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

Sunday, September 16, 2012


In his manuscript notes accompanying his watercolors Blake singles out these verses from Milton for his third illustratation to L'Allegro:
Descriptions of Illustrations to Milton's L'Allegro and Il Penseroso, (E 682)
"Sometime walking not unseen 
By hedgerow Elms on Hillocks green 
Right against the Eastern Gate 
When the Great Sun begins his state 
Robed in Flames & amber Light 
The Clouds in thousand Liveries dight 
While the Plowman near at hand 
Whistles o'er the Furrow'd Land 
And the Milkmaid singeth blithe 
And theMower whets his Scythe 
And every  Shepherd tells his Tale 
Under the  Hawthorn in the Dale" 

Blake states: 
"The Great Sun is represented clothed in Flames Surrounded by the Clouds in their Liveries, in their various Offices at the Eastern Gate. beneath in Small Figures Milton walking by Elms on Hillocks green The Plowman. The Milkmaid The Mower whetting his Scythe. & The Shepherd & his Lass under a Hawthorn in the Dale"
The Great Sun is the Spiritual Sun the source of light not measured in wavelengths and frequencies. The spiritual sun is the source of true existence which partakes of the eternal and infinite energy of life. It announces its presence by increased clarity of perception expressed in truth, mercy and grace.

Blake used the Lark as the symbol of the messenger of Los; he uses the symbol of the sun as Los himself as both the message and the source of the message.
In this picture Blake uses scale as one of the means to distinguish between the natural world and the Eternal world. In the third illustration to L'Allegro Blake follows the text he is illustrating but changes the emphasis by using most of the page to present the sun at his eastern gate. The occupants of the mundane world, including Milton, appear the bottom of the page as small easily overlooked figures. Four levels of existence can be distinguished in the image. The pastoral level of this earth is represented in the strip at the bottom of the page. Surrounding the sun is the level of Beulah as dominated by the feminine. Within the disc of the sun is the fiery transformative level. The primary figure which overlaps the other three layers is the Great Sun in his Human or Divine form. 

Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 4, (E 34)
 "But the following Contraries to these are True
  1 Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that calld Body is
a portion of Soul discernd by the five Senses. the chief inlets
of Soul in this age
  2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is
the bound or outward circumference of Energy.
  3 Energy is Eternal Delight"

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 565)
"I assert for My self that I do
not behold the Outward Creation & that to me it is hindrance &
not Action it is as the Dirt upon my feet No part of Me. What it
will be Questiond When the Sun rises  do  you  not  see  a  round -  
Disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea O no no I see an Innumerable
company of the Heavenly host crying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord
God Almighty I question not my Corporeal or Vegetative Eye any
more than I would Question a Window concerning a Sight I look
thro it & not with it."  

Letters, To Trusler, (E 702)
"And I know that This World Is a
World of Imagination & Vision I see Every thing I paint In This
World, but Every body does not see alike.  To the Eyes of a Miser
a Guinea is more beautiful than the Sun & a bag worn with the use
of Money has more beautiful proportions than a Vine filled with

Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 128, (E 396)
[Vala speaking]
"Rise up O Sun most glorious minister & light of day
Flow on ye gentle airs & bear the voice of my rejoicing 
Wave freshly clear waters flowing around the tender grass
And thou sweet smelling ground put forth thy life in fruits & flowers
Follow me O my flocks & hear me sing my rapturous Song
I will cause my voice to be heard on the clouds that glitter in the sun
I will call & who shall answer me   I will sing   who shall reply
For from my pleasant hills behold the living living springs
Running among my green pastures delighting among my trees"

Milton, Plate 21 [23],(E 116)
"He heard them call in prayer all the Divine Family;              
And he beheld the Cloud of Milton stretching over Europe.

But all the Family Divine collected as Four Suns
In the Four Points of heaven East, West & North & South
Enlarging and enlarging till their Disks approachd each other;
And when they touch'd closed together Southward in One Sun       
Over Ololon: and as One Man, who weeps over his brother,
In a dark tomb, so all the Family Divine. wept over Ololon."

Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 138, (E 406)
"Such are the works of Dark Urthona Tharmas sifted the corn
Urthona made the Bread of Ages & he placed it
In golden & in silver baskets in heavens of precious stone
And then took his repose in Winter in the night of Time

The Sun has left his blackness & has found a fresher morning     
And the mild moon rejoices in the clear & cloudless night  
And Man walks forth from midst of the fires the evil is all consumd
His eyes behold the Angelic spheres arising night & day
The stars consumd like a lamp blown out & in their stead behold
The Expanding Eyes of Man behold the depths of wondrous worlds
One Earth one sea beneath nor Erring Globes wander but Stars
Of fire rise up nightly from the Ocean & one Sun
Each morning like a New born Man issues with songs & Joy
Calling the Plowman to his Labour & the Shepherd to his rest
He walks upon the Eternal Mountains raising his heavenly voice   
Conversing with the Animal forms of wisdom night & day
That risen from the Sea of fire renewd walk oer the Earth"

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