Plate 3, Copy D
The pilgrim who begins his journey in the Preludium is other than he seems. He is being sent on his travels by Enitharmon the mother of all things as Orc and his emanation (the shadowy female), beg not to be brought into life. The innocent pilgrim is prepared to set forth, ignorant of the assassin ready to attack.
The Preludium is the interval of preparation for the action to come. It is unconnected to the events which are to follow except that Enitharmon will be commissioned to take charge of the 18 Christian centuries.
The only inscription on this plate is the words 'The Assasin' at the top of the image, reminding us of the poem inscribed on the reverse of Plate 2.
Europe, Plate 1, (E 60) PRELUDIUM "The nameless shadowy female rose from out
the breast of Orc: Her snaky hair brandishing in the winds of Enitharmon, And thus her voice arose. O mother Enitharmon wilt thou bring forth other sons? To cause my name to vanish, that my place may not be found. For I am faint with travel! Like the dark cloud disburdend in the day of dismal thunder. My roots are brandish'd in the heavens. my fruits in earth beneath Surge, foam, and labour into life, first born & first consum'd! Consumed and consuming! Then why shouldst thou accursed mother bring me into life? I wrap my turban of thick clouds around my lab'ring head; And fold the sheety waters as a mantle round my limbs. Yet the red sun and moon, And all the overflowing stars rain down prolific pains." Milton, Plate 3, (E 97) "First Orc was Born then the Shadowy Female: then All Los's Family At last Enitharmon brought forth Satan Refusing Form, in vain The Miller of Eternity made subservient to the Great Harvest That he may go to his own Place Prince of the Starry Wheels" Milton, Plate 10 , (E 104) "Then Los & Enitharmon knew that Satan is Urizen Drawn down by Orc & the Shadowy Female into Generation Oft Enitharmon enterd weeping into the Space, there appearing An aged Woman raving along the Streets (the Space is named Canaan) then she returnd to Los weary frighted as from dreams The nature of a Female Space is this: it shrinks the Organs Of Life till they become Finite & Itself seems Infinite." Jerusalem, Plate 13, (E 157) "And all that has existed in the space of six thousand years: Permanent, & not lost not lost nor vanishd, & every little act, Word, work, & wish, that has existed, all remaining still In those Churches ever consuming & ever building by the Spectres Of all the inhabitants of Earth wailing to be Created: Shadowy to those who dwell not in them, meer possibilities: But to those who enter into them they seem the only substances For every thing exists & not one sigh nor smile nor tear, Plate 14 One hair nor particle of dust, not one can pass away."