Tuesday, July 09, 2013

MHH 4 and 5

Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs 
is weak enough to be restrained; and the restrainer or 
reason usurps its place & governs the unwilling.
And being restrain'd, it by degrees becomes passive, 
till it is only the shadow of desire.
The history of this is written in Paradise Lost, & the 
Governor or Reason is call'd Messiah.
And the original Archangel, or possessor of the command
of the heavenly host, is call'd the Devil or Satan, 
and his children are call'd Sin & Death.
But in the Book of Job, Milton's Messiah is call'd Satan.
For this history has been adopted by both parties.
It indeed appeared to Reason as if Desire was 
cast out; but the Devil's account is, that the Messiah fell, &:

Here we see that WB had begun to listen to the "Voice of the Devil".  He had come to 

disvalue Reason and defend Desire as the chief source of Energy.  These plates are
written in that light.

An extreme individualist Blake associated Reason with Conformity, especially religious

conformity.  He had looked closely at the Established Church as well as various 'sects'
such as Swedenborg's thought.  He weighed them and found them wanting. (That's 
fairly typical of young individualists although Blake was 33 when he wrote MHH.) He
felt that he should honor his desires (and satisfy them). 

WB felt that Milton, his long term hero, had written Paradise Lost where he accepted

the fallen world's restraint of human desire.  Milton had gone wrong, and Blake set
to making him right; ten years later he wrote his long illuminated poem (Milton).
redeeming Milton by a return from Heaven to the world as a healer (much as Jesus
had done).

And fell and formed a heaven from what he stole from the
This is shown in the Gospel, where he prays to the
Father to send the comforter or Desire that Reason
 may have Ideas to build on, the Jehovah of the Bible
 being no other than he who dwells in flaming fire,
Know that after Christs death, he became Jehovah.
But in Milton; the Father is Destiny, the Son, a
Ratio of the five senses, & the Holy-ghost, Vacuum!
Note. The reason Milton wrote in fetter when
he wrote of Angels & God, and at liberty when of
Devils & Hell, is because he was a true Poet and
And of the Devils party without knowing it. 

                                  A Memorable Fancy

      As I was walking amont the fires of hell, de-

-lighted with the enjoyments of Genius, which to An-
gels look like torment and insanity. I collected some
of their Proverbs: thinking that as the sayings used
 in a nation, mark its character, so the Proverbs of
Hell, shew the nature of Infernal wisdom better
than any description of buildings or garments
When I came home; on the abyss of the five sen-
-ses. where a flat sided steep frowns over the pre-
-sent world. I saw a mighty Devil folded in black
clouds, hovering on the sides of the rock, 

The Comforter is generally thought of as the
Holy Spirit. As this plate indicates, Blake has replaced 
the Comforter with Desire, a pretty extreme

In Blake's poetry he used Jehovah in several senses;
the most common one was the vindictive God who will
punish us for our various lapses from his rules.
"Know that after Christs death, he became Jehovah."
By this Blake is saying that Christ was considered
just like the O.T. God.
[24] For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
[3] Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which
goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and
he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out,
and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.
Heb.12[29] For our God is a consuming fire.)

Blake finished this plate with another statement of the parody:
Angels are conformists;
Devils are individualists.

I quoted extensively from The Unholy Bible in these plates.

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