|Library of Congress
Plate 16, Copy D
The song of the Bard in the Eternal court continued for thirteen plates in Blake's prophetic poem Milton. In Biblical terms it may be considered a long parable. Although it was presented to the Eternals as a body, it was addressed to Milton. It was an invitation to Milton to return to the level of existence which to ordinary humans is life in the real world. The dilemmas expressed in the Bard's Songs concerning the three classes of men, the emanations, and the role of the prophet, move Milton to choose to 'go to Eternal Death' to further explore the ways of God as they impact humanity.
Blake's Poetry and Designs, edited by Mary Lynn Johnson and John E Grant, Page 245 (note)
"The afterlife Milton experiences in the Heavens of Albion is inauthentic because it is achieved only by the outer shell of his personality. His essential self, as well as the works he has created and the women he has loved, are left in an unresolved state of conflict in the world of time and space. Instead of waiting for his dead body to be resurrected, Milton is now imbued with the living Spirit and casts off his former self in preparation for reentering the 'death' (cf. Paradise Lost I, 3) of the fallen world. By undergoing death as 'self-annihilation,' he will actually achieve new life, though it seems to him that he will be totally destroyed. This passage is illustrated on plate 16."
Milton, Plate 13 , (E 107) "The Bard ceas'd. All consider'd and a loud resounding murmur Continu'd round the Halls; and much they question'd the immortal Loud voicd Bard. and many condemn'd the high tone'd Song Saying Pity and Love are too venerable for the imputation Of Guilt. Others said. It it is true! if the acts have been perform'd Let the Bard himself witness. Where hadst thou this terrible Song The Bard replied. I am Inspired! I know it is Truth! for I Sing Plate 14  According to the inspiration of the Poetic Genius Who is the eternal all-protecting Divine Humanity To whom be Glory & Power & Dominion Evermore Amen Then there was great murmuring in the Heavens of Albion Concerning Generation & the Vegetative power & concerning The Lamb the Saviour: Albion trembled to Italy Greece & Egypt To Tartary & Hindostan & China & to Great America Shaking the roots & fast foundations of the Earth in doubtfulness The loud voic'd Bard terrify'd took refuge in Miltons bosom Then Milton rose up from the heavens of Albion ardorous! The whole Assembly wept prophetic, seeing in Miltons face And in his lineaments divine the shades of Death & Ulro He took off the robe of the promise, & ungirded himself from the oath of God And Milton said, I go to Eternal Death! The Nations still Follow after the detestable Gods of Priam; in pomp Of warlike selfhood, contradicting and blaspheming. When will the Resurrection come; to deliver the sleeping body From corruptibility: O when Lord Jesus wilt thou come? Tarry no longer; for my soul lies at the gates of death. I will arise and look forth for the morning of the grave. I will go down to the sepulcher to see if morning breaks! I will go down to self annihilation and eternal death, Lest the Last Judgment come & find me unannihilate And I be siez'd & giv'n into the hands of my own Selfhood The Lamb of God is seen thro' mists & shadows, hov'ring Over the sepulchers in clouds of Jehovah & winds of Elohim A disk of blood, distant; & heav'ns & earth's roll dark between What do I here before the Judgment? without my Emanation? With the daughters of memory, & not with the daughters of inspiration[?] I in my Selfhood am that Satan: I am that Evil One! He is my Spectre! in my obedience to loose him from my Hells To claim the Hells, my Furnaces, I go to Eternal Death."Blake's Poetry and Designs, edited by Mary Lynn Johnson and John E Grant, Page 257 (Note)
"Insofar as Milton's Satan represents Energy (Marriage of Heaven & Hell 4-5), he must be freed from the torment to which Milton had relegated him. Insofar as Milton, unable to recognize his own hypocrisy, has been imprisoned in his own selfhood, he has been like Satan in the Bard's Song. Milton is changing his conception of Satan; no longer is the principle of evil embodied in a rebel angel; instead, it lies in one's own self-deception and self righteousness."