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

Friday, September 9, 2011

DESIGNS 2,3,4

Images from the British Museum

Keri Davies has suggested that the Small Book of Designs with the inscription which appear in Copy B resembles an Emblem Book. Blake produced one Emblem Book, Gates of Paradise; he may have intended the Small Book of Designs as another. With the inscriptions we are led to view the series of pictures as a unit rather than as individual examples of his earlier work.

Page 2
From Plate 11
Marriage of Heaven and Hell
"Death & Hell/Teem with Life"

Marriage of Heaven and Hell. PLATE 11, (E 38)
"The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or
Geniuses calling them by the names and adorning them with the
properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations,
and whatever their enlarged & numerous senses could percieve.
And particularly they studied the genius of each city &
country. placing it under its mental deity.
Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of &
enslav'd the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the
mental deities from their objects: thus began Priesthood.
Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales.
And at length they pronounced that the Gods had orderd such things.
Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast."

Page 3

From Plate 17

Book of Urizen
"Vegetating in fibres of Blood"

Book of Urizen , Plate 16, 18, (E 78)
"So the expanding eyes of Immortals
Beheld the dark visions of Los,
And the globe of life blood trembling

PLATE 18
8. The globe of life blood trembled
Branching out into roots;
Fib'rous, writhing upon the winds;
Fibres of blood, milk and tears;
In pangs, eternity on eternity.
At length in tears & cries imbodied
A female form trembling and pale
Waves before his deathy face

9. All Eternity shudderd at sight
Of the first female now separate
Pale as a cloud of snow
Waving before the face of Los"

Page 4
From Plate 16
Marriage of Heaven and Hell
"Who shall set/the Prisoners free"

Marriage of Heaven and Hell , PLATE 16, (E 40)
"The Giants who formed this world into its sensual existence
and now seem to live in it in chains; are in truth. the causes
of its life & the sources of all activity, but the chains are,
the cunning of weak and tame minds. which have power to resist
energy. according to the proverb, the weak in courage is strong
in cunning.
Thus one portion of being, is the Prolific. the other, the
Devouring: to the devourer it seems as if the producer was in
his chains, but it is not so, he only takes portions of existence
and fancies that the whole."
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