Tuesday, October 01, 2019


Milton, Plate 36 [40], (E 137) 
"For when Los joind with me he took me in his firy whirlwind
My Vegetated portion was hurried from Lambeths shades
He set me down in Felphams Vale & prepard a beautiful
Cottage for me that in three years I might write all these Visions
To display Natures cruel holiness: the deceits of Natural Religion. 
Walking in my Cottage Garden, sudden I beheld
The Virgin Ololon & address'd her as a Daughter of Beulah[:] 
Virgin of Providence fear not to enter into my Cottage
What is thy message to thy friend: What am I now to do
Is it again to plunge into deeper affliction? behold me 
Ready to obey, but pity thou my Shadow of Delight 
Enter my Cottage, comfort her, for she is sick with fatigue" 
Milton, Plate 42 [49], (E 143)
"Then as a Moony Ark Ololon descended to Felphams Vale
In clouds of blood, in streams of gore, with dreadful thunderings
Into the Fires of Intellect that rejoic'd in Felphams Vale
Around the Starry Eight: with one accord the Starry Eight became 
One Man Jesus the Saviour. wonderful! round his limbs 
The Clouds of Ololon folded as a Garment dipped in blood
Written within & without in woven letters: & the Writing
Is the Divine Revelation in the Litteral expression:
A Garment of War, I heard it namd the Woof of Six Thousand Years 
And I beheld the Twenty-four Cities of Albion
Arise upon their Thrones to Judge the Nations of the Earth
And the Immortal Four in whom the Twenty-four appear Four-fold
Arose around Albions body: Jesus wept & walked forth 
From Felphams Vale clothed in Clouds of blood, to enter into 
Albions Bosom, the bosom of death & the Four surrounded him
In the Column of Fire in Felphams Vale; then to their mouths the Four
Applied their Four Trumpets & them sounded to the Four winds 
Terror struck in the Vale I stood at that immortal sound
My bones trembled. I fell outstretchd upon the path 
A moment, & my Soul returnd into its mortal state
To Resurrection & Judgment in the Vegetable Body
And my sweet Shadow of Delight stood trembling by my side 
Immediately the Lark mounted with a loud trill from Felphams Vale
And the Wild Thyme from Wimbletons green & impurpled Hills 
And Los & Enitharmon rose over the Hills of Surrey
Their clouds roll over London with a south wind, soft Oothoon
Pants in the Vales of Lambeth weeping oer her Human Harvest
Los listens to the Cry of the Poor Man: his Cloud
Over London in volume terrific, low bended in anger. 
Rintrah & Palamabron view the Human Harvest beneath 
Their Wine-presses & Barns stand open; the Ovens are prepar'd 
The Waggons ready: terrific Lions & Tygers sport & play 
All Animals upon the Earth, are prepard in all their strength 
PLATE 43 [50] 
To go forth to the Great Harvest & Vintage of the Nations 

New York Public Library
Plate 46 [50]
Twice in Milton Blake mentions his Shadow of Delight. In these instances he is speaking in his own voice, not as Milton, Los or one of the other characters. These are transition passages between the visionary world which Blake was exploring in order to reconcile relationships among mental constructs, and the ordinary world in which his was the thinking mind constructing an imaginary world. Catherine was the Shadow of Delight because he was related to her in the Vegetated Body which resided in the mortal world. Catherine, of course, was more than a Vegetated Body because her true identity was as an Immortal Soul. 

In these passages we watch as Blake negotiates the portal between two worlds. Although it may be difficult to enter a higher state of consciousness, it is not easy to return to ordinary consciousness either. It is likely that Blake knew that it was Catherine who made it possible to maintain a connection to the mortal world in which he lived as an ordinary man who could observe the outer world with a rational mind, and delight in his wife. 

The image is not of Catherine or of Enitharmon. Ololon is portrayed removing the garment of materality as she ventures forth to the 'Great Harvest & Vintage.' The Vegetated Body stands aside to witness the reconciliation of the scattered portions.

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