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

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Republished from November 23, 2013 

Kathleen Raine's studies of William Blake and his sources in the literature of the perennial philosophy were key to unlocking many of the symbols which abound in Blake's work. But her commitment to the thought of Blake did not end with presenting links in Blake to the traditional literature which was excluded by orthodox interpreters, she became with Blake a builder of Golgonnoza. She realised that his message of psychological/spiritual development should not be buried or hidden but was meant to be put to use in transforming individual psyches and the outer world which reflects inner realities.

On page 4 of Golgonooza City of Imagination Raine calls Blake 'a patriot of the inner worlds' who wages the Mental Fight unceasing: "Uncomprehended though he was, Blake was not, like Yeats, an esotericist. He addressed his prophetic message 'to the Public' and whether he would be understood he did not stop to question - his vision was, to him, clear beyond all doubt. He was a patriot of the inner worlds, of the England of the Imagination whose 'golden builders' he saw at work in the creation of Golgonooza the city within the brain (golgos, skull), 'the spiritual fourfold London Eternal'. He saw his nation 'sunk in deadly sleep', victim of 'deadly dreams' of a materialism whose effects in all aspects of national life were destructive and sorrowful, wars, exploitation of human labour, sexual hypocrisy, a 'cruel' morality of condemnation and punitive laws, the denial and oppression of the soul's winged life."

Yale Center for British Art
Blake's Water-Colours for the
The Poems of Thomas Gray
Milton, Plate 1, (E 95)
    "And did those feet in ancient time,
     Walk upon Englands mountains green:
     And was the holy Lamb of God,
     On Englands pleasant pastures seen!

     And did the Countenance Divine,             
     Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
     And was Jerusalem builded here,
     Among these dark Satanic Mills?

     Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
     Bring me my Arrows of desire:                     
     Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
     Bring me my Chariot of fire!

     I will not cease from Mental Fight,
     Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
     Till we have built Jerusalem,                     
     In Englands green & pleasant Land."
Milton, Plate 12,(E 155)
"And they builded Golgonooza: terrible eternal labour!

What are those golden builders doing? where was the burying-place
Of soft Ethinthus? near Tyburns fatal Tree? is that
Mild Zions hills most ancient promontory; near mournful
Ever weeping Paddington? is that Calvary and Golgotha?
Becoming a building of pity and compassion? Lo!
The stones are pity, and the bricks, well wrought affections:    
Enameld with love & kindness, & the tiles engraven gold
Labour of merciful hands: the beams & rafters are forgiveness:
The mortar & cement of the work, tears of honesty: the nails,
And the screws & iron braces, are well wrought blandishments,
And well contrived words, firm fixing, never forgotten,         
Always comforting the remembrance: the floors, humility,
The cielings, devotion: the hearths, thanksgiving:
Prepare the furniture O Lambeth in thy pitying looms!
The curtains, woven tears & sighs, wrought into lovely forms
For comfort. there the secret furniture of Jerusalems chamber    
Is wrought: Lambeth! the Bride the Lambs Wife loveth thee:
Thou art one with her & knowest not of self in thy supreme joy. 
Go on, builders in hope: tho Jerusalem wanders far away,
Without the gate of Los: among the dark Satanic wheels."
Raine's understanding of Blake's efforts to foster the spiritual attributes underlying the city in which imagination dwells is expanded on page 107: "The sole object of all the labours of Golgonnza, 'ever building ever falling', is to provide an earthly habitation for Jerusalem. It is ever in secrecy and obscurity, in human love, in every sense of that word, that foundations of the city are laid...Blake perfectly and eloquently expresses all he felt about what a human city is, in its inner essence, as a building of human souls each individually, and all collectively labouring to embody a vision whose realization will be only when all is done 'on earth as it is in heaven', according to the archetype of the human Imagination. Blake never presented the building of Jerusalem as the work of a few men or outstanding genius or 'originality', but rather of all the city's inhabitants, the 'golden builders.'"

First Corinthians 3
[9] For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
[10] According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
[11] For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Video of Kathleen Raine on the imagination. 

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