Tuesday, April 22, 2014

LAMB & LION

Wikimedia Commons
Originals in Metropolitan 
The songs on the two plates of Night in Blake's Songs of Innocence offer contrasting images of the protection man receives as he passes through stages. In the first poem there is an angel who intervenes when any danger approches. The birds in their nest and the animals in their dens are as protected as a child is in his cradle. The whole ecological system cooperates to see that there is no harm or sorrow. Such unblemished innocence in the natural world is foreign to our experience.
 
On the second plate Blake introduces the treat to the innocent world which contains no suffering or doubt. The angel may not be able to ward off the wolf or tiger seeking prey. The angel seeks to calm the beasts not combat their violence. A new world is entered if the sheep falls prey to the tiger or wolf. The protective element in  the new world is the lion whose strength and gentleness do not fail.
 
Innocence does not endure, harsh experience is encountered, but beyond experience is a state where there is no separation between the lamb and the lion. Each becomes both lamb and lion and the protective element for the flock    

Isaiah 11
[6] The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
[7] And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
[8] And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
[9] They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

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