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

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Wikipedia Commons
Fitzwilliam Museum

Soldiers Casting Lots for Christ's Garments
Four Zoas, Night I, Page 5, (E 302)
"In Eden,Females sleep the winter in soft silken veils 
Woven by their own hands to hide them in the darksom grave
But Males immortal live renewd by female deaths.     in soft
Delight they die & they revive in spring with music & songs
Enion said Farewell I die     I hide. from thy searching eyes    

So saying--From her [Enion's] bosom weaving soft in Sinewy threads
A tabernacle for Jerusalem she sat among the Rocks    
Singing her lamentation. Tharmas groand among his Clouds
Weeping, then bending from his Clouds he stoopd his innocent head
And stretching out his holy hand in the vast Deep sublime        
Turnd round the circle of Destiny with tears & bitter sighs
And said.     Return O Wanderer when the Day of Clouds is oer"

The Garments of Jesus stripped from him before his crucifixion were not all treated the same. Some were divided into four parts to be distributed among the soldiers. Blake may have thought of these as the qualities of his Four Zoas which has served Jesus as his clothing when living in a mortal body, being redivided into parts for the use of ordinary men. The one garment which was woven without seam would remain whole and go to an individual according not to natural but spiritual cause.
Milton, Plate 26 [28], (E 124)
"In Bowlahoola; & as the Spectres choose their affinities
So they are born on Earth, & every Class is determinate
But not by Natural but by Spiritual power alone, Because         
The Natural power continually seeks & tends to Destruction
Ending in Death: which would of itself be Eternal Death
And all are Class'd by Spiritual, & not by Natural power.

And every Natural Effect has a Spiritual Cause, and Not
A Natural: for a Natural Cause only seems, it is a Delusion      
Of Ulro: & a ratio of the perishing Vegetable Memory."
Matthew 27
[35] And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.

John 19
[23] Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
[24] They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

Jerusalem, Plate 60, (E 210) 
"Why wilt thou rend thyself apart, Jerusalem?
And build this Babylon & sacrifice in secret Groves,
Among the Gods of Asia: among the fountains of pitch & nitre
Therefore thy Mountains are become barren Jerusalem!             
Thy Valleys, Plains of burning sand. thy Rivers: waters of death
Thy Villages die of the Famine and thy Cities
Beg bread from house to house, lovely Jerusalem
Why wilt thou deface thy beauty & the beauty of thy little-ones
To please thy Idols, in the pretended chastities of Uncircumcision?    
Thy Sons are lovelier than Egypt or Assyria; wherefore
Dost thou blacken their beauty by a Secluded place of rest.
And a peculiar Tabernacle, to cut the integuments of beauty
Into veils of tears and sorrows O lovely Jerusalem!
They have perswaded thee to this, therefore their end shall come 
And I will lead thee thro the Wilderness in shadow of my cloud
And in my love I will lead thee, lovely Shadow of Sleeping
This is the Song of the Lamb, sung by Slaves in evening time."

Blake's Sublime Allegory
The Figure of the Garment
by Morton B Paley
Page 130

"For Blake, the seamless garment symbolizes man's perfect body, which must be divided as a prelude to resurrection. It is further possible to view the garment from two perspectives at once, as ' fallen' and as resurrected.

Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 104 (Second Portion), (E 378)
Los said to Enitbarmon Pitying I saw
Pitying the Lamb of God Descended thro Jerusalems gates
To put off Mystery time after time & as a Man
Is born on Earth so was he born of Fair Jerusalem
In mysterys woven mantle & in the Robes of Luvah 

He stood in fair Jerusalem to awake up into Eden
The fallen Man but first to Give his vegetated body  
To be cut off & separated that the Spiritual body may be Reveald"

Monday, November 25, 2019


Victoria and Albert Museum
Theotormon Woven

Woven into the psyche of man is a consciousness of sin. It arises from love and jealousy which are the result of the split of the psyche into male and female, essence and emanation, the observer and the observed. Without being explicit Blake indicates that Theotormon, one of the four ungenerated Sons of Los, is the origin of this thread of dissension which finds its way into life as we experience it.  

Theotormon's Gospel is not the Gospel of Jesus which reveals the God Within. It focuses on an external God in the sky who dictates laws, pits man against man, and man against woman. In A Blake Dictionary, Damon states: 'Theotormon is Desire, when suppressed, he becomes Jealousy.' Without frequent mentions of Theotormon Blake indicates his presence in 'nets & gins & traps to catch the joys of Eternity.'

Visions of the Daughters of Albion, Plate ii, (E 45)              
  "The Eye sees more than the Heart knows.
      Printed by Will:m Blake: 1793.

PLATE ii, i
The Argument

I loved Theotormon
And I was not ashamed
I trembled in my virgin fears
And I hid in Leutha's vale!

I plucked Leutha's flower,                          
And I rose up from the vale;
But the terrible thunders tore
My virgin mantle in twain."

Visions of Daughtersn of Albion, Plate 2, (E 47), 
"Arise my Theotormon I am pure.
Because the night is gone that clos'd me in its deadly black.
They told me that the night & day were all that I could see;     
They told me that I had five senses to inclose me up.
And they inclos'd my infinite brain into a narrow circle,
And sunk my heart into the Abyss, a red round globe hot burning
Till all from life I was obliterated and erased."
Song of Los, Plate 3, (E 67)
"Then Oothoon hoverd over Judah & Jerusalem
And Jesus heard her voice (a man of sorrows) he recievd
A Gospel from wretched Theotormon.

The human race began to wither, for the healthy built            
Secluded places, fearing the joys of Love
And the disease'd only propagated:
So Antamon call'd up Leutha from her valleys of delight:
And to Mahomet a loose Bible gave.
But in the North, to Odin, Sotha gave a Code of War,             
Because of Diralada thinking to reclaim his joy."
Plate 4
These were the Churches: Hospitals: Castles: Palaces:
Like nets & gins & traps to catch the joys of Eternity
     And all the rest a desart;
Till like a dream Eternity was obliterated & erased."

Milton, Plate 22 [24], (E 117)
"Rintrah and Palamabron met us at the Gate of Golgonooza
Clouded with discontent. & brooding in their minds terrible things

They said. O Father most beloved! O merciful Parent!
Pitying and permitting evil, tho strong &  mighty to destroy.  
Whence is this Shadow terrible? wherefore dost thou refuse
To throw him into the Furnaces! knowest  thou not that he
Will unchain Orc? & let loose  Satan, Og, Sihon  &  Anak,
Upon the Body of Albion? for this he is come! behold it written
Upon his fibrous left Foot black! most dismal to our eyes  
The Shadowy Female shudders thro' heaven in torment inexpressible!
And all the Daughters of Los prophetic wail: yet in deceit,
They weave a new Religion from new Jealousy of Theotormon!
Miltons Religion is the cause: there is no end to destruction!"

Milton, Plate 28 [38], (E 126)
"The little weeping Spectre stands on the threshold of Death      
Eternal; and sometimes two Spectres like lamps quivering
And often malignant they combat (heart-breaking sorrowful & piteous)
Antamon takes them into his beautiful flexible hands,
As the Sower takes the seed, or as the Artist his clay
Or fine wax, to mould artful a model for golden ornaments,      
The soft hands of Antamon draw the indelible line:
Form immortal with golden pen; such as the Spectre admiring
Puts on the sweet form; then smiles Antamon bright thro his windows
The Daughters of beauty look up from their Loom & prepare.
The integument soft for its clothing with joy & delight.        

But Theotormon & Sotha stand in the Gate of Luban anxious
Their numbers are seven million & seven thousand & seven hundred
They contend with the weak Spectres, they fabricate soothing forms
The Spectre refuses. he seeks cruelty. they create the crested Cock
Terrified the Spectre screams & rushes in fear into their Net    
Of kindness & compassion & is born a weeping terror.
Or they create the Lion & Tyger in compassionate thunderings
Howling the Spectres flee: they take refuge in Human lineaments."

Jerusalem, Plate 72, (E 226)
"For Albion in Eternity has Sixteen Gates among his Pillars    
But the Four towards the West were Walled up & the Twelve
That front the Four other Points were turned Four Square
By Los for Jerusalems sake & called the Gates of Jerusalem
Because Twelve Sons of Jerusalem fled successive thro the Gates
But the Four Sons of Jerusalem who fled not but remaind     
Are Rintrah & Palamabron & Theotormon & Bromion
The Four that remain with Los to guard the Western Wall"

Europe, Plate 5, (E 62)
"Now comes the night of Enitharmons joy!                          
Who shall I call? Who shall I send?
That Woman, lovely Woman! may have dominion?
Arise O Rintrah thee I call! & Palamabron thee!
Go! tell the human race that Womans love is Sin!                 
That an Eternal life awaits the worms of sixty winters
In an allegorical abode where existence hath never come:
Forbid all joy, & from her childhood shall the little female
Spread nets in every secret path."

Thursday, November 21, 2019


Yale Center for British Art
Plate 25
Blake was acutely aware of the negative forces which operate in the outer world and within the hearts and minds of human beings. He found that he could use the symbol of weaving garments to explore the powerful forces leading man away from wholeness as well as toward it. While Enitharmon and her daughters wove beneficent garments for the Spectres, Tirzah and Rahab took the opposite tact to draw them away from a perception of the infinite. The effect of their strategy was to make the material world perceived by the senses enticing to the Spectres in spite if its strictures of Moral Law and harsh punishment which it entailed.

Four Zoas, Night VIII, PAGE 113 (FIRST PORTION), (E 376)
"We behold with wonder Enitharmons Looms & Los's Forges        
And the Spindles of Tirzah & Rahab and the Mills of Satan & Beelzeboul                                               
In Golgonooza Los's anvils stand & his Furnaces rage           
Ten thousand demons labour at the forges Creating Continually
The times & spaces of Mortal Life the Sun the Moon the Stars 
In periods of Pulsative furor beating into wedges & bars      
Then drawing into wires the terrific Passions & Affections
Of Spectrous dead. Thence to the Looms of Cathedron conveyd
The Daughters of Enitharmon weave the ovarium & the integument
In soft silk drawn from their own bowels in lascivious delight 
With songs of sweetest cadence to the turning spindle & reel
Lulling the weeping spectres of the dead. Clothing their limbs
With gifts & gold of Eden. Astonishd stupefied with delight
The terrors put on their sweet clothing on the banks of Arnon 
Whence they plunge into the river of space for a period till 
The dread Sleep of Ulro is past. But Satan Og & Sihon         
Build Mills of resistless wheels to unwind the soft threads & reveal
Naked of their clothing the poor spectres before the accusing heavens
While Rahab & Tirzah far different mantles prepare webs of torture
Mantles of despair girdles of bitter compunction shoes of indolence
Veils of ignorance covering from head to feet with a cold web"

Milton, Plate 19 [21], (E 113)
"Therefore bright Tirzah triumphs: putting on all beauty.
And all perfection, in her cruel sports among the Victims,       
Come bring with thee Jerusalem with songs on the Grecian Lyre!
In Natural Religion! in experiments on Men,
Let her be Offerd up to Holiness! Tirzah numbers her;
She numbers with her fingers every fibre ere it grow;
Where is the Lamb of God? where is the promise of his coming?    
Her shadowy Sisters form the bones, even the bones of Horeb:
Around the marrow! and the orbed scull around the brain!
His Images are born for War! for Sacrifice to Tirzah!
To Natural Religion! to Tirzah the Daughter of Rahab the Holy!
She ties the knot of nervous fibres, into a white brain!        
She ties the knot of bloody veins, into a red hot heart!
Within her bosom Albion lies embalmd, never to awake
Hand is become a rock! Sinai & Horeb, is Hyle & Coban:  
Scofield is bound in iron armour before Reubens Gate!
She ties the knot of milky seed into two lovely Heavens,         

Milton, Plate 19 [21], (E 112)
"And in the South remains a burning fire; in the East a void.
In the West, a world of raging waters; in the North a solid,
Unfathomable! without end. But in the midst of these,
Is built eternally the Universe of Los and Enitharmon:       
Towards which Milton went, but Urizen oppos'd his path.

The Man and Demon strove many periods. Rahab beheld
Standing on Carmel; Rahab and Tirzah trembled to behold
The enormous strife. one giving life, the other giving death
To his adversary. and they sent forth all their sons & daughters 
In all their beauty to entice Milton across the river,"

Jerusalem, Plate 84, (E 243)
"But we woo him all the night ill songs, O Los come forth O Los 
Divide us from these terrors & give us power them to subdue
Arise upon thy Watches let us see thy Globe of fire
On Albions Rocks & let thy voice be heard upon Euphrates.

Thus sang the Daughters in lamentation, uniting into One
With Rahab as she turnd the iron Spindle of destruction.    
Terrified at the Sons of Albion they took the Falshood which
Gwendolen hid in her left hand. it grew &, grew till it

Became a Space & an Allegory around the Winding Worm
They namd it Canaan & built for it a tender Moon"


Tuesday, November 19, 2019


Wikipedia Commons
Watercolors for Blair's The Grave
Christ Descending
These mortal bodies in which we live and move and have our being are constructed of bones and sinews and blood. These are the coverings for Souls Divine who have been given 'a little space' to 'work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.' For communicating about this covering which was afforded to Adam and Eve when they left Eden as naked beings, Blake developed the metaphor 'Robe of Blood.' More than a physical coating for the soul, it includes the psychic portion of man which Blake imaged as the Four Zoas.

The Robe of Blood is most often associated with the Zoa Luvah who is imaged a man's emotional nature in which is expressed all the joy and pain of relating to an exterior world. In solidarity with the predicament of man the 'Divine Lamb Even Jesus who is the Divine Visionwore Luvah's Robe of Blood. In theological terms this is the incarnation, God becoming a living presence within man exemplified by Christ in Jesus and in each of us.

Four Zoas, Page 12, Night I, (E 307)
"Los saw the wound of his blow he saw he pitied he wept 
Los now repented that he had smitten Enitharmon he felt love
Arise in all his Veins he threw his arms around her loins
To heal the wound of his smiting

They eat the fleshly bread, they drank the nervous wine  -
PAGE 13 
They listend to the Elemental Harps & Sphery Song
They view'd the dancing Hours, quick sporting thro' the sky      
With winged radiance scattering joys thro the ever changing light

But Luvah & Vala standing in the bloody sky      
On high remaind alone forsaken in fierce jealousy                
They stood above the heavens forsaken desolate suspended in blood
Descend they could not. nor from Each other avert their eyes
Eternity appeard above them as One Man infolded
In Luvah[s] robes of blood & bearing all his afflictions 
As the sun shines down on the misty earth Such was the Vision    

But purple night and crimson morning & golden day descending 
Thro' the clear changing atmosphere display'd green fields among
The varying clouds, like paradises stretch'd in the expanse
With towns & villages and temples, tents sheep-folds and pastures
Where dwell the children of the elemental worlds in harmony,     
Not long in harmony they dwell, their life is drawn away     
And wintry woes succeed; successive driven into the Void
Where Enion craves: successive drawn into the golden feast

And Los & Enitharmon sat in discontent & scorn" 

Four Zoas, Night II, Page 32, (E 321)
The heavens were closd and spirits mournd their bondage night and day
And the Divine Vision appeard in Luvahs robes of blood          

Thus was the Mundane shell builded by Urizens strong power       

Sorrowing went the Planters forth to plant, the Sowers to sow   
They dug the channels for the rivers & they pourd abroad
PAGE 33 
The seas & lakes, they reard the mountains & the rocks & hills
On broad pavilions, on pillard roofs & porches & high towers
In beauteous order, thence arose soft clouds & exhalations
Wandering even to the sunny Cubes of light & heat               
For many a window ornamented with sweet ornaments                
Lookd out into the World of Tharmas, where in ceaseless torrents                                                   
His billows roll where monsters wander in the foamy paths

On clouds the Sons of Urizen beheld Heaven walled round         
They weighd & orderd all & Urizen comforted saw                 
The wondrous work flow forth like visible out of the invisible   
For the Divine Lamb Even Jesus who is the Divine Vision
Permitted all lest Man should fall into Eternal Death
For when Luvah sunk down himself put on the robes of blood
Lest the state calld Luvah should cease. & the Divine Vision
Walked in robes of blood till he who slept should awake   

Thus were the stars of heaven created like a golden chain
To bind the Body of Man to heaven from failing into the Abyss"
Four Zoas, Night IV, Page 54, (E 337)
"The Council of God on high watching over the Body   
Of Man clothd in Luvahs robes of blood saw & wept
Descending over Beulahs mild moon coverd regions
The daughters of Beulah saw the Divine Vision they were comforted
And as a Double female form loveliness & perfection of beauty
They bowd the head & worshippd & with mild voice spoke these words

PAGE 56 
Lord. Saviour if thou hadst been here our brother had not died
And now we know that whatsoever thou wilt ask of God
He will give it thee for we are weak women & dare not lift
Our eyes to the Divine pavilions. therefore in mercy thou
Appearest clothd in Luvahs garments that we may behold thee      
And live. Behold Eternal Death is in Beulah Behold
We perish & shall not be found unless thou grant a place
In which we may be hidden under the Shadow of wings
For if we who are but for a time & who pass away in winter
Behold these wonders of Eternity we shall consume               

Such were the words of Beulah of the Feminine Emanation  
The Empyrean groand throughout All Eden was darkend
The Corse of Albion lay on the Rock the sea of Time & Space
Beat round the Rock in mighty waves & as a Polypus
That vegetates beneath the Sea the limbs of Man vegetated      
In monstrous forms of Death a Human polypus of Death

The Saviour mild & gentle bent over the corse of Death
Saying If ye will Believe your Brother shall rise again"  

Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 87, (E 369)
"Los trembling answerd Now I feel the weight of stern repentance
Tremble not so my Enitharmon awful gates    
Of thy poor broken Heart I see thee like a shadow withering
As on the outside of Existence but look! behold! take comfort!
Turn inwardly thine Eyes & there behold the Lamb of God
Clothed in Luvahs robes of blood descending to redeem
O Spectre of Urthona take comfort O Enitharmon   
Couldst thou but cease from terror & trembling & affright
When I appear before thee in forgiveness of ancient injuries 
Why shouldst thou remember & be afraid. I surely have died in pain
Often enough to convince thy jealousy & fear & terror
Come hither be patient let us converse together because  
I also tremble at myself & at all my former life

Enitharmon answerd I behold the Lamb of God descending
To Meet these Spectres of the Dead I therefore fear that he"

Songs and Ballads, Auguries of Innocence, (E 491)
"It is right it should be so 
Man was made for Joy & Woe
And when this we rightly know
Thro the World we safely go
Joy & Woe are woven fine
A Clothing for the soul divine 
Under every grief & pine
Runs a joy with silken twine
The Babe is more than swadling Bands
Throughout all these Human Lands" 
Wikimedia Commons
The Angel of the Divine Presence clothing Adam & Eve with Coats of Skins 

Letters, To Butts, 1803, (E 729)
"I have now on the Stocks the following Drawings for you ...The Angel of the Divine Presence clothing Adam & EveAdam & Eve with Coats of Skins"

Genesis 3
[21] Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
[22] And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
[23] Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
[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.


Thursday, November 14, 2019


British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 8
Enion and her two infants Los and Enitharmon - time and space.

Living in the world of time and space carries its own implications. There are limitations which are placed on the embodied spirits. Time arrives in sequential events which have precursors and consequences. In space Individuals are distinct from one another: they can affect each other and be affected. Blake sees time and space providing the setting for interactions which generate his myth of creation, fall and redemption. This World is the cradle which is provided for man to assume the Definite Form intended for his integrated Body/Soul. 

Another name Blake gave to the time/space in which man is to experience and mature, is the Mundane Egg within the Mundane Shell. It is woven by Enion but not as a garment subservient to her hands. In the previous post we considered the garment as the body woven as a covering for the Spirit. The garment Enion weaves is the outer expression of a world constructed from sense data and cognitive functioning. Like the Garment of Flesh, the Circle of Destiny is experienced as an exterior reality in which one lives, ignoring the fact that it is but the covering for deeper existence which is hidden. 
Jerusalem, Plate 56, (E 206)
"This World is all a Cradle for the erred wandering Phantom:
Rock'd by Year, Month, Day & Hour; and every two Moments
Between, dwells a Daughter of Beulah, to feed the Human Vegetable
Entune: Daughters of Albion. your hymning Chorus mildly!
Cord of affection thrilling extatic on the iron Reel:
To the golden Loom of Love! to the moth-labourd Woof
A Garment and Cradle weaving for the infantine Terror:
For fear; at entering the gate into our World of cruel           
Lamentation: it flee back & hide in Non-Entitys dark wild
Where dwells the Spectre of Albion: destroyer of Definite Form."

Four Zoas, Night I, Page 5, (E 302) 
"So saying he sunk down into the sea a pale white corse
In torment he sunk down & flowd among her filmy Woof  
is Spectre issuing from his feet in flames of fire
In gnawing pain drawn out by her lovd fingers every nerve 
She counted. every vein & lacteal threading them among
Her woof of terror. Terrified & drinking tears of woe
Shuddring she wove--nine days & nights Sleepless her food was tears
Wondring she saw her woof begin to animate. & not  
As Garments woven subservient to her hands but having a will
Of its own perverse & wayward Enion lovd & wept

Nine days she labourd at her work. & nine dark sleepless nights
But on the tenth trembling morn the Circle of Destiny Complete 
Round rolld the Sea Englobing in a watry Globe self balancd 
A Frowning Continent appeard Where Enion in the Desart
Terrified in her own Creation      viewing her woven shadow
Sat in a dread intoxication of Repentance & Contrition" 

Milton, PLATE 18 [20],(E 110)  
"The Shadowy Female seeing Milton, howl'd in her lamentation
Over the Deeps. outstretching her Twenty seven Heavens over Albion

And thus the Shadowy Female howls in articulate howlings

I will lament over Milton in the lamentations of the afflicted   
My Garments shall be woven of sighs & heart broken lamentations
The misery of unhappy Families shall be drawn out into its border
Wrought with the needle with dire sufferings poverty pain & woe
Along the rocky Island & thence throughout the whole Earth
There shall be the sick Father & his starving Family! there      
The Prisoner in the stone Dungeon & the Slave at the Mill
I will have Writings written all over it in Human Words
That every Infant that is born upon the Earth shall read
And get by rote as a hard task of a life of sixty years
Orc answerd. Take not the Human Form O loveliest. Take not
Terror upon thee! Behold how I am & tremble lest thou also
Consume in my Consummation; but thou maist take a Form
Female & lovely, that cannot consume in Mans consummation
Wherefore dost thou Create & Weave this Satan for a Covering[?]  
When thou attemptest to put on the Human Form, my wrath  
Burns to the top of heaven against thee in Jealousy & Fear.
Then I rend thee asunder, then I howl over thy clay & ashes
When wilt thou put on the Female Form as in times of old
With a Garment of Pity & Compassion like the Garment of God      
His garments are long sufferings for the Children of Men
Jerusalem is his Garment & not thy Covering Cherub O lovely
Shadow of my delight who wanderest seeking for the prey."

Milton, Plate 37 [41], (E 138)
"From Star to Star, Mountains & Valleys, terrible dimension
Stretchd out, compose the Mundane Shell, a mighty Incrustation
Of Forty-eight deformed Human Wonders of the Almighty
With Caverns whose remotest bottoms meet again beyond       
The Mundane Shell in Golgonooza,"


Monday, November 11, 2019


Wikimedia Commons
Detail of Watercolor for Blair's The Grave 
Our Time Is Fixed
To live in the world of time and space - the material world - a spirit or non-material being must be clothed in matter. This is the origin of the image of the garment. Man puts on the body or flesh as his clothing. Blake's first level of meaning for the garment is this outer encrustation covering the inner identity.

The process of receiving the garment of flesh in which the spirit is enclosed is intimated in this image. The body will be woven from the thread which descends from above. Enitharmon and her Daughters with infinite care weave the web of life to form the generated body as a habitation until the Great Judgment Day.

Milton, Plate 20 [28], (E 123) 
"And every Generated Body in its inward form,
Is a garden of delight & a building of magnificence,
Built by the Sons of Los in Bowlahoola & Allamanda
And the herbs & flowers & furniture & beds & chambers
Continually woven in the Looms of Enitharmons Daughters
In bright Cathedrons golden Dome with care & love & tears"

Milton, Plate 29 [31], (E 128)
"But Enitharmon and her Daughters take the pleasant charge.
To give them to their lovely heavens till the Great Judgment Day
Such is their lovely charge.
Thus Nature is a Vision of the Science of the Elohim."

Jerusalem, Plate 73, (E 229)
"As the Pilgrim passes while the Country permanent remains
So Men pass on: but States remain permanent for ever
The Spectres of the Dead bowl round the porches of Los
In the terrible Family feuds of Albions cities & villages
To devour the Body of Albion, hungring & thirsting & ravning
The Sons of Los clothe them & feed, & provide houses & gardens
And every Human Vegetated Form in its inward recesses
Is a house of pleasantness & a garden of delight Built by the
Sons & Daughters of Los in Bowlahoola & in Cathedron"

Jerusalem, Plate 84, (E 242)
"Listen to your Watchmans voice: sleep not before the Furnaces
Eternal Death stands at the door. O God pity our labours.
So Los spoke. to the Daughters of Beulah while his Emanation
Like a faint rainbow waved before him in the awful gloom
Of London City on the Thames from Surrey Hills to Highgate:
Swift turn the silver spindles, & the golden weights play soft
And lulling harmonies beneath the Looms, from Caithness in the north
To Lizard-point & Dover in the south: his Emanation
Joy'd in the many weaving threads in bright Cathedrons Dome
Weaving the Web of life for Jerusalem. the Web of life
Down flowing into Entuthons Vales glistens with soft affections."

Thursday, November 7, 2019


British Museum 
Watercolor 1809
As if an Angel Dropped from the clouds

"but Shakespeare in riper years
gave me his hand"
[Letter to Flaxman, E 707]

With his wide range of interests and knowledge Blake did not confine himself to illustrating/interpreting the bible. For Rev Joseph Thomas, who became an enthusiastic collector of Blake's work, he created this watercolor from Shakespeare's Henry IV. It was included in Thomas' copy of the second folio of Shakespeare's plays.

These are lines from Part 1, Act IV which Blake illustrated:
"All furnished, all in arms,
All plumed like estridges that with the wind
Baited like eagles having lately bathed,
Glittering in golden coats like images,
As full of spirit as the month of May,
And gorgeous as the sun at midsummer,
Wanton as youthful goats, wild as young bulls.
I saw young Harry with his beaver on,

His cuisses on his thighs, gallantly armed
Rise from the ground like feathered Mercury
And vaulted with such ease into his seat
As if an angel dropped down from the clouds,

To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus

And witch the world with noble horsemanship."

This scene portrayed a moment of transformation for young Hal. On the battlefield his prowess was realized as fitting him for his future role as king. Blake used the horse Pegasus, and the rising sun to symbolize the new energy with which the young prince had been imbued. The momentous event was recorded by a heavenly scribe. To be fully prepared the Prince must then secure the horse with the rope he held.

An earlier lost fresco treatment of this subject was included in Blake's exhibit of 1809 for which the Descriptive Catalogue was written:
Descriptive Catalogue, (E 545)

                       "NUMBER VI.
  A Spirit vaulting from a cloud to turn and wind a fiery
Pegasus--Shakspeare.  The horse of Intellect is leaping from the
cliffs of Memory and Reasoning; it is a barren Rock: it is also
called the Barren Waste of Locke and Newton.

THIS Picture was done many years ago, and was one of the first
Mr. B. ever did in Fresco; fortunately or rather providentially
he left it unblotted and unblurred, although molested continually
by blotting and blurring demons; but he was also compelled to
leave it unfinished for reasons that will be shewn in the following."
Milton, Plate 1, (E 95)
"Shakspeare & Milton were
both curbd by the general malady & infection from the silly Greek
& Latin slaves of the Sword.

Descriptive Catalogue, (E 534)
 "For the Host who follows this group, and holds the center 
of the cavalcade, is a first rate character, and his jokes are 
no trifles; they are always, though uttered with audacity, and
equally free with the Lord and the Peasant, they are always
substantially and weightily expressive of knowledge and
experience; Henry Baillie, the keeper of the greatest Inn, of 
the greatest City; for such was the Tabarde Inn in Southwark, 
near London: our Host was also a leader of the age.
By way of illustration, I instance Shakspeare's Witches in
Macbeth.  Those who dress them for the stage, consider
them as wretched old women, and not as Shakspeare intended, the
Goddesses of Destiny; this shews how Chaucer has been
misunderstood in his sublime work.  Shakspeare's Fairies also 
are the rulers of the vegetable world, and so are Chaucer's; 
let them be so considered, and then the poet will be understood, 
and not else.

Here is a quote from the source of my information:
Chantelle L. MacPhee (2002) "All the World's a Stage": William Blake and William ShakespearePhD thesis.

"Joseph Thomas commissioned this illustration from Blake for his copy of the second folio of Shakespeare's plays. The inspiration for the picture comes from 1 Henry IV 4.1.107-110, where Sir Richard Vernon at the Battle of Shrewsbury comments on the sudden transformation of Prince Hal into a soldier who vaulted with such ease into his seat As if an angel [dropp' d] down from the clouds To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus And witch the world with noble horsemanship. 

Prince Hal's transformation on the battlefield not only confirms his military prowess, but his intellectual prowess as well. The illustration's suggestion of the "dawn of a new day" and Pegasus's reaction in the picture space suggest rebirth, regeneration and the male figure's stance suggests final acceptance of his future role as King of England."


Sunday, November 3, 2019


British Museum
Copy D, plate 13
British Museum commentary for this plate: 
"Copy D, plate 13; above, a papal figure with bat's wings sitting on an ornate throne, floating on a cloud, with an open book on his knees; below on each side a winged gowned female figure holding a sceptre; the sceptres pointing downwards and meeting above the text at the bottom of the plate, as though they were an upside-down pair of compasses; 5 lines of verse beginning "Albions Angel rose...". 1794 Europe,"
Europe, Plate 11 [13], (E 64)
"Albions Angel rose upon the Stone of Night.
He saw Urizen on the Atlantic;
And his brazen Book,
That Kings & Priests had copied on Earth
Expanded from North to South."
April 25, 2014 - Larry's post:
A Blakean View of Christianity

       The immediate followers of Jesus were accused of turning the world upside down. They followed him in challenging all forms of worldly power including death. One can make a good case for the idea that the Christian by definition challenges the powers of the world; that's certainly the meaning of 'radical Christian'.
       Blake perceived the legacy that Jesus left behind in two ways. On one hand the church as the mystical body of Christ consists of those who continually challenge the authority or powers of the world. On the other hand the Church as an institution becomes one of the powers of the world. The tension between these two principles probably exists within the breast of anyone seriously interested in Christ.
       In the second century Ignatius of Antioch eloquently embodied that tension with his life. Ignatius died a martyr to the secular power of the Roman Empire. Before that happened, he had spent much of his time as an ecclesiastical authority rooting out dissenters, whom he called heretics; he did this in the course of establishing the institutional authority of what became the Roman Church.
       With Constantine these two streams of authority came together. In 312 A.D. the new emperor declared himself a Christian and assumed control of the Church. He exercised that control through the simple device of naming his most trusted servant as bishop. The Church became an arm of the political power of the empire.
       From that day to this the Church has been primarily one of the powers of the world. The power of the Church has been expressed through ecclesiastical hierarchies and creeds, both imposed upon the rank and file by various coercive techniques essentially identical with those of other worldly powers. This means that the spiritual reality of Christ vis-a-vis the Church is only actualized through the same sort of dissent that Jesus made in the beginning.
       These conclusions of course may be debated, but they represent the basic and lifelong viewpoint underlying the radical protest which was Blake's art.

Jerusalem, Plate 52, (E 201)                  
"and many believed what they saw, and
Prophecied of Jesus.
  Man must & will have Some Religion; if he has not the Religion
of Jesus, he will have the Religion of Satan, & will erect the
Synagogue of Satan. calling the Prince of this World, God; and
destroying all who do not worship Satan under the Name of God. 
Will any one say: Where are those who worship Satan under the
Name of God! Where are they? Listen! Every Religion that Preaches
Vengeance for Sins the Religion of the Enemy & Avenger; and not
the Forgiver of Sin, and their God is Satan, Named by the Divine
Name   Your Religion O Deists: Deism, is the Worship of the God
of this World by the means of what you call Natural Religion and
Natural Philosophy, and of Natural Morality or
Self-Righteousness, the Selfish Virtues of the Natural Heart. 
This was the Religion of the Pharisees who murderd Jesus.  Deism
is the same & ends in the same."

Friday, November 1, 2019


Museum of fine Arts Boston
Abraham Preparing to Sacrifice Isaac
c. 1783
Genesis 22
[1] And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
[2] And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
[3] And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
[4] Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
[5] And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you,
[6] And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
[7] And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
[8] And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
[9] And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
[10] And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
[11And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
[12] And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
[13] And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

 This image of Abraham and Isaac is in harmony with Blake's understanding of God. We see here the bond between father and son, between God and man. The bond for Blake was that of mutual forgiveness. Abraham understood that God was testing him by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac. The boy went with his father to the mountain knowing that no sacrificial animal was brought. Abraham laid the fire, bound his son and produced the knife. Only then did the angel indicate that the human sacrifice was not required. Abraham realized that he had demonstrated his obedience. The God with whom he interacted was a God whose love did not require child sacrifice.

Abraham's consciousness was altered. Taking human life was not compatible with worshiping a God of justice, love and mercy. He could obey and please God and also raise his son Isaac. The alteration of Abraham's consciousness represented an evolution of the image of God whom man worshiped. Man's relationship to God was modified; man thought differently about God but the God to whom he related was a different God too.

Jerusalem, Plate 61, (E 212)
"Saying, Doth Jehovah Forgive a Debt only on condition that it shall
Be Payed? Doth he Forgive Pollution only on conditions of Purity
That Debt is not Forgiven! That Pollution is not Forgiven
Such is the Forgiveness of the Gods, the Moral Virtues of the    
Heathen, whose tender Mercies are Cruelty. But Jehovahs Salvation
Is without Money & without Price, in the Continual Forgiveness of Sins
In the Perpetual Mutual Sacrifice in Great Eternity! for behold!
There is none that liveth & Sinneth not! And this is the Covenant
Of Jehovah: If you Forgive one-another, so shall Jehovah Forgive You:"