Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Golden Feast

Early in his career Isaac encountered some strangers who may or
may not have been friendly.

In Genesis 26 we read:
"[27] And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing 

ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?

[28] And they said, We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee: 
and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us 
and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee;

[29] That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, 
and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent 
thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the LORD.

[30] And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink.

[31] And they rose up betimes in the morning, and , they departed 
from him in peace."

There are many other feasts in Genesis and elsewhere.

There also many feasts in Blake's poetry, but we will focus here
on The Golden Feast, mentioned several times near the end of
The Four Zoas:

At Erdman 307
“So spoke the Prince of Light & sat beside the Seat of Los        
Upon the sandy shore rested his chariot of fire

Ten thousand thousand were his hosts of spirits on the wind:
Ten thousand thousand glittering Chariots shining in the sky:
They pour upon the golden shore beside the silent ocean.
Rejoicing in the Victory & the heavens were filld with blood    

“Not long in harmony they dwell, their life is drawn away       
And wintry woes succeed; successive driven into the Void
Where Enion craves: successive drawn into the
golden feast"

At Erdman 308
"The Earth spread forth her table wide. the Night a silver cup
Fill'd with the wine of anguish waited at the
golden feast
But the bright Sun was not as yet; he filling all the expanse
Slept as a bird in the blue shell that soon shall burst away”

At Erdman 310
“The Spider sits in his labourd Web, eager watching for the Fly
Presently comes a famishd Bird & takes away the Spider           
His Web is left all desolate, that his little anxious heart
So careful wove; & spread it out with sighs and weariness.

This was the Lamentation of Enion round the
golden Feast
Eternity groand and was troubled at the image of Eternal Death”

At Erdman 401
The Eternal Man arose he welcomd them to the Feast
The feast was spread in the bright South & the Eternal Man
Sat at the feast rejoicing & the wine of Eternity
Was servd round by the flames of Luvah all day & all the night

And Many Eternal Men sat at the golden feast to see
The female form now separate They shudderd at the horrible thing
Not born for the sport and amusement of Man but born to drink up
    all his powers
They wept to see their shadows they said to one another this
This is the Generative world they rememberd the Days of old”

At Erdman 403, near the end of the Four Zoas:
“Aha Aha how came I here so soon in my sweet native land         
How came I here Methinks I am as I was in my youth
"When in my fathers house I sat & heard his chearing
Methinks I see his flocks & herds & feel my limbs
And Lo my Brethren in their tents & their little ones around them
The song arose to the Golden feast the Eternal Man

“When in my fathers house I sat & heard his chearing voice
Methinks I see his flocks & herds & feel my limbs renewd
And Lo my Brethren in their tents & their little ones around them

The song arose to the Golden feast the Eternal Man rejoicd
Then the Eternal Man said Luvah the Vintage is ripe arise        
The sons of Urizen shall gather the vintage with sharp hooks
And all thy sons O Luvah bear away the families of Earth
I hear the flail of Urizen his barns are full no roo[m]
Remains & in the Vineyards stand the abounding sheaves beneath
The falling Grapes that odorous burst upon the winds. Arise      
My flocks & herds trample the Corn my cattle browze upon
The ripe Clusters The shepherds shout for Luvah prince of Love
Let the Bulls of Luvah tread the Corn & draw the loaded waggon
Into the Barn while children glean the Ears around the door
Then shall they lift their innocent hands & stroke his furious
And he shall lick the little girls white neck & on her head
Scatter the perfume of his breath while from his mountains high
The lion of terror shall come down & bending his bright mane
And couching at their side shall eat from the curld boys white
His golden food and in the evening sleep before the Door”     

An amplification of Isaiah:
Isaiah 11:6
“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with 

the goat,  the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a 
little child will lead them.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Watercolour illustration for
Robert Blair's The Grave
Jerusalem, Plate 42, (E 189)
"The Spectres of the Dead cry out from the deeps beneath
Upon the hills of Albion; Oxford groans in his iron furnace
Winchester in his den & cavern; they lament against
Albion: they curse their human kindness & affection              
They rage like wild beasts in the forests of affliction
In the dreams of Ulro they repent of their human kindness."

In reading of the efforts of Los and Enitharmon to provide bodies for the Spectres of the Dead, I am reminded of the movie Wings of Desire in which there are spirits, (angels), who are sent to watch over the world but not interfere or interact with the human beings. The plot of the movie involves the spirits developing 'desire' which may make them choose to abandon their role as angels and descend to the material world where they would have physical bodies and emotions which they were capable of expressing. Some of the unembodied angels relinquish their flexible senses, their perception of the unity with the One Spirit, and their membership in the brotherhood of angels. They take on mortality and sexuality and descend into physical bodies.

Blake postulates a world in which there are spirits (refugees from the wars of Great Eternity), in a limbo which does not allow a return to the unity of all things. The alternative of gaining experience through the 'joy and woe' of living in the material is not open to them. The solution to the problem of the 'wandering fragments of spirits' (Damon) is to provide them bodies so that they can have a physical life in the material world: the world of time and space - of Los and Enitharmon. In Milton Ololon volunteers to descend to 'This World beneath, unseen before: this refuge from the wars Of Great Eternity!' To this refuge were sent the Spectres. By creating bodies for the wandering Spectres of the Dead Los and Enitharmon created our world: the world where we may experience imagination, intellect, and emotions within bodies of flesh and blood in this World beneath.

Four Zoas, Night VIIA, Page 87, (E 369)
"Urthonas Spectre terrified beheld the Spectres of the Dead
Each Male formd without a counterpart without a concentering vision
The Spectre of Urthona wept before Los Saying I am the cause
That this dire state commences I began the dreadful state
Of Separation & on my dark head the curse & punishment
Must fall unless a way be found to Ransom & Redeem 

But I have thee my [Counterpart Vegetating] miraculous
These Spectres have no [Counter(parts)] therefore they ravin
Without the food of life Let us Create them Coun[terparts]
For without a Created body the Spectre is Eternal Death

Los trembling answerd Now I feel the weight of stern repentance
Tremble not so my Enitharmon at the awful gates    
Of thy poor broken Heart I see thee like a shadow withering
As on the outside of Existence but look! behold! take comfort!
Turn inwardly thine Eyes & there behold the Lamb of God
Clothed in Luvahs robes of blood descending to redeem
O Spectre of Urthona take comfort O Enitharmon   
Couldst thou but cease from terror & trembling & affright
When I appear before thee in forgiveness of ancient injuries 
Why shouldst thou remember & be afraid. I surely have died in pain
Often enough to convince thy jealousy & fear & terror
Come hither be patient let us converse together because  
I also tremble at myself & at all my former life

Enitharmon answerd I behold the Lamb of God descending
To Meet these Spectres of the Dead I therefore fear that he
Will give us to Eternal Death fit punishment for such
Hideous offenders Uttermost extinction in eternal pain    
An ever dying life of stifling & obstruction shut out
Of existence to be a sign & terror to all who behold
Lest any should in futurity do as we have done in heaven
Such is our state nor will the Son of God redeem us but destroy

PAGE 98 [90] 
So Enitharmon spoke trembling & in torrents of tears

Los sat in Golgonooza in the Gate of Luban where   
He had erected many porches where branchd the Mysterious Tree
Where the Spectrous dead wail & sighing thus he spoke to Enitharmon

Lovely delight of Men Enitharmon shady refuge from furious war
Thy bosom translucent is a soft repose for the weeping souls
Of those piteous victims of battle there they sleep in happy obscurity
They feed upon our life we are their victims. Stern desire
I feel to fabricate embodied semblances in which the dead
May live before us in our palaces & in our gardens of labour 
Which now opend within the Center we behold spread abroad
To form a world of Sacrifice of brothers & sons & daughters  
To comfort Orc in his dire sufferings[;] look[!] my fires enlume afresh
Before my face ascending with delight as in ancient times

Enitharmon spread her beaming locks upon the wind & said   
O Lovely terrible Los wonder of Eternity O Los my defence & guide
Thy works are all my joy. & in thy fires my soul delights
If mild they burn in just proportion & in secret night
And silence build their day in shadow of soft clouds & dews
Then I can sigh forth on the winds of Golgonooza piteous forms  
That vanish again into my bosom   but if thou my Los
Wilt in sweet moderated fury. fabricate forms sublime 
Such as the piteous spectres may assimilate themselves into
They shall be ransoms for our Souls that we may live

So Enitharmon spoke & Los his hands divine inspired began
To modulate his fires studious the loud roaring flames
He vanquishd with the strength of Art bending their iron points
And drawing them forth delighted upon the winds of Golgonooza
From out the ranks of Urizens war & from the fiery lake
Of Orc bending down as the binder of the Sheaves follows   
The reaper in both arms embracing the furious raging flames
Los drew them forth out of the deeps planting his right foot firm
Upon the Iron crag of Urizen thence springing up aloft
Into the heavens of Enitharmon in a mighty circle

And first he drew a line upon the walls of shining heaven    
And Enitharmon tincturd it with beams of blushing love 
It remaind permanent a lovely form inspird divinely human
Dividing into just proportions Los unwearied labourd
The immortal lines upon the heavens till with sighs of love
Sweet Enitharmon mild Entrancd breathd forth upon the wind   
The spectrous dead Weeping the Spectres viewd the immortal works
Of Los Assimilating to those forms Embodied & Lovely
In youth & beauty in the arms of Enitharmon mild reposing"

Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 103, (E 376)
"Enitharmon wove in tears Singing Songs of Lamentations
And pitying comfort as she sighd forth on the wind the spectres
And wove them bodies calling them her belovd sons & daughters
Employing the daughters in her looms & Los employd the Sons 
In Golgonoozas Furnaces among the Anvils of time & space
Thus forming a Vast family wondrous in beauty & love
And they appeard a Universal female form created
From those who were dead in Ulro from the Spectres of the dead"

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Introduction to Blake


I give you the end of a golden string, Only wind it into a ball,It will lead you in at Heaven's gate Built in Jerusalem's wall. (Plate 77 of Jerusalem)
       Late 18th Century Europe existed in a state of rapid transition from medievalism to modernity. The old arrangement of society, a divinely ordained king, a land owning aristocracy, and a marriage of Church and State came increasingly under the attacks of political, economic, and religious progressives. The American Revolution pointed toward the outcome of the struggle. In Europe the decisive event came with the French Revolution and its aftermath.      

William Blake lived through those stirring times. His work has great significance as political commentary. Now two centuries later its spiritual dimension has assumed even greater moment. Blake participated passionately in the social and political debates of the day, although few contemporaries heard his voice. It is his place in the spiritual dialogue that exercises the greatest fascination and will probably endure when the other dimensions of his thought have passed into the dust of time.
Blake radically redefined the Christian faith and offered to his own and later generations a religious perspective that takes fully into account the corruptions of the past and the psychological sophistication of the future.       It was during Blake's age that religious faith in Europe began to lose its grip upon the minds of men. His generation saw the final breakdown of the Medieval Synthesis and the triumphant emergence of the Age of Reason. He participated in a decisive battle of the eternal war between conservative religionists and liberal rationalists. Though without the bloodshed of earlier days, it was a conflict in which quarter was neither given nor expected. The battle pitted the community of faith, which in the 18th Century suffered an eclipse, against the rationalists, critical men of great brilliance. But none of the rationalists surpassed the brilliance of William Blake, a critical man of faith; their contribution to modern thought had its day; we are still far from catching up with his.      

In the battle between faith and reason Blake occupied a unique middle ground. On one hand he constantly attacked an oppressive politico-religious establishment; on the other he just as steadfastly defended a spiritual orientation against the rationalists. This meant for Blake a lifetime engagement on two fronts.      

This survey describes and explores the various dimensions of Blake's vision of Christianity. One overriding consideration determined that vision: Blake saw freedom as the primary and ultimate value. The attitudes he expressed toward all institutions, his evaluation of them, the comments he made about them with his poetry and pictures, all these things were determined by the institution's relationship to that supreme value of freedom.

He believed from the depths of his being that coercion in any form is the primary evil. It outweighs and in fact negates any benefit that an established religion may afford. Blake believed that regardless of his professed faith, the leader who uses coercion thereby shows himself to be a follower of the God of this World, the Tempter with whom Jesus dealt in the wilderness.      

As a religious thinker Blake customarily receives the designation of radical Protestant. The
seeds of his protest go back far beyond Luther. In his day a more common term was dissenter. Blake protested against and dissented from the authority of the orthodox Christian tradition. We can best understand Blake as a thinker, as a Christian, and as a man in terms of this dissent from orthodoxy. His intellectual life in many ways summarized the history of Christian dissent. His art evoked and drew upon the earlier occurrences of dissent through the centuries.      

Blake defined God in terms of vision. Every man has his own vision of God, and no two are exactly alike. Blake spent much of his time and energy describing the superstitious images of God embraced by men in his day as in our own. With his usual extravagant language he was capable of saying something like 'their God is a devil'. He's referring to their vision, their image of God.

Think for a moment about the vision of God of the Inquisitors, of for that matter of Bin Laden. Their God gloried in blood, but not my God, Blake's or yours!       Jesus was an obvious dissenter from the orthodox tradition into which he was born. He blithely ignored many of the requirements of respectable Judaism. He repeatedly violated the Sabbath. He felt perfectly free to initiate conversation with unfamiliar women, a gigantic taboo; in fact he spent hours with disreputable characters of both sexes. He ate without washing his hands. All these acts seriously violated the laws of his religious tradition.

In  'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell' Blake claimed that Jesus broke all of the ten commandments and "was all virtue, and acted from impulse, not from rules" (See Chapter Five.) Going beyond mere dissent Jesus attacked the established religious leaders. He called them whited sepulchers, poked fun at them, and encouraged all sorts of insubordination among their followers. Worst of all he set himself up as an alternative authority. In all these ways he directly challenged the religious leaders and provoked them to bring about his execution as a revolutionist.      

Jesus perceived death as the ultimate authority or power of the world. On behalf of his ideals and with spiritual power he challenged death, and according to the Christian faith he defeated it; he conquered death. In the words of Paul he "abolished death". Blake understood this in a more existential way than do most Christians. One of his primary themes, running from the very beginning of his poetry until the last day of his life, was the redefinition of death in accordance with the Christian gospel.

Monday, February 25, 2013


British Museum
Small Book of Designs
'Is the Female death/Become new Life'
There is a counterpart or contrary to the furnaces of Los. These are the looms of Enitharmon. The inner work of the furnaces is supplemented by the outer work of the looms for the unformed Spectres require bodies in order to enter the generated world. What is being woven is the 'clothing for the soul divine.'

Jerusalem, Plate 59, (E 209)
"And in the North Gate, in the West of the North. toward Beulah
Cathedrons Looms are builded. and Los's Furnaces in the South
A wondrous golden Building immense with ornaments sublime
Is bright Cathedrons golden Hall, its Courts Towers & Pinnacles  

And one Daughter of Los sat at the fiery Reel & another
Sat at the shining Loom with her Sisters attending round
Terrible their distress & their sorrow cannot be utterd
And another Daughter of Los sat at the Spinning Wheel
Endless their labour, with bitter food. void of sleep,           
Tho hungry they labour: they rouze themselves anxious
Hour after hour labouring at the whirling Wheel
Many Wheels & as many lovely Daughters sit weeping

Yet the intoxicating delight that they take in their work
Obliterates every other evil; none pities their tears            
Yet they regard not pity & they expect no one to pity
For they labour for life & love, regardless of any one
But the poor Spectres that they work for, always incessantly"

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Cave

The Cave is often considered a place where consciousness is
submerged as for example Plato’s Cave:

                   The Allegory of the Cave

Plato realized that the general run of humankind can think, and speak, etc.,
without (so far as they acknowledge) any awareness of his realm of Forms.
The allegory of the cave is supposed to explain this.

In the allegory, Plato likened people untutored in the Theory of Forms to
prisoners chained in a cave, unable to turn their heads. All they can see is
the wall of the cave. Behind them burns a fire. Between the fire and the
prisoners there is a parapet, along which puppeteers can walk. The
puppeteers, who are behind the prisoners, hold up puppets that cast
shadows on the wall of the cave. The prisoners are unable to see these
puppets, the real objects, that pass behind them. What the prisoners see
and hear are shadows and echoes cast by objects that they do not see.
Such prisoners would mistake appearance for reality. They would think the
things they see on the wall (the shadows) were real; they would know nothing
of the real causes of the shadows.

(From Great Dialogues of Plato (Warmington and Rouse, eds.) New York,
Signet Classics: 1999. p. 316.)

The Cave appears often in Genesis:

Genesis 19:30
And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his
two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar:
and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.

Genesis 23:9
That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is
in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it
me for a possession of a buryingplace amongs you.

Genesis 23:11
Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is herein, I give
it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead.

Genesis 23:17
And the field of Ephron which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre,
the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the
field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure.

Genesis 23:19
And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of
Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan.

Genesis 23:20
And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for
a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth.

Genesis 25:9
And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the
field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre;
And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my
people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the

Genesis 49:30
In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the
land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite
for a possession of a buryingplace.

Genesis 49:32
The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the
children of Heth.

Genesis 50:13
For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave
of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a
possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.

The most prominent Cave is the one Abraham bought for his wife.

Scattered through the corpus of Blake's images are many showing a cave.
Virtually all of them reflect the import of Plato's Cave.

There is a continuous contrary in life which Blake memorializes
incessantly  For example in Plate 14 of the Marriage of Heaven
and Hell we read that
" If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would
appear to man as it is: infinite. For man has closed himself up,
till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.

A bit later he wrote this account of an angel's description of
our fate (Erdman 41)
"So he took me thro' a stable & thro' a church and down into
the church vault at the end of which was a mill: thro' the mill
we went, and came to a cove; down the winding cavern we
groped our tedious way."

According to Kathleen Raine:
"A great part of The Four Zoas tells of the exploration of the
"Caverns of the Grave, and the "dens", of spiritual darkness,
by which he means this present world."

Beside his biblical sources Blake was endebted to (among other
things) Greek myths.  Here is his study of The Cave of the Nymphs:

The Cave is in the upper 
right and in the center a
stairway going up into

Look also at this post.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Is an individual capable of exercising control over what goes on in his mind? Some would argue that he is not; that his thoughts are simply reactions to his memories or to external activity. Others observe an ability to decide what response is made by the psyche to the ever changing panorama of sensation and thought to which one is subject. Blake fell into the second category. Blake had developed his image of the furnaces as a means of gaining the ability to alter the 'mind forged manacles.' The difficulty in altering the way the mind perceives is that the mind is subject to the very strictures which it projects onto the outside world. In his four chapters of Jerusalem Blake explores both the outward and inward manifestations of a mind which has lost its unity and its ability to view ultimate reality. 

The final reference in Jerusalem to the furnaces of Los is on plate 91. Here the furnaces succeeded in amalgamating the nations into one because Los had succeeded in in altering his Spectre. The Spectre was no longer able to take control of Los' mind. Los no longer saw his Spectre as good or evil, he could now serve Los as intellect because Los no longer expects him to make him holy.  

The work of the furnaces, the inner work, was over but the final achievement of the Los' furnaces had begun a chain reaction of reassembling Albion. The process of disintegration was reversed. Reintegration took place in multiple stages involving Los, Enitharmon, Britannia, Albion, Jesus and Jerusalem. The final appearance of a furnace was the 'Furnace of Affliction' into which Albion threw himself as an 'Offering of Self for Another'. By this act there was a transformation of the furnaces into 'Fountains of Living Waters' which initiated the final universal awakening. 

Yale Center for British Art 
Plate 97  

Yale Center for British Art 
Plate 73

 Jerusalem, Plate 91, (E 251)
"Thus Los alterd his Spectre & every Ratio of his Reason      
He alterd time after time, with dire pain & many tears
Till he had completely divided him into a separate space.

Terrified Los sat to behold trembling & weeping & howling
I care not whether a Man is Good or Evil; all that I care
Is whether he is a Wise Man or a Fool. Go! put off Holiness    
And put on Intellect: or my thundrous Hammer shall drive thee
To wrath which thou condemnest: till thou obey my voice

So Los terrified cries: trembling & weeping & howling! Beholding                                         
What do I see? The Briton Saxon Roman Norman amalgamating
In my Furnaces into One Nation the English: & taking refuge
In the Loins of Albion. The Canaanite united with the fugitive
Hebrew, whom she divided into Twelve, & sold into Egypt
Then scatterd the Egyptian & Hebrew to the four Winds!       
This sinful Nation Created in our Furnaces & Looms is Albion

So Los spoke. Enitharmon answerd in great terror in Lambeths Vale

The Poets Song draws to its period & Enitharmon is no more."

Jerusalem, Plate 96, (E 256)
"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

So saying. the Cloud overshadowing divided them asunder
Albion stood in terror: not for himself but for his Friend     
Divine, & Self was lost in the contemplation of faith
And wonder at the Divine Mercy & at Los's sublime honour

Do I sleep amidst danger to Friends! O my Cities & Counties
Do you sleep! rouze up! rouze up. Eternal Death is abroad

So Albion spoke & threw himself into the Furnaces of affliction 
All was a Vision, all a Dream: the Furnaces became
Fountains of Living Waters Flowing from the Humanity Divine
And all the Cities of Albion rose from their Slumbers, and All
The Sons & Daughters of Albion on soft clouds Waking from Sleep
Soon all around remote the Heavens burnt with flaming fires    
And Urizen & Luvah & Tharmas & Urthona arose into
Albions Bosom: Then Albion stood before Jesus in the Clouds
Of Heaven Fourfold among the Visions of God in Eternity
Awake! Awake Jerusalem! O lovely Emanation of Albion
Awake and overspread all Nations as in Ancient Time
For lo! the Night of Death is past and the Eternal Day
Appears upon our Hills: Awake Jerusalem, and come away"

Friday, February 22, 2013


From the Book of Genesis

19:1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and
Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the

19:2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and
tarry all night, and wash your feet, and you shall rise up early, and go on your ways.
And they said, No; but we will abide in the street all night.

19:3 And he pressed on them greatly; and they turned in to him, and entered into his house;
and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.

19:4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed
the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:

19:5 And they called to Lot, and said to him, Where are the men which came in to you this
night? bring them out to us, that we may know them.

19:6 And Lot went out at the door to them, and shut the door after him,

19:7 And said, I pray you, brothers, do not so wickedly.

19:8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring
them out to you, and do you to them as is good in your eyes: only to these men do nothing;
for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

19:9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn,
and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with you, than with them. And they
pressed sore on the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.

19:10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the

19:11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small
and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.

19:12 And the men said to Lot, Have you here any besides? son in law, and your sons, and
your daughters, and whatever you have in the city, bring them out of this place:

19:13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face
of the LORD; and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.

19:14 And Lot went out, and spoke to his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said,
Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that
mocked to his sons in law.

19:15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take your
wife, and your two daughters, which are here; lest you be consumed in the iniquity of the city.

19:16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold on his hand, and on the hand of his wife, and
 on the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful to him: and they brought him
forth, and set him without the city.

19:17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape
for your life; look not behind you, neither stay you in all the plain; escape to the mountain,
lest you be consumed.

19:18 And Lot said to them, Oh, not so, my LORD:

19:19 Behold now, your servant has found grace in your sight, and you have magnified your mercy,
which you have showed to me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil
take me, and I die:

19:20 Behold now, this city is near to flee to, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither,
(is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.

19:21 And he said to him, See, I have accepted you concerning this thing also, that I will not
overthrow this city, for the which you have spoken.

19:22 Haste you, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till you be come thither. Therefore
the name of the city was called Zoar.

19:23 The sun was risen on the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.

19:24 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and on Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord
out of heaven;

19:25 And He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities,
and that which grew on the ground.

19:26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

19:27 And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD:

19:28 And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and
beheld, and, see, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.

19:29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered
Abraham, and sent Lot out of the middle of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the
which Lot dwelled.

19:30 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelled in the mountain, and his two daughters with
him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelled in a cave, he and his two daughters.

(This account used the word 'men' indiscriminately to refer to the 'wicked men of Sodom' and
the two angels; I've tried to distinguish using a blue background for the angels and
highlighting the 'wicked men of Sodom',) Read the whole story.

From Annotations to Lavater (Erdman 594)
"If you ask me which is the real hereditary sin of human nature, do you
imagine I shall answer pride? or luxury? Or ambition? or egotism? no; I
shall say indolence--who conquers indolence will conquer all the rest.
Pride fullness of bread & abundance of Idleness was the sin of Sodom.
See Ezekiel Ch xvi. 49 ver"

On plate 37 of Milton; Erdman 137-38:
"War; Woven in Looms of Tyre & Sidon by beautiful Ashtaroth.
In  Palestine Dagon, Sea Monster! worshipd o'er the Sea.
Thammuz in Lebanon & Rimmon in Damascus curtaind
Osiris: Isis: Orus: in Egypt: dark their Tabernacles on Nile
Floating with solemn songs, & on the Lakes of Egypt nightly
With pomp, even till morning break & Osiris appear in the sky
But Belial of Sodom & Gomorrha, obscure Demon of Bribes
And secret Assasinations, not worshipd nor adord; but
With the finger on the lips & the back turnd to the light"

On Plate 67 of Jerusalem; Erdman 220:
"till the Great Polypus of Generation covered the Earth
In Verulam the Polypus's Head, winding around his bulk
Thro Rochester, and Chichester, & Exeter & Salisbury,
To Bristol: & his Heart beat strong on Salisbury Plain
Shooting out Fibres round the Earth, thro Gaul & Italy
And Greece, & along the Sea of Rephaim into Judea
To Sodom & Gomorrha: thence to India, China & Japan
The Twelve Daughters in Rahab & Tirzah have circumscribd the Brain"

On Plate 89 of Jerusalem; Erdman 248:
The Covering Cherub's "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
Whose currents flow into the Dead Sea by Sodom & Gomorra"

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Yale Center for British Art
Blake's Water-Colours for the
Poems of Thomas Gray
Design 93

The first product of Los' furnaces (Damon) was Erin. Like Enitharmon she was Space. Since Los had compelled his Spectre to join his operating the furnaces, the outcome was not optimum; first because Erin was partially the work of the Spectre and second because the Spectre was compelled. With Erin came all the Daughters of Beulah but not in their eternal form.

The appearance of the spaces of Erin provided a field in which the problems of Albion and Jerusalem could be addressed but solutions still  were unclear by the end of chapter 2. Erin had provided the space in which Golgonooza might be built; the work continued.

Jerusalem, Plate 9, (E 152)
"Thus they contended among the Furnaces with groans & tears;
Groaning the Spectre heavd the bellows, obeying Los's frowns;
Till the Spaces of Erin were perfected in the furnaces
Of affliction, and Los drew them forth, compelling the harsh Spectre.         
Plate 10
Into the Furnaces & into the valleys of the Anvils of Death
And into the mountains of the Anvils & of the heavy Hammers
Till he should bring the Sons & Daughters of Jerusalem to be
The Sons & Daughters of Los that he might protect them from
Albions dread Spectres; storming, loud, thunderous & mighty      
The Bellows & the Hammers move compell'd by Los's hand."

Jerusalem, Plate 11, (E 154)
"Then Erin came forth from the Furnaces, & all the Daughters of Beulah
Came from the Furnaces, by Los's mighty power for Jerusalems
Sake: walking up and down among the Spaces of Erin:              
And the Sons and Daughters of Los came forth in perfection lovely!
And the Spaces of Erin reach'd from the starry heighth, to the starry depth.

Los wept with exceeding joy & all wept with joy together!
They feard they never more should see their Father, who
Was built in from Eternity, in the Cliffs of Albion.             

But when the joy of meeting was exhausted in loving embrace;
Again they lament. O what shall we do for lovely Jerusalem?
To protect the Emanations of Albions mighty ones from cruelty?
Sabrina & Ignoge begin to sharpen their beamy spears
Of light and love: their little children stand with arrows of gold:   
Ragan is wholly cruel Scofield is bound ill iron armour!
He shoots beneath Jerusalems walls to undermine her foundations!
A shadow animated by thy tears O mournful Jerusalem!"      

Jerusalem, Plate 12, (E 155)
"Why wilt thou give to her a Body whose life is but a Shade?.
Her joy and love, a shade: a shade of sweet repose:
But animated and vegetated, she is a devouring worm:
What shall we do for thee O lovely mild Jerusalem?

And Los said. I behold the finger of God in terrors!           
Albion is dead! his Emanation is divided from him!
But I am living! yet I feel my Emanation also dividing
Such thing was never known! O pity me, thou all-piteous-one!
What shall I do! or how exist, divided from Enitharmon?
Yet why despair! I saw the finger of God go forth                
Upon my Furnaces, from within the Wheels of Albions Sons:
Fixing their Systems, permanent: by mathematic power
Giving a body to Falshood that it may be cast off for ever.
With Demonstrative Science piercing Apollyon with his own bow!
God is within, & without! he is even in the depths of Hell!      

Such were the lamentations of the Labourers in the Furnaces!

And they appeard within & without incircling on both sides
The Starry Wheels of Albions Sons, with Spaces for Jerusalem:
And for Vala the shadow of Jerusalem: the ever mourning shade:
On both sides, within & without beaming gloriously!              

Terrified at the sublime Wonder, Los stood before his Furnaces.
And they stood around, terrified with admiration at Erins Spaces
For the Spaces reachd from the starry heighth, to the starry depth;
And they builded Golgonooza: terrible eternal labour!"

In the final section of chapter 2 (To The Jews) Erin reappeared as the spokesperson for reviewing the situation which existed because of the religious errors existing in Blake's time as the result of the long history of belief in a God of vengeance and moral law. Blake spent chapter 2 enumerating the errors which result from man's misconceptions of God with the hope of revealing error that it may be recognized and annihilated. 
Jerusalem, Plate 49, (E 197) "And thus Erin spoke to the Daughters of Beulah, in soft tears" 
Jerusalem, Plate 50, (E 199)
"The Atlantic Mountains where Giants dwelt in Intellect;
Now given to stony Druids, and Allegoric Generation
To the Twelve Gods of Asia, the Spectres of those who Sleep:
Sway'd by a Providence oppos'd to the Divine Lord Jesus:
A murderous Providence! A Creation that groans, living on Death. 
Where Fish & Bird & Beast & Man & Tree & Metal & Stone
Live by Devouring, going into Eternal Death continually:
Albion is now possess'd by the War of Blood! the Sacrifice
Of envy Albion is become, and his Emanation cast out:

Come Lord Jesus, Lamb of God descend! for if; O Lord!            
If thou hadst been here, our brother Albion had not died.
Arise sisters! Go ye & meet the Lord, while I remain--
Behold the foggy mornings of the Dead on Albions cliffs!
Ye know that if the Emanation remains in them:
She will become an Eternal Death, an Avenger of Sin              
A Self-righteousness: the proud Virgin-Harlot! Mother of War!
And we also & all Beulah, consume beneath Albions curse.

So Erin spoke to the Daughters of Beulah. Shuddering
With their wings they sat in the Furnace, in a night
Of stars, for all the Sons of Albion appeard distant stars,      
Ascending and descending into Albions sea of death.
And Erins lovely Bow enclos'd the Wheels of Albions Sons."
Evidence that error continued is spoken by the Daughters of Beulah presented in their reply to Erin's lament:
Jerusalem, Plate 50, (E 200)
"Expanding on wing, the Daughters of Beulah replied in sweet response

Come O thou Lamb of God and take away the remembrance of Sin
To Sin & to hide the Sin in sweet deceit. is lovely!!            
To Sin in the open face of day is cruel & pitiless! But
To record the Sin for a reproach: to let the Sun go down
In a remembrance of the Sin: is a Woe & a Horror!
A brooder of an Evil Day, and a Sun rising in blood
Come then O Lamb of God and take away the remembrance of Sin" 
Minna Doskow, author of William Blake' Jerusalem, Structure and Meaning in Poetry and Pictures, states the continued errors the Daughters make:
"They do not abolish the category of sin or separate the individual from the state. They wish simply to end the recording or remembrance of of sin, Albion's religious tally sheets, which is a worthy but insufficient aim.They have achieved a half truth only. Therefore the prayer to God cannot bring about salvation nor end generation. Unlike the inhabitants of Beulah, who express the imaginative vision after chapter 1's general survey of all error and its alternatives, these Daughters of Beulah at the end of chapter 2's survey of religious error and its alternatives are still involved in it."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


From Wikipedia you could learn that 
"Canaan  is a historical Semitic-speaking region roughly corresponding to the  
Levant (modern-day IsraelPalestinian territoriesLebanon, and the western 
parts of Jordan and Syria)", a large area roughly between Egypt 
and Mesopotamia. It was arranged territorially from the Ottoman Empire 
shortly after the end of World War I.

Several parts of this area have been involved in political violence of one sort or

another.  Canaan has a long and bloody history.

Genesis Chapter 11 marks the beginning of the biblical history of Canaan.

one of Blake's distinctive characterists  was his habit of using the same 
name for a place and a person, such as Jerusalem: a City, but also a 
Woman.  Here the country called Canaan is seen as an old woman:

PLATE 10 [11] of Milton 
"Then Los & Enitharmon knew that Satan is Urizen                 
Drawn down by Orc & the Shadowy Female into Generation
Oft Enitharmon enterd weeping into the Space, there appearing
An aged Woman raving along the Streets (the Space is named
Canaan) then she returnd to Los weary frighted as from dreams   
The nature of a Female Space is this: it shrinks the Organs
Of Life till they become Finite & Itself seems Infinite."       

Most people know John Milton wrote Paradise Lost, which came to

be a primary myth about God and Satan.  Milton was one of Blake's
greatest heroes, and outside the Bible a chief source of his
thought.  But in some respects he was at odds with Milton; he 
wrote the Book of Milton as a poetic attempt to bring Milton back 
from Heaven to correct some of Milton's theological errors.

Milton had three wives and three daughters, which Blake used

in the poem.

"No sooner she had spoke but Rahab Babylon appeard
Eastward upon the Paved work across Europe & Asia
Glorious as the midday Sun in Satans bosom glowing:
A Female hidden in a Male, Religion hidden in War               
Namd Moral Virtue; cruel two-fold Monster shining bright
A Dragon red & hidden Harlot which John in Patmos saw

And all beneath the Nations innumerable of Ulro
Appeard, the Seven Kingdoms of Canaan & Five Baalim
Of Philistea. into Twelve divided, calld after the Names      
Of Israel: as they are in Eden. Mountain. River & Plain
City & sandy Desart intermingled beyond mortal ken" 
(Milton; Erdman 141-42)

On page 614-15 of Erdman is an annotation to An Apology for the 
Bible by Bishop R Watson; Blake wrote:

"Horrible the Bishop is an Inquisitor God never makes one man 
murder another nor one nation [p 7] There is a vast difference 
between an accident brought on by a man's own carelessness & a 
destruction from the designs of another. The Earthquakes at 
Lisbon &c were the Natural result of Sin. but the destruction of 
the Canaanites by Joshua was the Unnatural design of wicked men 
To Extirpate a nation by means of another nation is as wicked as 
to destroy an individual by means of another individual which God 
directs (in the Bible)."

An important note is that when people systematically eradicate another 

people, it is my no means God's will.

Northrup Frye suggested that it was the religion and ways that God meant for the Israelites to destroy.  Be that as it may, the Hebrews did nothing of the sort; they melded in with them: body and soul.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Yale Center for British Art
Jerusalem, Plate 6
Los and his Spectre
In this passage Los is not speaking to some external entity but to his Spectre, an aspect of himself. His Spectre is captive to erroneous paradigms of thought which oppose what he wishes to accomplish through his true dominant self. When divided from the integral man, the Spectre exercises a distinct will which threatens to destroy the man's work. Los has become divided because of the efforts he is making to restore Albion's consciousness of the Eternal. The cost to him has been to assume some of the brokenness of Albion. Instead of trying to force his Spectre out of existence he proposes to engage the Spectre in assisting with the work of the furnaces. The Spectre's perspective is changed; he becomes capable of seeing from outside the destruction in which he has participated.   

The Spectre (reason) commences work for Los (imagination) at his furnaces but under duress and threat of extinctiion.

To enlarge image, right click on image, choose open in new window, click on picture.

Jerusalem, Plate 8, (E 151)
[Los to Spectre]
"I know thy deceit & thy revenges, and unless thou desist
I will certainly create an eternal Hell for thee. Listen!
Be attentive! be obedient! Lo the Furnaces are ready to recieve these.
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"    

Milton O Percival explains in Circle  of Destiny how imagination is assisted by reason in creating definite form:
"Imagination, as  the existence itself, is an inclusive concept; in it all other powers are implicit. At this high level reason and imagination function together. But imagination such as this is limited to the unfallen world. In the fallen world the powers fall into separation. Cut off from imagination, reason becomes an analytic power, the instigator of doubt, a completely disintegrating force...Urizen is the great creator of the Mundane Shell period, and Los, his successor in the mortal world, has the assistance of his Spectre whom he must first subdue. Left alone, the Spectre would of course create nothing. The indefinite is the product of doubting and abstracting intellect. What is wanted is faith - faith and a vision of the future, an attitude of affirmation. These Los supplies. It would seem, therefore, that the 'intellectual measure' necessary for the achievement of definite form is provided by reason and imagination acting together in this relationship."  

Monday, February 18, 2013


11:31 "And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran

his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's
wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees,
go into the land of Canaan;"

Blake used Abram twice:

"Adam shudderd! Noah faded!------
Lo these Human form'd spirits in smiling
hipocrisy. War Against one another; so let them War on;
slaves to the ...........Noah shrunk, beneath the waters;
Abram fled in fires from Chaldea;
Moses beheld upon Mount Sinai forms of dark
delusion" (The Song of Los; E67)

"I see in deadly fear in London Los raging round his Anvil
Of death: forming an Ax of gold: the Four Sons of Los
Stand round him cutting the Fibres from Albions hills
That Albions Sons may roll apart over the Nations
While Reuben enroots his brethren in the narrow Canaanite    
From the Limit Noah to the Limit Abram in whose Loins
Reuben in his Twelve-fold majesty & beauty shall take refuge
As Abraham flees from Chaldea shaking his goary locks
But first Albion must sleep" (Jerusalem, plate 15; Erdman 159)

Abram of course became Abraham; he was born as Abram in Ur of 
the Chaldees(in Mesopatamia). His birth according to legend is exactly 
1600 years after the Flood, or forty squared.
With his family he moved first up the Euphrates to Haran; there he
received a command from God to move (with his family and herds)
to Canaan. His story is found in Genesis Chapters 11-25.

In the Book of Milton and Jerusalem Blake included Abraham in his
thumbnail sketch of the history (of the 27 Churches);

And these the names of the Twenty-seven Heavens & their Churches 
Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch,
Methuselah, Lamech: these are Giants mighty Hermaphroditic
Noah, Shem, Arphaxad, Cainan the second, Salah, Heber,
Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah, these are the Female-Males
A Male within a Female hid as in an Ark & Curtains,              
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
(Erdman: Milton 138)

Blake used Abraham most often in his design and Vision of the 
Last Judgment; in his 'Design':
"Immediately before the Throne of Christ is Adam & Eve
kneeling in humiliation as representatives of the whole Human
Race Abraham & Moses kneel on each side beneath them from the
cloud on which Eve kneels"
(Erdman 553)


Sunday, February 17, 2013


Illustrations of the Book of Job
Linnell Set
Plate 3  
Consistent with his use of the giant man Albion to represent all of humanity, Blake turns to the body to further explain the function of the furnaces as an instrument of transformation. As the 'Stomach in every individual man' Bowlahoola is a furnace within the body. The digestive tract breaks down the food it receives to provide the body with the ingredients to sustain itself. Food is not in a form which can be assimilated by the cells of the body until it is transformed into amino acids, minerals, fatty acids, glucose and other essentials for building cells and providing them with energy. So we can see the furnaces as a means of breaking down the experiences which the mind receives as raw material which must be disassembled into building blocks for new paradigms of thought.

The mental constructs are reorganized from the units which are deemed valuable, and the excess baggage is discarded. The mind has been molded but through a different process than the melting and hammering of the blacksmith. Now the furnace is metaphoric of assimilating from the mass of experience the gems and treasures necessary to fuel the  next transformation

Milton, Plate 24 [26], (E 120)
"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."

Milton, Plate 26 [28], (E 123)
"For the various Classes of Men are all markd out determinate
In Bowlahoola; & as the Spectres choose their affinities
So they are born on Earth, & every Class is determinate
But not by Natural but by Spiritual power alone, Because         
The Natural power continually seeks & tends to Destruction
Ending in Death: which would of itself be Eternal Death
And all are Class'd by Spiritual, & not by Natural power.

And every Natural Effect has a Spiritual Cause, and Not
A Natural: for a Natural Cause only seems, it is a Delusion      
Of Ulro: & a ratio of the perishing Vegetable Memory." 
Paul as well as Blake used the body as a metaphor. He chose the body to represent a group of believers in Corinth who were working together in spite of their diversity. He identified them as the body of Christ.

1st Corinthians 12
[14] For the body is not one member, but many.
[15] If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
[16] And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
[17] If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
[18] But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
[19] And if they were all one member, where were the body?
[20] But now are they many members, yet but one body.
[21] And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
[22] Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
[23] And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
[24] For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
[25] That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
[26] And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
[27] Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Vineyard

After the Flood had receded God said to Noalike he said to 
Adam. "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth".
That was in Genesis 9:1.

In Genesis 9:20 we read:

" And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:"

The word vineyard occurs often in the Bible. Jesus used it 
to tell a parable:
"There was a man who planted a vineyard, and let it out to some 
vine-dressers, while he went away to spend a long time abroad.  
10 And when the season came, he sent one of his servants on an 
errand to the vine-dressers, bidding them pay him his share of the
vineyard’s revenues. Whereupon the vine-dressers beat him, and
sent him away empty-handed.  
11 Then he sent another servant; and him too they sent away 
empty-handed, beating him first, and insulting him.  
12 Then he sent a third; and they drove him away wounded, like
the others.  
13 So the owner of the vineyard said, What am I to do? I will send 
my well-beloved son, perhaps they will have reverence for him.
14 But the vine-dressers, on seeing him, debated thus among 
themselves; This is the heir, let us kill him, so that his inheritance  may pass into our hands.  
15 And they thrust him out of the vineyard and killed him. And 
now, what will the owner of the vineyard do to them?  
16 He will come and make an end of those vine-dressers, and give 
his vineyard to others."  

In Jerusalem (Erdman 185) Blake wrote:
"And the soft smile of friendship & the open dawn of benevolence
Become a net & a trap, & every energy renderd cruel,
Till the existence of friendship & benevolence is denied:

The wine of the Spirit & the vineyards of the Holy-One.

Here: turn into poisonous stupor & deadly intoxication:
That they may be condemnd by Law & the Lamb of God be slain!
And the two Sources of Life in Eternity[,] Hunting and War,
Are become the Sources of dark & bitter Death & of
corroding Hell"

From The French Revolution (Erdman 289-90):

"Then the ancientest Peer, Duke of Burgundy, rose from the 
Monarch's right hand, red as wines
From his mountains, an odor of war, like a ripe 
vineyard, rose from his garments,
And the chamber became as a clouded sky; o'er the 
council he stretch'd his red limbs,
Cloth'd in flames of crimson, as a ripe vineyard 
stretches over sheaves of corn,
The fierce Duke hung over the council; around him 
croud, weeping in his burning robe,"

The primary product of the vineyard of course is wine; the two

words are closely related.  Ecclesiastically wine symbolizes the
blood of the Lamb.  This led Blake to make the immortal

"& Throughout all Eternity

I forgive you you forgive me
As our dear Redeemer said
This the Wine & this the Bread"
(Erdman 477)