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

Monday, November 19, 2012


Library of Congress
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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