Wednesday, January 15, 2014


In the previous image the attendant Spirit was in a spiritual form, not material; he/she observed without being observed. In Illustration 4 we see the two brothers on either side of the Spirit. In order to interact with the brothers and warn them of the Lady's plight, the spirit becomes visible taking on the appearance of a shepherd familiar to the children. In Spirit form he overheard the conversation between Comus and the Lady. Unable to intervene directly he seeks out the brothers, becomes manifest to them, and offers to  provide them with a mysterious flower which is effective against enchantment. 
Illustration 4 shows the brothers in conversation with the Spirit appearing as their father's shepherd. The spirit holds the 'haemony' whose protection will allow the brothers to assault Comus' lair and rescue the Lady. At the top of the picture a veiled individual rides a serpent chariot across the sky. 

Clearly the young woman has become the focus of forces which are working to transform her in some way. She is exposed to temptation from Comus who will offer an exit from the protected world of childhood into a debased sexuality. Her brothers desire to use the violence of physical force to return her to the state in which the journey  began. The attendant Spirit offers a power through which the tempter can be dispelled with undefined consequences. Unknown forces, too, are in the air with the potential for influencing the development of the young woman. 

Original in Huntington Gallery
Milton's Comus
Illustration 4
A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634
John Milton
Line 560
[Attendant Spirit]
"I was all eare,
And took in strains that might create a soul
Under the ribs of Death; but O ere long
Too well I did perceive it was the voice
Of my most honour'd Lady, your dear sister.
Amaz'd I stood, harrow'd with grief and fear,
And O poor hapless Nightingale thought I,
How sweet thou sing'st, how neer the deadly snare!
Then down the Lawns I ran with headlong hast
Through paths, and turnings oft'n trod by day,
Till guided by mine ear I found the place
Where that damn'd wisard hid in sly disguise
(For so by certain signes I knew) had met
Already, ere my best speed could prvent,

The aidless innocent Lady his wish't prey,
Who gently ask't if he had seen such two,
Supposing him som neighbour villager;
Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guess't
Ye were the two she mean't, with that I sprung
Into swift flight, till I had found you here,
But furder know I not."

The attendant Spirit instructs the brothers on the use to which the 'haemony' may be put.

Line 647
"if you have this about you
(As I will give you when we go) you may
Boldly assault the necromancers hall;
Where if he be, with dauntless hardihood,

And brandish't blade rush on him, break his glass,
And shed the lushious liquor on the ground,
But sease his wand;"

Blake like Milton saw the need for protection to be provided by spiritual forces in order for man to navigate the treacherous paths through a demonic world.

Milton, Plate 23 [25], (E 119)
"We were plac'd here by the Universal Brotherhood & Mercy
With powers fitted to circumscribe this dark Satanic death
And that the Seven Eyes of God may have space for Redemption.
But how this is as yet we know not, and we cannot know;
Till Albion is arisen; then patient wait a little while,
Six Thousand years are passd away the end approaches fast;
This mighty one is come from Eden, he is of the Elect,
Who died from Earth & he is returnd before the Judgment. This thing
Was never known that one of the holy dead should willing return
Then patient wait a little while till the Last Vintage is over:"

Milton, Plate 24 (E 119)
"Enitharmon wept
One thousand years, and all the Earth was in a watry deluge
We calld him Menassheh because of the Generations of Tirzah 
Because of Satan: & the Seven Eyes of God continually
Guard round them, but I the Fourth Zoa am also set
The Watchman of Eternity, the Three are not! & I am preserved
Still my four mighty ones are left to me in Golgonooza
Still Rintrah fierce, and Palamabron mild & piteous
Theotormon filld with care, Bromion loving Science
You O my Sons still guard round Los."
Might we be reminded of the gift of the Holy Spirit:
John 14
[15] If ye love me, keep my commandments.
[16] And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
[17] Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
[18] I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

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