Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Newton's Laws of Motion:
Law I: Every body persists in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by force impressed.

Law II: The alteration of motion is ever proportional to the motive force impress'd; and is made in the direction of the right line in which that force is impress'd.

Law III: To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions.
I wonder if Blake was reacting to Newton's statement of the three laws of motion when he make his statements about the relationships among the soul, the body, the senses, reason, energy and eternal delight in The Marriage of Heaven & Hell.

Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 4, (E 34)
  "But the following Contraries to these are True
  1 Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that calld Body is
a portion of Soul discernd by the five Senses. the chief inlets
of Soul in this age
  2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is
the bound or outward circumference of Energy.
  3 Energy is Eternal Delight"

Library of Congress
Marriage of Heaven & Hell
Plate 4, Copy D

Newton postulated his laws based on physical matter and forces which could be measured with physical instruments. Blake introduced the soul as inseparable from from the body. Split from the soul the body is only the aspect of man that can be discerned by the those totally unreliable and distorting receptors which are called the five senses. Energy for Blake is not forces that move matter but the life force which abides in the body and is only limited when Reason defines and circumscribes it. Energy partakes of the Eternal which cannot be encompassed by laws and rules and definitions. The Delight which epitomizes the exercise of creative imagination is the signature of Blake's understanding of energy.
Songs and Ballads, Notebook, (E 477)
"Mock on Mock on Voltaire Rousseau
Mock on Mock on! tis all in vain!
You throw the sand against the wind
And the wind blows it back again

And every sand becomes a Gem                          
Reflected in the beams divine
Blown back they blind the mocking Eye   
But still in Israels paths they shine

The Atoms of Democritus
And Newtons Particles of light          
Are sands upon the Red sea shore
Where Israels tents do shine so bright"

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