Wednesday, March 27, 2013


From Exodus 20 we read:

Blake had a serious problem with these Laws; he didn’t believe in laws; he 
felt they were an infringement on our freedom.

He addressed this problem in several ways in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell:

“One Law for the Lion & Ox is Oppression” (Plate 24; Erdman 44)

And in the Plate before (23) the devil (speaking for Blake) had this to say:

“if Jesus Christ is the greatest man, you ought to love him in the greatest degree" 
" now
hear how he has given his sanction to the law of ten
commandments: did he not mock at the sabbath, and so mock the
sabbaths God? murder those who were murderd because of him? turn
away the law from the woman taken in adultery? steal the labor of
others to support him? bear false witness when he omitted making
a defence before Pilate? covet when he pray'd for his disciples,
and when he bid them shake off the dust of their feet against
such as refused to lodge them? I tell you, no virtue can exist
without breaking these ten commandments: Jesus was all virtue,
and acted from impulse: not from rules."


In Blake’s myth Urizen acted as God, the giver of laws:
Beginning of the Book of Urizen; Library of Congress

Urizen was supposed to create the world, but in exasperation he said:

“He in darkness clos'd, view'd all his race,

(Like Paul, who said in Romans 3:10:
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one."
(Quoting Psalm 14)

And his soul sicken'd! he curs'dBoth sons & daughters; for he saw
That no flesh nor spirit could keep                        
His iron laws one moment.”
In America, a Prophecy, after the magnificent song re Liberation we read:

The morning comes, the night decays, the watchmen leave their stations;
The grave is burst, the spices shed, the linen wrapped up;
The bones of death, the cov'ring clay, the sinews shrunk & dry'd.
Reviving shake, inspiring move, breathing! awakening!
Spring like redeemed captives when their bonds & bars are burst;
Let the slave grinding at the mill, run out into the field:
Let him look up into the heavens & laugh in the bright air;
Let the inchained soul shut up in darkness and in sighing,
Whose face has never seen a smile in thirty weary years;
Rise and look out, his chains are loose, his dungeon doors are open.     
And let his wife and children return from the opressors scourge;
They look behind at every step & believe it is a dream.
Singing. The Sun has left his blackness, & has found a fresher morning
And the fair Moon rejoices in the clear & cloudless night;
For Empire is no more, and now the Lion & Wolf shall cease.

The terror answerd: I am Orc, wreath'd round the accursed tree:
The times are ended; shadows pass the morning gins to break;
The fiery joy, that Urizen perverted to
ten commands,
What night he led the starry hosts thro' the wide wilderness:
That stony law I stamp to dust: and scatter religion abroad      
To the four winds as a torn book, & none shall gather the leaves;
But they shall rot on desart sands, & consume in bottomless
To make the desarts blossom, & the deeps shrink to their

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