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

Sunday, September 4, 2011

DESIGNS 14,15,16

All of the images on this series of posts on the Small Book of Designs are from the British Museum. To read what the Curator writes about the book, click here and page down to comments.

From a Curator of the British Museum:
"Both books [Small and Large Books of Designs] exist in two copies (A and B). The British Museum has copies A (1856,0209.417 - 447). Copies B contain lighter impressions, produce when the inked plate was passed back through the press for a second pull, with little or no new ink added. Provenance, and documentary evidence, link the various impressions of copies A as series. The impressions in copies B are scattered among different collections and Copies B are only considered as "books" by inference from copies A. Copy B of "A Small Book of Designs" has inscriptions added by Blake."

In these posts the images from copy A and the inscription from Copy B are brought together so that the book may be considered as an Emblem Book.

Page 14
From Book of Urizen
Plate 19
Is the Female death/Become new Life

Book of Urizen
, Plate 19, (E79)
"1. But Los saw the Female & pitied
He embrac'd her, she wept, she refus'd
In perverse and cruel delight
She fled from his arms, yet he followd

2. Eternity shudder'd when they saw,
Man begetting his likeness,
On his own divided image.

3. A time passed over, the Eternals
Began to erect the tent;
When Enitharmon sick,
Felt a Worm within her womb.

4. Yet helpless it lay like a Worm
In the trembling womb
To be moulded into existence

5. All day the worm lay on her bosom
All night within her womb
The worm lay till it grew to a serpent
With dolorous hissings & poisons
Round Enitharmons loins folding,

6. Coild within Enitharmons womb
The serpent grew casting its scales,
With sharp pangs the hissings began
To change to a grating cry,
Many sorrows and dismal throes,
Many forms of fish, bird & beast,
Brought forth an Infant form
Where was a worm before.

7. The Eternals their tent finished
Alarm'd with these gloomy visions
When Enitharmon groaning
Produc'd a man Child to the light.

8. A shriek ran thro' Eternity:
And a paralytic stroke;
At the birth of the Human shadow.

9. Delving earth in his resistless way;
Howling, the Child with fierce flames
Issu'd from Enitharmon.

10. The Eternals, closed the tent
They beat down the stakes the cords
Stretch'd for a work of eternity;
No more Los beheld Eternity."

For more on this image read Mental Traveller 19-21.

Page 15
From the Book of Urizen
Plate 10
Does the Soul labour thus/ In Caverns of The Grave

Four Zoas , Page 43, 44, (E 329)
"Down from the dismal North the Prince in thunders & thick clouds
As when the thunderbolt down falleth on the appointed place
Fell down down rushing ruining thundering shuddering
Into the Caverns of the Grave & places of Human Seed
Where the impressions of Despair & Hope enroot forever
A world of Darkness. Ahania fell far into Non Entity"

For more on this image read Caverns of the Grave.

Page 16
From the Book of Thel
Plate 6
No Inscription

Book of Thel, Plate 3,4, (E 5)
"The helpless worm arose, and sat upon the Lillys leaf,
And the bright Cloud saild on, to find his partner in the vale.
Then Thel astonish'd view'd the Worm upon its dewy bed.

Art thou a Worm? image of weakness. art thou but a Worm?
I see thee like an infant wrapped in the Lillys leaf:
Ah weep not little voice, thou can'st not speak. but thou can'st weep;
Is this a Worm? I see thee lay helpless & naked: weeping,
And none to answer, none to cherish thee with mothers smiles."

For more on this image read Blake's Worm.

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