Sunday, December 22, 2013


Following the lead of Milton in Paradise lost, Blake uses Lucifer as symbolic of a being who was perfect in the Eternal realm until his pride led to his fall. Milton and Blake are basing their poetry on imagery in the Old Testament of men who were blessed with the greatest worldly success and power but reached their downfall through elevating themselves to the status of gods. The term Lucifer is used in Isaiah 14 of the King James translation of the Bible to refer to the king, who although the brightest light of his milieu, had fallen from heaven to be brought down into the pit of hell.

Isaiah 14
 [10] All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?
[11] Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.
[12] How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
[13] For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
[14] I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
[15] Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

A similar successful king described by Ezekiel experienced a similar inflation and fall. In this instance the prophet names the king the 'anointed cherub that covereth', and describes him as walking on the 'Holy Mountain of God.' This leads to the idea that Lucifer is the name of the Eternal entity who was perfect and who became Satan as he fell into iniquity. 

Ezekiel 28
[1] The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
[2] Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:
[13] Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
[14] Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
[15] Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

The meaning of the word Lucifer in Hebrew is light bearer. The name Lucifer became associated with the Morning Star or Venus, as the brightest light of the morning sky. One reference in the New Testament points to the fall from heaven of the stars on the day of tribulation. A second recalls the words of Jesus speaking of the fall of Satan as lightning from Heaven. 

Matthew 24
[29] Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Luke 10
[17] And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
[18] And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 

Found on Internet

In the series of Biblical watercolor paintings Blake made for Thomas Butts, he included one which goes by the name "Satan in His Original Glory: Thou Wast Perfect Till Iniquity Was Found in Thee". In this picture Blake portrays Lucifer in his perfection at the moment when his Selfhood says "I will be like the most High."

In A Blake Dictionary, Damon provides a description of details to look for in the picture. The image in the Blake Archive allows us to see each minute detail by clicking on the picture:

"A water color entitled "Satan in His Original Glory shows the crowned Lucifer extending the globe and the scepter. The scepter of temporal power lies heavy on a scroll which two figures are endeavoring to unroll. A recording angel sits above three angels trumpeting downwards; beneath them, a figure descends with a book of laws for the starry world below. Beside the cross-surmounted globe of spiritual authority, a female intervenes between a figure reading a book and two fleeing babes. Beneath the globe a figure points to a hint of flames behind Lucifer's robe. There are several figures of woe, including a youth attempting to embrace a maiden, who points upward in warning against Lucifer."   

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