Sunday, May 31, 2015


British Museum
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
'When the Cock crew, he wept'
The sounding of the Trumpet is a sign that an awakening impends. The sleep that man endures takes many forms. He is unconscious of Eternity, he submits to conditions which are self-destructive, he becomes the instrument that harms his brothers, and he continues along paths that lead him further and further from truth. The trumpet sounds to be his alarm-clock, shocking him out of slumber.


The sound of the trumpet frequently is not welcome. Man cannot respond to it without submitting to change. He fears the sound because the world will be turned upside down in response. Nevertheless, the trumpet will sound for those who dread the consequences, and for those who are prepared to be released into the 'glorious liberty of the children of God.'

You may remember that Blake's Title Page of the Four Zoas pictured the trumpet being sounded.

Ode On the Morning of Christ's Nativity
John Milton
Book XVI

"But wisest Fate says no
This must not yet be so,
   The Babe lies yet in smiling Infancy,
That on the bitter cross Must redeem our loss;
   So both himself and us to glorify:
Yet first to those ychain'd in sleep, The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through the deep,"
First Corinthians 15
] And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
[50] Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
[51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
[52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
[53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

Romans 8
[21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
[22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

Europe, Plate 12, (E 64)
"They heard the voice of Albions Angel howling in flames of Orc,
Seeking the trump of the last doom"

Milton, Plate 25 [27], (E 121)
"And Los stood & cried to the Labourers of the Vintage in voice of awe.

Fellow Labourers! The Great Vintage & Harvest is now upon Earth
The whole extent of the Globe is explored: Every scatterd Atom
Of Human Intellect now is flocking to the sound of the Trumpet
All the Wisdom which was hidden in caves & dens, from ancient   
Time; is now sought out from Animal & Vegetable & Mineral

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" 

Milton, Plate 23 [25], (E 118)
"Awake thou sleeper on the Rock of Eternity Albion awake
The trumpet of Judgment hath twice sounded: all Nations are awake
But thou art still heavy and dull: Awake Albion awake!"

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Dante 4

Mission of Virgil:

wiki common
Blake pictures of Dante
Mission of Virgil

This from A Blake Dictionary page 97:
Blake introduced his own ideas to correct Dante's errors.  "The Mission of Virgil " shows the figure of monarchy worshipping "The Angry God of this World".

From the Blake Archive:
There's a fairly comprehensive description of the picture.

Friday, May 29, 2015


Four Zoas, Night I, Page 2, (E 301)
                 "Rest before Labour"

"4 lines of Greek text
Ephesians 6: 12
[King James version:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but
against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the
darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high

The implication of Blake's text on Page 2 of the Four Zoas, "Rest before Labour," is that he will undertake the task which the apostle Paul recommends to his readers in Ephesus. The task is not to be undertaken lightly or without preparation. Although Blake quotes only one verse from Ephesians, a longer passage is applicable to the rest and labour to which he refers.


Ephesians 6
[10] Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
[11] Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
[12] For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
[13] Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
[14] Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
[15] And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
[16] Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
[17] And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
[18] Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
[19] And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
[20] For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.


The preparation is for the labour of doing battle with the spiritual forces which rule this world. Blake calls this intellectual battle. The preparation which must come before the labour is rest: not physical rest but faith which provides the whole armour of God.

The author of Hebrews equates entering into rest with being able to believe or keep one's heart open to receiving the promise.

Hebrews 3
[14] For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
[15] While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
[16] For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
[17] But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?
[18] And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?
[19] So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.


We need to begin with rest if we are to enter the labour of reading Blake's tour through the battlefields where the the Four Mighty Ones struggle to become One as Jesus prayed we might become. With belief or assurance we may travel through a wilderness, but we will not be left without hope.

Hebrews 4
[1] Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
[2] For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
[3] For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
[4] For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
[5] And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
[6] Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
[7] Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
[8] For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
[9] There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
[10] For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
[11] Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
[12] For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
[13] Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

dante 3

The Vestibule of Hell and the Souls Mustering to Cross the Acheron  1824-27ink and watercolour over pencil (NGV 4)
Felton Bequest, 1920
National Gallery of Victoria
Inferno III, 22-83. Dante, led by Virgil, has entered the Vestibule of Hell and reached the shores of the river Acheron where the souls of those who lived without blame and without praise wait to be ferried across; above them mourn the choir of angels who neither rebelled nor were faithful to God, and who were chased from Heaven but refused by Hell. Dante describes the ensign with a banner leading the souls, and the hornets and wasps that attack them.

next image
image index
previous image

crossing the Acheron
Blake's illustrations

From Wikipedia


In ancient Greek mythology, Acheron was known as the river of woe, and was one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld. In the Homeric poems the Acheron was described as a river of Hades, into which Cocytus and Phlegethon both flowed.[2][3]
The Roman poet Virgil called it the principal river of Tartarus, from which the Styx and Cocytus both sprang.[4] The newly dead would be ferried across the Acheron by Charon in order to enter the Underworld.[5]

William Blake's depiction of "The Vestibule of Hell and the Souls Mustering to Cross the Acheron" in hisIllustrations to Dante's "Divine Comedy" object 5 ca. 1824-7. The original for the work is held by theNational Gallery of Victoria.[6]
The Suda describes the river as "a place of healing, not a place of punishment, cleansing and purging the sins of humans."[7]
According to later traditions, Acheron had been a son of Helios and either Gaia or Demeter, who had been turned into the Underworld river bearing his name after he refreshed the Titans with drink during their contest with Zeus. By this myth, Acheron is also the father of Ascalaphus by either Orphne[8] or Gorgyra.[9]
The river called Acheron with the nearby ruins of the Necromanteion is found near Parga on the mainland opposite Corfu. Another branch of Acheron was believed to surface at the Acherusian cape (now Karadeniz Ereğli in Turkey) and was seen by the Argonauts according to Apollonius of Rhodes. Greeks who settled in Italy identified the Acherusian lake into which Acheron flowed with Lake AvernusPlato in his Phaedoidentified Acheron as the second greatest river in the world, excelled only by Oceanus.

Following Greek mythology, Charonferries souls across the Acheron to Hell. Those who were neutral in life sit on the banks
He claimed that Acheron flowed in the opposite direction from Oceanus beneath the earth under desert places. The word is also occasionally used as a synecdoche for Hades itself. Virgil mentions Acheron with the other infernal rivers in his description of the underworld in Book VI of the Aeneid. In Book VII, line 312[10]he gives to Juno the famous saying, flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo: 'If I cannot bend the will of Heaven, I shall move Hell.' The same words were used by Sigmund Freud as the dedicatory motto for his seminal book The Interpretation of Dreams, figuring Acheron as psychological underworld beneath the conscious mind.
The Acheron was sometimes referred to as a lake or swamp in Greek literature, as in AristophanesThe Frogs and EuripidesAlcestis.
In Dante's Inferno, the Acheron river forms the border of Hell. Following Greek mythology, Charon ferries souls across this river to Hell. Those who were neutral in life sit on the banks.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Pictured on Page 8 of The Four Zoas is Enion, the Emanation of Tharmas, with her two infants, Los and Enitharmon.


Four Zoas, Night I, Page 7, (E 303)
[Enion Speaks]
"I thought Tharmas a Sinner & I murderd his Emanations
His secret loves & Graces Ah me wretched What have I done 
For now I find that all those Emanations were my Childrens Souls
And I have murderd them with Cruelty above atonement
Those that remain have fled from my cruelty into the desarts    
And thou the delusive tempter to these deeds sittest before me
In this thy world not mine tho dark I feel my world within

Mingling his horrible brightness with her tender limbs then high she soard
Above the ocean; a bright wonder that Nature shudder'd at
Half Woman & half Spectre, all his lovely changing colours mix
With her fair crystal clearness; in her lips & cheeks his poisons rose
In blushes like the morning, and his scaly armour softening
A monster lovely in the heavens or wandering on the earth,
Till with fierce pain she brought forth on the rocks her sorrow & woe
Behold two little Infants wept upon the desolate wind.
The first state weeping they began & helpless as a wave
Beaten along its sightless way growing enormous in its motion to
Its utmost goal, till strength from Enion like richest summer shining
Raisd the bright boy & girl with glories from their heads out beaming
Drawing forth drooping mothers pity drooping mothers sorrow

They sulk upon her breast her hair became like snow on mountains
Weaker & weaker, weeping woful, wearier and wearier
Faded & her bright Eyes decayd melted with pity & love"    

Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 84, (E 359)
[Spectre of Urthona Speaks]
"I was divided in darkness & oblivion thou an infant woe
And I an infant terror in the womb of Enion
My masculine spirit scorning the frail body issud forth
From Enions brain In this deformed form leaving thee there
Till times passd over thee but still my spirit returning hoverd
And formd a Male to be a counterpart to thee O Love
Darkend & Lost In due time issuing forth from Enions womb
Thou & that demon Los wert born Ah jealousy & woe
Ah poor divided dark Urthona now a Spectre wandering
The deeps of Los the Slave of that Creation I created
I labour night & day for Los but listen thou my vision
I view futurity in thee I will bring down soft Vala
To the embraces of this terror & I will destroy
That body I created then shall we unite again in bliss"

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dante 2

Dante Running from the Three Beasts   1824-27

pen, ink and watercolour over pencil (NGV 3)
Felton Bequest, 1920
National Gallery of Victoria
Inferno I, 1-90. Dante in the middle of the journey through life, comes to a dark wood and loses his way. After a night full of fear he sets out again at dawn but is distracted from his way by a leopard (representing for Dante worldly pleasure, or Florence), a lion (pride, or the Royal House of France) and a wolf (avarice, or the Papal See). Fleeing from these he encounters Virgil.

Publius Vergilius Maro (Classical Latin: [ˈpuː.blɪ.ʊs wɛrˈgɪ.lɪ.ʊs ˈma.roː]; October 15, 70 BC – September 21, 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil /ˈvɜrɨl/ in English, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues (orBucolics), the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid. A number of minor poems, collected in the Appendix Vergiliana, are sometimes attributed to him.
Virgil is traditionally ranked as one of Rome's greatest poets. His Aeneid has been considered thenational epic of ancient Rome from the time of its composition to the present day. Modeled afterHomer's Iliad and Odyssey, the Aeneid follows the Trojan refugee Aeneas as he struggles to fulfill his destiny and arrive on the shores of Italy—in Roman mythology the founding act of Rome. Virgil's work has had wide and deep influence on Western literature, most notably Dante's Divine Comedy, in which Virgil appears as Dante's guide through hell and purgatory.

Monday, May 25, 2015

GOD & MAN [Title]

It could be said that Blake had only one interest: the relationship between the Human and the Divine. He explored this subject from innumerable perspectives in his written and visual art.

Christ is said to be God Incarnate: the Word made flesh. Jesus came into the world to make the Incarnation manifest. Blake's aim was to show how man could overcome the divisions within himself which obstructed the perception of the Infinite and Eternal which man was made to receive.

Blake looked at the world around him and saw the consequences of man living without the recognition of the internal spirit which should be expressed through him. He presented the divisions splitting mankind into warring factions in order to show how the divisions can be healed through recognizing error and receiving truth. He applied all of his intellect, imagination and craftsmanship to show how the fractures can be mended and the totality of an organic synthesis can be achieved.
Four Zoas, Night VIII, PAGE 101 (FIRST PORTION), (E 373)
"Thus Urizen in self deciet his warlike preparations fabricated
And when all things were finishd sudden wavd among the Stars
His hurtling hand gave the dire signal thunderous Clarions blow
And all the hollow deep rebellowd with the wonderous war


But Urizen his mighty rage let loose in the mid deep
Sparkles of Dire affliction issud round his frozen limbs
Horrible hooks & nets he formd twisting the cords of iron
And brass & molten metals cast in hollow globes & bor'd
Tubes in petrific steel & rammd combustibles & wheels
And chains & pullies fabricated all round the heavens of Los
Communing with the Serpent of Orc in dark dissimulation
And with the Synagogue of Satan in dark Sanhedrim

To undermine the World of Los & tear bright Enitharmon
To the four winds hopeless of future. All futurity
Seems teeming with Endless Destruction never to be repelld
Desperate remorse swallows the present in a quenchless rage

Terrified & astonishd Urizen beheld the battle take a form 
Which he intended not a Shadowy hermaphrodite black & opake
The Soldiers namd it Satan but he was yet unformd & vast
Hermaphroditic it at length became hiding the Male
Within as in a Tabernacle Abominable Deadly

The battle howls the terrors fird rage in the work of death

Enormous Works Los Contemplated inspird by the holy Spirit
Los builds the Walls of Golgonooza against the stirring battle
That only thro the Gates of Death they can enter to Enitharmon
Raging they take the human visage & the human form"

Sunday, May 24, 2015


Blake's The Lovers' Whirlwind 
Dante illustrates Hell in Canto V of 
Dante'sI nferno
From Wiki
William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. His prophetic poetry has been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language".[2] His visual artistry led one contemporary art critic to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced".[3]

Blake seems to dissent from Dante's admiration of the poetic works of ancient Greece, and from the apparent glee with which Dante allots punishments in Hell (as evidenced by the grim humour of the cantos).
At the same time, Blake shared Dante's distrust of materialism and the corruptive nature of power, and clearly relished the opportunity to represent the atmosphere and imagery of Dante's work pictorially. Even as he seemed to near death, Blake's central preoccupation was his feverish work on the illustrations to Dante's Inferno; he is said to have spent one of the very last shillings he possessed on a pencil to continue sketching.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


In the post SYSTEMS I mentioned that Blake was determined to practice religion as he choose rather than joining any group. Reading Jonathan Roberts book William Blake's Poetry, I found a cohesive explanation of Blake's underlying reason for making such a choice.

Jonathan Roberts, Page 51:

"And this is the manner of the Sons of Albion in their strength
They take the Two Contraries which are calld Qualities, with which
Every Substance is clothed, they name them Good & Evil
From them they make an Abstract, which is a Negation            
Not only of the Substance from which it is derived
A murderer of its own Body: but also a murderer
Of every Divine Member: it is the Reasoning Power
An Abstract objecting power, that Negatives every thing
This is the Spectre of Man: the Holy Reasoning Power            
And in its Holiness is closed the Abomination of Desolation

(Jerusalem, pl. 10, E151-2)

"This passage describes how the perceptions of an individual or a society are based on the contraries with which 'every substance' (i.e. phenomenal reality) is clothed and how those individuals or societies attach moral qualities to contraries, and from these they create an abstract scheme of reality which, Blake says, is a negation of reality itself. It is a negation because it is a mental abstraction that replaces reality itself. 

Page 71:

"There is for Blake no means of describing nature other than from the human perspective that we have on it, and nature is therefore something interior to humans rather than exterior to them: its only perceivable life lies within us. The material universe therefore only takes shape as it is perceived:

'Nature has no Outline:
but Imagination has.  Nature has no Tune: but Imagination has!
Nature has no Supernatural & dissolves: Imagination is Eternity'
(The Ghost of Abel, E269).

Thinking of nature as having a 'real' external existence outside of humanity is, for Blake, just another return to abstraction. Thus Blake writes:

"all are Men in Eternity [...]
as in your own Bosom you bear your Heaven
And Earth, & all you behold, tho it appears Without it is Within
In your Imagination of which this World of Mortality is but a Shadow.

[Jerusalem, pl. 71, E224]
This presents one of the most conceptually challenging aspects of Blake's work, which is when viewed from a 'cleansed' or 'eternal' perspective all things will appear in relation to our humanity, because for them to take any other form would lead back into the cycle of abstraction discussed earlier. When we look at nature what we see is our own  humanity reflected, and each of us therefore sees slightly differently."

Seeing Blake's hesitancy to associate himself with any organization, we can surmise that it was not particular organizations he avoided, but what organizations represented to him. We know that he was acquainted with Moravians, Puritans, Swedenborgians, and Methodists. He joined for a short time the Royal Academy. But in the long run he found that organizations prevented individuals from exercising the perfect liberty of expressing their individual imaginations. To be true to his own humanity he eschewed associating himself with any system which had not come to him directly through the spirit within.  

British Museum
Copy A, Plate 32

He created one diagrammatic representation of his mythopoeic system, but ordinarily he communicated through images which required interpretation by the viewer or reader. A diagram is like an architectural drawing which answers the questions about how the building is to be constructed; Blake images ask us to answer many of  the questions ourselves.  Although this plate from Milton appears to be a diagram, it works as an image because so much must be added to it from a variety of extraneous locations for it to be understood. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

pilgrim 18

Plate 8 Blake/Bunyan
Christian fears the Fire from the Mountain

INTER. Tarry till I shall show thee one thing more, and then thou shalt go on thy way.

{89} So he took Christian by the hand again, and led him into
a chamber, where there was one rising out of bed; and as he put
on his raiment, he shook and trembled.  Then said Christian, Why
doth this man thus tremble?  The Interpreter then bid him tell to
Christian the reason of his so doing.  So he began and said, This
night, as I was in my sleep, I dreamed, and behold the heavens grew
exceeding black; also it thundered and lightened in most fearful
wise, that it put me into an agony; so I looked up in my dream, and
saw the clouds rack at an unusual rate, upon which I heard a great
sound of a trumpet, and saw also a man sit upon a cloud, attended
with the thousands of heaven; they were all in flaming fire:  also
the heavens were in a burning flame.  I heard then a voice saying,
"Arise, ye dead, and come to judgement"; and with that the rocks
rent, the graves opened, and the dead that were therein came forth.
Some of them were exceeding glad, and looked upward; and some
sought to hide themselves under the mountains.  

Ist Cor 15:52;
1 Thes. 4:16
Jude 14
John 5:28,29; 2
 Rev. 20:11-14;
Isa. 26:21; 
Micah 7:16,17; 
Ps. 95:1-3; Dan. 7:10] 

Then I saw the
man that sat upon the cloud open the book, and bid the world draw
near.  Yet there was, by reason of a fierce flame which issued out
and came from before him, a convenient distance betwixt him and
them, as betwixt the judge and the prisoners at the bar.  
[Mal. 3:2,3; 
Dan. 7:9,10] I heard it also proclaimed to them that attended
on the man that sat on the cloud, Gather together the tares, the
chaff, and stubble, and cast them into the burning lake.  
 [Matt. 3:12; 13:30; 
Mal.  4:1] And with that, the bottomless pit opened,
just whereabout I stood; out of the mouth of which there came, in
an abundant manner, smoke and coals of fire, with hideous noises.
It was also said to the same persons, "Gather my wheat into
the garner."  [Luke 3:17] 
And with that I saw many catched up and
carried away into the clouds, but I was left behind.  [1 Thes. 4:16,17] 
I also sought to hide myself, but I could not, for the man
that sat upon the cloud still kept his eye upon me; my sins also
came into my mind; and my conscience did accuse me on every side.[Rom. 3:14,15] 
Upon this I awaked from my sleep.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


John M Barry in Roger Williams and The Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty contrasted the beliefs of Puritans and Quakers:
"Puritans believed in predestination, that God elected saints for reasons beyond understanding, and that no human action had any bearing on election. Yet they also saw great personal struggle and living a godly as symptomatic of - although the cause of - salvation. Those who were saved worked, they did the hardest work, and Puritans no matter how confident of their own fates had to  live with the terror of doubt. They saw Christ as a historical figure, and an individual, indivisible like all other individuals. They believed that God was rational, and that the world was an ordered place. They believed that careful scholarly study of the Scripture was necessary to understand God's desires and their own tasks in the world.


Quakers rejected every element of those beliefs. They believed in universal redemption, and they denied that man was forever burdened with original sin. They discarded all outward forms of worship and they turned their thoughts inward, see the' light within,' the 'inner light, which they believed came from God and was part of God and lay within themselves. Indeed they raised humans nearly to divine status because they believed the Christ was inside them. They substituted human judgement for Scripture and the rule of law. They eliminated the ministry and all forms of worship. They considered men and women virtually equal and allowed women to s peak in worship. The also justified riotous behavior and even disobedience to the law. If the word 'antinomian' derives from 'against law,' this  is Antinomianism raised by orders of magnitude. Any one of these beliefs was, to Calvinists, blasphemy; taken together they certainly justified a death sentence."

British Museum
Illustrations  to Young's Night Thoughts
These statements about Puritans and Quakers in Colonial America in the late 17th century may provide some insight into Blake's resolve to create his own system rather than adopting another man's. John Milton and John Bunyan were both Puritans whose writing Blake respected, although he didn't altogether agree with them. Blake never mentions anything about Quakers although he shared most to the tenets of his religion with them. Liberty to practice religion as he choose was more important than associating himself with any group.


Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 21, (E 42)
  "I have always found that Angels have the vanity to speak of
themselves as the only wise; this they do with a confident
insolence sprouting from systematic reasoning:
  Thus Swedenborg boasts that what he writes is new; tho' it
is only the Contents or Index of already publish'd books"

Jerusalem, Plate 10, (E 153)
"Therefore Los stands in London building Golgonooza
Compelling his Spectre to labours mighty; trembling in fear
The Spectre weeps, but Los unmovd by tears or threats remains

I must Create a System, or be enslav'd by another Mans          
I will not Reason & Compare: my business is to Create

So Los, in fury & strength:"

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

pilgrim 17

English: William Blake - John Bunyan Plate 20 The Christian Fights Apollyon

{141} Then I saw in my dream that these good companions, when
Christian was gone to the bottom of the hill, gave him a loaf of
bread, a bottle of wine, and a cluster of raisins; and then he went
on his way.

But now, in this Valley of Humiliation, poor Christian was hard put
to it; for he had gone but a little way, before he espied a foul
fiend coming over the field to meet him; his name is Apollyon.  Then
did Christian begin to be afraid, and to cast in his mind whether
to go back or to stand his ground.  But he considered again that
he had no armour for his back; and therefore thought that to turn
the back to him might give him the greater advantage with ease to
pierce him with his darts.

Christian's resolution at the approach of Apollyon

Therefore he resolved to venture and stand his ground; for, thought
he, had I no more in mine eye than the saving of my life, it would
be the best way to stand.

{142} So he went on, and Apollyon met him.  Now the monster was
hideous to behold; he was clothed with scales, like a fish, (and
they are his pride,) he had wings like a dragon, feet like a bear,
and out of his belly came fire and smoke, and his mouth was as the
mouth of a lion.  When he was come up to Christian, he beheld him
with a disdainful countenance, and thus began to question with him.

{143} APOL. Whence come you?  and whither are you bound?

CHR. I am come from the City of Destruction, which is the place of
all evil, and am going to the City of Zion.

APOL. By this I perceive thou art one of my subjects, for all that
country is mine, and I am the prince and god of it.  How is it,
then, that thou hast run away from thy king?  Were it not that I
hope thou mayest do me more service, I would strike thee now, at
one blow, to the ground.

{144} CHR. I was born, indeed, in your dominions, but your service
was hard, and your wages such as a man could not live on, "for the
wages of sin is death" [Rom 6:23]; therefore, when I was come to
years, I did, as other considerate persons do, look out, if, perhaps,
I might mend myself.

Apollyon's flattery

APOL. There is no prince that will thus lightly lose his subjects,
neither will I as yet lose thee; but since thou complainest of thy
service and wages, be content to go back:  what our country will
afford, I do here promise to give thee.

CHR. But I have let myself to another, even to the King of princes;
and how can I, with fairness, go back with thee?

{145} APOL. Thou hast done in this, according to the proverb,
"Changed a bad for a worse"; but it is ordinary for those that
have professed themselves his servants, after a while to give him
the slip, and return again to me.  Do thou so too, and all shall
be well.

CHR. I have given him my faith, and sworn my allegiance to him;
how, then, can I go back from this, and not be hanged as a traitor?

APOL. Thou didst the same to me, and yet I am willing to pass by
all, if now thou wilt yet turn again and go back.

{146} CHR. What I promised thee was in my nonage; and, besides, I
count the Prince under whose banner now I stand is able to absolve
me; yea, and to pardon also what I did as to my compliance with
thee; and besides, O thou destroying Apollyon!  to speak truth,
I like his service, his wages, his servants, his government, his
company, and country, better than thine; and, therefore, leave off
to persuade me further; I am his servant, and I will follow him.

{147} APOL. Consider, again, when thou art in cool blood, what thou
art like to meet with in the way that thou goest.  Thou knowest
that, for the most part, his servants come to an ill end, because
they are transgressors against me and my ways.  How many of them
have been put to shameful deaths!  and, besides, thou countest his
service better than mine, whereas he never came yet from the place
where he is to deliver any that served him out of their hands; but
as for me, how many times, as all the world very well knows, have
I delivered, either by power, or fraud, those that have faithfully
served me, from him and his, though taken by them; and so I will
deliver thee.

CHR. His forbearing at present to deliver them is on purpose to try
their love, whether they will cleave to him to the end; and as for
the ill end thou sayest they come to, that is most glorious in their
account; for, for present deliverance, they do not much expect it,
for they stay for their glory, and then they shall have it when
their Prince comes in his and the glory of the angels.

APOL. Thou hast already been unfaithful in thy service to him; and
how dost thou think to receive wages of him?

CHR. Wherein, O Apollyon!  have I been unfaithful to him?

{148} APOL. Thou didst faint at first setting out, when thou wast
almost choked in the Gulf of Despond; thou didst attempt wrong ways
to be rid of thy burden, whereas thou shouldst have stayed till
thy Prince had taken it off; thou didst sinfully sleep and lose
thy choice thing; thou wast, also, almost persuaded to go back at
the sight of the lions; and when thou talkest of thy journey, and
of what thou hast heard and seen, thou art inwardly desirous of
vain-glory in all that thou sayest or doest.

CHR. All this is true, and much more which thou hast left out;
but the Prince whom I serve and honour is merciful, and ready to
forgive; but, besides, these infirmities possessed me in thy country,
for there I sucked them in; and I have groaned under them, been
sorry for them, and have obtained pardon of my Prince.

{149} APOL. Then Apollyon broke out into a grievous rage, saying,
I am an enemy to this Prince; I hate his person, his laws, and
people; I am come out on purpose to withstand thee.

CHR. Apollyon, beware what you do; for I am in the King's highway,
the way of holiness; therefore take heed to yourself.

APOL. Then Apollyon straddled quite over the whole breadth of the
way, and said, I am void of fear in this matter:  prepare thyself
to die; for I swear by my infernal den, that thou shalt go no
further; here will I spill thy soul.

{150} And with that he threw a flaming dart at his breast; but
Christian had a shield in his hand, with which he caught it, and
so prevented the danger of that.

Then did Christian draw, for he saw it was time to bestir him; and
Apollyon as fast made at him, throwing darts as thick as hail; by
the which, notwithstanding all that Christian could do to avoid it,
Apollyon wounded him in his head, his hand, and foot.  This made
Christian give a little back; Apollyon, therefore, followed his work
amain, and Christian again took courage, and resisted as manfully
as he could.  This sore combat lasted for above half a day, even
till Christian was almost quite spent; for you must know that
Christian, by reason of his wounds, must needs grow weaker and

{151} Then Apollyon, espying his opportunity, began to gather up
close to Christian, and wrestling with him, gave him a dreadful
fall; and with that Christian's sword flew out of his hand.  Then
said Apollyon, I am sure of thee now.  And with that he had almost
pressed him to death, so that Christian began to despair of life;
but as God would have it, while Apollyon was fetching of his
last blow, thereby to make a full end of this good man, Christian
nimbly stretched out his hand for his sword, and caught it, saying,
"Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; when I fall I shall arise"
[Micah 7:8];

Christian's victory over Apollyon

and with that gave him a deadly thrust, which made him give back,
as one that had received his mortal wound.  Christian perceiving
that, made at him again, saying, "Nay, in all these things we are
more than conquerors through him that loved us".  [Rom. 8:37] And
with that Apollyon spread forth his dragon's wings, and sped him
away, that Christian for a season saw him no more.  [James 4:7]

{152} In this combat no man can imagine, unless he had seen and
heard as I did, what yelling and hideous roaring Apollyon made all
the time of the fight--he spake like a dragon; and, on the other
side, what sighs and groans burst from Christian's heart.  I never
saw him all the while give so much as one pleasant look, till he
perceived he had wounded Apollyon with his two-edged sword; then,
indeed, he did smile, and look upward; but it was the dreadfullest
sight that ever I saw.

A more unequal match can hardly be,--CHRISTIAN must fight an
Angel; but you see,

  The valiant man by handling Sword and Shield,
  Doth make him, tho' a Dragon, quit the field.

{153} So when the battle was over, Christian said, "I will here
give thanks to him that delivered me out of the mouth of the lion,
to him that did help me against Apollyon."  

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Apollyon (top) battling Christian in John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress.
The Hebrew Abaddon (Hebrewאֲבַדּוֹן‎, 'Ǎḇaddōn), and its Greek equivalent Apollyon (Greek:ἈπολλύωνApollyon), appears in the Bible as both, a place of destruction, and as the name of anangel. In the Hebrew Bibleabaddon is used with reference to a bottomless pit, often appearing alongside the place שאול (sheol), meaning the realm of the dead. In the New Testament Book of Revelation, an angel called Abaddon is described as the king of an army of locusts; his name is first transcribed in Greek (Revelation 9:11—"whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon" (Ἀβαδδὼν)), and then translated ("which in Greek means the Destroyer" (Ἀπολλύων, Apollyon)). The Latin Vulgate and theDouay Rheims Bible have additional notes (not present in the Greek text), "in Latin Exterminans",exterminans being the Latin word for "destroyer".


  [hide1 Etymology