Sunday, August 31, 2014


Yale Center for British Art Jerusalem
Plate 57
To Los, acting as the Imagination, was given the task of building a world in which the divided man might be restored to unity. Los found himself with limited resources to provide the conditions for contentious factions to become reconciled. In this passage we find Los negotiating with the Daughters of Albion to be the caretakers for an infant by providing a Cradle and a Garment suitable for the potential of the infant to develop. Los must accept compromises because the Daughters of Albion are not capable of mastering the level of imagination he desires to impart. Thus:

"Albion fell into the Furrow, and
The Plow went over him & the Living was Plowed in among the Dead"

Generation is provided as a mercy that the divided man may be regenerated as the unified man. But the process will be tortuous and require the old man to die and be buried before he sprouts again like a seed assuming a mature form dictated by the DNA hidden within.

Jerusalem, Plate 56, (E 206)
"Then Los heaved his thund'ring Bellows on the Valley of Middlesex
And thus he chaunted his Song: the Daughters of Albion reply.

What may Man be? who can tell! But what may Woman be?
To have power over Man from Cradle to corruptible Grave.
He who is an Infant, and whose Cradle is a Manger                
Knoweth the Infant sorrow: whence it came, and where it goeth:
And who weave it a Cradle of the grass that withereth away.
This World is all a Cradle for the erred wandering Phantom:
Rock'd by Year, Month, Day & Hour; and every two Moments
Between, dwells a Daughter of Beulah, to feed the Human Vegetable
Entune: Daughters of Albion. your hymning Chorus mildly!
Cord of affection thrilling extatic on the iron Reel:
To the golden Loom of Love! to the moth-labourd Woof
A Garment and Cradle weaving for the infantine Terror:
For fear; at entering the gate into our World of cruel           
Lamentation: it flee back & hide in Non-Entitys dark wild
Where dwells the Spectre of Albion: destroyer of Definite Form.
The Sun shall be a Scythed Chariot of Britain: the Moon; a Ship
In the British Ocean! Created by Los's Hammer; measured out
Into Days & Nights & Years & Months. to travel with my feet      
Over these desolate rocks of Albion: O daughters of despair!
Rock the Cradle, and in mild melodies tell me where found
What you have enwoven with so much tears & care? so much
Tender artifice: to laugh: to weep: to learn: to know;
Remember! recollect what dark befel in wintry days               

O it was lost for ever! and we found it not: it came
And wept at our wintry Door: Look! look! behold! Gwendolen
Is become a Clod of Clay! Merlin is a Worm of the Valley!

Then Los uttered with Hammer & Anvil: Chaunt! revoice!
I mind not your laugh: and your frown I not fear! and            
You must my dictate obey from your gold-beam'd Looms; trill
Gentle to Albions Watchman, on Albions mountains; reeccho
And rock the Cradle while! Ah me! Of that Eternal Man
And of the cradled Infancy in his bowels of compassion:
Who fell beneath his instruments of husbandry & became           
Subservient to the clods of the furrow! the cattle and even     
The emmet and earth-Worm are his superiors & his lords.  

Then the response came warbling from trilling Looms in Albion

We Women tremble at the light therefore: hiding fearful
The Divine Vision with Curtain & Veil & fleshly Tabernacle       

Los utter'd: swift as the rattling thunder upon the mountains[:]
Look back into the Church Paul! Look! Three Women around
The Cross! O Albion why didst thou a Female Will Create?
Plate 57    
And the voices of Bath & Canterbury & York & Edinburgh. Cry
Over the Plow of Nations in the strong hand of Albion thundering along
Among the Fires of the Druid & the deep black rethundering Waters
Of the Atlantic which poured in impetuous loud loud. louder & louder.
And the Great Voice of the Atlantic howled over the Druid Altars:
Weeping over his Children in Stone-henge in Maiden & Colchester.
Round the Rocky Peak of Derbyshire London Stone & Rosamonds Bower

What is a Wife & what is a Harlot? What is a Church? & What
Is a Theatre? are they Two & not One? can they Exist Separate?
Are not Religion & Politics the Same Thing? Brotherhood is Religion    
O Demonstrations of Reason Dividing Families in Cruelty & Pride!

But Albion fled from the Divine Vision, with the Plow of Nations enflaming
The Living Creatures maddend and Albion fell into the Furrow, and
The Plow went over him & the Living was Plowed in among the Dead"

Jerusalem, Plate 59, (E208)
"For the Veil of Vala which Albion cast into the Atlantic Deep
To catch the Souls of the Dead: began to Vegetate & Petrify
Around the Earth of Albion. among the Roots of his Tree
This Los formed into the Gates & mighty Wall, between the Oak    
Of Weeping & the Palm of Suffering beneath Albions Tomb,
Thus in process of time it became the beautiful Mundane Shell,
The Habitation of the Spectres of the Dead & the Place
Of Redemption & of awaking again into Eternity"

From William Blake's Jerusalem by Minna Doskow: "The material world thus created becomes the physical basis necessary for imagination or fully human existance." (Page 119) 

John 12
[24] Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
[25] He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

reprobate 2

'Reprobate' appears 7 times in Milton and once in Jerusalem:
By the time Blake wrote Milton he had a new concept of the 
sorts of people.

1. The Elect are best known and admired class; they more or less run things in the materialistic culture in which Blake (and we) live.  They live in the top rung of society. 

The redeemed are middle class people who obey the Elect, but with some reservations.

3. The reprobates are thought of as lower class people, very much like Jesus was thought of by the privileged class.

In this post we will attempt to show what Blake meant  by these classes.

The reprobates are thought of as lower class people, very much like Jesus was thought of.

(Following in the train of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell 
From Milton, Plate 13:
The Elect shall meet the Redeem'd. on Albions rocks they shall meetAstonish'd at the Transgressor, in him beholding the Saviour.

O Albion, my brother!
Jerusalem hungers in the desart! affection to her children!
The scorn'd and contemnd youthful girl, where shall she fly?
Sussex shuts up her Villages. Hants, Devon & Wilts
Surrounded with masses of stone in orderd forms, determine then
A form for Vala and a form for Luvah, here on the Thames
Where the Victim nightly howls beneath the Druids knife:
A Form of Vegetation, nail them down on the stems of
O when shall the Saxon return with the English his
redeemed brother!
O when shall the Lamb of God descend among the

Kinds of Men:

conventional people who lack 'their own system' of values 
and more or less follow the herd of the materialistic majority 
of the population.

Milton Plate 8 Erdman 102:
But Rintrah who is of the reprobate: of those form'd to destruction 
Plate 11:
the Class of Satan shall be calld the Elect, &
Of Rintrah. the Reprobate, & those of Palamabron the Redeem'd
For he is redeem'd from Satans Law, the wrath falling on Rintrah

the three classes are a general reversal of ordinary ideas.)

He died as a Reprobate. he was Punish'd as a transgressor! 
Glory! Glory! Glory! to the Holy Lamb of God 
I touch the heavens as an instrument to glorify the Lord! 

And the Elect shall say to the Redeemd. We behold it is of Divine Mercy alone! of Free Gift and Election that we live.Our Virtues & Cruel Goodnesses, have deserv'd Eternal Death.


Friday, August 29, 2014


Irene Langridge's 1911 biography of Blake, William Blake: A Study of His Life and Art Work, includes an image of Blake's final home - the rooms in Fountain Court to which William and Catherine moved in 1821. Frederic Shields out of admiration for Blake painted the room where he lived his last years. Shields was born six years after Blake's death so he worked from accounts he had read or heard. His friend Dante Gabriel Rossetti was moved to write a sonnet upon seeing Shield's sketch.

From the Langridge book:

Reproduced from the sketch by Mr. Frederic J. Shields, kindly lent by the artist

"Mr. Frederick Shields (who, like Blake and many other great artists, will doubtless be honoured as he deserves to be when nothing further can touch him, and this world may not lay at his living feet its due meed of recognition and gratitude,) made a sketch of the sombre little living room in Fountain Court. His friend Dante Gabriel Rossetti was so profoundly touched on seeing it that he eased his heart in a sonnet:

This is the place. Even here the dauntless soul,
The unflinching hand, wrought on; till in that nook,
As on that very bed, his life partook
New birth and passed. Yon river’s dusky shoal,
Whereto the close-built coiling lanes unroll,
Faced his work window, whence his eyes would stare,
Thought wandering, unto nought that met them there,
But to the unfettered irreversible goal.

This cupboard, Holy of Holies, held the cloud
Of his soul writ and limned; this other one,
His true wife’s charge, full oft to their abode
Yielded for daily bread, the martyr’s stone,
Ere yet their food might be that Bread alone,
The words now home-speech of the mouth of God.

The house in Fountain Court has been pulled down lately. The footprints of the great and gentle soul in his passage through this world to the “unfettered irreversible goal” have almost all disappeared in the dust and scurry of the last century. We can still think of him, and of those long rapt mornings he spent in our glorious Abbey. Full as it is—pent up and overflowing—with the associations of centuries, it will henceforth hold this one more—Blake worked there, Blake dreamed there, Blake caught inspiration from the enchanted forests of its aisles."

Library of Congress
Original Stories from Real Life

Blake himself seldom painted interiors but preparing to illustrate Mary Wollstonecraft's Original Stories from Real Life he created this water-color sketch of a simple interior not unlike the one painted by Shields.

Two colored versions of Shields' Fountain Court room are available: one at the Delaware Art Museum and one at the Manchester Art Gallery.

From his sickbed at Fountain Court Blake wrote this note of apology to Mrs Charles Aders who had purchased a copy of Songs of Innocence & of Experience. The Aders copy, printed and colored in 1826, is lettered AA and belongs to the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge.

Letters, (E 781)
"[To] Mrs [Charles] Ade[r]s, Euston Square

3 Fountain Court Strand 29 Decr 1826 

Mr Blakes respectful Compliments to Mrs Ade[r]s is sorry to say
that his Ill-ness is so far from gone that the least thing brings
on the symptoms of the original complaint. he does not dare to
leave his room by any means. he had another desperate attack of
the Aguish trembling last night & is certain that at present any
venture to go out must be of bad perhaps of fatal consequence  Is
very sorry indeed that he is deprived of the happiness of
visiting again & also of seeing again those Pictures of the old
Masters but must submit to the necessity & be Patient till warm
weather Comes

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Main Chance

Hegemony of the Spectre

Becoming an Individual

Blake was born an individual, a very distinctive human being, until he got married in his early twenties.That carried responsibilities; as a bread-winner he of necessity more or less 'joined the crowd'. But he remained a misfit 
(we all know such people; you may be one), call them unwilling joiners
You must have sustenance of some kind: emotional or financial, usually both.

The crowd is made up of the kind of people who watch the ads to see what people are doing so they can do the same thing, so they know what to do. People in the crowd generally want to 'get ahead' (whatever that may mean); it takes the place of 'following your bliss'; instead you try to follow the 'bliss' of the person in the crowd whom you most admire, your role model, your 'father', so to speak. 

(Jesus had something to say about your 'father'):"call no man father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven". (Matthew 23:9)

In particular Blake wanted to be able to 'hold his head up'--financially and intellectually. He lent his enormous artistic gift in the service of other people; he especially admired the famous artist, Sir Joshua Reynolds--until he saw the artistic chasm that loomed between the two. 

He joined the 'Matthew Group', made up of very gifted people..... 
He rubbed shoulders with the intelligencia until he found himself rubbing elbows; the group proved to be just as frustrating as anyone else. 

(They  provoted An Island in the Moon; the Matthews Group had been relativized.

"I must Create a System, or be enslav'd by another Mans"
(Jerusalem, 10.20; E153) 
When Blake said that, it marked his realization that the systems he had found in Reynolds and the Matthews Group simply didn't satisfy his needs and values. 

With The Four Zoas he tried to systematize in poetry his own spiritual values; it led to universal incomprehension by his friends, even his best friends.In 1800 he wrote to his friend and benefactor, George Cumberland, expressing his emphatic frustration over the commercial art he had been impressed into following, what he called the main chance:"I myself remember when I thought my pursuits of Art a kind of Criminal Dissipation neglect of the main chance which I hid my face for not being able to abandon as a Passion which is forbidden by 
"Law and Religion" (Erdman 706)

But the Magic Moment, the veritable rebirth came at the Truchsessian Gallery when he "was again enlightened with the light I enjoyed in my youth, and which has for exactly twenty years been closed from me as by a door" (Letter 51, to Hayley; Erdman 756)

The Four Zoas turned into those two masterpieces, Milton and Jersalem. But in general he moved away from 'poetry to painting' . Finally there were the Illustrations to the Book of Job; it might be called his Last Testament.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


The British Museum, the Center for British Art at Yale, and the Library of Congress make access to their copies of Jerusalem available as digital images. I became curious about the copy in the collection of Lord Cunliffe, Copy B, which along with Copy E at Yale contains color images. 
Copy B is not a complete copy but contains only the first chapter, To The Public. When the Blake Trust published a later edition in 1973 of the Trianon Press' 1950 facsimile edition of Blake's Jerusalem, images from Copy B were added along with facsimiles of proofs of four prints from Jerusalem. The limited run of these books makes them rare today. From WORLDCAT you may learn where they may be seen - primarily in university libraries. Advertisements by dealers for the sale of copies of these books occasionally display images which are not available to the public elsewhere. 

Although the Blake Archive does not supply images from Copy B, it offers information on the provenance because Copy B was for a time bound with copies of America and Europe. The first owner would have been Thomas Griffiths Wainewright with whom Blake was acquainted. The present owner is Lord Cunliffe in whose family the book has been since the middle of the 19th century. 
Compare images from the Frontispiece of several copies of Jerusalem.

Plate 47 of Jerusalem as it appears in available images:

Copy A in the British Museum

Copy B in the collection of Lord Cunliffe (said to be 25 plates, some colored)


Copy C in unidentified private collection
Copy D in Houghton Library  of Harvard University

Copy E in Yale Center for British Art



Copy F  in Morgan Library and Museum
Copy G untraced

Copies H, I and J are posthumous copies (Copy I is in the Library of Congress)


, (E 728)

[To] Mr Butts, Grt Marlborough Street
Felpham April 25: 1803

My Dear Sir
  But none can know the Spiritual Acts of my three years
Slumber on the banks of the Ocean unless he has seen them in the
Spirit or unless he should read My long Poem descriptive of those
Acts for I have in these three years composed an immense number
of verses on One Grand Theme Similar to Homers Iliad or Miltons
Paradise Lost the Person & Machinery intirely new to the
Inhabitants of Earth (some of the Persons Excepted) I have
written this Poem from immediate Dictation twelve or sometimes twenty or
thirty lines at a time without Premeditation & even against my
Will. the Time it has taken in writing was thus renderd Non
Existent. & an immense Poem Exists which seems to be the Labour
of a long Life all producd without Labour or Study.  I mention
this to shew you what I think the Grand Reason of my being
brought down here"

Letters, (E 729)
[To Thomas Butts]

"Felpham July 6. 1803
Thus I hope that all our three years trouble Ends in
Good Luck at last & shall be forgot by my affections & only
rememberd by my Understanding to be a Memento in time to come &
to speak to future generations by a Sublime Allegory which is now
perfectly completed into a Grand Poem. I may praise it since I
dare not pretend to be any other than the Secretary the Authors
are in Eternity I consider it as the Grandest Poem that This
World Contains.  Allegory addressd to the Intellectual powers
while it is altogether hidden from the Corporeal Understanding is
My Definition of the Most Sublime Poetry. it is also somewhat in
the same manner defind by Plato.  This Poem shall by Divine
Assistance be progressively Printed & Ornamented with Prints &
given to the Public--But of this work I take care to say little
to Mr H. since he is as much averse to my poetry as he is to a
Chapter in the Bible   He knows that I have writ it for I have
shewn it to him & he had read Part by his own desire & has lookd
with sufficient contempt to enhance my opinion of it.  But I do
not wish to irritate by seeming too obstinate in Poetic pursuits
But if all the World should set their   faces against This.  I
have Orders to set my face like a flint.  Ezekiel iii C   9 v.
against their faces & my forehead against their foreheads"

Letters, (E 783)
"[To] George Cumberland Esqre, Culver Street, Bristol

N 3 Fountain Court Strand 12 April 1827
Dear Cumberland
"You are desirous I know to dispose of some of my Works & to
make them Pleasing, I am obliged to you & to all who do so
But having none remaining of all that I had Printed I cannot
Print more Except at a great loss for at the time I printed those
things I had a whole House to range in now I am shut up in a
Corner therefore am forced to ask a Price for them that I
scarce expect to get from a Stranger.  I am now Printing a Set of
the Songs of Innocence & Experience for a Friend at Ten Guineas
which I cannot do under Six Months consistent with my other Work,
so that I have little hope of doing any more of such things. the
Last Work I produced is a Poem Entitled Jerusalem the Emanation
of the Giant Albion, but find that to Print it will Cost my Time
the amount of Twenty Guineas One I have Finishd It contains 100
Plates but it is not likely that I shall get a Customer for it
     As you wish me to send you a list with the Prices of these
things they are as follows
                                    L    s  d
     America                  6.   6. 0
     Europe                    6.   6. 0
     Visions &c               5.   5. 0
     Thel                         3.   3. 0
     Songs of Inn. & Exp. 10.  10. 0
     Urizen                      6.   6. 0
     The Little Card I will do as soon as Possible but when you
Consider that I have been reduced to a Skeleton from which I am
slowly recovering you will I hope have Patience with me.
     Flaxman is Gone & we must All soon follow every one to his
Own Eternal House Leaving the Delusive Goddess Nature & her Laws
to get into Freedom from all Law of the Members into The Mind in
which every one is King & Priest in his own House God Send it so
on Earth as it is in Heaven
I am Dear Sir Yours Affectionately

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fall and Return

The Fall

Eden is the Eternal Realm prior to Creation, and Blake's garden is called Beulah, the region all around Eden. Beulah is a place for the Eternals to rest, but a dangerous place (like the Garden in Genesis). One may turn away from Eternity and choose to evaluate life in terms of good and evil (eat the apple, so to speak). The problem with good and evil is that we take as our own what belongs to God, and thereafter what we may acquire is good, and what we lack is evil. In Blake's language we have chosen the selfhood, to focus on I, me, and mine. Or in Ovid's language like Narcissus we have fallen in love with ourselves and chosen the watery materiality over the inward spiritual truth. In love with the world of things and thrills we have become ardent materialists. We fall into Ulro.
In one sense when the Fall began Albion (mankind) divided into the four Zoas, but in another, the Fall began when Luvah seized Urizen's chariot of the sun in effect blotting out the sun of Urizen. For a while (feminine) feeling ruled the world. Eventually Los, the imagination, became Urizen's chief adversary. So
    Urizen read in his book of brass in sounding tones
    'Listen O Daughters to my voice. Listen to the Words of Wisdom:
    shall [ye] govern over all; let Moral Duty tune your tongue;
    be your hearts harder than the nether millstone;
    bring the shadow of Enitharmon beneath our wondrous tree
    that Los may Evaporate like smoke & be no more.
    Draw down Enitharmon to the Spectre of Urthona
    And let him have dominion over Los the terrible shade.'
    (Four Zoas 7a:80:1-8 Erdman 355)
But a strange thing happened; the Spectre of Urthona came to a different plan. Los, empowered by love, found Urizen in his hands. So ends Night vii:
    First his immortal spirit drew Urizen's Shadow away
    From out the ranks of war separating him in sunder
    Leaving his Spectrous form which could not be drawn away
    Then he divided Thiriel the Eldest of Urizens sons
    Urizen became Rintrah Thiriel became Palamabron
    Thus dividing the powers of Every Warrior
    Startled was Los he found his Enemy Urizen now
    In his hands. he wonderd that he felt love & not hate
    His whole soul loved him he beheld him an infant.
    (Four Zoas, Night 7a 59-66 Erdman 371)
In 4Z Blake tried over and over to give an account of the Fall; the one shown here is only one of many.


The fallen Albion meets Vala and hears her say:
    Know me now Albion: look upon me. I alone am Beauty
    The Imaginative Human Form is but a breathing of Vala.
    I breathe him forth into the Heaven from my secret Cave,
    Born of the Woman to obey the Woman O Albion the mighty
    For the Divine appearance is Brotherhood, but I am love.
    (Jerusalem 29.49-52; E176)
You can see here how Blake placed a low valuation on the word love. And this from Los:
    What may Man be? who can tell! but what may Woman be?
    To have power over Man from Cradle to corruptible Grave.
    There is a Throne in every Man, it is the Throne of God
    This Woman has claimd as her own & Man is no more!
    Albion is the Tabernacle of Vala & her Temple
    And not the Tabernacle & Temple of the Most High
    O Albion why wilt thou Create a Female Will?
    (Jerusalem 30:25-31; E176)
That is the experience of Ulro. (Note that Vala is not really a woman, but the outward experience of phenomena in the temporal, passive world. She calls herself love, but it is female love, domineering, 'castrating'.) In the same way those most attached to the "hard-nosed reality" of pure materialism often sneer at or ridicule any kind of spiritual idea. So female love also applies to greedy 'realistic' materialists. They live in a blind alley with no exit other than 'repentance'.


(The Return)

The repentance of 'lost souls' in Ulro is the preliminary to the Return, which begins with Generation. In due course this leads to regeneration, and then eventually back to Eden. Ulro and Generation exist at the same time denoting the destructive and the creative modes of human life. The first represents man's continuous drift away from Eternity with ever greater commitment to radical materialism (the female will). Generation is "man's painful and disheartening struggle to build the New Jerusalem" (per 71).
This movement began when, commissioned by Urthona's Spectre to create, Los is converted: "Los wonders to find that now he loves his enemies instead of hating them. (Creation frees one from all manner of prejudice and hate.)
Here are verses from the 2nd version of Night vii:
    Then took the tree of Mystery root in the World of Los
    But then the Spectre enterd Los's bosom Every sigh & groan
    Of Enitharmon bore Urthona's Spectre on its wings.
    Obdurate Los felt Pity. Enitharmon told the tale
    Of Urthona. Los embracd the Spectre first as a brother
    Then as another Self; astonishd humanizing & in tears In Self abasement, giving up his Domineering lust.
(We might ask ourselves what kind of pity did Los feel? Was it the loving pity of Beulah and Eden? Or was it the cruel, self-righteous pity of Ulro? The last line quoted here gives a good clue.) Here is the most significant change of man (in the form of Los, the Imagination) from hate to love. This is the Return and the beginning of the journey of 1000 miles (6,000 years) from Ulro back to Eden. (Protestants consider this conversion and the beginning of the 'upward trail'.)
Los, the architect and builder of generation, builded Golgoonza, the man made Jerusalem. For 6000 years Los built it, tore it down, built it again, over and over, preparing for the parousia.

When Albion (through his Zoas) fell into Ulro, an escape hatch was provided:
    For the Divine Lamb Even Jesus who is the Divine Vision
    Permitted all lest Man should fall into Eternal Death
    For when Luvah sunk down, himself put on the robes of blood
    Lest the state calld Luvah should cease. The Divine Vision
    Walked in robes of blood till he who slept should awake.
    Thus were the stars of heaven created like a golden chain
    To bind the Body of Man to heaven from failing into the Abyss
    (Four Zoas Night 2 33:11-17 321f)
(The golden chain parallels a passage in Homer's Iliad, book 8:
    "Make ye fast from heaven a chain of gold, and lay ye hold thereof, all ye gods and all goddesses; yet could ye not drag to earth from out of heaven Zeus the counsellor most high, not though ye laboured sore. But whenso I were minded to draw of a ready heart, then with earth itself should I draw you and with sea withal; and the rope should I thereafter bind about a peak of Olympus and all those things should hang in space.)
But even in Ulro we find redemptive possibilities. The golden chain has deteriorated to a 'chain of iron', but it still connects the fallen zoas (and us) to the higher realm.
The Mundane Shell, built by Urizen, the 'creator' is imaged as a "chain, beginning as gold and ending as iron" (Percival, 60), but it's purpose is always redemptive.

Monday, August 25, 2014


Wikipedia Commons
Original in Library of Congress
Book of Urizen
Copy G, Plate 16

Songs of Innocence, Song 32, (E 19)   
"Love seeketh not Itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care;
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hells despair."     

Blake sought to translate 'The Four Faces of Man' in Eternity into expressions in the world in which we live. His goal was to build a 'Heaven in Hells despair.' He sought to remove the impediments which prevent the eternal dimensions of Music, Poetry, Painting and Architecture from becoming apparent in himself, in his London and in his earthly home.

Each of the Faces of Man derived from one of the Zoas into which the total man could be analyzed for the sake of connecting the mind to the panoply of existence.  

Four Faces of Man:
Music - Luvah - emotion
Poetry - Urthona - imagination
Painting - Tharmas - senses
Architecture - Urizen - reason

Milton, Plate 27 [29], (E 125) 
"But in Eternity the Four Arts: Poetry, Painting, Music,          
And Architecture which is Science: are the Four Faces of Man.
Not so in Time & Space: there Three are shut out, and only
Science remains thro Mercy: & by means of Science, the Three
Become apparent in time & space, in the Three Professions

Poetry in Religion: Music, Law: Painting, in Physic & Surgery:

That Man may live upon Earth till the time of his awaking,
And from these Three, Science derives every Occupation of Men.
And Science is divided into Bowlahoola & Allamanda."
Music is the manifestation of Luvah.

Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 134, (E 403)
"Attempting to be more than Man We become less said Luvah
As he arose from the bright feast drunk with the wine of ages
His crown of thorns fell from his head he hung his living Lyre
Behind the seat of the Eternal Man & took his way
Sounding the Song of Los descending to the Vineyards bright      
Poetry is the manifestation  of Urthona.

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 554)
  "The Last Judgment is not Fable or Allegory
but   Vision[.] Fable or Allegory are a totally distinct & inferior
kind of Poetry.  Vision or Imagination is a Representation of
what Eternally Exists.  Really & Unchangeably.  Fable or Allegory
is Formd by the Daughters of Memory.  Imagination is Surrounded
by the daughters of Inspiration who in the aggregate are calld
Annotations to Wordsworth, (E 665)
"One Power alone makes a Poet.-Imagination The Divine Vision" 

Painting is the manifestation of Tharmas.    

Descriptive Catalogue, (E 541)
"Poetry consists in these conceptions; and shall
Painting be confined to the sordid drudgery of facsimile 
representations of merely mortal and perishing substances, and
not be as poetry and music are, elevated into its own proper
sphere of invention and visionary conception? No, it shall not 
be so!  Painting, as well as poetry and music, exists and exults 
in immortal thoughts."    
Architecture is the manifestation of Urizen.

On Virgil, (E 270)
"Mathematic Form is Eternal in the Reasoning Memory.  Living
Form is Eternal Existence.
  Grecian is Mathematic Form
  Gothic is Living Form"

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Elect

That word means many things to people:
   All the rich people!
   Graduates of premier universities!
   Politicians of all sorts!
   Church people.
   The bishop.

But what did it mean to Blake?
Let's see what the Concordance says:

For the Elect cannot be Redeemd, but Created continually
By Offering & Atonement in the crue[l]ties of Moral Law
Hence the three Classes of Men take their fix'd destinations
They are the Two Contraries & the Reasoning Negative.
Milton, 5.11; E98:

The Web of Life is woven: & the tender sinews of life created
And the Three Classes of Men regulated by Los's hammer.      

The first, The Elect from before the foundation of the World:
The second, The Redeem'd. The Third, The Reprobate & form'd
To destruction from the mothers womb: follow with me my plow!
Of the first class was Satan: with incomparable mildness;
His primitive tyrannical attempts on Los: with most endearing
He soft intreated Los to give to him Palamabrons station;
For Palamabron returnd with labour wearied every evening
Palamabron oft refus'd; and as often Satan offer'd
His service till by repeated offers and repeated intreaties
Los gave to him the Harrow of the Almighty; alas blamable    
Palamabron. fear'd to be angry lest Satan should accuse him of
Ingratitude, & Los believe the accusation thro Satans extreme
Mildness. Satan labour'd all day. it was a thousand years
In the evening returning terrified overlabourd & astonish'd
Embrac'd soft with a brothers tears Palamabron, who also wept

Mark well my words! they are of your eternal salvation
    Milton, 7.1; E100

They mourn'd all day this mournful day of Satan & Palamabron:
And all the Elect & all the Redeem'd mourn'd one toward another
Upon the mountains of Albion among the cliffs of the Dead.
 Milton, 8.25; E102

The Elect shall meet the Redeem'd. on Albions rocks they shall
Astonish'd at the Transgressor, in him beholding the Saviour.
And the Elect shall say to the Redeemd. We behold it is of Divine
Mercy alone! of Free Gift and Election that we live.
Our Virtues & Cruel Goodnesses, have deserv'd Eternal Death.
Thus they weep upon the fatal Brook of Albions River.
Milton, 13.30; E107
O how can I with my gross tongue that cleaveth to the dust,  
Tell of the Four-fold Man, in starry numbers fitly orderd
Or how can I with my cold hand of clay! But thou O Lord
Do with me as thou wilt! for I am nothing, and vanity.
If thou chuse to elect a worm, it shall remove the mountains.
For that portion namd the Elect: the Spectrous body of Milton:
Redounding from my left foot into Los's Mundane space,
Brooded over his Body in Horeb against the Resurrection
Preparing it for the Great Consummation; red the Cherub on Sinai
Glow'd; but in terrors folded round his clouds of blood.
  Milton, 13.32; E107

9. But the Elect must be saved [from] fires of Eternal Death,
                                                                 Milton, 25.38; E122

The Awakener is come. outstretchd over Europe! the Vision of God
     is fulfilled
The Ancient Man upon the Rock of Albion Awakes,
He listens to the sounds of War astonishd & ashamed;
He sees his Children mock at Faith and deny Providence        
Therefore you must bind the Sheaves not by Nations or Families
You shall bind them in Three Classes; according to their Classes
So shall you bind them. Separating What has been Mixed
Since Men began to be Wove into Nations by Rahab & Tirzah
Since Albions Death & Satans Cutting-off from our awful Fields;
When under pretence to benevolence the Elect Subdud All
From the Foundation of the World.

The Elect is one Class: You
Shall bind them separate: they cannot Believe in Eternal Life
Except by Miracle & a New Birth. The other two Classes;
The Reprobate who never cease to Believe, and the Redeemd,    
Who live in doubts & fears perpetually tormented by the Elect
These you shall bind in a twin-bundle for the Consummation--
But the Elect must be saved [from] fires of Eternal Death,
To be formed into the Churches of Beulah that they destroy not
     the Earth
For in every Nation & every Family the Three Classes are born  
And in every Species of Earth, Metal, Tree, Fish, Bird & Beast.

The Awakener is come. outstretchd over Europe! the Vision of God
     is fulfilled
The Ancient Man upon the Rock of Albion Awakes,
He listens to the sounds of War astonishd & ashamed;
He sees his Children mock at Faith and deny Providence        
Therefore you must bind the Sheaves not by Nations or Families
You shall bind them in Three Classes; according to their Classes
So shall you bind them. Separating What has been Mixed
Since Men began to be Wove into Nations by Rahab & Tirzah
Since Albions Death & Satans Cutting-off from our awful Fields;

When under pretence to benevolence the Elect Subdud All
From the Foundation of the World. The Elect is one Class: You
Shall bind them separate: they cannot Believe in Eternal Life
Except by Miracle & a New Birth. The other two Classes;
The Reprobate who never cease to Believe, and the Redeemd,    
Who live in doubts & fears perpetually tormented by the Elect
These you shall bind in a twin-bundle for the Consummation--
But the Elect must be saved [from] fires of Eternal Death,
To be formed into the Churches of Beulah that they destroy not
     the Earth
Milton, 25.31; E122

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Yale Center for British Art
 Plate 69, Copy E
In the post Struggle Within I quoted from Northrop Frye this statement:

"he realized that something profoundly new and disquieting was coming into the world, something with unlimited possibilities for good and for evil, which it would tax all his powers to interpret".

Blake accepted the challenge to interpret the conundrum around him.

If Blake was motivated to address the issues of his own time and the profound changes in the world around him, he did not view these upheavals in isolation. An understanding of the intellectual, social and political crises of his day could not be reached without considering past history and evolving culture. To Blake the development of the Enlightenment and the religion of Deism has its roots in ancient Druid practices of sacrifice.

Perhaps this passage can be seen in the light of a transition of Vala from her Eternal visage of beauty, love and bliss to be a goddess who rules by selfishness, cruelty and sacrifice of others. Urizen is the architect of the bleak and vengeful world which fails to elevate the Divine Humanity to its rightful place in the psyche of man.

It is reason (Urizen) who with the natural world (Vala) establishes an order which values only outer experience at the price of inner development. To Blake a world without imagination is a world of 'eternal despair'.

, Plate 65, (E 216)
"Now: now the battle rages round thy tender limbs O Vala
Now smile among thy bitter tears: now put on all thy beauty     
Is not the wound of the sword sweet! & the broken bone delightful?
Wilt thou now smile among the scythes when the wounded groan in the field[?]
We were carried away in thousands from London; & in tens
Of thousands from Westminster & Marybone in ships closd up:

Chaind hand & foot, compelld to fight under the iron whips     
Of our captains; fearing our officers more than the enemy.
Lift up thy blue eyes Vala & put on thy sapphire shoes:
O melancholy Magdalen behold the morning over Malden break;
Gird on thy flaming zone, descend into the sepulcher of Canterbury.
Scatter the blood from thy golden brow, the tears from thy silver locks:
Shake off the waters from thy wings! & the dust from thy white garments
Remember all thy feigned terrors on the secret couch of Lambeths Vale
When the sun rose in glowing morn, with arms of mighty hosts
Marching to battle who was wont to rise with Urizens harps
Girt as a sower with his seed to scatter life abroad over Albion:
Arise O Vala! bring the bow of Urizen: bring the swift arrows of light.
How rag'd the golden horses of Urizen, compelld to the chariot of love!
Compelld to leave the plow to the ox, to snuff up the winds of desolation
To trample the corn fields in boastful neighings: this is no gentle harp
This is no warbling brook, nor shadow of a mirtle tree:          
But blood and wounds and dismal cries, and shadows of the oak:
And hearts laid open to the light, by the broad grizly sword:
And bowels hid in hammerd steel rip'd quivering on the ground.
Call forth thy smiles of soft deceit: call forth thy cloudy tears:
We hear thy sighs in trumpets shrill when morn shall blood renew.

So sang the Spectre Sons of Albion round Luvahs Stone of Trial:
Mocking and deriding at the writhings of their Victim on Salisbury:
Drinking his Emanation in intoxicating bliss rejoicing in Giant dance;
For a Spectre has no Emanation but what he imbibes from decieving
A Victim! Then he becomes her Priest & she his Tabernacle.    
And his Oak Grove, till the Victim rend the, woven Veil.
In the end of his sleep when Jesus calls him from his grave

Howling the Victims on the Druid Altars yield their souls
To the stern Warriors: lovely sport the Daughters round their Victims;
Drinking their lives in sweet intoxication. hence arose from Bath
Soft deluding odours, in spiral volutions intricately winding
Over Albions mountains, a feminine indefinite cruel delusion.
Astonishd: terrified & in pain & torment. Sudden they behold
Their own Parent the Emanation of their murderd Enemy
Become their Emanation and their Temple and Tabernacle         
They knew not. this Vala was their beloved Mother Vala Albions Wife.

Terrified at the sight of the Victim: at his distorted sinews!
The tremblings of Vala vibrate thro' the limbs of Albions Sons:
While they rejoice over Luvah in mockery & bitter scorn:
Sudden they become like what they behold in howlings & deadly pain.
Spasms smite their features, sinews & limbs: pale they look on one another.

They turn, contorted: their iron necks bend unwilling towards
Luvah: their lips tremble: their muscular fibres are crampd & smitten
They become like what they behold! Yet immense in strength & power,

In awful pomp & gold, in all the precious unhewn stones of Eden

They build a stupendous Building on the Plain of Salisbury; with chains
Of rocks round London Stone: of Reasonings: of unhewn Demonstrations
In labyrinthine arches. (Mighty Urizen the Architect.) thro which
The Heavens might revolve & Eternity be bound in their chain.
Labour unparallelld! a wondrous rocky World of cruel destiny
Rocks piled on rocks reaching the stars: stretching from pole to pole.

The Building is Natural Religion & its Altars Natural Morality
A building of eternal death: whose proportions are eternal despair"

Friday, August 22, 2014


The word, redeem appears 41 times in Blake's poetry; for him 'redeem' had several meanings, especially the way it's commonly used or the ironic sense that was so familiar to him:

Spring like redeemed captives, common.

The State namd Satan never can be redeemd in all Eternity, ironic.

His myth speaks of three kinds of men:

from Plates 6 and 7 of Milton:

Here the Three Classes of Mortal Men take their fixd destinations
And hence they overspread the Nations of the whole Earth & hence
The Web of Life is woven: & the tender sinews of life created
And the Three Classes of Men regulated by Los's hammer.


The first, The Elect from before the foundation of the World:

The second, The Redeem'd. The Third, The Reprobate & form'd
To destruction from the mothers womb:
The morning comes, the night decays, the watchmen leave their
The grave is burst, the spices shed, the linen wrapped up;
The bones of death, the cov'ring clay, the sinews shrunk & dry'd.
Reviving shake, inspiring move, breathing! awakening!


Printed by William Blake in the year 1793.
Let the slave grinding at the mill, run out into the field:
Let him look up into the heavens & laugh in the bright air;
Let the inchained soul shut up in darkness and in sighing,
Whose face has never seen a smile in thirty weary years;
Rise and look out, his chains are loose, his dungeon doors are
And let his wife and children return from the opressors scourge;
They look behind at every step & believe it is a dream.
Singing. The Sun has left his blackness, & has found a fresher
And the fair Moon rejoices in the clear & cloudless night;
For Empire is no more, and now the Lion & Wolf shall cease.

From the Four Zoas, Night 7:
The Spectre of Urthona wept before Los Saying I am the cause
That this dire state commences I began the dreadful state
Of Separation & on my dark head the curse & punishment
Must fall unless a way be found to Ransom & Redeem
But I have thee my [Counterpart Vegetating] miraculous
These Spectres have no [Counter(parts)] therefore 
they ravin
Without the food of life Let us Create them Coun[terparts]
For without a Created body the Spectre is Eternal Death
Los trembling answerd Now I feel the weight of stern repentance
Tremble not so my Enitharmon at the awful gates
Of thy poor broken Heart I see thee like a shadow withering
As on the outside of Existence but look! behold! take comfort!
Turn inwardly thine Eyes & there behold the Lamb of God
Clothed in Luvahs robes of blood descending to redeem
(Erdman 369)

PLATE 5 of Milton: 
 Palamabron with the fiery Harrow in morning returning
From breathing fields. Satan fainted beneath the artillery
Christ took on Sin in the Virgins Womb, & put it off on the Cross
All pitied the piteous & was wrath with the wrathful & Los heard
There is a State namd Satan learn distinct to know O Rahab
The Difference between States & Individuals of those States
The State namd Satan never can be redeemd in all Eternity
But when Luvah in Orc became a Serpent he des[c]ended into
That State calld Satan Enitharmon breathd forth on the Winds
Of Golgonooza her well beloved knowing he was Orc's human remains
She tenderly lovd him above all his brethren he grew up
In mothers tenderness The Enormous worlds rolling in Urizens
Must have given Satan by these mild arts Dominion over all
(Erdman 380-81)

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Many of Blake's connotations for Architect are negative. But in the original condition of Eternity Architecture is one of the four essential expressions of Humanity.  

Milton, Plate 27 [29], (E 125)
"But in Eternity the Four Arts: Poetry, Painting, Music,          
And Architecture which is Science: are the Four Faces of Man.
Not so in Time & Space: there Three are shut out, and only
Science remains thro Mercy: & by means of Science, the Three
Become apparent in time & space, in the Three Professions
Poetry in Religion: Music, Law: Painting, in Physic & Surgery:

That Man may live upon Earth till the time of his awaking,
And from these Three, Science derives every Occupation of Men.
And Science is divided into Bowlahoola & Allamanda."

Book of Urizen
Copy B, Plate 1
When Urizen fell from his position in Eternity he took with him a third of the angels or stars of heaven and built of them a world of his own. 

America, Plate b [cancelled plate], (E 58) 
"In a sweet vale shelter'd with cedars, that eternal stretch 
Their unmov'd branches, stood the hall; built when the moon shot forth, 
In that dread night when Urizen call'd the stars round his feet; Then burst the center from its orb, and found a place beneath
And Earth conglob'd, in narrow room, roll'd round its sulphur Sun." 
 Four Zoas, Night V, Page 64, (E 344)
"I well remember for I heard the mild & holy voice
Saying O light spring up & shine & I sprang up from the deep 
He gave to me a silver scepter & crownd me with a golden crown
& said Go forth & guide my Son who wanders on the ocean  

I went not forth. I hid myself in black clouds of my wrath       
I calld the stars around my feet in the night of councils dark
The stars threw down their spears & fled naked away
We fell. I siezd thee dark Urthona In my left hand falling

I siezd thee beauteous Luvah thou art faded like a flower
And like a lilly is thy wife Vala witherd by winds"  
The world which Urizen built was the Mundane Shell. Seen as a physical entity it is the visible sky or 'crust of Matter' (Damon) which encloses us. Earthly things are projected onto the vast enclosing shell according to Urizen's design.

Milton, Plate 17 [19], (E 110)
"The Mundane Shell, is a vast Concave Earth: an immense
Hardend shadow of all things upon our Vegetated Earth
Enlarg'd into dimension & deform'd into indefinite space,
In Twenty-seven Heavens and all their Hells; with Chaos
And Ancient Night; & Purgatory. It is a cavernous Earth
Of labyrinthine intricacy, twenty-seven folds of opakeness"

Four Zoas, Night II, Page 24, (E 314) 
"Mighty was the draught of Voidness to draw Existence in

Terrific Urizen strode above, in fear & pale dismay
He saw the indefinite space beneath & his soul shrunk with horror
His feet upon the verge of Non Existence; his voice went forth
Luvah & Vala trembling & shrinking, beheld the great Work master
And heard his Word! Divide ye bands influence by influence
Build we a Bower for heavens darling in the grizly deep
Build we the Mundane Shell around the Rock of Albion

The Bands of Heaven flew thro the air singing & shouting to Urizen
Some fix'd the anvil, some the loom erected, some the plow       
And harrow formd & framd the harness of silver & ivory
The golden compasses, the quadrant & the rule & balance
They erected the furnaces, they formd the anvils of gold beaten in mills
Where winter beats incessant, fixing them firm on their base
The bellows began to blow & the Lions of Urizen stood round the anvil
Page 25 
And the leopards coverd with skins of beasts tended the roaring fires
Sublime distinct their lineaments divine of human beauty
The tygers of wrath called the horses of instruction from their mangers
They unloos'd them & put on the harness of gold & silver & ivory
In human forms distinct they stood round Urizen prince of Light
Petrifying all the Human Imagination into rock & sand"