Blake seeks to provide the Golden String which can lead us through the labyrinth of our experience or his own poetry.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020


For each of the eight images in the Large Book of Designs, I will republish an earlier post to shed light on how the picture fits into Blake's overall myth of Creation, Fall and Apocalypse.

7) Thiralatha



I enjoy locating Blake images which are rarely seen. Last week I came across an image in the British Museum collection which I had not seen before. It is from A Large Book of Designs which Blake was commissioned to make for Ozias Humphry (a painter of miniatures) in 1794.

The images from the book include:

Plate 1: "Albion rose from where he laboured at the Mill with Slaves
Giving himself for the Nations he danc'd the dance of Eternal Death"
Plate 2: The Accusers of Theft Adultery Murder, used as frontispiece of copy B of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Plate 3: Plate 21 of Book of Urizen - Los, Enitharmon, Orc
Plate 4: Plate 4 of Visions of the Daughters of Albion
Plate 5: Frontispiece to Visions of the Daughters of Albion
Plate 6: Joseph of Arimathea Preaching to the Inhabitants of Britain
Plate 7: Plate 8 of Book of Urizen
Plate 8: A Dream of Thiralatha from a canceled plate for America

Most of the images in A Large Book of Designs are familiar from other sources but this one was new to me: A Dream of Thiralatha. To see images from the Small and Large books of designs in the British Museum click on link.
These are two mentions of Thiralatha in Blake's early works.

America (E 59) [Fragment] [d]
"As when a dream of Thiralatha flies the midnight hour:
In vain the dreamer grasps the joyful images, they fly
Seen in obscured traces in the Vale of Leutha, So
The British Colonies beneath the woful Princes fade.

And so the Princes fade from earth, scarce seen by souls of men
But tho' obscur'd, this is the form of the Angelic land."

Europe, Plate 14, (E 66)
"Sotha & Thiralatha, secret dwellers of dreamful caves,
Arise and please the horrent fiend with your melodious songs.
Still all your thunders golden hoofd, & bind your horses black.
Orc! smile upon my children!
Smile son of my afflictions.
Arise O Orc and give our mountains joy of thy red light."


In Fearful Symmetry, Northrop Frye describes the progressive decline of the children of Los and Enitharmon when the Divine Vision is lost:
"All of these sons (of Los) may under the wrong conditions be perverted and in fact are usually so portrayed. Rintrah may become fanatical bigotry, Palamabron lazy dilettantism, Bromion dogmatic prejudice, Sotha a berserk lust for fighting, Antamon sensuality, and so on. But there is a particular reason why they become perverted. Los is the spiritual form of time, and his 'emanation' is the spiritual form of space, Enitharmon. But until Los completes his task, Enitharmon will remain elusive and remote, and will be the tyranny which the idea of unbounded space exerts on the mind. (Page 261)
"In human life Enitharmon is one of the presiding spirits of war, Blake calls war enslaved energy, and the energy he means is the organic energy of Orc. Organic energy, which exists in the world of generation, is primarily sexual energy, hence war is a perversion of the sexual impulse." (Page 262)

In A Blake Dictionary, S Foster Damon, provides a diagram of The Repression of Sex under Enitharmon on page 124.

Moving in a counterclockwise direction Ethinthus (body), leads to Leutha (guilt), followed by Oothoon (frustration) and ends with Thiralatha (erotic dreams). Thus the divisions of Enitharmon who was meant to embody Love and Imagination has become instead the source of sexual frustration and war (Sotha).
Song of Los, Plate 3, (E 67) 
"Times rolled on o'er all the sons of Har, time after time
Orc on Mount Atlas howld, chain'd down with the Chain of Jealousy
Then Oothoon hoverd over Judah & Jerusalem
And Jesus heard her voice (a man of sorrows) he recievd
A Gospel from wretched Theotormon.

The human race began to wither, for the healthy built            
Secluded places, fearing the joys of Love
And the disease'd only propagated:
So Antamon call'd up Leutha from her valleys of delight:
And to Mahomet a loose Bible gave.
But in the North, to Odin, Sotha gave a Code of War,             
Because of Diralada thinking to reclaim his joy." 

Although Damon calls Thiralatha "the last overt expression of thwarted sex," something of the Imagination remained in her as seen in the dream image of a lovely woman with a child falling into her arms .


Saturday, August 8, 2020


For each of the eight images in the Large Book of Designs, I will republish an earlier post to shed light on how the picture fits into Blake's overall myth of Creation, Fall and Apocalypse.
6) Bromion,Oothoon,Theotormon   
Sunday, March 10, 2019


Wikipedia Commons Songs of Innocence & of Experience Plate 40, Copy L
This is an extract from Chapter Two of Ram Horn'd With Gold by Larry Clayton. 

A very elementary lesson about love confronts the reader of "The Clod and the Pebble". It shows with stark simplicity the two kinds of love, divine and demonic.

Two kinds of love! Blake will explore the pebble's love with its infinite variety of forms before he allows us to rest again in the love of God. Blake's poem,Visions of the Daughters of Albion, (Look also at the Plates) begins with the words, "I loved Theotormon".

The heroine, Oothoon, thus describes the first significant act in a life of horror. Before the consummation of her love for Theotormon she is raped by Bromion. Then Theotormon won't have her; well named, he's tormented by God. Woman as a possession makes life hell for everyone. Here we find Blake's first full manifestation of the "torments of love and jealousy".

At the climax of this strange love song, with the irony all spent, Oothoon properly assesses conventional love and brands it,

"self-love that envies all, a creeping skeleton With lamplike eyes watching around the frozen marriage bed."

     Those are hot, passionate words of righteous indignation at what fallen men have made of love. Oothoon then proceeds to offer a happier form of married love:

"But silken nets and traps of adamant will Oothoon spread, And catch for thee girls of mild silver, or of furious gold. I'll lie beside thee on a bank & view their wanton play In lovely copulation, bliss on bliss, with Theotormon"

With these extravagant images the young poet shocks his reader into an awareness of love's spectrum of value. In the ironic language of 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell' the first, jealous love, is the love of Heaven or Restraint, and the second, the selfless love, is that of Hell or Eternal Delight. This version of values set the style for Blake's use of the word. It became in his hands a sharp sword penetrating to the core of society's ills.

The subtitle of The Four Zoas begins, "The Torments of Love & Jealousy". Violent and passionate feelings characterize the entire epic. As soon as the reader can envision 4Z as a whole, he will perceive that all these passionate feelings in all of these characters have a common destructiveness and alienating effect, until the Moment of Grace recorded in Night vii. Love, hate, fear, pride, humiliation, all are united in this common fallenness.

In Night i the primeval pair, Los and Enitharmon, set the tone for the meaning of love in this fallen world. (They all too aptly portray the emotional universe of many married couples):

"Alternate Love & Hate [filled] his breast: hers Scorn & Jealousy". Enitharmon believes love to be a one way street. Speaking to Los of their parents: "...if we grateful prove They will withhold sweet love, whose food is thorns & bitter roots."

And in Night ii she announces her philosophy of the relations between man and woman: "The joy of woman is the death of her most best beloved Who dies for Love of her
In torments of fierce jealousy & pangs of adoration."

There you have love at its worst! This fairly represents Blake's ironic use of the word in his major work. In Blake's symbolic structure of thought love is most often a function of woman, who is a symbol of fallenness . Not until 'Jerusalem' do we meet the feminine embodiment of the Christian graces, among them love divine.

The notebookpoem which begins, "My Spectre around me night and day" merits study as an approach to understanding the use of Blake's symbolism to express his deepest feelings about life. I quote the climax of it. In the first verse Blake means by 'love' very much what Paul in Romans 8 meant by 'flesh'. In the second, without using the word, he expresses in the fullest possible way what divine love meant to him:   
"Let us agree to give up Love,
 And root up the infernal grove;
 Then shall we return & see
 The worlds of happy Eternity.
& Throughout all Eternity
 I forgive you, you forgive me.
 As our dear Redeemer said: 
This the Wine & this the Bread."

As these lines suggest, Blake had a strong sense of reticence about using the sacred words in the sacred sense, perhaps because he had so exhaustively explored their profane senses. Nevertheless in the poem "William Bond" from the Pickering Manuscript he gave an exquisite portrait of romantic love, purified of fallenness and filled with the divine. Read the last two verses: 
"I thought Love liv'd in the hot sun shine,
But O, he lives in the Moony light!
I thought to find Love in the heat of day,
But sweet Love is the Comforter of Night.

Seek Love in the Pity of others' Woe,
In the gentle relief of another's care,
In the darkness of night & the winter's snow,
In the naked & outcast, Seek Love there!"

Tuesday, August 4, 2020


For each of the eight images in the Large Book of Designs, I will republish an earlier post to shed light on how the picture fits into Blake's overall myth of Creation, Fall and Apocalypse.

 5) Accusers 

Thursday, March 21, 2019
Wikipedia Commons
Small Book of Designs
Copy A, Plate 11

This is an extract from Chapter Four (FAITH) of Ram Horn'd With Gold by Larry Clayton.

"Whosoever of you are justified by the law: ye are fallen from grace" Galatians 5:4

Just as he redefined hell, so Blake redefined sin. The only sin for Blake in hindering, oneself or another: "Murder is Hindering Another, Theft is Hindering Another." To subvert one's individuality is the sin against the Holy Spirit. "He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence".

The responsibility for hindering another falls upon the Lawmaker and Enforcer, who has polluted life with his prohibitions: "over the doors Thou shalt not" (EUROPE, a Prophecy, 12.28; Erdman 64). One could say that Blake took Paul's letters to the Romans and to the Galatians too seriously. Luther had taken those epistles seriously enough to throw off the Roman yoke. Blake took them more radically and threw off the mosaic yoke--as Paul had suggested.

Paul had identified the Law with the flesh and opposed it with the Spirit. Our poet took with utmost seriousness these stirring passages calling the Christian to freedom from the Law. He didn't have the benefit of the 'interpretations' of such ideas afforded by the educational process. Sin stems from our ideas of morality, which Blake called hindering. When we presume to know what someone else should or must do, we have entered the state of Caiaphas, the Pharisee, who crucified Jesus, but "was in his own Mind/a benefactor to Mankind."

We lay down the law to another--our law--and thus violate the other's nature: "One law for the Lion and Ox is Oppression". We tell him what to do, and then we use the power of the Accuser, the God of this World, to compel him to do it and to punish him for his failures. This is sin, the way life happens in Ulro. As we have seen, Blake didn't call it life, he called it Eternal Death. Paul had said, "The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life."

The categories of sin and righteousness divide mankind. The division often proceeds to the point of physical violence. Corporeal war always rests upon a base of self righteousness and condemnation of the sins of the enemy. Religion too often allies itself with those attitudes and their violent results. Long before the peaceniks of the sixties Blake said in effect, "Make love, not war!" He said it at great length in dozens of different ways. He saw war as the ultimate end of hindering another. In the Book of Urizen we read how Urizen, the great Lawgiver (who lives in all of us!) discovers that none of his children can obey his laws, "for he saw that no flesh nor spirit could keep His iron laws one moment" (Cf There is none righteous, no, not one).

Annotations to Lavater, (E 601)
"Every mans leading propensity ought to be calld his leading Virtue & his good Angel But the Philosophy of Causes & Consequences misled Lavater as it has all his contemporaries. Each thing is its own cause & its own effect Accident is the omission of act in self & the hindering of act in another, This is Vice but all Act from Individual propensity is Virtue. To hinder another is not an act it is the contrary it is a restraint on action both in ourselves & in the person hinderd. for he who hinders another omits his own duty. at the time Murder is Hindering Another Theft is Hindering Another Backbiting. Undermining Circumventing & whatever is Negative is Vice But the origin of this mistake in Lavater & his contemporaries, is, They suppose that Womans Love is Sin. in consequence all the Loves & Graces with them are Sin."

So we see that Blake opposed the idea of sin; he opposed morality; he opposed Law. Paradoxically Blake lived a very law abiding life. Only such a person can afford the luxury of antinomianism without losing his integrity. For example Blake despised the marriage laws--and lived as a faithful and dutiful husband for forty years. But beyond the surface absurdities of his anarchism Blake tells us something profound about life: Goodness cannot be compelled; goodness grows only in a context of freedom. "To the pure all things are pure". Blake was basically pure; one of his mottoes was "everything that lives is holy". That in itself would have been enough to make him famous.

If we can suspend our judgments about people's conduct and stop tormenting ourselves because of our failures to do the good which we have laid upon ourselves, if we can accept what we have called bad, but which may be simply disowned facets of our true nature, in Blake's terminology if we can forgive, then we can put sin behind us and receive the gift of eternal life. Blake, drinking deeply from the primary fountains of scripture, intuitively expressed these universal truths in poetic terms. One hundred years later Jung came along and clothed them with the respectability of a scientific jargon.

From what has been said it is obvious that Blake didn't believe in Sin as it is commonly understood: "Satan thinks that Sin is displeasing to God; he ought to know that Nothing is displeasing to God but Unbelief & Eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil". Jerusalem, Blake's symbol of the redeemed and pure consciousness, speaking to Vala, his symbol of the fallen mind, expressed Blake's candid evaluation of Sin as such: "Oh Vala...what is sin but a little error & fault that is soon forgiven?" (Jerusalem, 20.22; E165)

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 654)
"Christ comes
as he came at first to deliver those who were bound under the
Knave not to deliver
the Knave He Comes to Deliver Man the [Forgiven] Accused & not Satan the Accuser we do not find any where that Satan is Accused of Sin
he is only accused of Unbelief & thereby drawing Man into Sin
that he may accuse him. Such is the Last Judgment a Deliverance from Satans Accusation Satan thinks that Sin is displeasing to God he ought to know that Nothing is displeasing to God but Unbelief & Eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil
Men are admitted into Heaven not because they have
curbed & governd their Passions or have No Passions but because they have Cultivated their Understandings.
The Treasures of Heaven are not Negations of Passion but Realities of Intellect from which All the Passions Emanate Uncurbed in their Eternal Glory The Fool
shall not enter into Heaven let him be ever so Holy. Holiness is not The Price of Enterance into Heaven Those who are cast out Are All Those who having no Passions of their own because No Intellect. Have spent their lives in Curbing & Governing other Peoples by the Various arts of Poverty & Cruelty of all kinds Wo Wo Wo to you Hypocrites" 

Saturday, August 1, 2020


For each of the eight images in the Large Book of Designs, I will republish an earlier post to shed light on how the picture fits into Blake's overall myth of Creation, Fall and Apocalypse. 

4) Oothoon Chained  
Saturday, January 09, 2016

Wikimedia Commons
Marriage of Heaven & Hell
Plate 1, Copy I 

Associated with each of the Zoas is an Emanation, the female counterpart of the male. Ahania is the feminine nature of Urizen, Enion of Tharmas, Vala of Luvah, and Enitharmon of Los who stands in for Urthona. Blake is not reluctant to picture the Emanations as they appear in the natural world but their appearance in Eternity is beyond even Blake.

Blake was indebted to the heterodox tradition for his development of the concept of emanation. A Christian Gnostic theologian of the third century presented the idea of emanation descending from God into lower forms of existence. The emanations were "not separate existencies so much as personified agencies." However, like Blake, Valentinius saw the the emanative portions falling into "only a partial knowledge of the hidden God."

As we read in Frye's Fearful Symmetry, "The word "emanation" in Blake means the object-world; creature in Eden, female in Beulah, object or nature in Generation, abstraction in Ulro." (Page 127). We follow in Blake the descent of the emanation through the four levels of spiritual consciousness as she attempts to reascend to "depth which the understanding cannot fathom."

Brief Analysis of the Sects, Heresies, and Writers of the First Three Centuries PRINTED FOR JAMES COOPER, TRINITY STREET, in 1857 elucidates the concept of emanations:

From Page 29 read the words of Valentinus. To read the Greek words go to the website.

"The theory of emanations, which was in some measure adopted by all Gnostics, received considerable increase from the fertility of his speculative powers. He supposed a Supreme Being, infinite, invisible, incomprehensible, and therefore called the depth which the under- standing cannot fathom, who, having spent numberless ages in repose, resolved to reveal himself, and for this purpose employed his thought, Evvota, also called silence, who alone had dwelt with, or within him. The first manifestations, or AEons, produced, were intelligence, and  truth. These AEons are to be considered only as revealed forms of the Supreme Being ; not separate existencies so much as personified agencies, whose combination constituted the Plenoma, or fulness, of the attributes and perfections of the Godhead. They comprised altogether thirty AEons, of whom half were supposed to be males, active agencies, and the other half females, i.e., passive principles. In proportion as these AEons were removed from the Supreme God, they decreased in knowledge and perfection. The lower AEons had, therefore, only a partial knowledge of the hidden God, and the desire of one of them in particular, 'Siorjyiaj to know more of him produced a concision in the Pleroma, one result of which was that Jioia gave birth to an imperfect being, who was incapable of remaining in the Pleroma, and was cast out into Chaos. This being, called Achamoth, formed the Demiurgos, by whom the world was made, and reduced to a rude and shapeless mass of matter to some degree of order.

Jerusalem, Plate 92, (E 252) 
"Los answerd swift as the shuttle of gold. Sexes must vanish & cease
To be, when Albion arises from his dread repose O lovely Enitharmon:
When all their Crimes, their Punishments their Accusations of Sin: 
All their Jealousies Revenges. Murders. hidings of Cruelty in Deceit
Appear only in the Outward Spheres of Visionary Space and Time.
In the shadows of Possibility by Mutual Forgiveness forevermore
And in the Vision & in the Prophecy, that we may Foresee & Avoid
The terrors of Creation & Redemption & Judgment. Beholding them 
Displayd in the Emanative Visions of Canaan in Jerusalem & in Shiloh
And in the Shadows of Remembrance, & in the Chaos of the Spectre" 
Vision of Last Judgment, (E 562 
"Jesus is surrounded by Beams of Glory in which are
seen all around him Infants emanating from him   these represent
the Eternal Births of Intellect from the divine Humanity   A
Rainbow surrounds the throne & the Glory in which youthful
Nuptials recieve the infants in their hands   In Eternity Woman is
the Emanation of Man she has No Will of her own There is no such
thing in Eternity as a Female Will"

Friday, July 31, 2020


For each of the eight images in the Large Book of Designs, I will republish an earlier post to shed light on how the picture fits into Blake's overall myth of Creation, Fall and Apocalypse.

3) Orc 
Friday, May 28, 2010


None of Blake's characters is more complex or contradictory than is Orc. You may remember him as the first son of Los and Enitharmon who so aroused his father's jealousy that he was taken to a mountainside and chained to a rock. Los as prophecy was jealous of Orc as revolution. However Rintrah (just wrath), Palamabron (pity), Theomorton (frustrate desire), and Bromion (logic) are also identified as Los's first four sons which Damon explains as representing an analysis of Orc. (A Blake Dictionary, Page 309)

Orc's body became so enrooted to the rock that when his parents later tried to release him, they were unable to do so. As this passage notes he was the embodiment of the 'fires of Eternal Youth'.

Milton, Plate 29 [31], (E 127)
"But Rintrah & Palamabron govern over Day & Night
In Allamanda & Entuthon Benython where Souls wail:
Where Orc incessant howls burning in fires of Eternal Youth,
Within the vegetated mortal Nerves; for every Man born is joined
Within into One mighty Polypus, and this Polypus is Orc."

In this picture Orc is both the chained youth in the cruciform position and the figure enclosed underground in a fetal position. Orc has taken on his function as revolution which must be controlled. The potential for revolution which has erupted in the colonies and threatened Europe was expressed by Orc in the book America. Revolution which had been attractive to Blake in theory became repulsive to him when he saw it in actual practice in France.


America, PLATE 8, (E 54)
"The terror answerd: I am Orc, wreath'd round the accursed tree:
The times are ended; shadows pass the morning gins to break;
The fiery joy, that Urizen perverted to ten commands,
What night he led the starry hosts thro' the wide wilderness:
That stony law I stamp to dust: and scatter religion abroad
To the four winds as a torn book, & none shall gather the leaves;
But they shall rot on desart sands, & consume in bottomless deeps;
To make the desarts blossom, & the deeps shrink to their fountains,
And to renew the fiery joy, and burst the stony roof.
That pale religious letchery, seeking Virginity,
May find it in a harlot, and in coarse-clad honesty
The undefil'd tho' ravish'd in her cradle night and morn:
For every thing that lives is holy, life delights in life;
Because the soul of sweet delight can never be defil'd.
Fires inwrap the earthly globe, yet man is not consumd;
Amidst the lustful fires he walks: his feet become like brass,
His knees and thighs like silver, & his breast and head like gold.
And Satan is the Spectre of Orc & Orc is the generate Luvah"

As the generate form of Luvah (emotion) which came into being as a result of the fall, Orc came under the dominion of Urizen the great lawgiver. As the dragon form, 'red Orc' is supressed energy seeking release. Suffering under the restraints of Urizen's system Orc explodes into revolution.

Milton Percival in William Blake's Circle of Destiny gives us this insight: "But, though the rational mind fears the fiery form of Orc, the imaginative mind knows that it is not evil, but rather an indictment of evil, a revelation of the mistaken character of the authority which has brought it into being. Orc is the personification of a deathless phenomenon, the spirit of revolution that arises when energy is repressed."

Urizen diverts Orc's energy into false religion, the Tree of Mystery, whereon Orc becomes the serpent and subsequently enters the state of Satan.

Four Zoas, Night viii, (E 380)
"The State namd Satan never can be redeemd in all Eternity
But when Luvah in Orc became a Serpent he des[c]ended into
That State calld Satan"

In the apocalypse Orc reverts to his eternal form Luvah and joins Jesus in ushering in the new age.
As always we can see the psyche of Blake being dealt with in his characters. Forces within seek expression in Blake's life; prophecy or imagination cannot let revolution take over dominance. The energy or revolution is a valuable asset but unfortunately cannot be released at will. Reason, the conventional, conservative force may be able to control revolution, but to do so revolution's energy must be diverted in another direction since it can't be eliminated. This may lead to deeper degrees of error, since error given the freedom to act, will go to the extreme. Revolution is not permanent; it either subsides or or leads to a breaking up of the cycle and the initiation of a new paradigm.


Sunday, July 26, 2020


For each of the eight images in the Large Book of Designs, I will republish an earlier post to shed light on how the picture fits into Blake's overall myth of Creation, Fall and Apocalypse.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Library of Congress Book of Urizen Plate 9

Blake's Book of Urizen recounts events related to the book of Genesis as a traumatic splitting of the original unity to form self-conscious entities who make a world of alienation, oppression, uncertainty. Pierre Berger in William Blake: Poet and Mystic describes in his own terms a scenario for the first division which leads automatically to a second division. The roles of Urizen and Los have been defined; the mental wars will ensue.

"It would be of little use were we to count the individual cells that make up the human body. Not one of them is conscious of its individuality; but all share equally in the complete knowledge of our existence, and all combine in us to make one. But suppose one of these cells to become conscious of its own existence, and to say, 'I exist, independently of the body as a whole.' This thought would be the beginning of a separate creation, the formation of a personality, the first fall of man from unity. Must not something analogous occur when the newly conceived being begins to live a conscious life even in its mother's womb? In such wise came the first fall from Eternity, the first separation of something from the Divine whole, the phenomenon of creation, which, at bottom, is only a division. One of the thoughts of God separated itself from Him, as it is written in the Gospel of St. John: this Thought became the Word, which has been with Him from the beginning, and before the beginning, the word which was God. "Et verbum erat apud Deum et Deus erat verbum" And the word became the Fiat, and had its echo in Eternity: the created universe was its emanation.
Blake says no more than this, though he may say it differently. According to him, there was a spirit who separated himself from Eternity, from that infinite Unity constituted by the Spirit of Universal Man, both All and One, and who thus became a personality different from the Eternals, who are one though many. In separating from them, he created a kind of abstract void between them and himself: he wrenched himself away from them, diminishing both himself and the Eternal Infinite at the same instant.
Thus began the existence of Urizen, the firstborn of Eternity, who plays so great a part in the works of Blake. We shall have to study him in many shapes; but for us now he is only the first conscious being, disembodied still, but nevertheless the first creation, the first " I " as distinguished from the All, the Ancient of Days.
The first existence of a separate personality is pregnant with consequences. We have now two distinct beings : Eternity and Urizen. But the birth of Urizen marks a definite moment in Eternity. There is therefore a date, the beginning of something. And as, in the Bible, the first great act of creation marks the first day, so the breaking away of the first personality from the great " All " marks the beginning of time. Time is created simply by the birth of a separate Will. His name, in Blake's great mythical system, is Los. From henceforward the history of Urizen will belong no more to Eternity, but to Time. It will be Los's task, therefore, to separate this new-born personality from the Eternals. He is the smith who will bind Urizen in the chain of Days and Years."
Book of Urizen, Plate 5, (E 73)
" 8. And Los round the dark globe of Urizen,
Kept watch for Eternals to confine,
The obscure separation alone;                                 
For Eternity stood wide apart,
Plate 6
As the stars are apart from the earth

9. Los wept howling around the dark Demon:
And cursing his lot; for in anguish,
Urizen was rent from his side;
And a fathomless void for his feet;
And intense fires for his dwelling.

10. But Urizen laid in a stony sleep
Unorganiz'd, rent from Eternity 

11. The Eternals said: What is this? Death
Urizen is a clod of clay."      

Saturday, July 25, 2020


For each of the eight images in the Large Book of Designs, I will republish an earlier post to shed light on how the picture fits into Blake's overall myth of Creation, Fall and Apocalypse.

1) Albion Rose

Friday, August 30, 2013


Courtesy of Wikimedia
Illustration to Blair's The Grave
Descent of Man into the Vale of Death

Blake is convinced that humans are not separate entities but portions of one body. Because man is a member of the one body (Albion), his every act is influenced by those with whom be interacts, and his acts impinge upon all others. If he becomes a punisher, he punishes himself as well as all of humanity. Every member of the body is responsible for caring of every other member. Only by doing so can the body provide for each member. Each member is harmed by the selfishness of another because all are necessary for the body to function optimally.     

Jerusalem, Plate 47, (E 196) 
"Hark! the mingling cries of Luvah with the Sons of Albion
Hark! & Record the terrible wonder! that the Punisher
Mingles with his Victims Spectre, enslaved and tormented         
To him whom he has murderd, bound in vengeance & enmity
Shudder not, but Write, & the hand of God will assist you!
Therefore I write Albions last words. Hope is banish'd from me."
Jerusalem, Plate 45 [31], (E 194)
"What shall I [Los] do! what could I do, if I could find these Criminals
I could not dare to take vengeance; for all things are so constructed
And builded by the Divine hand, that the sinner shall always escape,
And he who takes vengeance alone is the criminal of Providence;
If I should dare to lay my finger on a grain of sand
In way of vengeance; I punish the already punishd: O whom
Should I pity if I pity not the sinner who is gone astray!
O Albion, if thou takest vengeance; if thou revengest thy wrongs
Thou art for ever lost! What can I do to hinder the Sons
Of Albion from taking vengeance? or how shall I them perswade.
These were his [Albion's] last words, and the merciful Saviour in his arms
Reciev'd him, in the arms of tender mercy and repos'd
The pale limbs of his Eternal Individuality
Upon the Rock of Ages."

Jerusalem, PLATE 31 [35], (E 177)
"Then the Divine hand found the Two Limits, Satan and Adam,
In Albions bosom: for in every Human bosom those Limits stand.
And the Divine voice came from the Furnaces, as multitudes without
Number! the voices of the innumerable multitudes of Eternity.
And the appearance of a Man was seen in the Furnaces;            
Saving those who have sinned from the punishment of the Law,
(In pity of the punisher whose state is eternal death,)
And keeping them from Sin by the mild counsels of his love.

Albion goes to Eternal Death: In Me all Eternity.
Must pass thro' condemnation, and awake beyond the Grave!
No individual can keep these Laws, for they are death
To every energy of man, and forbid the springs of life;
Albion hath enterd the State Satan! Be permanent O State!
And be thou for ever accursed! that Albion may arise again:
And be thou created into a State! I go forth to Create           
States: to deliver Individuals evermore! Amen.
So spoke the voice from the Furnaces, descending into Non-Entity
[To Govern the Evil by Good: and States abolish Systems.]"

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 565)
"In Hell all is Self
Righteousness there is no such thing there as Forgiveness of Sin
he who does Forgive Sin is Crucified as an Abettor of Criminals.
& he who performs Works of Mercy in Any shape whatever is punishd
& if possible destroyd not thro Envy  or Hatred or Malice but
thro Self Righteousness that thinks it does God service which God
is Satan"
Love, mercy, forgiveness, generosity, kindness, and gratitude: when these are the measure which is given, they will be the measure which is returned.

Romans 2
[4] For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function,
[5] so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
[6] Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;
[7] if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching;
[8] he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
[9] Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good;  

Luke 6
[35] But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish.
[36] Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
[37] "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
[38] give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back."