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

Thursday, June 29, 2017


Wikipedia Commons Job rebuked by his friends
Butts Set of Illustrations for the Book of Job
Page 10
This is the Legend on the engraving which Blake later made of this image:

"But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10)
Have pity upon me! Have pity upon me! O ye my friends for the hand of God hath touched me (Job 19:21)
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him (Job 13:15)
. . . the just upright man is laughed to scorn (Job 12:4)
Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee? (Job 14:1-3)"

Job 23
[6] Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.
[7] There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.
[8] Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:
[9] On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:
[10] But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
[11] My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.
[12] Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

Job 19
[19] All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me.
[20] My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.
[21] Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.
[22] Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?
[23] Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
[24] That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!
[25] For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
[26] And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

Job 13
[13] Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will.
[14] Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand?
[15] Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
[16] He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.
[17] Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears.
[18] Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.

Job 12
[1] And Job answered and said,
[2] No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.
[3] But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?
[4] I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.

Job 14
[1] Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.
[2] He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.
[3] And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee?
Job was continuing to be tested so that his dross might be consumed and his gold refined. Perhaps he did expect wisdom and support from his corporeal friends but it was not forthcoming. Instead he received doubts, rebukes and accusations.

Job came to the realization that the friends who visited him were corporeal friends not spiritual friends: their interest was in his welfare in the corporeal world; his own interest was his spiritual life and health and growth.
Blake associated the rebuke which Job received from his corporeal friends with the rejection he felt himself from critics and from false friends who were not able to acknowledge his gifts. Blake suffered from obscurity, poverty and humiliation because he would not pursue popularity, wealth, and renown in accordance with the world's standards. Like Job, Blake believed in the integrity of his own commitment to the truth he had received. Both Job and Blake reconciled themselves to enduring hardship rather abandoning their own inner light and attending to the condemnation from others.

Blake against an accuser.
Jerusalem, Plate 44 [30], (E 193)
"Being not irritated by insult bearing insulting benevolences
They percieved that corporeal friends are spiritual enemies      
They saw the Sexual Religion in its embryon Uncircumcision
And the Divine hand was upon them bearing them thro darkness
Back safe to their Humanity as doves to their windows:
Therefore the Sons of Eden praise Urthonas Spectre in Songs
Because he kept the Divine Vision in time of trouble."          

Letters, To Butts, (E 716)
flies faster, (as seems to me), here than in London I labour
incessantly & accomplish not one half of what I intend because my
Abstract folly hurries me often away while I am at work, carrying
me over Mountains & Valleys which are not Real in a Land of
Abstraction where Spectres of the Dead wander.  This I endeavour
to prevent & with my whole might chain my feet to the world of
Duty & Reality. but in vain! the faster I bind the better is the
Ballast for I so far from being bound down take the world with me
in my flights & often it seems lighter than a ball of wool rolled
by the wind Bacon & Newton would prescribe ways of making the
world heavier to me & Pitt would prescribe distress for a
medicinal potion. but as none on Earth can give me Mental
Distress, & I know that all Distress inflicted by Heaven is a
Mercy. a Fig for all Corporeal Such Distress is My mock & scorn.
Alas wretched happy ineffectual labourer of times moments that I
am! who shall deliver me from this Spirit of Abstraction &

Letters, To Butts, (E 728)
"Christ is very decided on
this Point.  "He who is Not With Me is Against Me" There is no
Medium or Middle state & if a Man is the Enemy of my Spiritual
Life while he pretends to be the Friend of my Corporeal. he is a
Real Enemy--but the Man may be the friend of my Spiritual Life
while he seems the Enemy of my Corporeal but Not Vice Versa"

Letters, To Butts, (E 730)
 "As to Mr H I feel myself at liberty to say as follows upon
this ticklish subject.  I regard Fashion in Poetry as little as I
do in Painting. so if both Poets & Painters should alternately
dislike (but I know the majority of them will not) I am not to
regard it at all but Mr H approves of My Designs as little as he
does of my Poems and I have been forced to insist on his leaving
me in both to my Own Self Will. for I am determind to be no
longer Pesterd with his Genteel Ignorance & Polite
Disapprobation.  I know myself both Poet &
Painter & it is not his affected Contempt that can move me to any
thing but a more assiduous pursuit of both Arts." 

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