Wednesday, May 14, 2014

MERLIN

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The Small Blake-Varley Sketchbook
Merlin





 

From Blake's acquaintance with the history and legends of his native country he found characters to enhance the myth he was himself creating. Blake's procedure was to assimilate archetypal images and insert them in appropriate places to expand the understanding of the reader.
 
When he says here that, 'The British Antiquities are now in the Artist's hands,' he may more precisely have said that they were in his mind or imagination. 

 
 
A Descriptive Catalogue, (W 542)
 "The British Antiquities are now in the Artist's hands; all
his visionary contemplations, relating to his own country and its
ancient glory, when it was as it again shall be, the source of
learning and inspiration.  Arthur was a name for the
constellation Arcturus, or Bootes, the Keeper of the North Pole.
And all the fables of Arthur and his round table; of the warlike
naked Britons; of Merlin; of Arthur's conquest of the whole
world; of his death, or sleep, and promise to return again"
In the following passage Blake uses Merlin to call to our minds that death never came to him. He was not to enroot in the world but would return again from sleep with Arthur at the beginning of the new age.

Jerusalem, Plate 30 [34], (E 176)
"O Albion why wilt thou Create a Female Will?

To hide the most evident God in a hidden covert, even
In the shadows of a Woman & a secluded Holy Place
That we may pry after him as after a stolen treasure
Hidden among the Dead & mured up from the paths of life  
Hand! art thou not Reuben enrooting thyself into Bashan
Till thou remainest a vaporous Shadow in a Void! O Merlin!
Unknown among the Dead where never before Existence came
Is this the Female Will O ye lovely Daughters of Albion. To
Converse concerning Weight & Distance in the Wilds of Newton & Locke

So Los spoke standing on Mam-Tor looking over Europe & Asia
The Graves thunder beneath his feet from Ireland to Japan"

This portion of Plate 32 of Jerusalem positions Merlin as the Immortal Imagination, at one extreme; Reuben at the other as the Vegetative Man. Hand stands between as the Reasoning Spectre. 

Jerusalem, Plate 32 [36], (E 178)
"Jerusalem trembled seeing her Children drivn by Los's Hammer
In the visions of the dreams of Beulah on the edge of Non-Entity
Hand stood between Reuben & Merlin, as the Reasoning Spectre
Stands between the Vegetative Man & his Immortal Imagination"

Under the influence of Los, Reuben was able to explore in his imagination as Merlin was capable of doing.

Jerusalem, Plate 32 [36], (E 178)
"And the Four Zoa's who are the Four Eternal Senses of Man
Became Four Elements separating from the Limbs of Albion
These are their names in the Vegetative Generation 
And Accident & Chance were found hidden in Length Bredth & Highth
And they divided into Four ravening deathlike Forms
Fairies & Genii & Nymphs & Gnomes of the Elements.
These are States Permanently Fixed by the Divine Power

The Atlantic Continent sunk round Albions cliffy shore
And the Sea poured in amain upon the Giants of Albion      
As Los bended the Senses of Reuben Reuben is Merlin
Exploring the Three States of Ulro; Creation; Redempition. & Judgment

And many of the Eternal Ones laughed after their manner

Have you known the judgment that is arisen among the
Zoa's of Albion? where a Man dare hardly to embrace              
His own Wife, for the terrors of Chastity that they call
By the name of Morality. their Daughters govern all
In hidden deceit! they are Vegetable only fit for burning
Art & Science cannot exist but by Naked Beauty displayd"

The way that man can avoid getting trapped in error which leads him into the depths of experience is through knowing where he comes from, where he goes and how to avoid giving primary reality to the 'female will' or the exterior world which should be his servant not his master.

Jerusalem, Plate 92, (E 252)
"Los answerd swift as the shuttle of gold. Sexes must vanish & cease
To be, when Albion arises from his dread repose O lovely Enitharmon:
When all their Crimes, their Punishments their Accusations of Sin: 
All their Jealousies Revenges. Murders. hidings of Cruelty in Deceit
Appear only in the Outward Spheres of Visionary Space and Time.
In the shadows of Possibility by Mutual Forgiveness forevermore
And in the Vision & in the Prophecy, that we may Foresee & Avoid
The terrors of Creation & Redemption & Judgment. Beholding them 
Displayd in the Emanative Visions of Canaan in Jerusalem & in Shiloh
And in the Shadows of Remembrance, & in the Chaos of the Spectre
Amalek, Edom, Egypt, Moab, Ammon, Ashur, Philistea, around Jerusalem

Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 126, (E 395)
"They must renew their brightness & their disorganizd functions
Again reorganize till they resume the image of the human   
Cooperating in the bliss of Man obeying his Will
Servants to the infinite & Eternal of the Human form"

A Descriptive Catalogue, (E 536)
 "Visions of these eternal principles or characters of human
life appear to poets, in all ages; the Grecian gods were the
ancient Cherubim of Phoenicia; but the Greeks, and since them the
Moderns, have neglected to subdue the gods of Priam.  These Gods
are visions of the eternal attributes, or divine names, which,
when erected into gods, become destructive to humanity.
They ought to be the servants, and not the masters of man, or of
society.  They ought to be made to sacrifice to Man, and not man
compelled to sacrifice to them; for when separated from man or
humanity, who is Jesus the Saviour, the vine of eternity, they
are thieves and rebels, they are destroyers."

2 comments:

Susan J. said...

"From Blake's acquaintance with the history and legends of his native country he found characters to enhance the myth he was himself creating.... When he says here that, 'The British Antiquities are now in the Artist's hands,' he may more precisely have said that they were in his mind or imagination."

I find this so inspiring... we today have our own history and legends, in our hands... may we use them well...

Have a great day, dear friends!

ellie said...

Always we are gathering up the scattered portions of our bodies. Hopefully we can reassemble them rightly.

You and Don were sent to us, for which we are grateful.