Wednesday, July 31, 2013

MHH 20

From the previous plate we read: Here said I! is your lot, in this space, if space it may be calld, Soon we saw the stable and the church, & I took him to the altar and open'd the Bible, and lo! it was a deep pit, into which I descended driving the Angel before me, soon we saw seven houses of brick, one we enterd; in it were a 
LC Rosenwald
Here's a better image

[PL 20] number of monkeys,
baboons, & all of that species chaind by the middle, grinning and
snatching at one another, but witheld by the shortness of their
chains: however I saw that they sometimes
grew numerous, and then
the weak were caught by the strong and with a grinning aspect,
first coupled with & then devourd, by
plucking off first one limb
and then another till the body was left a
helpless trunk. this
after grinning & kissing it with seeming
fondness they devourd
too; and here & there I saw one
savourily picking the flesh off
of his own tail; as the stench terribly
annoyd us both we went
into the mill, & I in my hand brought
the skeleton of a body,
which in the mill was Aristotles Analytics.
So the Angel said: thy phantasy has
imposed upon me & thou
oughtest to be ashamed.I answerd: we impose on one another, & it is but lost time
to converse with you whose works are only Analytics.

Throughout Blake's work we see a radically criticism of the religious establishment:

From Songs:
The Little Vagabond
But if at the Church they would give us some Ale.
And a pleasant fire, our souls to regale;
We'd sing and we'd pray, all the live-long day;
Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray,
Then the Parson might preach & drink & sing.
And we'd be as happy as birds in the spring:
And modest dame Lurch, who is always at Church,
Would not have bandy children nor fasting nor birch.
And God like a father rejoicing to see,
His children as pleasant and happy as he:
Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the Barrel
But kiss him & give him both drink and apparel.

I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear
How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every blackning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls
(Erdman 26-7)
And many other poems

The picture at the bottom is a serpent, his mouth wide open pointing  up, or maybe Leviathan, very suitable for the tone of this text.


Susan J. said...

I like Blake's phrase "we impose on one another" -- what an apt description of two discussants who are "not on the same page"...

at the beginning, where it says "Soon we saw the stable and the church, & I took him to the altar and open'd the Bible, and lo! it was a deep pit, into which I descended driving the Angel before me..."

do you think "it" - the deep pit -- means the Bible, the altar, the church itself...? or maybe all 3?

thanks, Larry!!

Larry said...

Susan, I think he got carried away into flights of fancy.
I thought perhaps he was intimating that he whole thing is wrong: the Bible used inerrantly is grossly foreign to any kind of true religion.

The altar symbolized for Blake all the liturgy and the general falseness of much that happens in orginary churches.

I gave up 'churches' a long time ago, and the people I visit in the hospital very often express similar feelings. Like Blake many of them are abstainers.

ellie said...

I picked up on his word Analytics and assumed be was complaining about abstract though distanced from imaginative thought. Deism to him was religion stripped of any direct experience of God's real Presence. The monkeys had picked off the flesh and left religion as a rotting corpse and called it 'enlightenment.'