Tuesday, March 04, 2014


Entering the Door of Death (Frontspiece of Jerusalem):
Rosenwald LC
Good and Evil
   The Creation Story in the Bible ascribes man's fall to eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Blake made this a touchstone of his metaphysical system. Look at what Blake said in his Design of the Last Judgment.

   Good and evil might be considered the fallen equivalent of truth and error.
   The trouble with good and evil is that you value your attitudes, actions, etc. as good and the others' as evil. This has motivated wars through the ages.
Blake believed that in Eternity there is no good and evil. Instead truth and error are resolved with "intellectual spears, and long winged arrows of thought" (Jerusalem 34:15 180)

   In Milton Eternal Death meant leaving Heaven (as Jesus is reported to have done) to improve the sad situation on Earth.

      In Blake's 'Milton' the poet, Milton, "goes to Eternal Death" from his home in heaven, like Jesus had done or Buddha, to rescue "the nations" from the toils of the God of this World (Milton Plate 14:14).

Blake used "the God of this world" 7 times according to the Blake concordance. Two of them occur near the end of The Everlasting Gospel (page 523)

mind forg'd manacles:    Blake found people, then (and now) uniformly blind to the mental chains that sentenced them to a mediocre existence. He used this famous term in his Songs of Experience.
   The term is used in this work repeatedly explaining Blake's approach to his prophetic poetry.

Moment of Grace: The Moment of Grace or the Felpham Moment in this work represents the turning point in Blake's lifewhen he awakened to the riches of Christ. He commemorated it with the poem he called the First Vision of   Light.

   As per Friedlander: The young Blake had thought the great struggle in human life was between Luvah and Urizen, energy and its boundaries. By the end of the Felpham period, Blake had come to view the great struggle as being between the visionaries, who saw all men as part of the divine family, and the rationalizing masses, concerned only with personal security.

   The exploitative use of superstition by religious authorities concerned Blake greatly. He called it Mystery Religion.

(Four Zoas 8-110[106][1st].3; E379)
Thus was the Lamb of God condemnd to Death 
they naild him upon the tree of Mystery weeping over him 
And then mocking and then worshipping calling him Lord and King.

      Blake found much use of mystery in the Bible in both positive and negative forms. In Revelation the chief enemy is called the Great Whore, Babylon, and Mystery 
(Revelation 17:5)
(taken from Frye, The Bible as Literature, page 136).

      The Four Zoas: a long poem that served as a kind of first draft to 'Milton' and 'Jerusalem'. Reading this closely one may discern the spiritual growth which Blake went through culminating in the Moment of Grace.

Plato's Myth of the Cave had a big influence on Blake's understanding:

      With the "narrow chinks of his cavern" found in Plate 11 of the Marriage of Heaven and Hell .

The Couches of the Dead is a universal symbol representing those who have died to Eternity in order to be born into our fallen world.

The main chance is a term Blake referred to for using his art (without integrity) for commercial purposes.

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