Materialism are there only till the break of day if

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materialism) are there only till the break of day if Earth would consent to leave the ‘slumberous mass’ (143).In the plate a female (Earth) lies half-turned on a swirling couch amidst a starry universeReproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
50of materialism, and she faces the Bard’s words, as if she knows she must pay attention to them. As Erdman suggests, “Her half reclining, half turning symbolizes a dawning response to the Bard’s appeal” (73). And, as Keynes notes, “her head is surrounded by a golden circle through which she looks at the Universe” (143). The design not only shows her separated from the stars of materialism by the canopy of this halo, but also she is stationed under the last stanza—particularly under the phrase “till the break of day” (20), which indicates that she is imprisoned by “the watry shore” until she is able to release herself—and until the Earth of humanity releases her—from restrictive reason. Hence, as Erdman says, “the figure on the scroll is indeed Earth as the ‘lapsed Soul’ . . . ” (72).In “Earth’s Answer” the voice of Earth laments in response to the Bard in the “Introduction”: She wishes to free her energy from the oppressive bonds of reason. Her response to the Bard is initially one of fear and hopelessness: “Her light fled: / Stony dread! / And her locks cover’d with grey despair” (3-5). Her despair causes her to wish for an escape from the oppressive materialism heaped on her, and it is even more compelling that she significantly realizeswho her oppressor is. Arguably, Urizenic cruelty was not as apparent in Innocence.But, in her world of Experience, one clearly hears her emotional response about who is responsible for her bondage: “I hear the Father of the ancient men / Selfish father of men / Cruel jealous selfish fear . . .” (10-12). One also hears the threats to Earth’s natural energies in her question: “Can delight / Chain’d in night / The virgins of youth and morning bear” (13-15)? The beautiful “delight” is forced to confront the Urizenic “father” that began to dominate her as far back as the time of theReproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
51“ancient trees,” and her innocent, Edenic love has become secondary to the harsher reality that selfishly sustains itself at her expense. In fact, one then wonders why such pleasing natural beauty should be dominated in the first place (even literally speaking), and Earth herself has the same question: “Does spring hide its joy / When buds and blossoms grow?” (16-17). Northrop Frye offers his telling explanation of the Urizenic power of the father who chains her:This false father still exists as the shadow thrown by Newtonian science into the stars, or what Blake calls the ‘Spectre.’ He is the genius of discouragement, trying to impress us with the reality of the world of experience and the utter unreality of anything better. His chief weapons are moral conformity, sexual shame, and the

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