Sunday, July 14, 2013

PALAMABRON

British Museum
Milton
Copy A, Plate 8

In The Illuminated Blake, David Erdman comments on Plate 10 [8] of Milton:
"The touching of feet (one left and one right) is a sort of parody of the relationship of bread and wine in Plate 2; it should represent a marriage of true Contraries (as it does in Plate 48), and the brothers Rintrah and Palamabron should be touching each other, joining fraternal pity and wrath. They cannot truly pity or hate the selfhood Satan, a mere negation who will go up in smoke (see Plate 32). He has momentarily rent pity and wrath 'asunder' - 'The Separation was terrible' - but to look for Satan's 'hidden heart' is to look into 'a vast unfathomable abyss.'" (Page 226)



In the Bard's Song the tasks of the Eternal Prophet Los are split among his three sons. The plowing is assigned to Rintrah, the harrowing is assigned to Palamabron, and the milling is the task of Satan.

We learn that Palamabron is a gentle agreeable sort who is suited to the task of working the soil which has already been torn and broken by the plow in the hands of his brother Rintrah. As aspects of the work of the Prophet, Rintrah's work is the wrath of warning the lawbreakers of the consequences of their rebelliousness; Palamabron's work is in directing the repentants toward a path of renewal. Wrath and Pity are contraries; they work together to move forward the process of producing the harvest of souls.

Blake himself plays the role of Palamabron in his relationship to Hayley. Blake and Palamabron are both poets following their vocations of preparing the soil for individuals to grow toward the Eternal. Hayley plays the role of Satan in obstructing the progress of the poet Blake as he responds to his visionary call. The conflict is related in the Bard's Song in terms of the exchange of work assignments by Palamabron and Satan. The turmoil created by the weakness of Palamabron in submitting to the demands of Satan brings about the reconsideration by Blake and Milton of the means by which the prophet/poet can deliver Eternal Truth.      


Milton, Plate 6, (E 100)
"The Web of Life is woven: & the tender sinews of life created
And the Three Classes of Men regulated by Los's hammer. 
Plate 7
The first, The Elect from before the foundation of the World:
The second, The Redeem'd. The Third, The Reprobate & form'd
To destruction from the mothers womb: follow with me my plow!

Of the first class was Satan: with incomparable mildness;
His primitive tyrannical attempts on Los: with most endearing love    
He soft intreated Los to give to him Palamabrons station;
For Palamabron returnd with labour wearied every evening
Palamabron oft refus'd; and as often Satan offer'd
His service till by repeated offers and repeated intreaties
Los gave to him the Harrow of the Almighty; alas blamable      
Palamabron. fear'd to be angry lest Satan should accuse him of
Ingratitude, & Los believe the accusation thro Satans extreme
Mildness. Satan labour'd all day. it was a thousand years
In the evening returning terrified overlabourd & astonish'd
Embrac'd soft with a brothers tears Palamabron, who also wept  

Mark well my words! they are of your eternal salvation

Next morning Palamabron rose: the horses of the Harrow
Were maddend with tormenting fury, & the servants of the Harrow
The Gnomes, accus'd Satan, with indignation fury and fire.
Then Palamabron reddening like the Moon in an eclipse,        
Spoke saying, You know Satans mildness and his self-imposition,
Seeming a brother, being a tyrant, even thinking himself a brother
While he is murdering the just; prophetic I behold
His future course thro' darkness and despair to eternal death
But we must not be tyrants also! he hath assum'd my place      
For one whole day, under pretence of pity and love to me:
My horses hath he maddend! and my fellow servants injur'd:
How should he[,] he[,] know the duties of another? O foolish forbearance
Would I had told Los, all my heart! but patience O my friends.
All may be well: silent remain, while I call Los and Satan.

But Palamabron called down a Great Solemn Assembly,
That he who will not defend Truth, may be compelled to
Defend a Lie, that he may be snared & caught & taken"

Milton, Plate 9, (E 102)
"And all Eden descended into Palamabrons tent
Among Albions Druids & Bards, in the caves beneath Albions
Death Couch, in the caverns of death, in the corner of the Atlantic.
And in the midst of the Great Assembly Palamabron pray'd:
O God protect me from my friends, that they have not power over me       
Thou hast giv'n me power to protect myself from my bitterest enemies.

Mark well my words, they are of your eternal salvation" 

Milton, Plate 9, (E 103)
"Astonishment held the Assembly in an awful silence: and tears
Fell down as dews of night, & a loud solemn universal groan
Was utter'd from the east & from the west & from the south
And from the north; and Satan stood opake immeasurable
Covering the cast with solid blackness, round his hidden heart   
With thunders utterd from his hidden wheels: accusing loud
The Divine Mercy, for protecting Palamabron in his tent.

Milton, Plate 11 [12], (E 105)
But when Leutha (a Daughter of Beulah) beheld Satans condemnation
She down descended into the midst of the Great Solemn Assembly
Offering herself a Ransom for Satan, taking on her, his Sin.   

Mark well my words. they are of your eternal salvation!

And Leutha stood glowing with varying colours immortal, heart-piercing
And lovely: & her moth-like elegance shone over the Assembly

At length standing upon the golden floor of Palamabron
She spake: I am the Author of this Sin! by my suggestion   
My Parent power Satan has committed this transgression.
I loved Palamabron & I sought to approach his Tent,
But beautiful Elynittria with her silver arrows repelld me.
Plate 12 [13]
For her light is terrible to me. I fade before her immortal beauty." 

Milton, Plate 13 [14], (E 107)
"But Elynittria met Leutha in the place where she was hidden.
And threw aside her arrows, and laid down her sounding Bow;
She sooth'd her with soft words & brought her to Palamabrons bed
In moments new created for delusion, interwoven round about,
In dreams she bore the shadowy Spectre of Sleep, & namd him Death.     
In dreams she bore Rahab the mother of Tirzah & her sisters
In Lambeths vales; in Cambridge & in Oxford, places of Thought
Intricate labyrinths of Times and Spaces unknown, that Leutha lived
In Palamabrons Tent, and Oothoon was her charming guard.

The Bard ceas'd." 

Harold Bloom in Blake's Apocalypse brings together threads of the complex fabric of Milton on Page 321: "Satan's emanative portion [Leutha], his repressed creativity, loved Palamabron and sought to approach him, but was repelled by Elynittria [Palamabron's emanation], more beautiful than Leutha precisely because Palamabron is an artist, a maker of civilizations. Unable to proceed openly, Leutha engendered in Satan 'his soft delusory love to Palamabron, admiration joined with envy.' The Elect advance upon the Redeemed, offering love and assistance, but harboring the murderous lust of possessiveness. The age will accept Blake as an artist, but only if he will become a Hayley, not a reborn Milton."

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