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

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."

No comments:

Post a Comment