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

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

DESIGNS 11,12,13

The Small Book of Designs in the British Museum contains 23 plates with images which Blake derived from 4 of his Illuminated books. Thirteen designs are from the Book of Urizen, four from Thel, four from the Marriage of Heaven & Hell and two from Visions of the Daughters of Albion.

The three pages for today's post are from the Book of Urizen. The Morgan Library's copy of Urizen can be viewed online. Notice the difference in application of color in this copy of Urizen and in Small Book of Designs.

Page 11
From Book of Urizen
Plate 27
No Inscription

Book of Urizen , Plate 20, (E 80)
"5. The dead heard the voice of the child
And began to awake from sleep
All things. heard the voice of the child
And began to awake to life.

6. And Urizen craving with hunger
Stung with the odours of Nature
Explor'd his dens around

7. He form'd a line & a plummet
To divide the Abyss beneath.
He form'd a dividing rule:

8. He formed scales to weigh;
He formed massy weights;
He formed a brazen quadrant;
He formed golden compasses
And began to explore the Abyss
And he planted a garden of fruits"

Page 12
From Book of Urizen
Plate 2
Teach these Souls to Fly

Four Zoas , Night II, Page 34, (E 324)
"The birds & beasts rejoice & play
And every one seeks for his mate to prove his inmost joy

Furious & terrible they sport & rend the nether deeps
The deep lifts up his rugged head
And lost in infinite hum[m]ing wings vanishes with a cry
The fading cry is ever dying
The living voice is ever living in its inmost joy

Arise you little glancing wings & sing your infant joy
Arise & drink your bliss
For every thing that lives is holy for the source of life
Descends to be a weeping babe
For the Earthworm renews the moisture of the sandy plain

Now my left hand I stretch to earth beneath
And strike the terrible string
I wake sweet joy in dens of sorrow & I plant a smile
In forests of affliction
And wake the bubbling springs of life in regions of dark death"

For more on this image read Stand Alone.

Page 13
From Book of Urizen
Page 8
No Inscription

Book of Los , Plate 4, (E 92)
"1: The Immortal stood frozen amidst
The vast rock of eternity; times
And times; a night of vast durance:
Impatient, stifled, stiffend, hardned.

2: Till impatience no longer could bear
The hard bondage, rent: rent, the vast solid
With a crash from immense to immense

3: Crack'd across into numberless fragments
The Prophetic wrath, strug'ling for vent
Hurls apart, stamping furious to dust
And crumbling with bursting sobs; heaves
The black marble on high into fragments

4: Hurl'd apart on all sides, as a falling
Rock: the innumerable fragments away
Fell asunder; and horrible vacuum
Beneath him & on all sides round.

5: Falling, falling! Los fell & fell
Sunk precipitant heavy down down
Times on times, night on night, day on day
Truth has bounds. Error none: falling, falling:
Years on years, and ages on ages
Still he fell thro' the void, still a void
Found for falling day & night without end.
For tho' day or night was not; their spaces
Were measurd by his incessant whirls
In the horrid vacuity bottomless."

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