Saturday, February 11, 2017


Wikipedia Commons
Job's Despair
Butts Set of Illustrations for the Book of Job
Page 8

This is the Legend on the engraving which Blake later made of this image:

Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein (Job 3:7)
Let the day perish wherein I was born (Job 3:3)
So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great (Job 2:13)

Job 3
[2] And Job spake, and said,
[3] Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.
[4] Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.
[5] Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.
[6] As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months.
[7] Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein.
[25] For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
[26] I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.

Job 2
[11] Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.
[12] And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.
[13] So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.

As a reaction to the ills that had beset him, Job found himself sinking into the pit of despair. His wife and three friends offered no hope, help or encouragement. Job himself was able to reach up and to keep his eyes open to see whatever assistance might be offered.

Job turned inward during this period; it was a time of reflection in the silence. Although he found no joy in his life he sought a way through the darkness in which he was immersed. Blake had traveled through such periods of isolation and hopelessness so he knew there was a way out. The path involved discerning truth, committing to the core values which were the essentials, and being willing to change circumstances and assumptions which were contrary to leadings from the Spirit.

Letters, To Thomas Butts, Jan 10, 1803, (E 724)
     "But you have so generously & openly desired that I will
divide my griefs with you that I cannot hide what it is now
become my duty to explain--My unhappiness has arisen from a
source which if explord too narrowly might hurt my pecuniary
circumstances.  As my dependence is on Engraving at present &
particularly on the Engravings I have in hand for Mr H. & I find
on all hands great objections to my doing any thing but the meer
drudgery of business & intimations that if I do not confine
myself to this I shall not live. this has always pursud me.  You
will understand by this the source of all my uneasiness This from
Johnson & Fuseli brought me down here & this from Mr H will
bring me back again for that I cannot live without doing my duty
to lay up treasures in heaven is Certain & Determined & to this I
have long made up my mind & why this should be made an objection
to Me while Drunkenness Lewdness Gluttony & even Idleness itself
does not hurt other men let Satan himself Explain--The Thing I
have most at Heart! more than life or all that seems to make life
comfortable without.  Is the Interest of True Religion & Science
& whenever any thing appears to affect that Interest. (Especially
if I myself omit any duty to my [self]  as a
Soldier of Christ) It gives me the greatest of torments, I am not
ashamed afraid or averse to tell You what Ought to be Told.  That
I am under the direction of Messengers from Heaven Daily &
Nightly but the nature of such things is not as some suppose.
without trouble or care.  Temptations are on the right hand &
left behind the sea of time & space roars & follows swiftly he
who keeps not right onward is lost & if our footsteps slide in
clay how can we do otherwise than fear & tremble. but I should
not have troubled You with this account of my spiritual state
unless it had been necessary in explaining the actual cause of my
uneasiness into which you are so kind as to Enquire for I never
obtrude such things on others unless questiond & then I never
disguise the truth--But if we fear to do the dictates of our
Angels & tremble at the Tasks set before us. if we refuse to do
Spiritual Acts. because of Natural Fears or Natural Desires!  Who
can describe the dismal torments of such a state!--I too well
remember the Threats I heard!--If you who are organized by Divine
Providence for Spiritual communion.  Refuse & bury your Talent in
the Earth even tho you should want Natural Bread. Sorrow & Desperation 
pursues you thro life! & after death shame & confusion of face to
eternity--Every one in Eternity will leave you aghast at the Man
who was crownd with glory & honour by his brethren & betrayd
their cause to their enemies.  You will be calld the base Judas
who betrayd his Friend!--Such words would make any Stout man
tremble & how then could I be at ease? But I am now no longer in
That State & now go on again with my Task Fearless. and tho my
path is difficult.  I have no fear of stumbling while I keep it
Naked we came here naked of Natural things & naked we shall
return. but while clothd with the Divine Mercy we are richly
clothd in Spiritual & suffer all the rest gladly Pray give my
Love to Mrs Butts & your family I am Yours Sincerely
Letters, To Thomas Butts, July 6,1803, (E 731)
" But it is a Fact too true That if I
had only depended on Mortal Things both myself & my Wife must
have been Lost--I shall leave every one in This Country astonishd
at my Patience & Forbearance of Injuries upon Injuries & I do
assure you that if I could have returnd to London a Month after
my arrival here I should have done so, but I was commanded by my
Spiritual friends to bear all to be silent & to go thro all
without murmuring & in firm hope till my three years should be
almost accomplishd at which time I was set at liberty to
remonstrate against former conduct & to demand Justice & Truth
which I have done in so effectual a manner that my antagonist is
silencd completely. & I have compelld. what should have been of
freedom   My Just Right as an Artist & as a Man. & if any attempt
should be made to refuse me this I am inflexible & will
relinquish Any engagement of Designing at all unless altogether
left to my own Judgment.  As you My dear Friend have always left
me for which I shall never cease to honour & respect you
     When we meet I will perfectly describe to you my Conduct &
the Conduct of others toward me & you will see that I have
labourd hard indeed & have been borne on angels wings.  Till we
meet I beg of God our Saviour to be with you & me & yours & mine  
Pray give My & My wifes love to Mrs Butts & Family & believe me
to remain 
Yours in truth & sincerity
Jerusalem, Plate 53, (E 203)
"Here on the banks of the Thames, Los builded Golgonooza,   
Outside of the Gates of the Human Heart, beneath Beulah
In the midst of the rocks of the Altars of Albion. In fears
He builded it, in rage & in fury. It is the Spiritual Fourfold
London: continually building & continually decaying desolate!
In eternal labours: loud the Furnaces & loud the Anvils          
Of Death thunder incessant around the flaming Couches of
The Twentyfour Friends of Albion and round the awful Four
For the protection of the Twelve Emanations of Albions Sons
The Mystic Union of the Emanation in the Lord; Because  
Man divided from his Emanation is a dark Spectre                 
His Emanation is an ever-weeping melancholy Shadow
But she is made receptive of Generation thro' mercy
In the Potters  Furnace, among the Funeral Urns of Beulah
From Surrey hills, thro' Italy and Greece, to Hinnoms vale."

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