Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I HASTE AWAY

Before Larry left this mortal life in December 2016 he was fond of repeating a few simple lines from Blake which elucidated the attitude which was appropriate for us to have toward the approach of death in this world:
Gates of Paradise, Keys, (E 268)
"13   But when once I did descry 
     The Immortal Man that cannot Die
14   Thro evening shades I haste away 
     To close the Labours of my Day
15   The Door of Death I open found                             
     And the Worm Weaving in the Ground
16   Thou'rt my Mother from the Womb 
     Wife, Sister, Daughter to the Tomb 
     Weaving to Dreams the Sexual strife
     And weeping over the Web of Life"  
He published this in a post in March of 2015. 
The term, Death Eternal, means something far different from the conventional intonation. To Blake it meant captivity to the Material for someone completely oblivious to the realm of Spirit.
Wikimedia Commons
Jerusalem    
Frontispiece 
The word die is carefully avoided by most of us; when a loved one dies, we say he/she passed away. The question is - what dies? The Roman Empire died; the British Empire died? But those were not people per se; they were states, conglomerates of materiality. So death is relative - from what to what? Ellie asked a workmate if he considered himself a body or a spirit; "a body", he said; "a spirit", she said.So what dies? A body or a spirit or both? (In mortal life our bodies are said to actually die (cell by cell) and be renewed every 7 years.)

So at the end of mortal life what dies? the body of course, the garment that we acquired when we descended into the Sea of Time and Space and the 'daughters of Enitharmon' began to cut and splice it.

When Odysseus (or Luvah) threw the garment back to the sea goddess, he was on his way back to Eternity, where we all go sooner or later.

In the French Quarter in N.O. a black friend told me about her dead son; he had had an incurable and painful disease; he came to her and asked her permission to die, which she of course granted. In one of Charles Williams' delightful metaphysical thrillers two characters are especially memorable: a saintly lady fully in tune with the life of the Spirit, and a man who generations before had been hanged; his spirit still hung around that locale, which happened to be outside her window. She met him there and gave him permission to depart in peace.

In the play called William Blake Meets Thomas Paine we witness a conversation that Will Blake had with his brother Robert (long deceased), and we are led to believe that this was commonplace in Blake's life.

"Every Death is an improvement in the State of the Departed." (Letters, 74 - to Linnell; Erdman 774)

By Death Eternal Blake implied descent into mortal life.
By Life Eternal he meant return to our Eternal Origin.
But what, we ask, have you and I learned here in our mortal life?
.

Monday, October 16, 2017

LIMITS

British Museum  
Illustration to Young's Night Thoughts
The two limits set upon Man are the Limit of Contraction and the Limit of Opacity. These are the lower limits below which man will not sink. No upper limits are set: his mind is capable of comprehending all the thoughts of God. Likewise his vision is capable seeing everything as it is.
 

If there are limits to man's Expansion and Translucence they are self-imposed. If Man sees himself as a child of Adam, as living in a body which determines what he can sense, what he can understand, where he can go and what he can do, he is limited. But if he sees himself as a spirit temporarily associated with a particular body, material limitations lose their power. As the writer of the First Letter of John tells us:
 

"it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
 

Blake took John's statement seriously and admonished his reader to refuse to accept the limitations placed on his Eternal Spirit imposed by a physical body.
 

Blake perceived another limitation below which man would not fall; this was the Limit of Opacity named Satan. The salient characteristic of Blake's Satan is his inability to perceive the truth of the Spiritual dimension. Man's ability to recognize the reality of the non-material world, which Blake calls Translucence, opens him to the Infinite, Eternal world beyond our sense-perceived world within time and space. Blake uses the term Imagination to describe the ability of Man to connect with the ever-expanding consciousness of being united with Eternity.
 

In the beginning of Jerusalem Blake packed into a few words the purpose of all of his attempts to communicate:  
"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"   



Book of Urizen, Plate 3, (E 71) 
"1. Earth was not: nor globes of attraction
The will of the Immortal expanded
Or contracted his all flexible senses.
Death was not, but eternal life sprung"

Book of Urizen, Plate 15, (E 78)                                     
"Thus the Eternal Prophet was divided
Before the death-image of Urizen
For in changeable clouds and darkness
In a winterly night beneath,
The Abyss of Los stretch'd immense:       
And now seen, now obscur'd, to the eyes
Of Eternals, the visions remote
Of the dark seperation appear'd.
As glasses discover Worlds
In the endless Abyss of space,            
So the expanding eyes of Immortals
Beheld the dark visions of Los,
And the globe of life blood trembling"

Jerusalem, Plate 13,(E 157)
"Around Golgonooza lies the land of death eternal; a Land         
Of pain and misery and despair and ever brooding melancholy:
In all the Twenty-seven Heavens, numberd from Adam to Luther;
From the blue Mundane Shell, reaching to the Vegetative Earth.

The Vegetative Universe, opens like a flower from the Earths center:
In which is Eternity. It expands in Stars to the Mundane Shell   
And there it meets Eternity again, both within and without,
And the abstract Voids between the Stars are the Satanic Wheels.

There is the Cave; the Rock; the Tree; the Lake of Udan Adan;
The Forest, and the Marsh, and the Pits of bitumen deadly:
The Rocks of solid fire: the Ice valleys: the Plains             
Of burning sand: the rivers, cataract & Lakes of Fire:
The Islands of the fiery Lakes: the Trees of Malice: Revenge:
And black Anxiety; and the Cities of the Salamandrine men:
(But whatever is visible to the Generated Man,
Is a Creation of mercy & love, from the Satanic Void.)"

Jerusalem, Plate 34 [38],(E 180) 
"Saying. Albion! 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; 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."

Jerusalem, Plate 34 [38],(E 180) 
"for Cities
Are Men, fathers of multitudes, and Rivers & Mountains
Are also Men; every thing is Human, mighty! sublime!
In every bosom a Universe expands, as wings
Let down at will around, and call'd the Universal Tent."

Jerusalem, Plate 42, (E 189)
"There is a limit of Opakeness, and a limit of Contraction;
In every Individual Man, and the limit of Opakeness,             
Is named Satan: and the limit of Contraction is named Adam.
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."

Jerusalem, Plate 55, (E 205) 
"Let the Human Organs be kept in their perfect Integrity
At will Contracting into Worms, or Expanding into Gods
And then behold! what are these Ulro Visions of Chastity! 
Or as the sweat upon the labouring shoulder: or as the chaff   
Of the wheat-floor or as the dregs of the sweet wine-press
Such are these Ulro Visions, for tho we sit down within
The plowed furrow, listning to the weeping clods till we
Contract or Expand Space at will: or if we raise ourselves
Upon the chariots of the morning. Contracting or Expanding Time! 
Every one knows, we are One Family! One Man blessed for ever

Silence remaind & every one resumd his Human Majesty" 

Jerusalem, Plate 71, (E 224)
"And above Albions Land was seen the Heavenly Canaan
As the Substance is to the Shadow: and above Albions Twelve Sons
Were seen Jerusalems Sons: and all the Twelve Tribes spreading
Over Albion. As the Soul is to the Body, so Jerusalems Sons,
Are to the Sons of Albion: and Jerusalem is Albions Emanation  
What is Above is Within, for every-thing in Eternity is translucent:
The Circumference is Within: Without, is formed the Selfish Center
And the Circumference still expands going forward to Eternity.
And the Center has Eternal States! these States we now explore."

Four Zoas, Night II, Page 34, (E 322)
"For Los & Enitharmon walkd forth on the dewy Earth   
Contracting or expanding their all flexible senses               
At will to murmur in the flowers small as the honey bee
At will to stretch across the heavens & step from star to star
Or standing on the Earth erect, or on the stormy waves
Driving the storms before them or delighting in sunny beams
While round their heads the Elemental Gods kept harmony"

Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 138, (E 406)
"The Sun has left his blackness & has found a fresher morning     
And the mild moon rejoices in the clear & cloudless night     
And Man walks forth from midst of the fires the evil is all consumd
His eyes behold the Angelic spheres arising night & day
The stars consumd like a lamp blown out & in their stead behold
The Expanding Eyes of Man behold the depths of wondrous worlds
One Earth one sea beneath nor Erring Globes wander but Stars
Of fire rise up nightly from the Ocean & one Sun
Each morning like a New born Man issues with songs & Joy
Calling the Plowman to his Labour & the Shepherd to his rest
He walks upon the Eternal Mountains raising his heavenly voice   
Conversing with the Animal forms of wisdom night & day
That risen from the Sea of fire renewd walk oer the Earth" 
  
1 John 3
[1] Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
[2] Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 

 

Friday, October 13, 2017

RAM HORN'D

First posted on July 17, 2011

Ram Horn'd with Gold

A Blake Hypertext Commentary

The Spiritual Autobiography of William Blake

Edited by Larry Clayton

"Blake sent this poem to the one faithful Christian he knew who had befriended and loved him. The circumstances leave no doubt as to the identity of the One Man. The poem poetically expresses Blake's faith as it relates to God, Man and the relationship between the two. It expresses what the Christian faith has to say about the relationship as well as it can be expressed verbally. It also expresses with vivid eloquence the child like nature of the entrance to the kingdom of God. Blake here celebrates and confesses it. To interpret Blake's experience we could use any number of hackneyed phrases representing the various dialects of the language of Zion; suffice it to say that for most of them as for Blake this is the main event, the center of the Moment of Grace. At this point Jesus became and forever afterward remained the One and the ever present Reality which Blake had formerly known as the Infinite or Eternal. For Blake Jesus was a Man, the Reality of Life, and most ultimately the All. In all three instances Blake strictly followed Johnine and Pauline strains of the New Testament."

Letters, 16, Oct 1800, (E 712)  
"To my Friend Butts I write
     My first Vision of Light
     On the yellow sands sitting
     The Sun was Emitting
     His Glorious beams
     From Heavens high Streams
     Over Sea over Land
     My Eyes did Expand
     Into regions of air
     Away from all Care
     Into regions of fire
     Remote from Desire
     The Light of the Morning
     Heavens Mountains adorning
     In particles bright
     The jewels of Light
     Distinct shone & clear--
     Amazd & in fear
     I each particle gazed
     Astonishd Amazed
     For each was a Man
     Human formd.  Swift I ran
     For they beckond to me
     Remote by the Sea
     Saying.  Each grain of Sand
     Every Stone on the Land
     Each rock & each hill
     Each fountain & rill
     Each herb & each tree
     Mountain hill Earth & Sea
     Cloud Meteor & Star
     Are Men Seen Afar
     I stood in the Streams
     Of Heavens bright beams
     And Saw Felpham sweet
     Beneath my bright feet
     In soft Female charms
     And in her fair arms
     My Shadow I knew
     And my wifes shadow too
     And My Sister & Friend.
     We like Infants descend
     In our Shadows on Earth
     Like a weak mortal birth
     My Eyes more & more
     Like a Sea without shore
     Continue Expanding
     The Heavens commanding
     Till the jewels of Light
     Heavenly Men beaming bright
     Appeard as One Man
     Who Complacent began
     My limbs to infold
     In his beams of bright gold
     Like dross purgd away
     All my mire & my clay
     Soft consumd in delight
     In his bosom sun bright
     I remaind.  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
     I remaind as a Child
     All I ever had known
     Before me bright Shone
     I saw you & your wife
     By the fountains of Life
     Such the Vision to me
     Appeard on the Sea"

Image from:
Wikipedia Commons
America a Prophecy
Plate 9 

Another post: WHY RAM HORN'D?
 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

MY MORTAL PART

artfund.org Death of the Virgin
The pair of watercolors which Blake painted for Butts depicting the deaths of the parents of Jesus, like all of Blake's images, are meant to be read symbolically. Joseph was an earthly human, his death was the death of a natural man. When his body died his spirit was released to rejoin the Communion of Saints who cast off the Temporal to be Established in the Eternal.

The mother of Jesus was a somewhat different case. The physical nature of the Incarnate Christ had come to Jesus through her. Blake had Jesus address her as 'mother of my mortal part.' Jesus predeceased his mother when he was crucified on Golgotha. In Blake's image Death of the Virgin, Jesus stands with her. No earthly beings attend her; four angels minister at the head and feet to the body in repose.
 

Perhaps Blake's implication is that Mary's Natural Body had already been raised as her Spiritual Body: by becoming the mother of the mortal part of Christ her Spiritual Body was expressed in a unique way. In Blake's Milton he used the virgin Ololon as a symbol of the material, feminine part of man's nature which became integrated in the Unified, Redeemed Body of the complete Man.

Matthew 1
[18] Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
[19] Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
[20] But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
[21] And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
[22] Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
[23] Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Isaiah 7
[14] Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.


John 2 
[1] And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 
[2] And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 
[3] And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 
[4] Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
Songs of Innocence & of Experience, Song 52, (E 30)
"To Tirzah             

Whate'er is Born of Mortal Birth,
Must be consumed with the Earth
To rise from Generation free;
Then what have I to do with thee?

The Sexes sprung from Shame & Pride
Blow'd in the morn: in evening died
But Mercy changd Death into Sleep;
The Sexes rose to work & weep.

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?

[text on illustration:] It is Raised a Spiritual Body"
 
Four Zoas, Night VIII, PAGE 104 (SECOND PORTION), (E 377)
"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"
 
Annotations to Berkley's Siris, (E 664)
"The Natural Body is an Obstruction to the Soul or Spiritual Body"


Tuesday, October 03, 2017

MORTAL FADES

National Gallery
Death of Saint Joseph
1803 for Thomas Butts
John 6
[39] And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
[40] And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
[41] The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.
[42] And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
[43] Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
[44] No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

 
Luke 4
[17] And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
[18] The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
[19] To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
[20] And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
[21] And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
[22] And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?

 
Joseph lies dying supported by Mary and attended by Jesus. There is no account of this scene in the Bible. Jesus was known in his community as a son of Joseph although the gospels attest that he was conceived by the Holy Spirit. On his deathbed Blake pictures Joseph as honored and beloved. In the sky above him is a rainbow comprised of the heads and wings of angels. Light radiates from the family group as Joseph prepares for death with a prayer.

Joseph anticipates the departure from his body of his Eternal Spirit.

Job 1
[21] And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
 

Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 113 [109], (E 384) 
"When the man gently fades away in his immortality
When the mortal disappears in improved knowledge cast away 
The former things so shall the Mortal gently fade away 
And so become invisible to those who still remain" 
Vision of Last Judgment, (E 555)
"[PAGE 69] 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 [P 70] body of the Saviour the True Vine of Eternity
The Human Imagination who appeard to Me as Coming to Judgment.
among his Saints & throwing off the Temporal that the Eternal
might be Establishd."

Monday, October 02, 2017

CAIN FLEEING

Wikimedia Commons
Cain Fleeing from the Wrath of God
Gen.4
[1] And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
[2] And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
[3] And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
[4] And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
[5] But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
[6] And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
[7] If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
[8] And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
[9] And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?
[10] And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.
[11] And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;
[12] When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
[13] And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
[14] Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
 
 
Cain and Abel fit into the categories of wrath and pity, or of the Reprobate and the Redeemed, of the rebel and the conformist. Blake represented them as Rintrah and Palamabron. Rintrah was perpetually outside of 'acceptable' behavior, that is the conventions of society. Palamabron was too timid to break out of the patterns expected of him.

The contentions between the two brothers were stirred up by the third brother Satan who was given leave to change the relationships and duties within the family structure.

Blake presented characters and situations for us to consider as external facts, but it is up to us to discern the inner realities. The account of Cain and Abel, too, is presented as a story about people who lived when civilization was beginning. But they also represent internal realities which are active within our psyches. We have within ourselves Cain and Abel, Rintrah and Palamabron. Within us too are the Lord and Satan contending over our perceptions and our behaviors.
Europe, Plate 8, (E 61)
"Arise O Rintrah eldest born: second to none but Orc:
O lion Rintrah raise thy fury from thy forests black:
Bring Palamabron horned priest, skipping upon the mountains:
And silent Elynittria the silver bowed queen:
Rintrah where hast thou hid thy bride!                           
Weeps she in desart shades?
Alas my Rintrah! bring the lovely jealous Ocalythron.

Arise my son! bring all thy brethren O thou king of fire.
Prince of the sun I see thee with thy innumerable race:
Thick as the summer stars:                                       
But each ramping his golden mane shakes,
And thine eyes rejoice because of strength O Rintrah furious king." 
Milton, Plate 7, (E 99)
"The first, The Elect from before the foundation of the World:  
The second, The Redeem'd. The Third, The Reprobate & form'd
To destruction from the mothers womb: follow with me my plow!  

Of the first class was Satan: with incomparable mildness;
His primitive tyrannical attempts on Los: with most endearing love    
He soft intreated Los to give to him Palamabrons station;
For Palamabron returnd with labour wearied every evening
Palamabron oft refus'd; and as often Satan offer'd
His service till by repeated offers and repeated intreaties
Los gave to him the Harrow of the Almighty; alas blamable      
Palamabron. fear'd to be angry lest Satan should accuse him of
Ingratitude, & Los believe the accusation thro Satans extreme
Mildness. Satan labour'd all day. it was a thousand years
In the evening returning terrified overlabourd & astonish'd
Embrac'd soft with a brothers tears Palamabron, who also wept  

Mark well my words! they are of your eternal salvation

Next morning Palamabron rose: the horses of the Harrow
Were maddend with tormenting fury, & the servants of the Harrow
The Gnomes, accus'd Satan, with indignation fury and fire.
Then Palamabron reddening like the Moon in an eclipse,        
Spoke saying, You know Satans mildness and his self-imposition,
Seeming a brother, being a tyrant, even thinking himself a brother
While he is murdering the just; prophetic I behold

His future course thro' darkness and despair to eternal death
But we must not be tyrants also! he hath assum'd my place      
For one whole day, under pretence of pity and love to me:
My horses hath he maddend! and my fellow servants injur'd:
How should he[,] he[,] know the duties of another? O foolish forbearance
Would I had told Los, all my heart! but patience O my friends.
All may be well: silent remain, while I call Los and Satan." 
Milton, Plate 8, (E 101)
"Mean while wept Satan before Los, accusing Palamabron;
Himself exculpating with mildest speech. for himself believ'd
That he had not opress'd nor injur'd the refractory servants." 
MIlton, Plate 14 [15], (E 108)
"I in my Selfhood am that Satan: I am that Evil One!
He is my Spectre! in my obedience to loose him from my Hells
To claim the Hells, my Furnaces, I go to Eternal Death."

.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

REST & LABOR

Yale Center for British Art
Jerusalem 
Plate 37, Detail 
Rest and Labor are contraries. They perform different but necessary roles in the scheme of things. Although it might be said that rest follows labor because energy has been depleted by exertion, rest also precedes labor as a means of preparation. If rest from physical activity allows mental activity to take place, the rest is the most important labor which can be performed. Rest and Labor may comprise a cycle in which they perform alternatively, however they may take place simultaneously.  

Rest is an opportunity for replenishment and renewal. For Blake rest is active engagement of the Imagination in the arts and sciences which rejuvenate the spirit.

When Blake used the phrase 'Rest before Labor' at the beginning of the Four Zoas he thought of the preparation which preceded his first attempt to write an epic poem. He thought of the effort which would go into the composition on such a large theme. He thought of the challenge which his readers would face in digesting such a quantity of ideas. He thought of the rewards for himself and his reader for engaging in the mental battles required. And if the writing and reading were the labor required, they would introduce another period of productive rest when ideas would germinate before the labors continued. 

On Plate 37 of Jerusalem Albion's emanation Jerusalem sleeps in perfect rest as the struggle around her is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12) 

Four Zoas, Night I, Page 1, (E 300)
"                 THE FOUR ZOAS

          The torments of Love & Jealousy in 
                The Death and Judgement
               of Albion the Ancient Man

                 by William Blake 1797
PAGE 2
                 Rest before Labour
PAGE 3
<4 12="" 6:="" ephesians="" greek="" lines="" of="" text="">

<[For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but
against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the
darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high
places. (King James version)]>" 
Four Zoas, Night I, Page 21 [19], (312) 
"The Family Divine drew up the Universal tent
Above High Snowdon & closd the Messengers in clouds around  
Till the time of the End. Then they Elected Seven. called the Seven
Eyes of God & the Seven lamps of the Almighty                    
The Seven are one within the other the Seventh is named Jesus

The Lamb of God blessed for ever & he followd the Man
Who wanderd in mount Ephraim seeking a Sepulcher
His inward eyes closing from the Divine vision & all
His children wandering outside from his bosom fleeing away      t
 
PAGE 22 [20]                     
The Daughters of Beulah beheld the Emanation they pitied
They wept before the Inner gates of Enitharmons bosom
And of her fine wrought brain & of her bowels within her loins
Three gates within Glorious & bright open into Beulah 
From Enitharmons inward parts but the bright female terror       
Refusd to open the bright gates she closd and barrd them fast
Lest Los should enter into Beulah thro her beautiful gates

The Emanation stood before the Gates of Enitharmon 
Weeping. the Daughters of Beulah silent in the Porches
Spread her a couch unknown to Enitharmon here reposd             
Jerusalem in slumbers soft lulld into silent rest
Terrific ragd the Eternal Wheels of intellect terrific ragd
The living creatures of the wheels in the Wars of Eternal life
But perverse rolld the wheels of Urizen & Luvah back reversd
Downwards & outwards consuming in the wars of Eternal Death 

PAGE 21 [19]
                 End of The First Night"
Genesis 2
[1] Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
[2] And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
[3] And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.


Hebrews 4
[8] For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
[9] There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
[10] For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
[11] Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
[12] For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
[13] Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
[14] Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
[15] For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
[16] Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Friday, September 29, 2017

APOCALYPSE

Wikimedia Commons
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
The Ninth and final night of the Four Zoas begins in dramatic fashion. Los and Enitharmon became disillusioned with building Golgonooza which was to be the evidence of the Divine Vision in time and space. Because the Crucified body appeared to be present to their natural eyes, they failed to discern Jesus standing beside them. Fearing that the Spirit continued not when the body died, Los began the process of bringing the material world to a conclusion by tearing down the sun and moon. The universe cracked apart and Los and Enitharmon - Time and Space - lost their substance. Thus the apocalypse began, matter was terminated and the process of reassembling the Infinite, Eternal, Ethereal commenced.
Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 117, (E 386)
          "Night the Ninth
               Being
          The Last Judgment

And Los & Enitharmon builded Jerusalem weeping  
Over the Sepulcher & over the Crucified body
Which to their Phantom Eyes appear'd still in the Sepulcher
But Jesus stood beside them in the Spirit Separating
Their Spirit from their body. Terrified at Non Existence 
For such they deemd the death of the body. Los his vegetable hands
Outstretchd his right hand branching out in fibrous Strength
Siezd the Sun. His left hand like dark roots coverd the Moon
And tore them down cracking the heavens across from immense to immense
Then fell the fires of Eternity with loud & shrill 
Sound of Loud Trumpet thundering along from heaven to heaven
A mighty sound articulate Awake ye dead & come
To judgment from the four winds Awake & Come away
Folding like scrolls of the Enormous volume of Heaven & Earth

With thunderous noise & dreadful shakings rocking to & fro 
The heavens are shaken & the Earth removed from its place
The foundations of the Eternal hills discoverd
The thrones of Kings are shaken they have lost their robes & crowns
The poor smite their opressors they awake up to the harvest
The naked warriors rush together down to the sea shore 
Trembling before the multitudes of slaves now set at liberty
They are become like wintry flocks like forests stripd of leaves
The opressed pursue like the wind there is no room for escape
The Spectre of Enitharmon let loose on the troubled deep
Waild shrill in the confusion & the Spectre of Urthona
PAGE 118 
Recievd her in the darkning South their bodies lost they stood
Trembling & weak a faint embrace a fierce desire as when
Two shadows mingle on a wall they wail & shadowy tears
Fell down & shadowy forms of joy mixd with despair & grief
Their bodies buried in the ruins of the Universe 
Mingled with the confusion. Who shall call them from the Grave"

Thursday, September 28, 2017

GIANT ALBION

Yale Center for British Art
Jerusalem 
Plate 62
Damon writes in A Blake Dictionary that "Giants symbolize the great primeval powers within us..." the totality of which is symbolized by the giant Albion who is represented by all of Britain. More expansively Albion includes all of mankind in one body.

In this passage in Milton we read of Albion as a giant body stretching over the British landscape. He is attempting to rise from his dreadful sleep on the Couch of Death. The anguish he experienced is portrayed in the face of Albion on plate 62 of Jerusalem. Blake includes a small figure between Albion's feet to indicate the scale of the forces incorporated in Albion - his symbol of Man.
Milton, Plate 39 [44] (E 140)
"Awake Albion awake! reclaim thy Reasoning Spectre. Subdue        

Him to the Divine Mercy, Cast him down into the Lake
Of Los, that ever burneth with fire, ever & ever Amen!
Let the Four Zoa's awake from Slumbers of Six Thousand Years

Then loud the Furnaces of Los were heard! & seen as Seven heavens
Stretching from south to north over the mountains of Albion"     

Milton, Plate 39 [44]
"Then Albion rose up in the Night of Beulah on his Couch
Of dread repose seen by the visionary eye; his face is toward
The east, toward Jerusalems Gates: groaning he sat above
His rocks. London & Bath & Legions & Edinburgh                   
Are the four pillars of his Throne; his left foot near London
Covers the shades of Tyburn: his instep from Windsor
To Primrose Hill stretching to Highgate & Holloway
London is between his knees: its basements fourfold 
His right foot stretches to the sea on Dover cliffs, his heel  
On Canterburys ruins; his right hand covers lofty Wales
His left Scotland; his bosom girt with gold involves
York, Edinburgh, Durham & Carlisle & on the front
Bath, Oxford, Cambridge Norwich; his right elbow
Leans on the Rocks of Erins Land, Ireland ancient nation[,]      
His head bends over London: he sees his embodied Spectre
Trembling before him with exceeding great trembling & fear
He views Jerusalem & Babylon, his tears flow down
He movd his right foot to Cornwall, his left to the Rocks of Bognor
He strove to rise to walk into the Deep. but strength failing    
Forbad & down with dreadful groans he sunk upon his Couch
In moony Beulah. Los his strong Guard walks round beneath the Moon

Romans 12 
[4] For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 
[5] So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
[6] Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 
[7] Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 
[8] Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

 First Corinthians 12 
[12] For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 
[13] For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

ESSENTIAL TEACHINGS

British Museum
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts 
First published October 6, 2014.

In order to emphasize some of the Essential Teachings of Blake which may have been skipped in my haphazard way of blogging, I wrote a series of seventeen posts which incorporate many of the most important of Blake's ideas.

DIVINE VISION
VEGETABLE GLASS
GOOD & EVIL
HEGEMONY OF REASON
IMAGINATION
SIN & VENGEANCE
FOURFOLD HUMAN
SELF-ANNIHILATION
AWAKE FROM SLEEP
FORGIVING
INTERNAL GOD
CREATION OF STATES
CONSCIOUSNESS
SPIRITUAL CAUSES

MAN'S JOURNEY
ERROR & TRUTH
WILLING SACRIFICE


These are transformative ideas. It is the opportunity of the individual's essential identity to undergo experience in order for the seed within him to germinate and grow into a tree. Blake has discerned aspects of the process which man goes through as he strives toward psychological wholeness and spiritual enlightenment. Blake gives us the benefit of his intense struggles along his journey in order that we may be willing to contemplate our own potential for altering our ability to perceive.

Vision of Last Judgment,(E 559)
"If the Spectator could Enter into these Images in his
Imagination approaching them on the Fiery Chariot of his
Contemplative Thought if he could Enter into Noahs Rainbow or
into his bosom or could make a Friend & Companion of one of these
Images of wonder which always intreats him to leave mortal things
as he must know then would he arise from his Grave then would he
meet the Lord in the Air & then he would be happy   General
Knowledge is Remote Knowledge it is in Particulars that Wisdom
consists & Happiness too."

Kay and Roger Easson, in Milton: A Poem by William Blake, emphasize Blake's role as a teacher:

"To read William Blake's illuminated books is to participate in a spiritual education. To read Blake's Milton is to discover the nature of that spiritual education concurrently with the education itself. Although Milton is incredibly beautiful in its combination of word and illustration and although its complexity stimulates intellectual scrutiny, it is a prophecy and like all prophecy, it provides spiritual instruction. William Blake is a spiritual teacher, a prophet who, having 'discover'd the infinite in every thing' is committed to 'raising other men into a perception of the infinite' (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell). And, Milton is the book in which Blake teaches how 'all the Lord's people' can become prophets. In Milton Blake defines the spiritual journey which renews prophecy in every moment of  human time." (Page 135)

Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 16, (E 42)
"The man
who never alters his opinion is like standing water, & breeds
reptiles of the mind."

Jerusalem, Plate 91, (E 251)
"Los beheld undaunted furious

His heavd Hammer; he swung it round & at one blow,
In unpitying ruin driving down the pyramids of pride
Smiting the Spectre on his Anvil & the integuments of his Eye
And Ear unbinding in dire pain, with many blows,           
Of strict severity self-subduing, & with many tears labouring.

Then he sent forth the Spectre all his pyramids were grains
Of sand & his pillars: dust on the flys wing: & his starry
Heavens; a moth of gold & silver mocking his anxious grasp
Thus Los alterd his Spectre & every Ratio of his Reason      
He alterd time after time, with dire pain & many tears
Till he had completely divided him into a separate space.

Terrified Los sat to behold trembling & weeping & howling
I care not whether a Man is Good or Evil; all that I care
Is whether he is a Wise Man or a Fool. Go! put off Holiness   
And put on Intellect: or my thundrous Hammer shall drive thee
To wrath which thou condemnest: till thou obey my voice

So Los terrified cries: trembling & weeping & howling! Beholding"

Four Zoas, Page 49, (E 333)
"The Spectre of Urthona seeing Enitharmon writhd   
His cloudy form in jealous fear & muttering thunders hoarse     
And casting round thick glooms. thus utterd his fierce pangs of heart

Tharmas I know thee. how are we alterd our beauty decayd
But still I know thee tho in this horrible ruin whelmd
Thou once the mildest son of heaven art now become a Rage
A terror to all living things. think not that I am ignorant     
That thou art risen from the dead or that my power forgot"

Songs & Ballads, (E 485)
The Mental Traveller
...
"And to Allay his freezing Age
The Poor Man takes her in his arms
The Cottage fades before his Sight
The Garden & its lovely Charms   

The Guests are scatterd thro' the land
For the Eye altering alters all
The Senses roll themselves in fear
And the flat Earth becomes a Ball

The Stars Sun Moon all shrink away 
A desart vast without a bound
And nothing left to eat or drink
And a dark desart all around"

Descriptive Catalogue, (E 532)
"Of Chaucer's characters, as described in his Canterbury
Tales, some of the names or titles are altered by time, but the
characters themselves for ever remain unaltered, and
consequently they are the

physiognomies or lineaments of universal human life, beyond which
Nature never steps.  Names alter, things never alter.I have
known multitudes of those who would have been monks in the age of
monkery, who in this deistical age are deists.  As Newton
numbered the stars, and as Linneus numbered the plants, so
Chaucer numbered the classes of men."
.

Monday, September 25, 2017

CONTINUAL FORGIVENESS

Wikimedia Commons 
Songs of Innocence & of Experience 
Plate 49
Songs of Innocence & of Experience, (E 28)
SONGS 49 
"A POISON TREE.    

I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I waterd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears:
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night.
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.

And into my garden stole,
When the night had veild the pole;
In the morning glad I see;
My foe outstretchd beneath the tree." 
Ephesians 4
[31] Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour,
and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
[32] And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving
    one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Luke 7
[47] Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
[48] And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

 

Forgiveness is a two edged sword. One edge enables us to seek and accept forgiveness for the harm we do. The other edge enables us to forgive those who have done harm to us. In this world it is inadvertent that in our Selfhood we cause harm to come to others, but that we also endure the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" that Shakespeare eludes to in Hamlet. The irony is that if we hold onto consciousness of the injuries we endure, we cannot accept the forgiving healing from others for the harm we have done to them.

Matthew 5
[23] Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
[24] Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.


Hamlet by William Shakespeare
"Whether 'tis  nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
the heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
that Flesh is heir to?"

 

The experience of forgiveness functions on two levels: between Man and Man and between God and Man. Forgiveness is essential to maintain the Brotherhood of Man by removing the barriers which grow because of the unhealed wounds which we endure and inflict on one another, it is essential too for maintaining an open channel between Man and the Divine; between the individual Soul and the Infinite Eternal Divine Presence in whom all live. Blake wrote "Throughout all Eternity I forgive you, You forgive me, So the dear redeemer said, This the wine & this the bread." This is a statement addressed to God, acknowledging that Man's suffering is not all because of his own or his Brothers' failing, but the suffering of Man results from how God has constructed the world. Blake's insight was that the process of forgiveness in Man's relationship with God, both giving and receiving it, fed the spiritual and physical needs of man.

Songs & Ballads, (E 477)
"Throughout all Eternity    
I forgive you you forgive me
As our dear Redeemer said                                   
This the Wine & this the Bread    
    

Milton, Plate 26 [28], (E 124) 
"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."

Jerusalem, Plate 3, (E 145)
"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. I am perhaps the most sinful of men! I 
pretend not to holiness! yet I pretend to love, to see, to converse with 
daily, as man with man, & the more to have an interest in the Friend 
of Sinners. Therefore [Dear] Reader, [forgive] what you do not
approve, & [love] me for this energetic exertion of
my talent.

Jerusalem, Plate 49, (E 199)
"Remove from Albion, far remove these terrible surfaces.

They are beginning to form Heavens & Hells in immense

Circles: the Hells for food to the Heavens: food of torment,
Food of despair: they drink the condemnd Soul & rejoice
In cruel holiness, in their Heavens of Chastity & Uncircumcision
Yet they are blameless & Iniquity must be imputed only           
To the State they are enterd into that they may be deliverd:
Satan is the State of Death, & not a Human existence:
But Luvah is named Satan, because he has enterd that State.
A World where Man is by Nature the enemy of Man
Because the Evil is Created into a State. that Men               
May be deliverd time after time evermore. Amen.
Learn therefore O Sisters to distinguish the Eternal Human
That walks about among the stones of fire in bliss & woe
Alternate! from those States or Worlds in which the Spirit travels:
This is the only means to Forgiveness of Enemies[.]              
Therefore remove from Albion these terrible Surfaces.

Jerusalem, Plate 52, (E 201)
"Rousseau thought Men Good by Nature; he found them Evil
& found no friend.  Friendship cannot exist without Forgiveness
of Sins continually.  The Book written by Rousseau calld his
Confessions is an apology & cloke for his sin & not a confession.
  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
Religion." 
Jerusalem, Plate 61, (E 211)
"I heard his voice in my sleep O his Angel in my dream:
Saying, Doth Jehovah Forgive a Debt only on condition that it shall
Be Payed? Doth he Forgive Pollution only on conditions of Purity
That Debt is not Forgiven! That Pollution is not Forgiven
Such is the Forgiveness of the Gods, the Moral Virtues of the    
Heathen, whose tender Mercies are Cruelty. But Jehovahs Salvation
Is without Money & without Price, in the Continual Forgiveness of Sins
In the Perpetual Mutual Sacrifice in Great Eternity! for behold!
There is none that liveth & Sinneth not! And this is the Covenant
Of Jehovah: If you Forgive one-another, so shall Jehovah Forgive You:    
That He Himself may Dwell among You." 
From The Everlasting Mercy by John Masefield
 
"The corn that makes the holy bread   
By which the soul of man is fed,   
The holy bread, the food unpriced,   
Thy everlasting mercy, Christ."
 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Three Classes

First published Monday, February 22, 2010

New York Public Library 
Milton 
Plate 8
Palamabron, Rintrah and Satan


From Milton, Plate 25, (E 121):
"The Elect is one Class: You 

Shall bind them separate: they cannot Believe in Eternal Life 
Except by Miracle & a New Birth. The other two Classes;
The Reprobate who never cease to Believe, and the Redeemed, 

Who live in doubts & fears, perpetually tormented by the Elect"

Blake in his characteristic way, uses familiar words in unfamiliar ways. He takes three words from religion: Elect, Redeemed and Reprobate, and redefines them to make us reconsider how God relates to man and how man's psyche functions.
 
The Elect whom we think of as the chosen who have won God's approval become those who "cannot Believe in Eternal Life Except by Miracle & a New Birth".

The Reprobate whom we think of as failures and outcasts become those "who never cease to Believe."

The Redeemed whom we think of as knowing that they have been forgiven for their sins become those "Who live in doubts & fears perpetually tormented by the Elect."

From Ellie:
When I try to connect the Three Classes of Men with aspects of the psyche, this is what I see.The Elect wants to preserve the status quo. The Elect can be equated with the Ego which has charge of the personality, negotiating among the Id, the Superego and the reality principle. The Ego is the boss and decides how to express the personality. (The self-appointed Top Dog.)

The Reprobate are the outsiders, the aspects of the personality which are unrecognized or unacceptable.
The Reprobate is parallel to the Shadow in Jung which contains whatever the Ego has rejected and denies expression to. The Shadow contains undiscovered but valuable material.

The expanding or awakening consciousness which is the true human,
sometimes referred to as the Identity by Blake, or the Self by Jung, is the Redeemed. The Self connects the Ego, the Shadow and the collective unconscious. The Identity connects Albion, the wholeness of the individual with Eternal wholeness. The process of developing the Self or the Identity is a long struggle of gradually bringing to light hidden material and realigning internal and external relationships.

The psychological approach to studying Blake asks us to look within for
congruence between Blake's ideas and the dynamics of our psyches. Blake's myths and images can reveal to us aspects of ourselves; our self-understanding can enrich our reading of Blake.

-----------------------------------------------------
From Larry: 
In Marriage of Heaven and Hell we met two classes: angels and devils. Blake ironically names free spirits as devils and good dutiful church goers (and other establishment types) as angels.

Los and his 'emanation', Enitharmon "bore an enormous race" (not only mankind, but every other created thing as well). But in particular Enitharmon's progeny consists of three classes:

From Milton Plate 7:
The first the Elect from the foundation of the World, symbolized here by Satan.
The second, the Redeem'd, symbolized by Palamabron.
The third, the Reprobate, symbolized by Rintrah.

The Bard's Song begins Blake's description of how these three classes of men relate.

To Rintrah (the just man) was assigned the plow.

To Palamabron, a kind and gentle boy (not a strong minded one), was assigned the harrow.

Satan (Selfhood) was assigned to the mills.

Rintrah and Palamabron are contraries; Satan is a negation.

In the Bard's Song those were the three assignments of Enitharmon's three sons.

A post could be written about the plow (See Damon 329); the plow of Rintrah might be the heated words of the prophet that denounces and breaks up the corrupt establishment. (It might be several other things as well.)

The harrow follows the plow; for Blake it was a metaphor for redemptive poetry.

The Mill symbolizes Reason - conservative: reducing the creative to the commonplace. But it may have been related in Blake's mind with the insidious mills brought about by the Industrial Revolution which impoverished so many people.

Los of course was the father of these three boys, a farmer-- the World being his field. He had expressly forbidden Satan from using the harrow. But Satan wheedled his amicable brother Palamabron into letting him use the harrow.

This led to disaster (the kind of disaster we have all lived under most of our lives).

All this was part of the tale told by the Bard at an Eternal gathering. The Bard's Song induced Milton to forsake heaven and return to the Earth to correct the errors of his mortal life. Milton's adventures in the World with Los and Blake is the subject of Blake's Milton.

There is much more to the Bard's Song, but this will give you a beginning. Learn the Bard's Song, and you will find it much easier to enjoy Milton, the first of Blake's two major works.