Wednesday, October 01, 2014

MAN'S JOURNEY


Wikimedia Commons
For the Sexes: The Gates of Paradise
Plate 14
The metaphor of the journey is a persistent theme in Blake's works. Blake's book Milton is organized around the poet Milton's journey from his home in Eternity to the location of his unfinished work on earth. The Gates of Paradise follows man through his physical, social and spiritual development on the journey through life which each is called to undertake. Each of Blake's mythopaeic characters progress through stages of development as he or she undertakes a journey of overcoming obstacles and receiving Truth.

As Blake sees man's journey, it is never limited to either mental processes or physical experiences. The internal work through which man progresses on his journey is complemented by it becoming manifest in the obstacles and opportunities he encounters in the outer world. The journey for Blake does have an endpoint, a destination. His term for this is the Last Judgment when all thing are set right and a new dispensation begins. Although Blake would have welcomed the Apocalypse as envisioned by John in the Revelation, he welcomed even more vigorously the internal transformations which brought him closer to the status when the Imagination in him was ever present.

Isaiah 11
[9] They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.


Milton, Plate 16 [18], (E 111)
"For travellers from Eternity. pass outward to Satans seat,
But travellers to Eternity. pass inward to Golgonooza."

Milton, Plate 2, (E 96)
"Daughters of Beulah! Muses who inspire the Poets Song
Record the journey of immortal Milton thro' your Realms
Of terror & mild moony lustre, in soft sexual delusions
Of varied beauty, to delight the wanderer and repose
His burning thirst & freezing hunger!"

Four Zoas, Night VI, Page 70,  (E 346)  
"Los brooded on the darkness. nor saw Urizen with a Globe of fire
Lighting his dismal journey thro the pathless world of death 

Writing in bitter tears & groans in books of iron & brass
The enormous wonders of the Abysses once his brightest joy

For Urizen beheld the terrors of the Abyss wandring among        
The ruind spirits once his children & the children of Luvah
Scard at the sound of their own sigh that seems to shake the immense
They wander Moping in their heart a Sun a Dreary moon
A Universe of fiery constellations in their brain
An Earth of wintry woe beneath their feet & round their loins  
Waters or winds or clouds or brooding lightnings & pestilential plagues
Beyond the bounds of their own self their senses cannot penetrate
As the tree knows not what is outside of its leaves & bark"

Jerusalem, Plate 62, (E 213)
[Jesus speaking to Jerusalem]
"for I cannot leave them in the gnawing Grave.
But will prepare a way for my banished-ones to return
Come now with me into the villages. walk thro all the cities.
Tho thou art taken to prison & judgment, starved in the streets
I will command the cloud to give thee food & the hard rock       
To flow with milk & wine, tho thou seest me not a season
Even a long season & a hard journey & a howling wilderness!"

Jerusalem, Plate 95, (E 254)
[Brittannia speaking]
"Her voice pierc'd Albions clay cold ear. he moved upon the Rock
The Breath Divine went forth upon the morning hills, Albion mov'd
Upon the Rock, he opend his eyelids in pain; in pain he mov'd
His stony members, he saw England. Ah! shall the Dead live again

The Breath Divine went forth over the morning hills Albion rose 
In anger: the wrath of God breaking bright flaming on all sides around
His awful limbs: into the Heavens he walked clothed in flames
Loud thundring, with broad flashes of flaming lightning & pillars
Of fire, speaking the Words of Eternity in Human Forms, in direful
Revolutions of Action & Passion, thro the Four Elements on all sides  
Surrounding his awful Members. Thou seest the Sun in heavy clouds
Struggling to rise above the Mountains. in his burning hand
He takes his Bow, then chooses out his arrows of flaming gold
Murmuring the Bowstring breathes with ardor! clouds roll around the
Horns of the wide Bow, loud sounding winds sport on the mountain brows
Compelling Urizen to his Furrow; & Tharmas to his Sheepfold;
And Luvah to his Loom: Urthona he beheld mighty labouring at
His Anvil, in the Great Spectre Los unwearied labouring & weeping
Therefore the Sons of Eden praise Urthonas Spectre in songs
Because he kept the Divine Vision in time of trouble.        

As the Sun & Moon lead forward the Visions of Heaven & Earth"

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 562)
"What are all the Gifts of the
Spirit but Mental Gifts whenever any Individual Rejects Error &
Embraces Truth a Last Judgment passes upon that Individual"

Songs of Innocence & of Experience, Song 43, (E 25)
"AH! SUN-FLOWER

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done.

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go."

For The Sexes The Gates of Paradise, (E 268) 
"Keys of the Gates
13   But when once I did descry 
     The Immortal Man that cannot Die
14   Thro evening shades I haste away 
     To close the Labours of my Day" 
2nd Peter 1
[Peter speaking]
[18] we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.
[19] And we have the prophetic word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
[20] First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation,
[21] because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

2 comments:

Vincent said...

I see we have both written about a pilgrim's progress today!

ellie said...

It is uncanny when we shed light on the same subject from different directions. Today's post on A Wayfarers Notes resonated with your appreciative audience.

It is so good when the pilgrim knows that he/she does not travel alone.