Thursday, October 29, 2009

After the Bard's Song

The Bard's Song led to a loud murmuring in the
Heavens of Albion, and "the loud voic'd Bard
terrify'd took refuge in Miltons bosom;" then
Milton "took off the robe of the promise, & ungirded himself from the oath of God

And Milton said, I go to Eternal Death! The Nations still
Follow after the detestable Gods of Priam; in pomp
Of warlike selfhood, contradicting and blaspheming.
When will the Resurrection come; to deliver the sleeping body
From corruptibility: O when Lord Jesus wilt thou come?
Tarry no longer; for my soul lies at the gates of death.
I will arise and look forth for the morning of the grave.
I will go down to the sepulcher to see if morning breaks!
I will go down to self annihilation and eternal death,
Lest the Last Judgment come & find me unannihilate."
And I be siez'd & giv'n into the hands of my own Selfhood
The Lamb of God is seen thro' mists & shadows, hov'ring
Over the sepulchers in clouds of Jehovah & winds of Elohim
A disk of blood, distant; & heav'ns & earth's roll dark between
What do I here before the Judgment? without my Emanation?
With the daughters of memory, & not with the daughters of
I in my Selfhood am that Satan: I am that Evil One!
He is my Spectre! in my obedience to loose him from my Hells
To claim the Hells, my Furnaces, I go to Eternal Death."
(Milton, plate 14)

The way Blake saw him.

This of course is a climactic moment in the poem.
An unheard of thing! One leaves Heaven to return
to 'this vale of tears'. Well, not quite
unprecedented; Milton simply followed the path of
Jesus. In that way Blake gave Milton (the man)
the highest approval possible.

Blake's myth was to a large degree patterned after
Paradise Lost. His difference with Milton
resembled one of those "severe contentions of
Friendship." Milton had spoken; Blake replied
in MHH; now he replies again! That's
the shape of the poem as far as Blake himself was concerned.

Thereafter Milton allied himself with Los, giving, with Blake a triumvirate against which none could stand.

Milton is an essay describing the triumph of Jesus
over all the forces of the world.

It is difficult to immediately grasp, but yields
immense returns to anyone determined enough to
come to an understanding of it.

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