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

Monday, October 13, 2014


Yale Center for British Art Europe a Prophecy
Plague, Plate 13
Yale Center for British Art Europe a Prophecy
Famine, Plate 8
Yale Center for British Art Europe a Prophecy
Terror, Plate 17
Yale Center for British Art Europe a Prophecy
Blight, Plate 10
Yale Center for British Art Europe a Prophecy
Imprisonment, Plate 15
These five plates from Europe do not illustrate the text but reveal "a litany of the miseries of the Fallen world and, in historical terms, of the Ancien Regime: Plague, Famine, Terror, Blight, and Imprisonment," as stated by David Bindman on Page 106 in William Blake: His Art and Times

You can learn here more about conditions during the Ancien Regime which preceded the French Revolution. Resistance to the regime became too widespread to avoid revolution: 

Kropotkin, P. (1927). The Great French Revolution, 1789-1793 (N. F. Dryhurst, Trans.) New York: Vanguard Printings. (Original work published 1909)
"If there had been only their few attempts at resistance France might have waited many years for the overthrow of royal despotism. Fortunately a thousand circumstances impelled the masses to revolt. And in spite of the fact that after every outbreak there were summary hangings, wholesale arrests and even torture for those arrested, the people did revolt, pressed on one side by their desperate misery' and spurred on the other by those vague hopes of which the old woman spoke to Arthur Young. They rose in numbers against the governors of provinces, tax-collectors, salt-tax agents and even against the troops, and by so doing completely disorganised the governmental machine. From 1788 the peasant risings became so general that it was impossible to provide for the expenses of the State, and Louis XVI., after having refused for fourteen years to convoke the representatives of the nation, lest his kingly authority should suffer, at last found himself compelled to convoke, first the two Assemblies of Notables, and finally the States-General."

by William Blake, (E 385)
                 FRENCH REVOLUTION.  
                      A POEM,
                  IN SEVEN BOOKS.

                  BOOK THE FIRST.

           LONDON: Printed for J. Johnson, No 72,
              St Paul's Church-yard. MDCCXCI.
                 (Price One Shilling.)
"From my window I see the old mountains of France, like aged men, fading away.

Troubled, leaning on Necker, descends the King, to his chamber of council; shady mountains
In fear utter voices of thunder; the woods of France embosom the sound;
Clouds of wisdom prophetic reply, and roll over the palace roof heavy,
Forty men: each conversing with woes in the infinite shadows of his soul,
Like our ancient fathers in regions of twilight, walk, gathering round the King;
Again the loud voice of France cries to the morning, the morning prophecies to its clouds."

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