabron i s "redeemed" from Satan's Law only in the i r on i c sense in which th is i s possible in the f a l l en world: he has himself become an oppressor, cunningly arranging for the wrath to f a l l upon Rintrah. But the problem of g u i l t i s one of some complexity. Rintrah has replaced Palamabron as scapegoat, but th is has occurred as a resu l t of the mistaken judgment of the somemn Assembly, so that the respons ib i l i t y must be shared among i t s members. I t i s now obvious that Satan, the or ig ina l "Gu i l t y " par ty , should be condemned to assume the v i c t im 's r o l e , provided one accepts the premises of Satan's Law. But the Eternal seems 192 to be approving of Palamabron's decision to postpone the Assembly unt i l the innocent Rintrah could be condemned,instead of Satan. The po ten t ia l l y endless chain of g u i l t and punishment has been broken. Satan, having " f a l l ' n from his s t a t i on , " has removed himself neatly from the p ic ture . He can "never be redeem'd" because he has refused to become a v ic t im and hence has, in e f f ec t , repudiated his own system of "Moral laws and cruel punishments." (His transgression against himself , of course, has been to ident i fy himself with the Reprobate Rintrah.) I r o n i c a l l y , then, Satan himsetfirhas struck the f i r s t blow against "Satans Law." The Eternal who describes the situation appears not to appreciate t h i s ; he i s in terested rather in the fact that "Satans Law" can function without Satan. Palamabron's ingenious invention of the innocent v ic t im makes i t unnecessary for the otherwise endless search fo r transgressors to continue. Satan, the real t ransgressor, i s no longer ava i l ab le ; i t i s expedient thatoone Eternal should assume the v ic t im 's role so that the others need not die for one another throughout a l l E tern i ty . But the de l icate moral equi l ibr ium which the Eternals have created here i s soon disrupted by the intervent ion of Leutha, who interprets the s i tua t ion in terms of "Satans condemnation," and offers to take her s in upon herse l f : But when Leutha (a Daughter of Beulah) beheld Satans condemnation She down descended in to the midst of the Great Solemn Assembly Offer ing hersel f a Ransom for Satan, taking on her, his S in . (11:28-30, E104) 193 The fact that Leutha can make such a gesture reveals that the Eternals ' patchwork solut ion to t he i r moral dilemma has grave de f i c ienc ies . I f i t i s understood that i t i s only through some sor t of legal f i c t i o n that judgment has " j us t l y " f a l l en upon Rint rah, then the problem of real gu i l t remains. The Assembly has decided that judgment should have fa l l en upon the absent Satan, and has in that sense condemned him. Leutha i m p l i c i t l y uncovers the hypocr i t i ca l aspect of the Assembly's approach. The Eternals pretend that Rint rah 's s a c r i f i c e has brought an end to the need for one to die for another throughout a l l E te rn i t y , yet they wish to reta in the Satanic legal system which divides the world into gu i l ty and innocent, a system which c lear ly embodies the psychology of Druid s a c r i f i c e . Rint rah 's " s a c r i f i c e , " and i t s acceptance by the Assembly, does nothing to wipe away s in and gui l t. At f i r s t Leutha's act appears to be an attempt at a Chr is t -l i ke gesture of atonement, as she descends, l i k e Jesus, to bear the burden of someone e l s e ' s s i n . But her speech reveals that she does not consider herse l f innocent, but rather u l t imately responsible for Satan's wrong-doing: "I am the Author of this S in ! by my suggestion / My Parent power Satan has committed th is transgression" (11:35-6, E104). Leutha wants to return to the o ld system of g u i l t and punishment, and in so doing provides an i l l u s t r a t i o n of the Eterna l ' s point that the pattern of con-demnation, once es tab l ished, cannot be ended by fur ther condemnation. 194 For Leutha, by her own account, was driven to "suggest" the s in to Satan because E l y n i t t r i a refused to allow her to approach the tent of Palamabron, with whom she was in love (11:37-8, E104). I f Leutha i s to be a ransom for Satan, then i t i s only j us t that E l y n i t t r i a should be a ransom fo r Leutha. And rio doubt E l y n i t t r i a would have her story to t e l l , too. I f Rintrah was an innocent but unwi l l ing v ic t im, Leutha i s po ten t ia l l y a w i l l i n g but gu i l t y one. Neither s a c r i f i c e could e f f ec t i ve l y a l t e r conditions in the realm of the Eternals. . The use of the word "Of fer ing" reminds the reader of the False Tongue's language. Leutha may be sincere in her desire to redeem Satan from condemnation, but the method she proposes i s s e l f - d e f e a t i n g . ^ Fortunately Leutha does not have to make good on her promise. Instead, Enitharmon has already created "a New space to protect Satan from punishment" (13:11, E106), and th is New Space turns out to be the fa l l en wor ld, the place to which Satan has descended and in which he has establ ished his re l i g ion of human s a c r i f i c e . The Assembly sends various "Guards" to protect th is world — Luc i fe r , Molech, Elohim, Shaddai, Pahad, Jehovah - - but they a l l f a i l at the i r task. A s a c r i f i c i a l v ic t im is apparently needed. Ult imately i t i s nei ther Rintrah nor Leutha who becomes the e f fec t ive v i c t im , but rather Jesus, the Lamb of God: For the Body of Death was perfected in hypocr i t i c ho l iness , Around the Lamb, a Female Tabernacle woven in Cathedrons Looms He died as a Reprobate, he was Bunish'd as a Transgressor! Glory! Glory! Glory! to the Holy Lamb of God I touch the heavens as an instrument to g l o r i f y the Lord! (13:25-9, E106) 195 Blake i s careful to -d is t ingu ish the "Holy Lamb of God" from the "Body of Death" which has been perfected "Around the Lamb." The False Tongue, in i t s "Hypocr i t i c ho l iness , " has t r i ed to convince the world that the Cruc i f i x ion i s a s a c r i f i c e to the god.of death, Satan. But the Body of Death i s not the real Lamb, whose mission i s explained in the second part of the passage: The Elect sha l l meet the Redeem'd. on Albions rocks they sha l l meet Astonish 'd at the Transgressor, in him beholding the Saviour. And the Elect sha l l say to the Redeemd. We behold i t i s of Divine Mercy alone! of Free G i f t and Elect ion that we l i v e . Our Vir tues & Cruel Goodnesses, have deserv'd Eternal Death. Thus they weep upon the fa ta l Brook of Albions River . (13:30-5, E106) Unlike Leutha, the Lamb is innocent. Unlike Rint rah, he gives himself w i l l i n g l y . When the E lec t see p l a i n l y , they w i l l recognize that there i s a Law superior to Satan 's . They w i l l understand that , l i k e Satan, they have been protected from punishment by the v ic t im they have been punishing in accordance with the i r law of "Vir tues & Cruel Goodnesses." They w i l l be able to perceive the s i tua t ion of s a c r i f i c e as a revelat ion of "Divine Mercy" rather than an expression of Satan's l e g a l i s t i c system of gu i l t and punishment. The Lamb has given the "Free G i f t " of his own l i f e that the Elect might continue to l i v e . When the E lec t rea l i ze t h i s , sa lvat ion is possible for them. The Bard does not explain what the Elect w i l l do when they have experienced the astonishment of seeing that the Transgressor i s the Saviour. M i l t on , however, 18 i s able to draw his own conclusion. Mil ton learns from the Bard's Song that the key to his unhappiness i s the psychology of Druid s a c r i f i c e i t s e l f . In the speech in which he announces his intent ion to descend to "Eternal Death," he uses the phrase " s e l f ann ih i l a t ion" for the f i r s t t ime, although i t i s not immediately c lear what he means by i t . What i s c l ea r , though, i s that ann ih i la t ing the serfhood -means a radical change in M i l ton 's concept of his own i den t i t y , a iden t i t y he now defines p r i nc ipa l l y in terms of his re la t ion to Satan and to Jesus: And Mi l ton s a i d , I go to Eternal Death! The Nations s t i l l Follow a f te r the detestable Gods of Priam; in pomp Of war l ike se l fhood, contradict ing and blaspheming. When w i l l the Resurrection come; to de l i ver the sleeping body From c o r r u p t i b i l i t y : 0 when Lord Jesus w i l t thou come? Tarry no longer; for my soul l i e s at the gates of death. (14:14-19, E107) In a fa l l en wor ld, Mi l ton r e a l i z e s , the only hope i s the Second Coming of Jesus. The "warl ike selfhood"obviously represents the s p i r i t u a l force which opposes Jesus; Mi l ton fears that .h is own "Selfhood1.1 w i l l u l t imately be the only r ea l i t y fo r him. This fear provides the motive for his descent: I w i l l ar ise and look forth for the morning of the grave. I w i l l go down to the sepulcher to see i f morning breaks! I w i l l go down to s e l f ann ih i la t ion and eternal death, Lest the Last Judgment come & f ind me unannini late, And I be s i e z ' d & g i v 'n in to the hands of my own Selfhood. (14:20-4, E107) Mi l ton then experiences a v is ion of "The Lamb of God" — "seen thro ' mists & shadows, hov ' r ing / Over the sepulchers" (14:25-6) and recognizes that hej? M i l t on , i s , in cer ta in respects at l eas t , 197 to be i den t i f i ed with the Satan of the Bard's Song: I in my Selfhood am that Satan: I am that Ev i l One! He i s my Spectre! in my obedience to loose him from my Hel ls To claim the H e l l s , my furnaces, I go to Eternal Death. (14:30-2, E107) Insofar as he has defined his iden t i t y in terms of "Vir tues & Cruel Goodnesses," the "Moral laws and cruel punishments" of Satan, Mi l ton has been a member of the E l e c t , a p r i es t - f i gu re who can l i v e in his "heav'n" only because others are " sca t t e r ' d thro' the deep / In torment." But he knows that Satan i s only a part of him, his Spectre. He views his descent to Eternal Death as a way of f reeing himself from Satan. But he cannot l ibera te himself by making Satan his v ic t im. I f he attempted to do so , the part of himself which i s not Satan would be act ing in a Satanic way. Instead, Mi l ton w i l l " loose" Satan from his " H e l l s " ; that i s , he w i l l expel whatever i t i s in himself that has provided 19 an hospitable climate for the psychology of Druid s a c r i f i c e . How he i s to do this i s another lesson he has learned from the Bard's Song. I f he i s not to be the p r ies t who sac r i f i ces Satan, i t may seem obvious that he should w i l l i n g l y accept the ro le of v i c t im , as Jesus does in the v is ion of the Elect at the end of the Bard's Song. But that , too, would be a mistake, as Leutha's experience has shown. For Mi l ton to o f f e r himself as a Ransom would unnecessari ly perpetuate the i ns t i t u t i on of Druid s a c r i f i c e . For much of the meaning of the s a c r i f i c e of Jesus l i e s in i t s powerful revelat ion that i t . i s by Divine Mercy alone that 198 we l i v e . The E l e c t ' s recognit ion of th is fac t i s simultaneous with t he i r recognit ion that Jesus i s Saviour, and that the i r own s a c r i f i c i a l "Vi r tues & Cruel Goodnesses" are worthless. Mi l ton shares the perception of the E lec t . He acknowledges Jesus as both -Saviour ("Lamb of God" — 14:25) and Lord (14:18), and the "obedience" to which he refers at the end of his speech can only be obedience to Jesus. Ann ih i la t ing the sel fhood, then, means becoming nei ther a p r ies t nor a v i c t im. F i r s t one must recognize that Jesus is the v ic t im whose c ruc i f i x i on has brought to an end men's need fo r the i ns t i t u t i on of Druid s a c r i f i c e . Then one must act in obedience to the v is ion of Divine Mercy which accompanies th is recogni t ion. The impl icat ions of such obedient action are not spe l led out at th is po int , though the references to Resurrection and Last Judgment proyide broad h in ts . When Mi l ton — and a l l men ~ have understood the true value of Jesus' s a c r i f i c e , the fal lenness 20 which character izes human experience w i l l come to an end. The main temptation Mi l ton faces on his descent i s the one posed by Tirzah and Rahab, whose chief work i s to pervert the meaning of the Lamb's s a c r i f i c e . They try to ent ice Mi l ton to jo in them in presiding over a cu l t of Natural Re l i g i on ; they promise to mkke him "King / Of Canaan" (20:506, E113). What th is en ta i l s is made c lea r in t he i r song: Come bring with thee Jerusalem with songs on the Grecian Lyre! In Natural Re l ig ion ! in experiments on Men, Let her be Offerd up to Hol iness! Tirzah numbers her; 199 She numbers with her f ingers every f ib re ere i t grow; Where i s the Lamb of God? where i s the promise of his coming? Her shadowy S is ters form the bones, even the bones of Horeb: Around the marrow! and the orbed scu l l around the bra in ! His Images are born for War! fo r Sac r i f i ce to T i rzah! To Natural Re l ig ion ! to Tirzah the Daughter of Rahab the Holy! (19:46-54, El 12) Tirzah and Rahab of fer up Jerusalem as a s a c r i f i c e , and d is to r t the "Images" of the Lamb of God in a way which corresponds to the perfect ion of the "Body of Death . . . in hypocr i t i c hol iness / Around the Lamb" (13:25-6, E106) in the Bard's Song. In th is passage the images of "the bones of Horeb" which surround the marrow and "the orbed s c u l l " which encloses the brain suggest that a fa lse body has been created to conceal the true one. But M i l t on , having now understood the meaning of the Lamb's s a c r i f i c e , ignores the opportunity to become King of Canaan. From the perspective of the fa l l en wor ld , however, Natural Rel ig ion appears to have triumphed with Tirzah " i n her cruel sports among the Vict ims" (19:44). This wor ld, soon to be character ized in terms of the minute par t icu lars of recent and contemporary Western h i s to ry , has not understood the Cruc i f i x ion as anything other 21 than one more example of Canaanite s a c r i f i c e . Images of Canaanite-Druid s a c r i f i c e dominate the rest of Book I, as Mi l ton continues his journey. Los* : immediately recognizes the s ign i f i cance of M i l ton 's miss ion: He reco l lec ted an old Prophecy in Eden recorded, And often sung to the loud harp at the immortal feasts That Mi l ton o f the Land of Albion should up ascend Forward from Ulro from the Vale of Felpham; and set free Ore from his Chain of Jealousy . . . (20:57-61 , El 14) 200 To set Ore free from the Chain of Jealousy i s to bring the i ns t i t u t i on of Druid s a c r i f i c e to an end, but i t can also be interpreted as the event which could unleash the forces of chaos, and i s l a t e r so interpreted by Rintrah and Palamabron (see 22:31-4, 22 E116). Los, l a t e r i den t i f i ed as "the S p i r i t o f Prophecy the ever apparent E l i a s " (25:61, E120), i s alone able to perceive that Mi l ton i s no longer the Mi l ton of h is tory . Mi l ton and Los unite in Blake in order to carry out M i l ton 's miss ion, which from th is point on i s definable in terms of the consciousness experienced by the inhabitants of the fa l l en world genera l ly , 23 as wel l as in terms of M i l t on ' s own psychology. Los i s opposed by his two sons, Rintrah and Palamabron, who haye not heard the Prophecy and are consequently able to recognize Mi l ton only as the member of the Elect class who had l i ved in the seventeenth century, the p r i e s t l y executioner of Charles. Although Mi l ton 's re l i g ion of r i t ua l s a c r i f i c e i s no longer, in Blake's t ime, i d e n t i f i e d with the i ns t i t u t i ona l church, the s p i r i t which animated that re l i g ion manifests i t s e l f more powerfully than ever. M i l t on , Los's sons argue, must bear his share of the respons ib i l i t y fo r the s p i r i t u a l desolation of the age: Miltons Rel ig ion i s the cause: there i s no end to destruct ion! See the Churches at the i r Period in te r ro r & despair: Rahab created V o l t a i r e ; Tirzah created Rousseau; Assert ing the Self-r ighteousness against the Universal Saviour, Mocking the Confessors & Martyrs, claiming Sel f - r ighteousness; With cruel V i r tue : making War upon the Lambs Redeemed; To perpetuate War & Glory, to perpetuate the Laws of S i n : They perverted Swedenborgs Vis ions in Beulah & in Ulro . . . (22:39-46, E116) 201 I r o n i c a l l y , Vo l ta i re and Rousseau are Mi l ton 's s p i r i t u a l h e i r s , perpetuating the Laws of Sin by d iv id ing mankind into pr ies ts (the Sel f - r ighteous r a t i o n a l i s t s , bel ievers in Natural Rel ig ion) and victims (the Confessors & Martyrs, whose " s i n " i s t he i r be l i e f in Jesus) . In the same way, Rahab and Tirzah have perverted whatever i s imaginative in Swedenborg's v is ion by causing him to show "the Transgressors in H e l l , the proud Warriors in Heaven: / Heaven as a Punisher & Hel l as One under punishment" (22:51-2, E117). To do t h i s , Rintrah continues, i s "to deny the value of the Sayiours blood" (22:54). The very e x p l i c i t reference to the s a c r i f i c i a l blood of Jesus can hardly be acc identa l . As in the Bard's Song, the Cruc i f i x ion i s presented as the s a c r i f i c e which 24 should have brought s a c r i f i c e to an end. For Rahab and Tirzah to order society by d iv id ing men into pr iests and v i c t ims , punishers and punished, i s to deny the central truth of Ch r i s t i an i t y . The men who attempt to bring th is truth to the attent ion of the i r society become vict ims themselves: But then I r a i s ' d up Whi te f ie ld , Palamabron ra isd up Westley, • And these are the cr ies of the Churches before the two Witnesses! ' ] Fai th in God the dear Saviour who took on the l ikeness of men: Becoming obedient to death, even the death of the Cross The Witnesses l i e dead in the Street of the Great Ci ty No Faith i s in a l l the Earth . . . (22:55-60, E117) Whi tef ie ld and Wesley are of course not l i t e r a l l y murdered, but l i k e the other "Confessors & Martyrs, " they are mocked by the s p i r i t of sel f - r ighteousness symbolized by Vo l ta i re and Rousseau. 202 The skepticism which greets the i r proclamation of v is ionary truth has the e f fec t of deadening the i r po ten t ia l l y redemptive message, and ensuring that the psychology of Druid s a c r i f i c e continues to hold sway over the world. That Milton ( h i s t o r i c a l l y ) should have contr ibuted to the creation of th is s i tua t ion seems, to Rintrah and Palamabron, reason enough to condemn him now. There i s , of course, irony in the way Blake presents the i r point of view. Rintrah and Palamabron bel ieve that Druid s a c r i f i c e must be overthrown but they are themselves the dupes of i t s psychology. Fearing that Mi l ton " w i l l u t ter ly consume us , " they decide the so lu t ion i s to capture and imprison him in much the same way as Ore has been imprisoned: " l e t us descend & br ing him chaind / To Bowlahoola 0 father most beloved!" (23:17-18, E117). Bowlahoola, we la te r l ea rn , " i s namd Law. by mortals" (24:48, E119). In the i r readiness to assume the oppressor's ro le , Rintrah and Palamabron are in t he i r own way unwitt ingly denying the value of the Saviour 's blood. Fortunately, Los i s not impressed by t he i r arguments. He t e l l s them of the prophecy about M i l ton 's re turn, and reminds them (and the reader) of the lesson learned by the E lec t at the end of the Bard's Song: "0 Sons we l i v e not by wrath, by mercy alone we l i v e ! " (23:34, E l l 8 ) . Los i s also in charge of Luvah's winepress, which i s described in terms v i r t u a l l y ident ica l to those of Night 11 of The Four Zoas. At f i r s t th is may seem to undercut the image of Los as M i l t on ' s a l l y , but Blake makes i t c lear that Los i s not responsible fo r 20.3 the construction of the winepress - - "Luvah l a i d the foundation & Urizen f i n i s h 1 d i t in howling woe" (27:2, El23) - - and, more important, that he attempts to use i t for purposes more pos i t ive than i t s bui lders intended. This Wine-press i s c a l l ' d War on Ear th, i t i s the Pr in t ing-Press Of Los; and here he lays his words in order above the mortal brain As cogs are formd in a wheel to turn the cog of the adverse wheel. (27:8-10, E123) War on Earth need not be only an image of meaningless r i t ua l s laughter ; i t may also be a sign of the end. In converting the Wine-press to a Pr in t i ng -Press , Los i s using the brutal minute par t icu lars of existence in the fa l l en world in the serv ice of . . . . . 25 prophetic v i s i o n . However Los cannot transform the world in accordance with his v i s i o n . At best he can create condit ions which reveal the a l ternat ives c l ea r l y . In l ines taken d i r ec t l y from The Four Zoas, we see "War on Earth" as a manifestat ion of Druid s a c r i f i c e : But in the Wine-presses the Human grapes sing not, nor dance They howl & writhe in shoals of torment; in f ie rce flames consuming, In chains of i ron & in dungeons c i r c l ed with ceaseless f i r e s . In p i ts & dens & shades of death: in shapes of torment & woe. The plates & screws & wracks & saws & cords & f i r es & c is terns The cruel joys of Luvahs Daughters lacerat ing with knives And whips the i r Victims & the deadly sport of Luvahs Sons (27:30-6, E123) I t i s in th is context that Los achieves his great creat ive triumph, in the moment in which "the Poets Work is Done" (29:1, E126). His a b i l i t y to impose an imaginative order upon the fa l l en world is real but l im i ted . He may make prophetic use of Luvah's Wine-press of War on Ear th, but he cannot eradicate or a l t e r the impulse 204 which causes men to conduct such s a c r i f i c i a l r i t e s . One of the l as t glimpses we get of the World of Los reveals th is fac t c l ea r l y . Af ter the magnificent descr ipt ion of Los's imaginative enterpr ise , we are presented with the image of "The stamping feet of Zelophehads Daughters . . . coverd with Human gore" (29:58, E l27) . At the end of Book I there i s an obvious (and unresolved) tension between Los's creat ive power, and the destruct ive power of Rahab and Tirzah (two of the f i ve daughters). Los's union with Mi l ton (and with Blake) appears to o f fe r the p o s s i b i l i t y of a pos i t i ve reso lu t ion . Thus M i l ton 's descent i s c ruc ia l not only in his own quest for sa l va t i on , but also for the fate of the f a l l e n world i t s e l f . M i l t on ' s descent i s p a r a l l e l l e d by that of 01olon, his " S i x f o l d Emanation," who, as a s i x f o l d being with one persona l i ty , can be described as both s ingu lar and p l u r a l , depending on the context. When Ololon f i r s t appears, her (or the i r ) s i tua t ion i s an i r on i c counterpart to M i l t on ' s at the beginning of the poem. Mi l ton saw his Emanation " sca t t e r ' d thro' the deep / In torment" and th is insp i res him to "go in to the deep her to redeem & himself per ish" (2:19-20, E95). But Olo lon, i t turns out, per-ceives hersel f as a resident of Etern i ty who has driven Mi l ton into "the deep." This perception has i t s roots in an incident described in Book I: But many of the Eternals rose up from eternal tables Drunk with the S p i r i t , burning round the Couch of death they stood 205 Looking down into Beulah: wrath fu l , f i l l ' d with rage! They rend the heavens round the Watchers in a f i e ry c i r c l e : And round the Shadowy Eighth: the Eight close up the Couch Into a tabernacle, and f lee with cr ies down to the Deeps. (20;43-8, E114) I t has already been explained that Mi l ton appearscto those in Eterni ty as one sleeping upon a golden couch (15:1-16, E108). The Eternals who "rend the heavens" around the Watchers are so 26 c lose ly associated with Ololon as to be i den t i f i ed with her. Ololon i s at f i r s t described as a r i v e r , and the wrathful Eternals as those who dwell on her "mild banks" (21:15-17, E114), but i t soon becomes evident that these are merely d i f ferent aspects of a s ing le en t i t y . Olo lon, then, sees herse l f as a p r i es t -f igure who has sac r i f i ced Mi l ton by dr iv ing him into the "Deeps" (Ulro) in order to sa t i s f y her wrath. Like the Mi l ton of Plate 2 , she i s "Unhappy tho' in heavn'n," and unable, of her own st rength, to a l te r the s i t ua t i on . M i l t on , of course, discovers the solut ion to his problem in l i s t en ing to the Bard's Song; but Ololon does not have the benefi t of th is experience: And they lamented that they had in wrath & fury & f i r e Driven Mi l ton into the U l ro ; for now they knew too late That i t was Mi l ton the Awakener: they had not heard the Bard Whose song ca l l d Mi l ton to the attempt . . . (21:31-4, E115) This implies both that Ololon i s unaware that i t i s M i l ton 's intent ion to descend to the U l ro , and (more important) that she i s unaware that the psychology of Druid s a c r i f i c e has been made obsolete by the Lamb of God's s a c r i f i c e . As a r esu l t , she can 206 think of only one way to express her impulse towards repentance. She offers hersel f as a ransom for M i l t on , j us t as Leutha offered to take Satan's s in upon herse l f : "And Ololon s a i d , Let us descend a l so , and l e t us give / Ourselves to death in Ulro among the Transgressors" (21:45-6, E115). Like Leutha, Ololon bel ieves that the p o s s i b i l i t y for change i s l imi ted by the notion that the roles of p r i es t and v ic t im are permanent ones, though ind iv iduals 27 may leave one role and assume another. Then the Divine Family sa id . Six Thousand Years are now Accomplish'd in th is World of Sorrow; Mi Hons Angel knew The Universal D ic ta te ; and you also feel th is Dictate. And now you know th is World of Sorrow, and feel P i t y . Obey The Dictate! Watch over th is World, and with your brooding wings, Renew i t to Eternal L i f e : Lo! I am with you always But you cannot renew Mi l ton he goes to Eternal Death So spake the Family Divine as One Man even Jesus Uni t ing in One with Ololon & the appearance of One Man. Jesus the Saviour appeard coming in the Clouds of Ololon! (21:51-60, E115) Jesus, e x p l i c i t l y i den t i f i ed as "the Saviour," reveals himself d i rec t l y to Ololon. He unites with her in a way which pa ra l l e l s the Bard's union with Mi l ton at the end of the Song (14:9, E107), though here i t i s c lea r l y Jesus who i s the dominant partner in the union. But there are other pa ra l l e l s which are more important. F i r s t , Ololon learns , as Mi l ton.does from the Bard's Song, that the psychology of Druid s a c r i f i c e i s obsolete. As Mi l ton had to learn that he should not t ry to make Satan his v i c t im , so Ololon learns that she should not try to "renew Mi l ton" by making herse l f 207 a v ic t im. Instead she must recognize that "Jesus the Saviour," the v ict im par excel lence, has made such s a c r i f i c e superf luous. She must then act on th is percept ion, not by becoming e i ther a p r ies t or a v i c t im , but by obeying the "Universal D ic ta te . " Obedience, for Ololon as fo r M i l t on , involves maintaining an intimate re la t ionship with Jesus. From this point on, .her appearance tends to be coincidental with the manifestation of the Jesus of the parousia. Thus Ololon embarks on the process of " s e l f annih i -28 l a t i o n , " though Blake does not use the phrase in th is passage. Like M i l t on , Ololon must experience one major temptation during the course of her descent. Both temptations have to do with the choice between two con f l i c t i ng responses to the s a c r i f i c e of Jesus. Mi l ton rejects Rahab and T i rzah 's o f fe r to make him "King of Canaan," the p r ies t who presides over the r i t ua l by which the Lamb of God i s s a c r i f i c e d to the gods of "Natural Re l i g i on . " He refuses to cross the " r i v e r Jordan" to jo in them. Ololon's temptation is to stay in.one p lace, beside "Luvahs empty Tomb" (35:59, E l35) , outside the Mundane S h e l l . In so doing, she would be acknowledging that Luvah's s a c r i f i c e i s equivalent to that of Jesus. This would imply that she would no longer be obl igated to obey the "Universal D ic ta te , " and could safe ly abandon her mission. The s i ren song in th is case i s heard, i r o n i c a l l y , in "the Divine Voice . . . in the Songs of Beulah" (33:1, E131). The Divine Vo ice , addressing the "Daughter of Babylon," presents an account of Mi l ton 's descent which omits a l l . mention of Jesus, and which asserts the necessity of repeated s a c r i f i c e : Behold Mi l ton descended to Redeem the Female Shade From Death E te rna l ; such your l o t , to be cont inual ly Redeem'd By death & misery of those you love & by Annih i la t ion (33:11-13, El31) In these l ines the Divine Voice i m p l i c i t l y rejects the p o s s i b i l i t y that the Cruc i f i x ion (or any pa r t i cu la r s a c r i f i c e ) could el iminate the need for fur ther "death & misery." Thus Blake establ ishes the fact that the Divine Voice is to be interpreted i r o n i c a l l y . The passage continues with a w i ld l y inaccurate p red ic t ion : When the S i x fo ld Female perceives that Mi l ton annihi lates Himself: that seeing a l l his loves by her cut o f f : he leaves Her a lso : i n t i r e l y abstract ing himself from Female loves She sha l l re lent in fear of death: She sha l l begin to give Her maidens to her husband: de l ight ing in his del ight And then & then alone begins the happy Female joy As i t i s done in Beulah . . . (33:14-20, E132) But Ololon is not, in her subsequent ac t ions, motivated by " fear of death," nor i s there a scene in which she gives her maidens to her husband. (She does give her own maidenhead to her husband, but i f i t i s that to which the Divine Voice i s re fe r r i ng , the use of the p lura l i s inexp l i cab le . ) The passage also presents a fa lse account of M i l ton 's perception. At the beginning of his descent he rea l izes that he_ has cut o f f his Emanation, and fa r from " i n t i r e l y abstract ing himself from Female loves, " he rea l izes the pe r i l of being found at the Judgment without his Emanation (14:28, E107). In the Songs of Beulah, then, the Divine Voice seems to 209 be advocating a Druid soter io logy by which redemption of one character is made possible only by the continual "death & misery" of others. His account of the redemption of Mi l ton and Olo lon, besides being inaccurate with respect to what actua l ly happens l a te r in the poem, is phrased oddly, too: Mi l ton re ta l ia tes for Ololon's i n i t i a l gesture of re ject ion by su lk ing ; Ololon's fear inspires her to bribe him to return, as she acts as a procuress for him, in e f fec t playing the Clod to his Pebble ( "del ight ing in his de l igh t " ) . Yet the Divine Voice says that th is process, characterized as i t i s by Mi l ton 's se l f ishness and Ololon's desperate insecur i t y , i s the prelude to "the happy Female joy . " At l eas t , that i s how the Divine Voice sounds, inev i tab ly 29 d is tor ted as i t enters the state of Beulah. From Ololon's perspect ive, the Divine Voice must appear to be playing the ro le of the False Tongue, i nd i rec t l y i n v i t i ng her to in terpre t her s i tua t ion in accordance with the psychology of Druid ic s a c r i f i c e . When th is account is set against the Divine Family 's commission to Ololon - - "Watch over tliiis World, and with your brooding wings, / Renew i t to Eternal L i f e " (21:55-6, E l l 5 ) - - we can see that the Divine Voice is presenting her with a completely d i f ferent in terpretat ion of her experience, a way diametrical ly opposed to that presented by Jesus. Olo lon, looking down " in to the heavens of U l ro , " does experience fear (34:49, E133). She does not immediately enter the "vast Polypus / Of l i v i n g f ibres down in to the Sea of Time & Space growing" 210 (34:25, E133); instead she descends to Luvah's Tomb, s i tuated at a point somewhere "beyond the Mundane S h e l l " (35:47, E l35) . Here she faces in a d i rec t way the temptation to act in accordance with the fa lse wisdom of the Divine Voice: The Wild Thyme i s Los's Messenger to Eden, a mighty Demon Terr ib le deadly & poisonous his presence in Ulro dark Therefore he appears only a small Root creeping in grass Hovering over the Rock of Odours his br ight purple mantle Beside the Fount above the Larks nest in Golgonooza Luvah s lep t here in death & here i s Luvahs empty Tomb Ololon sat beside th is Fountain on the Rock of Odours. (35:54-60, El 35) Peter Taylor has noted that "Etymolog ica l ly , the word thyme is derived from a Greek yeybmeaning ' to o f fer a s a c r i f i c e ' " and Harold Bloom has suggested that "As a purple flower on Luvah's rock of s a c r i f i c e , the Wild Thyme reca l l s the t rad i t iona l pastoral 30 emblem for the death of a young man or god." The presence of the Wild Thyme, then, evokes the notion of a s a c r i f i c e which must be repeated annual ly, the pagan equivalent of the high p r ies t entering the sanctuary with the blood of others: in shor t , the whole system of Druid s a c r i f i c e which Jesus came to end. This i s the kind of s a c r i f i c e of which the Divine Voice has spoken to the Daughter of Babylon: the kind which involves the need for the Daughter to be "cont inua l ly Redeem'd / By death & misery of those you love" (33:12-13, E131). On the other hand, the passage contains an obvious a l lus ion to Ch r i s t ' s death and resur rec t ion , although reference i s made to Luvah rather than to Jesus. From th is point of view, Ololon i s 211 l i k e the women at the Tomb in the Gospel Cruc i f i x ion narrat ives. In John's Gospel, Mary Magdalene i s so intent on mourning for her dead Lord that she i s unable to recognize the r isen Jesus standing beside her (John 20.15). In Ololon's case, the temptation is to see Jesus and Luvah as i d e n t i c a l : that i s , to see Jesus as merely another example of the god whose death and resurrect ion i s repeated annually. I f she were to come to th is conclusion, she would be, in e f f ec t , denying the value of the Saviour 's blood. She would also be providing herse l f with a good excuse for staying outside the Polypus and abandoning her quest for M i l ton . I f Jesus i s no more than a Luvah-f igure, there can be no escape from the psychology of Druid s a c r i f i c e . In that case, the Beulah version of "redemption" described by the Divine Voice on Plate 33 would seem very desirable indeed. There i s no doubt, of course, that Jesus has died as_ a Luvah-f igure. The question i s whether Luvah'js_ Jesus or whether Luvah has been redeemed by_ Jesus, who has f ree ly accepted Luvah's 31 suf fer ing and death. The fact that the Wild Thyme is Los's Messenger provides one obvious clue. Los, previously i den t i f i ed as "the S p i r i t of Prophecy the ever apparent E l i a s " (24:71, E120), would hardly send messages designed to undercut Ololon's fa i th in Jesus as Saviour. The thyme must therefore be an emblem of Ch r i s t ' s s a c r i f i c e and no other. Further l i g h t i s shed on th is passage when we compare i t with the descr ipt ion of death which appears at the end of Plate 32: 212 For God himself enters Death's Door always with those that enter And lays down in the Grave with them, in Visions of Etern i ty T i l l they awake & see Jesus & the Linen Clothes ly ing That the Females had Woven for them, & the Gates of t he i r Fathers House (32:40-3, E131) The experience of the ind iv idual in death i s compared to , but not i den t i f i ed w i th , the death and resurrect ion of Jesus. In fac t the person who enters Death's Door can, apparently, be resurrected only because Jesus has been there before him. This passage provides a convenient gloss for the descr ipt ion of Luvah's Tomb on Plate 35. Luvah has entered Death's Door and God himself - -represented by the thyme, the sign of Jesus' s a c r i f i c e — has (quite l i t e r a l l y ) l a i n down on the grave with Luvah. Ololon has arr ived to f ind that Luvah has awakened and l e f t , presumably having seen Jesus and the Gates o f .h is Father 's House. Jesus' s a c r i f i c e has made i t unnecessary for Luvah's to be repeated; Luvah's empty tomb should therefore encourage Ololon to continue on her journey. I f Luvah's experience of death ends in resur rec t ion , Ololon has no reason to fear the l i v i n g death of the Polypus. Consequently Ololon's entry " in to the Polypus in the Mundane S h e l l " (36:13, E135) demonstrates her obedience to the Divine Fami ly 's command and her re ject ion of the temptation i m p l i c i t in the song of the Divine Voice. As Mi l ton refused to cross Jordan to become King of Canaan, so Ololon refuses to remain beside an empty tomb to mourn for a death which has been swallowed up in v ic tory . Instead she chooses to continue to seek the annih i la t ion 213 of her own selfhood. In descending to Blake's garden where she appears as "a Vi rg in of twelve years" (36:17, E136), she prepares the way for the poem's apocalypt ic denouement. In the f ina l p la tes , Mi l ton casts Satan, his Spectre or Selfhood, in to the f i e ry "Lake / Of Los" (39:11-12, E139) and then exhorts Ololon to perform a s im i l a r act by separating hersel f from "the V i rg i n " (42:3, E142), a f ter which the Jesus of the parousia appears and preparations for "the Great Harvest & Vintage of the Nations" are made (43:1, E l43) . The ind iv idual quests of Mi l ton and Ololon are i den t i f i ed with the struggle of f a l l en humanity to free i t s e l f from "Natural Re l i g i on , " the i ns t i t u t i on created by the psychology of Dru id ic s a c r i f i c e which Jesus came to destroy. Mi l ton and Ololon are also the agents through whom Jesus returns to the fa l l en world to complete the task of restor ing i t to an unfal len s ta te . What i s of most s ign i f i cance to us in this account is the way Blake presents the marriage of Mi l ton and Ololon: as the i ns t i t u t i on which replaces Druid s a c r i f i c e . The Cruc i f i x ion has freed men from the necessity of performing the roles of p r ies t and v ic t im. However, sinceothe False Tongue has convinced them that the s a c r i f i c e of Jesus has made no change in the i r s p i r i t u a l cond i t ion, they are unable to make use of the i r freedom. Mi l ton and Ololon are exceptions, because they have understood who Jesus i s , and have been obedient to his commandments. I t seems odd to 214 suggest that Blake i s adapting the paradoxical Chr is t ian theme of freedom in obedience, but obedience is a motive for both Mi l ton 32 and Ololon when they begin the i r respective descents. The ultimate e f fec t of these acts of obedience i s to purge both characters of the need to re late to each other as p r ies t and v ic t im. What each character perceives as his exp lo i ta t ion of the other gives way.hto the~creative act which i s the vehicle for Jesus' return. But th is s ing le act - - whose nature w i l l be examined below - -i s s u f f i c i e n t to set in motion the ser ies of events which w i l l eradicate the world 's fa l lenness , ending the waste sad time which separates Cruc i f i x ion from Apocalypse. At the beginning of Plate 37, M i l ton 's Shadow overhears Ololon speaking to Blake, and manifests himself (or i t s e l f ) in the garden. The shadow is i den t i f i ed with the other p r i es t -f igures prominent in the poem: I saw he was the Covering Cherub & wi th in him Satan And Rahajb], in an outside which is f a l l ac i ous ! within Beyond the out l ine of Ident i ty , in the Selfhood deadly And he appeard the Wicker Man of Scandinavia in whom Jerusalems chi ldren consume in flames among the Stars (37:8-12, E136) (The Wicker Man, probably derived from Caesar's.Commentaries, provides yet another image of s a c r i f i c e . The Druids were supposed to have imprisoned captives in wicker cages b u i l t in the shape 33 of a man, and then set the cages on f i r e . ) Af ter a lengthy catalogue of the fa lse gods i den t i f i ed with Satan, Mi l ton confronts his Spectre d i r e c t l y , and declares his independence from the i ns t i t u t i on of Druid ic s a c r i f i c e . He w i l l adopt the role of nei ther p r ies t nor v ic t im: Satan! my Spectre! I know my power thee to annih i la te And be a greater in thy p lace, & be thy Tabernacle A covering for thee to do thy w i l l , t i l l one greater comes And smites me as I smote thee & becomes my covering. (38:29-32, El38) Mi l ton here proclaims his power to make Satan his v i c t im ; but he recognizes that to do this would be to assume Satan's nature himself. Th is , in turn , would make Mi l ton vulnerable to the next ambitious p r ies t - f i gu re he encountered. (Such a p r i es t -34 f igure could, of course, only be Satan in another d isguise.) But M i l ton 's status as a fo l lower of Jesus has provided him with a rad i ca l l y d i f fe rent perspective on the s i t ua t i on : Such are the Laws of thy fa lse Heavns! but Laws of Etern i ty Are not such: know thou: I come to Se l f Annih i la t ion Such are the Laws of Etern i ty that each sha l l mutually Annih i la te himself for others good, as I fo r thee! . ] Thy purpose & the purpose of thy Pr ies ts & of thy Churches Is to impress on men the fear of death; to teach Trembling & fear , t e r ro r , cons t r i c t i on ; abject sel f ishness Mine is to teach Men to despise death & to go on In fear less majesty ann ih i la t ing S e l f , laughing to scorn Thy Laws & t e r ro r s , shaking down thy Synagogues as webs (38:33-42, ET38) I f Mi l ton refuses to become a p r i e s t , i t i s c lear that " S e l f Ann ih i la t ion" means something other than acknowledging Satan as "P r i es t " and accepting the role of v ic t im. Yet Mil ton i n s i s t s that he acts fo r Satan's "good" in performing th is act . The point i s , presumably, that Satan does not know what i s good for him. M i l t on ' s purpose, to destroy Satan's re l i g ion in h imsel f , w i l l resu l t in the loosing of Satan from his (Mi l ton 's) "He l l s " (14:31, E107) and thereby ul t imately " f ree" Satan from the bondage 216 of his own re l ig ious system - - although there i s no ind icat ion that Satan w i l l ever be able to make construct ive use of his f reedom. 3 5 More important, M i l ton 's act of destroying Satan's re l i g ion w i l l const i tute the f i n a l step in his process of l i be ra t i on from the psychology of Druid s a c r i f i c e . I t w i l l also provide other men with an example, so that they, too, may l ibera te them-selves from the "abject se l f i sh iness " to which they are subject. Satan's r e l i g i o n , the doctrine of the False Tongue, has convinced men that they are the helpless vict ims of a God whose ult imate instrument of torture i s death. I f men are to be set f ree , i t i s not Satan himself who must be destroyed, but the power of his "Laws" and "Synagogues." Mi l ton promises to "teach men to despise death" by demonstrating that they need be nei ther murderers nor y ic t ims. He w i l l do th is by putt ing of f "In Se l f ann ih i la t ion a l l that i s not of God alone""(38:48, E138). Satan makes a f i na l attempt to int imidate M i l t on , ca l l i ng himself "God the judge of a l l , the l i v i n g & the dead" and demanding that Mil ton " F a l l therefore down &.worship me" (38:51-2, ET38). But Mi l ton refuses to become Satan's v i c t im , jus t as he had refused to make Satan his v ic t im. When Satan blasphemously invokes the name of "the Divine Delusion Jesus" (39:2, E139), the Seven Angels of the Presence intervene. Satan's f i na l metamorphosis in Mi l ton reveals him as an impotent p r ies t - f i gu re whose only ava i lab le v ic t im i s his own body: 217 Howling in his Spectre round his Body hungring to devour But fear ing for the pain for i f he touches a V i t a l , His torment i s unendurable: therefore he cannot devour: But howls round i t as a l ion round his prey cont inual ly . (39:18-21, E139) Mi l ton has now dec is ive ly separated himself from his Selfhood. In obedience to the commands of Jesus, he has descended to Eternal Death and loosed Satan from his He i l s . Refusing to adopt the posture of e i ther v ic t im or p r i e s t , he has successfu l ly defied his adversary. He has become independent of the psychology of Druid s a c r i f i c e . (Satan, i r o n i c a l l y , can only make a f u t i l e attempt to assume both r o l e s , that of the Spectre-pr iest and that of the Body-vict im; but the r i t ua l cannot, of course, be carr ied out.) To say that Mi l ton has become independent of the psychology of Druid s a c r i f i c e i s to say that he has responded f u l l y to the impl icat ions of the C r u c i f i x i o n ; he i s therefore ready fo r the parousia. According to the wr i ters of the New Testament, the gap between Chr i s t ' s redemptive work and his glor ious return could be accounted for in such terms as these: "The Lord i s not slack concerning his promise, as some men count s lackness; but i s longsuffer ing to us-ward, not w i l l i n g that any should pe r i sh , but that a l l should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3.9). At the climax of H i l t o n , both H i l ton and Ololon have come to repentance, and the promise begins to be f u l f i l l e d . F i r s t , however, Ololon must perform an act pa ra l l e l to the one by which Hi l ton separates himself i r revocably from Satan. As H i l ton f i r s t recognized himself as a member of the E l e c t , so 218 Ololon perceives d i rec t l y that she i s responsible for Natural Re l ig ion : this Newtonian Phantasm This Vo l ta i re & Rousseau: th is Hume & Gibbon & Bolingbroke This Natural Re l ig ion ! th is impossible absurdity Is Ololon the cause of th is? (40:11-14, E140) E a r l i e r , Ololon had erred in be l iev ing she was responsible for dr iv ing Mi l ton into the U l r o ; now her true s in has been revealed. "Rahab Babylon," Olo lon 's counterpart to M i l ton 's Shadow, appears immediately. At th is point Mi l ton del ivers his magnif icent speech about the ann ih i la t ion of Selfhood (40:29-41:28, E141). This speech has borne the weight of so much c r i t i c a l commentary that i t would be unwise to attempt to say anything new about i t . For our purposes, one need note only that Mi l ton now speaks with the Bard's authori ty "the Words of the Inspired Man" (40:29), and that the theme of these words i s the theme of the Bard's Song. Mi l ton i den t i f i es the "murderers / Of Jesus" (41:21-2).as those who espouse any i n te l l ec tua l system — r e l i g i o u s , ph i l osoph ica l , p o l i t i c a l , aesthet ic - - which f inds i t s essence in legal ism. Such men are p r ies t - f i gu res who use "the Reasoning Power in Man" (40:34) — whether as "Rational Demonstration" (41:3) or "doubt" (41:15) — to keep the i r vict ims imprisoned in the psychology of Druid s a c r i f i c e . I t i s only by "Fa i th in the Saviour," " Insp i ra t ion" and "Imagination" (41:3-6) that th is psychology can be overthrown. At the beginning of the speech, Mi l ton challenges Ololon 219 to obey his Words, and she responds by separating herse l f from that part of her personal i ty which is capable of murdering Jesus, the part Blake i den t i f i es as "the V i rg in " (42:3-6, E142). No longer " led to War the Wars of Death" (41:36, E l42 ) , Mi l ton and Ololon need no longer re late to each other as p r ies t and v ic t im. Unlike Leutha, Ololon does not o f fer herse l f as a ransom; she chooses the a l te rna t ive : to o f fer herse l f as a br ide. But the (undescribed) lovemaking of Mi l ton and Ololon i s so c losely associated with the return of Jesus that Blake cannotmerely.be arguing that sexual i ty 37 provides the basis for an i ns t i t u t i on to replace Druid s a c r i f i c e : Then as a Moony Ark Ololon descended to Felphams Vale In clouds of blood, in-streams of gore, with dreadful thunderings Into the F i res of I n te l l ec t that r e j o i c ' d in Felphams Vale Around the starry Eight: with one accord the Starry Eight became One Man Jesus the Sav
UBC Theses and Dissertations
Stems of generation : the figure of the victim in the poetry of William Blake Mathews, Lawrence MacKay 1976
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