I’m interested in taking a closer look at lines 25-35 of plate 3.   Claudia and I worked on these lines in class last week, and hopefully I can push our reading a little further.   The first two lines say “the human race began to wither” because the “Healthy built / Secluded places, fearing the joys of Love,/ And the diseas’d only propagated”.   These lines dinstinguish between the physical and mental.    Even though more and more people are reproducing and having kids, the human race is withering.  When Blake talks about healthy people, he probably is referring to their mental rather than their physical health.  The diseased of mind, not body, are the ones who reproduce and have children.  Those who are healthy of mind are those who are aware of the “joy of love,” while those who are diseased of mind are the ones who cannot perceive the joys of love, but rather “propogate”.  Blake is distinguishing between the functional and purely pleasurable aspects of sex, and champions pleasure over functionality.  In the next few lines, Blake expands upon this pleasure-functionality contrary, and things get pretty confusing.  Antamon (the male seed) calls up Leutha (sin) from her “valleys of delight”.   Sotha (frustrated sex) gives Odin (Scandinavian war God), a Code of War.  Again, Blake highlights the pleasurable, enjoyable aspect of sex, and suggests that when sex is not appreciated for this pleasure, the consequence is war!  Frustrated sex is expressed through violence, and suppressed lust is transformed into war.  So why is it so important to appreciate sex for its sensual pleasures?  In the next few lines, Blake answers this question.  The lines read, “These were the Churches: Hospitals: Castles: Palaces./ Like nets and gins and traps to catch the joys of Eternity”.  The speaker equates churches and hospitals.  Hospitals breed sick people, and this line suggests churches do the same.  These sick people are the ones who do not understand sensual pleasure.  This idea, then, that sex is purely functional and not pleasurable, is perpetuated by the church.  And this is a problem, because this belief will eventually “catch the joys of Eternity”.

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