Monday, November 06, 2017


Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 5, (E 36)
The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock, but of wisdom: no clock can measure.
British Museum
Book of Urizen
Plate 15
The relationships among the terms wisdom, art and imaginative vision as used by Blake are clarified by Northrup Frye in this passage from Fearful Symmetry. Frye shows that these characteristics of the realized mind are not connected in a linear fashion. Perhaps the starting point is receptivity, being willing to receive, and expecting that openness will elicit a response. Blake's conviction is that the mind is prepared to receive because the 'image of reality' is imprinted within man who is made in God's image. There no road map which shows the route to follow if one seeks vision, art or wisdom. The opportunity to live, fully experiencing the joy and woe, leads where one needs to go.

"Wisdom is the application of the imaginative vision taught us by art. We conquer knowledge by forced marches, learning more and more as we continually press on. Wisdom is the unhurried expanding organic health of the powerful and well-knit imagination, and it depends on practice and relaxation. It is difficult for the man who has knowledge without imagination to relax his mind into receptivity in front of a picture or a poem. To him it contains a communicable residue of general statements called the meaning, and to clutch this and to carry it off is his sole desire...The wise man has a pattern or image of reality into which everything he knows fits, and into which everything he does not know could fit, and therefore his approach to knowledge is something that these dung-beetles of unorganized learning cannot ever grasp. "More! More! is the cry of a mistaken soul," said Blake: "less than All cannot satisfy Man."

Art is suggestive rather than explicit: it make no attempt to persuade into general agreement or provide mediocre levels of explanation...the supremely suggestive and fertilizing quality of Plato's philosophy lies in the fact that that he was the only philosopher who was artist enough to master a visionary form, and hence par excellence the philosopher who suggests an infinity of responses instead of compelling a single one." (Page 86)
Jerusalem, Plate 53, (E 203)
"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." 
Letters, To Trusler, (E 702)
"I had hoped your plan comprehended All
Species of this Art & Especially that you would not reject that
Species which gives Existence to Every other. namely Visions of
Eternity You say that I want somebody to Elucidate my Ideas.  But
you ought to know that What is Grand is necessarily obscure to
Weak men.  That which can be made Explicit to the Idiot is not
worth my care.  The wisest of the Ancients considerd what is not
too Explicit as the fittest for Instruction because it rouzes the
faculties to act.  I name Moses Solomon Esop Homer Plato"

Milton, Plate 4, (E 97)                                     
"Beneath the Plow of Rintrah & the harrow of the Almighty
In the hands of Palamabron. Where the Starry Mills of Satan
Are built beneath the Earth & Waters of the Mundane Shell
Here the Three Classes of Men take their Sexual texture Woven
The Sexual is Threefold: the Human is Fourfold 

If you account it Wisdom when you are angry to be silent, and
Not to shew it: I do not account that Wisdom but Folly.
Every Mans Wisdom is peculiar to his own Individu]ality
O Satan my youngest born, art thou not Prince of the Starry Hosts
And of the Wheels of Heaven, to turn the Mills day & night?  
Art thou not Newtons Pantocrator weaving the Woof of Locke
To Mortals thy Mills seem every thing & the Harrow of Shaddai
A scheme of Human conduct invisible & incomprehensible
Get to thy Labours at the Mills & leave me to my wrath,

Satan was going to reply, but Los roll'd his loud thunders."

Milton, Plate 41 [48], (E142)
"To bathe in the Waters of Life; to wash off the Not Human
I come in Self-annihilation & the grandeur of Inspiration
To cast off Rational Demonstration by Faith in the Saviour
To cast off the rotten rags of Memory by Inspiration
To cast off Bacon, Locke & Newton from Albions covering          
To take off his filthy garments, & clothe him with Imagination
To cast aside from Poetry, all that is not Inspiration
That it no longer shall dare to mock with the aspersion of Madness
Cast on the Inspired, by the tame high finisher of paltry Blots,
Indefinite, or paltry Rhymes; or paltry Harmonies.               
Who creeps into State Government like a catterpiller to destroy
To cast off the idiot Questioner who is always questioning,
But never capable of answering; who sits with a sly grin
Silent plotting when to question, like a thief in a cave;
Who publishes doubt & calls it knowledge; whose Science is Despair   
Whose pretence to knowledge is Envy, whose whole Science is
To destroy the wisdom of ages to gratify ravenous Envy;
That rages round him like a Wolf day & night without rest
He smiles with condescension; he talks of Benevolence & Virtue
And those who act with Benevolence & Virtue, they murder time on time
These are the destroyers of Jerusalem, these are the murderers
Of Jesus, who deny the Faith & mock at Eternal Life:
Who pretend to Poetry that they may destroy Imagination;
By imitation of Natures Images drawn from Remembrance
These are the Sexual Garments, the Abomination of Desolation
Hiding the Human lineaments as with an Ark & Curtains

Which Jesus rent: & now shall wholly purge away with Fire
Till Generation is swallowd up in Regeneration."

Jerusalem, Plate 70, (E 224)
"And this the form of mighty Hand sitting on Albions cliffs
Before the face of Albion, a mighty threatning Form.

His bosom wide & shoulders huge overspreading wondrous
Bear Three strong sinewy Necks & Three awful & terrible Heads
Three Brains in contradictory council brooding incessantly.      
Neither daring to put in act its councils, fearing each-other,
Therefore rejecting Ideas as nothing & holding all Wisdom
To consist in the agreements & disagree[me]nts of Ideas.
Plotting to devour Albions Body of Humanity & Love.

What is the price of Experience do men buy it for a song
Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No it is bought with the price
Of all that a man hath his house his wife his children
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy
And in the witherd field where the farmer plows for bread in vain"

Everlasting Gospel, (E 519)
"To teach doubt & Experiment       
Certainly was not what Christ meant
What was he doing all that time
From twelve years old to manly prime
Was he then Idle or the Less
About his Fathers business        
Or was his wisdom held in scorn
Before his wrath began to burn
In Miracles throughout the Land"

Annotations to Swedenborg, (E 603) 
  "He who Loves feels love descend into him & if he has wisdom
may percieve it is from the Poetic Genius which is the Lord
 Thought without affection makes a distinction between Love
& Wisdom as it does between body & Spirit"

No comments: