"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
"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!"