Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The Couch of Death in Poetical Sketches
" The traveller that hath taken shelter under an oak, eyes
the distant country with joy! Such smiles were seen upon the
face of the youth! a visionary hand wiped away his tears, and a
ray of light beamed around his head! All was still. The moon
hung not out her lamp, and the stars faintly glimmered in the
summer sky; the breath of night slept among the leaves of the
forest; the bosom of the lofty hill drank in the silent dew,
while on his majestic brow the voice of Angels is heard, and
stringed sounds ride upon the wings of night. The sorrowful pair
lift up their heads, hovering Angels are around them, voices of
comfort are heard over the Couch of Death, and the youth breathes
out his soul with joy into eternity."
Marriage of Heaven and Earth, Proverbs of Hell,
"Eternity is in love with the productions of time."
Notebook Title Eternity"
"He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sun rise"
In the Preface of Milton:
"Rouze up O Young Men of the New Age! set your foreheads
against the ignorant Hirelings! For we have Hirelings in the
Camp, the Court, & the University: who would if they could, for
ever depress Mental & prolong Corporeal War. Painters! on you I
call! Sculptors! Architects! Suffer not the fash[i]onable Fools
to depress your powers by the prices they pretend to give for
contemptible works or the expensive advertizing boasts that they
make of such works; believe Christ & his Apostles that there is a
Class of Men whose whole delight is in Destroying. We do not
want either Greek or Roman Models if we are but just & true to
our own Imaginations, those Worlds of Eternity in which we shall
live for ever; in Jesus our Lord."
(A wonderful passage! He's saying that 'our own imaginations' are
Eternal and Immortal.)
And in Plate 14 of Milton we read:
"And Milton said. I go to Eternal Death! Eternity shudder'd
For he took the outside course, among the graves of the dead
A mournful shade. Eternity shudderd at the image of eternal death"
Milton, Plate 23 , (E 132)
"Whatever can be Created can be Annihilated Forms cannot
The Oak is cut down by the Ax, the Lamb falls by the Knife
But their Forms Eternal Exist, For-ever. Amen Halle[l]ujah
Thus they converse with the Dead watching round the Couch of Death.
For God himself enters Death's Door always with those that enter
And lays down in the Grave with them, in Visions of Eternity
Till they awake & see Jesus & the Linen Clothes lying
That the Females had Woven for them, & the Gates of their Fathers House"
For a summation of all these eternal/eternity posts we might say baldly that for
Blake eternity meant Heaven and eternal meant heavenly.