Thursday, April 30, 2015


What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?

First posted in February 2013.  

Is an individual capable of exercising control over what goes on in his mind? Some would argue that he is not; that his thoughts are simply reactions to his memories or to external activity. Others observe an ability to decide what response is made by the psyche to the ever changing panorama of sensation and thought to which one is subject. Blake fell into the second category. Blake had developed his image of the furnaces as a means of gaining the ability to alter the 'mind forged manacles.' The difficulty in altering the way the mind perceives is that the mind is subject to the very strictures which it projects onto the outside world. In his four chapters of Jerusalem Blake explores both the outward and inward manifestations of a mind which has lost its unity and its ability to view ultimate reality. 

The final reference in Jerusalem to the furnaces of Los is on plate 91. Here the furnaces succeeded in amalgamating the nations into one because Los had succeeded in in altering his Spectre. The Spectre was no longer able to take control of Los' mind. Los no longer saw his Spectre as good or evil, he could now serve Los as intellect because Los no longer expects him to make him holy.  

The work of the furnaces, the inner work, was over but the final achievement of Los' furnaces had begun a chain reaction of reassembling Albion. The process of disintegration was reversed. Reintegration took place in multiple stages involving Los, Enitharmon, Britannia, Albion, Jesus and Jerusalem. The final appearance of a furnace was the 'Furnace of Affliction' into which Albion threw himself as an 'Offering of Self for Another'. By this act there was a transformation of the furnaces into 'Fountains of Living Waters' which initiated the final universal awakening.        

Yale Center for British Art 
Plate 97  
Yale Center for British Art 
Plate 73

Jerusalem, Plate 91, (E 251)
"Thus Los alterd his Spectre & every Ratio of his Reason      
He alterd time after time, with dire pain & many tears
Till he had completely divided him into a separate space.

Terrified Los sat to behold trembling & weeping & howling
I care not whether a Man is Good or Evil; all that I care
Is whether he is a Wise Man or a Fool. Go! put off Holiness    
And put on Intellect: or my thundrous Hammer shall drive thee
To wrath which thou condemnest: till thou obey my voice

So Los terrified cries: trembling & weeping & howling! Beholding                                         
What do I see? The Briton Saxon Roman Norman amalgamating
In my Furnaces into One Nation the English: & taking refuge
In the Loins of Albion. The Canaanite united with the fugitive
Hebrew, whom she divided into Twelve, & sold into Egypt
Then scatterd the Egyptian & Hebrew to the four Winds!       
This sinful Nation Created in our Furnaces & Looms is Albion

So Los spoke. Enitharmon answerd in great terror in Lambeths Vale

The Poets Song draws to its period & Enitharmon is no more."

Jerusalem, Plate 96, (E 256)
"Albion replyd. Cannot Man exist without Mysterious          
Offering of Self for Another, is this Friendship & Brotherhood
I see thee in the likeness & similitude of Los my Friend

Jesus said. Wouldest thou love one who never died
For thee or ever die for one who had not died for thee
And if God dieth not for Man & giveth not himself           
Eternally for Man Man could not exist. for Man is Love:
As God is Love: every kindness to another is a little Death
In the Divine Image nor can Man exist but by Brotherhood

So saying. the Cloud overshadowing divided them asunder
Albion stood in terror: not for himself but for his Friend     
Divine, & Self was lost in the contemplation of faith
And wonder at the Divine Mercy & at Los's sublime honour

Do I sleep amidst danger to Friends! O my Cities & Counties
Do you sleep! rouze up! rouze up. Eternal Death is abroad

So Albion spoke & threw himself into the Furnaces of affliction 
All was a Vision, all a Dream: the Furnaces became
Fountains of Living Waters Flowing from the Humanity Divine
And all the Cities of Albion rose from their Slumbers, and All
The Sons & Daughters of Albion on soft clouds Waking from Sleep
Soon all around remote the Heavens burnt with flaming fires    
And Urizen & Luvah & Tharmas & Urthona arose into
Albions Bosom: Then Albion stood before Jesus in the Clouds
Of Heaven Fourfold among the Visions of God in Eternity
Awake! Awake Jerusalem! O lovely Emanation of Albion
Awake and overspread all Nations as in Ancient Time
For lo! the Night of Death is past and the Eternal Day
Appears upon our Hills: Awake Jerusalem, and come away"

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Jeru 72

jeru 72

Look also at Albion Guarded.

From Jerusalem, Plate 72, (E 227):
"whatever is visible in the Vegetable Earth, the same
Is visible in the Mundane Shell; reversd in mountain & vale
And a Son of Eden was set over each Daughter of Beulah to guard
In Albions Tomb the wondrous Creation: & the Four-fold Gate
Towards Beulah is to the South[.] Fenelon, Guion, Teresa,
Whitefield & Hervey, guard that Gate; with all the gentle Souls
Who guide the great Wine-press of Love; Four precious stones that Gate:"
In 1688, Archbishop Fenelon met Madame Guyon, and came to deeply admire her for her Christian piety. The two of them swiftly became very close friends. However, the church urged Fenelon to condemn Guyon, for her attitude towards mysticism sparked concerns of heresy. Ultimately, Fenelon refused to abandon his friend, and in response to the church’s condemnation, he argued in forty-five points that saints from all eras had held views similar to Guyon’s. These points are the Maxims of the Saints, and Fenelon’s defense serves as one of the earliest arguments in favor of the movement that later became known as Quietism.

Called Guion by Blake
Madam Guyon is a heretic to some, but a saint to others. Living at a time when being charged as heretic was a matter of civil law, Madam Guyon was imprisoned and persecuted for her unyielding stance against the religious authorities in France. Guyon wrote her autobiography while being held at the infamous Bastille. Often associated with the Quietist movement, Guyon advocated mystical experience as a means of growing closer to God. Many would consider her view of the church paradoxical. Guyon taught the Reformation principles of sola gracia and sola fide while she clung to the Roman Catholic Church, even as she was persecuted for her theology. Is Madam Guyon a heretic or a saint? Read her autobiography and decide for yourself.

Quietism is the name given (especially in Roman Catholic Church theology) to a set of Christian beliefs that rose in popularity in through FranceItaly, and Spainduring the late 1670s and 1680s, were particularly associated with the writings of Miguel de Molinos (and subsequently Fran├žois Malaval and Madame Guyon), and which were condemned as heresy by Pope Innocent XI in the papal bull Coelestis Pastor of 1687. The “Quietist” heresy was seen to consist of wrongly elevating ‘contemplation’ over ‘meditation’, intellectual stillness over vocal prayer, and interior passivity over pious action in an account of mystical prayer, spiritual growth and union with God (one in which, the accusation ran, there existed the possibility of achieving a sinless state and union with the Christian Godhead).

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Christ in the Sepulcher Guarded by Angels
There are two perspectives from which Blake presents Albion. The first is that of the fallen Albion, asleep on his rock or dead in his sepulcher. This fallen giant undergoes the agonies of separation into warring factions. He suffers the anguish of  a disintegrating  world. He has lost the cohesion which the Divine Vision provides.

Blake, however, provides a view of Albion from a contrasting perspective as well. He presents Albion as under the guardianship of benevolent forces which protect him until the processes which he undergoes have returned him to a state of unity. Offering him protection and succor are Sons of Eden, Daughters of Beulah, the Divine Hand, the Seven Eyes of God, Los the Imagination, and all Beulah hovering over his couch.     

Jerusalem, Plate 72, (E 227)
"And the Four Gates of Los surround the Universe Within and       
Without; & whatever is visible in the Vegetable Earth, the same
Is visible in the Mundane Shell; reversd in mountain & vale
And a Son of Eden was set over each Daughter of Beulah to guard
In Albions Tomb the wondrous Creation: & the Four-fold Gate
Towards Beulah is to the South[.] Fenelon, Guion, Teresa,    
Whitefield & Hervey, guard that Gate; with all the gentle Souls
Who guide the great Wine-press of Love; Four precious stones that Gate:"

Jerusalem, Plate 15, (E 158)
"And Hand & Hyle rooted into Jerusalem by a fibre
Of strong revenge & Skofeld Vegetated by Reubens Gate
In every Nation of the Earth till the Twelve Sons of Albion
Enrooted into every Nation: a mighty Polypus growing
From Albion over the whole Earth: such is my awful Vision.   

I see the Four-fold Man. The Humanity in deadly sleep
And its fallen Emanation. The Spectre & its cruel Shadow.
I see the Past, Present & Future, existing all at once
Before me; O Divine Spirit sustain me on thy wings!
That I may awake Albion from His long & cold repose.             
For Bacon & Newton sheathd in dismal steel, their terrors hang
Like iron scourges over Albion, Reasonings like vast Serpents
Infold around my limbs, bruising my minute articulations

I turn my eyes to the Schools & Universities of Europe
And there behold the Loom of Locke whose Woof rages dire  
Washd by the Water-wheels of Newton. black the cloth
In heavy wreathes folds over every Nation; cruel Works
Of many Wheels I View, wheel without wheel, with cogs tyrannic
Moving by compulsion each other: not as those in Eden: which
Wheel within Wheel in freedom revolve in harmony & peace. 

I see in deadly fear in London Los raging round his Anvil
Of death: forming an Ax of gold: the Four Sons of Los
Stand round him cutting the Fibres from Albions hills
That Albions Sons may roll apart over the Nations
While Reuben enroots his brethren in the narrow Canaanite    
From the Limit Noah to the Limit Abram in whose Loins
Reuben in his Twelve-fold majesty & beauty shall take refuge
As Abraham flees from Chaldea shaking his goary locks
But first Albion must sleep, divided from the Nations

I see Albion sitting upon his Rock in the first Winter           
And thence I see the Chaos of Satan & the World of Adam
When the Divine Hand went forth on Albion in the mid Winter
And at the place of Death when Albion sat in Eternal Death
Among the Furnaces of Los in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom"
Four Zoas, Night I, Page 21 [19], (E 312) 
"Jerusalem his Emanation is become a ruin       
Her little ones are slain on the top of every street    
And she herself le[d] captive & scatterd into the indefinite
Gird on thy sword O thou most mighty in glory & majesty
Destroy these opressors of Jerusalem & those who ruin Shiloh     

So spoke the Messengers of Beulah. Silently removing
The Family Divine drew up the Universal tent
Above High Snowdon & closd the Messengers in clouds around 
Till the time of the End. Then they Elected Seven. called the Seven
Eyes of God & the Seven lamps of the Almighty                    
The Seven are one within the other the Seventh is named Jesus
The Lamb of God blessed for ever & he followd the Man
Who wanderd in mount Ephraim seeking a Sepulcher
His inward eyes closing from the Divine vision & all
His children wandering outside from his bosom fleeing away"   
Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 99 (E 370)
"The Fallen Man stretchd like a Corse upon the oozy Rock
Washd with the tides Pale overgrown with weeds
Two winged immortal shapes one standing at his feet
Toward the East one standing at his head toward the west
Their wings joind in the Zenith over head
Such is a Vision of All Beulah hovring over the Sleeper

The limit of Contraction now was fixd & Man began
To wake upon the Couch of Death he sneezed seven times
A tear of blood dropped from either eye again he reposd
In the saviours arms, in the arms of tender mercy & loving kindness

Then Los said I behold the Divine Vision thro the broken Gates
Of thy poor broken heart astonishd melted into Compassion & Love
And Enitharmon said I see the Lamb of God upon Mount Zion
Wondring with love & Awe they felt the divine hand upon them"

Monday, April 27, 2015

pilgrim 8


"My dark and cloudy words, they do but hold The truth, as cabinets enclose the gold." Bunyan
Illustrations to Pilgrim's Progress  
Plate 28
At the Gates of Heaven
Norvig attempts to enlighten her audience on Blake's practice of Visionary Hermeneutics which she learned from her teacher William Blake by studying his illustrations to Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. The heart of her book is her commentary on each of Blake's 28 illustrations. But the illustrations are not to be viewed individually but as a whole, commenting on one another and complementing others as do Blake's Illustration to the Book of Job. She compares, in detail, the process that they illustrate to the process delineated in Gates of Paradise. In the illustrations toPilgrim's Progress as in his work from beginning to end, Blake sought to open to his readers the avenue to the visionary world he experienced.
In Blake's iIllustration Pilgrim and Hopeful, together with the two Ministering Spirits, arise as a quaternity, signifying in Blake's system the wholeness that has been achieved by passing through the stages of spiritual development discernable to Blake in Pilgrim's journey.
Pilgrim's Progress
John Bunyan
"Hopeful also would endeavour to comfort him, saying, Brother, I see the gate, and men standing by to receive us: but Christian would answer, It is you, it is you they wait for; you have been Hopeful ever since I knew you. And so have you, said he to Christian. Ah! brother! said he, surely if I was right he would now arise to help me; but for my sins he hath brought me into the snare, and hath left me. Then said Hopeful, My brother, you have quite forgot the text, where it is said of the wicked, "There are no bands in their death, but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, neither are they plagued like other men. [Ps. 73:4,5] These troubles and distresses that you go through in these waters are no sign that God hath forsaken you; but are sent to try you, whether you will call to mind that which heretofore you have received of his goodness, and live upon him in your distresses.
{393} Then I saw in my dream, that Christian was as in a muse a while. To whom also Hopeful added this word, Be of good cheer, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole; and with that Christian brake out with a loud voice, Oh, I see him again! and he tells me, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee." [Isa. 43:2] Then they both took courage, and the enemy was after that as still as a stone, until they were gone over. Christian therefore presently found ground to stand upon, and so it followed that the rest of the river was but shallow. Thus they got over. Now, upon the bank of the river, on the other side, they saw the two shining men again, who there waited for them; wherefore, being come out of the river, they saluted them, saying, We are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those that shall be heirs of salvation. Thus they went along towards the gate."
{396} Now while they were thus drawing towards the gate, behold a
company of the heavenly host came out to meet them; to whom it was
said, by the other two Shining Ones, These are the men that have
loved our Lord when they were in the world, and that have left all
for his holy name; and he hath sent us to fetch them, and we have
brought them thus far on their desired journey, that they may go
in and look their Redeemer in the face with joy.  Then the heavenly
host gave a great shout, saying, "Blessed are they which are called
unto the marriage supper of the Lamb."  [Rev. 19:9] There came out
also at this time to meet them, several of the King's trumpeters,
clothed in white and shining raiment, who, with melodious noises,
and loud, made even the heavens to echo with their sound.  These
trumpeters saluted Christian and his fellow with ten thousand
welcomes from the world; and this they did with shouting, and sound
of trumpet.

{397} This done, they compassed them round on every side; some went
before, some behind, and some on the right hand, some on the left,
(as it were to guard them through the upper regions), continually
sounding as they went, with melodious noise, in notes on high:  so
that the very sight was, to them that could behold it, as if heaven
itself was come down to meet them.  Thus, therefore, they walked
on together; and as they walked, ever and anon these trumpeters,
even with joyful sound, would, by mixing their music with looks and
gestures, still signify to Christian and his brother, how welcome
they were into their company, and with what gladness they came to
meet them; and now were these two men, as it were, in heaven, before
they came at it, being swallowed up with the sight of angels, and
with hearing of their melodious notes.  Here also they had the city
itself in view, and they thought they heard all the bells therein
to ring, to welcome them thereto.  But above all, the warm and
joyful thoughts that they had about their own dwelling there, with
such company, and that for ever and ever.  Oh, by what tongue or
pen can their glorious joy be expressed!  And thus they came up to
the gate.

{398} Now, when they were come up to the gate, there was written over
it in letters of gold, "Blessed are they that do his commandments,
that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in
through the gates into the city."  [Rev. 22:14]

{399} Then I saw in my dream that the Shining Men bid them call
at the gate; the which, when they did, some looked from above over
the gate, to wit, Enoch, Moses, and Elijah, &c., to whom it was
said, These pilgrims are come from the City of Destruction, for
the love that they bear to the King of this place; and then the
Pilgrims gave in unto them each man his certificate, which they
had received in the beginning; those, therefore, were carried in
to the King, who, when he had read them, said, Where are the men?
To whom it was answered, They are standing without the gate.  The
King then commanded to open the gate, "That the righteous nation,"
said he, "which keepeth the truth, may enter in."  [Isa. 26:2]

{400} Now I saw in my dream that these two men went in at the
gate:  and lo, as they entered, they were transfigured, and they
had raiment put on that shone like gold.  There was also that met
them with harps and crowns, and gave them to them--the harps to
praise withal, and the crowns in token of honour.  Then I heard
in my dream that all the bells in the city rang again for joy, and
that it was said unto them, "ENTER YE INTO THE JOY OF YOUR LORD."
I also heard the men themselves, that they sang with a loud voice,
[Rev. 5:13]

{401} Now, just as the gates were opened to let in the men,
I looked in after them, and, behold, the City shone like the sun;
the streets also were paved with gold, and in them walked many
men, with crowns on their heads, palms in their hands, and golden
harps to sing praises withal.

{402} There were also of them that had wings, and they answered
one another without intermission, saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the
Lord."  [Rev. 4:8] And after that they shut up the gates; which,
when I had seen, I wished myself among them.

{403} Now while I was gazing upon all these things, I turned my
head to look back, and saw Ignorance come up to the river side;
but he soon got over, and that without half that difficulty which
the other two men met with.  For it happened that there was then
in that place, one Vain-hope, a ferryman, that with his boat helped
him over; so he, as the other I saw, did ascend the hill, to come
up to the gate, only he came alone; neither did any man meet him
with the least encouragement.  When he was come up to the gate, he
looked up to the writing that was above, and then began to knock,
supposing that entrance should have been quickly administered to
him; but he was asked by the men that looked over the top of the
gate, Whence came you, and what would you have?  He answered, I
have eat and drank in the presence of the King, and he has taught
in our streets.  Then they asked him for his certificate, that they
might go in and show it to the King; so he fumbled in his bosom
for one, and found none.  Then said they, Have you none?  But the
man answered never a word.  So they told the King, but he would
not come down to see him, but commanded the two Shining Ones that
conducted Christian and Hopeful to the City, to go out and take
Ignorance, and bind him hand and foot, and have him away.  Then
they took him up, and carried him through the air to the door that
I saw in the side of the hill, and put him in there.  Then I saw
that there was a way to hell, even from the gates of heaven, as
well as from the City of Destruction.  So I awoke, and behold it
was a dream.

{404} The Conclusion.

  Now, Reader, I have told my dream to thee;
  See if thou canst interpret it to me,
  Or to thyself, or neighbour; but take heed
  Of misinterpreting; for that, instead
  Of doing good, will but thyself abuse:
  By misinterpreting, evil ensues.

  Take heed, also, that thou be not extreme,
  In playing with the outside of my dream:
  Nor let my figure or similitude
  Put thee into a laughter or a feud.
  Leave this for boys and fools; but as for thee,
  Do thou the substance of my matter see.

  Put by the curtains, look within my veil,
  Turn up my metaphors, and do not fail,
  There, if thou seekest them, such things to find,
  As will be helpful to an honest mind.

  What of my dross thou findest there, be bold
  To throw away, but yet preserve the gold;
  What if my gold be wrapped up in ore?--
  None throws away the apple for the core.
  But if thou shalt cast all away as vain,
  I know not but 'twill make me dream again.
End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Yale Center for British Art
Plate 62
In the introduction to William Blake's Circle of Destiny, Percival presents the overall theme of his book: that when the long cycle comes to an end, it renews (repeats) itself if error is not cast off, or it reaches the Last Judgment which ends all temporal things. Percival sees Blake presenting the whole of the cycle: from the undifferentiated status of Eternity to the Apocalypse where time ends - in all its aspects of politics, science, history, sociology, psychology and religion.

Through the images incorporated in this picture of Albion, Blake may be suggesting a turning point in cosmic events. The ouroboros (seen as a snake around Albion's head), as a representation of cyclical experience reminds us that Albion may break the cycle or repeat it. The peacock feathers surrounding the head remind us that this is a point of transition. The Seven Eyes of God tell us that Albion is under the protection of the Eternals though he has not returned from the world of time. Adding the five fainter eyes we arrive at the number twelve which points to the Zodiac, another image of cyclical movement. (Percival is able to correlate the stages traversed in Blake's myth with passage through the signs of the Zodiac in Chapter VIII of his book.)

Using alchemical symbolism, Percival makes this observation, "The feminine mercury passes from black to white through an intermediate stage in which all the colors assert themselves. The symbol of this stage is the peacock's tail. The appearance of this symbol is a good omen; it means that the fire is doing its work, that death is awakening into life, or, as Paracelsus puts it alchemically, "it showeth the workings of the philosopher's mercury on the vulgar mercury."
(Milton O. Percival, William Blake's Circle of Destiny, Page 206.)

Just as Blake wanted us to think of the events of the Old and New Testaments as we read the words of the text, in the illumination he is calling to our minds the seven days of creation, the twelve tribes of Israel, and whatever associations with the numbers seven and twelve which we may have from our reading of history, literature and numerology. The feet, cold to the point of blue death, are surrounded by the fires of destruction and redemption. Albion grasps the stone tenaciously. The face of fear, anguish and confusion suggests an agonizing decision taking process like that undergone by Jesus in the Garden.

Between the giant feet of Albion is Los, the one who 'stood forth' to watch over Albion until his dark nightmare was over. 

Blake bombards us with images, as he makes us ask the question, "Which direction will Albion choose?"

Jerusalem, Plate 33 [37], (E 179)
"And One stood forth from the Divine Family &,said    

I feel my Spectre rising upon me! Albion! arouze thyself!
Why dost thou thunder with frozen Spectrous wrath against us?
The Spectre is, in Giant Man; insane, and most deform'd.
Thou wilt certainly provoke my Spectre against thine in fury!    
He has a Sepulcher hewn out of a Rock ready for thee:
And a Death of Eight thousand years forg'd by thyself, upon
The point of his Spear! if thou persistest to forbid with Laws
Our Emanations, and to attack our secret supreme delights

So Los spoke: But when he saw blue death in Albions feet,  
Again he join'd the Divine Body, following merciful;
While Albion fled more indignant! revengeful covering

Jerusalem, Plate 62, (E 212)
"Repose on me till the morning of the Grave. I am thy life.

Jerusalem replied. I am an outcast: Albion is dead!
I am left to the trampling foot & the spurning heel!
A Harlot I am calld. I am sold from street to street!
I am defaced with blows & with the dirt of the Prison!           

And wilt thou become my Husband O my Lord & Saviour?
Shall Vala bring thee forth! shall the Chaste be ashamed also?
I see the Maternal Line, I behold the Seed of the Woman!
Cainah, & Ada & Zillah & Naamah Wife of Noah.
Shuahs daughter & Tamar & Rahab the Canaanites:                  
Ruth the Moabite & Bathsheba of the daughters of Heth
Naamah the Ammonite, Zibeah the Philistine, & Mary
These are the Daughters of Vala, Mother of the Body of death
But I thy Magdalen behold thy Spiritual Risen Body
Shall Albion arise? I know he shall arise at the Last Day!
I know that in my flesh I shall see God: but Emanations
Are weak. they know not whence they are, nor whither tend.

Jesus replied. I am the Resurrection & the Life.
I Die & pass the limits of possibility, as it appears
To individual perception. Luvah must be Created                  
And Vala; 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!
Tho Valas cloud hide thee & Luvahs fires follow thee!
Only believe & trust in me, Lo. I am always with thee!

So spoke the Lamb of God while Luvahs Cloud reddening above      
Burst forth in streams of blood upon the heavens & dark night
Involvd Jerusalem. & the Wheels of Albions Sons turnd hoarse
Over the Mountains & the fires blaz'd on Druid Altars
And the Sun set in Tyburns Brook where Victims howl & cry.

But Los beheld the Divine Vision among the flames of the Furnaces
Therefore he lived & breathed in hope. but his tears fell incessant
Because his Children were closd from him apart: & Enitharmon
Dividing in fierce pain: also the Vision of God was closd in clouds
Of Albions Spectres, that Los in despair oft sat, & often ponderd
On Death Eternal in fierce shudders upon the mountains of Albion 
Walking: & in the vales in howlings fierce, then to his Anvils
Turning, anew began his labours, tho in terrible pains!"

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pilgrim 7

{104} The other two also came to the foot of the hill; but when
they saw that the hill was steep and high, and that there were two
other ways to go, and supposing also that these two ways might meet
again, with that up which Christian went, on the other side of the
hill, therefore they were resolved to go in those ways.  Now the
name of one of these ways was Danger, and the name of the other
Destruction.  So the one took the way which is called Danger,
which led him into a great wood, and the other took directly up the
way to Destruction, which led him into a wide field, full of dark
mountains, where he stumbled and fell, and rose no more.

"Shall they who wrong begin yet rightly end?  Shall they at all
have safety for their friend?  No, no; in headstrong manner they
set out, And headlong will they fall at last no doubt."

{105} I looked, then, after Christian, to see him go up the hill,
where I perceived he fell from running to going, and from going to
clambering upon his hands and his knees, because of the steepness
of the place.  Now, about the midway to the top of the hill was a
pleasant arbour, made by the Lord of the hill for the refreshing
of weary travellers; thither, therefore, Christian got, where also
he sat down to rest him.  Then he pulled his roll out of his bosom,
and read therein to his comfort; he also now began afresh to take
a review of the coat or garment that was given him as he stood by
the cross.  Thus pleasing himself awhile, he at last fell into a
slumber, and thence into a fast sleep, which detained him in that
place until it was almost night; and in his sleep, his roll fell
out of his hand.  Now, as he was sleeping, there came one to him,
and awaked him, saying, 
Prov. 6:6: go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her
ways and be wise.  []

 And with that Christian started
up, and sped him on his way, and went apace, till he came to the
top of the hill.`

{106} Now, when he was got up to the top of the hill, there came
two men running to meet him amain; the name of the one was Timorous,
and of the other, Mistrust; to whom Christian said, Sirs, what's
the matter?  You run the wrong way.  Timorous answered, that they
were going to the City of Zion, and had got up that difficult
place; but, said he, the further we go, the more danger we meet
with; wherefore we turned, and are going back again.

Yes, said Mistrust, for just before us lie a couple of lions in
the way, whether sleeping or waking we know not, and we could not
think, if we came within reach, but they would presently pull us
in pieces.

{107} CHR. Then said Christian, You make me afraid, but whither
shall I fly to be safe?  If I go back to mine own country, that
is prepared for fire and brimstone, and I shall certainly perish
there.  If I can get to the Celestial City, I am sure to be in
safety there.  I must venture.  To go back is nothing but death;
to go forward is fear of death, and life-everlasting beyond it.  I
will yet go forward.  So Mistrust and Timorous ran down the hill,
and Christian went on his way.  But, thinking again of what he had
heard from the men, he felt in his bosom for his roll, that he
might read therein, and be comforted; but he felt, and found it
not.  Then was Christian in great distress, and knew not what to
do; for he wanted that which used to relieve him, and that which
should have been his pass into the Celestial City.  Here, therefore,
he begun to be much perplexed, and knew not what to do.  At last
he bethought himself that he had slept in the arbour that is on
the side of the hill; and, falling down upon his knees, he asked
God's forgiveness for that his foolish act, and then went back to
look for his roll.  But all the way he went back, who can sufficiently
set forth the sorrow of Christian's heart?  Sometimes he sighed,
sometimes he wept, and oftentimes he chid himself for being so
foolish to fall asleep in that place, which was erected only for
a little refreshment for his weariness.  Thus, therefore, he went
back, carefully looking on this side and on that, all the way as he
went, if happily he might find his roll, that had been his comfort
so many times in his journey.  He went thus, till he came again
within sight of the arbour where he sat and slept; but that sight
renewed his sorrow the more, by bringing again, even afresh, his
evil of sleeping into his mind.  
[Rev. 2:5; 1 Thes. 5:7,8] 

therefore, he now went on bewailing his sinful sleep, saying, O
wretched man that I am that I should sleep in the day-time!  that I
should sleep in the midst of difficulty!  that I should so indulge
the flesh, as to use that rest for ease to my flesh, which the
Lord of the hill hath erected only for the relief of the spirits
of pilgrims!

{108} How many steps have I took in vain!  Thus it happened
to Israel, for their sin; they were sent back again by the way of
the Red Sea; and I am made to tread those steps with sorrow, which
I might have trod with delight, had it not been for this sinful
sleep.  How far might I have been on my way by this time!  I am
made to tread those steps thrice over, which I needed not to have
trod but once; yea, now also I am like to be benighted, for the
day is almost spent.  O, that I had not slept!

{109} Now, by this time he was come to the arbour again, where for
a while he sat down and wept; but at last, as Christian would have
it, looking sorrowfully down under the settle, there he espied his
roll; the which he, with trembling and haste, catched up, and put
it into his bosom.  But who can tell how joyful this man was when
he had gotten his roll again!  for this roll was the assurance of
his life and acceptance at the desired haven.  Therefore he laid
it up in his bosom, gave thanks to God for directing his eye to the
place where it lay, and with joy and tears betook himself again to
his journey.  But oh, how nimbly now did he go up the rest of the
hill!  Yet, before he got up, the sun went down upon Christian;
and this made him again recall the vanity of his sleeping to his
remembrance; and thus he again began to condole with himself:  O
thou sinful sleep; how, for thy sake, am I like to be benighted in
my journey!  I must walk without the sun; darkness must cover the
path of my feet; and I must hear the noise of the doleful creatures,
because of my sinful sleep.  

[1 Thes. 5:6,7] Now also he remembered
the story that Mistrust and Timorous told him of; how they were
frighted with the sight of the lions.  Then said Christian to
himself again, These beasts range in the night for their prey; and
if they should meet with me in the dark, how should I shift them?
How should I escape being by them torn in pieces?  Thus he went on
his way.  But while he was thus bewailing his unhappy miscarriage,
he lift up his eyes, and behold there was a very stately palace
before him, the name of which was Beautiful; and it stood just by
the highway side.

From bunyan-traveller

Illustrations to Pilgrim's Progress
Plate 17

Christian at the Arbor
Matthew  7:14
In the King James Version of the Bible the text reads:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which
leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Friday, April 24, 2015


Yale center for British Art
Plate 22

THE MARRIAGE of HEAVEN and HELL, Plate 3, (E 34):
"Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and
Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence."

In the passage below we see the contraries at work personified in Los and Albion. It is apparent that Los is being forced into a contrary positions by Albion's behavior. 'Albion sat...Brooding on evil'.

Albion was trapped in a self destructive mental state from which he could not extricate himself. Albion accused Los and made demands. Los' opposition began the breaking down of the intractable disease with with Albion was afflicted. Albion began to reflect on the consequences of his misguided decisions.

Milton, Plate 42 (E 189)
"Thus Albion sat, studious of others in his pale disease:
Brooding on evil: but when Los opend the Furnaces before him:
He saw that the accursed things were his own affections,
And his own beloveds: then he turn'd sick! his soul died within him
Also Los sick & terrified beheld the Furnaces of Death
And must have died, but the Divine Saviour descended
Among the infant loves & affections, and the Divine Vision wept
Like evening dew on every herb upon the breathing ground

Albion spoke in his dismal dreams: O thou deceitful friend
Worshipping mercy & beholding thy friend in such affliction:
Los! thou now discoverest thy turpitude to the heavens.
I demand righteousness & justice. O thou ingratitude!
Give me my Emanations back[,] food for my dying soul!
My daughters are harlots! my sons are accursed before me.
Enitharmon is my daughter: accursed with a fathers curse!
O! I have utterly been wasted! I have given my daughters to devils

So spoke Albion in gloomy majesty, and deepest night
Of Ulro rolld round his skirts from Dover to Cornwall."

Albion in his self righteous desire to be the object of mercy forced Los to direct his mercy to those whom Albion may harm. Los rejected Albions pleas. Albion by not showing mercy, forced cruelty on Los. Albion demanded righteousness and justice for himself with no thought for the harm that his failures were causing others. Albion could not be healed of his sickness by being affirmed in the symptoms he was displaying. (Think of the alcoholic and the enabler.) Los provided the contraries so that progress might take place.

Milton, Plate 42 (E 189)
"Los answerd
. Righteousness & justice I give thee in return
For thy righteousness! but I add mercy also, and bind
Thee from destroying these little ones: am I to be only
Merciful to thee and cruel to all that thou hatest[?]
Thou wast the Image of God surrounded by the Four Zoa's
Three thou hast slain! I am the Fourth: thou canst not destroy me.
Thou art in Error; trouble me not with thy righteousness.
I have innocence to defend and ignorance to instruct:
I have no time for seeming; and little arts of compliment,
In morality and virtue: in self-glorying and pride."

In this little tableau contrariness was the result as well as the cause of progress. Error had not been removed but progress was being made in recognizing and defining it. The process must continue because 'One Error not remov'd, will destroy a human Soul."
'Why should Punishment Weave the Veil with Iron Wheels of War When Forgiveness might it Weave with Wings of Cherubim' (Jerusalem, Plate 22)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Pilgrim 6

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Pilgrims Progress
Shield of Faith

319} But, consider again, they are but journeymen thieves, they
serve under the king of the bottomless pit, who, if need be, will
come into their aid himself, and his voice is as the roaring of a
[1 Pet. 5:8] Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, 
walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

I myself have been engaged as this Little-faith
was, and I found it a terrible thing.  These three villains set
upon me, and I beginning, like a Christian, to resist, they gave
but a call, and in came their master.  I would, as the saying is,
have given my life for a penny, but that, as God would have it,
I was clothed with armour of proof.  Ay, and yet, though I was so
harnessed, I found it hard work to quit myself like a man.  No man
can tell what in that combat attends us, but he that hath been in
the battle himself.

{320} HOPE. Well, but they ran, you see, when they did but suppose
that one Great-grace was in the way.

CHR. True, they have often fled, both they and their master, when
Great-grace hath but appeared; and no marvel; for he is the King's
champion.  But, I trow, you will put some difference betwixt
Little-faith and the King's champion.  All the King's subjects
are not his champions, nor can they, when tried, do such feats of
war as he.  Is it meet to think that a little child should handle
Goliath as David did?  Or that there should be the strength of
an ox in a wren?  Some are strong, some are weak; some have great
faith, some have little.  This man was one of the weak, and therefore
he went to the wall.

{321} HOPE. I would it had been Great-grace for their sakes.

CHR. If it had been, he might have had his hands full; for I must
tell you, that though Great-grace is excellent good at his weapons,
and has, and can, so long as he keeps them at sword's point, do well
enough with them; yet, if they get within him, even Faint-heart,
Mistrust, or the other, it shall go hard but they will throw up
his heels.  And when a man is down, you know, what can he do?

{322} Whoso looks well upon Great-grace's face, shall see those
scars and cuts there, that shall easily give demonstration of what
I say.  Yea, once I heard that he should say, (and that when he was
in the combat), "We despaired even of life."  How did these sturdy
rogues and their fellows make David groan, mourn, and roar?  Yea,
Heman, and Hezekiah, too, though champions in their day, were forced
to bestir them, when by these assaulted; and yet, notwithstanding,
they had their coats soundly brushed by them.  Peter, upon a time,
would go try what he could do; but though some do say of him that
he is the prince of the apostles, they handled him so, that they
made him at last afraid of a sorry girl.

{323} Leviathan's sturdiness

Besides, their king is at their whistle.  He is never out of hearing;
and if at any time they be put to the worst, he, if possible, comes in
to help them; and of him it is said, The sword of him that layeth
at him cannot hold the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon; he
esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood.  The arrow cannot
make him flee; sling stones are turned with him into stubble.  Darts
are counted as stubble:  he laugheth at the shaking of a spear.
[Job 41:26-29]
26 The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon.
27 He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood.
28 The arrow cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble.
29 Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear 

What can a man do in this case?  It is true, if a man
could, at every turn, have Job's horse, and had skill and courage
to ride him, he might do notable things; for his neck is clothed
with thunder, he will not be afraid of the grasshopper; the glory
of his nostrils is terrible:  he paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth
in his strength, he goeth on to meet the armed men.  He mocketh
at fear, and is not affrighted, neither turneth he back from the
sword.  The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear, and
the shield.  He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage,
neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. He saith
among the trumpets, Ha, ha!  and he smelleth the battle afar off,
the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.  

[Job 39:19-25]

Job 39:19-25King James Version (KJV)

19 Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?
20 Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible.
21 He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men.
22 He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword.
23 The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield.
24 He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet.
25 He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
{324} But for such footmen as thee and I are, let us never desire

to meet with an enemy, nor vaunt as if we could do better, when we
hear of others that they have been foiled, Nor be tickled at the
thoughts of our own manhood; for such commonly come by the worst
when tried.  Witness Peter, of whom I made mention before.  He would
swagger, ay, he would; he would, as his vain mind prompted him to
say, do better, and stand more for his Master than all men; but
who so foiled, and run down by these villains, as he?

When, therefore, we hear that such robberies are done on the King's
highway, two things become us to do:

{325} 1.  To go out harnessed, and to be sure to take a shield with
us; for it was for want of that, that he that laid so lustily at
Leviathan could not make him yield; for, indeed, if that be wanting,
he fears us not at all.  Therefore, he that had skill hath said,
"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able
to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."  [Eph. 6:16]

{326} 2.  It is good, also, that we desire of the King a convoy,
yea, that he will go with us himself.  This made David rejoice
when in the Valley of the Shadow of Death; and Moses was rather for
dying where he stood, than to go one step without his God.  [Exo.
33:15] Oh, my brother, if he will but go along with us, what need
we be afraid of ten thousands that shall set themselves against
us?  [Ps. 3:5-8, 27:1-3] But, without him, the proud helpers "fall
under the slain".  [Isa. 10:4]

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Plate 19, Copy A

Albion cannot wake from his tortured sleep on his own, nor can he be awoken without his consent. Until conditions are ripe for his restoration he will remain in his deathlike slumber. Los, seeing that Albion is helpless to return to health and wholeness, decides to assume the responsibility of intervening on his behalf. Los will suffer along with Albion, he will build structures in which life may flourish, he will reveal error that it may be rejected, and he will patiently watch for the signs that the dawn is breaking within Albion reborn.

Jerusalem, Plate 38 [43], (E 184)
"They saw their Wheels rising up poisonous against Albion
Urizen, cold & scientific: Luvah, pitying & weeping
Tharmas, indolent & sullen: Urthona, doubting & despairing
Victims to one another & dreadfully plotting against each other
To prevent Albion walking about in the Four Complexions.      

They saw America clos'd out by the Oaks of the western shore;
And Tharmas dash'd on the Rocks of the Altars of Victims in Mexico.
If we are wrathful Albion will destroy Jerusalem with rooty Groves
If we are merciful, ourselves must suffer destruction on his Oaks!
Why should we enter into our Spectres, to behold our own corruptions
O God of Albion descend! deliver Jerusalem from the Oaken Groves!

Then Los grew furious raging: Why stand we here trembling around
Calling on God for help; and not ourselves in whom God dwells
Stretching a hand to save the falling Man: are we not Four
Beholding Albion upon the Precipice ready to fall into Non-Entity:
Seeing these Heavens & Hells conglobing in the Void. Heavens over Hells
Brooding in holy hypocritic lust, drinking the cries of pain

From howling victims of Law: building Heavens Twenty-seven-fold.
Swelld & bloated General Forms, repugnant to the Divine-
Humanity, who is the Only General and Universal Form         
To which all Lineaments tend & seek with love & sympathy"

Jerusalem, Plate 39 [44], (E 186)
"But as the Will must not be bended but in the day of Divine
Power: silent calm & motionless, in the mid-air sublime, 
The Family Divine hover around the darkend Albion.          
Such is the nature of the Ulro: that whatever enters:
Becomes Sexual, & is Created, and Vegetated, and Born.
From Hyde Park spread their vegetating roots beneath Albion
In dreadful pain the Spectrous Uncircumcised Vegetation.
Forming a Sexual Machine: an Aged Virgin Form,           
In Erins Land toward the north, joint after joint & burning
In love & jealousy immingled & calling it Religion
And feeling the damps of death they with one accord delegated Los
Conjuring him by the Highest that he should Watch over them
Till Jesus shall appear: & they gave their power to Los       
Naming him the Spirit of Prophecy, calling him Elijah

Strucken with Albions disease they become what they behold;
They assimilate with Albion in pity & compassion;
Their Emanations return not: their Spectres rage in the Deep
The Slumbers of Death came over them around the Couch of Death  
Before the Gate of Los & in the depths of Non Entity
Among the Furnaces of Los: among the Oaks of Albion.

Jerusalem, Plate 12, (E 155)
Why wilt thou give to her a Body whose life is but a Shade?.
Her joy and love, a shade: a shade of sweet repose:
But animated and vegetated, she is a devouring worm:
What shall we do for thee O lovely mild Jerusalem?

And Los said. I behold the finger of God in terrors!           
Albion is dead! his Emanation is divided from him!
But I am living! yet I feel my Emanation also dividing
Such thing was never known! O pity me, thou all-piteous-one!
What shall I do! or how exist, divided from Enitharmon?
Yet why despair! I saw the finger of God go forth                
Upon my Furnaces, from within the Wheels of Albions Sons:
Fixing their Systems, permanent: by mathematic power
Giving a body to Falshood that it may be cast off for ever.
With Demonstrative Science piercing Apollyon with his own bow!
God is within, & without! he is even in the depths of Hell!      

Such were the lamentations of the Labourers in the Furnaces!"

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pilgrim 5

This is an abridged version of Bunyan's story;

John Bunyan's Dream Story  (1913) 
by James Baldwin

Worldly Wiseman:
By and by he came to a crossroad, and there a stranger met him. The man smiled when he saw Graceless, and spoke to him in a very pleasant manner.
"How now, my good fellow, where are you going?" he said. "And what are you doing with that big burden on your back?"
Graceless told him that he was on his way to the wicket gate, and that he hoped when he reached it to be shown how to get rid of his burden.
"Well," said the stranger, "I have spent many years in study, and my neighbors call me Worldly Wiseman because of my wisdom. Will you listen to me if I give you some advice?"
"Certainly," said Graceless; "for I need good counsel."
"Well, then, I advise you to get rid of that burden as soon as possible," said Wiseman.
"That is just what I wish to do," answered Graceless. "But I cannot take it off myself, and there is no man in our country who can remove it. And that is why I am going to the wicket gate."
"Who told you to go there?"
"A good man who seemed to me very gentle and loving. His name is Evangelist."
Worldly Wiseman laughed. "He is a fine fellow, indeed, to be giving advice to others," he said. "Why, he knows nothing at all, and yet he pretends to know everything."
"Well, I felt sure that he knew how I might get rid of this burden," answered Graceless. "He showed me this road."
"And a pretty road it is," sneered Mr. Wiseman. "There is not a more dangerous way in all the world. You have already met with some of its difficulties; for I see that the mud of the Slough of Despond is upon you."
"Yes, and I came near being buried in its mire," said Graceless.
"Well, if you keep on in that same road, you will meet with many worse things: hunger and cold, lions, dragons, darkness, and death. Take my advice, and don't cast your life away so foolishly," said Mr. Wiseman.
"Sir," answered Graceless, "this burden is so terrible to me that I am willing to face all sorts of dangers if only I can be delivered from it."
"How came you to get the burden in the first place?"
"By reading this book that I have in my hand."
"I thought so. That book has filled many a man's mind with foolish notions about things of which we know nothing."
"Well, I know one thing. I know that I would like to be eased from this burden."
Worldly Wiseman took Graceless by the hand, and spoke to him very gently.
"Do you see yonder village at the farther end of this broad road?" he asked.
"Yes, I see it," answered Graceless.
"Well, the name of that village is Morality," said Mr. Wiseman. "I have lived there for many years, and it is a very pleasant place, indeed. There is a lawyer there, a near neighbor of mine, who knows all about burdens of every kind. His name is Legality, and I would advise you to go and see him at once."
"Are you sure that he can remove this burden of mine?" asked Graceless.
"Most certainly he can," answered Mr. Wiseman; "and he will do much more. He will put you in the way of getting a home for yourself in our village. Then you may send for your wife and children, and live happily among honest neighbors all the rest of your life."
"Oh, how delightful that would be!" cried Graceless.
"It would certainly be better than trying to reach that wicket gate," said Mr. Wiseman.
"I think so, too," said Graceless. "Please show me the way to that honest lawyer's house."
"Do you see yonder high hill?" asked Mr. Wiseman.
"Yes, I see it very well."
"Then follow the road which leads by that hill. The first house you come to is the house of Mr. Legality."
Graceless thanked him and bade him good-by. Then he turned into the broad road on his left, and walked as fast as his burden would let him towards the hill which had been pointed out to him. It was not more than a mile away, and he soon found himself at its foot.
But what a fearful hill it was! It was now a great mountain, and it seemed to hang right over the road, and Graceless feared every moment that it would topple over upon him. He stood still and trembled. There was no house in sight, no shelter of any kind. The earth shook; flashes of fire came out of the mountain; he knew not which way to go.
"Oh, that I had not listened to the words of Worldly Wiseman!" he cried.
Then, as he lifted his eyes, whom did he see but Evangelist coming to meet him.
"What are you doing here, my friend?" asked the good man.
Graceless could not say a word.
"Are you not the man whom I found crying in the field by the City of Destruction? And didn't I show you the way to the wicket gate?" asked Evangelist.
"Yes, dear sir, you showed me the way," answered the poor man.
"Then how is it that I find you here?" asked Evangelist.
Graceless told him how he had met Mr. Worldly Wiseman at the crossing of the roads, and how he had been persuaded to seek the house of the lawyer Legality. And when he had finished, he cried, "Woe is me now, for I am undone!"
But Evangelist took him by the hand and said, "This Worldly Wiseman, who pretended t be so friendly to you, had no desire to help you. On the contrary, he wished only to turn you out of the way and send you to destruction. For that reason he advised you to go to Mr. Legality, who has no power whatever to remove your burden."
"Alas! Alas!" cried Graceless, "I see now my error. I ought not to have listened to that man. I ought not to have turned off from the straight way which leads toward the shining light."
"Surely you did very wrong," answered Evangelist, "and you deserve to suffer for your folly."
Then there was a great rumbling in the earth, as though words were coming from it; fire flashed from the crevices in the rocks; and the mountain shook from top to bottom.
Graceless expected nothing but death. But seeing the gentle face of Evangelist, he took courage.
"Sir," he asked, "is there no hope? Is there no way of escape? May I not be forgiven? And may I not return and go up to the wicket gate?"
Evangelist answered him very kindly, "Yes, if you are truly sorry for your error, you may again seek the true way. The man at the gate will receive you, for he has good will for all men."
"Then I will go back," said Graceless.
Evangelist kissed him, gave him one smile, and bade him Godspeed.

from early post
Blake and Bunyan