Descriptions of Illustrations to Milton's L'Allegro and Il Penseroso, (E 682)"Sometime walking not unseen
By hedgerow Elms on Hillocks green
Right against the Eastern Gate
When the Great Sun begins his state
Robed in Flames & amber Light
The Clouds in thousand Liveries dight
While the Plowman near at hand
Whistles o'er the Furrow'd Land
And the Milkmaid singeth blithe
And the Mower whets his Scythe
And every Shepherd tells his
Tale Under the Hawthorn in the Dale"
"The Great Sun is represented clothed in Flames Surrounded by the Clouds in their Liveries, in their various Offices at the Eastern Gate. beneath in Small Figures Milton walking by Elms on Hillocks green The Plowman. The Milkmaid The Mower whetting his Scythe. & The Shepherd & his Lass under a Hawthorn in the Dale"
The Great Sun is the Spiritual Sun the source of light not measured in wavelengths and frequencies. The spiritual sun is the source of true existence which partakes of the eternal and infinite energy of life. It announces its presence by increased clarity of perception expressed in truth, mercy and grace.
Blake used the Lark as the symbol of the messenger of Los; he uses the symbol of the sun as Los himself as both the message and the source of the message.
In this picture Blake uses scale as one of the means to distinguish between the natural world and the Eternal world. In the third illustration to L'Allegro Blake follows the text he is illustrating but changes the emphasis by using most of the page to present the sun at his eastern gate. The occupants of the mundane world, including Milton, appear at the bottom of the page as small easily overlooked figures. Four levels of existence can be distinguished in the image. The pastoral level of this earth is represented in the strip at the bottom of the page. Surrounding the sun is the level of Beulah as dominated by the feminine. Within the disc of the sun is the fiery transformative level. The primary figure which overlaps the other three layers is the Great Sun in his Human or Divine form.
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 age 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" Vision of Last Judgment, (E 565) "I assert for My self that I do not behold the Outward Creation & that to me it is hindrance & not Action it is as the Dirt upon my feet No part of Me. What it will be Questiond When the Sun rises do you not see a round - Disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea O no no I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host crying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty I question not my Corporeal or Vegetative Eye any more than I would Question a Window concerning a Sight I look thro it & not with it." Letters, To Trusler, (E 702) "And I know that This World Is a World of Imagination & Vision I see Every thing I paint In This World, but Every body does not see alike. To the Eyes of a Miser a Guinea is more beautiful than the Sun & a bag worn with the use of Money has more beautiful proportions than a Vine filled with Grapes." Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 128, (E 397) [Vala speaking] "Rise up O Sun most glorious minister & light of day Flow on ye gentle airs & bear the voice of my rejoicing Wave freshly clear waters flowing around the tender grass And thou sweet smelling ground put forth thy life in fruits & flowers Follow me O my flocks & hear me sing my rapturous Song I will cause my voice to be heard on the clouds that glitter in the sun I will call & who shall answer me I will sing who shall reply For from my pleasant hills behold the living living springs Running among my green pastures delighting among my trees" Milton, Plate 21 ,(E 116) "He heard them call in prayer all the Divine Family; And he beheld the Cloud of Milton stretching over Europe. But all the Family Divine collected as Four Suns In the Four Points of heaven East, West & North & South Enlarging and enlarging till their Disks approachd each other; And when they touch'd closed together Southward in One Sun Over Ololon: and as One Man, who weeps over his brother, In a dark tomb, so all the Family Divine. wept over Ololon." Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 138, (E 406) "Such are the works of Dark Urthona Tharmas sifted the corn Urthona made the Bread of Ages & he placed it In golden & in silver baskets in heavens of precious stone And then took his repose in Winter in the night of Time The Sun has left his blackness & has found a fresher morning And the mild moon rejoices in the clear & cloudless night And Man walks forth from midst of the fires the evil is all consumd His eyes behold the Angelic spheres arising night & day The stars consumd like a lamp blown out & in their stead behold The Expanding Eyes of Man behold the depths of wondrous worlds One Earth one sea beneath nor Erring Globes wander but Stars Of fire rise up nightly from the Ocean & one Sun Each morning like a New born Man issues with songs & Joy Calling the Plowman to his Labour & the Shepherd to his rest He walks upon the Eternal Mountains raising his heavenly voice Conversing with the Animal forms of wisdom night & day That risen from the Sea of fire renewd walk oer the Earth"