Tuesday, June 03, 2014


Wikimedia Commons
Sketch for Illustrations to the Book of Job
Page 16
In following the Bard's Song in Blake's Milton we have looked at the roles played in the prophetic character by Satan, Palamabron and Rintrah. The structure was provided by Satan, the vision was maintained by Palamabron, and Rintrah provided the energy to protect and express the vision. Satan, Palamabron and Rintrah are embodiments of the functions Blake discerned in his analysis of the implementation of prophecy.   
Blake developed his understanding of the aspects of the functioning of prophecy by reflecting on his own experience. Blake knew himself to be one who was capable of receiving vision and expressing it in his art and poetry. He knew also that the established order of society was averse to his expressions of rivals to orthodox statements. When Blake tapped the energy to speak forcefully in opposition to whatever conventional organization which was in control, he suffered the consequences of society's repudiation.  

Orthodox religion designated three positions which man may have in relation to God. The Elect were those were accepted by God because they were obedient to his Laws. The Redeemed were those who may be saved if they repented of their wrongdoing and believed. The Transgressors had broken the Law and were condemned to eternal punishment.

Blake redefined the three types. The Elect to him were the conventional law-abiders like the pharisees who prevented the entry of the spirit. The Redeemed were oppressed by the Elect because they were led by the spirit and not the law. The Transgressors or Reprobate were willing to break the law or move outside of the orthodox structure for the sake of the oppressed.  

In this way Blake's category of the Elect was linked to Satan, the Redeemed was linked to Palamabron, and the Reprobate to Rintrah.

Milton, Plate 20 [22], (E 114) 
"So spoke they as in one voice! Silent Milton stood before
The darkend Urizen; as the sculptor silent stands before
His forming image; he walks round it patient labouring.
Thus Milton stood forming bright Urizen, while his Mortal part   
Sat frozen in the rock of Horeb: and his Redeemed portion,
Thus form'd the Clay of Urizen; but within that portion
His real Human walkd above in power and majesty
Tho darkend; and the Seven Angels of the Presence attended him.

O how can I with my gross tongue that cleaveth to the dust,      
Tell of the Four-fold Man, in starry numbers fitly orderd
Or how can I with my cold hand of clay! But thou O Lord
Do with me as thou wilt! for I am nothing, and vanity.
If thou chuse to elect a worm, it shall remove the mountains.
For that portion namd the Elect: the Spectrous body of Milton:   
Redounding from my left foot into Los's Mundane space,
Brooded over his Body in Horeb against the Resurrection
Preparing it for the Great Consummation; red the Cherub on Sinai
Glow'd; but in terrors folded round his clouds of blood.

Now Albions sleeping Humanity began to turn upon his Couch;      
Feeling the electric flame of Miltons awful precipitate descent."

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