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

Thursday, November 29, 2012

BLAKE'S MESSAGE XII

The appreciation which Milton Klonsky had for William Blake was for his visionary skills. Klonsky sees that Blake acts as the conduit for the transmission of his visionary experience to his audience through his poetry and graphic images. Blake does not distance himself from the work he produces. He both inserts himself into his poetry and pictures and invites his readers and viewers to participate in the whole artistic, imaginative, visionary process. For Blake it must be so for: "The whole Business of Man Is The Arts & All Things Common." Laocoon, (E 273)
Vision of Last Judgment, (E 560)
"If the Spectator could Enter into these Images in his
Imagination approaching them on the Fiery Chariot of his
Contemplative Thought if he could Enter into Noahs Rainbow or
into his bosom or could make a Friend & Companion of one of these
Images of wonder which always intreats him to leave mortal things
as he must know then would he arise from his Grave then would he
meet the Lord in the Air & then he would be happy   General
Knowledge is Remote Knowledge it is in Particulars that Wisdom
consists & Happiness too.  Both in Art & in Life General Masses
are as Much Art as a Pasteboard Man is Human Every Man has Eyes
Nose & Mouth this Every Idiot knows but he who enters into &
discriminates most minutely the Manners & Intentions  the
Characters in all their branches is the
alone Wise or Sensible Man & on this discrimination All Art is
founded.  I intreat then that the Spectator will attend to the
Hands & Feet to the Lineaments of the Countenances they are all
descriptive of Character & not a line is drawn without intention
& that most discriminate & particular  much less an
Insignificant Blur or Mark>" 
Quoting from Minlton Klonsky's William Blake, The Seer and His Visions on page 27:
"Any work of the imagination, such as a poem or a picture, must necessarily be composed of mind-stuff, but Blake saw the larger creation as well, this very world as no different in kind. The acts that made up the world of the prophets, in the Bible and in the world, spoke through them as thoughts, miming the voice of God.

... 
Side by side with his pantheon of 'Giant Forms' in the prophetic books, Blake also introduced a set of historical personae, such as Milton and Newton and Bacon and Locke, and, even under their proper names, a sub-cast of minor characters whose sole importance was that they once played a part in his own life. All of them act and react with one another, unite with or annihilate one another, shift identities and become one another like the phantoms of a dream, yet a dream within a larger dream, his own expanded into the 6,000-year-old dream of Albion. Mundane events in his own life become symbolic of cosmic events in eternity. Blake himself may appear among his own creations, as in Vala, when he and Catherine, apothesized as Los and Enitharmon, are glimpsed in a domestic scene at work together:

Four Zoas, Night VII, PAGE 98 [90],(E 369)
'And first he drew a line upon the walls of shining heaven    
And Enitharmon tincturd it with beams of blushing love'
Or in Milton, when he becomes Palamabron (one of the many sons of the fourfold Los) and resumes his quarrel with a quondam benefactor, William Hayley, there cast as Satan, whom Blake regarded as 'corporeal friend' but 'spiritual enemy':
Milton, Plate 7,(E 100)
"Then Palamabron reddening like the Moon in an eclipse,        
Spoke saying, You know Satans mildness and his self-imposition,
Seeming a brother, being a tyrant, even thinking himself a brother
While he is murdering the just;"
By his envisioning himself in this way, as the blake-smith and poet Los, we can thus see Blake as he saw himself thro' his own eyes."

Library Of Congress
Jerusalem

Plate 76 
Continuing on page 28 Klonsky states:
"...Blake as an engraver also combined 'upper and lowers,' relief and intaglio, on copper plates that were etched and then printed in black and white. But which, relief or intaglio, was black, which white? He could, and did engrave them either way, sometimes using black line in relief, etching away the whites, as in the designs for Songs of Innocence, and sometimes using white line on black ground...as in the quicksilvery illustrations for Jerusalem. But the choice, in either case, was as much mystical as aesthetic. For Blake not only believed but also lived and enacted his ideas, reaffirming them within and without in each line he engraved."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

BLAKE'S MESSAGE XI

June Singer offers us the insights of a Jungian psychoanalyst in her book The Unholy Bible, Blake, Jung and the Collective Unconscious. She recognises Blake's willingness to delve into the darker, more rejected aspects of the relationship of God and man. She explores the dissension man experiences internally as his psychological components struggle to gain dominance within the divided fallen individual. Singer believes that Blake demonstrated methods of bringing unconscious material into consciousness in order to integrate warring aspects into a cohesive whole.

Page 5

"But Blake's entire work might have been forgotten in the years after his death were it not for one poem in Songs of Experience in which the striking image achieved immediate popularity. Almost every English schoolchild knows it by heart, yet its implications stir the most sophisticated to ponder the mystery of the ultimate creative power."


The Tyger

Page 6
"The lasting and overwhelming response to this poem acknowledges the recognition of a central concept in Blake's work. This is the need to become aware of the other side of God, the side not accepted either by social agreement or by orthodox religious practice. Blake says that while he who made the Lamb is worshipped and praised  in all the churches, he who fashioned the Tyger to pierce the darkness of the tangled forest with his perceptive eye, is also God. God of the Lamb is worshipped at prescribed interval, but God of the Tyger is held in fear by day and night, for none may escape him when be pursues. Blake
wrote as though he felt that enough had been said about the symbol of gentleness which is traditionally associated with Jesus. He was more concerned with the fierce and the frightful which threatens innocence and light. And it follows that such a man would address himself boldly also to the darker area of man's life, which is hidden in shadow and must be invaded and explored if man is to approach any degree of self-awareness."   


Yale Center for British Art 
Book of Urizen
Plate 5, copy C
Page 9
 "Always there have been those who could experience these forces as tremendous powers which might threaten to overwhelm them at certain times and at other times infuse them with a creative urge which would drive them to produce original ideas, works of art or new scientific concepts. Blake was fascinated by this extra dimension of psychic life and he felt impelled to write how it manifested in him. Without the detachment of the modern psychologist, he wrote of his own experience more as a participant than as an observer and yet the raw material of the inner drama is all there...Our position enables us to take a step away from Blake and to consider his writing as descriptive of the psychological processes that were going on in him. This is not to imply that those processes are basically different in kind from those which are going on in every man. It is only that, acting on his naive conviction that what he wrote was dictated by an unseen voice and that his paintings were no more the reproductions of what the inner eye had already perceived, Blake threw a brilliant light into a realm that for most men is sheathed in the darkness of disbelief."
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

BLAKE'S MESSAGE X

Michael Bedard in his biography of Blake for young people, sees the cycle of Blake's life following a path begun in the security of a happy childhood, and sustained by his confidence in divine guidance. Blake himself in The School Boy, one of the Songs of Experience, argues that the pleasures of a unrestricted childhood provide the foundation for weathering the storms of later life. The ability to hold on to the truth which is the heritage of the stage Blake called innocence provided the fortitude for him to continue his work through the darkest times.  
   
From page 144 of William Blake The Gates of Paradise by Michael Bedard:

"As in art, so in life. Blake's heart went out to the poor and the oppressed, those for whom life was an endless struggle. His own life had its share of bitter disappointment and heartbreak. He came to believe that struggle was the very essence of life, and his work is full of it. What separates Blake's story from many others is that he was sustained throughout his struggle by vision, a vision of unity and harmony and joy that he had tasted in his own life and saw in the the lives of children and the is lowly of the earth. If his life may be said to describe a pattern, it is the very pattern he saw operating in and through all things: a state of initial bliss, followed by a fall into darkness and strife, and then finally, a restoration to unity and peace.

It is the refrain of all his poetry and the sustaining vision of his life. In Songs of Innocence, he celebrated the vision of joy. In Songs of Experience and many of the books that followed, he sang of division, constraint, and darkness. Yet even in times of trouble, he kept the divine vision. He had known bliss, known darkness and strife. In the final years of his life, he would experience a return to the world of light, to the joys of friendship and creative fellowship, and the visionary company of children."

Songs of Innocence & of Experience, Song 53, (E 31)
Wikimedia
Songs of Innocence and of Experience
Plate 53
  
The School Boy 

"I love to rise in a summer morn,
When the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the sky-lark sings with me.
O! what sweet company. 

But to go to school in a summer morn,
O! it drives all joy away;
Under a cruel eye outworn,
The little ones spend the day,
In sighing and dismay.

Ah! then at times I drooping sit,
And spend many an anxious hour.
Nor in my book can I take delight,
Nor sit in learnings bower,
Worn thro' with the dreary shower. 
 
How can the bird that is born for joy,
Sit in a cage and sing.
How can a child when fears annoy,
But droop his tender wing,
And forget his youthful spring.

O! father & mother, if buds are nip'd,
And blossoms blown away,
And if the tender plants are strip'd
Of their joy in the springing day,
By sorrow and cares dismay, 

How shall the summer arise in joy.
Or the summer fruits appear,
Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy
Or bless the mellowing year,
When the blasts of winter appear." 

Friday, November 23, 2012

BLAKE'S MESSAGE IX

Kathleen Raine's studies of William Blake and his sources in the literature of the perennial philosophy were key to unlocking many of the symbols which abound in Blake's work. But her commitment to the thought of Blake did not end with presenting links in Blake to the traditional literature which was excluded by orthodox interpreters, she became with Blake a builder of Golgonnoza. She realised that his message of psychological/spiritual development should not be buried or hidden but was meant to be put to use in transforming individual psyches and the outer world which reflects inner realities.    

On page 4 of Golgonooza City of Imagination Raine calls Blake 'a patriot of the inner worlds' who wages the Mental Fight unceasing:

"Uncomprehended though he was, Blake was not, like Yeats, an esotericist. He addressed his prophetic message 'to the Public' and whether he would be understood he did not stop to question - his vision was, to him, clear beyond all doubt. He was a patriot of the inner worlds, of the England of the Imagination whose 'golden builders' he saw at work in the creation of Golgonooza the city within the brain
(golgos, skull), 'the spiritual fourfold London Eternal'. He saw his nation 'sunk in deadly sleep', victim of 'deadly dreams' of a materialism whose effects in all aspects of national life were destructive and sorrowful, wars, exploitation of human labour, sexual hypocrisy, a 'cruel' morality of condemnation and punitive laws, the denial and oppression of the soul's winged life."

Yale Center for British Art
Blake's Water-Colours for the  

The Poems of Thomas Gray
Milton, Plate 1, (E 95)
    "And did those feet in ancient time,
     Walk upon Englands mountains green:
     And was the holy Lamb of God,
     On Englands pleasant pastures seen!

     And did the Countenance Divine,             
     Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
     And was Jerusalem builded here,
     Among these dark Satanic Mills?

     Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
     Bring me my Arrows of desire:                     
     Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
     Bring me my Chariot of fire!

     I will not cease from Mental Fight,
     Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
     Till we have built Jerusalem,                     
     In Englands green & pleasant Land."
Milton, Plate 12,(E 155) 
"And they builded Golgonooza: terrible eternal labour!

What are those golden builders doing? where was the burying-place
Of soft Ethinthus? near Tyburns fatal Tree? is that
Mild Zions hills most ancient promontory; near mournful
Ever weeping Paddington? is that Calvary and Golgotha?
Becoming a building of pity and compassion? Lo!
The stones are pity, and the bricks, well wrought affections:    
Enameld with love & kindness, & the tiles engraven gold
Labour of merciful hands: the beams & rafters are forgiveness:
The mortar & cement of the work, tears of honesty: the nails,
And the screws & iron braces, are well wrought blandishments,
And well contrived words, firm fixing, never forgotten,         
Always comforting the remembrance: the floors, humility,
The cielings, devotion: the hearths, thanksgiving:
Prepare the furniture O Lambeth in thy pitying looms!
The curtains, woven tears & sighs, wrought into lovely forms
For comfort. there the secret furniture of Jerusalems chamber    
Is wrought: Lambeth! the Bride the Lambs Wife loveth thee:
Thou art one with her & knowest not of self in thy supreme joy.

Go on, builders in hope: tho Jerusalem wanders far away,
Without the gate of Los: among the dark Satanic wheels."

 Raine's understanding of Blake's efforts to foster the spiritual attributes underlying the city in which imagination dwells is expanded on page 107:
"The sole object of all the labours of Golgonnza, 'ever building ever falling', is to provide an earthly habitation for Jerusalem. It is ever in secrecy and obscurity, in human love, in every sense of that word, that foundations of the city are laid...Blake perfectly and eloquently expresses all he felt about what a human city is, in its inner essence, as a building of human souls each individually, and all collectively labouring to embody a vision whose realization will be only when all is done 'on earth as it is in heaven', according to the archetype of the human Imagination. Blake never presented the building of Jerusalem as the work of a few men or outstanding genius or 'originality', but rather of all the city's inhabitants, the 'golden builders.'"


First Corinthians 3

[9] For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
[10] According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
[11] For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Video
of Kathleen Raine on the imagination. 

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

BLAKE'S MESSAGE VIII

British Museum
Small Book of Designs
To George Wingfield Digby, Blake's message is incorporated in the symbolic style of creation which permeates his art and poetry. Without the language of symbols Blake's message could not be communicated because it originates in the depths of man's psyche. Blake intends for his reader to respond in his own imagination to the message generated by Blake's imagination.

Quote from Page 6 of Digby's
Symbol and Image in William Blake:

"But the purpose of this form of communication is not to make explicit statements. It is to evoke and direct attention to psychological events and states of consciousness by means other than that of the intellectual concept, which is rooted in dualism. Here, the meaning lies implicit in the symbol-image, as it does in any true work of art. Moreover, the pictorial image and the poetic image conveyed by the written word are complementary to one another; in different media they make evocative statements indicative of common meaning.


Now the image or symbol is not an inferior means of expression, nor is it largely subjective or arbitrary, as is far too generally regarded by art critics, art historians, and literary critics. On the contrary, the power of apprehending archetypal symbols and images springs from one of man's most precious faculties, his intuitive faculty. It is on this faculty, above all, that he must rely for perceiving the truth about actual living experience; man can never know the truth about himself, nor find in his relationships with the world that truth or reality which transcends them, unless he develops his power of intuition. The intuitive imagination, which works through symbols, is the very essence of art.


But because the image or symbol speaks not only to man's conscious, thinking side, but also to his unconscious, it is a difficult language. Many people shrink from it with misgiving and fear. Others are so attracted and overwhelmed by it that relationships with other forms of cognition are abandoned, and so a vital balance and sense of discrimination is lost. This language of archetypal symbols and images enlists and stirs both sides of man's nature; and because it speaks to the whole man with the many different voices of his complex being, it has to be experienced to be understood.


The implication of this is that we must first and foremost try to see and feel the living principles about which Blake is speaking in his art. This means that the image or symbol must be taken inside oneself and understood intuitively, for it is only in that way it comes to life. The aim of Blake's art is to open the inner world to all those who care to look. He has extraordinary things to show, because he himself saw so far, and so clearly; also because he could bear to look equally on the ugly, the pretty, the deformed and on the free and beautiful." 

 

Gates of Paradise, Frontispiece, (E 260)
"The Suns Light when he unfolds it
Depends on the Organ that beholds it"

Jerusalem, Plate 5, (E 147)
"Jerusalem is scatterd abroad like a cloud of smoke thro' non-entity:
Moab & Ammon & Amalek & Canaan & Egypt & Aram
Recieve her little-ones for sacrifices and the delights of cruelty   

Trembling I sit day and night, my friends are astonish'd at me.
Yet they forgive my wanderings, I rest not from my great task!
To open the Eternal Worlds, to open the immortal Eyes
Of Man inwards into the Worlds of Thought: into Eternity
Ever expanding in the Bosom of God. the Human Imagination        
O Saviour pour upon me thy Spirit of meekness & love:
Annihilate the Selfhood in me, be thou all my life!
Guide thou my hand which trembles exceedingly upon the rock of ages,
While I write of the building of Golgonooza, & of the terrors of Entuthon:
Of Hand & Hyle & Coban, of Kwantok, Peachey, Brereton, Slayd & Hutton:
Of the terrible sons & daughters of Albion. and their Generations." 
Thomas Cahill in Sailing the Wine Dark Sea demonstrates his method of using his intuition to gain access to the living past he wants to communicate:
"I tell you these things now because my methods of approaching the past have scarcely changed since childhood and adolescence. I assemble what pieces there are, contrast and compare, and try to remain in their presence till I can begin to see and hear what living men saw and heard and loved, till from these scraps and fragments living men and women begin to emerge and live and move again - and then I try to communicate these sensations to my reader...For me the historian's principle task should be to raise the dead to life."  

The technique of remaining in the presence of Blake's characters and ideas (or taking them into ourselves as Digby says) may yield a wealth of rewards. 

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Monday, November 19, 2012

BLAKE'S MESSAGE VII

Library of Congress
Milton
Plate 45
John Middleton Murry emphasises the experience of annihilating the Selfhood through Forgiveness as essential to Blake's message. In his biography William Blake, Murry proposes that Blake's own struggles to forgive taught him the process of annihilating the Selfhood. 

Page 238
"Not therefore to annihilate Satan, but to forgive is the way. And Forgiveness is Self-annihilation. The Selfhood cannot exist in the condition of Forgiveness. Unless we understand that, we can understand nothing of Blake's message - nothing at all. It is the final and self-evident law of the spiritual life, and therefore, since the spiritual life is but a quintessence, the law of Life itself. Self-annihilation and Forgiveness are one. When Milton forgives Satan (who is Milton himself in his Selfhood) he can do it only by annihilating the yet more intimate and secret self that rises in him at the knowledge that Satan is himself. At the motion of Forgiveness, there rises in the Soul the sense that 'I forgive'. The Selfhood has found a new Tabernacle, 'a covering for him to do his will. This is the corruption of Forgiveness. 'I forgive is a lie. 'We are forgiven' is the truth. For Forgiveness is imaginative Love. It enters in and takes possession. It annihilates the Self. The Self cannot annihilate the Self. It is annihilated.  

Page 320
"At every crucial moment Blake faced the grim effort of relegating all that he was into the realm of the Selfhood, of thrusting all that was intimate and precious - soul of his soul - into the furnaces of Self-annihilation, in obedience to the command that 'all that can be annihilated must be annihilated'. And what he found unannihilable was the condition of Forgiveness, the experience of Eternity. No matter what he endured, in inward struggle or in disappointment at the hands of men, the Divine Humanity was renewed in him, and he in it. To him the Imagination was existence itself. This alone was real and unconsumable, the experience which gave to all other experiences their reality, and brought to him again and again confirmation of his simple unshakable knowledge that Time was the mercy of Eternity."

Jerusalem, Plate 34 [38], (E 179)
" but mild the Saviour follow'd him,
Displaying the Eternal Vision! the Divine Similitude!
In loves and tears of brothers, sisters, sons, fathers, and friends
Which if Man ceases to behold, he ceases to exist"
Milton, Plate 24 [26], (E 121)
"Los is by mortals nam'd Time Enitharmon is nam'd Space
But they depict him bald & aged who is in eternal youth
All powerful and his locks flourish like the brows of morning    
He is the Spirit of Prophecy the ever apparent Elias
Time is the mercy of Eternity; without Times swiftness
Which is the swiftest of all things: all were eternal torment:
All the Gods of the Kingdoms of Earth labour in Los's Halls.
Every one is a fallen Son of the Spirit of Prophecy             
He is the Fourth Zoa, that stood arou[n]d the Throne Divine." 
Songs and Ballads, (E 476)
"Till I turn from Female Love  
And root up the Infernal Grove 
I shall never worthy be   
To Step into Eternity
 
And to end thy cruel mocks
Annihilate thee on the rocks
And another form create
To be subservient to my Fate

Let us agree to give up Love
And root up the infernal grove                                 
Then shall we return & see
The worlds of happy Eternity

& Throughout all Eternity 
I forgive you you forgive me
As our dear Redeemer said                                   
This the Wine & this the Bread"
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Saturday, November 17, 2012

BLAKE'S MESSAGE VI

Milton Percival sees the high value Blake places on the imagination as crucial to his message. Through using the imagination as the essential ingredient of his writing, artistic productions and living,  Blake wove inner and outer, mental and physical, spirit and body into a single production of Eternity. 

On page 286 of William Blake's Circle of Destiny we read:

"When will this mortal world put on immortality? Only when the selfhood puts on imagination.


Meanwhile, the world being what it is, Blake adopted a way of life which many seekers of the good life in a bad world have adopted - the life of art. In this field of activity there is less selfish interference with another, more indulgence of the creative impulse and of the individuality than in any other. And in this way of life what Blake called 'mortal contingencies' can be disregarded, as Mrs Blake well knew. In the Laocoon inscriptions art is put forward as the one and only good way of life; all other ways and all hindrances to that way are disparaged. But the term 'art' is used in its esoteric sense, for Blake declares that Christ and his disciples were all artists. The logical justification of this assertion, if there is one, is that they directed their energies to imaginative ends. But it will not do to overemphasize a group of aphorisms inscribed upon a single plate. Blake is not an esthete. Los, the hero of the prophetic books, who is the real Blake, is not an artist except in the esoteric Blakean sense. He is the very center of the fray, hammering upon his anvil with the energy of Thor himself, breaking down the sterile forms which represent every phase of human activity, breaking them down in the hope of bringing the separated principles together in a fruitful union. He is Blake's dramatization of the good life, lived from within, lived energetically, devoted in all its variety to imaginative ends." 


Milton, Plate 25 [27], (E 121) 
"Loud shout the Sons of Luvah, at the Wine-presses as Los descended
With Rintrah & Palamabron in his fires of resistless fury.

The Wine-press on the Rhine groans loud, but all its central beams
Act more terrific in the central Cities of the Nations
Where Human Thought is crushd beneath the iron hand of Power.    
There Los puts all into the Press, the Opressor & the Opressed
Together, ripe for the Harvest & Vintage & ready for the Loom.

They sang at the Vintage. This is the Last Vintage! & Seed
Shall no more be sown upon Earth, till all the Vintage is over
And all gatherd in, till the Plow has passd over the Nations     
And the Harrow & heavy thundering Roller upon the mountains

And loud the Souls howl round the Porches of Golgonooza
Crying O God deliver us to the Heavens or to the Earths,
That we may preach righteousness & punish the sinner with death
But Los refused, till all the Vintage of Earth was gatherd in.  

And Los stood & cried to the Labourers of the Vintage in voice of awe.

Fellow Labourers! The Great Vintage & Harvest is now upon Earth
The whole extent of the Globe is explored: Every scatterd Atom
Of Human Intellect now is flocking to the sound of the Trumpet
All the Wisdom which was hidden in caves & dens, from ancient    
Time; is now sought out from Animal & Vegetable & Mineral

The Awakener is come. outstretchd over Europe! the Vision of God is fulfilled
The Ancient Man upon the Rock of Albion Awakes,"
 
British Museum
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
When Blake says 'The Awakener is come. outstretchd over Europe! the Vision of God is fulfilled' he indicates an accomplishment not in the past or in the future but in the ever present now; the moment when the 'poets work is done'. Becoming a labourer in the Vintage means exercising ones imagination to link oneself with the eternal, invisible world which intersects with our world of time and space between two beats of the artery.

 
Milton, Plate 29 [31], (E 127)  
"For in this Period the Poets Work is Done: and all the Great
Events of Time start forth & are concievd in such a Period
Within a Moment: a Pulsation of the Artery."
 
Percival views Blake's message optimistically:
"It is Blake's faith as a mystic that Los must eventually triumph. It is not man's destiny to remain forever as he is. Out of endless folly, wisdom must at last be born. Out of the long succession of generative froms, regeneration must a last emerge."  Page 289

Thursday, November 15, 2012

BLAKE'S MESSAGE V

Wikimedia Commons  Ezekiel's Vision

Bloom puts Blake's prophetic message in the context of the Old Testament prophets, whose imagery is repeated in the New Testament Book of Revelation. Bloom sees Blake recreating for his own time and in his own terms the message delivered by Isaiah, Ezekiel and the prophetic voice passed down through John of Patmos and Milton.
The prophet presents the eternal choice between turning toward God or continuing to follow the enemies of God. Blake utilises a multitude of images in an attempt to communicate with men in whatever state they were to be found. Blake was following the lead of Paul in First Corinthians:


First Corinthians 9

[19] For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
[20] And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
[21] To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
[22] To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
[23] And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

Harold Bloom, speaking of
Jerusalem, states in Blake's Apocalypse on Page 366:

"From this opposition there emerges, in the fourth and last chapter, a clarifying confrontation of error and truth, which causes a Last Judgment to begin.

As a general principle of organization, a series of gradually sharpening antitheses leading to a necessity for moral choice, this resembles the pattern of the major prophetic books of the Bible...The books of Ezekiel and the other prophets are essentially collections of public oratory, poems of admonition delivered to a wavering people. The poems are interspersed in chronicles that deliberately mix history and vision, the way events were and the way the prophet fears they will turn out to be if they continue as they are going, or hopes hopes they will emerge if the people will realize that they are at the turning and can control events by a change of spirit.

Like Isaiah and Ezekiel, Blake believed that he had the decisive power of the eternal moment of human choice as a direct gift and trust from the Divine, and he seems to have imitated the organization of their books even as he believed his election as a prophet was in direct succession of their own. Isaiah and Ezekiel, like Amos before them renewed the vision of Elijah. Blake himself had see himself as renewing the vision of the English Elijah or Rintrah, Milton. With Milton firmly within him, Blake turns in
Jerusalem to the re-creation in English terms of the work of Hebraic prophecy...The principles which form and guide Blake, which he develops with enormous skill, are the literary principles implicit in Ezekiel and the other prophetic books of the Bible. Jerusalem will seem much less of a poetic sport if read in their company."

Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 12,  (E 39)
 "Then Ezekiel said. The philosophy of the east taught the first 
principles of human perception     some nations held one
principle for  the origin & some another, we of Israel taught
that the Poetic Genius (as  you now call it) was the first
principle and all the others merely  derivative, which was the
cause of our despising the Priests & Philosophers  of other
countries, and prophecying that all Gods would at last be
proved. to originate in ours & to be the tributaries of the
Poetic  Genius, it was this. that our great poet King David
desired so fervently  & invokes so patheticly, saying by this he
conquers enemies & governs kingdoms; and we so loved our God.
that we cursed in his name all  the deities of surrounding
nations, and asserted that they had rebelled; from these opinions
the vulgar came to think that all nations would at last be
subject to the jews.
   This said he, like all firm perswasions, is come to pass, for all 
nations believe the jews code and worship the jews god, and what
greater subjection can be"

Jerusalem, Plate 12, (E 156)
"And the Four Points are thus beheld in Great Eternity
West, the Circumference: South, the Zenith: North,               
The Nadir: East, the Center, unapproachable for ever.
These are the four Faces towards the Four Worlds of Humanity
In every Man. Ezekiel saw them by Chebars flood.
And the Eyes are the South, and the Nostrils are the East.
And the Tongue is the West, and the Ear is the North."    

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 558)
"Hell is opend beneath her Seat on the Left hand. beneath her
feet is a flaming Cavern in which is seen the Great Red Dragon
with Seven heads & ten Horns [who] he has Satans book
of Accusations lying on the rock open before him  he is bound
in chains by Two strong demons they are Gog & Magog who have
been compelld to subdue their Master Ezekiel XXXVIIIc 8v with
their Hammer & Tongs about to new Create the Seven Headed
Kingdoms."  

Ezekiel 38
[8] After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.   

Ezekiel 38

[2] Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
[3] And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:
[14] Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it?
[16] And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.
[18] And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face.
 

Revelation 20
[8] And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 

 
 Wikipedia:
  "Ezekiel's Gog from Magog was a symbol of the evil darkness of the north and the powers hostile to God, but in Revelation, Gog and Magog have no geographic location, and instead represent the nations of the world, banded together for the final assault on Christ and those who follow him." 
.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

BLAKE'S MESSAGE IV

Roger and Kay Easson, writing in Milton A Poem by William Blake, view Blake's message as a reflection of the prophetic role he assumed. Blake quotes the Book of Numbers in saying "Would to God that all the Lords people were Prophets." Underlying Blake's writing is his response to the Lord's call for prophets.  

Page 18
"Milton
is a prophetic narrative since with it Blake exposes perceptual errors and renovates perception by teaching visionary truth. This prophetic narrative is conveyed both by words and by designs; Blake weaves together the linear orientation of words and the spatial dimensions of the graphic arts. However, in neither words nor designs does Blake adhere 
  to orthodox sequences or patterns. that is we cannot read Milton 'in time,' from a first event to a final event. Nor can we read Milton 'in space,' from a first place to a final place. Blake structures his words and designs in intricate patterns of parallelism and inversion that lead toward the unity of all word and designs within his prophetic vision. For Blake, prophecy teaches that spiritual travel must renovate each moment of each day. The narrative in Milton asserts that a spiritual journey is made in time and space, but that it simultaneously renovates our perceptions of time and space. The journey that the character Milton undertakes is necessarily individual, but since it shares in the archetypal pattern of such paths, it is, as Blake confirms, mutual. Moreover, for Blake, all spiritual journeys begin and end in the love and mercy of Jesus, the Saviour, and the Saviour's love and mercy are present not at one time and place or in one miraculous event, as a time-bound Natural Religion would have it, but present for all times and in all places as the ever-present potential for regeneration."  

Yale Center for British Art
Book of Urizen
Copy C, Plate 2 


Page 170
"The prophet, therefore, may sing songs, tell stories, and write poems. He presents the divine vision, but he must always defend it, explain it, and teach his audience how to perceive it. Los, Milton and the Starry Eight are the teachers within the Brotherhood of Prophets. Ultimately, it is William Blake who unites both the 'Divine Revelation' of the Bard and the 'Litteral expression' of prophecy within his poem Milton, that all his readers may become prophets."  










Milton, Plate 2, (E 96)
 "Come into my hand    
By your mild power; descending down the Nerves of my right arm
From out the Portals of my Brain, where by your ministry
The Eternal Great Humanity Divine. planted his Paradise,
And in it caus'd the Spectres of the Dead to take sweet forms
In likeness of himself. Tell also of the False Tongue! vegetated
Beneath your land of shadows: of its sacrifices. and
Its offerings; even till Jesus, the image of the Invisible God
Became its prey; a curec, an offering, and an atonement,
For Death Eternal in the heavens of Albion, & before the Gates
Of Jerusalem his Emanation, in the heavens beneath Beulah        

Say first! what mov'd Milton, who walkd about in Eternity
One hundred years, pondring the intricate mazes of Providence
Unhappy tho in heav'n, he obey'd, he murmur'd not. he was silent
Viewing his Sixfold Emanation scatter'd thro' the deep
In torment! To go into the deep her to redeem & himself perish?  
What cause at length mov'd Milton to this unexampled deed[?]   
A Bards prophetic Song!"

Sunday, November 11, 2012

BLAKE'S MESSAGE III

Pierre Berger holds back from going the whole distance with Blake although his grasp of Blake's symbolic techniques is impressive. Berger, in William Blake, Poet and Mystic, has more loyalty to the poet than to the mystic. Seeing that Blake has abandoned any allegiance or attachment to the material world as opposed the the eternal, infinite world of imagination, Berger longs for the poet who finds his meaning in the beautiful, brightness of earthly loves.

 Quotes selected from Page 255 to Page 276:
"He sees not only the first plane, that of the material world, and the second, wherein lies the soul of things, but also a third, the mystical plane, the world of those beings which do not come within the field of our vision, of the angels who preside over all things, the powers that struggle in the soul of inanimate nature as well as in man's soul, the proud and jealous Urizen, the indolent Tharmas, Orc the passionate, the Theotormon the unhappy. They are in all things and behind all things. It is towards them that the prophet's threefold vision is directed. And who knows whether, in these spirits themselves, who appear to him as living men, there may not be hidden a deeper soul still, another new principle, perhaps some spark of Los's fire, perhaps some sense of the great primal unity, perhaps one of the Eternals, perceptible only through his faculty of fourfold vision?
And so the process may be continued to infinity. Every external form conceals an internal principle, which itself encloses another, and so on always, until we come to the pure Essence, the Indivisible; that is to say, to God.
...
He could not detach himself from the object described, nor look at it without always projecting into it something of his own imagination, which changed its shape or its colour, and often, to ordinary eyes, transfigured it entirely.
Here came in the faculty of twofold vision, the power to see the soul of things, which is more real than the ephermeral form perceived by our eyes. We know already that he regarded all things as " men seen from far." This feeling of humanity in all things, which never left him, changed the character of all his poetry.
...
On the other hand, it is to his mysticism that Blake owes his extraordinary power of projecting into all things some small portion of his own soul, of causing lifeless things to live, love and act, as we have seen him do in our study of his feelings. His tenderness of soul, joined with his power of vision, enabled him to describe, in words of exquisite delicacy, all creatures that are small and feeble; and these he seems to have loved almost as ardently as he did the gigantic beings that peopled his dreams. Moreover, the soul of the lily, the lamb or the glow-worm is as great as that of the lion, the oak or the mountain. The humble flower has no less vast a usefulness than the planet.
...
And the question keeps on repeating itself: How can such freshness and such power of imagination have become so spoiled? Why did this man, possessing, as he did, the genius to create these exquisite pictures, lose himself in the gloomy and chaotic wilderness of his invisible universe?

The reason is that even this twofold vision did not satisfy him. The mystic in him went further than the poet. Behind our world of Time and Space he saw the world of the Eternal, which we can never behold until the door of death opens and reveals it to us. He himself had crossed its threshold, and returned, laden with the treasures of his threefold or fourfold vision, the " Flowers of Eternal Life."
It is when he leaves our world to describe the other that his imagination attains its full creative power. His creations are no longer the personification of a material object, the soul of some lifeless thing, the embodiment of a metaphor: they come whole from his brain, produced out of nothing. In these far-off regions, our world has ceased to exist, even as a delusive mirage. 'Nothing is, but what is not.' This imaginative quality Blake regarded as indispensable in all true art. 'The man who never in his mind and thoughts travelled to heaven is no artist.' Now, therefore, the trend of his imagination is towards the evocation of things without form, the creation of beings that exist only in the nebulous kingdom of his dreams
....
The material world became too indistinct to his eyes when he had passed out of the planes of single and double vision. He chose rather to remain among the mists of the higher regions; and, as a consequence, his work, strange and mysterious as it often is, fails to give the reader any impression of strength or picturesqueness. Sometimes, he builds up his visions out of quite abstract ideas.
...
Why could not Blake remain upon the earth? He had beautified our world by sending his angels to it, and making it radiant with celestial colours. He had peopled it with visions so bright that they make us feel as if the illuminated pages of some old missal had suddenly come to life, or as if the haloed and many-coloured saints from some cathedral window had come down to walk in our midst. Why need he have sought to go further, and transport us into that heaven of his own, where we find nothing of all that we have loved upon earth, and where our only pleasure lies in the glimpses he still sometimes allows us of our poor lost world?"


Few who have been drawn into Blake's world of imagination would ask that he exchange the pleasures of our poor lost world for the terror and delight of his visionary one.

British Museum 
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts

Letter to Thomas Butts, 22 November 1802, (E 721)

     "And God himself in the passing hours
     With Silver Angels across my way
     And Golden Demons that none can stay
     With my Father hovering upon the wind
     And my Brother Robert just behind
     And my Brother John the evil one
     In a black cloud making his mone
     Tho dead they appear upon my path
     Notwithstanding my terrible wrath
     They beg they intreat they drop their tears
     Filld full of hopes filld full of fears
     With a thousand Angels upon the Wind
     Pouring disconsolate from behind
     To drive them off & before my way
     A frowning Thistle implores my stay
     What to others a trifle appears
     Fills me full of smiles or tears
     For double the vision my Eyes do see
     And a double vision is always with me
     With my inward Eye 'tis an old Man grey
     With my outward a Thistle across my way
     'If thou goest back the thistle said
     Thou art to endless woe betrayd
     For here does Theotormon lower
     And here is Enitharmons bower
     And Los the terrible thus hath sworn
     Because thou backward dost return
     Poverty Envy old age & fear
     Shall bring thy Wife upon a bier
     And Butts shall give what Fuseli gave
     A dark black Rock & a gloomy Cave.'"

Friday, November 9, 2012

BLAKE'S MESSAGE II

S. Foster Damon, the author of A Blake Dictionary, an indispensable aid in deciphering Blake's symbolic system, was following in Blake's footsteps in sharing the knowledge he acquired. In this passage he sees Blake as the pathfinder in pursuing the unexplored territory of man's soul and intellect. 
Introduction, Page IX:


"Blake's basic purpose was the discovery and recording of new truths about the human soul. For him the most exciting thing possible was the discovery of these truths. Hunting for them and warfare over them with other thinkers were the joys of his 'eternity' (
Mil 35:2). His 'long resounding strong heroic [lines are] marshall'd in order for the day of Intellectual Battle' (FZ i:5). The 'Births of Intellect' come to us come to us through the 'Divine Humanity' (LJ, K623).  'The Treasures of Heaven are...Realities of Intellect, from which all the Passions Emanate Uncurbed in their Eternal Glory' (LJ, K 615). These truths are the only possible basis for genuine belief. With a few trifling exceptions, Blake never wrote a poem or painted a picture without intellectual meaning.
Morgan Library
Book of Urizen
Copy B, Plate 21

So profound were his researches in the terra incognita that he was hailed as the Columbus of the psyche, in whose course Freud and Jung, among others, were to follow. So novel was everything in this new world that no vocabulary was prepared for him. But these psychic forces were so real that he had to name them. Thence arose his special mythology, for these forces were living creatures.

Blake was not content only to record: he wanted to force his reader to think along with him." 

 





Vision of the Last Judgment, Page 85, (E 562)
"Jesus is surrounded by Beams of Glory in which are
seen all around him Infants emanating from him   these represent
the Eternal Births of Intellect from the divine Humanity"  

Jerusalem, Plate 77, (E 231)
 Imagination the real & eternal World of which this Vegetable
Universe is but a faint shadow & in which we shall live in our
Eternal or Imaginative Bodies, when these Vegetable Mortal Bodies
are no more.  The Apostles knew of no other Gospel.  What were
all their spiritual gifts? What is the Divine Spirit? is the Holy
Ghost any other than an Intellectual Fountain? What is the
Harvest of the Gospel & its Labours? What is that Talent which it
is a curse to hide? What are the Treasures of Heaven which we are
to lay up for ourselves, are they any other than Mental Studies &
Performances? What are all the Gifts. of the Gospel, are they not
all Mental Gifts? Is God a Spirit who must be worshipped in
Spirit & in Truth and are not the Gifts of the Spirit Every-thing
to Man? O ye Religious discountenance every one among
you who shall pretend to despise Art & Science! I call upon you
in the Name of Jesus! What is the Life of Man but Art & Science?
is it Meat & Drink? is not the Body more than Raiment? What is
Mortality but the things relating to the Body, which Dies? What
is Immortality but the things relating to the Spirit, which Lives
Eternally! What is the joy of Heaven but Improvement in the
things of the Spirit? What are the Pains of Hell but Ignorance,
Bodily Lust, Idleness & devastation of the things of the
Spirit[?] 
  Answer this to yourselves, & expel from among you those who
pretend to despise the labours of Art & Science, which alone are
the labours of the Gospel: Is not this plain & manifest to the
thought? Can you think at all & not pronounce heartily! That to
Labour in Knowledge. is to Build up Jerusalem: and to Despise
Knowledge, is to Despise Jerusalem & her Builders." 
. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

BLAKE'S MESSAGE

The message Blake intended to deliver is seen variously by individuals who study him according to the framework in which in which they work. David Erdman viewed Blake within the "intellectual and social history of his times." Erdman, in Prophet Against Empire, finds Blake's message in the climax of Jerusalem as Albion is able to realistically view the conditions that exist around him. Albion's eyes are opened allowing Britannia to initiate a transformed society.

Erdman (
Page 485):

"In Blake's final 'Visions of Heaven & Earth' (J.96) he sees a revolutionized Britannia reversing the original Temptation by leading Albion into Paradise...But these revolutions swiftly compelled his dislocated Zoas to resume their proper places as 'Sons of Eden.' Whereupon 'England who is Britannia entered Albion's bosom rejoicing, Rejoicing in his indignation! adoring his wrathful rebuke' (J. 94-95).

After this visionary preview, the rest is easy. Blake knows that the prophetic wrath he has had such difficulty trying to control will be fully vindicated when Albion learns to express it adequately and generously in Action and Passion. Vox Populi, vox dei. The wrath in his bosom has really come from the Divine Humanity in his bosom, as he now discovers when Jesus appears, ready to converse 'as Man with Man, in Ages of Eternity And the Divine Appearance was the likeness & similitude of Los.' Albion is quickly given to understand that the angry prophet has been his true friend all along, dying for him continually - for every kindness to another is a little Death In the Divine Image nor can Can Man exist but by Brotherhood' (J. 96).

Now for a moment it is Albion who views with alarm the condition of the world, which Hand has hidden from him:  

'Do I sleep amidst danger to Friends! O my Cities & Counties
Do you sleep! rouze up! rouze up. Eternal Death is abroad'

But this act in itself accomplishes the revolution, demonstrating as it does that Albion has begun to think 'not for himself but for his Friend."

Jerusalem, Plate 96, (E 255)                                                        
"As the Sun & Moon lead forward the Visions of Heaven & Earth
England who is Brittannia entered Albions bosom rejoicing    

Then Jesus appeared standing by Albion as the Good Shepherd
By the lost Sheep that he hath found & Albion knew that it
Was the Lord the Universal Humanity, & Albion saw his Form     
A Man. & they conversed as Man with Man, in Ages of Eternity
And the Divine Appearance was the likeness & similitude of Los

Albion said. O Lord what can I do! my Selfhood cruel
Marches against thee deceitful from Sinai & from Edom
Into the Wilderness of Judah to meet thee in his pride       
I behold the Visions of my deadly Sleep of Six Thousand Years
Dazling around thy skirts like a Serpent of precious stones & gold
I know it is my Self. O my Divine Creator & Redeemer

Jesus replied Fear not Albion unless I die thou canst not live
But if I die I shall arise again & thou with me            
This is Friendship & Brotherhood without it Man Is Not

So Jesus spoke! the Covering Cherub coming on in darkness
Overshadowd them & Jesus said Thus do Men in Eternity
One for another to put off by forgiveness, every sin"
Yale Center for British Art
Young's Night Thoughts

Plate 9

 
 
The entry into a new world of expanded consciousness is initiated by the experience of awakening from the sleep of false assumptions. Albion's sleep originated when he accepted Vala as the real and lost his ability to perceive Eternity. His awakening came when he could see the natural, political and social world from the perspective of Eternity: when he could converse 'as Man with Man' with the Universal Humanity.       

Monday, November 5, 2012

EIGHTH DIVINE IMAGE III

There is a tug of war going on between the manifestation of the Eighth Eye and the Reactor in the Forests of Albion. Within the mind of man there is confusion: to which image of God will we give our allegiance. Satan claims godship and is worshipped as God of this World. He convinces us that the here and now are the real and that Eternity is the illusion; he promotes war and repressive control through the accusation of sin and the fear of hell; he diverts man from the use of his imagination by elevating nature (the material) into the state of a goddess. Satan is a deception from which man must escape. Clarity of vision is not fooled by the veils and nets which seek to entrap. Realising that man is made in God's Image leads to the a perception of God within, who is not an accuser, judge or punisher but the source of Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love.
Songs of Innocence, 18, (E 12) 
"The Divine Image.  

To Mercy Pity Peace and Love,
All pray in their distress:
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy Pity Peace and Love,  
Is God our father dear:
And Mercy Pity Peace and Love,
Is Man his child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart
Pity, a human face:
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

Then every man of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine   
Love Mercy Pity Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, turk or jew.
Where Mercy, Love & Pity dwell,
There God is dwelling too" 
Northrop Frye, in Fearful Symmetry, has something to say about the progress of man through the Eyes of God and the formidable opposition to the transition to the Eighth Eye which is waged by Satan as the adversary to God and man.
"The crucified Christ is the visible form of Man's dream state, and whatever is completely visible is transparent, that means the crucified Christ is a prism or lens of reality, that is, an eye, which Man is slowly trying to open. The word 'eye' associates itself at once with another part of Blake's symbolism. Seven Eyes of God, seven increasingly clear visions of the unity of God and Man in one body, in one city, have completed their work, and we are now searching for the eighth. He is still elusive, still hiding in the forests, as Blake says, and when we do get him we will have a new perception of God which will be a final confirmation of either the Blakean or the Lockian view of reality, either a newborn God or an Antichrist. Of Antichrist Paul says: 'And ye know now what withholdeth that he might be revealed in time', and Blake adds, 'But you cannot behold him until he be revealed in his system.' He also tells us to look through and not with our own eyes."  (Page 401)

2nd Thessalonians 2
[3] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
[4] Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
[5] Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
[6] And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.


Jerusalem, Plate 43 [29], (E 191)
"Then the Divine Vision like a silent Sun appeard above
Albions dark rocks: setting behind the Gardens of Kensington
On Tyburns River, in clouds of blood: where was mild Zion Hills
Most ancient promontory, and in the Sun, a Human Form appeard
And thus the Voice Divine went forth upon the rocks of Albion    

I elected Albion for my glory; I gave to him the Nations,
Of the whole Earth. he was the Angel of my Presence: and all
The Sons of God were Albions Sons: and Jerusalem was my joy.
The Reactor hath hid himself thro envy. I behold him.
But you cannot behold him till he be reveald in his System       
Albions Reactor must have a Place prepard: Albion must Sleep
The Sleep of Death, till the Man of Sin & Repentance be reveald.
Hidden in Albions Forests he lurks: he admits of no Reply
From Albion: but hath founded his Reaction into a Law
Of Action, for Obedience to destroy the Contraries of Man[.]     
He hath compelld Albion to become a Punisher & hath possessd
Himself of Albions Forests & Wilds! and Jerusalem is taken!"  
Inferno, Canto II, 139-141
Dante and Virgil enter the wood
 
 Satan has not yet been revealed in his system but the Divine Vision makes itself known to mankind offering itself as the Divine Humanity.  








 Jerusalem, Plate 44 [30], (E 193)
"And the Divine hand was upon them bearing them thro darkness
Back safe to their Humanity as doves to their windows:
Therefore the Sons of Eden praise Urthonas Spectre in Songs
Because he kept the Divine Vision in time of trouble.            

They wept & trembled: & Los put forth his hand & took them in
Into his Bosom: from which Albion shrunk in dismal pain;
Rending the fibres of Brotherhood & in Feminine Allegories
Inclosing Los: but the Divine Vision appeard with Los
Following Albion into his Central Void among his Oaks.           

And Los prayed and said. O Divine Saviour arise
Upon the Mountains of Albion as in ancient time. Behold!
The Cities of Albion seek thy face, London groans in pain
From Hill to Hill & the Thames laments along the Valleys"

Saturday, November 3, 2012

EIGHTH DIVINE IMAGE II

It is in Milton that Blake develops his concept of the Eighth Image of God. First the Eighth Divine Image appears as Milton's sleeping body which arose and walked with the seven in Eden. The intimation here is that Milton has the potential for being the Eighth Image himself.

Milton, Plate 15 [17], (E 109)
"As when a man dreams, he reflects not that his body sleeps,
Else he would wake; so seem'd he entering his Shadow: but
With him the Spirits of the Seven Angels of the Presence
Entering; they gave him still perceptions of his Sleeping Body;
Which now arose and walk'd with them in Eden, as an Eighth   
Image Divine tho' darken'd; and tho walking as one walks
In sleep; and the Seven comforted and supported him."

The Shadowy Eighth is with the Seven in Beulah when the heavens are rended and the descent is made into the deeps of Ulro. The Shadowy Eighth and Los join the Watchers of the Ulro in desperation.
Milton, Plate 20 [22], (E 114) 
"But many of the Eternals rose up from eternal tables
Drunk with the Spirit, burning round the Couch of death they stood
Looking down into Beulah: wrathful, fill'd with rage!            
They rend the heavens round the Watchers in a fiery circle:
And round the Shadowy Eighth: the Eight close up the Couch
Into a tabernacle, and flee with cries down to the Deeps:
Where Los opens his three wide gates, surrounded by raging fires!
They soon find their own place & join the Watchers of the Ulro.  

Los saw them and a cold pale horror coverd o'er his limbs
Pondering he knew that Rintrah & Palamabron might depart:
Even as Reuben & as Gad; gave up himself to tears.
He sat down on his anvil-stock; and leand upon the trough.
Looking into the black water, mingling it with tears.            

At last when desperation almost tore his heart in twain
He recollected an old Prophecy in Eden recorded,
And often sung to the loud harp at the immortal feasts
That Milton of the Land of Albion should up ascend
Forwards from Ulro from the Vale of Felpham; and set free        
Orc from his Chain of Jealousy, he started at the thought"
The Eighth then joined with the Seven becoming the Eight Immortal Starry-Ones who rejoice at the descent of Ololon.  
Milton, Plate 35 [39], (E 135)
"And Ololon examined all the Couches of the Dead.
Even of Los & Enitharmon & all the Sons of Albion
And his Four Zoas terrified & on the verge of Death
In midst of these was Miltons Couch, & when they saw Eight
Immortal Starry-Ones, guarding the Couch in flaming fires        
They thunderous utterd all a universal groan falling down
Prostrate before the Starry Eight asking with tears forgiveness
Confessing their crime with humiliation and sorrow.

O how the Starry Eight rejoic'd to see Ololon descended!
And now that a wide road was open to Eternity,   
              
By Ololons descent thro Beulah to Los & Enitharmon,"

The culmination of the descent of Ololon to Felpham's Vale and into the Fires of Intellect is the release of the Divine Revelation in the 'Litteral' expression. The Starry Eight became One Man Jesus the Saviour and Ololon becomes his garment. 
 

The Angel of the Divine Presence
original in Fitzwilliam Museum
found at william-blake.org
Milton, Plate 42 [49], (E 143)
"Then as a Moony Ark Ololon descended to Felphams Vale
In clouds of blood, in streams of gore, with dreadful thunderings
Into the Fires of Intellect that rejoic'd in Felphams Vale
Around the Starry Eight: with one accord the Starry Eight became 
One Man Jesus the Saviour. wonderful! round his limbs
The Clouds of Ololon folded as a Garment dipped in blood
Written within & without in woven letters: & the Writing
Is the Divine Revelation in the Litteral expression:
A Garment of War, I heard it namd the Woof of Six Thousand Years" 
 
 
 
Read posts on Ololon, the Moony Ark, and the Mystical Marriage for further detail.