Thursday, July 06, 2017


Descriptive Catalogue, (E 543) 
"All these things are written in Eden.  
The artist is an inhabitant of that happy country, and if 
every thing goes on as it has begun, the world of vegetation 
and generation may expect to be opened again to Heaven, 
through Eden, as it was in the beginning."

[5] And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
[6] But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
[7] And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
[8] And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Genesis 3
[22] And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
[23] Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
[24] So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. 

British Museum
In Milton's Paradise Lost there were two falls - the first of Lucifer and a group of angels who followed him, and the second of Adam and Eve, the first of the human race, who disobeyed God's command. The first fall to Blake also took place in heaven when Luvah seized the Horses of Light and destroyed the delicate balance among the Four Zoas.  Blake's Ulro (Hell) was created as a result of the first. His Generation (Earth) was created as a result of the second when humanity (Albion) lost the ability to perceive the Divine Vision.
Sometime after 1794 Blake's friend Ozias Humphry purchased from him a copy of Europe. On Humphry's copy another friend of Blake, George Cumberland, inscribed quotations from poetry related to the particular plate. On the Frontispiece he wrote a passage from the seventh chapter of Milton's Paradise Lost. Whatever Blake wanted to convey in his picture would have been colored by the influence which Milton had on him. It was inevitable that in the hours Blake spent in coloring copies of the Frontispiece and of separate prints of the image, that his thoughts would have turned to Milton's epic with its accounts of angels and devils, creation and fall, the God of wrath and the God of mercy.   

Blake felt an intense affinity to Milton. The two men struggled to find answers to the same questions. They desired to discern God's ways in order to inform their readers of the reasons that the world which was created good had become so bad.

Milton and Blake sought God's guidance as they entered the Imagination to create their myths.

Paradise Lost
Book I

  • Instruct me, for thou knowest; thou from the first
  • Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread
  • Dove-like satst brooding on the vast abyss
  • And mad'st it pregnant: What in me is dark
  • Illumine, what is low raise and support;
  • That to the heighth of this great argument
  • I may assert eternal providence,
  • And justify the ways of God to men.

  • Jerusalem, Plate 5, (E 147)
    "Trembling I sit day and night, my friends are astonish'd at me.
    Yet they forgive my wanderings, I rest not from my great task!
    To open the Eternal Worlds, to open the immortal Eyes
    Of Man inwards into the Worlds of Thought: into Eternity
    Ever expanding in the Bosom of God. the Human Imagination        
    O Saviour pour upon me thy Spirit of meekness & love:
    Annihilate the Selfhood in me, be thou all my life!
    Guide thou my hand which trembles exceedingly upon the rock of ages,
    While I write of the building of Golgonooza, & of the terrors of Entuthon:
    Of Hand & Hyle & Coban, of Kwantok, Peachey, Brereton, Slayd & Hutton:
    Of the terrible sons & daughters of Albion. and their Generations."
    This is Milton's creation account as told to Adam by the archangel Raphael:
    Paradise Lost, Book VII
    "Mean while the Son
    On his great expedition now appeared,
    Girt with Omnipotence, with radiance crowned
    Of Majesty Divine; sapience and love
    Immense, and all his Father in him shone.
    About his chariot numberless were poured
    Cherub, and Seraph, Potentates, and Thrones,
    And Virtues, winged Spirits, and chariots winged
    From the armory of God; where stand of old
    Myriads, between two brazen mountains lodged
    Against a solemn day, harnessed at hand,
    Celestial equipage; and now came forth
    Spontaneous, for within them Spirit lived,
    Attendant on their Lord: Heaven opened wide
    Her ever-during gates, harmonious sound
    On golden hinges moving, to let forth
    The King of Glory, in his powerful Word
    And Spirit, coming to create new worlds.
    On heavenly ground they stood; and from the shore
    They viewed the vast immeasurable abyss
    Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild,
    Up from the bottom turned by furious winds
    And surging waves, as mountains, to assault
    Heaven's heighth, and with the center mix the pole.
     Silence, ye troubled Waves, and thou Deep, peace,
    Said then the Omnific Word; your discord end!
    Nor stayed; but, on the wings of Cherubim
    Uplifted, in paternal glory rode
    Far into Chaos, and the world unborn;
    For Chaos heard his voice: Him all his train
    Followed in bright procession, to behold
    Creation, and the wonders of his might.
    Then staid the fervid wheels, and in his hand
    He took the golden compasses, prepared
    In God's eternal store, to circumscribe
    This universe, and all created things:
    One foot he centered, and the other turned
    Round through the vast profundity obscure;
    And said, Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds,
    This be thy just circumference, Oh World,
    Thus God the Heaven created, thus the Earth,
    Matter unformed and void: Darkness profound
    Covered the abyss: but on the watery calm
    His brooding wings the Spirit of God outspread,"
    In the original state for Blake there was Perfect Unity - no division between God and Man and no divisions within Man. Creation was unnecessary because God included all possibilities.The nature of the forces which brought about the first separation is unknowable but it brought about a cascade of consequences.
    Four Zoas, Night I, Page3, (E 300)
     "Four Mighty Ones are in every Man; a Perfect Unity   
    (John XVII c. 21 & 22 & 23 v)
    Cannot Exist. but from the Universal  Brotherhood of Eden 
    (John I c. 14. v)
    The Universal Man. To Whom be Glory Evermore Amen       
    the Natures of those Living Creatures the Heavenly Father only
    Knoweth no Individual Can know in all Eternity
    Los was the fourth immortal starry one, & in the Earth
    Of a bright Universe Empery attended day & night                 
    Days & nights of revolving joy, Urthona was his name
    PAGE 4            
    In Eden; in the Auricular Nerves of Human life
    Which is the Earth of Eden, he his Emanations propagated
    Fairies of Albion afterwards Gods of the Heathen, Daughter of Beulah Sing
    His fall into Division & his Resurrection to Unity
    His fall into the Generation of Decay & Death & his Regeneration 
         by the Resurrection from the dead" 
    For Blake there was no creation which was not
            also a fall. Since the original state was a Perfect Unity, when divisions began to occur the fall was already in
            progress. 'Heaven and Earth' and 'Let there be Light' imply the
            first divisions. Blake considered that Creation, Fall, and
            Regeneration were occurring continually and simultaneously. However when at the end
            of the Four Zoas, Urthona
            was no longer divided, it was a creative moment of a new
            beginning (Apocalypse.)

    Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 139, (E 407)
    "Urthona is arisen in his strength no longer now
    Divided from Enitharmon no longer the Spectre Los                
    Where is the Spectre of Prophecy where the delusive Phantom
    Departed & Urthona rises from the ruinous walls
    In all his ancient strength to form the golden armour of science
    For intellectual War The war of swords departed now
    The dark Religions are departed & sweet Science reigns           
                      End of The Dream"

    No comments: