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

Saturday, March 30, 2013


In Fearful Symmetry Northrup Frye has this to say about Blake's use of the word science:
"By 'Science' he means what he means elsewhere when he says: 'The Primeval State of Man was Wisdom, Art and Science.' That is, wisdom consists of the mental war which is art and the mental hunting which is science, and these constitute the eternal life of a Man who is God. Art is human but it is also divine because God is a Creator. Science is human, but it is also divine because God can hardly be the lazy and inert Omniscience which a lazy and inert mind is apt to envisage." Page 271

Jerusalem Plate 3, (E 146)
"Poetry Fetter'd, Fetters the Human Race! Nations are Destroy'd,
or Flourish, in proportion as Their Poetry Painting and Music,
are Destroy'd or Flourish! The Primeval State of Man, was Wisdom,
Art, and Science."

In The Blake Dictionary, Foster Damon informs  us that for Blake: "Science is divided into Bowlahoola [assimilation] and Allamanda [communication]. Science can assimilate its material and communicate it, but it cannot create." 

Library of Congress 
Title Page, Copy E
When Jered Diamond wrote Collapse he was attempting to cause his readers to see what was clearly visible all around them as symptomatic of a larger, more threatening process being enacted. Blake interpreted what he saw in the London, the Britain, the Europe, the world of his time equally as symptoms of the collapse of the systems which sustain civilization. Diamond used examples of disintegration from history over time and space to create his image of our own civilization crumbling under the weight of inappropriate decisions. Blake created images which, if assimilated, could re-form the mind into a vehicle for imagination which would not accept the conditions which made man less than human.  

In this passage from Milton, Blake begins with the wine-press as his image of the conditions man endures in this world. The ultimate of suffering results from becoming subject to the emotional acting-out which can be observed in our lives, and in the schools, and neighborhoods, and courts and prisons around us. Contrasting with the wine-presses is Allamanda and Golgonooza and the labors of the Sons of Los. Golgonooza, the mind functioning in the imaginative mode is supported by Allamanda which collects and distributes the ideas which the mind needs as raw material for creation. The strenuous labors of the Sons of Los (the Imagination) work against the efforts of the Sons of Urizen (fallen Reason). The efforts of the Imagination striving to maintain the Vision of Eternity fall under the   heading of Science which is the remnant in the world in which we live of the Eternal Art of Architecture.   
Blake tells us that Religion, Law, and Physic & Surgery in the fallen world are the remains of Poetry, Music and Painting which result from the survival of Eternal Architecture as Science in the world of time and space.

We see from this analysis that Science became a inclusive image, right alongside Art as having the potential for redeeming the fallen world. 

Milton, PLATE 27 [29], (E 124)
"But in the Wine-presses the Human grapes sing not, nor dance  
They howl & writhe in shoals of torment; in fierce flames consuming,
In chains of iron & in dungeons circled with ceaseless fires.
In pits & dens & shades of death: in shapes of torment & woe.
The plates & screws & wracks & saws & cords & fires & cisterns
The cruel joys of Luvahs Daughters lacerating with knives        
And whips their Victims & the deadly sport of Luvahs Sons.

They dance around the dying, & they drink the howl & groan
They catch the shrieks in cups of gold, they hand them to one another:
These are the sports of love, & these the sweet delights of amorous play
Tears of the grape, the death sweat of the cluster the last sigh 
Of the mild youth who listens to the lureing songs of Luvah

But Allamanda calld on Earth Commerce, is the Cultivated land
Around the City of Golgonooza in the Forests of Entuthon:
Here the Sons of Los labour against Death Eternal; through all
The Twenty-seven Heavens of Beulah in Ulro, Seat of Satan,       
Which is the False Tongue beneath Beulah: it is the Sense of Touch:
The Plow goes forth in tempests & lightnings & the narrow cruel
In blights of the east; the heavy Roller follows in howlings of woe.
Urizens sons here labour also; & here are seen the Mills
Of Theotormon, on the verge of the Lake of Udan-Adan:            
These are the starry voids of night & the depths & caverns of earth
These Mills are oceans, clouds & waters ungovernable in their fury
Here are the stars created & the seeds of all things planted
And here the Sun & Moon recieve their fixed destinations

But in Eternity the Four Arts: Poetry, Painting, Music,          
And Architecture which is Science: are the Four Faces of Man.
Not so in Time & Space: there Three are shut out, and only
Science remains thro Mercy: & by means of Science, the Three
Become apparent in time & space, in the Three Professions

Poetry in Religion: Music, Law: Painting, in Physic & Surgery: 

That Man may live upon Earth till the time of his awaking,
And from these Three, Science derives every Occupation of Men.
And Science is divided into Bowlahoola & Allamanda.
Plate 28 [30]
Some Sons of Los surround the Passions with porches of iron & silver
Creating form & beauty around the dark regions of sorrow,
Giving to airy nothing a name and a habitation
Delightful! with bounds to the Infinite putting off the Indefinite
Into most holy forms of Thought: (such is the power of inspiration)
They labour incessant; with many tears & afflictions:
Creating the beautiful House for the piteous sufferer."
In spite of the obstacles presented by a world in which most men have lost the ability to perceive the Eternal, materials are provided with which one's imagination may build a beautiful house with windows from which eternity is visible. Through Science the ideas necessary for the process are assimilated and communicated.

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