Friday, October 23, 2009


Returning to an important concept in Blake, that of Fourfold Vision, I find a familiar passage from Paul can be seen as recognizing Fourfold Vision. In a letter to Thomas Butts, Blake says:

"Now I a fourfold vision see
And a fourfold vision is given to me
Tis fourfold in my supreme delight
And three fold in soft Beulahs night
And twofold Always. May God us keep
From Single vision & Newtons sleep" To Butts, 22 Nov 1802

Illustration for Milton's Paradise Lost

Now looking at I Corinthians 13 we read:
"For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in
part shall be done away.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child,
I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away
childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:
now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am

The 'child' can represent single vision, Newton's sleep or sensation. Seeing 'through a glass darkly,' as a limited form of vision can be twofold vision: 'Always' (or ordinary), using only the intellect. The term 'face to face' suggests relationship or threefold vision referred to as 'in soft Beulah's night,' where emotion of feeling is introduced as an additional factor. Fourfold vision is 'knowing as we are known,' Blake's supreme delight, which Blake called Imagination and Jung called Intuition.

In A Blake Dictionary Damon explains on page 436 that, "Single vision is not properly "vision" at all: it is seeing with the physical eye only the facts before it. It 'it leads you to Believe a Lie / When you see with, not thro' the Eye'" (Everlasting Gospel, E 520)

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