Sunday, February 23, 2014


Each of the images in the Large Color Printed Drawings includes paradox. In the House of Death we confront the sorrows of disease and torture and despair as described in Milton's Paradise Lost which this image is said to represent.
Paradise Lost
, Book XI, Line 477
"Immediately a place
Before his eyes appeard, sad, noysom, dark,
A Lazar-house it seemd, wherein were laid
Numbers of all diseas'd, all maladies
Of gastly Spasm, or racking torture, qualmes
Of heart-sick Agonie, all feavorous kinds,
Convulsions, Epilepsies, fierce Catarrhs,
Intestin Stone and Ulcer, Colic pangs,
Daemoniac Phrenzie, moaping  Melancholie
And Moon-struck madness, pining Atrophie
Marasnus and wide-wasting Pestilence,
Dropsies, and Asthma's, and Joint-racking Rheums.
Dire was the tossing, deep the groans, despair
Tended the sick busiest from Couch to Couch;
And over them triumphant Death his Dart
Shook, but delaid to strike, though oft invokt
With vows, as thir chief good, and final hope."
British Museum
Large Color Printed Drawings
House of Death
But Blake tells us that these afflictions are of the mortal body which passes away when man is born is his spiritual body.

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 564)
"Many Persons such as Paine & Voltaire with some
of the Ancient Greeks say we will not Converse concerning Good
& Evil we will live in Paradise & Liberty   You may do so in
Spirit but not in the Mortal Body as you pretend till after the
Last Judgment for in Paradise they have no Corporeal & Mortal
Body that originated with the Fall & was calld Death & cannot be
removed but by a Last judgment while we are in the world of
Mortality we Must Suffer   The Whole Creation Groans to be
deliverd there will always be as many Hypocrites born as Honest
Men & they will always have superior Power in Mortal Things   You
cannot have Liberty in this World without what you call Moral
Virtue & you cannot have Moral Virtue without the Slavery of that
half of the Human Race who hate what you call Moral Virtue" 
Blake used the image of Nebuchadnezza when he had fallen into the form of a beast to represent man when he had fallen to the limit of his descent from Eden. This I take to be a statement about the Limit of Contraction. Man has been given the form of Adam, a human form. Taking the form of a beast was a turning point allowing him to reverse directions and recover a vision of Eternity.
When nature, the outer world, competes its descent it takes the form of death. Blake speaks of this as the Limit of Contraction or Satan. It is the natural or physical body which is susceptible to death. When man recognizes himself as a spirit which is immortal, he transcends the Limit of Contraction and frees himself from the power of Satan and his offspring death.

From William Blake's Circle of Destiny by Milton O Percival, Page 233:
"Satan and Adam have not been 'fixed,' Christ has not taken on the body of death, to make permanent the limitations of fallen man. The sexual religion will not permanently replace the Divine Vision. Such a hypothesis is the assumption of the unbeliever.

'Voltaire insinuates that these Limits are the cruel work of God
Mocking the Remover of Limits & the Resurrection of the Dead'  (E 228)
On the contrary the limits, like other fixations under Los's hammer, have their ultimate end the removal of all limitations. Christ appears in the mortal form of man that man may take on the immortal form of Christ."

Jerusalem, Plate 42, (E 189) 
"There is a limit of Opakeness, and a limit of Contraction;
In every Individual Man, and the limit of Opakeness,             
Is named Satan: and the limit of Contraction is named Adam.
But when Man sleeps in Beulah, the Saviour in mercy takes
Contractions Limit, and of the Limit he forms Woman: That
Himself may in process of time be born Man to redeem
But there is no Limit of Expansion! there is no Limit of Translucence.   
In the bosom of Man for ever from eternity to eternity.
Therefore I break thy bonds of righteousness; I crush thy messengers!
That they may not crush me and mine: do thou be righteous,
And I will return it; otherwise I defy thy worst revenge:
Consider me as thine enemy: on me turn all thy fury              
But destroy not these little ones, nor mock the Lords anointed:
Destroy not by Moral Virtue, the little ones whom he hath chosen!" 
Four Zoas, Night IV, Page 56, (E 337)
"Such were the words of Beulah of the Feminine Emanation 
The Empyrean groand throughout All Eden was darkend
The Corse of Albion lay on the Rock the sea of Time & Space
Beat round the Rock in mighty waves & as a Polypus
That vegetates beneath the Sea the limbs of Man vegetated      
In monstrous forms of Death a Human polypus of Death

The Saviour mild & gentle bent over the corse of Death
Saying If ye will Believe your Brother shall rise again   
And first he found the Limit of Opacity & namd it Satan
In Albions bosom for in every human bosom these limits stand     
And next he found the Limit of Contraction & namd it Adam
While yet those beings were not born nor knew of good or Evil

Then wondrously the Starry Wheels felt the divine hand. Limit
Was put to Eternal Death Los felt the Limit & saw
The Finger of God touch the Seventh furnace in terror            
And Los beheld the hand of God over his furnaces
Beneath the Deeps in dismal Darkness beneath immensity" 

Romans 8 
18] I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
[19] For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; 
[20] for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; 
[21] because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. 
[22] We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; 
[23] and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 

First Corinthians 15
[21] For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 
[22] For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.  
[23] But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 
[24] Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 
[25] For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 
[26] The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

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