Monday, May 01, 2017

BLAKE'S WISDOM


British Museum
Sketch of Solomon after Michelangelo

Job 28 
[12] But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? 
[13] Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.
[14] The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me.
[15] It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. 
[16] It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
[17] The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.
[18] No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. ...
[28] And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.
 
Blake found that there was no substitute for experience. His path through life led him not where he wanted to go but where he needed to go. He sought wisdom by studying the esoteric teachings of his predecessors. He sought it by joining his contemporaries in pursuing success and popularity. He sought it by engaging in creative work which absorbed his energies incessantly. He sought it by withdrawing from the activities which engaged him in worldly pursuits

His wisdom was gained by giving his attention to the unseen world of Eternity which visited him in dreams and visions. He found it necessary to find a place where he was not drawn into the pursuits of others but could listen to voices which others could not hear. Such a voice was the voice of Enion which so moved Ahania, whom Blake calls the parted soul of Urizen, that she could not rest. 

Letters, To Mr Butts, Grt Marlborough Street, (E 728) 
"Felpham April 25: 1803
Now I may say to you what perhaps I should not dare to say
to any one else.  That I can alone carry on my visionary studies
in London unannoyd & that I may converse with my friends in
Eternity.  See Visions, Dream Dreams, & prophecy & speak Parables
unobserv'd & at liberty from the Doubts of other Mortals. perhaps
Doubts proceeding from Kindness. but Doubts are always pernicious
Especially when we Doubt our Friends Christ is very decided on
this Point.  "He who is Not With Me is Against Me" There is no
Medium or Middle state & if a Man is the Enemy of my Spiritual
Life while he pretends to be the Friend of my Corporeal. he is a
Real Enemy--but the Man may be the friend of my Spiritual Life
while he seems the Enemy of my Corporeal but Not Vice Versa"

Marriage of Heaven and Hell,(E 35)
"The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom."

Four Zoas, Night II, Page 35, (E 325)
"What is the price of Experience do men buy it for a song
Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No it is bought with the price
Of all that a man hath his house his wife his children
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy
And in the witherd field where the farmer plows for bread in vain

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

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

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

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

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

Ahania heard the Lamentation & a swift Vibration
Spread thro her Golden frame. She rose up eer the dawn of day 

When Urizen slept on his couch. drawn thro unbounded space
Onto the margin of Non Entity the bright Female came
There she beheld the Spectrous form of Enion in the Void  
And never from that moment could she rest upon her pillow

          End of the Second Night"
  
On page 954 of the commentary for Erdman's The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake, Bloom states:
"The fall of Urizen is caused by the failure of intellectual desire, and by intellect's revulsion from its own desires. Ahania resembles the Wisdom of Proverbs 8:22-36, daily the delight of God. She is Urizen's source of strength, the wise passivity in which he must take pleasure of else lose the active role of mental energy which is his life." 

Proverbs 8
[11] For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
[12] I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
[13] The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate., daily the delight of God
[14] Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.

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