Thursday, May 26, 2011


What did Blake think of Paul? that's a very difficult question to answer.

The name was very common in Blake's day:
1. St Paul's Church was the cathedral church in London. It was always visible (physically and mentally) to Blake.

There are several occurrences of St. Paul's church in Blake's writings:


Holy Thursday(Songs of Innocence)
'Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two & two, in red & blue & green,
Grey-headed beadles walk'd before, with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Paul's they like Thames' waters flow.
O what a multitude they seem'd, these flowers of London town!
Seated in companies they sit with radiance all their own.
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
Thousands of little boys & girls raising their innocent hands.
Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among.
Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor;
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.


In a letter to his friend and patron Capt Butts (L27.5Butts7'03; E730) he mentioned St. Paul re a project:

"I understand that the Subscription goes on briskly. This work isto be a very Elegant one & to consist of All Miltons Poems withCowpers Notes and translations by Cowper from Miltons Latin &Italian Poems. These works will be ornamented with Engravingsfrom Designs from Romney. Flaxman & Yr hble Servt & to beEngravd also by the last mentiond. The Profits of the work areintended to be appropriated to Erect a Monument to the Memory ofCowper in St Pauls or Westminster Abbey."

C....and many others

A. "Paul Constantine Charlemaine Luther Milton"
This phrase occurs in The Four Zoas, in Milton, and in Jerusalem.
It's the last five of the 27 churches.
(Church was not a good or happy word for Blake; in common parlance it referred to the Established Church, while other religious institutions were designated as sects. Blake had little use in general for the Established Church (although he was baptized there, and his death was registered in Church records, probably more of a legal than religious matter).

In Night Eight of The Four Zoas they are the last five of the sons of Los and Enitharmon, right after the 12 tribes, David and Solomon:
"And these are the Sons of Los & Enitharmon. Rintrah Palamabron
Theotormon Bromion Antamon Ananton Ozoth Ohana
Sotha Mydon Ellayol Natho Gon Harhath Satan
Har Ochim Ijim Adam Reuben Simeon Levi Judah Dan Naphtali
Gad Asher Issachar Zebulun Joseph Benjamin David Solomon
Paul Constantine Charlemaine Luther Milton"

In Plate 24 of Milton we hear the voice of Los:

"When Jesus raisd Lazarus from the Grave I stood & saw
Lazarus who is the Vehicular Body of Albion the Redeemd
Arise into the Covering Cherub who is the Spectre of Albion
By martyrdoms to suffer: to watch over the Sleeping Body.
Upon his Rock beneath his Tomb. I saw the Covering Cherub
Divide Four-fold into Four Churches when Lazarus arose
Paul, Constantine, Charlemaine, Luther; behold they stand before us
Stretchd over Europe & Asia. come O Sons, come, come away
Arise O Sons give all your strength against Eternal Death
Lest we are vegetated........",

In general the 27 Churches are not about sects, but Blake's view of biblical history:
"And these the names of the Twenty-seven Heavens & their Churches
Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch,
Methuselah, Lamech: these are Giants mighty Hermaphroditic
Noah, Shem, Arphaxad, Cainan the second, Salah, Heber,
Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah, these are the Female-Males
A Male within a Female hid as in an Ark & Curtains,
Abraham, Moses, Solomon, Paul, Constantine, Charlemaine
Luther, these seven are the Male-Females, the Dragon Forms
Religion hid in War, a Dragon red & hidden Harlot....."
(Milton, 24.32; E120)

Going on to Jerusalem look at Plate 56 (Erdman 206):
"We Women tremble at the light therefore: hiding fearful
The Divine Vision with Curtain & Veil & fleshly Tabernacle
Los utter'd: swift as the rattling thunder upon the mountains[:]
Look back into the Church Paul! Look! Three Women around
The Cross! O Albion why didst thou a Female Will Create?"

And at Jerusalem, 75.16; E231 :
" And these the names of the Twenty-seven Heavens & their Churches
Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech; these are the Giants mighty, HermaphroditicNoah, Shem, Arphaxad, Cainan the Second, Salah, Heber,Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah: these are the Female Males:
A Male within a Female hid as in an Ark & Curtains.
Abraham, Moses, Solomon, Paul, Constantine, Charlemaine,
Luther. these Seven are the Male Females: the Dragon Forms
The Female hid within a Male: thus Rahab is reveald
Mystery Babylon the Great: the Abomination of Desolation
Religion hid in War: a Dragon red, & hidden Harlot
But Jesus breaking thro' the Central Zones of Death & Hell
Opens Eternity in Time & Space; triumphant in Mercy....."

Summarizing Blake associated the historical names with the sons of Los and with the 27 churches. He considered that the true Church had left the gospel at least as early as Constantine; his attitude toward Paul was somewhat ambiguous! He may have used Pauline biblical material but hinted that Paul was part of the fallen Church. Of course he was capable of using any material that suited his purpose.

What did Blake think of Paul? maybe we'll never know. We know only that he used Paul's name to designate one of the Church epocs, along with Luther and Milton (at one point). We might infer (speculatively) that he thus expressed the worldly bent of Paul's apostleship, away from the message of Jesus.

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