Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Bible and Blake

He wasn't socialized; he didn't go to school, never birched, he was no donkey! Instead he poured over Milton, the Bible, Shakespeare. By 1800 he had been exposed to Paracelsus and Behmen (Boehme). You might say his socialization came through those wise men. They were also the agencies that educated him.

When you've been studying Blake for a while, if you also have some acquaintance with the Bible, it may suddenly dawn on you that almost every word of his poetry has a close relationship wi

something in the Bible.
Look at Plate2 of The Marriage....:
"Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burdend air;
Hungry clouds swag on the deep

Once meek, and in a perilous path,
The just man kept his course along 
The vale of death.
Roses are planted where thorns grow.
And on the barren heath
Sing the honey bees.

Then the perilous path was planted:
And a river, and a spring
On every cliff and tomb;
And on the bleached bones
Red clay brought forth.

Till the villain left the paths of ease,
To walk in perilous paths, and drive
The just man into barren climes.

Now the sneaking serpent walks
In mild humility.
And the just man rages in the wilds
Where lions roam.

Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burdend air;
Hungry clouds swag on the deep."
     page 33 of Erdman

The perilous path (at the beginning of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell) was a mystery until it suddenly became clear:
why he was talking about the 'straight and narrow', the Way that the Lord advised.  Then the entire passage became clear:

The just man is on the straight and narrow-- not very glamorous, just good (or as Blake would say, right). The meek and just man planted roses and kept bees, etc.  Maybe he bought or built a nice house.  The whole place prospered.

Until the villain saw what had happened and drove him (the meek and just man) out into the wilderness. You can read about that in your newspaper any day.

Well such is MHH. Stay with it, and you'll learn more about the Bible.

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