Sunday, November 27, 2016


Wikipedia Commons
Job's Sons and Daughters overwhelmed by Satan
Butts Set of Illustrations for the Book of Job
Morgan Library

On page 3 of his Illustrations of the Book of Job, Blake showed the beginning of a process through which a transformation might take place. It began with a tearing down preliminary to a rebuilding. Job like Simon Peter would be 'sifted as wheat' before he was prepared to 'strengthen his brethren'. 

Luke 22
[31] And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
[32] But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Blake saw the change to Job's psyche beginning with outer events. A great wind came and destroyed a house. Blake pictured the loss of the house but not the loss of all of Job's sons. The son in the picture instead actively took responsibility for saving all that could be saved. The house was made of stone which represented the unyielding law of Old Testament religion. Job's allegiance to practicing a religion based on following law was under attack. The wind of the spirit had the potential to sweep away the stone of the law.

The figures who lay dead in Blake's picture were not those who were attempting to use the stones of law to reach safety but those at the bottom of the picture who clung to instruments of music. Job had only begun the process of discerning the still small voice in the midst of the chaos of earthquake, wind and fire.  

Job 1
[18] While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:
[19] And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
[20] Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
[21] And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
[22] In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

First Kings 19
[9] And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
[10] And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
[11] And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
[12] And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
[13] And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

Jerusalem, Plate 55, (E 204)
Loud! loud! the Mountains lifted up their voices, loud the Forests
Rivers thunderd against their banks, loud Winds furious fought
Cities & Nations contended in fires & clouds & tempests.         
The Seas raisd up their voices & lifted their hands on high
The Stars in their courses fought. the Sun! Moon! Heaven! Earth.
Contending for Albion & for Jerusalem his Emanation
And for Shiloh, the Emanation of France & for lovely Vala.

Then far the greatest number were about to make a Separation     
And they Elected Seven, calld the Seven Eyes of God;
Lucifer, Molech, Elohim, Shaddai, Pahad, Jehovah, Jesus.
They namd the Eighth. he came not, he hid in Albions Forests
But first they said: (& their Words stood in Chariots in array
Curbing their Tygers with golden bits & bridles of silver & ivory)      

Let the Human Organs be kept in their perfect Integrity
At will Contracting into Worms, or Expanding into Gods
And then behold! what are these Ulro Visions of Chastity!
Then as the moss upon the tree: or dust upon the plow:
Or as the sweat upon the labouring shoulder: or as the chaff   
Of the wheat-floor or as the dregs of the sweet wine-press
Such are these Ulro Visions, for tho we sit down within
The plowed furrow, listning to the weeping clods till we
Contract or Expand Space at will: or if we raise ourselves
Upon the chariots of the morning. Contracting or Expanding Time! 
Every one knows, we are One Family! One Man blessed for ever

Silence remaind & every one resumd his Human Majesty
And many conversed on these things as they labourd at the furrow
Saying: It is better to prevent misery, than to release from misery
It is better to prevent error, than to  forgive the criminal:    
Labour well the Minute Particulars, attend to the Little-ones:
And those who are in misery cannot remain so long
If we do but our duty: labour well the teeming Earth."

On the final plate of Europe when Los was called upon to raise the consciousness of his brothers to their plight, Blake showed Los in a pose similar to that of the son of Job. He accepted the call to enter the battle to recover the Soul of Albion.
Europe, Plate 15, (E 66)
"Then Los arose his head he reard in snaky thunders clad:
And with a cry that shook all nature to the utmost pole,         
Call'd all his sons to the strife of blood."

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Wikipedia Commons
Satan Before the Throne of God
Butts Set of Illustrations for the Book of Job
Morgan Library

Blake chose to make his commentary on the Book of Job in the form of pictures. But they were pictures which were to be read in the light of spiritual/psychological truth. Picture 2 showed an image of three levels of reality. The upper image showed God as Job understood him based on the revelation of truth which was available to him in his society. This was the distant lawgiver who functioned as ruler dispensing justice according to a rigid moral code contained in the book resting on his lap.

The central level pictured multiple entities which existed within the mind of man below the level of consciousness. The mind was not unified but it contained diverse energies which were available for expression. The running, flaming man in this picture is that bundle of energy which is dissatisfied with the status quo and seeks to introduce change. The Book of Job called him Satan; in Blake's mythology he was sometimes called Orc.

The lower level was the world which had benefited from the mental organization of a static God who protected the chosen few who pleased him. The prosperity of their world was based on maintaining the psychic balance ordained by God. Job's world outwardly included his feminine self, his books of law, his angelic protection, the progeny which he had produced, his material wealth and his sleeping instinctual life.

A figure similar to that of Satan in the illustration of Job, is found at the beginning of the Book of Urizen. In that case it announced the arrival of Urizen who unsuccessfully attempted to create a world defined by reason.

Job 1
[6] Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
[7] And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
[8] And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
[9] Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
[10] Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
[11] But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 4, (E 34)
 "But the following Contraries to these are True
  1 Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that calld Body is
a portion of Soul discernd by the five Senses. the chief inlets
of Soul in this age
  2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is
the bound or outward circumference of Energy.
  3 Energy is Eternal Delight
  Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough
to be restrained; and the restrainer or reason usurps its place &
governs the unwilling.
  And being restraind it by degrees becomes passive till it is
only the shadow of desire.
  The history of this is written in Paradise Lost. & the Governor
or Reason is call'd Messiah.
  And the original Archangel or possessor of the command of the
heavenly host, is calld the Devil or Satan and his children are
call'd Sin & Death
  But in the Book of Job Miltons Messiah is call'd Satan.
  For this history has been adopted by both parties
  It indeed appear'd to Reason as if Desire was cast out. but the
Devils account is, that the Messiah fell. & formed a heaven
of what he stole from the Abyss
  This is shewn in the Gospel, where he prays to the Father to
send  the comforter or Desire that Reason may have Ideas to build
on, the Jehovah of the Bible being no other than he, who dwells
in flaming fire.    
   Know that after Christs death, he became Jehovah."
Hebrews 12
[28] Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
[29] For our God is a consuming fire.

John 14 
[16] And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 
[17] Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you
[18] I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 
[19] Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 
[20] At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 
[21] He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
[22] Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 
[23] Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 
[24] He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. 
[25] These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 
[26] But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

 Book of Urizen, Plate 3, (E 70)
     "Chap: I
1. Lo, a shadow of horror is risen
In Eternity! Unknown, unprolific!
Self-closd, all-repelling: what Demon
Hath form'd this abominable void
This soul-shudd'ring vacuum?--Some said                          
"It is Urizen", But unknown, abstracted
Brooding secret, the dark power hid.

2. Times on times he divided, & measur'd
Space by space in his ninefold darkness
Unseen, unknown! changes appeard                                 
In his desolate mountains rifted furious 
By the black winds of perturbation

3. For he strove in battles dire
In unseen conflictions with shapes
Bred from his forsaken wilderness,                               
Of beast, bird, fish, serpent & element
Combustion, blast, vapour and cloud.

4. Dark revolving in silent activity:
Unseen in tormenting passions;
An activity unknown and horrible;
A self-contemplating shadow,  
In enormous labours occupied
5. But Eternals beheld his vast forests
Age on ages he lay, clos'd, unknown
Brooding shut in the deep; all avoid                
The petrific abominable chaos

6. His cold horrors silent, dark Urizen
Prepar'd: his ten thousands of thunders
Rang'd in gloom'd array stretch out across
The dread world, & the rolling of wheels                         
As of swelling seas, sound in his clouds
In his hills of stor'd snows, in his mountains
Of hail & ice; voices of terror,
Are heard, like thunders of autumn,
When the cloud blazes over the harvests" 

Monday, November 21, 2016


Wikipedia Commons
Job and His Family
Butts Set of Illustrations for the Book of Job
Original in Morgan Library
Blake's first excursion into illustrating works by other authors was in 1791 when he illustrated Mary Wollstonecraft's novel Original Stories from Real Life. As opportunities arose he continued to produce illustrations for existing works as requested by his patrons or for publication. In about 1805 Thomas Butts, for whom Blake had painted numerous illustrations of Biblical subjects, requested a series of illustrations of the Book of Job. Blake would move from the occasional illustrations of Job which he had done in the past, to telling Job's full story as it enacted a myth of developing consciousness which led to a truer image of God.

From the beginning of his series of illustrations to Job, Blake indicated that he would interpret the Biblical account in the light of his own personal vision of the divine benevolence. The setting sun symbolized the end of a day - a period of development which has been completed.  Way would be made for new dispensation not based on a understanding of God as a lawgiver who assigned punishments for disobedience. The character Job would be Blake's vehicle for confronting the internal constructs which were projected onto the Book of Job's image of God.

In the beginning of the Book of Job the man whose name was Job saw himself as righteous because of the rewards which he had received in the natural world. He felt he had followed the rules to the letter and had earned the blessings which had been bestowed on him. He said the proper prayers and made the prescribed sacrifices. An indication that all was not well is shown by pictures of musical instruments hanging in a tree instead of being played by Job's sons and daughters. There was something lacking in Job's image of God which prevented him from knowing God as a dynamic presence within which would nourish his soul rather than providing material prosperity. Words from the Lord's Prayer were inscribed on the setting sun which would sink out of sight until it returned on the final page of Blake's illustrations.

Job 1
[1] There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
[2] And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.
[3] His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
[4] And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.
[5] And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

Four Zoas, Night II, Page 36, (E 325) 
"It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity 
Thus could I sing & thus rejoice, but it is not so with me!" 
Book of Urizen, Plate 23, (E 81)
3. Most Urizen sicken'd to see
His eternal creations appear
Sons & daughters of sorrow on mountains                  
Weeping! wailing! first Thiriel appear'd
Astonish'd at his own existence
Like a man from a cloud born, & Utha
From the waters emerging, laments!
Grodna rent the deep earth howling                   
Amaz'd! his heavens immense cracks
Like the ground parch'd with heat; then Fuzon
Flam'd out! first begotten, last born.
All his eternal sons in like manner
His daughters from green herbs & cattle                   
From monsters, & worms of the pit.

4. He in darkness clos'd, view'd all his race,
And his soul sicken'd! he curs'd
Both sons & daughters; for he saw
That no flesh nor spirit could keep                        
His iron laws one moment.

5. For he saw that life liv'd upon death
The Ox in the slaughter house moans
The Dog at the wintry door
And he wept, & he called it Pity
And his tears flowed down on the winds"

Jerusalem, Plate 28, (E 174)
"The Tree spread over him its cold shadows, (Albion groand)
They bent down, they felt the earth and again enrooting
Shot into many a Tree! an endless labyrinth of woe!

From willing sacrifice of Self, to sacrifice of (miscall'd) Enemies  
For Atonement: Albion began to erect twelve Altars,
Of rough unhewn rocks, before the Potters Furnace
He nam'd them Justice, and Truth. And Albions Sons
Must have become the first Victims, being the first transgressors
But they fled to the mountains to seek ransom: building A Strong 
Fortification against the Divine Humanity and Mercy,
In Shame & Jealousy to annihilate Jerusalem!  
Micah 6
[6] Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?
[7] Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
[8] He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Matthew 5
[43] Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
[44] But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Thursday, November 17, 2016


William Blake, The Lord Answering Job from the Whirlwind
National Galleries Scotland
Watercolor Painting

The Lord Answering Job from the Whirlwind
Blake created in 1804 another image illustrating the Book of Job. Blake was back in London following his three years in Felpham. He had undergone a re-envigorating of his spiritual and artistic life after the opening to the light which he experienced after visiting the Truchsessian Museum in 1804. During this year he painted Job Confessing his Presumption to God Who Answers from the Whirlwind.

Blake himself had undergone a confrontation with his darker self just as Job had. He had experience the darkness and despair, doubt and loss of confidence in his vision of truth. He was given a new vision of the Human Form Divine which confirmed the immediacy of his experience of God as Christ. He transposed his own experience to the account of Job's confrontation with God when he appeared in the whirlwind.

Therefore, illustrating Job's direct encounter with the all-encompassing God, he made an image of God with arms outstretched in a gesture of inclusiveness and protectiveness, emulating the position of Jesus on the cross. The figure of the vision of God vouchsafed to Job and to Blake was to replace each other vision they had encountered. It was an image of the God of Love and Forgiveness, not to be comprehended by moral doctrine, intellect or the wisdom of the world.

Six angels or Eyes of God accompany the central Seventh who evolves from earlier revelations as humanity evolves when his perception increases.

The vision was seen and the Voice heard by Job but not by his wife and accusers. He was transformed by experiencing the power of the whirlwind and the incomprehensible mind of a God not made by man. 

Milton, Plate 32 [35], (E 131)          
"And Milton oft sat up on the Couch of Death & oft conversed
In vision & dream beatific with the Seven Angels of the Presence

I have turned my back upon these Heavens builded on cruelty
My Spectre still wandering thro' them follows my Emanation
He hunts her footsteps thro' the snow & the wintry hail & rain   
The idiot Reasoner laughs at the Man of Imagination
And from laughter proceeds to murder by undervaluing calumny

Then Hillel who is Lucifer replied over the Couch of Death
And thus the Seven Angels instructed him & thus they converse.

We are not Individuals but States: Combinations of Individuals   
We were Angels of the Divine Presence: & were Druids in Annandale
Compelld to combine into Form by Satan, the Spectre of Albion,
Who made himself a God &, destroyed the Human Form Divine.
But the Divine Humanity & Mercy gave us a Human     [Hebrew text]
     Form                                                                             as multitudes
Because we were combind in Freedom & holy                 Vox Populi 
Letters, To William Hayley, 23 October 1804, (E 756) 
"I was a slave bound in a mill among beasts and devils; these
beasts and these devils are now, together with myself, become
children of light and liberty, and my feet and my wife's feet are
free from fetters. O lovely Felpham, parent of Immortal
Friendship, to thee I am eternally indebted for my three years'
rest from perturbation and the strength I now enjoy.  Suddenly,
on the day after visiting the Truchsessian Gallery of pictures, I
was again enlightened with the light I enjoyed in my youth, and
which has for exactly twenty years been closed from me as by a
door and by window-shutters.
for I am really drunk
with intellectual vision whenever I take a pencil or graver into
my hand, even as I used to be in my youth, and as I have not been
for twenty dark, but very profitable years.  I thank God that I
courageously pursued my course through darkness."

Everlasting Gospel, (E 522)
"Twas dark deceit to Earn my bread      
Twas Covet or twas Custom or
Some trifle not worth caring for    
That they may call a shame & Sin    
Loves Temple that God dwelleth in   
And hide in secret hidden Shrine      
The Naked Human form divine
And render that a Lawless thing
On which the Soul Expands its wing
But this O Lord this was my Sin
When first I let these Devils in      
In dark pretence to Chastity
Blaspheming Love blaspheming thee
Thence Rose Secret Adulteries
And thence did Covet also rise
My Sin thou hast forgiven me        
Canst thou forgive my Blasphemy
Canst thou return to this dark Hell
And in my burning bosom dwell
And canst thou Die that I may live
And canst thou Pity & forgive"

Auguries of Innocence, (E 492)
"Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born 
Every Morn & every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight
Some are Born to sweet delight
Some are Born to Endless Night
We are led to Believe a Lie 
When we see not Thro the Eye        
Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light
God Appears & God is Light
To those poor Souls who dwell in Night 
But does a Human Form Display
To those who Dwell in Realms of day"
Job 40
[1] Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,
[2] Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.
[3] Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
[4] Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
[5] Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.
[6] Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
[7] Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
[8] Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?
[9] Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?
[10] Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty.
[11] Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him.
[12] Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place.
[13] Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret.
[14] Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.

Job 42
[1] Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
[2] I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.
[3] Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
[4] Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
[5] I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
[6] Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

John 1
[3] All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
[4] In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
[5] And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Monday, November 14, 2016


National Gallery of Art
Tempera Painting of Job and His Daughters

Scholars tell us that this picture was created in approximately 1800, the time when Blake had come under the patronage of first Butts then Hayley. Blake had at this time not produced a series of image illustrating Job. Five years later he would illustrate Job for Butts; twenty-one years later he would reproduce Butts' paintings for Linnell adding an image which hawked back to his design of Job and His Daughters of 1800.

When Blake painted his tempera of Job and his daughters he was making a statement about the exercise of imagination by man. Job as the universal man was connected to the Eternal through his daughters who were each one of the arts funnelling the imagination into time and space.

In this image we see Job (as representative of humanity) before he lost the ability to allow his imagination to act as a connection to the Divine Vision. He is capable of embracing the arts of poetry, painting and music to express the spirit which dwells within. The pictures on the wall behind Job and the three females are temporal expressions of eternal realities which are made permanent when the objects reflected in the vegetable world have lost their finite limitations.

Jerusalem, Plate 77, (E 231)
"All the tortures of
repentance. are tortures of self-reproach on account of our
leaving the Divine Harvest to the Enemy, the struggles of
intanglement with incoherent roots.  I know of no other
Christianity and of no other Gospel than the liberty both of body
& mind to exercise the Divine Arts of Imagination.   
  Imagination the real & eternal World of which this Vegetable
Universe is but a faint shadow & in which we shall live in our
Eternal or Imaginative Bodies, when these Vegetable Mortal Bodies
are no more.  The Apostles knew of no other Gospel.  What were
all their spiritual gifts? What is the Divine Spirit? is the Holy
Ghost any other than an Intellectual Fountain? What is the
Harvest of the Gospel & its Labours?"

Milton, Plate 27 [29], E 125)
"Urizens sons here labour also; & here are seen the Mill
Of Theotormon, on the verge of the Lake of Udan-Adan:            
These are the starry voids of night & the depths & caverns of earth
These Mills are oceans, clouds & waters ungovernable in their fury
Here are the stars created & the seeds of all things planted
And here the Sun & Moon recieve their fixed destinations

But in Eternity the Four Arts: Poetry, Painting, Music,          
And Architecture which is Science: are the Four Faces of Man.
Not so in Time & Space: there Three are shut out, and only
Science remains thro Mercy: & by means of Science, the Three
Become apparent in time & space, in the Three Professions

Poetry in Religion: Music, Law: Painting, in Physic & Surgery: 

That Man may live upon Earth till the time of his awaking,
And from these Three, Science derives every Occupation of Men."

The picture is described from the mundane perspective in William Blake, by Robin Hamlyn and Michael Phillips:

"Behind the figures of Job are three panels showing his experiences; to the left, the destruction of his servants by the Chaldeans, with Satan overhead; to the right, the destruction of Job's ploughman by Satan; in the center, 'The Lord Answering Job out of the Whirlwind' - a design that appears as a separate illustration in Blake's series of engravings. The theme can be seen as the transformation of experience into art: it illustrates Job making a story out of his life, and also has Blake referring to his own art."
Page 62

The expressions of the arts are the agent of imagination. As Damon tells us: "The Daughters of Memory (tradition) are often confused with the Daughters of Inspiration: 'Imagination has nothing to do with memory.'"

Annotations to Wordsworth, (E 666)
"Imagination is the Divine Vision not of The
World nor of Man nor from Man as he is a Natural Man but only as
he is a Spiritual Man Imagination has nothing to do with Memory"

Milton, Plate 27 [29], (E 125)
"Urizens sons here labour also; & here are seen the Mill
Of Theotormon, on the verge of the Lake of Udan-Adan:            
These are the starry voids of night & the depths & caverns of earth
These Mills are oceans, clouds & waters ungovernable in their fury
Here are the stars created & the seeds of all things planted
And here the Sun & Moon recieve their fixed destinations

But in Eternity the Four Arts: Poetry, Painting, Music,          
And Architecture which is Science: are the Four Faces of Man.
Not so in Time & Space: there Three are shut out, and only
Science remains thro Mercy: & by means of Science, the Three
Become apparent in time & space, in the Three Professions

Poetry in Religion: Music, Law: Painting, in Physic & Surgery: 

That Man may live upon Earth till the time of his awaking,
And from these Three, Science derives every Occupation of Men." 
A Vision of The Last Judgment, (E 554)
"For the Year 1810
Additions to Blakes Catalogue of Pictures &c
The Last Judgment is not Fable or Allegory
but   Vision Fable or Allegory are a totally distinct & inferior
kind of Poetry.  Vision or Imagination is a Representation of
what Eternally Exists.  Really & Unchangeably.  Fable or Allegory
is Formd by the Daughters of Memory.  Imagination is Surrounded
by the daughters of Inspiration who in the aggregate are calld
Jerusalem  The Hebrew Bible & the Gospel of
Jesus are not Allegory but Eternal Vision or Imagination of All
that Exists Visions of Imagination
ought to be known as Two Distinct Things & so calld for the Sake of
Eternal Life Plato has made Socrates say that Poets & Prophets do
not Know or Understand what they write or Utter this is a most
Pernicious Falshood.  If they do not pray is an inferior Kind to
be calld Knowing Plato confutes himself

     The Last judgment is one of these Stupendous
Visions. I have represented it as I saw it.
to different People it appears differently as every
thing else does for tho on Earth things seem Permanent they are
less permanent than a Shadow as we all know too well
     The Nature of Visionary Fancy or Imagination is very little
Known & the Eternal nature & permanence of its ever Existent
Images is considerd as less permanent than the things of
Vegetative & Generative Nature yet the Oak dies as well as the
Lettuce but Its Eternal Image & Individuality never dies. but
renews by its seed. just as the Imaginative Image
returns by the seed of Contemplative
Thought the Writings of the Prophets illustrate these conceptions
of the Visionary Fancy by their various sublime & Divine Images
as seen in the Worlds of Vision"

Tuesday, November 08, 2016


Throughout his career Blake continued to create images expressing his interaction with the Book of Job. Blake read the Book of Job as an account of the spiritual journey of an individual. As he traveled his own journey through time he was led into a deeper understanding of the Eternal dimension of the Book of Job as a account of the psychological experience of integration. The account of Job's trials and breakthroughs to higher consciousness are portrayed through a group of characters undergoing interactions with one another, but it was the internal significance of the characters which produced a transformation of the psyche of the individual called Job. Blake's illustrations to the Biblical account are designed to encourage his viewers to turn inward to one's own encounter with the forces which impel one along the journey.

National Gallery of Art
Sketch of Job and his Daughters
This is a list of images which are available on the internet through which you can follow Blake's extended response to the message in the Book of Job:

Wash drawing of Job and His Tormentors
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Engraving of What is Man That thou shouldest Try him Every Moment?
British Museum

Tempera Painting of Job and His Daughters
National Gallery of Art


c 1804
National Galleries Scotland - image from Wikimedia

Watercolor Painting of The Lord Answering Job from the Whirlwind
Morgan Library and Museum

Set of 19 watercolor Illustration of Book of Job produced for Thomas Butts
National Gallery of Art

Sketch of Job and His Daughters 

Fogg Museum (Partial)

Set of 21 watercolor Illustrations of the Book of Job - copies of Butts set for Linnell 

Fitzwilliam Museum

Sketchbook - 32 pages of sketches for engravings of Book of Job
British Museum
Engraved copper plates for The Illustrations of the Book of Job


National Gallery Victoria

Engravings of 22 Plates of Blake's Illustrations of The Book of Job  

Gates of Paradise, Plate 16, (E 33)
"16 I have said to the Worm, Thou art my mother & my sister"

Book of Job
[13] If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness.
[14] I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou are my mother, and my sister.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016


Anything that one reads or hears may either be accepted at face value as literally true or may be understood and interpreted in accordance with one's own value structure. If one reads commentary on the Book of Job one learns that the document which is in the Old Testament already represented multiple sources, points of view and authors. Readers through centuries have continued to struggle to discern in it a message which has application to their own experience. Although an orthodox interpretation developed, alternative responses continued to surface and still do. William Blake, within his own system of belief, sought to hear what the Book of Job said about God and man, about good and evil, and about worldly life and Eternal life.  

Perhaps from the time he was a child Blake had been troubled by the Book of Job's image of a God who was distant, hidden and punishing. Blake knew the God who was accessible, revealed and accepting. In the 1780's or 90's Blake began responding to the Book of Job by creating images illuminating the Book of Job. His final work with Job was a book of twenty two engraving published in 1823.

We begin our study with an ink and wash drawing which he made in 1793. In it we see the suffering Job. He had lost his seven sons and three daughters, his flocks and herds. What he had left are his wife and his health and three friends who want to convince him that his reversal of fortune is the consequence of his own sinfulness.   

Achenbach Foundation
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Complaint of Job
Ink and Wash, 1793

Blake followed the wash drawing with a large engraving of the same subject which he offered for sale by Prospectus along with another engraving, six illuminated books and two small books of engravings .
Prospectus, (E 692)   
     TO THE PUBLIC        October 10, 1793.
 The following are the Subjects of the several Works now
published and on Sale at Mr. Blake's, No. 13, Hercules Buildings,

     1.  Job, a Historical Engraving.  Size 1 ft.7 1/2 in. by 1
ft. 2 in.: price 12s."
British Museum
"What is Man That thou shouldest Try him Every Moment? Job VII C 17 & 18 V"
Job 7
[14] Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions:
[15] So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life.
[16] I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity.
[17] What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?
[18] And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?
[19] How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle?
[20] I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself?
[21] And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.
Milton, Plate 18 [20], (E 111)                                        
"And Tharmas Demon of the Waters, & Orc, who is Luvah

The Shadowy Female seeing Milton, howl'd in her lamentation
Over the Deeps. outstretching her Twenty seven Heavens over Albion

And thus the Shadowy Female howls in articulate howlings

I will lament over Milton in the lamentations of the afflicted   
My Garments shall be woven of sighs & heart broken lamentations
The misery of unhappy Families shall be drawn out into its border
Wrought with the needle with dire sufferings poverty pain & woe
Along the rocky Island & thence throughout the whole Earth
There shall be the sick Father & his starving Family! there      
The Prisoner in the stone Dungeon & the Slave at the Mill
I will have Writings written all over it in Human Words
That every Infant that is born upon the Earth shall read
And get by rote as a hard task of a life of sixty years
I will have Kings inwoven upon it, & Councellors & Mighty Men    
The Famine shall clasp it together with buckles & Clasps
And the Pestilence shall be its fringe & the War its girdle
To divide into Rahab & Tirzah that Milton may come to our tents
For I will put on the Human Form & take the Image of God
Even Pity & Humanity but my Clothing shall be Cruelty    
And I will put on Holiness as a breastplate & as a helmet
And all my ornaments shall be of the gold of broken hearts
And the precious stones of anxiety & care & desperation & death
And repentance for sin & sorrow & punishment & fear
To defend me from thy terrors O Orc! my only beloved!"