Sunday, December 08, 2013


British Museum For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise
Plate 14

For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise, Plate 14, (E 266) 
"14 The Traveller hasteth in the Evening" 

For the Sexes: Gates of Paradise, Plate 19, (E 269) 
"14 Thro evening shades I haste away
 To close the Labours of my Day"

A man with a walking stick strides forward confident of the direction he is going. He is a traveller not a wanderer, however his journey is not yet over. He has not shed his clothing or emerged from a leafy environment.

Having caught a glimpse in the last plate of what had formerly been unseen to him, he is ready to transition to another world. But he still has ties to this world. He is willing to conclude the work which occupies him although it no longer has the meaning for him that it once did. He will not linger along the journey but keep moving as long as his travels take him through time and space. 

In Symbol and Image in William Blake, George Digby comments on the 'Labours' which the traveller must finish:
"He must complete the task of coming to terms with his experience, which began with his hatching from the egg in the sixth picture of the series. Until he has fully explored his own 'eternal lineaments' he cannot obtain release. Only when he has solved the enmeshing illusions of his own nature can he return, as the traveller now wishes to do."    

Milton, Plate 32 [25], (E 132)
"Judge then of thy Own Self: thy Eternal Lineaments explore       
What is Eternal & what Changeable? & what Annihilable!

The Imagination is not a State: it is the Human Existence itself
Affection or Love becomes a State, when divided from Imagination
The Memory is a State always, & the Reason is a State
Created to be Annihilated & a new Ratio Created                  
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"

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