Thursday, June 28, 2018


New York Public Library
Book I, Page I, Title Page
New York Public Library
Book II, Page 30, Title Page

The posts which followed Ololon's adventures in Book II of Milton have been rearranged so that they more easily are read in order. However, Blake's technique in presenting his revelation does not follow a straightforward path. What may appear to be repetition is Blake illuminating the same moment from various perspectives and from the point of view of multiple characters. Blake make his reader responsible for building up the import of the action which culminates in transcending our ordinary experience in time and space.

Susan Fox in Poetic Form in Blake's Milton on Page 127-8 gives us a short summary of the overall themes of the two books of Milton:

"Book I is concerned with the 'masculine' assertiveness of the poet, his responsibility to his vision and to his compeers; Book II is concerned with the 'feminine' portion which is his inspiration and support, the mercy he learns to exercise in Book I. The second book is an expansion of the single plate of Book I in which Ololon appears: on plate 21 she, having lamented of seven mornings her driving Milton into Ulro, repents and descends to him; Book II is an extended analysis of that act which, like all acts in Milton, is identical with its consequences. Book I is a poem of struggle, Book II of resolution.

...In Book I , the union is primarily the consolidation of the masculine forces of creativity; in Book II it is the concomitant merger of the feminine forces with the masculine."

Letters, To Hayley, (E 767
"You Dear Sir are one who has my Particular Gratitude. having
conducted me thro Three that would have been the Darkest Years
that ever Mortal Sufferd. which were renderd thro your means a
Mild & Pleasant Slumber.  I speak of Spiritual Things.  Not of
Natural. of Things known only to Myself & to Spirits Good &
Evil. but Not Known to Men on Earth.  It is the passage thro
these Three Years that has brought me into my Present State. & I
know that if I had not been with You I must have
Perish'd--Those Dangers are now Passed & I can see them beneath
my feet It will not be long before I shall be able to present the
full history of my Spiritual Sufferings to the Dwellers upon
Earth. & of the Spiritual Victories obtaind for me by my
Milton, Plate 21 [23], (E 115)
"But Milton entering my Foot; 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."

The Library of Congress has a large collection of Blake's Illuminated Books which were donated by Lessing J. Rosenwald. The 50 plates of Copy D of Milton can be viewed in this pdf file. Perhaps you would like to read at least part of Milton plate by plate as Blake intended it to be read


No comments: