Illustrations to Milton's Paradise Regained
Page 11, Christ Ministered to by Angels
One of Blake's illustrations to Milton's Paradise Regained facilitates our understanding of Blake's writings on the subject of the Lark, the Eyes of God, and the Twenty-seven Churches. First we notice the angels who are back to back with their wing tips touching as Blake describes the Larks. They are speaking or singing and playing music on their lyres or harps. Central in the picture is Jesus, not yet glorified but acting as intermediary between man and God. The bread and wine are offered by two additional angels who are not ascending but supporting the vision of Christ which has been given to them. If the Twenty-seven Churches are seen to be represented in the lower part of the picture, we can envision the Lark/Angels ascending and descending with messages which clarify the portion of truth with which successive revelations were entrusted.
Milton, Plate 13, (E 157)
"Los walks round the walls night and day.
He views the City of Golgonooza, & its smaller Cities: The Looms & Mills & Prisons & Work-houses of Og & Anak: The Amalekite: the Canaanite: the Moabite: the Egyptian: And all that has existed in the space of six thousand years: Permanent, & not lost not lost nor vanishd, & every little act, Word, work, & wish, that has existed, all remaining still In those Churches ever consuming & ever building by the Spectres Of all the inhabitants of Earth wailing to be Created: Shadowy to those who dwell not in them, meer possibilities: But to those who enter into them they seem the only substances For every thing exists & not one sigh nor smile nor tear, PLATE 14 One hair nor particle of dust, not one can pass away."Milton, Plate 17 , (E 110)
"The Mundane Shell, is a vast Concave Earth: an immense
Hardend shadow of all things upon our Vegetated Earth
Enlarg'd into dimension & deform'd into indefinite space,
In Twenty-seven Heavens and all their Hells; with Chaos
And Ancient Night; & Purgatory. It is a cavernous Earth
Of labyrinthine intricacy, twenty-seven folds of opakeness
And finishes where the lark mounts; here Milton journeyed
In that Region calld Midian among the Rocks of Horeb
For travellers from Eternity. pass outward to Satans seat,
But travellers to Eternity. pass inward to Golgonooza."
Milton, Plate 32 , (E 132)
"Satan & Adam are States Created into Twenty-seven Churches
And thou O Milton art a State about to be Created
Called Eternal Annihilation that none but the Living shall
Dare to enter: & they shall enter triumphant over Death
And Hell & the Grave! States that are not, but ah! Seem to be."
Milton, Plate 35 , (E 136]
"Just at the place to where the Lark mounts, is a Crystal Gate
It is the enterance of the First Heaven named Luther:
for The Lark is Los's Messenger thro the Twenty-seven Churches
That the Seven Eyes of God who walk even to Satans Seat
Thro all the Twenty-seven Heavens may not slumber nor sleep
But the Larks Nest is at the Gate of Los, at the eastern
Gate of wide Golgonooza & the Lark is Los's Messenger"
Milton, PLATE 36 , (E 136)
"When on the highest lift of his light pinions he arrives
At that bright Gate, another Lark meets him & back to back
They touch their pinions tip tip: and each descend
To their respective Earths & there all night consult with Angels
Of Providence & with the Eyes of God all night in slumbers
Inspired: & at the dawn of day send out another Lark
Into another Heaven to carry news upon his wings
Thus are the Messengers dispatchd till they reach the Earth again
In the East Gate of Golgonooza, & the Twenty-eighth bright
Lark. met the Female Ololon descending into my Garden
Thus it appears to Mortal eyes & those of the Ulro Heavens
But not thus to Immortals, the Lark is a mighty, Angel."
Milton, Plate 37 , (E 138)
"And these the names of the Twenty-seven Heavens & their Churches
Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch,
Methuselah, Lamech: these are Giants mighty Hermaphroditic
Noah, Shem, Arphaxad, Cainan the second, Salah, Heber,
Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah, these are the Female-Males
A Male within a Female hid as in an Ark & Curtains,
Abraham, Moses, Solomon, Paul, Constantine, Charlemaine
Luther, these seven are the Male-Females, the Dragon Forms
Religion hid in War, a Dragon red & hidden Harlot
All these are seen in Miltons Shadow who is the Covering Cherub
The Spectre of Albion in which the Spectre of Luvah inhabits
In the Newtonian Voids between the Substances of Creation"
Jerusalem, Plate 35 , (E 181)
"Los was the friend of Albion who most lov'd him. In Cambridgeshire
His eternal station, he is the twenty-eighth, & is four-fold."