Saturday, May 11, 2013


British Museum
Illustration to Young's Night Thoughts
"Touch that heals the soul"
In A Blake Dictionary, S. Foster Damon, in his commentary on Poetry, relates Blake's purpose in life to making man understandable to man. (Page 331)
"His 'great task' was to explore and record the mysteries of the human psyche, 'To open the Eternal Worlds, to open the immortal Eyes of Man inwards into the Worlds of Thought' (J 5: 18); and thought animated by passion, is the substance of his verse. Not until man understands the workings of his mind can peace and liberty be accomplished. Thus Blake became one of the great psychologists, anticipating many of the discoveries of later scientists.
He was not interested in illustrating moral precepts but in the analysis and cure of evil, which are very different matters."

Damon continues with this quote:

Annotations to Boyd, (E 634)
   "the grandest Poetry is Immoral the Grandest characters
Wicked.  Very Satan.  Capanius    Othello a murderer. 
Prometheus.  Jupiter.  Jehovah, Jesus a wine bibber
     Cunning & Morality are not Poetry but Philosophy the Poet is
Independent & Wicked the Philosopher is Dependent & Good
     Poetry is to excuse Vice & show its reason & necessary

Genesis 1
[27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

It is because man is created in the image of God his potential can never be discounted. The evidence of his failure and brokenness is not cause to despair. Blake believed that the imprint of God within man could be reached and renewed. Through the 'Poetic Inspiration' the 'Universe' could be rebuilt. The 'Universe' is the reunified Albion, the image of one man as including all that is, in a living body and mind as the revelation of God. 

Milton, Plate 30 [33],(E 129)
"But to
The Sons of Eden the moony habitations of Beulah,
Are from Great Eternity a mild & pleasant Rest.

And it is thus Created. Lo the Eternal Great Humanity            
To whom be Glory & Dominion Evermore Amen
Walks among all his awful Family seen in every face
As the breath of the Almighty. such are the words of man to man
In the great Wars of Eternity, in fury of Poetic Inspiration,
To build the Universe stupendous: Mental forms Creating"          

Milton, Plate 32 [35], (E 131)
"And thus the Seven Angels instructed him & thus they converse.

We are not Individuals but States: Combinations of Individuals   
We were Angels of the Divine Presence: & were Druids in Annandale
Compelld to combine into Form by Satan, the Spectre of Albion,
Who made himself a God &, destroyed the Human Form Divine.
But the Divine Humanity & Mercy gave us a Human     [Hebrew text]
     Form                                           as multitudes
Because we were combind in Freedom & holy             Vox Populi 

While those combind by Satans Tyranny first in the blood of War
And Sacrifice &, next, in Chains of imprisonment: are Shapeless Rocks
Retaining only Satans Mathematic Holiness, Length: Bredth & Highth
Calling the Human Imagination: which is the Divine Vision & Fruition
In which Man liveth eternally: madness & blasphemy, against      
Its own Qualities, which are Servants of Humanity, not Gods or Lords[.]
Distinguish therefore States from Individuals in those States.
Jerusalem, Plate 38 [43], (E 184)
"From howling victims of Law: building Heavens Twenty-seven-fold.
Swelld & bloated General Forms, repugnant to the Divine-
Humanity, who is the Only General and Universal Form         
To which all Lineaments tend & seek with love & sympathy
All broad & general principles belong to benevolence
Who protects minute particulars, every one in their own identity."

Jerusalem, Plate 79, (E 236)
"O Vala! Humanity is far above
Sexual organization; & the Visions of the Night of Beulah
Where Sexes wander in dreams of bliss among the Emanations    
Where the Masculine & Feminine are nurs'd into Youth & Maiden
By the tears & smiles of Beulahs Daughters till the time of Sleep is past.
Wherefore then do you realize these nets of beauty & delusion
In open day to draw the souls of the Dead into the light.
Till Albion is shut out from every Nation under Heaven." 

Blake agreed with Paul in Corinthians that by beholding the glory of the Lord man is changed into the same image as the Lord by the Lord's Spirit. 

2 Corinthians, Chapter 3 
[11] For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. 
[12] Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 
[13] And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 
[14] But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.  
[15] But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 
[16] Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 
[17] Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.   
[18] But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.


Vincent said...

In the quote from Damon, shouldn't it be "moral" rather than "mortal"?

It may be interesting to compare Blake's attitude to morality with that expressed by the Tao Te Ching in this extract, translated by Stephen Mitchell:

The more prohibitions you have,
the less virtuous people will be.
The more weapons you have,
the less secure people will be.
The more subsidies you have,
The less self-reliant people will be.

Therefore the Master says:
I let go of the law,
and people become honest.
I let go of economics,
and people become prosperous.
I let go of religion,
and people become serene.
I let go of all desire for the common good,
and the good becomes common as grass.

ellie said...

Thanks again Vincent for your editing. It makes more sense with the right word.
The quote from the Tao Te Ching is apropos and agrees with Blake's teaching remarkably.