Friday, July 01, 2011


Image from the Small Book of Designs (British Museum)
Originally on Plate 14 of Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Existence to Blake is the life Eternal. What we usually call life is Eternal Death. The realization the we live eternally through Jesus, the Imagination, is our entry into Eternity. Eternal Death is consumed by Eternal Life because it has no eternal existence.

Marriage of Heaven and Hell, PLATE 14,(E 39)
The ancient tradition that the world will be consumed in fire
at the end of six thousand years is true. as I have heard from
For the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to
leave his guard at the tree of life, and when he does, the whole
creation will be consumed, and appear infinite. and holy whereas
it now appears finite & corrupt.
This will come to pass by an improvement of sensual enjoyment.
But first the notion that man has a body distinct from his
soul, is to be expunged; this I shall do, by printing in the
infernal method, by corrosives, which in Hell are salutary and
medicinal, melting apparent surfaces away, and displaying the
infinite which was hid.
If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would
appear to man as it is: infinite.
For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro'
narrow chinks of his cavern."

Four Zoas , Night IX, PAGE 136, (E 404)
"O terrible wine presses of Luvah O caverns of the Grave
How lovely the delights of those risen again from death
O trembling joy excess of joy is like Excess of grief

So sang the Human Odors round the wine presses of Luvah

But in the Wine presses is wailing terror & despair
Forsaken of their Elements they vanish & are no more
No more but a desire of Being a distracted ravening desire
Desiring like the hungry worm & like the gaping grave
They plunge into the Elements the Elements cast them forth
Or else consume their shadowy semblance Yet they obstinate
Tho pained to distraction Cry O let us Exist for
This dreadful Non Existence is worse than pains of Eternal Birth

Eternal Death who can Endure. let us consume in fires
In waters stifling or in air corroding or in earth shut up
The Pangs of Eternal birth are better than the Pangs of Eternal Death"

Vision of the Last Judgment , (E 563)
"Many suppose that before [Adam] All was Solitude & Chaos This is the most pernicious
Idea that can enter the Mind as it takes away all sublimity from
the Bible & Limits All Existence to Creation & to Chaos To the
Time & Space fixed by the Corporeal Vegetative Eye & leaves the
Man who entertains such an Idea the habitation of Unbelieving
Demons Eternity Exists and All things in Eternity Independent of
Creation which was an act of Mercy"

The Library of Congress provides a PDF file of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Use this link, scroll down to Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and select PDF. Read the text with the images.

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