Monday, March 03, 2014


None of Blake's images conveys more passion, power or enigma than does the Large Color Print which goes by the name Pity. Blake seems to be representing the compassion of a divine being in providing for the supine woman whose feet are in a shroud. The babe is descending from the hands of a woman on an airborne horse. In this copy the resting woman's breast is bare as if prepared to nurse the child.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Large Color Print
In Blake's poetry pity can be cruel and destructive when in the hands of fallen men and women. Los's pity for Urizen in chains prevented him from halting the fall.
Urizen, Plate 14, (E 77)
"6. Los wept obscur'd with mourning:
His bosom earthquak'd with sighs;
He saw Urizen deadly black,                     
In his chains bound, & Pity began,

7. In anguish dividing & dividing
For pity divides the soul
In this poem the attributes which are beneficent in the hands of the angel are used by the devil to create misery. 
Songs and Ballads, (E 470)
"I heard an Angel singing
When the day was springing                                      
Mercy Pity Peace    
Is the worlds release

Thus he sung all day                         
Over the new mown hay
Till the sun went down
And haycocks looked brown

I heard a Devil curse
Over the heath & the furze                
Mercy could be no more
If there was nobody poor

And pity no more could be
If all were as happy as we
At his curse the sun went down
And the heavens gave a frown

Down pourd the heavy rain   
Over the new reapd grain
And Miseries increase       
Is Mercy Pity Peace"   
As a means of understanding the return journey from the depths of Ulro, the pity of which we speak is an Eternal characteristic. If we look at the picture Pity as a stage in the return of man to Eternity, it portrays the assistance which is provided to man by the Divine Hand and by the emanation in reaching the point at which the Savior can be born in his heart.

Jerusalem, Plate 50, (E 200) 
Come O thou Lamb of God and take away the remembrance of Sin
To Sin & to hide the Sin in sweet deceit. is lovely!!            
To Sin in the open face of day is cruel & pitiless! But
To record the Sin for a reproach: to let the Sun go down
In a remembrance of the Sin: is a Woe & a Horror!
A brooder of an Evil Day, and a Sun rising in blood
Come then O Lamb of God and take away the remembrance of Sin     

Jerusalem, Plate 59, (E 209)
"And one Daughter of Los sat at the fiery Reel & another
Sat at the shining Loom with her Sisters attending round
Terrible their distress & their sorrow cannot be utterd
And another Daughter of Los sat at the Spinning Wheel
Endless their labour, with bitter food. void of sleep,           
Tho hungry they labour: they rouze themselves anxious
Hour after hour labouring at the whirling Wheel
Many Wheels & as many lovely Daughters sit weeping

Yet the intoxicating delight that they take in their work
Obliterates every other evil; none pities their tears            
Yet they regard not pity & they expect no one to pity
For they labour for life & love, regardless of any one
But the poor Spectres that they work for, always incessantly"

Jerusalem, Plate 77  (E 232)
"But Jesus is the bright Preacher of Life
Creating Nature from this fiery Law,
By self-denial & forgiveness of Sin.

Go therefore, cast out devils in Christs name
Heal thou the sick of spiritual disease           
Pity the evil, for thou art not sent
To smite with terror & with punishments
Those that are sick, like the Pharisees
Crucifying &,encompassing sea & land
For proselytes to tyranny & wrath,                
But to the Publicans & Harlots go!
Teach them True Happiness, but let no curse
Go forth out of thy mouth to blight their peace
For Hell is opend to heaven; thine eyes beheld
The dungeons burst & the Prisoners set free."      
Four Zoas, Night IV, Page 56, (E 337)
"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"

Mark 1
[39] And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
[40] And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, "If you will, you can make me clean."
[41] Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, "I will; be clean."
[42] And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.

John 11
[38] Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.
[39] Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
[40] Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
[41] Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
[42] And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
[43] And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
[44] And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

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