Saturday, June 23, 2018


Wikimedia Commons
Copy D, Plate 42

Many scholars have studied Blake's Milton and drawn conclusions about what Blake was saying in his poem. However, it is incumbent upon each reader to discern meaning by using his own imagination and to assemble his image of Blake's message which is congruent with his perception. I look at the above picture as speaking of many themes which were woven together in Blake's composition. The couple speaks of Milton and Ololon who have been united through forgiveness and self-sacrifice. They lie on the hard unforgiving stone of experience in the world of generation which they have voluntarily entered to become united. Milton has annihilated all within that can be annihilated and Ololon has relinquished the virginity which prevented her from accepting Milton's manhood. The waters that surround them signifies the world of matter and the eagle above represents world of spirit which amalgamate when the fully human emerges.

Fearful Symmetry by Northrop Frye page 346

"Blake is, therefore, trying to do for Milton what the prophets and Jesus did for Moses, isolate what is poetic and imaginative, and annihilate what is legal and historical. This is also what he is to do for himself, and there will always be a curse on any critic who tries to see the Christianity and radicalism of Blake as a dichotomy instead of a unity.
What we have here is a vision of mankind united in peace and brotherhood, their unity sustained not only by law, commerce and international science, but by a common understanding of that view of life from which all religions and arts derive their meaning."

Milton, A Poem by William Blake by Kay Parkhurst Easson and Roger R. Easson, Page 135

"To read William Blake's illuminated books is to participate in a spiritual education. To read Blake's Milton is to discover the nature of that spiritual education concurrent with the education itself. Consequently, Blake's Milton does not exist solely as an object of admiration or study. Although Milton is incredibly beautiful in its combination of word and illustration, and although its complexity stimulates intellectual scrutiny, it is a prophecy and like all prophecy, it provides spiritual instruction... In Milton Blake defines the spiritual journey which renews prophecy in every moment of human time." 

The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake, Commentary by Harold Bloom, Page 908

"Milton centers itself on the consciousness of the poet himself. The struggle is clearly an internal one, between the qualities in Blake that would compel him to surrender his prophetic function, and everything in him that desires to follow Milton's heroic dedication as a poet. Blake is the Job of his own poem, and confronts a tempting Satan, who he overcomes only by following Milton's example. Milton, in the poem, is shown a casting off his own selfhood and moving toward a visionary emancipation that Blake desires as his own."


William Blake by John Middleton Murry, Page 236

"Milton is permeated through and through, with the doctrine of Self-annihilation, conceived as a constant and unending process. This is proclaimed in a hundred varying forms; and the poem might be described as one long effort toward Self-annihilation in Blake himself.
...The Negation is, of course, not to be 'destroyed' in the ordinary sense of the word...The Negation is destroyed by being loved; it is destroyed in the sense that its nature is changed, and it ceases to be a Negation... What he demanded was that it should be made the servant and not the master."

Poetic Form in Blake's Milton by Susan Fox, Page 191

"The range of these styles illustrates the basic concern of Milton, the perfection of a literary art through which eternity may be realized and time abolished... In the course of Milton both poets recognize their error; each 'collecting all the fibers of their impregnable strength' (38:5) in Blake's Felpham garden, begins the renovation of time by infusing it with eternal vision."

Milton, Plate 20 [21], (E 115)
"At last when desperation almost tore his heart in twain
He [Los] collected an old Prophecy in Eden recorded,
And often sung to the loud harp at the immortal feasts
That Milton of the Land of Albion should up ascend
Forwards from Ulro from the Vale of Felpham; and set free        
Orc from his Chain of Jealousy, he started at the thought
Plate 21 [23]
And down descended into Udan-Adan; it was night:
And Satan sat sleeping upon his Couch in Udan-Adan:
His Spectre slept, his Shadow woke; when one sleeps th'other wakes

But Milton entering my Foot; [Blake] I saw in the nether
Regions of the Imagination; also all men on Earth,               
And all in Heaven, saw in the nether regions of the Imagination
In Ulro beneath Beulah, the vast breach of Miltons descent.
But I knew not that it was Milton, for man cannot know
What passes in his members till periods of Space & Time
Reveal the secrets of Eternity: for more extensive               
Than any other earthly things, are Mans earthly lineaments.

And all this Vegetable World appeard on my left Foot,
As a bright sandal formd immortal of precious stones & gold:
I stooped down & bound it on to walk forward thro' Eternity."    

Thanks to Milton a Poem, edited by Robert N. Essick and Joseph Viscomi for the following:
Proverbs 30
[18] There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:
[19] The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid

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