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

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


In Fearful Symmetry we read:
"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)
"Abstract ideas are called spectres by Blake and Spectre with a capital letter is the Selfhood. The corresponding term is "Emanation,"' which means the total form of all the things a man loves and creates. In the fallen states the Emanation is conceived as outside, and hence it becomes the source of a continuously tantalizing and elusive torment. In imaginative states it is united with and emanates from the man, hence its name."
(Page 73)

Here in Milton is an example of the Emanation of Eden "like females of sweet beauty" guarding Milton in his descent and feeding him the food of Eden.

Milton, PLATE 15 [17], (E 109)
His real and immortal Self: was as appeard to those
Who dwell in immortality, as One sleeping on a couch
Of gold; and those in immortality gave forth their Emanations
Like Females of sweet beauty, to guard round him & to feed
His lips with food of Eden in his cold and dim repose!

But to himself he seemd a wanderer lost in dreary night.

Onwards his Shadow kept its course among the Spectres; call'd
Satan, but swift as lightning passing them, startled the shades
Of Hell beheld him in a trail of light as of a comet
That travels into Chaos: so Milton went guarded within."

Blake, however, reports that it was the Emanation who asked for relief from the "severe contentions of Eternity". The Emanations "who pass away in winter" and who "tremble and weep" when the "unbounded joy" becomes "terrible" to them, seek a "temporal habitation." Beulah is provided to accommodate their needs. This occasion can be seen as another account of how the "fall" began.

Milton, PLATE 30 [33], (E 129)
"In the great Wars of Eternity, in fury of Poetic Inspiration,
To build the Universe stupendous: Mental forms Creating

But the Emanations trembled exceedingly, nor could they
Live, because the life of Man was too exceeding unbounded
His joy became terrible to them they trembled & wept
Crying with one voice. Give us a habitation & a place
In which we may be hidden under the shadow of wings
For if we who are but for a time, & who pass away in winter
Behold these wonders of Eternity we shall consume
But you O our Fathers & Brothers, remain in Eternity

But grant us a Temporal Habitation. do you speak
To us; we will obey your words as you obey Jesus
The Eternal who is blessed for ever & ever. Amen

So spake the lovely Emanations; & there appeard a pleasant
Mild Shadow above: beneath: & on all sides round,"

In Jerusalem we find another way of describing the divisions which accompany the fall. The Divine Vision fades from view and the Emanation is hidden from sight.

Jerusalem, Plate 4, (E 146)
"the Divine Vision is darkend:
Thy Emanation that was wont to play before thy face,
Beaming forth with her daughters into the Divine bosom
Where hast thou hidden thy Emanation lovely Jerusalem
From the vision and fruition of the Holy-one?"

, Plate 8, (E 151)
"All the infant Loves & Graces were lost, for the mighty Hand
Condens'd his Emanations into hard opake substances;
And his infant thoughts & desires, into cold, dark, cliffs of death.
His hammer of gold he siezd; and his anvil of adamant.
He siez'd the bars of condens'd thoughts, to forge them:
Into the sword of war: into the bow and arrow:
Into the thundering cannon and into the murdering gun
I saw the limbs form'd for exercise, contemn'd: & the beauty of
Eternity, look'd upon as deformity & loveliness as a dry tree:
I saw disease forming a Body of Death around the Lamb
Of God, to destroy Jerusalem, & to devour the body of Albion
Every Emanative joy forbidden as a Crime:
And the Emanations buried alive in the earth with pomp of religion:
Inspiration deny'd; Genius forbidden by laws of punishment:
I saw terrified; I took the sighs & tears, & bitter groans:
I lifted them into my Furnaces; to form the spiritual sword.
That lays open the hidden heart:"
Jerusalem, Plate 72
"Continually Building, Continually Destroying Because of Love and Jealousy"

The eternal qualities of the Emanation had been lost; they were no longer the source of joy and creativity. It becomes the job of Los to shape them into his sons and daughters that he may protect them from further fall.

, PLATE 10, (E 152)
"Into the Furnaces & into the valleys of the Anvils of Death
And into the mountains of the Anvils & of the heavy Hammers
Till he should bring the Sons & Daughters of Jerusalem to be
The Sons & Daughters of Los that he might protect them from
Albions dread Spectres; storming, loud, thunderous & mighty
The Bellows & the Hammers move compell'd by Los's hand.

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