Monday, April 29, 2013


Original in Huntington Library
Song of Los
Plate 2, Copy E
Science aims to make the future predictable. Every effect is the result of a cause. Each behavior follows laws which have been tested in the crucible of experiment to insure their reliability. Generalizations can be made from particulars. Any deviation from predicted behavior leads to further rule-making to explain, to justify and to predict. Behavior may fall outside of the predictable range but we can calculate the statistical probability of that occurring.  

A world governed by such science was not one in which William Blake lived. In his world every effect had a spiritual cause. Time was the mercy of eternity. Everything possible to be believed was an image of truth. Outer experience resulted from inner consciousness. Science could not exist in generalizing demonstrations of rational power.

It was possible for Blake to be comfortable in a world where a single moment may contain infinite imagery and every bird that cuts the airy way may be an immense world of delight. 

Ronald L. Grimes writing in Blake's Sublime Allegory, explains that in Blake's thought:

"Events do not proceed from one another developmentally. One might infer that vision is none other than the breakdown of strict chronological and causal sequences. Visionary relationships are the opposite of deterministic relationships, and each event is a 'miracle' in the sense that its cause is not immediately evident if one looks only at the empirical level. Events are somehow related, but not causally related. The problem is to find out exactly how they are related." (Page 64-5)

Milton, Plate 28 (30), (E 126)
"But others of the Sons of Los build Moments & Minutes & Hours
And Days & Months & Years & Ages & Periods; wondrous buildings
And every Moment has a Couch of gold for soft repose,
(A Moment equals a pulsation of the artery)    ,
And between every two Moments stands a Daughter of Beulah
To feed the Sleepers on their Couches with maternal care.
And every Minute has an azure Tent with silken Veils.  
And every Hour has a bright golden Gate carved with skill.
And every Day & Night, has Walls of brass & Gates of adamant,
Shining like precious stones & ornamented with appropriate signs:

And every Month, a silver paved Terrace builded high:
And every Year, invulnerable Barriers with high Towers.
And every Age is Moated deep with Bridges of silver & gold.
And every Seven Ages is Incircled with a Flaming Fire.
Now Seven Ages is amounting to Two Hundred Years
Each has its Guard. each Moment Minute Hour Day Month & Year.
All are the work of Fairy hands of the Four Elements      
The Guard are Angels of Providence on duty evermore
Every Time less than a pulsation of the artery
Is equal in its period & value to Six Thousand Years.
PLATE 29 [31]
For in this Period the Poets Work is Done: and all the Great
Events of Time start forth & are concievd in such a Period
Within a Moment: a Pulsation of the Artery."

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