with cor[PL 7]roding fires he wrote the following sentence now percieved by the minds of men, & read by them on earth.
How do you know but ev'ry Bird that cuts the airy way, Is an immense world of delight, clos'd by your senses five? This is a critical statement: Look also at this paragraph in Blake's letter to Butts in Nov. 1902: Now I a fourfold vision see Tis fourfold in my supreme delight And three fold in soft Beulahs night And twofold Always. May God us keep From Single vision & Newtons sleep (Erdman 722)
Proverbs of Hell. In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy. Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead. The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity. He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence. The cut worm forgives the plow. Dip him in the river who loves water. A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star. Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
Blake gives a tip here about time and Eternity. he suggests that
Eternity is beyond time. The busy bee has no time for sorrow. The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock, but of wisdom: no clock can measure.
All wholsom food is caught without a net or a trap. Bring out number weight & measure in a year of dearth. No bird soars too high. if he soars with his own wings. A dead body. revenges not injuries. The most sublime act is to set another before you.
Look at Plate 96 of Jerusalem:"Jesus said. Wouldest thou love one who never died
For thee or ever die for one who had not died for thee
And if God dieth not for Man & giveth not himself
Eternally for Man Man could not exist. for Man is Love:
As God is Love: every kindness to another is a little Death
In the Divine Image nor can Man exist but by Brotherhood"
If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise
Folly is the cloke of knavery.
The knave always thinks he's smart.Shame is Prides cloke.
Look to the left side of "Proverbs of Hell" you may see at typical blakean tree.two parts bent over like the man bent over under one of them with a stick, a comment perhaps on 'the cut worm forives the plow'.
To the right of "Proverbs of Hell" you may discern a person with arms stretched
out joyfully (Erdman refers to him on page 104 of The Illuminated Blake as a gowned figure with two 'children'). To the left is the serpent rising diagonally.
Erdman has many other figures which are entirely opaque to me.
June Singer, on page 74 has this to say about the Proverbs of Hell:
"Blake proposes to display through the Proverbs the infernal wisdom that is much more a part of
man's essential nature than the creeds to which he (man) offers lip service...a distillation of his own
The fire she describes as Nebuchadnezzar's furnace.