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THE FOUR ZOAS: NEW TEXT FOR PAGES 5, 6, & 7, NIGHT THE FIRST
Andrew Lincoln’s demonstration that FZ 143 is not necessarily later than FZ 7 is fully persuasive. I have now looked once more at the manuscript and can see that my previous misconstruction of the sequence of revisions had prevented me from recognizing what constituted the proper final text. It had also given me misleading clues that distracted me from deciphering two of the heavily erased words. I can now see that “Serpent” is the original reading in 7:10 as well as in 143:4 and 143:8—and that the second reading in 143:8 is “female”. The evidence is hence clear that the final variants in page 143 constitute a layer of revision intermediate between the first readings of that page and the final readings of page 7. And it is impressively evident that the second “half” of the creature that is half woman and half something else, in 7:23 and 143:4, begins as a serpent and ends as a spectre, with this sequence of metamorphoses:
Half Woman & half Serpent7,143 / beast143 / Spectre7But what does this sequence establish in the other variants on these pages?
HYPOTHESIS 1: That the movement from serpent to beast to spectre is a spiral, the spectre evolving as a higher kind of serpent.
If this is true, then unchanged terms in page 7 should apply first to serpent and finally to spectre. The “scaly armour” of 7:25 and 143:6 (1st rdg) belongs to serpent and finally to spectre; the “rocky features” of 143:6 2nd rdg belong only to the beast. The “brightness” of 7:21 remains unchanged but shifts in 143:2 to “darkness” for the beast. The combination of woman and serpent or spectre is a “monster”; the combination of woman and beast is a “wonder”; it has “rocky features” and “darkly waving colours” rather than the “lovely changing colours” of the “monster”. The somewhat anomalous shift from “Serpent voice” to “female voice” in 143:8 seems to make both halves female: that voice is given to “warbling”; but in page 7 the voice, whether of Serpent or of Spectre (first and final readings), keeps to “incessant wailing”.
HYPOTHESIS 2: That the movement is from “Serpent” and/or “Spectre” to “beast”.
In that case (assumed to be true by Bentley and Erdman) the changes introduced by the second readings of page 143, when treated as revisions to page 7 (as in the Doubleday text), produce final readings that are inconsistent with the context established in pages 5 and 6, where “Spectre” is the latest reading. (Keynes avoided such confusion by keeping page 143 separate as an “additional fragment”; but then neither Keynes nor Bentley unearthed the “beast,” being lost in a misreading of that word as “desart”.) (For a demonstration deducing hypothesis 2 from the fact that “brightness” and “scaly armour” et cetera are unchanged in page 7, see Bentley, “The Composition and Growth of Vala,” in his 1963 facsimile edition, p. 160, fn. 4.)
The changes required in the Doubleday text and textual notes (pp. 299-300 and 740-42) and also in the Longmans text (pp. 298-99) can be spelled out in the Doubleday format as follows:
Doubleday page 299. PAGE 5. After line 43 add ten lines as follows:
|What have I done! said Enion accursed wretch! What deed.||t|
|Is this a deed of Love I know what I have done. I know||45|
|Too late now to repent. Love is changd to deadly Hate||t|
|A[ll] life is blotted out & I alone remain possessd with Fears||t|
|I see the Shadow of the dead within my Soul wandering||t|
|In darkness & solitude forming Seas of Doubt & rocks of Repentance||t|
|Already are my Eyes reverted. all that I behold||50|
|Within my Soul has lost its splendor & a brooding Fear|
|Shadows me oer & drives me outward to a world of woe|
|So waild she trembling before her own Created Phantasm
PAGE 6. After line 8 add ten lines as follows: (no extra space):
|The Spectre thus spoke. Who art thou Diminutive husk & shell||t|
|If thou hast sinnd & art polluted know that I am pure||t||10|
|And unpolluted & will bring to rigid strict account||t|
|All thy past deeds [So] hear what I tell thee! mark it well! remember!|
|This world is Thine in which thou dwellest that within thy soul||t|
|That dark & dismal infinite where Thought roams up & down|
|Is Mine & there thou goest when with one Sting of my tongue||t||15|
|Envenomd thou rollst inwards to the place whence I emergd
|She trembling answerd Wherefore was I born & what am I||t|
|I thought to weave a Covering for my Sins from wrath of Tharmas||t|
PAGE 7. Without a space, insert the following seven lines at the beginning:
|I thought Tharmas a Sinner & I murderd his Emanations||t|
|His secret loves & Graces Ah me wretched What have I done||t|
|For now I find that all those Emanations were my Childrens Souls||t|
|And I have murderd them with Cruelty above atonement||t|
|Those that remain have fled from my cruelty into the desarts||5|
|And thou the delusive tempter to these deeds sittest before me||t|
|In this thy world not mine tho dark I feel my world within||t|
After a space, replace the 14 lines of text with the following six:
|Mingling his horrible brightness with her tender limbs; then high she soar’d||t|
|Above the ocean; a bright wonder [that] Nature [shudder’d at]||t|
|Half Woman & half Spectre, all his lovely changing colours mix||t||10|
|With her fair crystal clearness; in her lips & cheeks his poisons rose||t|
|In blushes like the morning, and his scaly armour softening||t|
|A monster lovely in the heavens or wandering on the earth,||t|
PAGE 8 follows, with no extra space.
These changes in the text necessitate the following changes in the Textual Notes, pages 740-43:
740-41: delete everything from “Ten deleted lines follow” through “line it would replace”; insert the following:
Lines 44-53 were cancelled by three diagonal strokes but then circled in ink for restoration to the text. (For a convincing demonstration that such circling, on pages 5-7 and not found elsewhere, was intended[e] to bring the circled lines back “in,” see Andrew Lincoln in (this issue of) Blake.
46 Love is changed to . . . Hate] ?Alone ?possessed by . . . Fears 1st rdg del
47 All life] [All] <A> life ms rdg; the erasure of “All” was evidently a slip; Blake never used the phrase “a life” in the meaning it would have here.
48 Shadow . . . Soul] remembrance . . . eyes 1st rdg del
49 Doubt . . . Repentance] Trouble . . . sorrow 1st rdg del
53] There follow a penciled insert and a deleted line it would replace:
Revise the central line on p. 741 to read: “After line 8 follow 17 lines deleted by diagonal strokes and a grey wash:” and then delete everything after the 17th line, ending “manifest,” to the end of the note (i. e. from “The Spectre thus spoke” through “wrath of Tharmas”). Insert the following page 6 notes:
Lines 9-19 were deleted by diagonal strokes but then restored by a circling ink line.
9-10 Who art thou . . . shell] An insertion, with this continuation (later deleted) up the right margin:
Broke from thy bonds I scorn my prison I scorn & yet I love
The insertion before deletion was to replace this 1st rdg:
Art thou not my slave & shalt thou dare
To smite me with thy tongue beware lest I sting also thee
10-12 If thou . . . past deeds] inserted over erasure.
12 So] conjectural reading of strokes imperfectly inked.
13 Thine] Mine 1st rdg del
15 Mine] mended from thine The Spectre is crowding Enion into the outer world while he invades the infinite within.
16 whence I emergd] of death & hell 1st rdg del; where 2nd rdg del
17] A deleted line follows: A sorrow & a fear a living torment & naked Victim
18 for my] for his 1st rdg delbegin page 98 | ↑ back to top
Replace all of the “PAGE 7 (& 143)” note, up through the fifth printed line at the top of p. 743, with the following:
Page 7 is a thicket of erased and deleted original and additional lines. The top block of 9 added lines has been deleted, then restored by an ink circle, then heavily revised; the last of these (line 7 in the present text) is so crossed out and mended that to restore it Blake has written “This line to come in” alongside it. The lower half of the page consists of original copperplate writing, with some mending and some deletion of lines. The undeleted original lines appear also on p 143 (a
1] Preceded by two lines, mended and then heavily cancelled after Blake’s encircling:
Examining the sins of Tharmas I [have]<soon> found my own
O slay me not thou art his Wrath embodied in Deceit
2] An inserted line.
3 For] But 1st rdg del
Under lines 1-3 and the preceding cancelled lines are three erased lines in Blake’s usual hand, the last
[Here retain the Doubleday textual note, from “word of the 1st line” through “globe self balanc’d”; replace the remainder of the note with the following:]
4] An inserted line.
6] Among wild beasts to roam And thou the delusive tempter 1st rdg del, followed by two cancelled lines:
[But where is]<[Thou art not]><And art thou>Tharmas all thy Soft delusive beauty cannot Tempt me to murder [honest love]<my own soul>& wipe my tears & smile
7 not mine tho] for ah! how 1st rdg del Six cancelled lines follow, after a stanza break:
The Spectre said Thou sinful Woman. was it thy Desire
That I should hide thee with my power & delight thee with my beauty
And now thou darknest in my presence. never from my sight
Shalt thou depart to weep in secret. In my jealous wings
I evermore will hold thee when thou goest out or comest in 5
begin page 99 | ↑ back to top Tis thou hast darkend all My World O Woman lovely bane
After another stanza break, we return to the original copperplate text, beginning with three deleted lines:
Thus they contended all the day among the Caves of TharmasPage 143 begins with a variant of the last line:
Twisting in fearful forms & howling <howling harsh shrieking>
<Howling>harsh shrieking, mingling their bodies join in burning anguish
<Opening his rifted rocks> mingling [their bodies]<together they> join in burning anguish
(The rocks accord with the “rocky features” of the “beast” of the middle version; see below.)
8 horrible] 1st and 3rd rdg, del but not erased p 7, only rdg p 143; terrible 2nd rdg erased p 7 brightness] p 7, 1st rdg del p 143; darkness 2nd rdg p 143
9 Above the ocean;] p 7; Shrieking above the ocean: p 143; on p 7 “Shrieking” is inserted before the line but then deleted. Nature] 1st rdg del and 3rd rdg, p 7; Beulah 2nd rdg del p 7; “that” and “shudder’d at” are cancelled but not replaced on p 7; p 143 reads “that nature shudderd at”.
10 Spectre] 2nd rdg p 7; Serpent 1st rdg del p 7, 1st rdg p 143; beast 2nd rdg p 143 lovely changing] p 7 and 1st rdg del p 143; darkly waving 2nd rdg p 143
11 poisons] p 7 and 1st rdg del p 143; metals 2nd rdg p 143
12 scaly armour] p 7 and 1st rdg del p 143; rocky features 2nd rdg p 143 softening] softning p 143
13 monster] p 7 and 1st rdg del p 143; wonder 2nd rdg p 143 wandering] wandring p 143
Page 143 continues:
With [Serpent]<female> voice <warbling upon the [hills] & hollow vales>(The insertions are written on top of almost illegible erasures, but the p and t of “Serpent” have left traces in precisely the right places.)
Beauty all blushing with desire a Self enjoying wonder
Page 7 continues with three deleted lines:
With [Serpent]<Spectre> voice incessant wailing; in incessant thirstThe revision to “Spectre” suggests that p 143 was put aside before these line on p 7 were deleted. Page 143 originally continued, after a stanza break:
Beauty all blushing with desire mocking her fell despair
Wandering desolate, a wonder abhorr’d by Gods & Men
And thus her voice; <Glory, delight, & sweet enjoyment born>(The second line and the two words bracketed in the third were written over erasures.) In the break before these three lines and in the bottom margin below them are two versions of a passage to be adapted from the deleted copperplate text of p 8 and to be followed by line 11 (“And thus her voice”) et cetera. In the deleted text (lines 5-13 following 8:7) Enion broods, after bearing two infants, and vegetation grows up from the rough rocks to shelter them. The revision may be intended to have the vegetation grow up to shelter Enion before she gives birth to the children.
<To mild Eternity shut in a threefold shape delightful>
To wander in <sweet>solitude<enrapturd>at every wind
The version at the bottom of p 143 (possibly written first) is crowded in like prose but may be lined out, with the help of Blake’s slashes and capitals. It begins with a half line that could be meant to replace “a Self enjoying wonder” at the end of 143:9:
Shining across the ocean /The suggestion is to follow the “Enion brooded” line with its successor (before insertions) in p 8 which reads:
Enion brooded groaning the golden rocks vegetate
The b . . . [paper torn away]
Infolding the bright woman from the desolating winds /
& thus her voice &[c] [paper torn away]
The barked Oak, the long limbd Beech; the Ches’nut tree; the Pine.and to continue the passage, which fills five more lines with vegetation and animation, to conclude with Infolding the bright Infants from the desolating winds
—with the woman replacing the Infants. Blake subsequently deleted all these instructions except the phrase “Infolding the bright woman”.
The alternative version, undeleted, consists of a double line crowded into the stanza break between “a Self enjoying wonder” (presumably to be left intact) and “And thus her voice”. Here the vegetating process is more complex, involving seas, rocks, and vortex:
For Enion brooded groaning loud the rough seas vegetate.[e]Possibly the plan was to have this triple vegetating proceed at once to “Infolding the bright woman” (undeleted portion of the first version): it would make up a full line (if there weren’t too many words on the torn paper): and perhaps to conclude as before with “Thus her voice” et cetera.
Golden rocks rise from the [vorte . . . ]<vast> [paper torn]