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

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Although Linnell was not a wealthy man when he knew Blake, his friend was much poorer. One way Linnell sought to improve Blake's finances was through the publication of Blake's series of images for the Book of Job. Linnell agreed to pay Blake to make engravings. The two men were to share the profit when the sets were sold. Blake was supported on a modest scale by the payments from Linnell but no significant profits were realised.

The series of engravings made through the close cooperation of the two men as fellow artists and business partners, are considered to be the apex of Blake's engraving career. Kathleen Raine feels that Blake also achieved his highest level of communicating his spiritual vision through this series of engraved plates. 

Illustrations of the Book of Job
Plate 5
"Blake's Illustrations of the Book of Job are more than an illustration of the Bible; they are in themselves a prophetic vision, a spiritual revelation, at once a personal testimony and replete with Blake's knowledge of Christian Cabbala, Neoplatonism, and the mystical theology of the Western Esoteric tradition as a whole. They are a complete statement of Blake's vision of man's spiritual drama. The true God is the 'God within', enthroned in every human soul; the 'divine humanity' whose lineaments are  those of Job himself. 'Satan, the Selfhood' is permitted to tempt Job. It is this Selfhood who makes havoc of Job's world; and as Satan assumes power, so the interior vision darkens and the 'God within' falls into the 'deadly sleep' of spiritual amnesia (Plate 5). Satan's supreme deception (Blake has given expression to this in Milton) is his claim to be God; a god external to the soul, framer of the moral law based on the natural order of 'one law  for the lion and ox'. Job's three friends are clearly based on his own Zoas: Tharmas (the sensual man), Luvah (the man of feeling), and Urizen (the reasoner). The beautiful figure of Elihu, who, in Plate 12, ushering the first light of dawn among the fading stars, causes Job to look up in hope, is evidently Los, the poetic imagination, who 'kept the divine vision in time of trouble'." (Page 186 )

Jerusalem, Plate 15, (E 159)
"In every Nation of the Earth till the Twelve Sons of Albion
Enrooted into every Nation: a mighty Polypus growing
From Albion over the whole Earth: such is my awful Vision.   

I see the Four-fold Man. The Humanity in deadly sleep
And its fallen Emanation. The Spectre & its cruel Shadow.
I see the Past, Present & Future, existing all at once
Before me; O Divine Spirit sustain me on thy wings!
That I may awake Albion from His long & cold repose.             
For Bacon & Newton sheathd in dismal steel, their terrors hang
Like iron scourges over Albion, Reasonings like vast Serpents
Infold around my limbs, bruising my minute articulations

I turn my eyes to the Schools & Universities of Europe
And there behold the Loom of Locke whose Woof rages dire  
Washd by the Water-wheels of Newton. black the cloth
In heavy wreathes folds over every Nation; cruel Works
Of many Wheels I View, wheel without wheel, with cogs tyrannic
Moving by compulsion each other: not as those in Eden: which
Wheel within Wheel in freedom revolve in harmony & peace." 

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