Friday, December 20, 2013


In Blake's worm we find an image of the lowest and weakest form of life. The worm lives in the earth or inhabits the grave.

British Museum
A Small Book of Designs
Copy A, 1789
Image from Plate 4 of Thel
In Thel we learn that the worm appears in another form: that of the infant. But this is not the child of Innocence who is cared for, guided and protected; but a child who is alone, crying for help, unattended and unloved. Because the worm and the infant are vulnerable they appropriately represent man at his nadir; when he is most in need of, and most receptive to help. Thel herself is such a child, on the verge of making a beginning: of experiencing a birth to an evolving consciousness. Thel turns back when she looks into the grave and sees not what we call death but what we call life.

The worm or babe, however, enters the world of 'joy and woe' which Thel refuses and begins the transforming journey.

Thel, Plate 4, (E 4) 
"Then Thel astonish'd view'd the Worm upon its dewy bed.
Art thou a Worm? image of weakness. art thou but a Worm?
I see thee like an infant wrapped in the Lillys leaf:
Ah weep not little voice, thou can'st not speak. but thou can'st weep;
Is this a Worm? I see thee lay helpless & naked: weeping,      
And none to answer, none to cherish thee with mothers smiles.
Plate 5
Queen of the vales, the matron Clay answerd; I heard thy sighs.
And all thy moans flew o'er my roof. but I have call'd them down:
Wilt thou O Queen enter my house. 'tis given thee to enter,
And to return; fear nothing. enter with thy virgin feet.
Plate 6 
Till to her own grave plot she came, & there she sat down.
And heard this voice of sorrow breathed from the hollow pit.     

Why cannot the Ear be closed to its own destruction?
Or the glistning Eye to the poison of a smile!
Why are Eyelids stord with arrows ready drawn,
Where a thousand fighting men in ambush lie?
Or an Eye of gifts & graces, show'ring fruits & coined gold!  
Why a Tongue impress'd with honey from every wind?
Why an Ear, a whirlpool fierce to draw creations in?
Why a Nostril wide inhaling terror trembling & affright.
Why a tender curb upon the youthful burning boy!
Why a little curtain of flesh on the bed of our desire?          

The Virgin started from her seat, & with a shriek.
Fled back unhinderd till she came into the vales of Har                                  
                  The End"

Visions of Daughters of Albion, Plate 5, (E 49)
"Does not the eagle scorn the earth & despise the treasures beneath?
But the mole knoweth what is there, & the worm shall tell it thee.       
Does not the worm erect a pillar in the mouldering church yard?
And a palace of eternity in the jaws of the hungry grave
Over his porch these words are written. Take thy bliss O Man!
And sweet shall be thy taste & sweet thy infant joys renew!"

Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 136, (E 403) 
"O terrible wine presses of Luvah O caverns of the Grave
How lovely the delights of those risen again from death
O trembling joy excess of joy is like Excess of grief

So sang the Human Odors round the wine presses of Luvah

But in the Wine presses is wailing terror & despair              
Forsaken of their Elements they vanish & are no more
No more but a desire of Being a distracted ravening desire
Desiring like the hungry worm & like the gaping grave 
They plunge into the Elements the Elements cast them forth
Or else consume their shadowy semblance Yet they obstinate       
Tho pained to distraction Cry O let us Exist for
This dreadful Non Existence is worse than pains of Eternal Birth
Eternal Death who can Endure. let us consume in fires
In waters stifling or in air corroding or in earth shut up
The Pangs of Eternal birth are better than the Pangs of Eternal Death"      
Annotations to Lavater (E 599)
"God is in the lowest effects as well as in the highest
causes for he is become a worm that he may nourish the weak
For let it be rememberd that creation is. God descending
according to the weakness of man for our Lord is the word of God
& every thing on earth is the word of God & in its essence is God"

Jerusalem, Plate 55, (E 205)
"Let the Human Organs be kept in their perfect Integrity
At will Contracting into Worms, or Expanding into Gods"

For the Sexes: The Gates of Paradise, (E 267) 
"16 I have said to the Worm: Thou art my mother & my sister
16 Thou'rt my Mother from the Womb 
 Wife, Sister, Daughter to the Tomb 
Weaving to Dreams the Sexual strife 
And weeping over the Web of Life"

First Corinthians 1
[25] For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
[26] For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth;
[27] but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong,
[28] God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,

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