In Genesis 1:16 we read about the 'two great lights'. Blake used the Sun and
the Moon and inserted into them a world of meanings
|1:16||And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.|
|1:17||And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,|
|1:18||And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.|
|1:19||And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.|
Like all natural phenomena Blake used the Sun and the Moon to express
many things. He found two kinds of Sun, a natural sun and an eternal Sun:
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
If the sun and moon should doubt,
they'd immediately go out.
|Penseroso and L' Allegro Plate 3|
From MILTON'S L'ALLEGRO III
"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
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.