Wednesday, August 19, 2009

WB's CONVERSION

Here is an account of William Blake's conversion experience which he included in MILTON a POEM in TWO BOOKS. The experience he describes took place near the end of his sojourn in Felpham where he had been sorely tried by outer circumstances and inner doubts.

MILTON 21.4

"But Milton entering my Foot; I saw in the nether
Regions of the Imagination; also all men on Earth,
And all in Heaven, saw in the nether regions of the Imagination
In Ulro beneath Beulah, the vast breach of Miltons descent.
But I knew not that it was Milton, for man cannot know
What passes in his members till periods of Space & Time
Reveal the secrets of Eternity: for more extensive
Than any other earthly things, are Mans earthly lineaments.

And all this Vegetable World appeard on my left Foot,
As a bright sandal formd immortal of precious stones & gold:
I stooped down & bound it on to walk forward thro' Eternity.

MILTON 22.4

While Los heard indistinct in fear, what time I bound my sandals
On; to walk forward thro' Eternity, Los descended to me:
And Los behind me stood; a terrible flaming Sun: just close

Behind my back; I turned round in terror, and behold.
Los stood in that fierce glowing fire; & he also stoop'd down
And bound my sandals on in Udan-Adan; trembling I stood
Exceedingly with fear & terror, standing in the Vale
Of Lambeth: but he kissed me and wishd me health.
And I became One Man with him arising in my strength:
Twas too late now to recede. Los had enterd into my soul:
His terrors now posses'd me whole! I arose in fury & strength."

These are the phrases which lead me to call this a conversion
experience:
1) "reveal the secrets of Eternity"
2) "I stooped down & bound it on to walk forward thro' Eternity."
3) "And Los behind me stood; a terrible flaming Sun: just close Behind my back; I turned round in terror, and behold."
4) "And I became One Man with him arising in my strength:"
5) "Twas too late now to recede. Los had enterd into my soul: His terrors now posses'd me whole! I arose in fury & strength"

Since Los to Blake is the Prophet of Eternity, the expression of the creative Imagination, and Blake is speaking in his own voice in these words; I call it an account of a conversion experience, a decisive turning toward the Eternal.

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