Sunday, June 30, 2013

BLAKE THE MYSTIC

This is a repost from August 29, 2010:
Yale Center for British Art
Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins

c 1822-25
In Defending Ancient Springs, (page 73), Kathleen Raine comments on the essay William Butler Yeats wrote an 'On the Necessity of Symbolism'. In this section, using quotes from Yeasts, Raine explains some of the basis for understanding Blake as a 'mystic':

" He begins by asking what a symbol can communicate which the dialectics of modern philosophy cannot? The answer lies, he says, in the Swedenborgian doctrine of 'correspondence', the 'as above, so below' of the Smaragdine Table, to which doctrine Blake had also made his appeal before him. 'Sense impressions may indeed be used in poetry and prophecy as a key to unlock religious truths, but "correspondence", as Swedengborg called the symbolic relationship of outer and inner, is itself no product of nature or natural reason, beginning as it does with a perception of something different from natural things with which they are to be compared.' Since this very ground of all symbolic art is denied by the positivist philosophy which has created the climate of thought which most academic critics write at the present time, it is not surprising that most commentators, both of Blake and Yeats, seem more exercised in explaining away than in explaining the meaning of symbols which imply, one might say by definition, a spiritual world.
This 'absolute difference may be described as the first postulate of all mystics', Yeats continues: and already in this essay he has realized that 'the chief difference between the metaphors of poetry and the symbols of mysticism is that the latter are woven together into a complete system.'"

Below is Blake's single mention of the Smaragdine Table. Here the Spectre uses it to draw Los down into the 'reasoning abstract.' The Smaragdine Table uses symbols from alchemy which enacts physical processes to demonstrate spiritual activity. This reference in Jerusalem indicates that Blake was acquainted with the ideas presented on the tablet.

Jerusalem, Plate 91, (E 251)
"The Spectre builded stupendous Works, taking the Starry Heavens
Like to a curtain & folding them according to his will
Repeating the Smaragdine Table of Hermes to draw Los down
Into the Indefinite, refusing to believe without demonstration"

Going to Blake's Milton we find him talking about 'spiritual causes' as being the origin of what happens on Earth.

Milton, Plate 26, (E 123)
"For the various Classes of Men are all markd out determinate
In Bowlahoola; & as the Spectres choose their affinities
So they are born on Earth, & every Class is determinate
But not by Natural but by Spiritual power alone, Because
The Natural power continually seeks & tends to Destruction
Ending in Death: which would of itself be Eternal Death
And all are Class'd by Spiritual, & not by Natural power.

And every Natural Effect has a Spiritual Cause, and Not
A Natural: for a Natural Cause only seems, it is a Delusion
Of Ulro: & a ratio of the perishing Vegetable Memory."

And in Vision of the Last Judgment Blake speaks directly about the patterns in the Eternal world which are reflected in the natural world. From the Smaragdine Table this is the section Blake refers to in Vision of the Last Judgment:

 
"that which is above is as that which is below, and that which is below is as that which is above, for performing the miracle of the One Thing;"

Vision of Last Judgment, Page 69, (E 555)
"This world of Imagination is the World of
Eternity it is the Divine bosom into which we shall all go after
the death of the Vegetated body This World is
Infinite & Eternal whereas the world of Generation or Vegetation
is Finite & [for a small moment] Temporal There Exist
in that Eternal World the Permanent Realities of Every Thing
which we see are reflected in this Vegetable Glass of Nature
All Things are comprehended in their Eternal Forms in the
Divine body of the Saviour the True Vine of Eternity
The Human Imagination who appeard to Me as Coming to Judgment."

Throughout Blake's work it is the Eternal, unseen, Divine reality underlying the physical world and providing merciful structures to lead man back to Eternity which he strives to reveal to his reader. This is the pursuit of a mystic.

Jerusalem, Plate 49, (E 199)
[spoken by Erin]
"The Lord
Jehovah is before, behind, above, beneath, around
He has builded the arches of Albions Tomb binding the Stars
In merciful Order, bending the Laws of Cruelty to Peace.
He hath placed Og & Anak, the Giants of Albion for their Guards:
Building the Body of Moses in the Valley of Peor: the Body
Of Divine Analogy;"

Saturday, June 29, 2013

MHH 0



From Wikipedia:

The work was composed between 1790 and 1793, in the 

period of radical foment and political conflict immediately 
after the French Revolution.

 The title is an ironic reference to Emanuel Swedenborg's
 theological work Heaven and Hell, published in Latin 33 
years earlier. Blake directly cited Swedenborg and criticized 
him in several places in the Marriage, as well as throughout 
his poetry.

(See Plates 3, 19, 21, and 22 of MHH as well as well as 
 Blake's annotations of three of Swedenborg's works; 
 Erdman 601-11))



Title page of
Marriage of Heaven and Hell
from LocGov Rosenwald



The title page is colored with a lot of detail:

On the borders you see several trees, merging at the top of the 
image.
At the upper part of the picture, between the Marriage, drawn and 
Heaven, typed. you see a couple on the left and another one on the 
right.  The one on the left is strolling; on the right one is kneeling 
and the other reclining.

Below 'Heaven', clustered around the drawn 'of' are a series of 
'flying' figures, solitary ones at the upper left, but showing couples 
as you move over to the right part.

Below HELL is construed to be a single couple in a romantic 
embrace, the left one perhaps a naked girl and on the left what 
might be a clothed young man. Erdman in Illuminated Blake 
refers to this couple as an angel and a devil (much of the text in 
MHH involves a dialogue between an angel and a devil).

This figure may be thought to symbolize the Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

At this level the trees might be thought of as flaming, followed by 
a patch of blue and then darker branches leading to a black 
background. The flames seem to be consuming the trees, 
suggesting "the alchemical tradition  where truncated trees signify 
death, as an instrument of transformation, preparing the way for 
new life"

The concept of death and resulting life is very central in Blake's 
thought and values.  All of the elements of the picture described above are significant details of Blake's myth and values.

Friday, June 28, 2013

ANCIENT BLISS

Humanity is continually at the edge of the abyss contemplating the offer of growing into the fullness of the image of God in whose likeness he was created. His alternative is to create a fallen word in the likeness of his own reflection in the mirror of nature.
Courtesy of william-blake.org
An Allegory of the Bible

Northrop Frye in Fearful Symmetry makes these comments:
Page 255
"Now when a germ of life grows it recreates it original form: if there were no original form of the oak tree the acorn would not know what to do. Similarly, the original form of the germ of life that grew out of  the world long ago is most clearly indicated by the most mature and full-grown forms of life that exist in the world, that is, human societies."

Page 256
"Our present human society, then has evolved out of a seed of life dropped in a dead world from a preceding eternal human society, and we cannot ask where the eternal society in its turn came from, because that is pushing the idea of time further than it will go. If we study this image more carefully, we can see that the seed of life was the dead world, fallen from eternity, and that the seed will have achieved its original form when the dead world, including the sun and the stars, become again a city and a garden. The achievement of a permanent human civilization and culture is  the next stage in development, and if that is not the end, we shall see what the end is  more clearly from there."

Page 259
"Man stands at the level of conscious life: immediately in front of him is the power to visualize the eternal city and garden he is trying to regain; immediately behind him is the unconscious, involuntary and cyclic energy, much of which goes on inside his own body. Man is therefore a Luvah or form of life subject to two impulses, one the prophetic impulse leading him forward to vision, the other the natural impulse which drags him back to unconsciousness and finally to death." 


In the sixth chapter of Genesis we learn of God's disgust with the world of man turned away from the vision of God.  
Genesis 6
[5] And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
[6] And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
[7] And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
[8] But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Blake wrote these words on his Laocoon engraving as his understanding of verse six of the above quote:

"He repented that he had made Adam
(of the Female, the Adamah)
 & it grieved him at his heart"
For 'man' Blake uses the word 'Adam'; for the earth (or dust) he uses the word 'Adamah' which is feminine in the Hebrew. Blake's interpretation is that God repented of making man by assimilating matter, the feminine principle, into his creation of man. God attempted a new beginning with Noah wiping out all but a remnant. However that strategy was unsuccessful as have been many subsequent attempts to set man on the right path. 

Blake sees that the sorrows of man are the sorrows of God too. The brokenness of our world will begin to be mended when the scattered body of man reassembles into the image of God.
Jerusalem, Plate 83, (E242)
[Los speaking}
"And sometimes the Earth shall roll in the Abyss & sometimes 
Stand in the Center & sometimes stretch flat in the Expanse,
According to the will of the lovely Daughters of Albion.
Sometimes it shall assimilate with mighty Golgonooza:
Touching its summits: & sometimes divided roll apart.
As a beautiful Veil so these Females shall fold & unfold      
According to their will the outside surface of the Earth
An outside shadowy Surface superadded to the real Surface;
Which is unchangeable for ever & ever Amen: so be it!
Separate Albions Sons gently from their Emanations,
Weaving bowers of delight on the current of infant Thames 
Where the old Parent still retains his youth as I alas!
Retain my youth eight thousand and five hundred years.
The labourer of ages in the Valleys of Despair!
The land is markd for desolation & unless we plant
The seeds of Cities & of Villages in the Human bosom
Albion must be a rock of blood:" 
Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 113 [109], (E 385)
"Listen I will tell thee what is done in the caverns of the grave 
Page 114 [110], 
The Lamb of God has rent the Veil of Mystery soon to return
In Clouds & Fires around the rock & the Mysterious tree
As the seed waits Eagerly watching for its flower & fruit
Anxious its little soul looks out into the clear expanse
To see if hungry winds are abroad with their invisible army 
So Man looks out in tree & herb & fish & bird & beast
Collecting up the scatterd portions of his immortal body
Into the Elemental forms of every thing that grows
He tries the sullen north wind riding on its angry furrows
The sultry south when the sun rises & the angry east 
When the sun sets when the clods harden & the cattle stand
Drooping & the birds hide in their silent nests. he stores his thoughts
As in a store house in his memory he regulates the forms
Of all beneath & all above   & in the gentle West
Reposes where the Suns heat dwells   he rises to the Sun
And to the Planets of the Night & to the stars that gild
The Zodiac & the stars that sullen stand to north & south
He touches the remotest pole & in the Center weeps
That Man should Labour & sorrow & learn & forget & return
To the dark valley whence he came to begin his labours anew
In pain he sighs in pain he labours in his universe
Screaming in birds over the deep & howling in the Wolf
Over the slain & moaning in the cattle & in the winds
And weeping over Orc & Urizen in clouds & flaming fires 
And in the cries of birth & in the groans of death his voice 
Is heard throughout the Universe whereever a grass grows
Or a leaf buds   The Eternal Man is seen is heard   is felt
And all his Sorrows till he reassumes his ancient bliss

Such are the words of Ahania & Enion. Los hears & weeps"       

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Job 30-42



Job.30

[1] But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock.
[2] Yea, whereto might the strength of their hands profit me, in whom old age was perished?
[3] For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste.
[4] Who cut up mallows by the bushes, and juniper roots for their meat.
[5] They were driven forth from among men, (they cried after them as after a thief;)
[6] To dwell in the clifts of the valleys, in caves of the earth, and in the rocks.
[7] Among the bushes they brayed; under the nettles they were gathered together.
[8] They were children of fools, yea, children of base men: they were viler than the earth.
[9] And now am I their song, yea, I am their byword.
[10] They abhor me, they flee far from me, and spare not to spit in my face.
[11] Because he hath loosed my cord, and afflicted me, they have also let loose the bridle before me.
[12] Upon my right hand rise the youth; they push away my feet, and they raise up against me the ways of their destruction.
[13] They mar my path, they set forward my calamity, they have no helper.
[14] They came upon me as a wide breaking in of waters: in the desolation they rolled themselves upon me.
[15] Terrors are turned upon me: they pursue my soul as the wind: and my welfare passeth away as a cloud.
[16] And now my soul is poured out upon me; the days of affliction have taken hold upon me.
[17] My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews take no rest.
[18] By the great force of my disease is my garment changed: it bindeth me about as the collar of my coat.
[19] He hath cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes.
[20] I cry unto thee, and thou dost not hear me: I stand up, and thou regardest me not.
[21] Thou art become cruel to me: with thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me.
[22] Thou liftest me up to the wind; thou causest me to ride upon it, and dissolvest my substance.
[23] For I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living.
[24] Howbeit he will not stretch out his hand to the grave, though they cry in his destruction.
[25] Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? was not my soul grieved for the poor?
[26] When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness.
[27] My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me.
[28] I went mourning without the sun: I stood up, and I cried in the congregation.
[29] I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.
[30] My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat.
[31] My harp also is turned to mourning, and my organ into the voice of them that weep.

Job.31

[1] I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?
[2] For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high?
[3] Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?
[4] Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?
[5] If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit;
[6] Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.
[7] If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands;
[8] Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out.
[9] If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour's door;
[10] Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her.
[11] For this is an heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges.
[12] For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase.
[13] If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me;
[14] What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?
[15] Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?
[16] If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail;
[17] Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof;
[18] (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother's womb;)
[19] If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering;
[20] If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;
[21] If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate:
[22] Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone.
[23] For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure.
[24] If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence;
[25] If I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much;
[26] If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness;
[27] And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand:
[28] This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.
[29] If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him:
[30] Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul.
[31] If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied.
[32] The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller.
[33] If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom:
[34] Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door?
[35] Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.
[36] Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me.
[37] I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him.
[38] If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain;
[39] If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life:
[40] Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.

Job.32

[1] So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.
[2] Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.
[3] Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.
[4] Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he.
[5] When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.
[6] And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.
[7] I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.
[8] But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
[9] Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.
[10] Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.
[11] Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say.
[12] Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words:
[13] Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man.
[14] Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches.
[15] They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking.
[16] When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;)
[17] I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion.
[18] For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.
[19] Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.
[20] I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer.
[21] Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.
[22] For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.

Job.33

[1] Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words.
[2] Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth.
[3] My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.
[4] The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.
[5] If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up.
[6] Behold, I am according to thy wish in God's stead: I also am formed out of the clay.
[7] Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee.
[8] Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying,
[9] I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.
[10] Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy,
[11] He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths.
[12] Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.
[13] Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.
[14] For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
[15] In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
[16] Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
[17] That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
[18] He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.
[19] He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:
[20] So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.
[21] His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.
[22] Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.
[23] If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:
[24] Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.
[25] His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the days of his youth:
[26] He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.
[27] He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;
[28] He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.
[29] Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,
[30] To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.
[31] Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak.
[32] If thou hast any thing to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee.
[33] If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.

Job.34

[1] Furthermore Elihu answered and said,
[2] Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge.
[3] For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.
[4] Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good.
[5] For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment.
[6] Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression.
[7] What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water?
[8] Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men.
[9] For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God.
[10] Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity.
[11] For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways.
[12] Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.
[13] Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world?
[14] If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath;
[15] All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.
[16] If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words.
[17] Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just?
[18] Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly?
[19] How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all are the work of his hands.
[20] In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.
[21] For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings.
[22] There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.
[23] For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God.
[24] He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead.
[25] Therefore he knoweth their works, and he overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed.
[26] He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others;
[27] Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways:
[28] So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted.
[29] When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only:
[30] That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.
[31] Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more:
[32] That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.
[33] Should it be according to thy mind? he will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose; and not I: therefore speak what thou knowest.
[34] Let men of understanding tell me, and let a wise man hearken unto me.
[35] Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom.
[36] My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men.
[37] For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God.

Job.35

[1] Elihu spake moreover, and said,
[2] Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God's?
[3] For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?
[4] I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee.
[5] Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou.
[6] If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him?
[7] If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?
[8] Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.
[9] By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty.
[10] But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;
[11] Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?
[12] There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men.
[13] Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.
[14] Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him.
[15] But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity:
[16] Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.

Job.36

[1] Elihu also proceeded, and said,
[2] Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God's behalf.
[3] I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.
[4] For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.
[5] Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom.
[6] He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor.
[7] He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted.
[8] And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction;
[9] Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded.
[10] He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.
[11] If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.
[12] But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.
[13] But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when he bindeth them.
[14] They die in youth, and their life is among the unclean.
[15] He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression.
[16] Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place, where there is no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness.
[17] But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on thee.
[18] Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.
[19] Will he esteem thy riches? no, not gold, nor all the forces of strength.
[20] Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place.
[21] Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction.
[22] Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him?
[23] Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?
[24] Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold.
[25] Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off.
[26] Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.
[27] For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof:
[28] Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly.

[29] Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle?
[30] Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea.
[31] For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance.
[32] With clouds he covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt.
[33] The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.

Job.37

[1] At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place.
[2] Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth.
[3] He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.
[4] After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard.
[5] God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.
[6] For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.
[7] He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.
[8] Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places.
[9] Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north.
[10] By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.
[11] Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud:
[12] And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth.
[13] He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.
[14] Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.
[15] Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine?
[16] Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?
[17] How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind?
[18] Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?
[19] Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness.
[20] Shall it be told him that I speak? if a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up.
[21] And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them.
[22] Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.
[23] Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.
[24] Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart.

Job.38


[1Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
[2] Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
[3] Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
[4] Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
[5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
[6] Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
When the morningstars sang together

[7When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
[8] Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?
[9] When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it,
[10] And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors,
[11] And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?
[12] Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place;
[13] That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?
[14] It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment.
[15] And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken.
[16] Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?
[17] Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?
[18] Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.
[19] Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof,
[20] That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof?
[21] Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great?
[22] Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail,
[23] Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?
[24] By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth?
[25] Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder;
[26] To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man;
[27] To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?
[28] Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew?
[29] Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?
[30] The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.
[31] Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?
[32] Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?
[33] Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?
[34] Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee?
[35] Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are?
[36] Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?
[37] Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven,
[38] When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together?
[39] Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions,
[40] When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait?
[41] Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.

Job.39

[1] Knowest thou the time when the wild goats of the rock bring forth? or canst thou mark when the hinds do calve?
[2] Canst thou number the months that they fulfil? or knowest thou the time when they bring forth?
[3] They bow themselves, they bring forth their young ones, they cast out their sorrows.
[4] Their young ones are in good liking, they grow up with corn; they go forth, and return not unto them.
[5] Who hath sent out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass?
[6] Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his dwellings.
[7] He scorneth the multitude of the city, neither regardeth he the crying of the driver.
[8] The range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searcheth after every green thing.
[9] Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib?
[10] Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee?
[11] Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? or wilt thou leave thy labour to him?
[12] Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn?
[13] Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?
[14] Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust,
[15] And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them.
[16] She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers: her labour is in vain without fear;
[17] Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding.
[18] What time she lifteth up herself on high, she scorneth the horse and his rider.
[19] Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?
[20] Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible.
[21] He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men.
[22] He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword.
[23] The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield.
[24] He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet.
[25] He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
[26] Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south?
[27] Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high?
[28] She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place.
[29] From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off.
[30] Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she.

Job.40

[1] Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,
[2] Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.
[3] Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
[4] Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
[5] Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.
[6] Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
[7] Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
[8] Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?
[9] Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?
[10] Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty.
[11] Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him.
[12] Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place.
[13] Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret.
[14] Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.
[15] Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.
[16] Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.
[17] He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
[18] His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.
[19] He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.
[20] Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.
[21] He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.
[22] The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.
[23] Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.
[24] He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.

Job.41

[1] Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?
[2] Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn?
[3] Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee?
[4] Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever?
[5] Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens?
[6] Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants?
[7] Canst thou fill his skin with barbed iron? or his head with fish spears?
[8] Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more.
[9] Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him?
[10] None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me?
[11] Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.
[12] I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion.
[13] Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can come to him with his double bridle?
[14] Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about.
[15] His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal.
[16] One is so near to another, that no air can come between them.
[17] They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered.
[18] By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.
[19] Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out.
[20] Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron.
[21] His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth.
[22] In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him.
[23] The flakes of his flesh are joined together: they are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved.
[24] His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone.
[25] When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves.
[26] The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon.
[27] He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood.
[28] The arrow cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble.
[29] Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear.
[30] Sharp stones are under him: he spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire.
[31] He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.
[32] He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary.
[33] Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear.
[34] He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.

Job.42

[1] Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
[2] I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.
[3] Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
[4] Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
[5] I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
[6] Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
[7] And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.
[8] Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering;
and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.
[9] So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.
[10] And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
[11] Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the











LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a
piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.
[12] So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.
[13] He had also seven sons and three daughters.
[14] And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Keren-happuch.
[15] And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.
[16] After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations.
[17] So Job died, being old and full of days.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

CLOD & PEBBLE 2

Blake was saying far more with his little poem The Clod and the Pebble than is apparent with a superficial reading. The Clod is more than a lump of dirt; it is the  'dust of the ground' from which God formed man. 
 
Genesis 2

[6] But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
[7] And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
[8] And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
[9] And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.


 In A Blake Dictionary, S. Foster Damon tells us on Page 88: "Clay is the living substance with which the creator works." He supports his statement with passages from Milton and Jerusalem
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"     
Courtesy of william-blake.org
Original in British Museum
Milton 
Plate 38, Copy A
 
Jerusalem, Plate 27, (E 173)
 "He witherd up the Human Form,
By laws of sacrifice for sin:
  Till it became a Mortal Worm:    
But O! translucent all within.

  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"





In this passage in Milton we find the hard, unyielding, selfish pebble of our original poem as Urizen in the confrontation with Milton. Urizen attempts to subdue Milton with icy water poured on his brain. Milton replies by molding a human form of flesh for Urizen from the red clay of Succoth

Milton, Plate 19 [21], (E 112)
"Urizen emerged from his Rocky Form & from his Snows,
PLATE 19 [21]
And he also darkend his brows: freezing dark rocks between
The footsteps. and infixing deep the feet in marble beds:
That Milton labourd with his journey, & his feet bled sore
Upon the clay now chang'd to marble; also Urizen rose,
And met him on the shores of Arnon; & by the streams of the brooks    

Silent they met, and silent strove among the streams, of Arnon
Even to Mahanaim, when with cold hand Urizen stoop'd down
And took up water from the river Jordan: pouring on
To Miltons brain the icy fluid from his broad cold palm.
But Milton took of the red clay of Succoth, moulding it with care
Between his palms: and filling up the furrows of many years
Beginning at the feet of Urizen, and on the bones
Creating new flesh on the Demon cold, and building him,
As with new clay a Human form in the Valley of Beth Peor." 
Genesis 1
[26] And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
[27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Birth

Forgiveness

This was central to Blake's evolving theology. It came to him at 42 and delivered him from his need to flog Old Nobodaddy; he had experienced the 'healing balm'. Henceforth he loved and adored Jesus, the bearer of Forgiveness.

In this form Blake experienced the new birth, which Baptists tell us occurs when you "accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior". For Blake (and for me) it came with recognition of God's love, and particularly in his case a feeling of being accepted (for me, too actually). 

The First Vision of Light described his jubilation at being accepted and called "thou Ram hornd with gold":
     "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 On the Mountains around The roarings resound Of the lion & wolf The loud sea & deep gulf These are guards of My Fold O thou Ram hornd with gold And the voice faded mild.."
(Erdnab 713(


For Blake (and for me) this led to an excess of power. It appears that Blake had a sense of guilt that came to a head during his three years at Felpham (by the sea). He had been invited there by a fashionable poet and man of affairs named Hayley.


That was wonderful, but Blake soon found that Hayley proposed to "assist" him to becoming succesful by producing miniatures. Blake had struggled with the temptation to pursue worldly success instead of the "main chance", by which he meant artistic integrity (no doubt something all or most artists struggle with). Blake spoke of this in a letter to Cumberland dated 2 July 1800.

The pressure of Hayley on him to conform to worldly expectations was the last straw, and he returned to London a new man, no longer concerned about the approval of those who could reward him monetarily.

His best work came then with Milton and Jerusalem, but his new life is also expressed in the last part of The Four Zoas.

This experience of Blake's strikes me as a universal, applicable to many of us. The world calls, and God calls. Happy are those who hear and respond to the second call.

Monday, June 24, 2013

CLOD & PEBBLE

Matthew 20
[25] But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
[26] But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
[27] And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
[28] Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
[29] And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.

Luke 14
[8] When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;
[9] And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.
[10] But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.
[11] For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
[12] Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.
[13] But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:
[14] And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.


British Museum         
Songs of Innocence & of Experience
Plate 34
Copy A
 
 
Songs of Innocence & 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." 
 
 

The states of Innocence and of Experience are dramatically contrasted within a single poem in The Clod and the Pebble. In the first verse Love as a Divine attribute is expressed in the fully human man who becomes like the God whom he beholds. Jesus epitomizes the caring, sacrificing, constructive vision of love described here by Blake.


When Love becomes distorted through the inhumane treatment which is perpetrated and endured because men are unable to see the image of God in the 'little ones', the result is the perversion of love described in the third verse.

Jerusalem, Plate 17,(E 161) 
"Vala would never have sought & loved Albion
If she had not sought to destroy Jerusalem; such is that false   
And Generating Love: a pretence of love to destroy love:

Cruel hipocrisy unlike the lovely delusions of Beulah:
And cruel forms, unlike the merciful  forms of Beulahs Night

They know not why they love nor wherefore they sicken & die
Calling that Holy Love: which is Envy Revenge & Cruelty          
Which separated the stars from the mountains: the mountains from Man
And left Man, a little grovelling Root, outside of Himself."

Jerusalem, Plate 42, (E 189)
But when Man sleeps in Beulah, the Saviour in mercy takes
Contractions Limit, and of the Limit he forms Woman: That
Himself may in process of time be born Man to redeem
But there is no Limit of Expansion! there is no Limit of Translucence.   
In the bosom of Man for ever from eternity to eternity.
Therefore I break thy bonds of righteousness; I crush thy messengers!
That they may not crush me and mine: do thou be righteous,
And I will return it; otherwise I defy thy worst revenge:

Consider me as thine enemy: on me turn all thy fury              
But destroy not these little ones, nor mock the Lords anointed:
Destroy not by Moral Virtue, the little ones whom he hath chosen!
The little ones whom he hath chosen in preference to thee.
He hath cast thee off for ever; the little ones he hath anointed!
Thy Selfhood is for ever accursed from the Divine presence    

So Los spoke: then turn'd his face & wept for Albion."

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Great Code

It was the name of a book by Northrup Frye, written many years after Fearful Symmetry.  I read FS five times (25 years ago) and have never reached full comprehension of it. (The story of NF has been written before.) Anyway Frye's first book, a thesis for his first degree at Univ. of Toronto was substantially responsible for everything I know today about William Blake.

Frye went from Toronto to Oxford, where his interests were broadened immensely beyond Blake.  Writing Anatomy of Criticism he became the premier critic of English Literature. He continued to write about Blake  but was always thereafter primarily a critic,or rather a teacher of English criticism.

He had a distinguished career at UT, but also taught at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Berkeley, Cornell and Oxford.

His master work, in two volumes, came at the end of his life; each of them occupied ten years of his life.  Soon after he finished the second one, Words with Power, he died.

Subtitle of The Great Code and Words with Power was Study of the Bible and Literature.  Anyone who digests these two books will have a great deal larger and broader understanding of the Bible.  Beside that he will have a great deal larger and broader understanding of the work of William Blake, which incidentally is based almost entirely on the Bible.

The key idea (for me at least) is the concept of 'types and antitypes'. As far as the Bible is concerned, the 'type' is most often in the OT; the 'antitype' in the NT. Of course all type and antitypes don't necessarily fall in that category. 

Sometimes the type and antitype may both be in the OT. But the Book of Revelation can be described as a dense mass of allusions to the OT.

William Blake loved the Bible, 1st and foremost:
In a letter to Flaxman, dated 1800 (Erdman 707) he wrote:
 "Now my lot in the Heavens is this; Milton lovd me in childhood & shewd me his face.  Ezra came with Isaiah the Prophet, but Shakespeare in riper years gave me his hand   Paracelsus & Behmen appeard to me. terrors appeard in the Heavens above"

At least half of what Blake wrote has obvious biblical overtones; he often quoted from the Bible.

Look at this example, from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell:
"I then asked Ezekiel why he ate 
dung, and lay so long on his right and 
left side. He answered: The desire 
of raising other men into a perception 
of the infinite."

Now look at Ezekiel 4:4-6:
"[4] Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity.
[5] For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.
[6] And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year."

There are many such incidents in Blake's work.  Recognition of these types/antitypes might give you an entirely new understanding of the 'Good Book'.




Saturday, June 22, 2013

INNOCENCE & EXPERIENCE 13

British Museum
Songs of Innocence & of Experience
Plate 18
Copy A
Songs of Innocence & of Experience, Song 18, (E 12) 
"The Divine Image.

To Mercy Pity Peace and Love,
All pray in their distress:
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy Pity Peace and Love,  
Is God our father dear:
And Mercy Pity Peace and Love,
Is Man his child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart
Pity, a human face: 
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

Then every man of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine   
Love Mercy Pity Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, turk or jew.
Where Mercy, Love & Pity dwell, 
There God is dwelling too" 
 
The Divine Image presents the idea that the gifts of the spirit are a reflection of qualities which can be found in God. Mercy, Pity, Peace & Love in their pure and innocent forms, are attributes of the God to whom man turns for the care and guidance so characteristic of man's relationship to God in Songs of Innocence. The individual who knows inwardly that he receives benevolence from God, adopts benevolence as his means of relating in the outer world with his brothers. 
 


British Museum
Songs of Innocence & of Experience
Plate 41
Copy A
Songs of Innocence & of Experience, Song 47, (E 27)
"The Human Abstract.                     
 
Pity would be no more,                  
If we did not make somebody Poor:       
And Mercy no more could be,
If all were as happy as we;

And mutual fear brings peace;
Till the selfish loves increase.
Then Cruelty knits a snare,
And spreads his baits with care.        

He sits down with holy fears,
And waters the ground with tears:
Then Humility takes its root
Underneath his foot.

Soon spreads the dismal shade
Of Mystery over his head;
And the Catterpiller and Fly,
Feed on the Mystery.

And it bears the fruit of Deceit,
Ruddy and sweet to eat; 
And the Raven his nest has made
In its thickest shade.

The Gods of the earth and sea,
Sought thro' Nature to find this Tree
But their search was all in vain:
There grows one in the Human Brain"

The misunderstandings and distortions about the nature of God are attributable to false assumptions and unfounded conclusions as man builds the paradigm of reasoning which controls behavior. Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love when understood to be weapons which justify the Selfhood's promotion of poverty, unhappiness, fear and cruelty begin a chain reaction.

When man looks at the society in which he lives he is inclined to ask what is the source of the suffering, hatred and ignorance which surrounds him. Blake's response to such a question is that we build our world with our own errors. Mystery is the labyrinth of accumulated incorrect decisions in the lives of individuals which are added and multiplied and raised to the nth power as multiple individuals contribute their mistakes. The solutions to the pain and suffering of the world lie in the Human Brain. The knots and nets which hold the head of man trapped in Mystery grew from the false reasoning which failed to assimilate the God of Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love dwelling within.

The answer to The Human Abstract lies in the The Divine Image:
"And all must love the human form,
In heathen, turk or jew.
Where Mercy, Love & Pity dwell,
There God is dwelling too"


Blake's advice is to trust in Love, not in Reason. To extract himself from the labyrinth created by the complexities of experience into which man enters to initiate a spiritual journey of return to the Source, he must annihilate the Spectre through embracing him in forgiveness.  

Book of Urizen, Plate 3, (E 86)
3: For when Urizen shrunk away                          
From Eternals, he sat on a rock
Barren; a rock which himself
From redounding fancies had petrified
Many tears fell on the rock,
Many sparks of vegetation;                             
Soon shot the pained root
Of Mystery, under his heel:
It grew a thick tree; he wrote
In silence his book of iron:

Till the horrid plant bending its boughs    
Grew to roots when it felt the earth
And again sprung to many a tree.

4: Amaz'd started Urizen! when
He  beheld  himself compassed round
And high roofed over with trees             
He arose but the stems stood so thick
He with difficulty and great pain
Brought his Books, all but the Book

PLATE 4
Of iron, from the dismal shade

5: The Tree still grows over the Void
Enrooting itself all around
An endless labyrinth of woe!

6: The corse of his first begotten          
On the accursed Tree of MYSTERY:
On the topmost stem of this Tree
Urizen nail'd Fuzons corse."

Jerusalem, Plate 2, (E 96)
"Come into my hand    
By your mild power; descending down the Nerves of my right arm
From out the Portals of my Brain, where by your ministry
The Eternal Great Humanity Divine. planted his Paradise,
And in it caus'd the Spectres of the Dead to take sweet forms
In likeness of himself. Tell also of the False Tongue! vegetated
Beneath your land of shadows: of its sacrifices. and
Its offerings; even till Jesus, the image of the Invisible God
Became its prey; a curec, an offering, and an atonement,
For Death Eternal in the heavens of Albion, & before the Gates
Of Jerusalem his Emanation, in the heavens beneath Beulah"