Monday, November 07, 2011


Erdman, in The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake, lists A Divine Image as SONG 55 and states that it was included in one late copy of Songs of Innocence & of Experience. In his The Illuminated Blake, however he states that it was unpublished by Blake although it was originally etched in about 1791 for Songs of Experience. Blake substituted in Songs of Experience The Human Abstract as a contrary to The Divine Image of Songs of Innocence.

SONGS 55, (E 32)

"Cruelty has a Human Heart
And Jealousy a Human Face
Terror, the Human Form Divine
And Secrecy, the Human Dress

The Human Dress, is forged Iron
The Human Form, a fiery Forge.
The Human Face, a Furnace seal'd
The Human Heart, its hungry Gorge."

There is no doubt that Blake felt deeply the failure of man which is expressed in the lines of A Divine Image, but that was not the note on which he wanted to end Songs of Experience or the myth of Creation, Fall and Return which he assembled in the body of his work. If the Selfhood were to have the last say he may express it in the words of A Divine Image .

But the note on which Blake would like to end Songs of Innocence & of Experience may be expressed in these words from Milton Percival in William Blake's Circle of Destiny.

"The most that can be accomplished [in the Last Judgment], so far as the Elect are concerned, is to destroy their power over others. Mortal life and a Last Judgment exist that the Redeemed may be freed from error's power as it is constantly exercised by the Elect. The restless rational mind will never be stilled. Doubt will always arise, the principle of self will remain; but the Redeemed who live largely by their emotions, will have freed themselves from the Elect, who live by rational doubts and fears. They will have learned to disregard the rationalists who harass them and to live in the translucence in their own hearts, the Christ himself."

Blake's intention was that the term Divine Image be reserved for the aspects of God and Man which are expressed in this section from Jerusalem:

Jerusalem, Plate 96, (E 256)
"Jesus replied Fear not Albion unless I die thou canst not live
But if I die I shall arise again & thou with me
Albion replyd. Cannot Man exist without Mysterious
Offering of Self for Another, is this Friendship & Brotherhood
I see thee in the likeness & similitude of Los my Friend

Jesus said. Wouldest thou love one who never died
For thee or ever die for one who had not died for thee
And if God dieth not for Man & giveth not himself
Eternally for Man Man could not exist. for Man is Love:
As God is Love: every kindness to another is a little Death
In the Divine Image nor can Man exist but by Brotherhood"

No comments: