Sunday, March 19, 2023


Wikipedia Commons
Illustrations to Blair's The Grave
Page 27

if a Man is the Enemy of my Spiritual
Life while he pretends to be the Friend of my Corporeal. he is a
Real Enemy--but the Man may be the friend of my Spiritual Life
while he seems the Enemy of my Corporeal but Not Vice Versa
 Allegory addressd to the Intellectual powers
while it is altogether hidden from the Corporeal Understanding is
My Definition of the Most Sublime Poetry.
Art Degraded  Imagination Denied  War Governed the Nations 
How can the bird that is born for joy,
Sit in a cage and sing.
How can a child when fears annoy,
But droop his tender wing,
And forget his youthful spring.
Youth of delight come hither:
And see the opening morn,
Image of truth new born.
Five windows light the cavern'd Man; thro' one he breathes the air;
Thro' one, hears music of the spheres; thro' one, the eternal vine
Flourishes, that he may recieve the grapes; thro' one can look.
And see small portions of the eternal world that ever groweth;
Thro' one, himself pass out what time he please, but he will not;
For stolen joys are sweet, & bread eaten in secret pleasant.
The Bard replied. I am Inspired! I know it is Truth! for I Sing
According to the inspiration of the Poetic Genius
Who is the eternal all-protecting Divine Humanity
To whom be Glory & Power & Dominion Evermore Amen 
But Jesus breaking thro' the Central Zones of Death & Hell
Opens Eternity in Time & Space; triumphant in Mercy
He stood in fair Jerusalem to awake up into Eden
The fallen Man but first to Give his vegetated body         
To be cut off & separated that the Spiritual body may be Reveald 
Lo the Eternal Great Humanity            
To whom be Glory & Dominion Evermore Amen
Walks among all his awful Family seen in every face
As the breath of the Almighty. such are the words of man to man
In the great Wars of Eternity, in fury of Poetic Inspiration,
To build the Universe stupendous: Mental forms Creating 

Thursday, March 16, 2023


First posted April 2011

Beulah Land

  • Far away the noise of strife upon my ear is falling, 
  • Then I know the sins of earth beset on every hand; 
  • Doubt and fear and things of earth in vain to me are calling, 
  • None of these shall move me from Beulah Land.
    • I'm living on the mountain, underneath a cloudless sky, 
    • I'm drinking at the fountain that never shall run dry; 
    • O yes, I'm feasting on the manna from a bountiful supply, 
    • For I am dwelling in Beulah Land.

    Beulah occurs 182 times in Blake. Let's try to figure out just what he meant with the word. Look first at the Bible; Isaiah 62:4 appears to be the only place it's found there. The word Beulah appears many times in the Four Zoas and also in Milton and in Jerusalem. In the Four Zoas: In Night 1 of The Four Zoas (On Erdman 302) we read this: 

    "There is from Great Eternity a mild & pleasant rest
    Namd Beulah a Soft Moony Universe feminine lovely 
    Pure mild & Gentle given in Mercy to those who sleep
    Eternally. Created by the Lamb of God around
    On all sides within & without the Universal Man
    The Daughters of Beulah follow sleepers in all their Dreams
    Creating Spaces lest they fall into Eternal Death" 

    So we might call Beulah a suburb of Heaven; you're not exactly in Heaven, but you're close. Now go back a few lines and you may read this:  

    "Then Eno a daughter of Beulah took a Moment of Time 
    And drew it out to Seven thousand years with much care & affliction                                                 t
    And many tears & in Every year made windows into Eden
    She also took an atom of space & opend its center
    Into Infinitude & ornamented it with wondrous art
    Astonishd sat her Sisters of Beulah to see her soft affections
    To Enion & her children & they ponderd these things wondring     
    And they Alternate kept watch over the Youthful terrors
    They saw not yet the Hand Divine for it was not yet reveald
    But they went on in Silent Hope & Feminine repose"


    Milton begins with a reference to Beulah: 

    "Daughters of Beulah! Muses who inspire the Poets Song
    Record the journey of immortal Milton thro' your Realms
    Of terror & mild moony lustre, in soft sexual delusions
    Of varied beauty, to delight the wanderer and repose
    His burning thirst & freezing hunger!"

    (Read on if you want to begin to understand Milton.) On Plate 30 [33] we have this: 

    "There is a place where Contrarieties are equally True
    This place is called Beulah, It is a pleasant lovely Shadow
    Where no dispute can come. Because of those who Sleep.
    Into this place the Sons & Daughters of Ololon descended
    With solemn mourning into Beulahs moony shades & hills           
    Weeping for Milton: mute wonder held the Daughters of Beulah
    Enrapturd with affection sweet and mild benevolence
    Beulah is evermore Created around Eternity; appearing
    To the Inhabitants of Eden, around them on all sides.
    But Beulah to its Inhabitants appears within each district       
    As the beloved infant in his mothers bosom round incircled
    With arms of love & pity & sweet compassion. But to
    The Sons of Eden the moony habitations of Beulah,
    Are from Great Eternity a mild & pleasant Rest."

    Pressing on to Jerusalem I found this on Erdman 156-7:  

    "The Eastern Gate, fourfold: terrible & deadly its ornaments:
    Taking their forms from the Wheels of Albions sons; as cogs
    Are formd in a wheel, to fit the cogs of the adverse wheel.
    That toward Eden, eternal ice, frozen in seven folds             
    Of forms of death: and that toward Beulah, stone:
    The seven diseases of the earth are carved terrible.
    And that toward Ulro, forms of war: seven enormities:
    And that toward Generation, seven generative forms.
    And every part of the City is fourfold; & every inhabitant, fourfold"   

    (The Eastern Gate is surely a place for another post.) Look also at the fourfold post.  Sun at his Eastern Gate

                                       Wikipedia Commons
    The Sun at His Eastern Gate

     Although this may be confusing, Blake had more to say about Beulah on Plate 48 of Jerusalem. Read it carefully, and you'll gain a much better grasp of what Blake meant by Beulah; here is some of the most salient part:   

    PLATE 48 of Jerusalem: 

    "These were his [Albion's] last words, and the merciful Saviour in his arms
    Reciev'd him, in the arms of tender mercy and repos'd
    The pale limbs of his Eternal Individuality
    Upon the Rock of Ages. Then, surrounded with a Cloud:
    In silence the Divine Lord builded with immortal labour,         
    Of gold & jewels a sublime Ornament, a Couch of repose,
    With Sixteen pillars: canopied with emblems & written verse.
    Spiritual Verse, order'd & measur'd, from whence, time shall reveal.
    The Five books of the Decologue, the books of Joshua & Judges,
    Samuel, a double book & Kings, a double book, the Psalms & Prophets 
    The Four-fold Gospel, and the Revelations everlasting
    Eternity groan'd. & was troubled, at the image of Eternal Death!
    Beneath the bottoms of the Graves, which is Earths central joint,
    There is a place where Contrarieties are equally true:
    (To protect from the Giant blows in the sports of intellect,     
    Thunder in the midst of kindness, & love that kills its beloved:
    Because Death is for a period, and they renew tenfold.)
    From this sweet Place Maternal Love awoke Jerusalem
    With pangs she forsook Beulah's pleasant lovely shadowy Universe
    Where no dispute can come; created for those who Sleep.          
    Weeping was in all Beulah, and all the Daughters of Beulah
    Wept for their Sister the Daughter of Albion, Jerusalem:
    When out of Beulah the Emanation of the Sleeper descended
    With solemn mourning out of Beulahs moony shades and hills:
    Within the Human Heart, whose Gates closed with solemn sound."   


    Wednesday, March 15, 2023


    Yale Center for British Art
    Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
    Page 73

    For whether they lookd upward they saw the Divine Vision
    Or whether they lookd downward still they saw the Divine Vision 
    Surrounding them on all sides beyond sin & death & hell 
    O Saviour pour upon me thy Spirit of meekness & love:
    Annihilate the Selfhood in me, be thou all my life!
    Guide thou my hand which trembles exceedingly upon the rock of ages,
    While I write of the building of Golgonooza, & of the terrors of Entuthon:
     I come to Self Annihilation
    Such are the Laws of Eternity that each shall mutually     
    Annihilate himself for others good, as I for thee. 
         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!
    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 inchained soul shut up in darkness and in sighing,
    Whose face has never seen a smile in thirty weary years;
    Rise and look out, his chains are loose, his dungeon doors are open. 
      For a Tear is an Intellectual thing;   
    And a Sigh is the Sword of an Angel King
      And the bitter groan of a Martyrs woe  
    Is an Arrow from the Almighties Bow!
    I will arise and look forth for the morning of the grave.       
    I will go down to the sepulcher to see if morning breaks!
    I will go down to self annihilation and eternal death,
    Lest the Last Judgment come & find me unannihilate
    But the Divine Humanity & Mercy gave us a Human Form                                         
    Because we were combind in Freedom & holy Brotherhood 
    Jesus said. Wouldest thou love one who never died
    For thee or ever die for one who had not died for thee
    And if God dieth not for Man & giveth not himself           
    Eternally for Man Man could not exist. for Man is Love:
    As God is Love: every kindness to another is a little Death
    In the Divine Image nor can Man exist but by Brotherhood
    In every cry of every Man, 
    In every Infants cry of fear, 
    In every voice: in every ban,
    The mind-forg'd manacles I hear  

    Tuesday, March 14, 2023


    Song of Los
    Plate 4

    I come in Self-annihilation & the grandeur of Inspiration
    To cast off Rational Demonstration by Faith in the Saviour
    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
    Arise you little glancing wings, and sing your infant joy!
    Arise and drink your bliss, for every thing that lives is holy! 
    There is a Void, outside of Existence, which if enterd into
    Englobes itself & becomes a Womb, such was Albions Couch
    A pleasant Shadow of Repose calld Albions lovely Land
    This theme calls me in sleep night after night, & ev'ry morn
    Awakes me at sun-rise, then I see the Saviour over me
    Spreading his beams of love, & dictating the words of this mild song.  
    Awake! awake O sleeper of the land of shadows, wake! expand!
    I am in you and you in me, mutual in love divine:
    Fibres of love from man to man thro Albions pleasant land.
         And My Brother is there & My Friend & Thine
         Descend & Ascend with the Bread & the Wine
         The Bread of sweet Thought & the Wine of Delight
         Feeds the Village of Felpham by day & by night
     & Throughout all Eternity            
    I forgive you you forgive me
    As our dear Redeemer said                                   
    This the Wine & this the Bread
    Every thing in Eternity shines by its own Internal light 
    I rest not from my great task!
    To open the Eternal Worlds, to open the immortal Eyes
    Of Man inwards into the Worlds of Thought: into Eternity
    Ever expanding in the Bosom of God. the Human Imagination        
    O Saviour pour upon me thy Spirit of meekness & love:
    Annihilate the Selfhood in me, be thou all my life!
    I know of no other
    Christianity and of no other Gospel than the liberty both of body
    & mind to exercise the Divine Arts of Imagination.   
      Imagination the real & eternal World of which this Vegetable
    Universe is but a faint shadow & in which we shall live in our
    Eternal or Imaginative Bodies, when these Vegetable Mortal Bodies
    are no more.
      He witherd up the Human Form,
    By laws of sacrifice for sin:
      Till it became a Mortal Worm:    
    But O! translucent all within.

    Monday, March 13, 2023


    Yale Center for British Art
    America A Prophecy
    Plate 12
    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 
    Thou Mother of my Mortal part.
    With cruelty didst mould my Heart. 
    And with false self-decieving tears,
    Didst bind my Nostrils Eyes & Ears.
    Didst close my Tongue in senseless clay
    And me to Mortal Life betray:
    The Death of Jesus set me free, 
    Then what have I to do with thee? 
     The Spirit of Jesus is continual forgiveness of Sin: he who
    waits to be righteous before he enters into the Saviours kingdom,
    the Divine Body; will never enter there. 
      The Divine Vision still was seen
    Still was the Human Form, Divine
      Weeping in weak & mortal clay
    O Jesus still the Form was thine.      
      And thine the Human Face & thine
    The Human Hands & Feet & Breath
      Entering thro' the Gates of Birth
    And passing thro' the Gates of Death
    But Jesus breaking thro' the Central Zones of Death & Hell
    Opens Eternity in Time & Space; triumphant in Mercy
    The Hebrew Bible & the Gospel of
    Jesus are not Allegory but Eternal Vision or Imagination of All
    that Exists 
    Is it a greater
    miracle to feed five thousand men with five loaves than to
    overthrow all the armies of Europe with a small pamphlet.
    There is a Moment in each Day that Satan cannot find
    Nor can his Watch Fiends find it, but the Industrious find
    This Moment & it multiply. & when it once is found
    It renovates every Moment of the Day if rightly placed
    Obey thou the Words of the Inspired Man
    All that can be annihilated must be annihilated   
    That the Children of Jerusalem may be saved from slavery
    There is a Negation, & there is a Contrary
    The Negation must be destroyd to redeem the Contraries


    Sunday, March 12, 2023


    Yale Center for British Art
    Songs of Innocence and of Experience
    Plate 40

    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 will not cease from Mental Fight,
     Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
     Till we have built Jerusalem,  
     In Englands green & pleasant Land. 
      How do you know but ev'ry Bird that cuts the airy way,
       Is an immense world of delight, clos'd by your senses five?
    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, 
      One Power alone makes a Poet. - Imagination The Divine Vision 
     Let every Christian as much as in him lies engage himself
    openly & publicly before all the World in some Mental pursuit for
    the Building up of Jerusalem  


    Imagination the real & eternal World of which this Vegetable
    Universe is but a faint shadow & in which we shall live in our
    Eternal or Imaginative Bodies, when these Vegetable Mortal Bodies
    are no more.
    What is the price of Experience do men buy it for a song
    Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No it is bought with the price
    Of all that a man hath his house his wife his children 
    It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity
    Thus could I sing & thus rejoice, but it is not so with me!
         Soft he smild
         And I heard his voice Mild
         Saying This is My Fold
         O thou Ram hornd with gold
         Who awakest from sleep
         On the sides of the Deep 

    Saturday, March 11, 2023


    Yale Center for British Art
    Illustrations to Poems of Thomas Gray
    The Progress of Poesy

    He who binds to himself a joy   
    Does the winged life destroy
    But he who kisses the joy as it flies         
    Lives in eternity's sun rise 
      Without Contraries is no progression.  Attraction and
    Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to
    Human existence.
      From these contraries spring what the religious call Good &
    Evil. Good is the passive that obeys Reason. Evil is the active
    springing from Energy.
      Good is Heaven. Evil is Hell. 
    I answerd: we impose on one another, & it is but lost time
    to converse with you whose works are only Analytics.
                     Opposition is true Friendship. 
    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 
    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 
         It was when Jesus said to Me
         Thy Sins are all forgiven thee
         The Christian trumpets loud proclaim
         Thro all the World in Jesus name
         Mutual forgiveness of each Vice
         And oped the Gates of Paradise
         The Moral Virtues in Great fear
         Formed the Cross & Nails & Spear
         And the Accuser standing by
         Cried out Crucify Crucify
         Our Moral Virtues neer can be
         Nor Warlike pomp & Majesty
         For Moral Virtues all begin
         In the Accusations of Sin 
    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
      I never made friends but by spiritual gifts;
    By severe contentions of friendship & the burning fire of thought.
     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
         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

    Friday, March 10, 2023


    New York Public Library
    America A Prophecy
    Plate 14

    I give you the end of a golden string, 
    Only wind it into a ball:
    It will lead you in at Heavens gate, 
    Built in Jerusalems wall.
    Eternity is in love with the productions of time. 
     If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would
    appear  to man as it is: infinite.
       For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro'
    narrow chinks of his cavern.
    Man was made for Joy & Woe 
    And when this we rightly know 
    Thro the World we safely go
    Joy & Woe are woven fine 
    A Clothing for the soul divine  
    And all must love the human form,
    In heathen, turk or jew.
    Where Mercy, Love & Pity dwell,
    There God is dwelling too 
    We are led to Believe a Lie 
    When we see not Thro the Eye           
    Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night
    When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light
    God Appears & God is Light
    To those poor Souls who dwell in Night 
    But does a Human Form Display
    To those who Dwell in Realms of day 
     He who sees the Infinite in all things sees
    God.  He who sees the Ratio only sees himself only.
    Therefore God becomes as we are, that we may be as he is
    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.
    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. 
    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?

    Tuesday, March 07, 2023


    Cleveland Museum of Art 
    Christ in the Lap of Truth

    Angels to Blake are symbols not signs. They intimate; they are not defined. They can have various functions in different circumstances. In Marriage of Heaven and Hell they project the conventional, conservative patterns of thought which constrict and confine. In the guise of Angels of Providence they protect and guide. The Angel of the Divine Presence is synonymous with the fallen Lucifer who is a sinister character.

    Blake saw angels as spiritual forces who bring messages from the divine. He studied the role that they played in the Bible and knew their presence in his life. He conveyed in images the benevolence of the God who made angels instruments of the connection between the human and the divine.   

    Letters, To Butts, (E 724)
    "But if we fear to do the dictates of our
    Angels & tremble at the Tasks set before us. if we refuse to do
    Spiritual Acts. because of Natural Fears or Natural Desires!  Who
    can describe the dismal torments of such a state!--I too well
    remember the Threats I heard!--If you who are organized by Divine
    Providence for Spiritual communion.  Refuse & bury your Talent in
    the Earth even tho you should want Natural Bread. Sorrow &
    Desperation pursues you thro life! & after death shame & confusion of face to
    Annotations to Lavater, (E 601) 
    "Every mans leading propensity ought to be calld his
    leading Virtue & his good Angel"  

    Jerusalem, Plate 43 [29], (E 191)

    "And thus the Voice Divine went forth upon the rocks of Albion    
    I elected Albion for my glory; I gave to him the Nations,
    Of the whole Earth. he was the Angel of my Presence: and all
    The Sons of God were Albions Sons: and Jerusalem was my joy."
    Songs and Ballads, William Bond, (E 497)
    "He went not out to the Field nor Fold
    He went not out to the Village nor Town           
    But he came home in a black black cloud
    And took to his Bed & there lay down
    And an Angel of Providence at his Feet
    And an Angel of Providence at his Head
    And in the midst a Black Black Cloud      
    And in the midst the Sick Man on his Bed
    And on his Right hand was Mary Green
    And on his Left hand was his Sister Jane
    And their tears fell thro the black black Cloud
    To drive away the sick mans pain"  
    Everlasting Gospel, (E 521)
    "To be Good only is to be
    A Devil or else a Pharisee 
    Thou Angel of the Presence Divine
    That didst create this Body of Mine   
    Wherefore hast thou writ these Laws
    And Created Hells dark jaws
    My Presence I will take from thee
    A Cold Leper thou shalt be
    Tho thou wast so pure & bright    
    That Heaven was Impure in thy Sight
    Tho thy Oath turnd Heaven Pale
    Tho thy Covenant built Hells Jail
    Tho thou didst all to Chaos roll
    With the Serpent for its soul     
    Still the breath Divine does move
    And the breath Divine is Love" 
    Vision of Last Judgment, (E 560) 
    " The Aged Figure with Wings having a writing tablet & taking
    account of the numbers who arise is That Angel of the Divine
    Presence mentiond in Exodus XIVc 19v & in other Places this Angel
    is frequently calld by the Name of Jehovah Elohim The I am of the
    Oaks of Albion
    Exodus 14
    [18] And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have
    gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his 
    [19] And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
    [20] And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
    Inscriptions on Blake's Illustrations of the Book of Job, (E 687) 
    [Blake's verbal variants from his source, the King James
      II The Angel of the Divine Presence [identified in Hebrew as
    "King Jehovah"] (not in the Bible) We shall awake up in thy
    Likeness]  . . . With thy likeness (Psalm xvii:15)   the Sons of
    God came to present themselves before the Lord & Satan came also
    among them to present himself before the Lord   . . . and Satan
    came also among them (Job i:6) 

    Psalms 17

    [13] Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword:
    [14] From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.
    [15] As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

    Job 1

    [6] Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
    [7] And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
    [8] And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 

    Letters, To Butts, (E 729)

    "The Angel of the Divine Presence clothing Adam & Eve with Coats of Skins"

    Genesis 3

    [20] And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
    [21] Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
    [22] And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
    [23] Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
    [24] So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

    Songs of Experience, Songs 41, (E 24) 
    "The Angel  
    I Dreamt a Dream! what can it mean?
    And that I was a maiden Queen:
     Guarded by an Angel mild:
    Witless woe, was ne'er beguil'd!
    And I wept both night and day
    And he wip'd my tears away
    And I wept both day and night
    And hid from him my hearts delight
    So he took his wings and fled:
    Then the morn blush'd rosy red:
    I dried my tears & armed my fears,
    With ten thousand shields and spears,
    Soon my Angel came again;
    I was arm'd, he came in vain:
    For the time of youth was fled    
    And grey hairs were on my head."

    Saturday, March 04, 2023

    Illustrations to Dante
    The Whirlwind of Lovers
     Words of Power, Northrop Frye
    Page 166, Quote from Hericlitus
    "Immortals become mortals, mortals become immortal: they live in each other's death and die in each other's life."

    The thought of Hericlitus, an obscure  Greek philosopher of the 6th century BC, had an influence on William Blake. 

    Rex Warner included on his website some of the content of Hericlitus' philosophy. Below each of Hericlitus' quotes is a passage from Blake which expresses similar or related sentiments.

    Warner writes:

    "The following quotations are again from Burnet and I have kept his numbering:

    1. It is wise to hearken, not to me, but to my Word, and to confess that all things are one. 

    "PRINCIPLE 7th As all men are alike (tho' infinitely various) So
    all Religions & as all similars have one source 
    The true Man is the source he being the Poetic Genius"

    4. Eyes and ears are bad witnesses to men if they have souls that understand not their language.


     "I  Mans perceptions are not bounded by organs of perception. he
    percieves more than sense (tho' ever so acute) can discover."

     Letters, To Trusler, (E 702)

     "Some Scarce see Nature at all But to the Eyes
    of the Man of Imagination Nature is Imagination itself.  As a man
    is So he Sees.  As the Eye is formed such are its Powers You
    certainly Mistake when you say that the Visions of Fancy are not
    be found in This World.  To Me This World is all One continued
    Vision of Fancy or Imagination & I feel Flatterd when I am told

    7. If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it; for it is hard to be sought out and difficult. 


     "PRINCIPLE 4. As none by traveling over known lands can find out
    the unknown.  So from already acquired knowledge Man could not
    acquire more. therefore an universal Poetic Genius exists"

    16. The learning of many things teacheth not understanding, else would it have taught Hesiod and Pythagoras, and again Xenophanes and Hekataios. 

    Vision of Last Judgment, (E 560) 
    Knowledge is Remote Knowledge it is in Particulars that Wisdom
    consists & Happiness too."

    46. It is the opposite which is good for us.

    Milton, Plate 40 [46], (E 12)

    "There is a Negation, & there is a Contrary
    The Negation must be destroyd to redeem the Contraries
    The Negation is the Spectre; the Reasoning Power in Man
    This is a false Body: an Incrustation over my Immortal           
    Spirit; a Selfhood, which must be put off & annihilated alway
    To cleanse the Face of my Spirit by Self-examination."

    61. To God all things are fair and good and right, but men hold some things wrong and some right. 

    Vision of Last Judgment, (E 554)

     "The Last Judgment when all those are Cast away who trouble
    Religion with Questions concerning Good & Evil or Eating of the
    Tree of those Knowledges or Reasonings which hinder the Vision of
    God turning all into a Consuming fire   Imaginative Art &
    Science & all Intellectual Gifts all the Gifts of the Holy Ghost
    are lookd upon as of no use & only Contention
    remains to Man then the Last Judgment begins & its Vision is seen
    by the [Imaginative Eye] of Every one according to the
    situation he holds"

    71. You will not find the boundaries of soul by travelling in any direction, so deep is the measure of it. 

    There is No Natural Religion, [b], (E 3)

      VII The desire of Man being Infinite the possession is Infinite
    & himself Infinite

     80. I have sought for myself. 

    Jerusalem, Plate 10, (E 153)

    "I must Create a System, or be enslav'd by another Mans           
    I will not Reason & Compare: my business is to Create"

    91a. Thought is common to all. 

    All Religions Are One, (E 1) 
    "PRINCIPLE. 5. The Religions of all Nations are derived from
    each Nations different reception of the Poetic Genius which is
    every where call'd the Spirit of Prophecy."

     91b. Those who speak with understanding must hold fast to what is common to all as a city holds fast to its law, and even more strongly. For all human laws are fed by the one divine law. It prevails as much as it will, and suffices for all things with something to spare. 

    All Religions Are One, (E 1)
     "PRINCIPLE 2d  As all men are alike in outward form, So (and
    with the same infinite variety) all are alike in the Poetic

    95. The waking have one common world, but the sleeping turn aside each into a world of his own. 

    Milton, Plate 27 [29], (E 125) 
    "But in Eternity the Four Arts: Poetry, Painting, Music,          
    And Architecture which is Science: are the Four Faces of Man.
    Not so in Time & Space: there Three are shut out, and only
    Science remains thro Mercy: & by means of Science, the Three
    Become apparent in time & space, in the Three Professions
    Poetry in Religion: Music, Law: Painting, in Physic & Surgery:" 
    Songs and Ballads, (E 501)
    "You dont believe I wont attempt to make ye
    You are asleep I wont attempt to wake ye
    Sleep on Sleep on while in your pleasant dreams
    Of Reason you may drink of Lifes clear streams
    Reason and Newton they are quite two things         
    For so the Swallow & the Sparrow sings
    Reason says Miracle. Newton says Doubt
    Aye thats the way to make all Nature out       
    Doubt Doubt & dont believe without experiment
    That is the very thing that Jesus meant       
    When he said Only Believe Believe & try    
    Try Try & never mind the Reason why"

    "Heraclitus stresses that the message is not his own invention, but a timeless truth available to any who attend to the way the world itself is. 'Although this Word is common,' he warns, 'the many live as if they had a private understanding' (B2). The Word (account, message) exists apart from Heraclitus’ teaching, but he tries to convey that message to his audience.

    Saturday, February 25, 2023


     Wikipedia Commons
    Song of Los 
    Plate 5

    Blake could have written nature poetry, like Wordsworth's, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, and occasionally he did. But like his character Enion he found it impossible to neglect the contrary nature of our world which is dark and dirty. 

     Milton, Plate 31 [34], (E 131)

    "Thou percievest the Flowers put forth their precious Odours!
    And none can tell how from so small a center comes such sweets
    Forgetting that within that Center Eternity expands
    Its ever during doors, that Og & Anak fiercely guard.
    First eer the morning breaks joy opens in the flowery bosoms     
    Joy even to tears, which the Sun rising dries; first the Wild Thyme
    And Meadow-sweet downy & soft waving among the reeds.
    Light springing on the air lead the sweet Dance: they wake
    The Honeysuckle sleeping on the Oak: the flaunting beauty
    Revels along upon the wind; the White-thorn lovely May           
    Opens her many lovely eyes: listening the Rose still sleeps   
    None dare to wake her. soon she bursts her crimson curtaind bed
    And comes forth in the majesty of beauty; every Flower:
    The Pink, the Jessamine, the Wall-flower, the Carnation
    The Jonquil, the mild Lilly opes her heavens! every Tree,        
    And Flower & Herb soon fill the air with an innumerable Dance
    Yet all in order sweet & lovely, Men are sick with Love!
    Such is a Vision of the lamentation of Beulah over Ololon"
    Four Zoas, Night II , Page 35, (E 325)

    "What is the price of Experience do men buy it for a song
    Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No it is bought with the price
    Of all that a man hath his house his wife his children
    Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy
    And in the witherd field where the farmer plows for bread in vain

    It is an easy thing to triumph in the summers sun
    And in the vintage & to sing on the waggon loaded with corn
    It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted
    To speak the laws of prudence to the houseless wanderer

    PAGE 36
    To listen to the hungry ravens cry in wintry season
    When the red blood is filld with wine & with the marrow of lambs

    It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements
    To hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughter house moan
    To see a god on every wind & a blessing on every blast           
    To hear sounds of love in the thunder storm that destroys our enemies house
    To rejoice in the blight that covers his field, & the sickness that cuts off his children
    While our olive & vine sing & laugh round our door & our children bring fruits & flowers

    Then the groan & the dolor are quite forgotten & the slave grinding at the mill
    And the captive in chains & the poor in the prison, & the soldier in the field
    When the shatterd bone hath laid him groaning among the happier dead

    It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity
    Thus could I sing & thus rejoice, but it is not so with me

    Monday, February 20, 2023


     Plate 64


    David V. Erdman

    eE /beta -- this release offered for proof-reading
        please report errors to
    In a letter signed March 14, 1995, David V. Erdman and Virginia
    B. Erdman convey David V. Erdman's permission to make freely
    available a digital version of his edition of The Complete
    Poetry and Prose of William Blake. Such unselfish generosity is
    characteristic of David Erdman's political and intellectual
    commitment throughout a life spent building up Jerusalem and 
    making Blake more accessible to all.  As we read at - 700 - below:
         Go on   Go on.  such works as yours Nature & Providence 
       the Eternal Parents demand from their children how few 
       produce them in such perfection how Nature smiles on them. 
       how Providence rewards them.  How all your Brethren say,
       The sound of his harp & his flute heard from his secret 
       forest chears us to the labours of life. 
    This file, the electronic Erdman (eE), makes a fitting new form
    for a work which began over thirty years ago in the preparation
    of a text for the printed Concordance to the poetry and prose
    of William Blake and which now will serve as the basis for an
    even more useful electronic version.
    For assistance with this digital edition, I am grateful to the
    University of Georgia Research Foundation and to University of
    Georgia Department of English, especially its research assistants
    William Cole, Margaret Crumpton, Patrick Darden, and Beth-Ann
    Neighbors.  Alexander S. Gourlay gave extensive help and valuable
    advice on several occasions.  Also offering assistance were Elisa
    E. Beshero, Gregg A. Hecimovich, Thomas A. Vogler, and Paul
    Yoder.  Thanks also to Mark Trevor Smith and Joseph Viscomi as
    the first to spot needed corrections, and to Alexander Gourlay,
    again, for many, many more.
    This "beta" release of eE offers an ascii version of the 1988
    Erdman text, with a line length of 65 characters.  The commentary
    and most references to it are not included.  Line numbers and
    headers have been deleted, and the superscript placement of
    letters and numbers is not noted, but italics are indicated with
    the markup tags .  Textual notes are indicated by a
    lower-case "t" in the right margin or, rarely, in a tag (<t>) in
    the midst of prose (the notes will be linked to the text in a
    later release).  Longer passages of writing not by Blake (as in
    the extracts which supply context for the marginalia and some of
    the  textual notes) are set off by the tags <!WB></!WB>.  The
    Erdman page numbers are at the bottom of each page of text,
    surrounded by hyphen and space (- xxx -).  A very few
    typographical errors in the printed text have been silently
    corrected, and soft hyphenations have been eliminated.
    Presently in preparation are an SGML version of this file, under
    the auspices of the Blake Archive, and an online concordance.
    Corrections, suggestions, and comments are most welcome.
    Nelson Hilton
    3 September 1996
    Digital Blake Text Project


    Friday, February 17, 2023


     Wikipedia Commons

    When I posted on six different aspects of Blake's thought which are congruent with practices of the Moravian Church, I neglected to write on the attitude toward war. The Moravians were long known as a Peace Church although they have not always been completely committed to pacifism. Blake's attitude toward war evolved over time also. 

    As a young man Blake was not opposed to the French Revolution or the American Revolution in principle. Later in life he expressed in his poem 'The Gray Monk' the idea that the violence of war could never accomplish the goals which the exercise of justice and mercy could. At the end of The Four Zoas when "The war of swords departed", the new age of science reigned for the pursuit of intellectual war. Blake knew that "the Religion of Jesus, Forgiveness of Sin, can never be the cause of a War."

    When John Wesley traveled to the Colony of Georgia in 1736 he was a passenger on a ship with Moravians who like Wesley were  journeying as missionaries. Wesley made this observation of his fellow passengers:

    "And every day had given them occasion of showing a meekness which no injury could move. If they were pushed, struck, or thrown down, they rose again and went away; but no complaint was found in their mouth. There was now an opportunity of trying whether they were delivered from the Spirit of fear, as well as from that of pride, anger, and revenge." 

    This is testimony to the spirit of pacifism exhibited by Moravians during the lifetime of Blake's mother. William would have learned from his mother that one need not react against attacks if one were guided by mercy, peace and love within.  

    On The Flaming Heretic blog Craig D. Atwood wrote of the history of Moravian pacifism: 

    "The Brotherly Agreement they signed in 1727 stipulated that they would seek to live in peace with all people. Disputes were to be settled through conversation rather than violence."

    "Some of the younger Moravians in Pennsylvania and North Carolina did enlist in the revolutionary army and were allowed to rejoin the church after the war."

    "For four hundred years the Moravian Church maintained a fairly consistent peace witness, but this was largely forgotten during the titanic conflicts of the past two centuries." 

    Read of the first Fourth of July celebration. 

    Songs and Ballads, (E 478) 
    To find the western path
    Right thro the gates of Wrath
    I urge my way
    Sweet Mercy leads me on
    With soft repentant moan         
    I see the break of day
    The war of swords & spears
    Melted by dewy tears
    Exhales on high
    The Sun is freed from fears     
    And with soft grateful tears
    Ascends the sky." 
    Songs and Ballads, (E 489)
      "The Grey Monk 
    I die I die the Mother said
    My Children die for lack of Bread               
    What more has the merciless Tyrant said
    The Monk sat down on the Stony Bed              
    The blood red ran from the Grey Monks side 
    His hands & feet were wounded wide
    His Body bent his arms & knees
    Like to the roots of ancient trees
    His eye was dry no tear could flow
    A hollow groan first spoke his woe 
    He trembled & shudderd upon the Bed             
    At length with a feeble cry he said
    When God commanded this hand to write
    In the studious hours of deep midnight
    He told me the writing I wrote should prove     
    The Bane of all that on Earth I lovd            
    My Brother starvd between two Walls
    His Childrens Cry my Soul appalls
    I mockd at the wrack & griding chain            
    My bent body mocks their torturing pain         
    Thy Father drew his sword in the North
    With his thousands strong he marched forth      
    Thy Brother has armd himself in Steel           
    To avenge the wrongs thy Children feel          
    But vain the Sword & vain the Bow 
    They never can work Wars overthrow
    The Hermits Prayer & the Widows tear
    Alone can free the World from fear
    For a Tear is an Intellectual Thing      
    And a Sigh is the Sword of an Angel King 
    And the bitter groan of the Martyrs woe    
    Is an Arrow from the Almighties Bow
    The hand of Vengeance found the Bed        
    To which the Purple Tyrant fled
    The iron hand crushd the Tyrants head 
    And became a Tyrant in his stead"           
    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."  
    Jerusalem, Plate 52, (E 201) 
     "But you also charge the poor Monks & Religious with being the
    causes of War: while you acquit & flatter the Alexanders &
    Caesars, the Lewis's & Fredericks: who alone are its causes & its
    actors.  But the Religion of Jesus, Forgiveness of Sin, can never
    be the cause of a War nor of a single Martyrdom.
      Those who Martyr others or who cause War are Deists, but never
    can be Forgivers of Sin.  The Glory of Christianity is, To
    Conquer by Forgiveness.  All the Destruction therefore, in
    Christian Europe has arisen from Deism, which is Natural
      I saw a Monk of Charlemaine                       
    Arise before my sight 
      I talkd with the Grey Monk as we stood            
    In beams of infernal light
      Gibbon arose with a lash of steel                 
    And Voltaire with a wracking wheel
      The Schools in clouds of learning rolld           
    Arose with War in iron & gold.
      Thou lazy Monk they sound afar                    
    In vain condemning glorious War                     
      And in your Cell you shall ever dwell             
    Rise War & bind him in his Cell.
      The blood. red ran from the Grey Monks side
    His hands & feet were wounded wide
      His body bent, his arms & knees          
    Like to the roots of ancient trees
      When Satan first the black bow bent
    And the Moral Law from the Gospel rent
      He forgd the Law into a Sword
    And spilld the blood of mercys Lord.
      Titus! Constantine!  Charlemaine!                 
    O Voltaire! Rousseau! Gibbon! Vain
      Your Grecian Mocks & Roman Sword                  
    Against this image of his Lord!
      For a Tear is an Intellectual thing;               
    And a Sigh is the Sword of an Angel King
      And the bitter groan of a Martyrs woe              
    Is an Arrow from the Almighties Bow!"
    Jerusalem, Plate 65, (E 216)
    "Then left the Sons of Urizen the plow & harrow, the loom
    The hammer & the chisel, & the rule & compasses; from London fleeing
    They forg'd the sword on Cheviot, the chariot of war & the battle-ax,
    The trumpet fitted to mortal battle, & the flute of summer in Annandale
    And all the Arts of Life. they changd into the Arts of Death in Albion.
    The hour-glass contemnd because its simple workmanship.
    Was like the workmanship of the plowman, & the water wheel,
    That raises water into cisterns: broken & burnd with fire:
    Because its workmanship. was like the workmanship of the shepherd. 
    And in their stead, intricate wheels invented, wheel without wheel:
    To perplex youth in their outgoings, & to bind to labours in Albion
    Of day & night the myriads of eternity that they may grind
    And polish brass & iron hour after hour laborious task!
    Kept ignorant of its use, that they might spend the days of wisdom
    In sorrowful drudgery, to obtain a scanty pittance of bread:
    In ignorance to view a small portion & think that All,
    And call it Demonstration: blind to all the simple rules of life.
    Now: now the battle rages round thy tender limbs O Vala
    Now smile among thy bitter tears: now put on all thy beauty      
    Is not the wound of the sword sweet! & the broken bone delightful?
    Wilt thou now smile among the scythes when the wounded groan in the field?
    We were carried away in thousands from London; & in tens
    Of thousands from Westminster & Marybone in ships closd up:
    Chaind hand & foot, compelld to fight under the iron whips       
    Of our captains; fearing our officers more than the enemy."

    Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 139, (E 407)

    "Urthona is arisen in his strength no longer now
    Divided from Enitharmon no longer the Spectre Los                
    Where is the Spectre of Prophecy where the delusive Phantom
    Departed & Urthona rises from the ruinous walls
    In all his ancient strength to form the golden armour of science
    For intellectual War The war of swords departed now
    The dark Religions are departed & sweet Science reigns           
                      End of The Dream"