Thursday, September 26, 2019


Blake filled Robert's notebook after his beloved Brother's death. When he ran out of pages he turned the notebook upside down and filled it from the opposite direction. The portrait
of Catherine was inverted when he wrote text for A Vision for the Last Judgment.

Among the notes and sketches in Blake's Notebook appear two images of his wife. Bake used the Notebook to record images and ideas as they occurred to him. These two images were not intended for inclusion in future works of art. They were spontaneous responses to the domestic scene which surrounded him. This was the woman who shared his bed and his table, who ran errands for him and helped with the printing process. She was Enitharmon to Blake's Los. When inspiration came to him, she helped him bring his vision into the physical world.  
"And first he drew a line upon the walls of shining heaven    
And Enitharmon tincturd it with beams of blushing love"
                                                                          Four Zoas 

If William and Catherine had to struggle to adapt to living together as husband and wife, we would find remnants of their striving in Blake's poetry and pictures. In the Four Zoas, Enitharmon suggested to Los that her efforts had less value or permanence than his did. The products of her hands 'vanish again into my bosom.' If her work could be assimilated into the forms sublime which Los was fabricating, their life together would acquire a new dimension.

This can be seen as a breakthrough in the relationship of the young couple. If William recognized that Catherine was capable of working as an artist alongside him as he produced the Illuminated Books, it would eliminate some of the tension between them. Her creative energy would be directed toward producing something of real sustained value. He would benefit by not being alone against all the forces which conspired to thwart his achieving his aspirations.

Alexander Gilchrist wrote in his early biography of Blake that the production of the Illuminated Books was a joint project. Other authors may be dependent on designers, engravers, printers and publishers but Blake found another way to present the product of his creativity. Together "the Poet and his wife did everything in making the book, - writing, designing, printing, engraving, - everything except manufacturing the paper: the very ink, or color rather, they did make." He didn't mention coloring the images and binding the books at which Catherine became proficient.

Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 98 [90], (E 370) 
Enitharmon spread her beaming locks upon the wind & said   
O Lovely terrible Los wonder of Eternity O Los my defence & guide 
Thy works are all my joy. & in thy fires my soul delights
If mild they burn in just proportion & in secret night
And silence build their day in shadow of soft clouds & dews
Then I can sigh forth on the winds of Golgonooza piteous forms  
That vanish again into my bosom   but if thou my Los
Wilt in sweet moderated fury. fabricate forms sublime    
Such as the piteous spectres may assimilate themselves into
They shall be ransoms for our Souls that we may live

So Enitharmon spoke & Los his hands divine inspired began  
To modulate his fires studious the loud roaring flames
He vanquishd with the strength of Art bending their iron points
And drawing them forth delighted upon the winds of Golgonooza 
From out the ranks of Urizens war & from the fiery lake
Of Orc bending down as the binder of the Sheaves follows   
The reaper in both arms embracing the furious raging flames
Los drew them forth out of the deeps planting his right foot firm
Upon the Iron crag of Urizen thence springing up aloft
Into the heavens of Enitharmon in a mighty circle

And first he drew a line upon the walls of shining heaven    
And Enitharmon tincturd it with beams of blushing love

It remaind permanent a lovely form inspird divinely human
Dividing into just proportions Los unwearied labourd
The immortal lines upon the heavens till with sighs of love
Sweet Enitharmon mild Entrancd breathd forth upon the wind   
The spectrous dead Weeping the Spectres viewd the immortal works
Of Los Assimilating to those forms Embodied & Lovely
In youth & beauty in the arms of Enitharmon mild reposing"
Jerusalem, Plate 14, (E 158) "Los also views the Four Females: Ahania, and Enion, and Vala, and Enitharmon lovely. And from them all the lovely beaming Daughters of Albion, Ahania & Enion & Vala, are three evanescent shades: Enitharmon is a vegetated mortal Wife of Los: His Emanation, yet his Wife till the sleep of death is past. Such are the Buildings of Los! & such are the Woofs of Enitharmon!"

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