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

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 138, (E 406)
"The Sun has left his blackness & has found a fresher morning     
And the mild moon rejoices in the clear & cloudless night  
And Man walks forth from midst of the fires the evil is all consumd
His eyes behold the Angelic spheres arising night & day
The stars consumd like a lamp blown out & in their stead behold
The Expanding Eyes of Man behold the depths of wondrous worlds 
One Earth one sea beneath nor Erring Globes wander but Stars
Of fire rise up nightly from the Ocean & one Sun
Each morning like a New born Man issues with songs & Joy
Calling the Plowman to his Labour & the Shepherd to his rest
He walks upon the Eternal Mountains raising his heavenly voice   
Conversing with the Animal forms of wisdom night & day
That risen from the Sea of fire renewd walk oer the Earth"
From Page 307 of Fearful Symmetry by Northrop
Wikimedia Commons
The Four and Twenty Elders

"Urizen so far has taken the lead, for the apocalypse is the clearing of the human brain, which is Urizen's rightful place. The imagination sees the physical world as the underground or Platonic cave of the real world, the den of Urthona. Men have just beaten their swords into plowshares, and by the ingenious modulation of the 'harrowing of Hell' symbol Blake  has Urizen plow up the surface of this cemetery of buried seeds. An imaginative spring is approaching, and the seeds begin to push upward into eternal daylight. Man may now recover, in order, the world of Luvah or unfallen Generation, the eternal soil, and the world of Tharmas or Beulah, the eternal garden. As this represents the recovery of innocence, a long and very beautiful interlude in pastoral symbolism deals with it. The last spring has now gone through the last summer and is waiting for the harvest of the last autumn, a season which can no longer be called 'fall.'

As Urizen reaches into the stars for the sickle all creation begins to pour out human life. The sea, the home of the daughters of Oceanus who fell with Prometheus, gives up its dead; slaves and all kinds of crushed and denied life grow into maturity; and animals and plants take on human character. The 'metamorphoses' in Ovid, in which nymphs collapse into vegetable and watery existences, are images of the Fall; and in the resurrection they change back to human forms. Luvah gathers the vintage, Tharmas threshes the corn and Los, now Urthona, grinds the corn. The entire imagination of Man is made into bread and wine, and as the poem dies away a second winter approaches, a winter not of death but of repose and of the storing of food, an untroubled sleep before Man awakens for the eternal feast with the other Gods in the hall of reconquered stars."

Revelation 14
[13]And I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth." "Blessed indeed," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!"
[14]Then I looked, and lo, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand.
[15] And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat upon the cloud, "Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe."
[16] So he who sat upon the cloud swung his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.
[17]And another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle.
[18] Then another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has power over fire, and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, "Put in your sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe."
[19] So the angel swung his sickle on the earth and gathered the vintage of the earth, and threw it into the great wine press of the wrath of God;
[20] and the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the wine press, as high as a horse's bridle, for one thousand six hundred stadia. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014


A Vision of the Last Judgment
Page 51 Drawings of William Blake: 92 Pencil Studies
By Sir Geoffrey Keynes
This post is a continuation of TRUMPET'S SOUND 2.

The upper part of The Vision of the Last Judgment, surrounding the image of Jesus seated on his throne, represents conditions in the unfallen world. In the Eternal world beyond time and space man is not passing thought the states characterizing fall and return. Man has traversed the states of error which led him downward or brought him upward. Under the Lord's  protection he has embraced Truth. Humanity is shown in the blissful condition of enjoying the Mental Delights of "conversing with Eternal Realities as they Exist in the Human Imagination."

A Vision of the Last Judgment, (E 561)
     "Around the Throne Heaven is opend & the Nature of
Eternal Things Displayd All Springing from the Divine Humanity
All beams from him Because as he himself has said All
dwells in him He is the Bread & the Wine he is the Water of
Life accordingly on Each Side of the opening Heaven appears an
Apostle that on the Right  
Represents Baptism that on the Left Represents the Lords Supper

All Life consists of these Two Throwing off Error & Knaves from
our company continually & recieving Truth or Wise Men into our
Company Continually. he who is out of the Church & opposes it is
no less an Agent of Religion than he who is in it. to be an Error
& to be Cast out is a part of Gods Design    No man can Embrace
True Art till he has Explord & Cast out False Art such is the
Nature of Mortal Things or he will be himself Cast out by those
who have Already Embraced True Art    Thus My Picture is a
History of Art & Science 
Society Which is Humanity itself.  What are all the Gifts of the
Spirit but Mental Gifts whenever any Individual Rejects Error &
Embraces Truth a Last Judgment passes upon that Individual 

     Over the Head of the Saviour & Redeemer The Holy
Spirit like a Dove is surrounded by a blue Heaven in which are
the two Cherubim that bowd over the Ark for here the temple is
opend in Heaven & the Ark of the Covenant is as a Dove of Peace  
The Curtains are drawn apart Christ having rent the Veil The
Candlestick & the Table of Shew bread appear on Each side a
Glorification of Angels with Harps surround the Dove 
     The Temple stands on the Mount of God from it flows on each
side the River of Life on whose banks Grows the tree of Life
among whose branches temples & Pinnacles tents & pavilions
Gardens & Groves Display Paradise with its Inhabitants walking up
& down in Conversations concerning Mental Delights 
     Here they are no longer talking of what is Good &
Evil or of what is Right or Wrong & puzzling themselves in Satans
Labyrinth But are Conversing with Eternal
Realities as they Exist in the Human Imagination   We are in a
World of Generation & death & this world we must cast off if we
would be Painters Such as Rafael Mich Angelo & the
Ancient Sculptors. if we do not cast off this world we shall be
only Venetian Painters who will be cast off & Lost from Art 
     Jesus is surrounded by Beams of Glory in which are
seen all around him Infants emanating from him   these represent
the Eternal Births of Intellect from the divine Humanity   A
Rainbow surrounds the throne & the Glory in which youthful
Nuptials recieve the infants in their hands   In Eternity Woman is
the Emanation of Man she has No Will of her own There is no such
thing in Eternity as a Female Will
     On the Side next Baptism are seen those calld in the Bible
Nursing Fathers & Nursing Mothers  they have Crowns the
Spectator may suppose them to be the good Kings Queens
of England  they represent Education   On the Side
next the Lords Supper.  The Holy Family consisting of Mary Joseph
John the Baptist Zacharias & Elizabeth recieving the Bread & Wine
among other Spirits of the Just
made perfect. beneath these a Cloud of Women & Children are taken
up fleeing from the rolling Cloud which separates the Wicked from
the Seats of Bliss.  These represent those who tho willing were
too weak to Reject Error without the Assistance & Countenance of
those Already in the Truth for a Man Can only Reject Error by the
Advice of a Friend or by the Immediate Inspiration of God it is
for this Reason among many others that I have put the Lords
Supper on the Left hand of the Throne for it appears so
at the Last Judgment for a Protection"

Friday, December 26, 2014


This post is a continuation of TRUMPET'S SOUND. We reached the bottom of the page
A Vision of the Last Judgment
Page 51 Drawings of William Blake: 92 Pencil Studies
By Sir Geoffrey Keynes
by following the Fall on the left side of Jesus. Blake's account continues the circular movement from the bottom on the right of Jesus moving upward. The area surrounding the throne will be included in a later post.

A Vision of the Last Judgment, (E 558)
"while the Wicked contend with each other on the brink of 
perdition.  on tho Right a Youthful couple are awakd by
their Children an Aged patriarch is awakd by his aged wife He is
Albion our Ancestor patriarch of the Atlantic Continent whose
History Preceded that of the Hebrews & in whose Sleep or Chaos
Creation began,  at their head
the Aged Woman is Brittannia  the Wife of Albion   Jerusalem is
their Daughter  little Infants creep out of   
ground       flowery mould into the Green fields of the
blessed who in various joyful companies embrace & ascend to meet
     The Persons who ascend to Meet the Lord coming in the Clouds
with power & great Glory. are representations of those States
described in the Bible under the Names of the Fathers before &
after the Flood Noah is seen in the Midst of these Canopied by a
Rainbow. on his right hand Shem & on his Left Japhet these three
Persons represent Poetry Painting & Music the three Powers in
Man of conversing with Paradise which the flood did not Sweep
     Above Noah is the Church Universal represented by a Woman
Surrounded by Infants There is such a State in Eternity it is
composed of the Innocent civilized Heathen & the Uncivilized
Savage who having not the Law do by Nature the things containd in
the Law.  This State appears like a Female crownd with Stars
driven into the Wilderness She has the Moon under her feet      
     The Aged Figure with Wings having a writing tablet & taking
account of the numbers who arise is That Angel of the Divine
Presence mentiond in Exodus XIVc 19v & in other Places this Angel
is frequently calld by the Name of Jehovah Elohim The I am of the
Oaks of Albion 
     Around Noah & beneath him are various figures Risen into the
Air among these are Three Females representing those who are
not of the dead but of those found Alive at the Last Judgment
they appear to be innocently gay & thoughtless   not among
the Condemnd because ignorant of crime in the midst of a
corrupted Age    the Virgin Mary was of this Class.  A Mother
Meets her numerous Family in the Arms of their Father these are
representations of the Greek Learned & Wise as also of those of
other Nations such as Egypt & Babylon in which were multitudes
who shall meet the Lord coming in the Clouds 
     The Children of Abraham or Hebrew Church are represented as
a Stream of Light   Figures on which are seen Stars
somewhat like the Milky way they ascend from the Earth where
Figures kneel Embracing above the Graves & Represent Religion or
Civilized Life such as it is in the Christian Church who are the
Offspring of the Hebrew  
Just above the graves & above the spot where the
Infants creep out of the Ground Stand two a Man & Woman these are
the Primitive Christians.  The two Figures in  flames
by the side of the Dragons cavern represents the Latter state of
the Church when on the verge of Perdition yet protected by a
Flaming Sword.  Multitudes are seen ascending from the Green
fields of the blessed in which a Gothic Church is representative
of true Art Calld Gothic in All Ages   On
the right hand of Noah a Woman with Children represents the State
Calld Laban the Syrian it is the Remains of Civilization in the
State from whence Abraham was  taken    On the
right hand of Noah A Female descends to meet her Lover or Husband
representative of that Love calld Friendship which Looks for no
other heaven than their Beloved & in him sees all reflected as in
a Glass of Eternal Diamond 
     On the right hand of these rise the Diffident & Humble & on
their left a solitary Woman with her infant these are caught up
by three aged Men who appear as suddenly emerging from the blue
sky for their help.  These three Aged Men represent Divine
Providence as opposd to & distinct from Divine vengeance
represented by three Aged men on the side of the Picture among
the Wicked with scourges of fire 
     If the Spectator could Enter into these Images in his
Imagination approaching them on the Fiery Chariot of his
Contemplative Thought if he could Enter into Noahs Rainbow or
into his bosom or could make a Friend & Companion of one of these
Images of wonder which always intreats him to leave mortal things
as he must know then would he arise from his Grave then would he
meet the Lord in the Air & then he would be happy
    Above the Head of Noah is Seth this State calld Seth is Male
& Female in a higher state of Happiness & wisdom than Noah being
nearer the State of Innocence beneath the feet of Seth two
figures represent the two Seasons of Spring & Autumn. while
beneath the feet of Noah Four Seasons represent [our present
changes of Extremes] the Changed State made by the flood. 
     By the side of Seth is Elijah he comprehends all the
Prophetic Characters he is seen on his fiery Chariot bowing
before the throne of the Saviour. in like manner The figures of
Seth & his wife Comprehends the Fathers before the flood & their
Generations when seen remote they appear as One Man. a little
below Seth on his right are Two Figures a Male & Female with
numerous Children these represent those who were not in the Line
of the Church & yet were Saved from among the Antediluvians who
Perished. between Seth & these a female figure with the back
turnd represents the Solitary State of those who previous
to the Flood walked with God  
     All these arise toward the opening Cloud before the Throne
led onward by triumphant Groupes of Infants. & the Morning Stars
sang together
     Between Seth & Elijah three Female Figures crownd with
Garlands Represent Learning & Science which accompanied Adam out
of Eden  
     The Cloud that opens rolling apart before the throne &
before the New Heaven & the New Earth is Composed of Various
Groupes of Figures particularly the Four Living Creatures
mentiond in Revelations as Surrounding the Throne these I suppose
to have the chief agency in removing the 
old heavens & the old Earth to make way for the New Heaven & the
New Earth to descend from the throne of God & of the Lamb. that
Living Creature on the Left of the Throne Gives to the Seven
Angels the Seven Vials of the wrath of God with which they
hovering over the Deeps beneath pour out upon the wicked their
Plagues   the Other Living Creatures are descending with a Shout &
with the Sound of the Trumpet Directing the Combats in the upper
Elements in the two Corners of the Picture      on the Left hand
Apollyon is foild before the Sword of Michael & on the Right the
Two Witnesses are subduing their Enemies    Around the Throne
Heaven is Opened     On the Cloud are opend the Books of
Remembrance of Life & of Death before that of Life on the Right
some figures bow in humiliation before that of Death on the
left the Pharisees are pleading their own Righteousness the one
Shines with beams of Light the other utters Lightnings & tempests
A Last Judgment is Necessary because Fools flourish" 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


A Vision of the Last Judgment
Page 51 Drawings of William Blake: 92 Pencil Studies
By Sir Geoffrey Keynes
Blake's interest in making images of the Last Judgment seems never to have flagged. There is a drawing of the Last Judgment in the National Gallery of Art in  Washington DC which is tentatively dated as 1809. Scholars tell us that it most closely matches the description in A Vision of the Last Judgment which Blake appended to A Descriptive Catalogue in 1810, although differences make it plain that it was another similar, lost version which was being described.

David Bindman, in William Blake: His Art and Times, gives us an idea of the reason Blake returned to portraying the Last Judgment over a period of many years.

"If the Old and New Testament contain 'All that Exists', then the artist must aspire to bring all the spiritual states of man together in one mighty work. Blake's greatest painting, now lost, would have been the tempera of the Last Judgment, containing, according to someone who saw it in his lifetime, 'upwards of one thousand figures.' He worked on it for the last twenty-five years of his life, and it is known from a detailed description and a number of watercolors and drawings. Although seemingly conventional in structure and recognizable in terms of traditional iconography, as an attempt to encompass all the history of the human spirit from Fall to Redemption it is an equivalent in pictorial terms of Jerusalem, which was the culmination of Blake's efforts, beginning with the Prophecies of the 1790s, to create a Bible of his own." (Page 20)

In picturing not individual humans but the states through which man travels, Blake is able to give us an image which portrays Biblical history, the development of civilization, the journey man travels in his life in time and space, and the psyche's evolution toward wholeness -  depending on the perspective through which one studies it.

Because of the length of Blake's description, the text for this post will include only the Fall which is portrayed to the left of Jesus or the right side of the picture.

A Vision of the Last Judgment, (E 555)
            "For the Year 1810 
    Additions to Blakes Catalogue of Pictures &
Here follows the description of the Picture 
Jesus seated between the Two Pillars Jachin &
Boaz with the Word of Revelation on his Knees & on each
side the
four & twenty Elders sitting in Judgment the Heavens opening
around him by unfolding the clouds around his throne The Old
H[eaven] & old Earth are passing away & the
N[ew] H[eaven] & N[ew] Earth
descending The Just arise on his right &
the wicked on his Left hand A Sea of fire Issues from before the
Throne Adam & Eve appear first before the [throne]
 in humiliation Abel surrounded by Innocents &
Cain with the flint in his hand with which he slew his brother
falling with the head downward From the Cloud on which Eve stands
Satan is seen falling headlong wound round by the tail of the
serpent whose bulk naild to the Cross round which he wreathes is
falling into the Abyss Sin is also represented as a female bound
in one of the Serpents folds surrounded by her fiends Death is
Chaind to the Cross & Time falls together with death dragged down
by [an Angel] a Demon crownd with Laurel another demon
with a Key has the charge of Sin & is dragging her down by the
hair beside them a figure is seen scaled with iron scales from
head to feet precipitating himself into the Abyss with the Sword
& Balances he is Og King of Bashan--
     <On the Right> Beneath the Cloud on which Abel kneels is
Abraham with Sarah & Isaac also Hagar & Ishmael.
Abel kneels on a bloody Cloud descriptive of those
Churches before the flood that they were filld with blood & fire
& vapour of smoke even till Abrahams time the vapour & heat was
not Extinguishd These States Exist now Man Passes on but States
remain for Ever he passes thro them like a traveller who may as
well suppose that the places he has passed thro exist no more as
a Man may suppose that the States he has passd thro exist no more
Every Thing is Eternal
In Eternity one Thing never Changes into
another Thing Each Identity is Eternal consequently Apuleius's
Golden Ass & Ovids Metamorphosis & others of the like kind are
Fable yet they contain Vision in a Sublime degree being derived
from real Vision in More Ancient Writings  Lots Wife
being Changed into Pillar of Salt alludes to the Mortal Body
being renderd a Permanent Statue but not Changed or Transformed
into Another Identity while it retains its own Individuality.  A
Man can never become Ass nor Horse some are born with shapes of
Men who may be both but Eternal Identity is one thing & Corporeal
Vegetation is another thing Changing Water into Wine by Jesus &
into Blood by Moses relates to Vegetable Nature also 
Beneath Ishmael is Mahomet
beneath the falling figure of Cain is Moses casting his tables of
stone into the Deeps. it ought to be understood that the Persons
Moses & Abraham are not here meant but the States Signified by
those Names the Individuals being representatives or Visions of
those States as they were reveald to Mortal Man in the Series of
Divine Revelations. as they are written in the Bible these
various States I have seen in my Imagination when distant they
appear as One Man but as you approach they appear
- 556 -
Multitudes of Nations.  Abraham hovers above his posterity which
appear as Multitudes of Children ascending from the Earth
surrounded by Stars as it was said As the Stars of Heaven for
Multitude  Jacob & his Twelve Sons hover beneath
the feet of Abraham & recieve their children from the Earth  I
have seen when at a distance Multitudes of Men in Harmony appear
like a single Infant sometimes in the Arms of a Female
this represented the Church
     But to proceed with the description of those on the Left
hand. beneath the Cloud on which Moses kneels is two figures a
Male & Female chaind together by the feet. they
represent those who perishd by the flood. beneath them a
multitude of their associates are seen falling headlong. by the
side of them is a Mighty fiend with a Book in his hand which is
Shut he represents the person namd in Isaiah XXII.c & 20.V.
Eliakim the Son of Hilkiah he drags Satan down headlong he is
crownd with oak  by the side of the Scaled figure
representing Og King of Bashan is a Figure with a Basket emptiing
out the vanities of Riches & Worldly Honours  he is Araunah the
Jebusite master of the threshing floor   above him are two
figures elevated on a Cloud representing the Pharisees who
plead their own Righteousness before the throne. they are weighed
down by two fiends. Beneath the Man with the Basket are three
fiery fiends with grey beards & scourges of fire they represent
Cruel Laws they scourge a groupe of figures down into the Deeps
beneath them are various figures in attitudes of contention
representing various States of Misery which alas every one on
Earth is liable to enter into & against which we should all watch
     The Ladies will be pleasd to see that I have represented the
Furies by Three Men & not by three Women It is not because I
think the Ancients wrong but they will be pleasd to remember that
mine is Vision & not Fable The Spectator may suppose them
Clergymen in the Pulpit Scourging Sin instead of Forgiving it
     The Earth beneath these falling Groupes of figures is rocky
& burning and seems as if convulsd by Earthquakes a Great City
 is seen in the Distance  On the foreground hell is opened & many figures
are descending into it down stone steps & beside a Gate beneath a
rock where Sin & Death are to be
closed Eternally by that Fiend who carries the Key in one hand &
drags them down with the other  On the rock & above the Gate a
fiend with wings urges the wicked onwards with fiery darts he
is Hazael the Syrian who 
drives abroad all those who rebell against their Saviour  
beneath the steps Babylon represented by a King crowned Grasping
his Sword & his Scepter he is just awakend out of his Grave
around him are other Kingdoms arising to Judgment. represented in
this Picture as Single Personages according to the descriptions
in the Prophets The Figure dragging up a Woman by her hair
represents the
- 557 -
Inquisition as do those contending on the sides of the Pit & in
Particular the Man Strangling two Women represents a Cruel Church 
Two persons one in Purple the other in Scarlet are
descending down the Steps into the Pit
these are Caiphas & Pilate Two States where all those reside who
Calumniate & Murder under Pretence of Holiness & Justice
Caiphas has a Blue Flame like a Miter on his head   Pilate has
bloody hands that never can be cleansed the Females behind them
represent the Females belonging to such States who are under
perpetual terrors & vain dreams plots & secret deceit.  Those
figures that descend into the Flames before Caiphas & Pilate are
Judas & those of his Class Achitophel is also here with the cord
in his hand 
Between the Figures of Adam & Eve appears a fiery
Gulph descending from the sea of fire Before the throne in this
Cataract Four Angels descend headlong  with four trumpets to
awake the Dead. beneath these is the Seat of the Harlot namd
Mystery in the Revelations.  She is siezed by
Two Beings each with three heads they Represent Vegetative
Existence. it is written in Revelations they strip her naked
& burn her with fire it represents the Eternal Consummation of
Vegetable Life & Death with its Lusts The wreathed Torches in
their hands represents Eternal Fire which is the fire of
Generation or Vegetation it is an Eternal Consummation Those who
are blessed with Imaginative Vision see This Eternal Female &
tremble at what others fear not while they  laugh at
what others fear> . beneath her
feet is a flaming Cavern in which is seen the Great Red Dragon
with Seven heads & ten Horns  he has Satans book
of Accusations lying on the rock open before him he is bound
in chains by Two strong demons they are Gog & Magog who have 
been compelld to subdue their Master Ezekiel  with
their Hammer & Tongs about to new Create the Seven Headed
Kingdoms.  The Graves beneath are opend & the Dead awake & obey
the call of the Trumpet those on the Right hand awake in joy
those on the Left in Horror. beneath the Dragons Cavern a
Skeleton begins to Animate starting into life at the Trumpets

Monday, December 22, 2014


Wikimedia CommonsThe Grave
Day of Judgment
Engraving by Sciavonetti

Wikimedia CommonsThe Grave
Day of Judgment
Watercolor by Blake

The watercolors which Blake designed to illustrate The Grave were not engraved by him for publication. The commission to execute the engravings went to Sciavonetti whose style was more commercial. Blake's nineteen watercolors were lost and not relocated until 2001. We now have the opportunity to compare the original designs with the published engravings.

Blake's illustrations for Robert Blair's The Grave include one named the Day of Judgment which bears similarity to Blake's images of the Last Judgment which appear in previous posts.

The author of the comments for Blake's designs in The Grave is unknown but thought to be one of Blake's close associates. The description of The Last Judgment on Page 37 is detailed:   

Christ coming to judgment in the clouds of 
heaven, with the "Thrones set, and the Books 
opened." On his knees lies the Book of Life. 
The Recording Angels kneel on each side of his 
throne, and the Elders are also seated on each side 
of Him to judge the world. Surrounding the 
throne are the blessed, entering into their joy ; and 
arising from these, on each hand, are two clouds of 
figures: one with the insignia of Baptism; the 
other with the insignia of the Lord's Supper, 
inclosing a glorification of angels, with harps. 
Beneath, on the right hand of Christ, are the 
blessed, rising in the air to judgment ; on the left 
hand are the cursed : Some are precipitating them- 
selves from the face of Him that sitteth on the 
Throne (among them is Satan, wound round with 
the Serpent), others are pleading their own right- 
eousness, and others, beneath, fleeing with banners 
and spears among the rocks, crying to the "rocks 
to cover them." Beneath these are represented 
the harlot's mystery, and the dragon, who flee 
before the face of the Judge. In the centre, 
standing on the midst of the earth, is the angel with 
the last trumpet. On each side of him is an angel : 
that on the left is drawing his sword on the wicked ; 
that on the right is sheathing his sword on the just, 
who are rising in various groups, with joy and 
affection, family by family. The angel with the 
trumpet, and his accompanying ministers of judg- 
ment, are surrounded by a column of flame, which 
spreads itself in various directions over the earth, 
from which the dead are bursting forth, some in 
terror, some in joy. On the opening cloud, on 
each hand of Christ, are two figures, supporting the 
books of remembrance : that over the just is beheld 
with humiliation ; that over the wicked with arro- 
gance. A sea of fire issues from beneath the 
throne of Christ, destructive to the wicked, but 
salutary to the righteous. Before the sea of Fire 
the clouds are rolled back, and the heavens are 
rolled together as a scroll." 
Among  the lines of Robert Blair's poetry which are illustrated are these:
The Grave, Robert Blair, Pages 28, 29
"But know that thou must render up the dead
And with high interest too ! they are not thine ; 
But only in thy keeping for a season, 
Till the great promis'd day of restitution. 
When loud diffusive sound from brazen trump 
Of strong-lung'd cherub shall alarm thy captives. 
And rouse the long, long sleepers into life. 
Daylight, and liberty. — 
Then must thy doors fly open, and reveal 
The minds that lay long forming under ground. 
In their dark cells immur'd ; but now full ripe, 
And pure as silver from the crucible. 
Heaven's portals wide expand to let him in ; 
Nor are his friends shut out : as a great prince 
Not for himself alone procures admission, 
But for his train ; it was his royal will, 
That where he is there should his followers be." 
Jerusalem, Plate 98, (E 258)
"Such is the Cry from all the Earth from the Living Creatures of the Earth
And from the great City of Golgonooza in the Shadowy Generation 
And from the Thirty-two Nations of the Earth among the Living Creatures
Plate 99
All Human Forms identified even Tree Metal Earth & Stone. all
Human Forms identified, living going forth & returning wearied
Into the Planetary lives of Years Months Days & Hours reposing
And then Awaking into his Bosom in the Life of Immortality."

Saturday, December 20, 2014

MEDITATIONS Epitome of James Hervey’s ‘Meditations among the Tombs’
Date c.1820–5

For his friend Thomas Butts, Blake painted a picture which is similar to his pictures of the Last Judgment in that he includes numerous figures to represent a vision of history from Adam to the Apocalypse. This watercolor is named The Epitome of Hervey's Meditations among the Tombs and derived from James Hervey's book. This image provides a useful guide to identifying figures in other versions of the creation, fall and return, because Blake put names on the individuals or states which they represent.   

Inscriptions, (E 691)
[On Blake's Epitome of Hervey's Meditations among the Tombs] 
[Reading from left to right, bottom to top]
"Babe   Widow   Father   Baptism.   Hervey   Angel of Death  
Virgin   Wife   Old Age   Infancy   Husband   Angel of Providence 
 Guardian Angel   Child   Angel of Death   Mother   Where is your
Father   The Lost Child   Sophronia died in Childbed   She died
on the Wedding Day   Orphan   Moses   Elias   JESUS   David  
Solomon   Protecting Angel   Aaron   Abraham believed God   These
died for love   Ministering Angels   Mother of Leah & Rachel  
Mother of Rebecca   Recording Angels   Protecting Angel   Orphans 
 NOAH   Enoch   Cain   Serpent   Abel   Eve   Adam   God out of
Christ is a Consuming Fire  
In Jerusalem Blake includes Hervey among five historical persons who guard the Gate of Los which leads to Beulah. Blake has named five of the 'gentle Souls' from history to look after those who descend to the Vegetated Earth to live in a mortal body.
Jerusalem, Plate 72, (E 227)
"And the Four Gates of Los surround the Universe Within and       
Without; & whatever is visible in the Vegetable Earth, the same
Is visible in the Mundane Shell; reversd in mountain & vale
And a Son of Eden was set over each Daughter of Beulah to guard
In Albions Tomb the wondrous Creation: & the Four-fold Gate
Towards Beulah is to the South. Fenelon, Guion, Teresa,    
Whitefield & Hervey, guard that Gate; with all the gentle Souls
Who guide the great Wine-press of Love; Four precious stones that Gate:
Plate 73
Such are Cathedrons golden Halls: in the City of Golgonooza"

Greater detail can be studied by linking to the image in the Tate Gallery. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014


In order to focus on detail in the picture, right click on picture and select 'view in a new window'. This will allow you to enlarge the picture and concentrate on the details.
Wikimedia Commons
The Last Judgment
Commissioned by Countess of Egremont
Blake's image of The Last Judgment can be seen as the cycle of creation, fall and redemption seen from the perspective of Eternity. In describing his image in prose Blake makes this statement: (I've added punctuation for ease of reading.)
A Vision of the Last Judgment, (E 563)
"Creation which was an act of Mercy. I have represented
those who are in Eternity by some in a Cloud within the Rainbow
that Surrounds the Throne. They merely appear as in a Cloud when
any thing of Creation Redemption or Judgment are the Subjects of
Contemplation. Tho their Whole Contemplation is Concerning these
things, the reason they so appear is The Humiliation of the
Reasoning & Doubting Selfhood & the Giving all up to Inspiration.
    By this it will be seen that I do not consider either the Just   
or the Wicked to be in a Supreme State but to be every one of
them States of the Sleep which the Soul may fall into in its
Deadly Dreams of Good & Evil when it leaves Paradise
following the Serpent" 
From the point of view of those in Creation, those in Eternity are unclear, as in a cloud, but actually they surround the fundamental reality which is represented by the throne on which Jesus is seated. The cloud is within the rainbow because the hope of redemption is an ever present promise to humanity.
Since Blake is presenting the cycle through which man travels in his material existence, the realities of Eternity are masked or obscured to the individual. The loss of the Divine Vision has led to the dependence of man on his Reasoning & Doubting Selfhood
The Everlasting Gospel, (E 520)
"Reasoning upon its own Dark Fiction
In Doubt which is Self Contradiction
Humility is only Doubt
And does the Sun & Moon blot out
Rooting over with thorns & stems     
The buried Soul & all its Gems
This Lifes dim Windows of the Soul
Distorts the Heavens from Pole to Pole
And leads you to Believe a Lie
When you see with not thro the Eye   
That was born in a night to perish in a night
When the Soul slept in the beams of Light."
But the world through which man travels is not as it seems.  When man mistakes the states through which he travels as the essential man, he is falling into the deadly dream of good and evil by following the serpent who leads man away from the ability to perceive the Divine Vision. Although we see pictured in the image, man in various times and conditions, Blake tells us that these are not individuals but symbols for the states experienced in life.  
A Vision of the Last Judgment, (E 556)
"it ought to be understood that the Persons
Moses & Abraham are not here meant but the States Signified by
those Names the Individuals being representatives or Visions of
those States as they were reveald to Mortal Man in the Series of
Divine Revelations. as they are written in the Bible these
various States I have seen in my Imagination when distant they
appear as One Man but as you approach they appear
Multitudes of Nations."
Blake is trying to reach men on whatever level of development they have attained. His symbolic poetry aims at a different audience. His picture of The Last Judgment is saying to those who can read the picture language such as was used by Michelangelo or in the stained glass windows of the Gothic cathedrals, that Creation is a Mercy designed to repair the damage of the Fall: that whatever adversity or advantage man experiences in this life there is provision made for re-entry into Paradise. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


When Blake created images of The Last Judgment he was attempting to convey in as complete a manner as possible his fourfold vision: the complete panoply of creation, fall and apocalypse. These are comments Blake made on the section surrounding Jesus in his image of the Last Judgment. (Version now lost.)
Vision of Last Judgment, (E 562)
"Over the Head of the Saviour & Redeemer The Holy
Spirit like a Dove is surrounded by a blue Heaven in which are
the two Cherubim that bowd over the Ark for here the temple is
opend in Heaven & the Ark of the Covenant is as a Dove of Peace  
The Curtains are drawn apart Christ having rent the Veil The
Candlestick & the Table of Shew bread appear on Each side a
Glorification of Angels with Harps surround the Dove 
     The Temple stands on the Mount of God from it flows on each
side the River of Life on whose banks Grows the tree of Life
among whose branches temples & Pinnacles tents & pavilions" 
In the following lines Blake tells something of the process of reaching Fourfold Vision through which he integrated into one picture all the spiritual events of history. To perceive 'face to face' and not 'through a glass darkly', one must 'give up Love': that is dualistic thinking which is represented by sexual divisions. Further one must 'root up the infernal grove', the dark, confused logic derived from denying the reality of the Eternal, Infinite world of the Spirit. Then shall man live in the state of mutual forgiveness which delights and sustains mankind.

Wikimedia Commons
Illustrations to Milton's Paradise Regained
Image 11
Letters, To Thomas Butts, (E 722)  
"Now I a fourfold vision see 
And a fourfold vision is given to me 
Tis fourfold in my supreme delight"

Songs and Ballads, My Spectre, (E 477)
"Let us agree to give up Love 
And root up the infernal grove 
Then shall we return & see 
The worlds of happy Eternity &

Throughout all Eternity 
I forgive you you forgive me 
As our dear Redeemer said 
This the Wine & this the Bread" 
 John Masefield caught some of the same ability to bring together varied images of spiritual development in his hymn written in 1911.  

O Christ, who holds the open gate,
O Christ who drives the furrow straight,
O Christ, the plow, O Christ, the laughter
of holy white birds flying after.

Lo, all my heart's field red and torn,
and thou wilt bring the young green corn,
the young green corn divinely springing,
the young green corn for ever singing.

And when the field is fresh and fair
thy bless├Ęd feet shall glitter there,
and we will walk the weeded field,
and tell the golden harvest's yield.

The corn that makes the holy bread
by which the soul of man is fed,
the holy bread, the food unpriced,
thy everlasting mercy, O Christ.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


British Museum
Song of Los
Plate 1, Copy A
Blake was committed to an egalitarian society; one in which all men recognized each as Brother: as equally an expression of the Indwelling Spirit. He disagreed with any system in which some men were set up to have authority, and others to be obedient to them. His attitude to humility was a result of this belief. If a man knows himself to be directed by his Inner Spirit, his Identity, he trusts in his own integrity and not in ecclesiastical or political orders. 
Everlasting Gospel, (E 518)
"Was Jesus Humble or did he
Give any Proofs of Humility
Boast of high Things with Humble tone
And give with Charity a Stone
When but a Child he ran away                  
And left his Parents in Dismay
When they had wanderd three days long
These were the words upon his tongue
No Earthly Parents I confess
I am doing my Fathers business"
Blake saw true humility as not considering oneself as more worthy of respect of honor than others. Likewise one should not give more respect or honor to another because he was singled out to serve his Brothers in a position of responsibility. Blake saw the example which Jesus set as, "Humble to God Haughty to Man." Blake meant that a man who is confident of God working through him would not, and should not appear submissive to men who had not sought to follow the God within them. The attitude of Jesus was not defiance, submission or cooperation but trust in the Higher Power. 
Everlasting Gospel, (E 519)
"Like dr Priestly & Bacon & Newton               
Poor Spiritual Knowledge is not worth a button
For thus the Gospel Sr Isaac confutes
God can only be known by his Attributes    
And as for the Indwelling of the Holy Ghost
Or of Christ & his Father its all a boast
And Pride & Vanity of Imagination
That disdains to follow this Worlds Fashion
To teach doubt & Experiment       
Certainly was not what Christ meant
What was he doing all that time
From twelve years old to manly prime
Was he then Idle or the Less
About his Fathers business        
Or was his wisdom held in scorn
Before his wrath began to burn
In Miracles throughout the Land
That quite unnervd Lord Caiaphas hand    
If he had been Antichrist Creeping Jesus 
Hed have done any thing to please us
Gone sneaking into Synagogues
And not usd the Elders & Priests like dogs
But Humble as a Lamb or Ass
Obeyd himself to Caiaphas         
God wants not Man to Humble himself
This is the trick of the ancient Elf
This is the Race that Jesus ran  
Humble to God Haughty to Man
Cursing the Rulers before the People    
Even to the temples highest Steeple
And when he Humbled himself to God
Then descended the Cruel Rod
If thou humblest thyself thou humblest me   
Thou also dwellst in Eternity       
Thou art a Man God is no more
Thy own humanity learn to adore
For that is my Spirit of Life
Awake arise to Spiritual Strife
And thy Revenge abroad display       
In terrors at the Last Judgment day
Gods Mercy & Long Suffering
Is but the Sinner to Judgment to bring
Thou on the Cross for them shalt pray
And take Revenge at the Last Day 
Jesus replied & thunders hurld
I never will Pray for the World
Once [I] did so when I prayd ill the Garden  
I wishd to take with me a Bodily Pardon
Can that which was of Woman born   
In the absence of the Morn
When the Soul fell into Sleep
And Archangels round it weep
Shooting out against the Light
Fibres of a deadly night        
Reasoning upon its own Dark Fiction
In Doubt which is Self Contradiction
Humility is only Doubt
And does the Sun & Moon blot out
Rooting over with thorns & stems     
The buried Soul & all its Gems
This Lifes dim Windows of the Soul
Distorts the Heavens from Pole to Pole
And leads you to Believe a Lie
When you see with not thro the Eye"  
John 11
[46] But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
[47] Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.
[48] If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
[49] And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,
[50] Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
[51] And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;
[52] And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
[53] Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.
[54] Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.
John 18
[19] The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.
[20] Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.
[21] Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.
[22] And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?
[23] Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?
[24] Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.

Friday, December 12, 2014


British Museum
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
In a letter of 1799 to his friend George Cumberland, Blake wrote, "As to Myself about whom you are so kindly Interested. I live by Miracle." (E 704) Blake was writing at a low point of his career not a high point. He was sustained by his faith in "the infinite in every thing", words he had put into the mouth of Isaiah in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Blake believed with Isaiah that "a firm perswasion" could make a thing so. The ability to discern a miracle to Blake came through seeing everything from the Infinite, Eternal perspective, not from the perspective of Urizen whose philosophy was based on doubt.

Seeing miracles, having faith, perceiving the infinite in every thing, moving mountains: all of these a ways of expressing man's essential nature of being a vehicle through whom God acts.  

Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 12, (E 38) 
                    "A Memorable Fancy.                            
   "The Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel dined with me, and I asked
them how they dared so roundly to assert. that God spake to them; 
and  whether they did not think at the time, that they would be 
misunderstood, & so be the cause of imposition.
   Isaiah answer'd. I saw no God. nor heard any, in a finite
organical perception; but my senses discover'd the infinite in
every thing, and as  I was then perswaded. & remain confirm'd;
that the voice of honest indignation is the voice of God, I cared
not for consequences but  wrote.
   Then I asked: does a firm perswasion that a thing is so, make
it so?
   He replied.  All poets believe that it does, & in ages of
this firm perswasion removed mountains; but many are not capable
of a firm perswasion of any thing."

Matthew 21
[18] In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he was hungry.
[19] And seeing a fig tree by the wayside he went to it, and found nothing on it but leaves only. And he said to it, "May no fruit ever come from you again!" And the fig tree withered at once.
[20] When the disciples saw it they marveled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither at once?"
[21] And Jesus answered them, "Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and never doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, `Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will be done.
[22] And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith."

Descriptive Catalogue, (E 543)
"Mr. B. has done, as all
the ancients did, and as all the moderns, who are worthy of fame,
given the historical fact in its poetical vigour; so as it always
happens, and not in that dull way that some Historians pretend,
who being weakly organized themselves, cannot see either miracle
or prodigy; all is to them a dull round of probabilities and
possibilities; but the history of all times and places, is
nothing else but improbabilities and impossibilities; what we 
should say, was impossible if we did not see it always before our 
It may have seemed improbable that Paine's Common Sense would have been pivotal in the breaking away of the British Colonies from their parent. Equally improbable it would have seemed that the Disciples of Jesus would have become new wineskins that could hold the new wine which fermented through the ministry of Jesus. And how improbable is it that the work of William Blake which was known to a few hundred people in his lifetime is viewed and read and contemplated by hundreds of thousands through the 'miracle' of the internet today?    

British Museum's video of William Blake's Spiritual Visions.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


British Museum
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
To Blake contraries did not contradict each other but complemented the other. We can see the thought of Blake and Paine as contraries. Although Blake was primarily guided by vision and Paine by reason, they agreed on the source of their image of reality. If the 'Almighty Power' chose to reveal himself to Blake through imagination and to Paine through nature, it was still God who was revealed. Just as Blake could say, 'everything is holy', Paine could say, 'everything, therefore, is miracle, in one sense'. The holiness or the miracle of everything is not always obvious from the world's point of view. One must be capable of seeing from the Eternal perspective to know that God is revealed in everyone and everything.
Blake and Paine agreed that there was no such thing as a miracle in Watson's sense - of God giving an arbitrary command to prove his superior power to unbelieving subjects. Miracles were discernible to those whose spiritual consciousness had been awakened. Blake saw that Paine himself had been the vehicle for the working of miracles by writing pamphlets which gave men the courage to release themselves from their 'mind forged manacles', and thereby forge free societies.
Thomas Paine wrote in Age of Reason:
"To an almighty power, it is no more difficult to make the one than the 
other, and no more difficult to make millions of worlds than to make 
one. Everything, therefore, is a miracle, in one sense, whilst in the 
other sense, there is no such thing as a miracle. It is a miracle when 
compared to our power and to our comprehension, if not a miracle 
compared to the power that performs it; but as nothing in this 
description conveys the idea that is affixed to the word miracle, it is 
necessary to carry the inquiry further.

Mankind have conceived to themselves certain laws, by which what they 
call nature is supposed to act; and that miracle is something contrary 
to the operation and effect of those laws; but unless we know the whole 
extent of those laws, and of what are commonly called the powers of 
nature, we are not able to judge whether anything that may appear to us 
wonderful or miraculous be within, or be beyond, or be contrary to, her 
natural power of acting."
William Blake wrote this in his annotations to Watson's Apology for the Bible which was his reply to Age of Reason
 "Jesus could not do miracles where unbelief hinderd hence we
must conclude that the man who holds miracles to be ceased puts
it out of his own power to ever witness one   The manner of a
miracle being performd is in modern times considerd as an
arbitrary command of the
agent upon the patient but this is an impossibility not a miracle
neither did Jesus ever do such a miracle.  Is it a greater
miracle to feed five thousand men with five loaves than to
overthrow all the armies of Europe with a small pamphlet.
look over the events of your own life & if you do not find that
you have both done such miracles & lived by such you do not see
as I do   True I cannot do a miracle thro experiment & to
domineer over & prove to others my superior power as neither
could Christ   But I can & do work such as both astonish &
comfort me & mine   How can Paine the worker of miracles ever
doubt Christs in the above sense of the word miracle   But how
can Watson ever believe the above sense of a miracle who
considers it as an arbitrary act of the agent upon an unbelieving
patient. whereas the Gospel says that Christ could not do a
miracle because of Unbelief 
     If Christ could not do miracles because of Unbelief
the reason alledged by Priests for miracles is false for those
who believe, want not to be confounded by miracles.  Christ & his
Prophets & Apostles were not ambitious miracle mongers"
(E 616)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Blake, like Jung after him, proposed a higher level of thinking than reasoning. This level Blake called imagination. Blake can't be considered averse to reasoning since his reasoning skills are obvious in his writing. He and Paine were alike in applying their abilities to think rationally and logically when reading the Bible. Since their day Bible scholarship has continued to study the Bible in the light of history, archeology, contradictory material, and mythology instead of seeing it as an object of faith to be worshiped without questioning.

Blake and Paine both applied their reason to reading the Bible. They both learned the facts, became acquainted with the characters and committed the stories to memory. Paine saw all the faults in a document which had been assembled over hundreds of years. But Blake progressed beyond that to the stage of discerning the spiritual insights to which the assorted material included in the Bible points. He saw the importance of the failures and disappointment portrayed in biblical accounts, he saw patterns which were repeated for the sake of mastering the lessons which need to be learned, he saw individuals whose spiritual development were examples for others to follow in spite of their missteps.

It appears that Paine received the Bible literally and wanted to discard everything which he could not explain, understand or replicate. But when he looked past the written scripture,  he found truth everywhere he looked as indicate in this quote from Age of Reason:

"That which is revelation to me, exists in something which no human mind can invent, no human hand can counterfeit or alter.

The Word of God is the Creation we behold; and this word of God revealeth to man all that is necessary for man to know of his Creator.
Do we want to contemplate his power? We see it in the immensity of his creation.
Do we want to contemplate his wisdom? We see it in the unchangeable order by which the incomprehensible whole is governed.
Do we want to contemplate his munificence? We see it in the abundance with which he fills the earth.
Do we want to contemplate his mercy? We see it in his not withholding that abundance, even from the unthankful.
Do we want to contemplate his will, so far as it respects man? The goodness he shows to all, is a lesson for our conduct to each other.

In fine — Do we want to know what God is? Search not the book called the Scripture, which any human hand might make, or any impostor invent; but the scripture called the Creation."

That Blake was satisfied with Paine's declaration of his personal experience of God is clear in Blake's final note on Watson's book.

Annotation to Watson, (E 619)
     "It appears to me Now that Tom Paine is a better Christian
than the Bishop
     I have read this Book with attention & find that the Bishop
has only hurt Paines heel while Paine has broken his head the
Bishop has not answerd one of Paines grand objections" 
Wikimedia Commons
Drawing for Pastorals of Virgil 
Thenot and Colinet Converse Seated Beneath Two Trees 

Saturday, December 6, 2014


Paine began Age of Reason with this statement:
   "It has been my intention, for several years past, to publish my thoughts upon religion. I am well aware of the difficulties that attend the subject, and from that consideration, had reserved it to a more advanced period of life. I intended it to be the last offering I should make to my fellow-citizens of all nations, and that at a time when the purity of the motive that induced me to it, could not admit of a question, even by those who might disapprove the work.
The circumstance that has now taken place in France of the total abolition of the whole national order of priesthood, and of everything appertaining to compulsive systems of religion, and compulsive articles of faith, has not only precipitated my intention, but rendered a work of this kind exceedingly necessary, lest in the general wreck of superstition, of false systems of government, and false theology, we lose sight of morality, of humanity, and of the theology that is true."
Watson's replied to Paine's effort to stake out a moderate position between established religion and atheism by saying:

"I hope there is no want of charity in saying, that it would have been fortunate for the christian world, had your life been terminated before you had fulfilled your intention."   

In contrast to Watson's desire that Paine's life had been terminated, is the effort Paine made in the French Convention to prevent the guillotining of King Louis XVI who was being held in custody awaiting sentencing.  Against furious opposition, Paine said in part, "what today seems an act of justice may [in the future] appear an act of vengeance." William Blake's note on Watson's writing that Paine's death would have been fortunate was:
"Presumptuous Murderer dost thou O Priest wish thy brothers
death when God has preserved him" 
Blake found it easy to find much in Paine with which to agree and little in Watson.
Jerusalem, Plate 47, (E 196)
"Hark! the mingling cries of Luvah with the Sons of Albion
Hark! & Record the terrible wonder! that the Punisher
Mingles with his Victims Spectre, enslaved and tormented         
To him whom he has murderd, bound in vengeance & enmity
Shudder not, but Write, & the hand of God will assist you!
Therefore I write Albions last words. Hope is banish'd from me.
Plate 48
These were his last words, and the merciful Saviour in his arms
Reciev'd him, in the arms of tender mercy and repos'd
The pale limbs of his Eternal Individuality
Upon the Rock of Ages. Then, surrounded with a Cloud:
In silence the Divine Lord builded with immortal labour,         
Of gold & jewels a sublime Ornament, a Couch of repose,
With Sixteen pillars: canopied with emblems & written verse.
Spiritual Verse, order'd & measur'd, from whence, time shall reveal.
The Five books of the Decologue, the books of Joshua & Judges,
Samuel, a double book & Kings, a double book, the Psalms & Prophets 
The Four-fold Gospel, and the Revelations everlasting
Eternity groan'd. & was troubled, at the image of Eternal Death!"
British Museum

Copy A, Plate 51

Thursday, December 4, 2014


British Museum
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
When we compare the three following statements made by Paine, Watson and Blake we get an idea of the theological positions which divided them. Their political attitudes were aligned closely with their religious commitments. Paine was the revolutionary: his hopes were in bringing justice, mercy and happiness into the world in which he lived. Watson was the conformist: his hopes were in preserving the status quo which included the ruling monarchy and the church which was established by the government. The Bible was the instrument through which the conventional practices were supported. Blake was oriented toward the Kingdom of Heaven not earthly kingdoms: the change he most sought was that all mankind may be awakened to the presence of God within.   

Paine, The Age o Reason, Part 1:
"I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.
I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy."

Watson, Apology for the Bible:
"The Supreme Being selected one family from an idolatrous world; nursed it up, by various acts of his providence, into a great nation; communicated to that nation a knowledge of his holiness, justice, mercy, power, and wisdom; disseminated them, at various times, through every part of the earth, that they might be a 'leaven to leaven the whole lump,' that they might assure all other nations of the existence of one Supreme God, the creator and preserver of the world, the only proper object of adoration."

Blake, There is no Natural Religion:
"The desire of Man being Infinite the possession is Infinite
& himself Infinite
     Conclusion,   If it were not for the Poetic or Prophetic
character. the Philosophic & Experimental would soon be at the
ratio of all things & stand still, unable to do other than repeat
the same dull round over again
     Application.   He who sees the Infinite in all things sees
God.  He who sees the Ratio only sees himself only.

Therefore God becomes as we are, that we may be as he is"

Blake and Paine were dissenters from the religion authorized and paid for by the state through the tithes of everyone. Bishop Watson was employed by the state religion, the Anglican Church, and his salary was paid by those compulsory tithes. Blake and Paine went further than most dissenters in that they joined no religious organization. The kept their worship private and publicly served their fellow man according the conscience God planted within.