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

Saturday, September 27, 2014


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Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
Since Blake does not use the word consciousness to describe the condition of being fully aware, we must look for other ways he refers to consciousness. He does tell us that if the doors of perception were cleansed we would see clearly. He directs his efforts toward awakening man to a more thorough understanding of himself. Simultaneously he tries to force man to perceive the dysfunctional world which he is responsible for creating.

Perception in Eternity is not limited or distorted as it is in our present condition of being enclosed in bodies of flesh, bones and blood. The Book of Urizen describes the fearful process of tearing apart the unity, and confining the functions to the operation of our internal organs, and to the senses which provide a restricted ability to allow the outside in. The reversal of this process is contained in Blake's epics Milton and Jerusalem.
Consciousness is won through a struggle which Blake calls the 'severe contentions of friendship.' In the brain of man are the furnaces which burn away the errors of his thought, which melt away the contentions of worldly 'love and jealousy' and which remove the filters which distort his ability to perceive reality. The fourfold nature of man has not been lost in the process, but has been redeemed. To be fully conscious to Blake is to be Human: to reach a point in one's journey when the four divided functions, the heart, mind, soul and body have become one.
Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 14, (E 39)
"If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would
appear  to man as it is: infinite.
   For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro'
narrow chinks of his cavern."    
Book of Los, Plate 5, (E 94)
"9: Till his Brain in a rock, & his Heart
In a fleshy slough formed four rivers
Obscuring the immense Orb of fire
Flowing down into night: till a Form 
Was completed, a Human Illusion
In darkness and deep clouds involvd."
Milton, Plate 34 [38], (E 135) 
"Those Visions of Human Life & Shadows of Wisdom & Knowledge      
Plate 35 [39]
Are here frozen to unexpansive deadly destroying terrors[.]
And War & Hunting: the Two Fountains of the River of Life
Are become Fountains of bitter Death & of corroding Hell
Till Brotherhood is changd into a Curse & a Flattery
By Differences between Ideas, that Ideas themselves, (which are  
The Divine Members) may be slain in offerings for sin
O dreadful Loom of Death! "

Visions of Daughters of Albion, Plate 2, (E 47)
" Arise my Theotormon I am pure.
Because the night is gone that clos'd me in its deadly black.
They told me that the night & day were all that I could see;     
They told me that I had five senses to inclose me up.
And they inclos'd my infinite brain into a narrow circle,
And sunk my heart into the Abyss, a red round globe hot burning
Till all from life I was obliterated and erased."

Milton, Plate 21 [23], (E 115)
"But Milton entering my Foot; I saw in the nether
Regions of the Imagination; also all men on Earth,               
And all in Heaven, saw in the nether regions of the Imagination
In Ulro beneath Beulah, the vast breach of Miltons descent.
But I knew not that it was Milton, for man cannot know
What passes in his members till periods of Space & Time
Reveal the secrets of Eternity: for more extensive               
Than any other earthly things, are Mans earthly lineaments.
And all this Vegetable World appeard on my left Foot,
As a bright sandal formd immortal of precious stones & gold:
I stooped down & bound it on to walk forward thro' Eternity.
But all the Family Divine collected as Four Suns
In the Four Points of heaven East, West & North & South
Enlarging and enlarging till their Disks approachd each other;
And when they touch'd closed together Southward in One Sun       
Over Ololon: and as One Man, who weeps over his brother,
In a dark tomb, so all the Family Divine. wept over Ololon.

Saying, Milton goes to Eternal Death! so saying, they groan'd in spirit
And were troubled! and again the Divine Family groaned in spirit!"

Jerusalem, Plate 34 [38], (E 179)
"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:

Saying. Albion! Our wars are wars of life, & wounds of love,
With intellectual spears, & long winged arrows of thought:       
Mutual in one anothers love and wrath all renewing
We live as One Man; for contracting our infinite senses
We behold multitude; or expanding: we behold as one,
As One Man all the Universal Family; and that One Man
We call Jesus the Christ: and he in us, and we in him,        
Live in perfect harmony in Eden the land of life,
Giving, recieving, and forgiving each others trespasses.
He is the Good shepherd, he is the Lord and master:
He is the Shepherd of Albion, he is all in all,
In Eden: in the garden of God: and in heavenly Jerusalem.        
If we have offended, forgive us, take not vengeance against us.

Thus speaking; the Divine Family follow Albion:
I see them in the Vision of God upon my pleasant valleys."
Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 126, (E 395)
"then in stern repentance
They must renew their brightness & their disorganizd functions
Again reorganize till they resume the image of the human  
Cooperating in the bliss of Man obeying his Will
Servants to the infinite & Eternal of the Human form"

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