Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Blake altered several details in his second version of picture 7 illustrating the lines in which Sabrina sprinkles water on the Lady's breast and touches her fingertips and lips. In the Thomas version the Lady sits underground as she did in the first illustration of the series. In the Butts image she sits on the edge of the woods. Sabrina has lost two of her attending nymphs in the second version but has gained a rainbow. Expressions and gestures have been modified. The Lady seems more accepting of the changes she has undergone in the second illustration.
In both sets the attendant Spirit, still dressed as a shepherd, stands at the left of the picture and points heavenward. The attentive brothers watch as Sabrina provides her ministrations.

The addition of the rainbow creates another dimension to the transformation of the Lady. In the last post Sabrina's function was seen to be initiating the Lady to the world of generation as the next state on her journey. The rainbow is the symbol of the promise that generation will lead to regeneration. Damon tells us that: "Noah's rainbow is the hope and promise of immortality, as it symbolizes the spiritual body." (A Blake Dictionary, Page 340)
Wikipedia Commons
Milton's Comus
Butts Set, Illustration 7

A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634
John Milton

Line 802
Spirit to Sabrina
"Goddess dear
We implore thy powerful hand
To undoe the charmed band
Of true Virgin here distrest,
Through the force, and through the wile
Of unblest inchanter vile.

Shepherd 'tis my office best
To help insnared chastity;"

Line 938
Lady while Heaven lends us grace,
Let us fly this cursed place,
Lest the Sorcerer us intice
With som other new device.
Not a waste, or needless sound
Till we com to holier ground,
I shall be your faithfull guide
Through this gloomy covert wide,"

  As the attendant Spirit was assigned to watch over the Lady in her passage through the internal struggles surrounding her transition from Innocence to Experience, Los was selected to watch over and guide Albion through the task of rebuilding the fractured psyche into a unity.

Jerusalem, Plate 83, (E 242)
Los spoke:
"It must lie in confusion till Albions time of awaking.
Place the Tribes of Llewellyn in America for a hiding place!
Till sweet Jerusalem emanates again into Eternity
The night falls thick: I go upon my watch: be attentive:
The Sons of Albion go forth; I follow from my Furnaces:
That they return no more: that a place be prepard on Euphrates
Listen to your Watchmans voice: sleep not before the Furnaces
Eternal Death stands at the door. O God pity our labours.

So Los spoke. to the Daughters of Beulah while his Emanation
Like a faint rainbow waved before him in the awful gloom
Of London City on the Thames from Surrey Hills to Highgate

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