Friday, May 21, 2010
Gates of Paradise Picture 14
The couplets of this picture and the last one go so closely together that I've posted them here:
"13. But when once I did descry
The Immortal Man that cannot die,
14. Thro' evening shades I haste away
To close the labours of my day."
You have met Christ; you are saved; but there is still much to do. What is the chief labor of our day? to annihilate the Selhood? yes, that goes on ceaselessly; at least it has for me. The groves, the shadows, the "mind forg'd manacles" have to be cleared away one by one. Paul said "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13). All this is "the labors of my day".
(And what God is this that Paul speaks of? Why the God within of course, that of God in you. That was Blake's God.)
That's the work of Los, the Imagination, the 'Zoa' with whom Blake was most closely identified. Like Jeremiah he was called to build up and tear down. How many things did Edison have to try before he got the incandescent light? He learned to work continually and snatch a moment of sleep while one of his experiments was cooking. Such was Los; such was Blake.
Digby page 48: The Traveler "hastens to conclude the labors of his day; that is, the concerns that were so important for him...now appear to him as delusions to which he had been quite wrongly subservient. He has a new sense of direction and a new sense of his rightful task as a man."
If we look at Homer's myth, we see that it took many years for Odysseus to return from the escapades of the Trojan adventures. But finally having experienced about everything that could happen to a man, he escaped from the sea of time and space (with the help of the sea goddess, Eno), and was directed upward into the Eternal realm.