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The Grave - Page 6
The Grave - Page 6
FUSELI - VI. THE SOUL HOVERING OVER THE BODY.
BOOK - 6 The Soul Hovering Over the Body reluctantly parting with Life
This image is not about Death or the Grave; it is about Life and the Soul. The Soul is not transient but Eternal. Since the Soul is not part of the temporal world it does not lend itself to be spoken of in non-poetic language.
As children my brother, sister and I were taught to pray this bedtime prayer:
"Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
And If I die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take."
Then we went directly into asking God to bless all the individuals whom we loved, followed by Amen.
I never thought to ask my mother about sleeping and waking, about keeping or taking, about the Lord and the Soul. Although I may have been puzzled, the Soul remained undefined.
Although Blake declared in Marriage of Heaven and Hell that 'Man has no Body distinct from his Soul' he proceeded to write about the Soul as distinguishable.
I think now of the Soul as being the dimension of what I call myself, which connects me with the Infinite and Eternal. It is the permanent part of me which exists outside of time and space. No matter how deep my sleep, my Soul remains awake - ready to cast aside the garment in which my body has clothed it. The Soul is no more definable to me now than when I was a child, but it is more real because I have put aside some 'childish things' in order to prepare myself for 'seeing face to face.'
First Corinthians 13
 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
The phrase 'reluctantly parting with the body' is contrary to Blake's thinking. I think that the body clings to the Soul, not the Soul to the body.
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"
Songs of Innocence & of Experience, Plate 10, (E 9) Little black boy "For when our souls have learn'd the heat to bear The cloud will vanish we shall hear his voice. Saying: come out from the grove my love & care, And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice."
America, Plate 6, (E 53) "Let the inchained soul shut up in darkness and in sighing, Whose face has never seen a smile in thirty weary years; Rise and look out, his chains are loose, his dungeon doors are open."
Milton, Plate 14 , (E 108) "And Milton said, I go to Eternal Death! The Nations still Follow after the detestable Gods of Priam; in pomp Of warlike selfhood, contradicting and blaspheming. When will the Resurrection come; to deliver the sleeping body From corruptibility: O when Lord Jesus wilt thou come? Tarry no longer; for my soul lies at the gates of death. I will arise and look forth for the morning of the grave. I will go down to the sepulcher to see if morning breaks! I will go down to self annihilation and eternal death, Lest the Last Judgment come & find me unannihilate And I be siez'd & giv'n into the hands of my own Selfhood The Lamb of God is seen thro' mists & shadows, hov'ring Over the sepulchers in clouds of Jehovah & winds of Elohim A disk of blood, distant; & heav'ns & earth's roll dark between What do I here before the Judgment? without my Emanation? With the daughters of memory, & not with the daughters of inspiration[?] I in my Selfhood am that Satan: I am that Evil One! He is my Spectre! in my obedience to loose him from my Hells To claim the Hells, my Furnaces, I go to Eternal Death."
Milton, Plate 26 , (E 123) "There are Two Gates thro which all Souls descend. One Southward From Dover Cliff to Lizard Point. the other toward the North Caithness & rocky Durness, Pentland & John Groats House. The Souls descending to the Body, wail on the right hand Of Los; & those deliverd from the Body, on the left hand For Los against the east his force continually bends Along the Valleys of Middlesex from Hounslow to Blackheath Lest those Three Heavens of Beulah should the Creation destroy And lest they should descend before the north & south Gates Groaning with pity, he among the wailing Souls laments."
Jerusalem, Plate 18, (E 161) "From every-one of the Four Regions of Human Majesty, There is an Outside spread Without, & an Outside spread Within Beyond the Outline of Identity both ways, which meet in One: An orbed Void of doubt, despair, hunger, & thirst & sorrow. Here the Twelve Sons of Albion, join'd in dark Assembly, Jealous of Jerusalems children, asham'd of her little-ones (For Vala produc'd the Bodies. Jerusalem gave the Souls) Became as Three Immense Wheels, turning upon one-another Into Non-Entity, and their thunders hoarse appall the Dead To murder their own Souls, to build a Kingdom among the Dead Cast! Cast ye Jerusalem forth! The Shadow of delusions! The Harlot daughter! Mother of pity and dishonourable forgiveness Our Father Albions sin and shame! But father now no more! Nor sons! nor hateful peace & love, nor soft complacencies With transgressors meeting in brotherhood around the table,
Or in the porch or garden."
Jerusalem, Plate 41 , (E 188)"Thou art in Error Albion, the Land of Ulro:
One Error not remov'd, will destroy a human Soul
Repose in Beulahs night, till the Error is remov'd
Reason not on both sides. Repose upon our bosoms
Till the Plow of Jehovah, and the Harrow of Shaddai
Have passed over the Dead, to awake the Dead to Judgment.
But Albion turn'd away refusing comfort."
Jerusalem, Plate 68, (E 222)
"Once Man was occupied in intellectual pleasures & energies But now my soul is harrowd with grief & fear & love & desire And now I hate & now I love & Intellect is no more: There is no time for any thing but the torments of love & desire"
Jerusalem, Plate 71, (E 224)"As the Soul is to the Body, so Jerusalems Sons,
Are to the Sons of Albion: and Jerusalem is Albions Emanation
What is Above is Within, for every-thing in Eternity is translucent:"
Laocoon, (E 273)
"Adam is only The Natural Man & not the Soul or Imagination
The Eternal Body of Man is The IMAGINATION. God himself"
Jerusalem, Plate 62,(E 213)
"These are the Daughters of Vala, Mother of the Body of death
But I thy Magdalen behold thy Spiritual Risen Body 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 Come now with me into the villages. walk thro all the cities."