Monday, October 25, 2010


In reading Blake one frequently encounters the idea that there are things that one may not trust. Among these are:
The senses

MHH, Plate 5, (E 35)
"How do you know but ev'ry Bird that cuts the airy way,
Is an immense world of delight, clos'd by your senses five?"

Book of Urizen, Plate 27, (E 83)
"No more could they rise at will
In the infinite void, but bound down
To earth by their narrowing perceptions"
The reasoning mind

Milton, Plate 32 [35], (E 127)
"The idiot Reasoner laughs at the Man of Imagination
And from laughter proceeds to murder by undervaluing calumny"

Everlasting Gospel, (E 520)
"When the Soul fell into sleep,
And Archangels round it weep,
Shooting out against the light
Fibres of a deadly night,
Reasoning upon its own dark fiction,
In doubt which is self-contradiction?"
The established authority

MHH, Plate 26, (E 44)
19. Where the son of fire in his eastern cloud, while the morning plumes her golden breast,
20. Spurning the clouds written with curses, stamps the stony law to dust,
loosing the eternal horses from the dens of night, crying
Empire is no more! and now the lion & wolf shall cease.
Let the Priests of the Raven of dawn, no longer in deadly black, with hoarse note curse the sons of joy. Nor his accepted brethren whom, tyrant, he calls free; lay the bound or build the roof. Nor pale religious letchery call that virginity, that wishes but acts not!
For every thing that lives is Holy

Jerusalem, Plate 30 [34], (E 176)
"What may Man be? who can tell! but what may Woman be?
To have power over Man from Cradle to corruptible Grave.
There is a Throne in every Man,it is the Throne of God
This Woman has claimd as her own & Man is no more!"
The systems developed by others

Jerusalem, Plate 10, (E 153)
"The Spectre weeps, but Los unmovd by tears or threats remains

I must Create a System, or be enslav'd by another Mans
I will not Reason & Compare: my business is to Create"

Jerusalem, PLATE 11, (E 154)
"To labours mighty, with vast strength, with his mighty chains,
In pulsations of time, & extensions of space, like Urns of Beulah
With great labour upon his anvils, & in his ladles the Ore
He lifted, pouring it into the clay ground prepar'd with art;
Striving with Systems to deliver Individuals from those Systems;
That whenever any Spectre began to devour the Dead,
He might feel the pain as if a man gnawd his own tender nerves.

In pursuing his great task, Blake felt compelled to tear down before he could build up. He wanted to demonstrate to us what we could not trust before we could replace the unreliable foundations with solid rock upon which we can build lasting avenues to the Infinite.

, Plate 5, (E 145)
"I rest not from my great task!
To open the Eternal Worlds, to open the immortal Eyes
Of Man inwards into the Worlds of Thought: into Eternity
Ever expanding in the Bosom of God. the Human Imagination"

1 comment:

Larry said...

Great post, Ellie; I thought about separating each of the examples with a line.