For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise |
For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise, Plate 15, (E 267)
"15 Death's Door"
For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise, Plate 19, (E 269)
"15 The Door of Death I open found And the Worm Weaving in the Ground"
Death and Birth are contraries: together they form a unified concept. Does Death precede Birth or Birth Death, or are they two facets of one event? Plate 15 is the most vivid symbol of death that we have encountered in Gates of Paradise; is it also meant to symbolize birth?
Blake refuses to use the word death in a natural sense as the loss of life. Death to him is an entry into a different psychological state. The man finds the Worm when he goes into the depths of his own being, but the Worm is weaving; perhaps a new garment is to be provided to the man.
The man has taken the steps which will allow him to go through 'Heavens gate, Built in Jerusalems wall.' The final step is to relinquish the accumulation of ideas which have been his structure of mental formulations. If he is to be born a new being he must allow his old being to die in this grave he enters.
Jerusalem, Plate 1, (E 144) "There is a Void, outside of Existence, which if enterd into Englobes itself & becomes a Womb, such was Albions Couch A pleasant Shadow of Repose calld Albions lovely Land His Sublime & Pathos become Two Rocks fixd in the Earth His Reason his Spectrous Power, covers them above Jerusalem his Emanation is a Stone laying beneath O [Albion behold Pitying] behold the Vision of Albion Half Friendship is the bitterest Enmity said Los As he enterd the Door of Death for Albions sake Inspired The long sufferings of God are not for ever there is a Judgment Every Thing has its Vermin O Spectre of the Sleeping Dead!"
Milton, Plate 23 , (E 132) "Whatever can be Created can be Annihilated Forms cannot The Oak is cut down by the Ax, the Lamb falls by the Knife But their Forms Eternal Exist, For-ever. Amen Halle[l]ujah Thus they converse with the Dead watching round the Couch of Death. For God himself enters Death's Door always with those that enter And lays down in the Grave with them, in Visions of Eternity Till they awake & see Jesus & the Linen Clothes lying That the Females had Woven for them, & the Gates of their Fathers House"Luke 24
 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
 And they remembered his words,
 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.
 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.
 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.
 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.
 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.
 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
1st Peter 1
 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.
 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.