Saturday, May 28, 2016


The following passage in Revelation had a powerful influence on Milton and Blake. It provided the imagery through which they each could formulate myths about the origin of man's fallen condition. There was a war in heaven which spilled into the earth. The conflict between Michael and his Angels on one side and the great red Dragon on the other, allowed the deceiver to gain a foothold through which the woman was sent to experience life in time. Man lost the unity of Eternity and acquired a dualistic nature which could only be expressed in a temporal world. The woman became the vehicle through which the outer was made manifest.
Revelation 12
[1] And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
[2] And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
[3] And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
[4] And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
[5] And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
[6] And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
[7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
[8] And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
[9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
[10] And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
[11] And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
[12] Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
[13] And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
[14] And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
[15] And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
[16] And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
[17] And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Brooklyn Museum
The Great Red Dragon 
and the Woman Clothed with the Sun

The dragon of the picture is the fallen angel who took with him a third of heaven's content when he was cast out of heaven. John of Patmos failed to explicate the origin of the dragon or the scenario which led him to rebel against the Divine order. Milton and Blake looked deep into their own psyches and historical situations attempting to learn why the perfect harmony of Eternity became fractured.

Four Zoas, Night V,Page 64, (E 343)
[Urzien speaks] 
"My songs are turned to cries of Lamentation 
Heard on my Mountains & deep sighs under my palace roofs 
Because the Steeds of Urizen once swifter than the light 
Were kept back from my Lord & from his chariot of mercies
O did I keep the horses of the day in silver pastures
O I refusd the Lord of day the horses of his prince
O did I close my treasuries with roofs of solid stone            
And darken all my Palace walls with envyings & hate

O Fool to think that I could hide from his all piercing eyes
The gold & silver & costly stones his holy workmanship
O Fool could I forget the light that filled my bright spheres
Was a reflection of his face who calld me from the deep          

I well remember for I heard the mild & holy voice
Saying O light spring up & shine & I sprang up from the deep
He gave to me a silver scepter & crownd me with a golden crown
& said Go forth & guide my Son who wanders on the ocean     

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

I siezd thee beauteous Luvah thou art faded like a flower
And like a lilly is thy wife Vala witherd by winds               
When thou didst bear the golden cup at the immortal tables
Thy children smote their fiery wings crownd with the gold of heaven

PAGE 65 
Thy pure feet stepd on the steps divine. too pure for other feet
And thy fair locks shadowd thine eyes from the divine effulgence
Then thou didst keep with Strong Urthona the living gates of heaven
But now thou art bound down with him even to the gates of hell

Because thou gavest Urizen the wine of the Almighty             
For steeds of Light that they might run in thy golden chariot of pride
I gave to thee the Steeds   I pourd the stolen wine
And drunken with the immortal draught fell from my throne sublime"

Paradise Lost, Book 5 
John Milton 
"all obey'd
The wonted signal, and superior voice [ 705 ]
Of thir great Potentate; for great indeed
His name, and high was his degree in Heav'n;
His count'nance, as the Morning Starr that guides
The starrie flock, allur'd them, and with lyes
Drew after him the third part of Heav'ns Host: [ 710 ]
Mean while th' Eternal eye, whose sight discernes
Abstrusest thoughts, from forth his holy Mount
And from within the golden Lamps that burne
Nightly before him, saw without thir light
Rebellion rising, saw in whom, how spred [ 715 ]
Among the sons of Morn, what multitudes
Were banded to oppose his high Decree;"

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