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

Thursday, January 15, 2015


The Blakes had a garden at their home in Lambeth. They are said to have sat in their garden under an arbor reading Paradise Lost. The grape vine in their garden is said to have been left untrimmed to give it complete liberty to grow as it would. We know something of the Blake's garden at Felpham also, since he ejected an unwelcome Dragoon from his garden.  This act led to unfortunate consequences since Blake was accused by the Dragoon of damning the King, indicted and tried for sedition. Blake had risked losing his own garden by removing the soldier. Blake, though acquitted, returned to London in reduced circumstances, and never again had a significant garden.
In Genesis the garden is the image of the ideal state of existence in which man and woman walked and conversed with God. The garden was lost to Adam and Eve when they fractured their connection with God through disobedience.

Genesis 2
[15] And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Genesis 3
[24] So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Library of Congress Milton
Plate 47, Copy D
In Milton, Blake has much of the action take place in his garden at Felpham. Ololon, the Emanation of Milton, descends to Blake's garden in Felpham seeking Milton. It is on the path in Blake's garden that Milton encounters the Starry Seven. Blake himself is struck in terror as he is given a vision of the Immortal Four. Blake returns to his mortal state in his garden beside his cottage with his wife anxiously looking after him.

Blake's two characters, Milton and Blake, have both experienced Judgement in the garden having been convinced of the Error in whose grip they had been enthralled.

Perhaps you have been reminded of the experience of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

 Milton, Plate 36 [40], (E 136)
 "Thus are the Messengers dispatchd till they reach the Earth again
In the East Gate of Golgonooza, & the Twenty-eighth bright
Lark. met the Female Ololon descending into my Garden            
Thus it appears to Mortal eyes & those of the Ulro Heavens
But not thus to Immortals, the Lark is a mighty, Angel.
For Ololon step'd into the Polypus within the Mundane Shell
They could not step into Vegetable Worlds without becoming
The enemies of Humanity except in a Female Form          
And as One Female, Ololon and all its mighty Hosts
Appear'd: a Virgin of twelve years nor time nor space was
To the perception of the Virgin Ololon but as the
Flash of lightning but more  quick the Virgin in my Garden
Before my Cottage stood for the Satanic Space is delusion        

For when Los joind with me he took me in his firy whirlwind
My Vegetated portion was hurried from Lambeths shades
He set me down in Felphams Vale & prepard a beautiful
Cottage for me that in three years I might write all these Visions
To display Natures cruel holiness: the deceits of Natural Religion[.]   
Walking in my Cottage Garden, sudden I beheld
The Virgin Ololon & address'd her as a Daughter of Beulah[:]

Virgin of Providence fear not to enter into my Cottage
What is thy message to thy friend: What am I now to do
Is it again to plunge into deeper affliction? behold me          
Ready to obey, but pity thou my Shadow of Delight
Enter my Cottage, comfort her, for she is sick with fatigue"
Plate 37 [41]
The Virgin answerd. Knowest thou of Milton who descended
Driven from Eternity; him I seek! terrified at my Act
In Great Eternity which thou  knowest!  I come him to seek"

Milton, Plate 39 [44], (E 140)
"Suddenly around Milton on my Path, the Starry Seven
Burnd terrible! my Path became a solid fire, as bright
As the clear Sun & Milton silent came down on my Path.           
And there went forth from the Starry limbs of the Seven: Forms
Human; with Trumpets innumerable, sounding articulate
As the Seven spake; and they stood in a mighty Column of Fire
Surrounding Felphams Vale, reaching to the Mundane Shell, Saying

Awake Albion awake! reclaim thy Reasoning Spectre. Subdue        

Him to the Divine Mercy, Cast him down into the Lake
Of Los, that ever burneth with fire, ever & ever Amen!
Let the Four Zoa's awake from Slumbers of Six Thousand Years

Then loud the Furnaces of Los were heard! & seen as Seven heavens
Stretching from south to north over the mountains of Albion"

Milton, Plate 42 [49], (E 143)
"And I beheld the Twenty-four Cities of Albion
Arise upon their Thrones to Judge the Nations of the Earth
And the Immortal Four in whom the Twenty-four appear Four-fold
Arose around Albions body: Jesus wept & walked forth
From Felphams Vale clothed in Clouds of blood, to enter into     
Albions Bosom, the bosom of death & the Four surrounded him
In the Column of Fire in Felphams Vale; then to their mouths the Four
Applied their Four Trumpets & them sounded to the Four winds

Terror struck in the Vale I stood at that immortal sound
My bones trembled. I fell outstretchd upon the path              
A moment, & my Soul returnd into its mortal state
To Resurrection & Judgment in the Vegetable Body
And my sweet Shadow of Delight stood trembling by my side

Immediately the Lark mounted with a loud trill from Felphams Vale
And the Wild Thyme from Wimbletons green & impurpled Hills   

And Los & Enitharmon rose over the Hills of Surrey"

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