Tuesday, April 03, 2018


When Blake became acquainted with Thomas Taylor they were young men in their twenties. They shared intellectual interests and middle class backgrounds. Neither was educated in the established system. Taylor was working as a clerk and busily translating Greek literature to English. Blake was supporting himself with engraving and avid to publish his poetry and graphic art. Blake consumed the Greek translations which Taylor published as source material for his own evolving mythology. Taylor became enamored with the religion of the Greeks. He gave up the practice of Christianity in favor of the worship of the Greek pantheon. Blake's spiritual evolution was toward a deepening of his Christian faith, not away from it. He found that an appreciation for other religious practices provided him with more imagery to convey the process of unifying God and Man. Although Taylor and Blake went their separate ways, there may have been a rapprochement in later years.

Blake's painting which is often called the Arlington Tempera was far from typical of the subject matter which he ordinarily painted and it was on a scale unusual for his works. He treated not a single event but a tapestry of multiple events spread over time and space, and transcending Time and Eternity. Blake's painting is dated c.1821. Taylor published in 1823 a volume titled Select Works of Porphyry. Included in the book is an 'appendix Explaining Wanderings of Ulysses by translator.' Blake's picture and Taylor's explanation are two treatments of the same events in different media. Whatever their differences they could affirm the 'Circle of Destiny' through which Man returns to the source from which he came.

This is Taylor's conclusion of "appendix Explaining Wanderings of Ulysses by translator":
"By what leading stars shall we direct our flight, and by what means avoid the magic of Circe, and the detaining charms of Calypso? For thus the fable of Ulysses obscurely signifies, which feigns him abiding and unwilling exile, though pleasant spectacles were continually presented to his sight; and every thing was proffered to invite his stay, which can delight the senses and captivate the heart. But our true country, like that of Ulysses, is from whence we came and where our father lives."

Wikimedia Commons
Arlington Tempera
Arlington Court Devon
Four Zoas, Night I, PAGE 5, (E 302)
"In Eden,Females sleep the winter in soft silken veils   
Woven by their own hands to hide them in the darksom grave
But Males immortal live renewd by female deaths.     in soft
Delight they die & they revive in spring with music & songs
Enion said Farewell I die     I hide. from thy searching eyes    

So saying--From her bosom weaving soft in Sinewy threads
A tabernacle for Jerusalem she sat among the Rocks     
Singing her lamentation. Tharmas groand among his Clouds
Weeping, then bending from his Clouds he stoopd his innocent head     
And stretching out his holy hand in the vast Deep sublime        
Turnd round the circle of Destiny with tears & bitter sighs
And said.     Return O Wanderer when the Day of Clouds is oer

So saying he sunk down into the sea a pale white corse
In torment he sunk down & flowd among her filmy Woof 
His Spectre issuing from his feet in flames of fire
In gnawing pain drawn out by her lovd fingers every nerve
She counted. every vein & lacteal threading them among
Her woof of terror. Terrified & drinking tears of woe
Shuddring she wove--nine days & nights Sleepless her food was tears
Wondring she saw her woof begin to animate. & not  
As Garments woven subservient to her hands but having a will
Of its own perverse & wayward Enion lovd & wept

Nine days she labourd at her work. & nine dark sleepless nights
But on the tenth trembling morn the Circle of Destiny Complete
Round rolld the Sea Englobing in a watry Globe self balancd

A Frowning Continent appeard Where Enion in the Desart
Terrified in her own Creation      viewing her woven shadow
Sat in a dread intoxication of Repentance & Contrition 

There is from Great Eternity a mild & pleasant rest
Namd Beulah a Soft Moony Universe feminine lovely 
Pure mild & Gentle given in Mercy to those who sleep
Eternally. Created by the Lamb of God around
On all sides within & without the Universal Man
The Daughters of Beulah follow sleepers in all their Dreams
Creating Spaces lest they fall into Eternal Death                

The Circle of Destiny complete they gave to it a Space
And namd the Space Ulro & brooded over it in care & love
They said The Spectre is in every man insane & most
Deformd     Thro the three heavens descending in fury & fire
We meet it with our Songs & loving blandishments & give          
To it a form of vegetation But this Spectre of Tharmas
Is Eternal Death What shall we do O God pity & help            
So spoke they & closd the Gate of the Tongue in trembling fear" 

Romans 5
5:3-5 - This doesn't mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys - we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles. Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us. Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us.

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