Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cain and Abel

From the 4th chapter of Genesis we read:

Genesis 4:1-15

King James Version (KJV)
4 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I
have gotten a man from the Lord.
2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain
was a tiller of the ground.
3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the
ground an offering unto the Lord.
4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.
And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth,
and his countenance fell.
6 And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance
7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin
lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in
the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know
not: Am I my brother's keeper?
10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto
me from the ground.
11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to
receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;
12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her
strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
13 And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from
thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and
it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
15 And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance
shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any
finding him should kill him.
This story has been the object of many books, but what did it mean to Blake?
In 1788 Blake wrote a drama entitled The Ghost of Abel A Revelation
in the Visions of Jehovah (Erdman 270-72), well worth reading and with an
accompaning drawing.

Cain Fleeiing

Note Eve fainting befre the prostrate Abel.
Cain seems to be fleeing from the life seeking darkness.
Long haired Adam seems to be in the darkness
Cain had dug a grave when his parents came upon the scene.

In A Vision of the Last Judgment Blake wrote:

Adam & Eve appear first before the [throne]
in humiliation Abel surrounded by Innocents & Cain he slew his brother> falling with the head downward From the Cloud on which Eve stands

On the left beneath the falling figure of Cain is Moses casting his tables of stone into the Deeps.
(Erdman 556)

We come now to Jerusalem;
At the 73rd Plate of Jerusalem:

here Los. who is of the Elohim
Opens the Furnaces of affliction in the Emanation
Fixing The Sexual into an ever-prolific Generation
Naming the Limit of Opakeness Satan & the Limit of Contraction
Adam, who is Peleg & Joktan: & Esau & Jacob: & Saul & David

Voltaire insinuates that these Limits are the cruel work of God
Mocking the Remover of Limits & the Resurrection of the Dead
Setting up Kings in wrath: in holiness of Natural Religion
Which Los with his mighty Hammer demolishes time on time
In miracles & wonders in the Four-fold Desart of Albion
Permanently Creating to be in Time Reveald & Demolishd
Satan Cain Tubal Nimrod Pharoh Priam Bladud Belin
Arthur Alfred the Norman Conqueror Richard John
[Edward Henry Elizabeth James Charles William George]
And all the Kings & Nobles of the Earth & all their Glories
These are Created by Rahab & Tirzah in Ulro: but around
These, to preserve them from Eternal Death Los Creates
Adam Noah Abraham Moses Samuel David Ezekiel
[Pythagoras Socrates Euripedes Virgil Dante Milton]

That list of distinguisged bloody people is sort of like a thumbnail
history of western civilization.

Dissipating the rocky forms of Death, by his thunderous Hammer
As the Pilgrim passes while the Country permanent remains
So Men pass on: but States remain permanent for ever
(Erdman 228)

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