Saturday, July 20, 2013


British Museum Milton
Copy A, Plate 29

Blake did not stand outside of the action which occurred in Milton. He began the book by using events in his own life to provide metaphors for the parable he presented in the Bard's Song which initiated Milton's decision to 'go to Eternal Death.' When Milton undertook his descent from his abode in Eternity to Albion's land, Blake watched his path in the appearance of  a falling star. At this point Milton entered Blake by way of his left foot. Blake was not claiming to understand what was happening to Milton, but he was claiming a desire to be used in the journey Milton was undertaking.
Blake's point in his poem Milton was that in undertaking the task of finding ways in which Milton's life and work may be transformed to epitomize the lineaments of the spiritual child of God he knew in Milton, he learned to transform himself. In the first book of Milton, the two poets learn to annihilate the Spectre, in the second book they learn to incorporate the Emanation.

Milton, Plate 14 [15], (E 108)
"Then on the verge of Beulah he [Milton] beheld his own Shadow;
A mournful form double; hermaphroditic: male & female
In one wonderful body. and he enterd into it
In direful pain for the dread shadow, twenty-seven-fold
Reachd to the depths of direst Hell, & thence to Albions land:  
Which is this earth of vegetation on which now I write,

The Seven Angels of the Presence wept over Miltons Shadow!
Plate 15 [17]
As when a man dreams, he reflects not that his body sleeps,
Else he would wake; so seem'd he entering his Shadow: but
With him the Spirits of the Seven Angels of the Presence
Entering; they gave him still perceptions of his Sleeping Body;
Which now arose and walk'd with them in Eden, as an Eighth   
Image Divine tho' darken'd; and tho walking as one walks
In sleep; and the Seven comforted and supported him.

Milton, Plate 15 [17], (E 109)
"First Milton saw Albion upon the Rock of Ages,
Deadly pale outstretchd and snowy cold, storm coverd;
A Giant form of perfect beauty outstretchd on the rock
In solemn death: the Sea of Time & Space thunderd aloud
Against the rock, which was inwrapped with the weeds of death    
Hovering over the cold bosom, in its vortex Milton bent down
To the bosom of death, what was underneath soon seemd above.
A cloudy heaven mingled with stormy seas in loudest ruin;
But as a wintry globe descends precipitant thro' Beulah bursting,
With thunders loud and terrible: so Miltons shadow fell        
Precipitant loud thundring into the Sea of Time & Space.

Then first I saw him in the Zenith as a falling star,
Descending perpendicular, swift as the swallow or swift;
And on my left foot falling on the tarsus, enterd there;
But from my left foot a black cloud redounding spread over Europe.          

Then Milton knew that the Three Heavens of Beulah were beheld
By him on earth in his bright pilgrimage of sixty years"

Milton, PLATE 21 [23], (E 115)
"And down descended into Udan-Adan; it was night:
And Satan sat sleeping upon his Couch in Udan-Adan:
His Spectre slept, his Shadow woke; when one sleeps th'other wakes

But Milton entering my Foot; I saw in the nether
Regions of the Imagination; also all men on Earth,               
And all in Heaven, saw in the nether regions of the Imagination
In Ulro beneath Beulah, the vast breach of Miltons descent.
But I knew not that it was Milton, for man cannot know
What passes in his members till periods of Space & Time
Reveal the secrets of Eternity: for more extensive               
Than any other earthly things, are Mans earthly lineaments.

And all this Vegetable World appeard on my left Foot,
As a bright sandal formd immortal of precious stones & gold:
I stooped down & bound it on to walk forward thro' Eternity."

Milton, Plate 22 [24], (E 116)
"Tho driven away with the Seven Starry Ones into the Ulro
Yet the Divine Vision remains Every-where For-ever. Amen.
And Ololon lamented for Milton with a great lamentation.

While Los heard indistinct in fear, what time I bound my sandals
On; to walk forward thro' Eternity, Los descended to me:         
And Los behind me stood; a terrible flaming Sun: just close
Behind my back; I turned round in terror, and behold.
Los stood in that fierce glowing fire; & he also  stoop'd down
And bound my sandals on in Udan-Adan; trembling I stood
Exceedingly with fear & terror, standing in the Vale             
Of Lambeth: but he kissed me and wishd me health.
And I became One  Man  with  him  arising in my strength:
Twas too late now to recede. Los had enterd into my soul:
His terrors now posses'd me whole! I arose in fury & strength."

Milton, Plate 36 [40], (E 136)  
"For Ololon step'd into the Polypus within the Mundane Shell
They could not step into Vegetable Worlds without becoming
The enemies of Humanity except in a Female Form          
And as One Female, Ololon and all its mighty Hosts
Appear'd: a Virgin of twelve years nor time nor space was
To the perception of the Virgin Ololon but as the
Flash of lightning but more  quick the Virgin in my Garden
Before my Cottage stood for the Satanic Space is delusion        

For when Los joind with me he took me in his firy whirlwind
My Vegetated portion was hurried from Lambeths shades
He set me down in Felphams Vale & prepard a beautiful
Cottage for me that in three years I might write all these Visions
To display Natures cruel holiness: the deceits of Natural Religion[.]   
Walking in my Cottage Garden, sudden I beheld
The Virgin Ololon & address'd her as a Daughter of Beulah[:]

Virgin of Providence fear not to enter into my Cottage
What is thy message to thy friend: What am I now to do
Is it again to plunge into deeper affliction? behold me          
Ready to obey, but pity thou my Shadow of Delight
Enter my Cottage, comfort her, for she is sick with fatigue  
PLATE 37 [41]
The Virgin answerd. Knowest thou of Milton who descended
Driven from Eternity; him I seek! terrified at my Act
In Great Eternity which thou  knowest!  I come him to seek

So Ololon utterd in words distinct the anxious thought"

Milton, Plate 42 [49], (E 143)
"Terror struck in the Vale I stood at that immortal sound
My bones trembled. I fell outstretchd upon the path              
A moment, & my Soul returnd into its mortal state
To Resurrection & Judgment in the Vegetable Body
And my sweet Shadow of Delight stood trembling by my side"

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