Wednesday, November 17, 2010

As We Forgive

Blake's annotations to Thornton's translation of the Lord's Prayer (Erdman 667-70) indicates his contempt for the forms of conventional religion. But he lived with it all his life.

If we don't forgive, we're not forgiven. A fundamental, ubiquitous (virtually universal) sin is to project our failings on to another. The biblical term was the scapegoat. We have many, including our many prejudices, and Blake was no exception.

Start with the schoolmaster when he was six; move on to Sir Joshua Reynolds, the first and perhaps greatest artistic disaffirmation. Move on again to Bacon, Newton, and Locke, Blake's fundamental philosophical enemies. Finally there was Hayley, his corporeal friend.

These were lifelong attitudes. Plate 98, (line 10) of Jerusalem shows how, when and where he forgave all these people; it represented the universal forgiveness, "when once [he] did descry, the immortal man who cannot die".

Blake was ready to move on (decisively!).

So much for Blake, but what about me (and maybe you). Reading Blake & Persona led me to understanding that I have some more forgiveness to seek. In my youth I presented a formidable persona like don't touch me; don't try to get close to me; there's no way!. As a Christian (and then Blakean Christian) I thought I had given that up, but reflecting on recent exchanges I see it's still there. God forgive us for hiding from everyone.

1 comment:

ellie said...

" This is Saying the Lords Prayer Backwards which they say Raises the Devil

Doctor Thorntons Translation Translated out of its
disguise in the Scotch language into
[/plain/] English
Our Father Augustus Caesar who art in these thy Heavens Holiness to thy Name Thy Kingship come upon Earth first &
thence in Heaven Give us day by day our Real Taxed Bread [& /take/] whatever cannot be Taxed> [/debt
that was owing to him/] lead us not to read the Bible & deliver us from Poverty in
Jesus For thine is the Kingship & the Power or War & the Glory or Law Ages after Ages in
thy Descendents Amen" (E 669)

It reminds me of Screwtape Letters.