Saturday, July 13, 2013


Proverbs of Hell

Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion.
The pride of the peacock is the glory of God.
The lust of the goat is the bounty of God.
The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God.
The nakedness of woman is the work of God.
Excess of sorrow laughs. Excess of joy weeps.
The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword, are portions of eternity too great for the eye of man.
The fox condemns the trap, not himself.
Joys impregnate. Sorrows bring forth.
Let man wear the fell of the lion. woman the fleece of the sheep.
The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.
The selfish smiling fool, & the sullen frowning fool shall be both thought wise, that they may be a rod.
What is now proved was once only imagin'd.
The rat, the mouse, the fox, the rabbet; watch the roots; the lion, the tyger, the horse, the elephant, watch the fruits.
The cistern contains: the fountain overflows.
One thought fills immensity.
Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you.
Every thing possible to be believ'd is an image of truth.
The eagle never lost so much time, as when he submitted to learn of the crow.

For Blake the choice of life (the eagle) is to transcend conventional mores (of the crow) and act according to one's own passsion.


Library of Congress

To the left of 'Proverbs of Hell you may see Oak Leaves and Acorns;
to the right is said to be a spreading grape vine.

At 'Let man wear': Note the eagle and the lion at the end and also
the woman and the sheep.

The lines have many small images, recognizable by
Erdman, and who else?

the lion in fact dominates this plate.

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