|A Vision of the Last Judgment|
Page 51 Drawings of William Blake: 92 Pencil Studies
By Sir Geoffrey Keynes
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 Eternity 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 away 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"