Monday, July 08, 2013

THE ETERNALS


Yale Center for British Art 
 Book of Urizen
Copy C, Plate 13
The Bard who sang his prophetic song performed for a gathering in Eternity sitting at table. Among his audience was Milton whose 100 years in Eternity had been spent pondering the 'intricate mazes of Providence' which he had tried to justify to man in Paradise lost. The Eternals are outside of time and space; from their lofty perch they have access to the world of time and space but they do not ordinarily enter its confines.

Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 99, (E 371)
"Then All in Great Eternity Met in the Council of God
as one Man Even Jesus"


Jerusalem, Plate 31 [35], (E 177)
"And the Divine voice came from the Furnaces, as multitudes without
Number! the voices of the innumerable multitudes of Eternity.
And the appearance of a Man was seen in the Furnaces;"


Four Zoas, Night I, Page 21, (E 310) 
"Then those in Great Eternity met in the Council of God
As one Man for contracting their Exalted Senses
They behold Multitude or Expanding they behold as one
As One Man all the Universal family & that one Man  
They call Jesus the Christ & they in him & he in them            
Live in Perfect harmony in Eden the land of life
Consulting as One Man above the Mountain of Snowdon Sublime" 

The company of Eternals of which Milton was a part occupy 'Eden, the garden of God' as noted by Damon. He also states that: "They follow events below with great interest, and at times confer in the 'Council of God', where they may argue, but always act as one, as Jesus, and appear like the sun". (Page 105, A Blake Dictionary)


Milton, Plate 11 [12], (E 1O4)
"And it was enquir'd: Why in a Great Solemn Assembly           
The Innocent should be condemn'd for the Guilty? Then an Eternal rose

Saying. If the Guilty should be condemn'd, he must be an Eternal Death
And one must die for another throughout all Eternity."

Milton, Plate 20 [22], (E 114)
"Thus Milton fell thro Albions heart, travelling outside of Humanity
Beyond the Stars in Chaos in Caverns of the Mundane Shell.

But many of the Eternals rose up from eternal tables
Drunk with the Spirit, burning round the Couch of death they stood
Looking down into Beulah: wrathful, fill'd with rage!            
They rend the heavens round the Watchers in a fiery circle:
And round the Shadowy Eighth: the Eight close up the Couch

Into a tabernacle, and flee with cries down to the Deeps:
Where Los opens his three wide gates, surrounded by raging fires!
They soon find their own place & join the Watchers of the Ulro."  

Milton, Plate 40 [46], (E 141)
"Before Ololon Milton stood & percievd the Eternal Form
Of that mild Vision; wondrous were their acts by me unknown
Except remotely;" 
The Eternals are prominent in The Book of Urizen where they enlist the help of Los (time) in limiting the cascading fall initiated by Urizen's religion. The Eternals and Los cooperate in devising ways to return conditions to the balance and harmony which existed before the unity was fractured and a portion appeared externally. 

Book of Urizen, Plate 2, (E 70)
"Of the primeval Priests assum'd power,
When Eternals spurn'd back his religion;
And gave him a place in the north,
Obscure, shadowy, void, solitary.

Eternals I hear your call gladly,                                
Dictate swift winged words, & fear not
To unfold your dark visions of torment."

Book of Urizen, Plate 5, (E 73)
"8. And Los round the dark globe of Urizen,
Kept watch for Eternals to confine,
The obscure separation alone;                                 
For Eternity stood wide apart,"

Book of Urizen, Plate 15, (E 78)
"The Abyss of Los stretch'd immense:       
And now seen, now obscur'd, to the eyes
Of Eternals, the visions remote
Of the dark seperation appear'd.
As glasses discover Worlds
In the endless Abyss of space,            
So the expanding eyes of Immortals
Beheld the dark visions of Los,
And the globe of life blood trembling

At the first female form now separate"                  

Book of Urizen, Plate 19, (E 78)
"They call'd her Pity, and fled

11. "Spread a Tent, with strong curtains around them
"Let cords & stakes bind in the Void
That Eternals may no more behold them"

12. They began to weave curtains of darkness           
They erected large pillars round the Void
With golden hooks fastend in the pillars
With infinite labour the Eternals
A woof wove, and called it Science"

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