Saturday, June 30, 2012


Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 8,  (E 37)
"Every thing possible to be believ'd is an image of truth."

Blake's work was creating images. His Imagination was his connection with the Infinite. What he received through his senses from the outer world was processed by his mind as images. He received as data: material objects, events, relationships, individuals. But the reality of each thing he knew to be in his mind. Until his mind, through his imagination, created an image from the data, it was not true.  

Jerusalem, Plate 4, (E 147)

"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"

From the raw data which he gathered with an eclectic appetite he created a multitude of images to feed the minds of his readers with ideas and open their imaginations to the 'Perception of the Infinite'.

British Museum
Study for Blair's The Grave
In my last post Los confronted Urizen in his furnace of the brain. Here Blake takes a different tack: he acknowledges that none can pass through the fires of Los which rage in the bottoms of his cave. We might express this idea in psychological terms as: none can reach the source of imagination by digging directly into the unconscious. Blake provides an alternative route: through descending ' To Bowlahoola & Allamanda & to Entuthon Benython.'  This is to say that by living in our bodies with the structures which comprise our organs we can make our way through the trackless forests into Eternity.   


Milton, Plate 37 [41], (E 138)
"but the Fires of Los, rage
In the remotest bottoms of the Caves, that none can pass
Into Eternity that way, but all descend to Los
To Bowlahoola & Allamanda & to Entuthon Benython

Kay and Roger Easson's book
Milton: A Poem by William Blake yields further guidance on understanding Blake's terminology and his complex concepts:

"Los is called Time, and we learn in Milton that his hammers are the beating heart, the bellows of his forge are the lungs, and his furnaces are the stomach. For Blake, then, time is a function of pulsation, the rhythmic pounding of the heart, the rhythmic surge of air in the lungs, and the rhythm of digestion in the stomach and intestines. The sensation of the passage of time is inherent in the pulse which pervades the tissues of the body. Los is the poet/ prophet who perceives the rhythms in life, witnesses to the truth that "Time is the mercy of Eternity; without Times swiftness / Which is the swiftest of all things: all were eternal torment." Page 144

Milton, Plate (E 120)
Arise O Sons give all your strength against Eternal Death
Lest we are vegetated, for Cathedrons Looms weave only Death     
A Web of Death: & were it not for Bowlahoola & Allamanda
No Human Form but only a Fibrous Vegetation
A Polypus of soft affections without Thought or Vision
Must tremble in the Heavens & Earths thro all the Ulro space[.]
Throw all the Vegetated Mortals into Bowlahoola                  
But as to this Elected Form who is returnd again
He is the Signal that the Last Vintage now approaches
Nor Vegetation may go on till all the Earth is reapd

So Los spoke. Furious they descended to Bowlahoola & Allamanda
Indignant. unconvincd by Los's arguments & thun[d]ers rolling    
They saw that wrath now swayd and now pity absorbd him
As it was, so it remaind & no hope of an end.

Bowlahoola is namd Law. by mortals, Tharmas founded it:
Because of Satan, before Luban in the City of Golgonooza.
But Golgonooza is namd Art & Manufacture by mortal men.          

In Bowlahoola Los's Anvils stand & his Furnaces rage;
Thundering the Hammers beat & the Bellows blow loud
Living self moving mourning lamenting & howling incessantly
Bowlahoola thro all its porches feels tho' too fast founded
Its pillars & porticoes to tremble at the force                  

Of mortal or immortal arm: and softly lilling flutes
Accordant with the horrid labours make sweet melody-

The Bellows are the Animal Lungs: the hammers the Animal Heart
The Furnaces the Stomach for digestion. terrible their fury
Thousands & thousands labour. thousands play on instruments      
Stringed or fluted to ameliorate the sorrows of slavery
Loud sport the dancers in the dance of death, rejoicing in carnage
The hard dentant Hammers are lulld by the flutes['] lula lula
The bellowing Furnaces['] blare by the long sounding clarion
The double drum drowns howls & groans, the shrill fife. shrieks & cries:     
The crooked horn mellows the hoarse raving serpent, terrible, but harmonious
Bowlahoola is the Stomach in every individual man."
Bowlahoola includes the stomach but also includes the whole digestive and respiratory systems which provide the energy for the operation of the body. The Eassons tell us that 'Allamada involves communication, learning, and the exchange of ideas - the continual ideas of mental harvest.' As a system of the body, 'Allamada is the nervous system.' Damon calls Entuthon Benython 'the physical frame of the generated man' but Frye sees in Entuthon Benython, a pathless forest outside of Golgonooza.

The Body & Soul are a unity, understanding the Body is tatamount to understanding the Soul. 
Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 4, (E 34)
"But the following Contraries to these are True
  1 Man has no Body distinct from his Soul
for that calld Body is a portion of Soul discernd 
by the five Senses. the chief inlets of Soul in this 
  2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body
and Reason is the bound or outward circumference 
of Energy.
  3 Energy is Eternal Delight"

Friday, June 29, 2012

Religion Hid in War

Blake probably knew Revelation by heart; he was deeply impressed by the 17th chapter:  "I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast"; you might say the woman was Religion and the beast was War.  He had seen how avidly the religious establishment supported the wars that afflicted Great Britain in his day.

"...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. All these are seen in Miltons Shadow who is the Covering Cherub.."

And again: Jerusalem, plate 89:
"...Thus was the Covering Cherub reveald majestic image of Selfhood, Body put off, the Antichrist accursed Coverd with precious stones, a Human Dragon terrible And bright, stretchd over Europe & Asia gorgeous.In three nights he devourd the rejected corse Hidden within the Covering Cherub as in a Tabernacle Of threefold workmanship in allegoric delusion & woe .........A Double Female now appeard within the Tabernacle, Religion hid in War, a Dragon red & hidden Harlot Each within other, but without a Warlike Mighty-one Of dreadful power, sitting upon Horeb pondering dire And mighty preparations mustering multitudes innumerable of warlike sons..."


Blake wrote exhaustively about religion and war in the early decades of the 19th century;  in the middle of the century it was borne out succinctly by the Confederate Generals.  Stonewall Jackson was perhaps the most religious and certainly the most bloody.  

In a movie, Gods and Generals,  he was reflecting on the extreme amounts of blood expended; he expressed his conclusion:  the answer was to “kill them all".

(The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. has stain glassed windows of various saints; there was one of the saintly Robert E. Lee and another for ‘Stonewall Jackson’; that seemed odd when I visited the cathedral years ago.)

Soon after that statement Jackson was killed; like many of us he had never learned to ‘pray for our enemies’.  
wiki dragon red

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Library of Congress
Book of Urizen
Copy G, Plate 4
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The struggle between Los and the Spectre is set forth in the following passage from Plate 8 of Jerusalem. Blake sees the false reasoning represented by the Spectre as an aspect of his mind and a controlling power in the world. Blake portrays Los engaging the Spectre in direct confrontation. Damon (Page 381) tells us that: 'anything in which reason and heart are separated' has its own Spectre.' The divisions which first took place in Urizen and which we read about in the Book of Urizen, were repeated in Los.  

Los proposed to cast the Spectre into the furnace and use the false reasoning to break itself down. Los himself had become 'cruel' and a 'horror' in the struggle to resolve internal conflicts and to make his way in the fallen, unforgiving world.

The Spectre is not inclined to gently cooperate with Los but he makes a pretence at obedience. Los changes the perspective of the Spectre from within to without. He shows the Spectre 'the tortures of the victims' which had spread 'Across all Europe & Asia' as a result of the unfortunate internal reasoning which controlled the psyche. The Spectre sees that it is Los, not himself who is meant to be in charge of sorting, sifting, melting and hammering that take place in the furnace of the brain, but he will not concede.    

But the nature of the Spectre has been revealed: he is Los' 'Pride & Self-righteousness'. Los knows the nature of the enemy; he is no longer fighting the unknown darkness.

In the Book of Urizen it was Los who created Time and Space so that Urizen might have a dwelling place; now Los threatens the false reasoning with being consigned to a different place which he will create for him. Unless the Spectre cooperates in reshaping himself he will lose his place in the outer created world of Time and Space and in the inner furnaces of the brain. In the isolation of Hell he will dwell.

The text has been divided into sections for easier commenting.
Jerusalem, Plate 8, (E 151)
"Be attentive! be obedient! Lo the Furnaces are ready to recieve thee.
I will break thee into shivers! & melt thee in the furnaces of death;       
I will cast thee into forms of abhorrence & torment if thou
Desist not from thine own will, & obey  not my stern command!
I am closd up from my children: my Emanation is dividing
And thou my Spectre art divided against me. But mark

I will compell thee to assist me in my terrible labours. To beat 
These hypocritic Selfhoods on the Anvils of bitter Death
I am inspired: I act not for myself: for Albions sake
I now am what I am: a horror and an astonishment
Shuddring the heavens to look upon me: Behold what cruelties
Are practised in Babel & Shinar, & have approachd to Zions Hill  

While Los spoke, the terrible Spectre fell shuddring before him
Watching his time with glowing eyes to leap upon his prey
Los opend the Furnaces in fear. the Spectre saw to Babel & Shinar
Across all Europe & Asia. he saw the tortures of the Victims.

He saw now from the ou[t]side what he before saw & felt from within
He saw that Los was the sole, uncontrolld Lord of the Furnaces
Groaning he kneeld before Los's iron-shod feet on London Stone,
Hungring & thirsting for Los's life yet pretending obedience.
While Los pursud his speech in threatnings loud & fierce.

Thou art my Pride & Self-righteousness: I have found thee out:   
Thou art reveald before me in all thy magnitude & power
Thy Uncircumcised pretences to Chastity must be cut in sunder!
Thy holy wrath & deep deceit cannot avail against me
Nor shalt thou ever assume the triple-form of Albions Spectre

For I am one of the living: dare not to mock my inspired fury 
If thou wast cast forth from my life! if I was dead upon the mountains
Thou mightest be pitied & lovd: but now I am living; unless
Thou abstain ravening I will create an eternal Hell for thee.
Take thou this Hammer & in patience heave the thundering Bellows
Take thou these Tongs: strike thou alternate with me: labour obedient"                          

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Plate 89

Tho divided by the Cross & Nails & Thorns & Spear
In cruelties of Rahab & Tirzah[,] permanent endure            
A terrible indefinite Hermaphroditic form
A Wine-press of Love & Wrath double Hermaph[r]oditic
Twelvefold in Allegoric pomp in selfish holiness         
The Pharisaion, the Grammateis, the Presbuterion,
The Archiereus, the Iereus, the Saddusaion, double
Each withoutside of the other, covering eastern heaven

Thus was the Covering Cherub reveald majestic image
Of Selfhood, Body put off, the Antichrist accursed        
Coverd with precious stones, a Human Dragon terrible
And bright, stretchd over Europe & Asia gorgeous
In three nights he devourd the rejected corse of death

His Head dark, deadly, in its Brain incloses a reflexion
Of Eden all perverted; Egypt on the Gihon many tongued     
And many mouthd: Ethiopia, Lybia, the Sea of Rephaim
Minute Particulars in slavery I behold among the brick-kilns
Disorganizd, & there is Pharoh in his iron Court:
And the Dragon of the River & the Furnaces of iron.
Outwoven from Thames & Tweed & Severn awful streams       
Twelve ridges of Stone frown over all the Earth in tyrant pride
Frown over each River stupendous Works of Albions Druid Sons
And Albions Forests of Oaks coverd the Earth from Pole to Pole

His Bosom wide reflects Moab & Ammon on the River
Pison, since calld Arnon, there is Heshbon beautiful       
The flocks of Rabbath on the Arnon & the Fish-pools of Heshbon  t
Whose currents flow into the Dead Sea by Sodom & Gomorra
Above his Head high arching Wings black filld with Eyes
Spring upon iron sinews from the Scapulae & Os Humeri.
There Israel in bondage to his Generalizing Gods       
Molech & Chemosh, & in his left breast is Philistea
In Druid Temples over the whole Earth with Victims Sacrifice,
From Gaza to Damascus Tyre & Sidon & the Gods
Of Javan thro the Isles of Grecia & all Europes Kings
Where Hiddekel pursues his course among the rocks         
Two Wings spring from his ribs of brass, starry, black as night
But translucent their blackness as the dazling of gems

His Loins inclose Babylon on Euphrates beautiful
And Rome in sweet Hesperia. there Israel scatterd abroad
In martydoms & slavery I behold: ah vision of sorrow!   
Inclosed by eyeless Wings, glowing with fire as the iron
Heated in the Smiths forge, but cold the wind of their dread fury

But in the midst of a devouring Stomach, Jerusalem
Hidden within the Covering Cherub as in a Tabernacle
Of threefold workmanship in allegoric delusion & woe       
There the Seven Kings of Canaan & Five Baalim of Philistea
Sihon & Og the Anakim & Emim, Nephilim & Gibborim
From Babylon to Rome & the Wings spread from Japan
Where the Red Sea terminates the World of Generation & Death
To Irelands farthest rocks where Giants builded their Causeway
Into the Sea of Rephaim, but the Sea oerwhelmd them all.

A Double Female now appeard within the Tabernacle,
Religion hid in War, a Dragon red & hidden Harlot
Each within other
, but without a Warlike Mighty-one

Of dreadful power, sitting upon Horeb pondering dire       
And mighty preparations mustering multitudes innumerable
Of warlike sons among the sands of Midian & Aram
For multitudes of those who sleep in Alla descend
Lured by his warlike symphonies
of tabret pipe & harp

Burst the bottoms of the Graves & Funeral Arks of Beulah[;]  
Wandering in that unknown Night beyond the silent Grave
They become One with the Antichrist & are absorbd in him
(Erdman 248-9)


Interesting the way he juxtaposed Pharisees and Presbterians, as if to say there's no difference between the Religious establishment in Jesus' day and our day: both fallen.  It would also be interesting to research the other names in that paragraph; the only other one that rings true to me is the Sadducees.

But In the greek New Testament appears a brotherhood of very high initiated people name Grammateis and pharisees Matthew 23:2 

Archiereus a Greek term for bishop

Iereus: archbishop, high priest, such as the pope.

All these terms may be construed as Blake's veiled way of damning the Church; he belonged to no church, considered them all fallen.

The subject of the first paragraph appears to be the Covering Cherub, another name for the Selfhood.

The rest of the post appears to be desciptive of this deadly thing. 

The last paragraph contains “Religion hid in War, a Dragon red & hidden Harlot, Each within other”. 
'Religion hid in War': that’s the story of Christianity for the last two millenia.  In every war this country has had, the Church has been the staunchist supporter of the war; those who oppose war are thought of as oddballs or worse.  

Times certainly haven’t changed since Blake’s day.
He went back before Christ to the earliest judaic religion: 

For multitudes of those who sleep in Alla descend
Lured by his warlike symphonies 

('Alla' is a primitive name for the Hebrew God.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Pierre Berger wrote William Blake: Poet and Mystic in French. It was translated into English by Daniel Henry Conner. The book is made available by Google. Since it is out of copyright, Google offers a text version from which passages can be copied and pasted. Thus I can provide you with a long passage of Berger's incredibly perceptive insights.

This post follows BEGINNING OF SEPARATION. From William Blake: Poet and Mystic, Page 104-7:  

"Thus Urizen passed through changes; and each change was no longer eternal, but fixed a period, and was existent in Time. Now, Urizen himself, like the Eternals, is nothing but an aggregate of myriads of elemental essences, alive only in the general knowledge of his unity. These elements might combine in a different order, might divide and separate themselves from him after the example he has given them. And these are the changes that Time, by his division, would bind or fix—the rivets of brass and iron. In like wise, as we read in Genesis, God divided the light from the darkness, and the evening and the morning were the first day. But the story in Genesis is only a symbol, signifying to Blake that Urizen tore himself apart from Eternity, and that Time began. It is partly on account of this symbol that, later on, he calls Urizen the Prince of Light, and that the name Los is also the name of the sun—an anagram of " Sol."

From this moment in the story follow the seven days of creation, as symbolised in the majestic Bible narrative, and in the even more majestic evolution of the earth and of life which geological knowledge is beginning to reveal to us. What really came to pass in the invisible world was the progressive creation of Urizen. He developed, age by age, like some monstrous animal in the throes of a painful gestation and a delivery wrapped in darkness and confusion. At first, there was nothing but a dark globe of invisible flame, the fire of life, sometimes spherical, because he is wrapped in self-concentration; at other times becoming heart-shaped, because the pulse of life beats in him, and at others again like great loins, ready to bring forth the universe.

[Urizen, Plate 5, (E 73)]
Like a black globe
Viewed by sons of Eternity; standing
On the shore of the infinite ocean,
Like a human heart struggling and beating,
The vast world of Urizen appeared.

Thus, in a dreamless night, this spirit, who is also a world, remained an unshapen mass of flesh or clay, until in time, with the help of Los, definite forms began to appear in him.

Library of Congress
Book of Urizen
Copy G
Plate 10
[Urizen, Plate 10, (E 75)]
Restless turn'd the immortal inchain'd,
Heaving dolorous, anguish'd, unbearable,
Till a roof shaggy wild inclos'd
In an orb his fountain of thought.
In a horrible dreamful slumber,
Like the linked infernal chain,
A vast Spine writh'd in torment
Upon the winds; shooting pain'd
Ribs, like a bending cavern,
And bones of solidness, froze,
Over all his nerves of joy.
And a first Age passed over,
And a state of dismal woe.

And straightway Blake draws, on the opposite page, a globe of light in the midst of darkness, and in this globe a monstrous skeleton, bent and crouching like the embryo in its envelope; its elbows touching its knees, one bony hand clasping its eyeless skull, in an attitude of misery, terror and immense despair. Thus age succeeds age, and in horror and suffering, the flesh and muscles, the eyes, nose and tongue, all take shape. At last, Urizen stands upright, flings his arms out to north and south, and with his feet stamps the nether abyss, trembling, howling, in despair. He feels that he has lost eternity, and consequently is miserable and furious. But all in vain. From henceforth Urizen will live by his own vitality; and the world which he has created, the universe which he constitutes, will continue to develop itself.

But other lives also are created at the same time, and always in consequence of the first creation. The separation of Urizen has divided Eternity. From henceforth, the Eternals are in one place, and Urizen's universe in another. The Infinite has become finite. Space comes into existence at the same moment with Time.

[Urizen, Plate5, (E 73)]
Sund'ring, dark'ning, thund'ring,
Rent away with a terrible crash,
Eternity rolld wide apart,
Mountainous all round,
Departing, departing, departing,
Leaving ruinous fragments of life,
Hanging, frowning cliffs, and all between
An ocean of voidness unfathomable.

And whilst Los, the mighty smith, forged his rivets of iron and brass, creating Time and its divisions, he by that act enclosed Urizen, not in Time only, but also in Space, separating him from the Infinite. Urizen's senses also, his nose, ears, eyes and tongue, as they came into being, felt that they were limited, and could no longer perceive Eternity and the Infinite. With these same senses began the feeling of visible space with its dimensions and its limitations. Thus Los was the personification of both Time and Space, the two new and inevitable consequences of the creation of the new universe.

Now it is the fate of those who separate themselves from others to feel fresh divisions within their own beings. Los, in separating Urizen from Eternity, became himself conscious of an individual existence. He was an "Ego," as Urizen was. He could no longer be one with Eternity, nor return to his former state. He, who was at once Time and Space, was for ever separated from the Eternal-Infinite, confined within the same limits as those in which he had bound Urizen. Further, the two elements of which he was composed must themselves soon divide, Space becoming an entity distinct from Time. As Urizen broke away from Eternity, so would Enitharmon break away from Los."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Plate 88

Plate 88

You are Albions Victim, he has set his Daughter in your path

Los answerd sighing like the Bellows of his Furnaces

I care not! the swing of my Hammer shall measure the starry
When in Eternity Man converses with Man they enter
Into each others Bosom (which are Universes of delight)
In mutual interchange. and first their Emanations meet
Surrounded by their Children. if they embrace & comingle
The Human Four-fold Forms mingle also in thunders of Intellect
But if the Emanations mingle not; with storms & agitations
Of earthquakes & consuming fires they roll apart in fear
For Man cannot unite with Man but by their Emanations
Which stand both Male & Female at the Gates of each Humanity

How then can I ever again be united as Man with Man
While thou my Emanation refusest my Fibres of dominion.
When Souls mingle & join thro all the Fibres of Brotherhood
Can there be any secret joy on Earth greater than this?

Enitharmon answerd: This is Womans World, nor need she any
Spectre to defend her from Man. I will Create secret places
And the masculine names of the places Merlin & Arthur.
A triple Female Tabernacle for Moral Law I weave
That he who loves Jesus may loathe terrified Female love
Till God himself become a Male subservient to the Female.

She spoke in scorn & jealousy, alternate torments; and
So speaking she sat down on Sussex shore singing lulling
Cadences, & playing in sweet intoxication among the glistening
Fibres of Los: sending them over the Ocean eastward into
The realms of dark death; O perverse to thyself, contrarious
To thy own purposes; for when she began to weave
Shooting out in sweet pleasure her bosom in milky Love
Flowd into the aching fibres of Los. yet contending against him
In pride sending his Fibres over to her objects of jealousy t
In the little lovely Allegoric Night of Albions Daughters
Which stretchd abroad, expanding east & west & north & south
Thro' all the World of Erin & of Los & all their Children

from Yale Center for British Art
                       Plate 6
                   of Jerusalem
A sullen Smile broke from the Spectre in mockery & scorn
Knowing himself the author of their divisions & shrinkings,
At their contentions, he wiped his tears he washd his visage.

The Man who respects Woman shall be despised by Woman
And deadly cunning & mean abjectness only, shall enjoy them
For I will make their places of joy & love, excrementitious[.]
While you are under the dominion of a jealous Female
Unpermanent for ever because of love & jealousy.
You shall want all the Minute Particulars of Life

Thus joyd the Spectre in the dusky fires of Los's Forge, eyeing
Enitharmon who at her shining Looms sings lulling cadences   
While Los stood at his Anvil in wrath the victim of their love
And hate; dividing the Space of Love with brazen Compasses
In Golgonooza & in Udan-Adan & in Entuthon of Urizen.

The blow of his Hammer is Justice. the swing of his Hammer: Mercy.
The force of Los's Hammer is eternal Forgiveness; but 
His rage or his mildness were vain, she scatterd his love on the wind
Eastward into her own Center, creating the Female Womb
In mild Jerusalem around the Lamb of God. Loud howl
The Furnaces of Los! loud roll the Wheels of Enitharmon
The Four Zoa's in all their faded majesty burst out in fury
And fire. Jerusalem took the Cup which foamd in Valas hand
Like the red Sun upon the mountains in the bloody day
Upon the Hermaphroditic Wine-presses of Love & Wrath.
(Erdman 246-7)

Los replies to the statement in Plate 87:
For Man cannot unite with Man but by their Emanations
Which stand both Male and Female at the Gates of each Humanity 

Enitharmon  had refused his dominion.

Enitharmon answerd: This is Womans World...
In other words woman is in charge here in this material world; although she denied the Spectre, the Spectre had caused her attitude.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Library of Congress
Rosenwald Collection
Hayley's Ballads
Sketch for Eagle
William Blake and William Hayley were both in need of friendship when Blake left the city of London to live in the country near Felpham and work with Hayley. The two discovered that there were multiple disagreements between them. Blake left Felpham three years later no richer in worldly goods than when he had arrived. He had, however, gained experience for which he was grateful. The mental and spiritual work which occupied him at Felpham became known only in Milton and Jerusalem which were products of his struggles.

When he had gained some distance from Hayley, Blake recognised that Hayley too needed support and encouragement; that he was a victim of the same system whose oppression Blake felt. In their close association Blake had not felt that Hayley could be a spiritual friend to him, but on reflection he sought of draw Hayley to him by sharing his spiritual labours.

Letters, Dec 11 1805, (E 766)
"To William Hayley Esqre, Felpham
I speak of Spiritual Things.  Not of
Natural. of Things known only to Myself & to Spirits Good &
Evil. but Not Known to Men on Earth.  It is the passage thro
these Three Years that has brought me into my Present State. & I
know that if I had not been with You I must have
Perish'd--Those Dangers are now Passed & I can see them beneath
my feet It will not be long before I shall be able to present the
full history of my Spiritual Sufferings to the Dwellers upon
Earth. & of the Spiritual Victories obtaind for me by my
Friends--Excuse this Effusion of the Spirit from One who cares
little for this World which passes away. whose Happiness is
Secure in Jesus our Lord. & who looks for Suffering till the time
of complete Deliverance. In the mean While.  I am kept Happy as I
used to be. because I throw Myself & all that I have on our
Saviours Divine Providence. O What Wonders are the Children of
Men! Would to God that they would Consider it That they would
Consider their Spiritual Life Regardless of that faint Shadow
Calld Natural Life. & that they would Promote Each others
Spiritual Labours. Each according to its Rank & that they would
know that. Recieving a Prophet As a Prophet is a Duty which If
omitted is more Severely Avenged than Every Sin & Wickedness
beside It is the Greatest of Crimes to Depress True Art & Science
I know that those who are dead from the Earth & who mockd &
Despised the Meekness of True Art (and such, I find, have been
the situations of our Beautiful Affectionate Ballads).  I know
that such Mockers are Most Severely Punishd in Eternity I know it
for I see it & dare not help.--The Mocker of Art is the Mocker of
Jesus.  Let us go on Dear Sir following his Cross let us take it
up daily Persisting in Spiritual Labours & the Use of that Talent
which it is Death to Bury. & of that Spirit to which we are

Hazard Adams, in William Blake on His Poetry and Painting: A Study of a Descriptive Catalogue Other Prose Writings and Jerusalem, sees that we, like Blake, need to forgive Hayley:
"He complimented Hayley on his ballads, which had little popular success and indeed, had been mocked, but he knew that mockers of art are 'Most Severely punished in Eternity', for the mockers of art are the mockers of Jesus. Hayley has mainly been a figure of fun for scholars and critics, but he may be forgiven his bad poetry for his help and friendship to Blake when Blake badly needed it." Page 89

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Plate 87

Plate 87

Silent they wanderd hand in hand like two Infants wandring
From Enion in the desarts, terrified at each others beauty
Envying each other yet desiring, in all devouring Love,

Repelling weeping Enion blind & age-bent into the fourfold
Desarts. Los first broke silence & began to utter his love.

O lovely Enitharmon: I behold thy graceful forms
Moving beside me till intoxicated with the woven labyrinth
Of beauty & perfection my wild fibres shoot in veins  
Of blood thro all my nervous limbs. soon overgrown in roots
I shall be closed from thy sight. sieze therefore in thy hand
The small fibres as they shoot around me draw out in pity
And let them run on the winds of thy bosom: I will fix them
With pulsations. we will divide them into Sons & Daughters
To live in thy Bosoms translucence as in an eternal morning

Enitharmon answerd. No! I will sieze thy Fibres & weave
Them: not as thou wilt but as I will, for I will Create
A round Womb beneath my bosom lest I also be overwoven
With Love; be thou assured I never will be thy slave   
Let Mans delight be Love; but Womans delight be Pride
In Eden our loves were the same here they are opposite
I have Loves of my own I will weave them in Albions Spectre
Cast thou in Jerusalems shadows thy Loves! silk of liquid
Rubies Jacinths Crysolites: issuing from thy Furnaces. While
Jerusalem divides thy care: while thou carest for Jerusalem
Know that I never will be thine:
also thou hidest Vala
From her these fibres shoot to shut me in a Grave.
You are Albions Victim, he has set his Daughter in your path
(Edrdman; 246)

all devouring Love” of course is the worst sort. 
Enion is the ‘Earth Mother”, the emanation of Tharmas.  

Los proposes an agenda, but Enitharmon responds:
Not as thy love but as I will, demonstrating the base form of love.... Let Man’s delight be Love, but Woman’s delight be Pride.

(It’s very important to note that Blake is not referring to the ordinary life of men and women; he’s speaking in the mythopoeic sense.  All humans have within them a man and a woman; the purpose of Eternity is to bring the two together, as God did in Genesis.  

Unfortunantly with the Fall the two came wide apart. 

Salvation involves their coming back together making of two ONE.)

“While though carest for Jerusalem Know that I will never be thine” 

Jerusalem is the upward way; Enitharmon chooses Vala!
Albion’s (fallen) daughter is Vala.

The picture means very little without an interpreter:

The large upper left figure represents Tharmas pushing against his separation from Enion (although Erdman on page 366 of The Illuminated Blake suggests Urizen rather than Tharmas).

You may envision two representations of Enion, both separate from Tharmas: in the lower left a small solitary figure and in the center a larger figure reaching for her daughter, Enitharmon.

The row between Los and Enitharmon and Los is seen in the right side of the picture.

Friday, June 22, 2012


 Center for British Art
Yale University
The Horse
c 1805
An image which Blake created for Hayley's Ballads was later reused for a small (4 3/16 x 2 1/2 inches) tempera painting on a copper engraving plate. The picture is now in the Mellon Collection of the Yale Center for British Art. 

The Human Form Divine, Patrick Noon comments:

"Another tempera that Mr. Mellon acquired at this time [1961],
The Horse, is decidedly not an easel painting and probably was not intended for Butts but is indisputably the gem of the painting collection. Identical in size to the small engraved illustration for Hayley's Ballads (1805) that it reproduces, it might be one of the 'little high finished Pictures the size the engravings are to be' mentioned by Blake in a letter to Hayley of March 1805. If so, it is the only surviving example, but the many similarities between The Horse and the intricately rendered and richly textured large color prints of 1805, irrespective of their different media, certainly justify this supposition." Page 9

Letters,  22 March 1805, (E 763)
"The Subjects I cannot do better than those
already chosen, as they are the most eminent among Animals Viz
The Lion. The Eagle.  The Horse.  The Dog.  Of the Dog Species
the Two Ballads are so preeminent & my Designs for them please me
so well that I have chosen that Design in our Last Number of the
Dog & Crocodile. & that of the Dog defending his  Master
from the Vultures of these five I am
making little high finishd Pictures the Size the Engravings are
to be."
Blake incorporates in his design images which make it less an illustration for Hayley's ballad than a group of symbols for us to consider. The horse dominates in its size, its position and its energy. The woman as a static figure counters the intensity of the horse with her own gaze. The female child balances the energy of the horse with her own energy. The setting includes trees, a hillside and water in the foreground. The horse may represent the passion of Blake's own creative or sexual impulse; the woman may represent the control required to fashion his emotion and imagination into his works of poetry and painting; the child may represent his artistic creations still in need of protection as they are released to the outer world. 

Thel, Plate 3, (E 4)
"O virgin know'st thou not. our steeds drink of the golden springs
Where Luvah doth renew his horses"

Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 25, (E 45)  
"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,

  Empire is no more! and now the lion & wolf shall cease."

Visions of Daughters of Albion, Plate 14,(E 66)
"Sotha & Thiralatha, secret dwellers of dreamful caves,
Arise and please the horrent fiend with your melodious songs.
Still all your thunders golden hoofd, & bind your horses black.
Orc! smile upon my children!
Smile son of my afflictions.                                     
Arise O Orc and give our mountains joy of thy red light."

Milton, Plate 12 [13], (E 105)
"The Horses of Palamabron call'd for rest and pleasant death:
I [Leutha] sprang out of the breast of Satan, over the Harrow beaming     
In all my beauty! that I might unloose the flaming steeds
As Elynittria use'd to do; but too well those living creatures
Knew that I was not Elynittria, and they brake the traces
But me, the servants of the Harrow saw not: but as a bow
Of varying colours on the hills; terribly rag'd the horses."   

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


During William Blake's sojourn in Felpham under the patronage of William Hayley he undertook illustrating a series of Hayley's ballads on 'anecdotes relating to animals.' Hayley intended that one ballad be issued each month with three illustrations from Blake, for a total of fifteen ballads. Hayley wished the series to be 'considered as vehicles contrived to exhibit the diversified talents of my Friend for original design, and delicate engraving.' The project was terminated after Blake returned to London. The bookseller involved in the distribution considered it a money losing project and advised it be discontinued. Included among the published Numbers are:  The Elephant, The Eagle, The Lion, and The Dog.

Designs to a Series of Ballads Written by William Hayley
"Adam and the Animals"

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Blake's engraving is mentioned by Hayley in a letter of 16th May 1802: -"He (Blake) is at the moment by my side, representing on copper an Adam of his own, surrounded by animals, - frontispiece to the projected ballads."

Information about this project is from:
The Engravings of William Blake by Archibald G. B. Russell, Published 1912.

Legend on the page:
" Their strength, or speed, or vigilance, were giv'n
In aid of our defects. In some are found
Such teachable and apprehensive parts, 
Match'd with th'expertness of the brutes in theirs
Are oft times vanquished and thrown far behind."

Cowper's "Task," Book VI.

Publish'd June 1 1802, by W. Blake, Felpham

Look for mentions of these and other animals in Blake's poetry.
Songs of Innocence, (E 15)
Little Girl
Sweet and small,
Cock does crow
So do you.
Merry voice
Infant noise
Merrily Merrily to welcome in the Year"

Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 9,(E 37)
"When thou seest an Eagle, thou seest a portion of Genius. lift up thy head!" 

Jerusalem, Plate 98, (E 258)
"...And I heard Jehovah speak 
Terrific from his Holy Place & saw the Words of the Mutual Covenant Divine
On Chariots of gold & jewels with Living Creatures starry & flaming
With every Colour, Lion, Tyger, Horse, Elephant, Eagle Dove, Fly, Worm,
And the all wondrous Serpent clothed in gems & rich array Humanize
In the Forgiveness of Sins according to the Covenant of Jehovah."

Four Zoas, Page 128, (E 398) 
"So spoke the Sinless Soul & laid her head on the downy fleece 
Of a curld Ram who stretchd himself in sleep beside his mistress
And soft sleep fell upon her eyelids in the silent noon of day"

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 565)
"The Horse never Envies the Peacock nor the Sheep the Goat
but they Envy a Rival in Life & Existence whose ways & means
exceed their own let him be of what Class of Animals he will a
Dog will envy a Cat who is pamperd at the expense of his comfort"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Plate 86

To  reign in pride & to opress & to mix the Cup of Delusion
O thou that dwellest with Babylon! Come forth O lovely-one


I see thy Form O lovely mild Jerusalem, Wingd with Six Wings
In the opacous Bosom of the Sleeper, lovely Three-fold
In Head & Heart & Reins, three Universes of love & beauty
Thy forehead bright: Holiness to the Lord, with Gates of pearl
Reflects Eternity beneath thy azure wings of feathery down     
Ribbd delicate & clothd with featherd gold & azure & purple

From thy white shoulders shadowing, purity in holiness!
Thence featherd with soft crimson of the ruby bright as fire
Spreading into the azure Wings which like a canopy
Bends over thy immortal Head in which Eternity dwells      
Albion beloved Land; I see thy mountains & thy hills
And valleys & thy pleasant Cities Holiness to the Lord
I see the Spectres of thy Dead O Emanation of Albion.
Thy Bosom white, translucent coverd with immortal gems

A sublime ornament not obscuring the outlines of beauty       
Terrible to behold for thy extreme beauty & perfection
Twelve-fold here all the Tribes of Israel I behold
Upon the Holy Land: I see the River of Life & Tree of Life
I see the New Jerusalem descending out of Heaven
Between thy Wings of gold & silver featherd immortal         

Clear as the rainbow, as the cloud of the Suns tabernacle
Thy Reins coverd with Wings translucent sometimes covering
And sometimes spread abroad reveal the flames of holiness
Which like a robe covers: & like a Veil of Seraphim
In flaming fire unceasing burns from Eternity to Eternity     

Twelvefold I there behold Israel in her Tents
A Pillar of a Cloud by day: a Pillar of fire by night
Guides them: there I behold Moab & Ammon & Amalek
There Bells of silver round thy knees living articulate
Comforting sounds of love & harmony & on thy feet           
Sandals of gold & pearl, & Egypt & Assyria before me
The Isles of Javan, Philistea, Tyre and Lebanon

Thus Los sings upon his Watch walking from Furnace to Furnace.
He siezes his Hammer every hour, flames surround him as
He beats: seas roll beneath his feet, tempests muster        
Arou[n]d his head. the thick hail stones stand ready to obey
His voice in the black cloud, his Sons labour in thunders
At his Furnaces; his Daughters at their Looms sing woes
His Emanation separates in milky fibres agonizing
Among the golden Looms of Cathedron sending fibres of love     
From Golgonooza with sweet visions for Jerusalem, wanderer.

Nor can any consummate bliss without being Generated
On Earth; of those whose Emanations weave the loves
Of Beulah for Jerusalem & Shiloh, in immortal Golgonooza
Concentering in the majestic form of Erin in eternal tears     
Viewing the Winding Worm on the Desarts of Great Tartary
Viewing Los in his shudderings, pouring balm on his sorrows

So dread is Los's fury, that none dare him to approach
Without becoming his Children in the Furnaces of affliction
And Enitharmon like a faint rainbow waved before him         
Filling with Fibres from his loins which reddend with desire
Into a Globe of blood beneath his bosom trembling in darkness
Of Albions clouds. he fed it, with his tears & bitter groans

Hiding his Spectre in invisibility from the timorous Shade
Till it became a separated cloud of beauty grace & love       
Among the darkness of his Furnaces dividing asunder till
She separated stood before him a lovely Female weeping
Even Enitharmon separated outside, & his Loins closed
And heal'd after the separation: his pains he soon forgot:

Lured by her beauty outside of himself in shadowy grief.      
Two Wills they had; Two Intellects: & not as in times of old.
Silent they wanderd hand in hand like two Infants wandring
From Enion in the desarts, terrified at each others beauty
Envying each other yet desiring, in all devouring Love,
(Erdman 245-6)  


As the plate begins (someone) calls forth Babylon, but she in the form of Jerusalem.
She has three fold wings 

(as Ellie pointed out in the previous post, three fold is the mark of materiality (as opposed to Eternity); the number three in general points toward incompleteness.  

So this Jerusalem is not the Jerusalem that Blake loved and extolled (the eternal one), but a partial fallen substance called Jerusalem.  It “Reflects Eternity “ not the real thing (As St. Paul said, ‘we look through a glass darkly’.)

Blake turns to Albion, same thing, sleeping on his Rock:

Albion beloved Land; I see thy mountains & thy hills
And valleys & thy pleasant Cities Holiness to the Lord
I see the Spectres of thy Dead O Emanation of Albion.
Thy Bosom white, translucent coverd with immortal gems
Albion like Jerusalem is fallen.
With his imagination Blake sees the radiant possibility, the future:

Twelve-fold here all the Tribes of Israel I behold
Upon the Holy Land: I see the River of Life & Tree of Life
I see the New Jerusalem descending out of Heaven
Thus Los sings upon his Watch walking from Furnace to Furnace.

Los is the creative possibility: Like Ellie said,
He creates.
He vegetates.
He brings about birth (first and second).

Nor can any consummate bliss without being Generated
On Earth;  following the myth of Fall: creation, vegetation and birth.

Plate 86