Saturday, January 18, 2014

Illustrations of Paradise 6

Wikipedia Common
Plate 6

The man on top surrounded by stars and moon is of course Satan; he's folded with his favorite
animal, the Serpent.  The serpent's mouth is close to Satan's face, and Satan looking down
to what was happening below sees Eve's face touching that of Adam.

Adam and Eve are resting on a pile of fruit (Apples? the Book says flowers)- the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge
of Good and Evil.  You might say that the ghostly Satan above curses Adam, pointing his finger at him.

The fruit was delicious and Good, but they know that Evil is also
possible.  But this is a scene of innocent conjugal love.

Blake might spend a thousand words to describe this story, but the picture tells it all.

Milton wrote it with much detail:

Robert Essick tells us on page 114:
"The bat-winged devil and his serpent roughly parallel the distinction between the self and its 'Spectre'" (which is described in great detail in "My Spectre around me night and day'.)

From Book 4:

From Book 4:
So spake our general Mother, and with eyes
Of conjugal attraction unreprov'd,
And meek surrender, half imbracing leand
On our first Father, half her swelling Breast [ 495 ]
Naked met his under the flowing Gold
Of her loose tresses hid: he in delight
Both of her Beauty and submissive Charms
Smil'd with superior Love, as Jupiter
On Juno smiles, when he impregns the Clouds [ 500 ]
That shed May Flowers; and press'd her Matron lip
With kisses pure: aside the Devil turnd
For envie, yet with jealous leer maligne
Ey'd them askance, and to himself thus plaind.
Sight hateful, sight tormenting! thus these two [ 505 ]
Imparadis't in one anothers arms
The happier Eden, shall enjoy thir fill
Of bliss on bliss, while I to Hell am thrust,
Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire,
Among our other torments not the least, [ 510 ]
Still unfulfill'd with pain of longing pines;
Yet let me not forget what I have gain'd
From thir own mouths; all is not theirs it seems:
One fatal Tree there stands of Knowledge call'd,
Forbidden them to taste

(For a better account go to Dartmouth Ed, upon which this is based.)

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