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

Friday, November 9, 2012


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
  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." 

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