by John Emslie THE WORD ZOA is Greek. It means ‘living one’. In the Book of Ezekiel, zoa is the name of the four creatures who pull the chariot of God’s Spirit. William Blake, The Works of William Blake: Poetic, Symbolic, and Critical, III, ed. Edwin J. Ellis and William Butler Yeats (London: Quaritch, ). PR E5. The Four Zoas (Excerpt) by William is the price of Experience do men buy it for a song Or wisdom for a dance in the street No it is bought with the.

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Vala or The Four Zoas

He is the enemy of conjugal love and is the Jupiter of fouur Greeks, an iron-hearted tyrant, the ruiner of ancient Greece. It means ‘living one’.

I have entirely reduced that spectrous Fiend to his station, whose annoyance has been the ruin of my labours for the last passed twenty years of my life. Like many of Blake’s works, designs in Vala depict sexual activity or the genitals of the individual. The four animals materialize again in the Book of Revelation. The drawing on page would have been very suitable for VIIa if the Night had ended with the tension between the Spectre and Shadow still unresolved.

Perhaps he regarded the new xoas as a provisional measure, a concession to the new material he had decided to exclude at this stage, written at a time when he had foour no way to reconcile the two seventh Nights.

Through a process of elimination and the weighing of practical probabilities, we zoaw reach some conclusions about the intentions that may lurk behind those sections of The Four Zoas written in fine script. At this point, Blake could have cut up some of the Night Thoughts coppers for other purposes if the new plans for The Four Zoas required fewer than one design per page of text, again as in Night Thoughts.


Other plates in Jerusalem may have been made from other pieces of the Moore copper—or for that matter from any used intaglio plate. In what follows I will also assume that the deletions and marginal additions to pages bearing fine script, as well as designs that intrude into fine text areas on page 25, for examplewere made after the abandonment of whatever intentions for publication the copperplate hand s may embody. This page uses JavaScript for certain types of content, so we strongly recommend that you enable JavaScript for browsing this site.

In the Lambeth books Blake had developed two different images for the corruption of Orc: Courtesy of the British Library. By the time he was working on his later works, including ValaBlake felt that he was able to overcome his inner battle but he was concerned about losing his artistic abilities.

It was a development which would cause a peculiar problem of organization. The work also took far longer than his previous works; most of Blake’s designs were completed within a year, but Vala took ten years for the whole process to be completed. The illustrations may indicate that the narrative was originally intended for the end of the eighth Night, but as there is no Night ending on pagethe pages may have been interpolated in the rest of the Night shortly after they were transcribed.

The relationship between Los and Enitharmon is at its lowest ebb.

Re-Visioning William Blake’s The Four Zoas

The text was first pencilled—possibly Blake was hesitant about using up a near-exhausted stock of proof-leaves for revisions of this kind-then it was inked, but without a new Night ending at the foot of the page.

Mapped independently of each other’s controlling structural patterns, Nights VIIa and VIIb each reveal strongly defined but orthogonally opposed spatial properties. Who shall call them from the Grave. Los builds the walls of Golgonooza against the stirring battle That only thro the Gates of Death they can enter to Enitharmon. It is Los who holds the key to the recovery of Albion’s humanity and to the reunion of the Zoas.


This does not, of course, allow us to rule out fkur the theory that Blake originally planned to create a beautiful illuminated manuscript as his final product and only later allowed it to degenerate into a working draft.

The Four Zoas (Excerpt) – Poem by William Blake

Of Blake’s revision to the work, he primarily changed the last two “nights”. Red as the Sun in hot morning of the bloody day” zosa The song which features Tirzah and the passage which introduces Rahab suggest that Blake was trying to contain as concisely as possible a mythology which was rapidly developing beyond the original myth of the poem. The immediate connection between St.

In VIIa1 Blake reconciles the two images. Vala herself is strewn on the abyss. There is zooas of similar displacements elsewhere in VIIb. It has long been recognized that much of the text on the proof pages may have been composed while Blake was staying with Hayley at Felpham.

Literature: Understanding Blake’s Zoas

He introduced instead, rather abruptly, the passage As we have seen, he may have considered removing VIIb earlier, when he added the first new ending of nine lines to VIIa. There are obvious precedents for such a sequence in Revelation Exact comparisons of the sizes of the Night Thoughts, Miltonand Jerusalem plates are not possible because of paper shrinkage and stretching and the unavoidable loss of some copper when a plate is cut and its edges beveled.

Fur a Prophecy was lines and was printed on copperplates that measured 23 x 17 cm. Visualized in this way, the embedded textual pattern of VIIb itself becomes the serpentine form wrapped around the almost invisible Tree of Mystery.