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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


British Museum
Plate 3, Copy D

The pilgrim who begins his journey in the Preludium is other than he seems. He is being sent on his travels by Enitharmon the mother of all things as Orc and his emanation (the shadowy female), beg not to be brought into life. The innocent pilgrim is prepared to set forth, ignorant of the assassin ready to attack.

The Preludium is the interval of preparation for the action to come. It is unconnected to the events which are to follow except that Enitharmon will be commissioned to take charge of the 18 Christian centuries.

The only inscription on this plate is the words 'The Assasin' at the top of the image, reminding us of the poem inscribed on the reverse of Plate 2.


Europe, Plate 1, (E 60)
"The nameless shadowy female rose from out 

the breast of Orc:
Her snaky hair brandishing in the winds of Enitharmon,
And thus her voice arose.

O mother Enitharmon wilt thou bring forth other sons?
To cause my name to vanish, that my place may not be found.      
For I am faint with travel!      
Like the dark cloud disburdend in the day of dismal thunder.

My roots are brandish'd in the heavens. my fruits in earth beneath
Surge, foam, and labour into life, first born & first consum'd!
Consumed and consuming!                                          
Then why shouldst thou accursed mother bring me into life?

I wrap my turban of thick clouds around my lab'ring head; 
And fold the sheety waters as a mantle round my limbs.
Yet the red sun and moon,
And all the overflowing stars rain down prolific pains."

Milton, Plate 3, (E 97)
"First Orc was Born then the Shadowy Female: then All Los's Family
At last Enitharmon brought forth Satan Refusing Form, in vain
The Miller of Eternity made subservient to the Great Harvest
That he may go to his own Place Prince of the Starry Wheels"

Milton, Plate 10 [11], (E 104)
"Then Los & Enitharmon knew that Satan is Urizen
Drawn down by Orc & the Shadowy Female into Generation
Oft Enitharmon enterd weeping into the Space, there appearing
An aged Woman raving along the Streets (the Space is named
Canaan) then she returnd to Los weary frighted as from dreams   

The nature of a Female Space is this: it shrinks the Organs
Of Life till they become Finite & Itself seems Infinite."

Jerusalem, Plate 13, (E 157)
"And all that has existed in the space of six thousand years:
Permanent, & not lost not lost nor vanishd, & every little act, 

Word, work, & wish, that has existed, all remaining still
In those Churches ever consuming & ever building by the Spectres
Of all the inhabitants of Earth wailing to be Created:
Shadowy to those who dwell not in them, meer possibilities:
But to those who enter into them they seem the only substances   
For every thing exists & not one sigh nor smile nor tear,
Plate 14
One hair nor particle of dust, not one can pass away."

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