Monday, October 29, 2018


British Museum
Visions of the Daughters of Albion
Copy A, Plate 11

Perhaps political situations are never simple, as Larry and I frequently commiserated there were too many variables.

During Blake's lifetime there were innumerable variables (rebellion, war, slavery, republicanism, liberation, etc.), each of which was influenced by multiple forces. Caution was called for in manipulating a single variable which would have a rippling effect. When Blake wrote Visions of the Daughters of Albion he attempted to affect the treatment of women and the treatment of slaves simultaneously. By allowing the work to be interpreted in multiple ways he avoided suggesting dramatic change in any single variable.

Two problems addressed in Visions of the Daughters of Albion were marriage laws which resulted in oppression of women, and failure of the law to prevent the use of British ships to transport slaves. David Erdman in Prophet Against Empire directed our attention to the subtle ways Blake referenced the slave trade when writing of the sexual triangle among Oothoon, Bromian and Theotormon. Before the lovers Oothoon and Theotormon could be married she was violated by Bromian. Oothoon was rejected by both men but she knew herself to be pure and undefiled. Shift to the situation regarding slavery - Oothoon is the African slave as the pawn being manipulated by outside forces; Bromian in the slave trader who makes it possible for slavery to increase; Theotormon is the Parliament who refuses to act against the power of the economic system sustained by slavery. 

The tensions which existed in either of the triangles is expressed in this way by Erdman on page 241 of his book:

"In her effort to prod him across the threshold of indecision - 'I cry O Theotormon for the village dog Barks at the breaking day'- Oothoon insists that the revolutionary dawn is at hand and overdue and the corn is ripe. But the 'citizen of London' does not look up... he fears the new philosophy may carry his thought to a 'remote land' (America) or may bring 'poison from the desert wilds' rather that 'dews and honey and balm.' And he grows silent when Bromian shakes the cavern with rhetorical question, just as the Abolitionists were silenced in 1793 by the clamor of Antijacobinism."

Visions of the Daughters of Albion, Plate 2, (E 46) 
"The Daughters of Albion hear her woes. & eccho back her sighs.
Why does my Theotormon sit weeping upon the threshold;
And Oothoon hovers by his side, perswading him in vain:
I cry arise O Theotormon for the village dog
Barks at the breaking day. the nightingale has done lamenting.
The lark does rustle in the ripe corn, and the Eagle returns     
From nightly prey, and lifts his golden beak to the pure east;
Shaking the dust from his immortal pinions to awake
The sun that sleeps too long. Arise my Theotormon I am pure.
Because the night is gone that clos'd me in its deadly black.
They told me that the night & day were all that I could see;     
They told me that I had five senses to inclose me up.
And they inclos'd my infinite brain into a narrow circle,
And sunk my heart into the Abyss, a red round globe hot burning
Till all from life I was obliterated and erased.
Instead of morn arises a bright shadow, like an eye              
In the eastern cloud: instead of night a sickly charnel house;
That Theotormon hears me not! to him the night and morn
Are both alike: a night of sighs, a morning of fresh tears;
Plate 3
And none but Bromion can hear my lamentations."

Saturday, October 27, 2018


Captain John Gabriel Stedman served in a Dutch military force sent to Surinam in South America to surpress a slave rebellion in the Dutch colony. During the five years he served there he kept a detailed diary with an account of his personal and military experiences, and the natural environment he encountered. He returned to Europe in 1777. In 1791 he submitted to Joseph Johnson, the publisher with whom Blake frequently worked, the manuscript written from the diary. It was lavishly illustrated with the fauna and flora indigenous to Surinam, living conditions, military expeditions, and the treatment of the slave population. The majority of the 80 illustrations were of animals and plants which Stedman drew in meticulous detail. Blake, however, was engaged to provide several engravings illustrating the brutality endured by slaves. 
Wikipedia Commons
Illustration to Stedman's Five Years Expedition
Flagellation of a Female Samboe Slave
Aware as he was of the suffering of the poor in London, and the slave ships unloading rum and sugar on the Thames in preparation for returning to Africa to acquire negroes for the sugar plantations in the Caribbean, Blake would have welcomed the opportunity to create images to sensitize Britishers to the human cost of an economy based on oppression. Blake worked on his approximately 18 engravings for The Narrative of a Five Years Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam between 1791 and 1794. In 1793 Blake issued his Visions of the Daughters of Albion which was influenced by what he learned from his friendship with Stedman and illustrating the book.
Visions of the Daughters of Albion, Plate 3, (E 47)
[Oothoon speaks:]
"How can I be defild when I reflect thy image pure?
Sweetest the fruit that the worm feeds on. & the soul prey'd on by woe
The new wash'd lamb ting'd with the village smoke & the bright swan
By the red earth of our immortal river: I bathe my wings.
And I am white and pure"  
Visions of the Daughters of Albion, Plate 5, (E 48)
[Oothoon speaks:]
"Does he who contemns poverty, and he who turns with abhorrence  
From usury: feel the same passion or are they moved alike?
How can the giver of gifts experience the delights of the merchant?
How the industrious citizen the pains of the husbandman.
How different far the fat fed hireling with hollow drum;
Who buys whole corn fields into wastes, and sings upon the heath:

How different their eye and ear! how different the world to them!
With what sense does the parson claim the labour of the farmer?
What are his nets & gins & traps. & how does he surround him
With cold floods of abstraction, and with forests of solitude,
To build him castles and high spires. where kings & priests may dwell.    
Till she who burns with youth. and knows no fixed lot; is bound
In spells of law to one she loaths: and must she drag the chain
Of life, in weary lust! must chilling murderous thoughts. obscure
The clear heaven of her eternal spring? to bear the wintry rage
Of a harsh terror driv'n to madness, bound to hold a rod     
Over her shrinking shoulders all the day"

Michael Davis in William Blake: A New Kind of Man wrote this passage relating Blake's personal experience as it affected his attempts to eliminate all forms of tyranny:

"Blake saw many Negroes on the London streets: runaway slaves, their flesh indelibly branded with their owners' marks; paid servants, apprentices, vagrants. Many of the Negroes who had served with the British forces in America were sent to London at the end of the war and became beggars. Although more than four hundred were shipped to Sierra Leone, many stayed in London and became a social problem for years as 'vagrant blacks.' Conversation with Stedman filled in the background of such outcasts. Blake's passionate Vision of the Daughters of Albion, which he was writing and engraving in 1792, was affected in its attitude to slavery by the cruel subject of his illustrations for Stedman's book, and in its narrative by Stedman's marriage to Joanna. Blake's poem is a protest against various restrictions besides the slavery of Negroes, and a plea for liberty in religion, morality and sex. It shows a deep sympathy towards women, and attacks their oppressors. Life's cruelties and restrictions, which Blake sees to be inter-related, prompt his challenging motto on the title page: 'The Eye sees more than the Heart Knows.' Only when human hearts experience true feeling will there be freedom from the tyrannies we see every day." (Page 52)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


When he supplied engravings for The Narrative of a Five Years Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam (1796), a book by John Gabriel Stedman, Blake became deeply engrossed in understanding the cruel suffering slaves experienced in the colonies controlled by Europeans. Stedman had arranged with publisher Joseph Johnson to publish the manuscript and the 80 illustrations which he provided. Blake was engaged to engrave 18 or more illustrations for the book. During the publication process Blake and Stedman became close enough friends that Stedman stayed at Blake's home when he was required to be in London. As two eccentrics Blake and Stedman were able to relate as writers, artists and followers each of his own leadings.
Wikimedia Commons
Illustration to Stedman's Five Years Expedition
Group of Negros, as Imported to be sold for Slaves
Songs and Ballads, from Blake's Notebook, (E 473)
"Why should I care for the men of thames
Or the cheating waves of charterd streams
Or shrink at the little blasts of fear
That the hireling blows into my ear

Tho born on the cheating banks of Thames     
Tho his waters bathed my infant limbs
The Ohio shall wash his stains from me 
I was born a slave but I go to be free"

Monday, October 22, 2018


Wikipedia Commons 
Young's Night Thoughts
Designed and Engraved by Blake

African slaves were not unknown in Blake's London although the were not common. There plight and that suffered by free blacks was visible enough that Blake used slaves as a principle metaphor for the transition of life from the Earthly to the Heavenly plane as he was bringing the Four Zoas to a conclusion. Although the Black African was rarely pictured in the visual images, the condition of slavery was often pictured and described.  

Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 134, (E 402)
"Let the slave grinding at the mill run out into the field
Let him look up into the heavens & laugh in the bright air
Let the inchaind soul shut up in darkness & in sighing           
Whose face has never seen a smile in thirty weary years
Rise & look out his chains are loose his dungeon doors are open
And let his wife & children return from the opressors scourge
They look behind at every step & believe it is a dream
Are these the Slaves that groand along the streets of Mystery    
Where are your bonds & task masters are these the prisoners

Where are your chains where are your tears why do you look around
If you are thirsty there is the river go bathe your parched limbs
The good of all the Land is before you for Mystery is no more

Then All the Slaves from every Earth in the wide Universe        
Sing a New Song drowning confusion in its happy notes
While the flail of Urizen sounded loud & the winnowing wind of Tharmas
So loud so clear in the wide heavens & the song that they sung was this
Composed by an African Black from the little Earth of Sotha

Aha Aha how came I here so soon in my sweet native land         
How came I here Methinks I am as I was in my youth

PAGE 135 
When in my fathers house I sat & heard his chearing voice
Methinks I see his flocks & herds & feel my limbs renewd
And Lo my Brethren in their tents & their little ones around them

The song arose to the Golden feast the Eternal Man rejoicd"

Thursday, October 18, 2018


Anyone who has followed this blog has seen many images from the watercolours which Blake painted to illustrate Young's Night Thoughts. From the time I first noticed them in the website of the British Museum I have posted many as visual images of the pictures Blake painted with poetic words. Since there are over 500 watercolours illustrating Night Thoughts, they offer a versatile source for complementing ideas implied by written words.

The image illustrating Night Three, Narcissa superficially indicates contradictory ideas since the female who represents the achievement of a state of bliss is surrounded by the serpent who epitomizes evil. The meaning was clarified by reading the explanation which was supplied when the book was published in 1797. In William Blake: Book Illustrator by Easson and Essick, the explanations are included. The serpent is in the form of a ouroboros which is a recognized ancient symbol of eternity. There is always a deeper level of meaning in Blake if one continues to dig into the depths and seek what is hidden below the surface.    

Wikimedia Commons
Night Thoughts
Engraving, Page 43
From William Blake: Book Illustrator:

"The Explanation of the Engravings...quoted in the descriptions of the plates, is occasionally found at the end of the book, after p. [96].
...Frontispiece to Night the Third. A female figure, who appears from the crescent beneath her feet to have surmounted the trials of this world, is admitted to an eternity of glory: eternity is represented by its usual emblem - a serpent with its extremities united."
This issue of Night Thoughts provided by Gutenberg is prefaced with a biography of Young. It elucidates some of the sources of Young's extended narrative:

 Young's Night Thoughts
       With Life, Critical Dissertation and Explanatory Notes
Author: Edward Young 
..."At length, sick of dissipation, of the stage, of bad odes, and good satires, Young determined to become wise, and enter into orders. An irresistible current had long been carrying him on, with many a convulsive recalcitration on his part, to this determination. That great intellect and heart, [x] over which, already, the shadow of the “Night Thoughts” was beginning to gather, could not be satisfied with the society of “peers, poets,” and demireps; with the applause of sweltering crowds collected in theatres; or with the ebullitions of its own giant spleen, in the shape of epigrammatic satires. The world, which once seemed to his eye so fresh and fair, had withered gradually to a skeleton, with sockets for eyes, with eternal baldness for hair, with a “stench instead of a sweet savour, and burning instead of beauty.” He resolved to proclaim the particulars of this painful yet blessed disenchantment to the ends of the earth, and to all classes of mankind. And for this purpose, he first of all mounted the pulpit, and then began to wield what was even then the mightier engine of the press.
...And, in order to be able to write the “Night Thoughts,” Young must be plunged in the deepest gloom of affliction—“Thrice flew the shaft, and thrice his peace was slain.” In 1736, a daughter of his wife, by a former husband, died. This was Mrs Temple—the Narcissa of his great poem. Her disease was a lingering one. Young accompanied her to Lyons, where she died, and where her remains were brutally denied sepulture, as the dust of a Protestant. Her husband, Mr Temple, or Philander, died four years later; and in 1741, Young’s wife, or Lucia, also expired. He now felt himself alone, and blasted in his solitude. But his grief did not sink into sullen inactivity. He made it oracular, and distilled his tears into song. The “Night Thoughts” were immediately commenced, and published between 1742 and 1744. This marvellous poem was all composed either at night, or when riding on horseback—an exercise, by the way, which gives a sense of mastery and confidence, stirs the blood, elevates the animal spirits, and has been felt by many to be eminently favourable to thought and mental composition. It inspired, we know, such men as Burns, Byron, Shelley, and Delta. We love to think of Young riding through the green lanes of his parish, and cooing out to himself his plaintive minstrelsies. We love better still to watch his lonely lamp shining at midnight, like a star, through the darkness, and seeming to answer the far signal of those mightier luminaries which are burning above in the Great Bear and Orion—the poet the while now dipping his pen to indite his ardent immortalities—now leaning his head on his widowed arm, and surrendering himself to paroxysms of uncontrollable [xvi] anguish—and now looking out upon the Night as the “Lord is abroad” on the wings of the tempest, or as He is silently shining out his name in suns and galaxies—those unwearied “Watchers” and unbaptized “Holy Ones.”

These few lines from Young's poem reveal the role Narcissa played for Young:

"Aid me, Narcissa! aid me to keep pace
With Destiny; and ere her scissors cut
My thread of life, to break this tougher thread
Of moral death, that ties me to the world."

Easson and Essick point to the early biography of Blake by Alexander Gilchrist and Anne Gilchrist as a source for Blake's involvement with Night Thoughts:

Page 135
"Edwards, of New Bond Street, at that day a leading bookseller, engaged Blake, in 1796, to illustrate an expensive edition, emulating Boydell's Shakspere and Milton, of Young's Night Thoughts. The Night Thoughts was then, as it had been for more than half a century, a living classic, which rival booksellers delighted to re-publish. Edwards paid his designer and engraver 'a despicably low sum,' says Smith, which means, I believe, a guinea a plate. And yet the prefatory Advertisement, dated December 22, 1796, tells us that the enterprise had been undertaken by the publisher not as a speculation of advantage, but as an indulgence of inclination, in which fondness and partiality would not permit him to be curiously accurate in adjusting the estimate of profit and loss;' undertaken also from the wish 'to make the arts in their most honourable agency subservient to the purposes of religion.' In the same preface, written with Johnsonian swing, by Fuseli probably—the usual literary help of fine-art publishers in those days—and who I suspect had something to do with Edwards' choice of artist, 'the merit of Mr. Blake' is spoken of in terms which show it to have been not wholly ignored then: 'to the eyes of the discerning it need not be pointed out; and while a taste for the arts of design shall continue to exist, the original conception, and the bold and masterly execution of this artist cannot be unnoticed or unadmired.' The edition, which was to have been issued in parts, never got beyond the first; public encouragement proving inadequate. This part extends to ninety-five pages,—to the end of Night the Fourth,—and includes forty-three designs. It appeared in the autumn of 1797.
These forty-three plates occupied Blake a year. A complete set of drawings for the Night Thoughts had been made, which remained in the family of Edwards, the publisher, till quite recently, when it passed into the hands of Mr. Bain, of the Haymarket. 'Altogether this enormous series reaches the aggregate of five hundred and thirty-seven designs, of which, as has been said, only forty-three were given in the Engraved Selection."
Page 137

"To each of the four Nights was prefixed an introductory design or title. The illustrations have one very acceptable aid, and that is, a written 'explanation of the engravings' at the end; drawn up or put into shape by another hand than Blake's—the same possibly which had penned the Advertisement. It would be well if all his designs had this help. For at once literal in his translation of word into line, daring and unhacknied in his manner of indicating his pregnant allegories, Blake's conceptions do not always explain themselves at a glance, and without their meaning, half their beauty too must needs be lost."

The symbol of the serpent in Blake's poetry included multiple facets. Perhaps it is most important to remember that the Serpent as a personification of evil was capable of transformation. He was not created evil. Whatever evil was in him, entered because of choices and actions. When the Divine Humanity in man is restored, all things resume the pristine state of harmonious unity. The circle which is drawn by the Golden Compass is complete.
Europe, Plate 10, (E 63) 
"In thoughts perturb'd, they rose from the bright ruins silentmfollowing     
The fiery King, who sought his ancient temple serpent-form'd
That stretches out its shady length along the Island white.
Round him roll'd his clouds of war; silent the Angel went,
Along the infinite shores of Thames to golden Verulam.           
There stand the venerable porches that high-towering rear
Their oak-surrounded pillars, form'd of massy stones, uncut
With tool; stones precious; such eternal in the heavens,
Of colours twelve, few known on earth, give light in the opake,
Plac'd in the order of the stars, when the five senses whelm'd   
In deluge o'er the earth-born man; then turn'd the fluxile eyes
Into two stationary orbs, concentrating all things.
The ever-varying spiral ascents to the heavens of heavens
Were bended downward; and the nostrils golden gates shut
Turn'd outward, barr'd and petrify'd against the infinite.       

Thought chang'd the infinite to a serpent; that which pitieth:   
To a devouring flame; and man fled from its face and hid
In forests of night; then all the eternal forests were divided
Into earths rolling in circles of space, that like an ocean rush'd
And overwhelmed all except this finite wall of flesh.            
Then was the serpent temple form'd, image of infinite
Shut up in finite revolutions, and man became an Angel;
Heaven a mighty circle turning; God a tyrant crown'd." 

Jerusalem, Plate 98, (E 257)
"And they conversed together in Visionary forms dramatic which bright
Redounded from their Tongues in thunderous majesty, in Visions 
In new Expanses, creating exemplars of Memory and of Intellect  
Creating Space, Creating Time according to the wonders Divine
Of Human Imagination, throughout all the Three Regions immense
Of Childhood, Manhood & Old Age[;] & the all tremendous unfathomable Non Ens
Of Death was seen in regenerations terrific or complacent varying 
According to the subject of discourse & every Word & Every Character
Was Human according to the Expansion or Contraction, the Translucence or
Opakeness of Nervous fibres such was the variation of Time & Space
Which vary according as the Organs of Perception vary & they walked
To & fro in Eternity as One Man reflecting each in each & clearly seen
And seeing: according to fitness & order. And I heard Jehovah speak 
Terrific from his Holy Place & saw the Words of the Mutual Covenant Divine
On Chariots of gold & jewels with Living Creatures starry & flaming
With every Colour, Lion, Tyger, Horse, Elephant, Eagle Dove, Fly, Worm,
And the all wondrous Serpent clothed in gems & rich array Humanize
In the Forgiveness of Sins according to the Covenant of Jehovah. They Cry

Where is the Covenant of Priam, the Moral Virtues of the Heathen
Where is the Tree of Good & Evil that rooted beneath the cruel heel
Of Albions Spectre the Patriarch Druid! where are all his Human Sacrifices
For Sin in War & in the Druid Temples of the Accuser of Sin: beneath
The Oak Groves of Albion that coverd the whole Earth beneath his Spectre
Where are the Kingdoms of the World & all their glory that grew on Desolation"

Sunday, October 14, 2018


British Museum
Sketch for Royal Universal Family Bible
Description from British Museum:
"St John the Evangelist before a vision of Christ, an illustration from Revelation, i, 12-16 engraved by Blake for 'Royal Universal Family Bible'. c.1782 Brush drawing in grey wash, over graphite"

Revelation 1
[12] And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
[13] And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
[14] His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
[15] And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
[16] And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

Early in William Blake's career as an engraver he was engaged to make illustrations for an ambitious publication of the Bible titled The Royal Universal Family Bible. Along with notes and commentary, there were 100 pages of illustrations included in the publication of which Blake engraved five. A single plate illustrating 'St John the Evangelist before a vision of Christ' was also designed by Blake.

The sketch for the plate Blake designed and engraved for The Royal Universal Family Bible is in the collection of the British Museum. The illustration engraved by Blake of the design is included in William Blake: Book Illustrator by Roger Easson and Robert Essick.  

The Royal Universal Family Bible
From William Blake, Book Illustrator
By Easson and Essick
Plate 1
It is apropos that one of Blake's first published engravings was based upon a scripture concerning a vision. During his long career as a visionary poet and artist, Blake would reference images which occurred in the passage which he illustrated in 1780: seven, golden, garment, flame of fire, feet, brass, furnace, stars, sword and the sun.

Examples of words from Revelation 1:12-16 included in Blake's poetry: 

Milton, Plate 14 [15], (E 108) 
"The Seven Angels of the Presence wept over Miltons Shadow!"
Milton, Plate 28 [30], (E 126)
"Antamon takes them into his beautiful flexible hands,
As the Sower takes the seed, or as the Artist his clay 
Or fine wax, to mould artful a model for golden ornaments,      
The soft hands of Antamon draw the indelible line:
Form immortal with golden pen;"
Milton, Plate 41 [48], (E 142)
"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"

Jerusalem, Plate 3, (E 145)
"Again he speaks in thunder and in fire!                
    Thunder of Thought, & flames of fierce desire:"

Jerusalem, Plate 27, (E 173)
"And thine the Human Face & thine
The Human Hands & Feet & Breath
  Entering thro' the Gates of Birth
 And passing thro' the Gates of Death"

Four Zoas, Night II, Page 35, (E 324)
"My heavens are brass my earth is iron my moon a clod of clay
My sun a pestilence burning at noon & a vapour of death in night 
What is the price of Experience do men buy it for a song"

Four Zoas, Night IV, Page 52, (E 338)
Was put to Eternal Death Los felt the Limit & saw
The Finger of God touch the Seventh furnace in terror            
And Los beheld the hand of God over his furnaces"

Four Zoas, Night II, Page 33, (E 322)
"Thus were the stars of heaven created like a golden chain
To bind the Body of Man to heaven from failing into the Abyss"  

Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 92, (E 364)
"They forgd the sword the chariot of war the battle ax
The trumpet fitted to the battle & the flute of summer 
And all the arts of life they changd into the arts of death"

Jerusalem, Plate 43 [29], (E 191)
"I come that I may find a way for my banished ones to return      
Fear not O little Flock I come! Albion shall rise again.

So saying, the mild Sun inclosd the Human Family."

Friday, October 12, 2018


British Museum  
Songs of Innocence and of Experience
Copy T, Plate 1

Recently I was invited to lead a Great Books Study on the Poetry of William Blake. Only an introduction to a very large subject could be included in time allotted. The participants had prepared by studying the material which was distributed ahead of time.
I introduced Blake with these words:
"Blake lived from 1757-1827. His lifespan covered a tumultuous period of history including the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, the Industrial revolution and the Enlightenment. He endeavored to maintain human values in the face of the turmoil around him. To be fully human meant to be created in the image of God with all the potential for actualization which it implied. To open the minds of men to the infinite possibilities of recognizing oneself as belonging to an eternal dimension was what motivated him to create.
He wrote, he painted, and he engraved in unique ways which garnered little attention during his lifetime. But it has since been recognized that his thought and the individualistic ways in which he conveyed it, speak to the human condition profoundly. His work is an invitation to look within and find there a key to understanding the painful contradictions encountered in the external world."
Five poems were read aloud and discussed freely and honestly. The goal of sharing Blake's thought in order to become open to alternative ways of relating to the world, to one another and God was realized. These are the poems explored in the study:
Songs of Innocence, Songs 9 and 10, (E 9)
 "The Little Black Boy

 My mother bore me in the southern wild,
And I am black, but O! my soul is white;
White as an angel is the English child:
But I am black as if bereav'd of light.

My mother taught me underneath a tree
And sitting down before the heat of day,
She took me on her lap and kissed me,
And pointing to the east began to say.

Look on the rising sun: there God does live
And gives his light, and gives his heat away.      
And flowers and trees and beasts and men recieve
Comfort in morning joy in the noon day.

And we are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love,
And these black bodies and this sun-burnt face      
Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

Song 10  
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.

Thus  did my mother say and kissed me,
And thus I say to little English boy;
When I from black and he from white cloud free,
And round the tent of God like lambs we joy:

Ill shade him from the heat till he can bear,
To lean in joy upon our fathers knee.
And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair,
And be like him and he will then love me."
Songs of Experience, Song 30, (E 18)
Hear the voice of the Bard!

Who Present, Past, & Future sees
Whose ears have heard,
The Holy Word,
That walk'd among the ancient trees.

Calling the lapsed Soul
And weeping in the evening dew:
That might controll,
The starry pole;
And fallen fallen light renew! 

O Earth O Earth return!
Arise from out the dewy grass;
Night is worn,
And the morn
Rises from the slumberous mass, 
Turn away no more:
Why wilt thou turn away
The starry floor
The watry shore
Is giv'n thee till the break of day."

Songs of Experience, Song 32, (E 19)
"The CLOD & the PEBBLE              

Love seeketh not Itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care;
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hells despair.

     So sang a little Clod of Clay,      
     Trodden with the cattles feet:
     But a Pebble of the brook,
     Warbled out these metres meet.

Love seeketh only Self to please,
To bind another to Its delight:
Joys in anothers loss of ease,
And builds a Hell in Heavens despite."

Songs of Experience, Song 25, (E 18)
"The Tyger.                                        

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,            
Could frame thy fearful symmetry? 

In what distant deeps or skies.        
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?            
On what wings dare he aspire?      
What the hand, dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?   
What the hammer? what the chain, 
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,          
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!                  

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?                 
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:                       
What immortal hand or eye,                    
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?"

Poetical Sketches, (E 415)

The wild winds weep,
  And the night is a-cold;
Come hither, Sleep,
  And my griefs infold:                  
But lo! the morning peeps          
  Over the eastern steeps,
And the rustling birds of dawn     
The earth do scorn.

Lo! to the vault
  Of paved heaven,              
With sorrow fraught
  My notes are driven:
They strike the ear of night,
  Make weep the eyes of day;
They make mad the roaring winds,      
  And with tempests play.

Like a fiend in a cloud
  With howling woe,
After night I do croud,
  And with night will go;         
I turn my back to the east,

From whence comforts have increas'd;
For light doth seize my brain
With frantic pain."

Tuesday, October 09, 2018


Vision of Last Judgment, (E 565)
"Mental Things are alone Real"
Wikipedia Commons
Milton's L'Allegro
Page 3
Phrase in context: 
Vision of Last Judgment, (E 565)
     "The Last Judgment is an Overwhelming of Bad Art & Science. 
Mental Things are alone Real what is Calld Corporeal Nobody Knows
of its Dwelling Place <it> is in Fallacy & its Existence an
Imposture  Where is the Existence Out of Mind or Thought Where is
it but in the Mind of a Fool.  Some People flatter themselves
that there will be No Last Judgment & [P 95] that Bad Art will be
adopted & mixed with Good Art That Error or Experiment will make
a Part of Truth & they Boast that it is its Foundation these
People flatter themselves   I will not Flatter them Error is
Created Truth is Eternal Error or Creation will be Burned Up &
then & not till then Truth or Eternity will appear It is Burnt up
the Moment Men cease to behold it I assert for My self that I do
not behold the Outward Creation & that to me it is hindrance &
not Action it is as the Dirt upon my feet No part of Me. What it
will be Questiond When the Sun rises  do  you  not  see  a  round
Disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea O no no I see an Innumerable
company of the Heavenly host crying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord
God Almighty I question not my Corporeal or Vegetative Eye any
more than I would Question a Window concerning a Sight I look
thro it & not with it."

Sunday, October 07, 2018


THE GATES of PARADISE, For The Sexes (E 268) 
   "But when once I did descry 
   The Immortal Man that cannot Die
   Thro evening shades I haste away 
   To close the Labours of my Day"
Wikimedia Commons
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
Phrase in context:

THE GATES of PARADISE, For The Sexes (E 268) 
   "But when once I did descry 
   The Immortal Man that cannot Die
   Thro evening shades I haste away 
   To close the Labours of my Day"
   The Door of Death I open found                             
   And the Worm Weaving in the Ground
   Thou'rt my Mother from the Womb 
   Wife, Sister, Daughter to the Tomb 
   Weaving to Dreams the Sexual strife
   And weeping over the Web of Life" 

Saturday, October 06, 2018


THE GATES of PARADISE, For The Sexes, Prologue, (E 259) 
"Mutual Forgiveness of each Vice
Such are the Gates of Paradise"
Wikimedia Commons
Mercy and Truth are Met Together Righteousness and Peace Have Kissed Each Other
 Phrase in context:

THE GATES of PARADISE, For The Sexes, Prologue, (E 259)

"Mutual Forgiveness of each Vice
Such are the Gates of Paradise
Against the Accusers chief desire
Who walkd among the Stones of Fire
Jehovahs Finger Wrote the Law   
Then Wept! then rose in Zeal & Awe
And the Dead Corpse from Sinais heat
Buried beneath his Mercy Seat            
O Christians Christians! tell me Why
You rear it on your Altars high"    

Friday, October 05, 2018


Jerusalem, Plate  34 [38], (E 180)
"We live as One Man" 
Phrase in context:

Jerusalem, Plate  34 [38], (E 180)
"Displaying the Eternal Vision! the Divine Similitude!
In loves and tears of brothers, sisters, sons, fathers, and friends
Which if Man ceases to behold, he ceases to exist:

Saying. Albion! Our wars are wars of life, & wounds of love,
With intellectual spears, & long winged arrows of thought:       
Mutual in one anothers love and wrath all renewing
We live as One Man; for contracting our infinite senses
We behold multitude; or expanding: we behold as one,
As One Man all the Universal Family; and that One Man
We call Jesus the Christ: and he in us, and we in him,        
Live in perfect harmony in Eden the land of life,
Giving, recieving, and forgiving each others trespasses.
He is the Good shepherd, he is the Lord and master:
He is the Shepherd of Albion, he is all in all,
In Eden: in the garden of God: and in heavenly Jerusalem.        
If we have offended, forgive us, take not vengeance against us.

Thus speaking; the Divine Family follow Albion:"

Thursday, October 04, 2018


Milton, Plate 1, (E 95) 
"I will not cease from Mental Fight,
 Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
                   Till we have built Jerusalem,                     
 In Englands green & pleasant Land."
Songs of Innocence
Copy B
Phrase in context:
Milton, Plate 1, (E 95) 
     "And did those feet in ancient time,
     Walk upon Englands mountains green:
     And was the holy Lamb of God,
     On Englands pleasant pastures seen!

     And did the Countenance Divine,             
     Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
     And was Jerusalem builded here,
     Among these dark Satanic Mills?

     Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
     Bring me my Arrows of desire:                     
     Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
     Bring me my Chariot of fire!

     I will not cease from Mental Fight,
     Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
     Till we have built Jerusalem,                     
     In Englands green & pleasant Land."

Wednesday, October 03, 2018


Letters, To Thomas Butts, (E 722)
     "Now I a fourfold vision see
     And a fourfold vision is given to me
     Tis fourfold in my supreme delight
     And three fold in soft Beulahs night
     And twofold Always.  May God us keep
     From Single vision & Newtons sleep" 
Wikimedia Commons 
Milton's On the Morning of Christ's Nativity
Verse in context:

Letters, To Thomas Butts, (E 722)
     "When I had my Defiance given
     The Sun stood trembling in heaven
     The Moon that glowd remote below
     Became leprous & white as snow
     And every Soul of men on the Earth
     Felt affliction & sorrow & sickness & dearth
     Los flamd in my path & the Sun was hot
     With the bows of my Mind & the Arrows of Thought
     My bowstring fierce with Ardour breathes
     My arrows glow in their golden sheaves
     My brothers & father march before
     The heavens drop with human gore

     Now I a fourfold vision see
     And a fourfold vision is given to me
     Tis fourfold in my supreme delight
     And three fold in soft Beulahs night
     And twofold Always.  May God us keep
     From Single vision & Newtons sleep"

Tuesday, October 02, 2018


Milton, Plate 20 [22], (E 114)
"Seest thou the little winged fly, smaller than a grain of sand?
It has a heart like thee; a brain open to heaven & hell,"
British Museum
Hayley's "Designs to a Series of Ballads"
Phrase in context:

Milton, Plate 20 [22], (E 114)
"Seest thou the little winged fly, smaller than a grain of sand?
It has a heart like thee; a brain open to heaven & hell,
Withinside wondrous & expansive; its gates are not clos'd,
I hope thine are not: hence it clothes itself in rich array;     
Hence thou art cloth'd with human beauty O thou mortal man.
Seek not thy heavenly father then beyond the skies:
There Chaos dwells & ancient Night & Og & Anak old:
For every human heart has gates of brass & bars of adamant,
Which few dare unbar because dread Og & Anak guard the gates     
Terrific! and each mortal brain is walld and moated round Within:"

Monday, October 01, 2018


Jerusalem, Plate 91, (E 251)
"I never made friends but by spiritual gifts;
By severe contentions of friendship & the burning fire of thought."
Wikimedia Commons
Illustrations of the Book of Job
Linnell Set
Phrase in context:

Jerusalem, Plate 91,(E 251)
"Go, tell them that the Worship of God, is honouring his gifts
In other men: & loving the greatest men best, each according
To his Genius: which is the Holy Ghost in Man; there is no other
God, than that God who is the intellectual fountain of Humanity; 
He who envies or calumniates: which is murder & cruelty,
Murders the Holy-one: Go tell them this & overthrow their cup,
Their bread, their altar-table, their incense & their oath:
Their marriage & their baptism, their burial & consecration:
I have tried to make friends by corporeal gifts but have only    
Made enemies: I never made friends but by spiritual gifts;
By severe contentions of friendship & the burning fire of thought.
He who would see the Divinity must see him in his Children
One first, in friendship & love; then a Divine Family, & in the midst
Jesus will appear; so he who wishes to see a Vision; a perfect Whole        
Must see it in its Minute Particulars;"