|Yale Center for British Art|
America, Plate 10
Larry's JournalThurs Oct 25, 1984
Reading a few verses of Milton, it occurs to me that Blake is the preeminent commentator on scripture. He thought more deeply about scripture than anyone else I know. He inhabited a world of eternity that we in the present age desperately need. Whenever I go back to him he moves me deeply - much more than the Bible. He enriches the Biblical truths.
The tragedy of life stems from our inability to express this truth and meaning in worldly realms. I suppose that's what Blake means in part about the inseparable barrier between Eternity and Ulro. Maybe its what Jesus meant too in his story about Lazarus and Dives.
Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.']
Fri Oct 26
Life seems very good this morning. It's wonderful to be well rested.
Europe, Plate 3, 'the crystal house' - the illusive human dream of heaven. Oh, I've been in many of its rooms - Rayne Memorial, the churches I served, the alcoholism programs, CofS, Hannah House, Cutting Edge, Gateway, 2nd Step - all rooms of the crystal house - as well as other things - also earthen vessels of the eternal Spirit.
Europe, Plate 3, (E 61) "A PROPHECY The deep of winter came; What time the secret child, Descended thro' the orient gates of the eternal day: War ceas'd, & all the troops like shadows fled to their abodes. Then Enitharmon saw her sons & daughters rise around. Like pearly clouds they meet together in the crystal house: And Los, possessor of the moon, joy'd in the peaceful night: Thus speaking while his num'rous sons shook their bright fiery wings Again the night is come That strong Urthona takes his rest, And Urizen unloos'd from chains Glows like a meteor in the distant north Stretch forth your hands and strike the elemental strings! Awake the thunders of the deep." Milton, Plate 27 , (E 125) "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. And Science is divided into Bowlahoola & Allamanda. Plate 28  Some Sons of Los surround the Passions with porches of iron & silver Creating form & beauty around the dark regions of sorrow, Giving to airy nothing a name and a habitation Delightful! with bounds to the Infinite putting off the Indefinite Into most holy forms of Thought: (such is the power of inspiration) They labour incessant; with many tears & afflictions: Creating the beautiful House for the piteous sufferer. Others; Cabinets richly fabricate of gold & ivory; For Doubts & fears unform'd & wretched & melancholy The little weeping Spectre stands on the threshold of Death Eternal; and sometimes two Spectres like lamps quivering And often malignant they combat (heart-breaking sorrowful & piteous) Antamon takes them into his beautiful flexible hands, As the Sower takes the seed, or as the Artist his clay Or fine wax, to mould artful a model for golden ornaments, The soft hands of Antamon draw the indelible line: Form immortal with golden pen; such as the Spectre admiring Puts on the sweet form; then smiles Antamon bright thro his windows The Daughters of beauty look up from their Loom & prepare. The integument soft for its clothing with joy & delight." Songs and Ballads, (E 488) "The Crystal Cabinet The Maiden caught me in the Wild Where I was dancing merrily She put me into her Cabinet And Lockd me up with a golden Key This Cabinet is formd of Gold And Pearl & Crystal shining bright And within it opens into a World And a little lovely Moony Night Another England there I saw Another London with its Tower Another Thames & other Hills And another pleasant Surrey Bower Another Maiden like herself Translucent lovely shining clear Threefold each in the other closd O what a pleasant trembling fear O what a smile a threefold Smile Filld me that like a flame I burnd I bent to Kiss the lovely Maid And found a Threefold Kiss returnd I strove to sieze the inmost Form With ardor fierce & hands of flame But burst the Crystal Cabinet And like a Weeping Babe became A weeping Babe upon the wild And Weeping Woman pale reclind And in the outward air again I filld with woes the passing Wind"Ellie
What might have been Blake's Crystal Houses - social acceptance, the Royal Academy, publishing independently, Hayley's patronage? They all proved to be 'illusive human dreams of heaven' which were unnecessary when he focused only on his Art as the expression of the Holy Spirit through him.
In Milton, Blake does have his hero bridge the gap between the man who has accepted a lessor vision, and the one who 'sells all he has' to pursue a vision that comes from his internal awareness of the Truth. Blake's Milton descended from heaven, naked and unprotected by the constructs of his intellect, to experience the immediate, essential confrontation with the numinous that awakens the Soul which may have remained asleep.
Jerusalem, Plate 62, (E 213) "Shall Albion arise? I know he shall arise at the Last Day! I know that in my flesh I shall see God: but Emanations Are weak. they know not whence they are, nor whither tend. Jesus replied. I am the Resurrection & the Life. I Die & pass the limits of possibility, as it appears To individual perception. Luvah must be Created And Vala; for I cannot leave them in the gnawing Grave. But will prepare a way for my banished-ones to return"
 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.