Wednesday, October 02, 2013


British Museum
Jerusalem Frontispiece
Copy A
Blake uses the grave as a symbol for this mortal, earthly life. Like John, the Gospel writer, Blake images the seed of life falling into the earth which is its grave. For Blake the element or Zoa of earth is Urthona through whom the imagination is expressed. Death becomes the entry point into the grave which we experience as life. The seed which was buried is molded into a visible form as though it acquired clothing appropriate to an earthly life. 
John 12
[24] Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
[25] He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.


Milton, Plate 26 [30], (E 126)
"Antamon takes them into his beautiful flexible hands,
As the Sower takes the seed, or as the Artist his clay
Or fine wax, to mould artful a model for golden ornaments,      
The soft hands of Antamon draw the indelible line:
Form immortal with golden pen; such as the Spectre admiring
Puts on the sweet form; then smiles Antamon bright thro his windows
The Daughters of beauty look up from their Loom & prepare.
The integument soft for its clothing with joy & delight."
It is this clothing which is susceptible to becoming the Selfhood which must be annihilated. As Blake says in the epilogue to Gates of Paradise:
"To The Accuser Who is
  The God of This World

Truly My Satan thou art but a Dunce
And dost not know the Garment from the Man" 

To keep one's life one must learn to love the seed planted within one more than the encrustation formed around it by worldly considerations. Then the individual will know what can be saved and what must be annihilated.
Jerusalem, Plate 49, (E 199)
"Learn therefore O Sisters to distinguish the Eternal Human
That walks about among the stones of fire in bliss & woe
Alternate! from those States or Worlds in which the Spirit travels"

Milton, Plate 14 [15], (E 108)
"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?"

Milton, Plate 40 [46], (E 142) 
"There is a Negation, & there is a Contrary
The Negation must be destroyd to redeem the Contraries
The Negation is the Spectre; the Reasoning Power in Man
This is a false Body: an Incrustation over my Immortal           
Spirit; a Selfhood, which must be put off & annihilated alway
To cleanse the Face of my Spirit by Self-examination."

Milton, Plate 38 [43], (E 139)
"I come to discover before Heavn & Hell the Self righteousness
In all its Hypocritic turpitude, opening to every eye
These wonders of Satans holiness shewing to the Earth     
The Idol Virtues of the Natural Heart, & Satans Seat
Explore in all its Selfish Natural Virtue & put off
In Self annihilation all that is not of God alone:
To put off Self & all I have ever & ever Amen"

Jerusalem, Plate 21, (E 167)
 "O that Death & Annihilation were the same!"

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