Friday, January 19, 2018


British Museum
The Grave - Page 8
Cromak's arrangement
Schiavonetti's Engraving 
University of Adelaide
The Grave
- Page 8
Fuseli's arrangement
Blake's Watercolor

"All are equal in the Grave. Wisdom, Power, Valour, Beauty, and Innocence, at the hour of death, alike are impotent and unavailing."

Book - 8 The Descent of Man into the Vale of Death

Pictured above are the eternal unchanging forms of which individuals are manifestations. Man passes through states in which he undergoes changes without altering the Eternal archetype which he represents.

Blake see permanence in two entities: man's individual Soul or Identity, and the archetypal forms which exist as patterns inhabiting Eternity. Blake's Zoas and Emanations are archetypes in Eternity. When the Soul of man (which is permanent or immortal) enters a body (which is temporal and mortal) it assumes a particular archetypal appearance which travels through states in the temporal world.

So Jung can designate Four Functions which are parallel to the Four Zoas of Blake. An individual exemplifies the function which dominates his mental activities. This is not the Identity of the man but the garment in which he is clothed in worldly life. A man, as an Identity, travels through life clothed in his archetypal garment passing through states which are temporal.

The Soul being permanent, is not changed by passing through states but has the opportunity in time & space to be enriched and enhanced by journeying through experience. Eternity is not changed by the Soul leaving and returning but is perfected or completed by the multitude of.alternatives engendered by experience.

Letters, To Hayley, (E 705)
 "I hear his [brother Robert's] advice & even now write from his
Dictate--Forgive me for expressing to you my Enthusiasm which I
wish all to  partake of Since it is to me a Source of Immortal
Joy even in this world by it  I am the companion of Angels.  May
you continue to be so more & more & to  be more & more perswaded. 
that every Mortal loss is an Immortal Gain.  The  Ruins of Time
builds Mansions in Eternity.--I have also sent A Proof of 
Pericles for your Remarks thanking you for the kindness with
which you  Express them & feeling heartily your Grief with a
brothers Sympathy 
I remain Dear Sir Your humble Servant

Letters, To Butts, (E 728)
 "Accept of my thanks for your kind & heartening Letter You
have Faith in the Endeavours of Me your weak brother & fellow
Disciple. how great must be your faith in our Divine Master.  You
are to me a Lesson of Humility while you Exalt me by such
distinguishing commendations.  I know that you see certain merits
in me which by Gods Grace shall be made fully apparent & perfect
in Eternity. in the mean time I must not bury the Talents in the
Earth but do my endeavour to live to the Glory of our Lord &
Saviour & I am also grateful to the kind hand that endeavours to
lift me out of despondency even if it lifts me too high--"

Descriptive Catalogue, Number III, (E 532)
"The characters of Chaucer's Pilgrims are the characters
which compose all ages and nations: as one age falls, another
rises, different to mortal sight, but to immortals only the same;
for we see the same characters repeated again and again, in
animals, vegetables, minerals, and in men; nothing new occurs in
identical existence; Accident ever varies, Substance can
never suffer change nor decay.
  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."

Descriptive Catalogue, Number III, (E 535)
"The principal figure in the next groupe, is the Good 
Parson; an Apostle, a real Messenger of Heaven, sent in every 
age for its light and its warmth.  This man is beloved and 
venerated by all, and neglected by all: He serves all, and is 
served by none; he is, according to Christ's definition, the 
greatest of his age.  Yet he is a Poor Parson of a town.  Read 
Chaucer's description of the Good Parson, and bow the head and 
the knee to him, who, in every age sends us such a burning and a 
shining light.  Search O ye rich and powerful, for these men and 
obey their counsel, then shall the golden age return: But 
alas! you will not easily distinguish him from the Friar or the 
Pardoner, they also are "full solemn men," and their counsel, you 
will continue to follow."

Descriptive Catalogue, Number III, (E 536)
"Thus the reader will observe, that
Chaucer makes every one of his characters perfect in his kind,
every one is an Antique Statue; the image of a class, and not of
an imperfect individual."

Milton, Plate 32 [35], (E 132)
"Calling the Human Imagination: which is the Divine Vision & Fruition
In which Man liveth eternally: madness & blasphemy, against      
Its own Qualities, which are Servants of Humanity, not Gods or Lords[.]
Distinguish therefore States from Individuals in those States.
States Change: but Individual Identities never change nor cease:
You cannot go to Eternal Death in that which can never Die."

Vision of Last Judgment, Page 76, (E 556)
"These States Exist now Man Passes on but States
remain for Ever he passes thro them like a traveller who may as
well suppose that the places he has passed thro exist no more as
a Man may suppose that the States he has passd thro exist no more
Every Thing is Eternal
[PAGE 79] In Eternity one Thing never Changes into
another Thing Each Identity is Eternal consequently Apuleius's
Golden Ass & Ovids Metamorphosis & others of the like kind are
Fable yet they contain Vision in a Sublime degree being derived
from real Vision in More Ancient Writings[.] Lots Wife
being Changed into Pillar of Salt alludes to the Mortal Body
being renderd a Permanent Statue but not Changed or Transformed
into Another Identity while it retains its own Individuality.  A
Man can never become Ass nor Horse some are born with shapes of
Men who may be both but Eternal Identity is one thing & Corporeal
Vegetation is another thing Changing Water into Wine by Jesus &
into Blood by Moses relates to Vegetable Nature also" 

Vision of Last Judgment , Page 69, (E 555)
"The Nature of Visionary Fancy or Imagination is very little
Known & the Eternal nature & permanence of its ever Existent
Images is considerd as less permanent than the things of
Vegetative & Generative Nature yet the Oak dies as well as the
Lettuce but Its Eternal Image & Individuality never dies. but
renews by its seed. just  the Imaginative Image returns 
the seed of Contemplative Thought the Writings of the Prophets
illustrate these conceptions of the Visionary Fancy by their
various sublime & Divine Images as seen in the Worlds of Vision"


Monday, January 15, 2018


The Grave - Page 7
Cromak's arrangement
Schiavonetti's Engraving

University of Adelaide
The Grave
- Page 7
Fuseli's arrangement
Blake's Watercolor

Blake presents the incarnation as the act of the Soul becoming immersed in the body. Pictured here is the Soul entering mortal life or Eternal Death as Blake calls it. Blake's mind had the agility to shift perspectives in order to present the truth he perceived. He envisioned here man's soul leaving behind the vehicle which has been its home, in order to expose itself to states which must be explored in order to apprehend truth. Blake gives us an image to contemplate with our conscious minds for the purpose of inviting us to explore the Recesses of the Grave which are present in the unconscious mind.

The idea that man is created with a mind which is capable of apprehending the numinous is not original with Blake. The ancients expressed this idea in terms of their own cultures and religions although they lacked the terminology of of depth psychology. Blake was clear in his idea that the Soul is the Eternal aspect of the individual. Since Blake was adept at distinguishing the material world (the world of time and space), from the spiritual world (the world of the eternal and infinite), he focused attention on relating the one to the other.

The natural world and the spiritual world are linked by the Soul's activity in both places. There is an analog to what appears outside the body to what occurs within. If spiritual truth is quashed in the outer world, the work of the Soul within the psyche is diminished. The outer world cannot be healed of hatred, vengeance, accusation, and self-aggrandizing if these attitudes maintain control in the inner world. The work goes on simultaneously: mending the external links which join mankind in mutual respect and assistance, and knitting together the internal divisions which set off competitions for the control of our inner attitudes. If we are consumed with protecting our prejudices, defenses, and personal righteousness, the battle for truth, justice and compassion is already lost.

Book -7 The Death of The Good Old Man

Jerusalem, Plate 4, (E 146)
"Of the Sleep of Ulro! and of the passage through
Eternal Death! and of the awaking to Eternal Life.

This theme calls me in sleep night after night, & ev'ry morn
Awakes me at sun-rise, then I see the Saviour over me
Spreading his beams of love, & dictating the words of this mild song.  

Awake! awake O sleeper of the land of shadows, wake! expand!
I am in you and you in me, mutual in love divine:" 
Milton, Plate 32 [35], (E 132)
"And thou O Milton art a State about to be Created
Called Eternal Annihilation that none but the Living shall
Dare to enter: & they shall enter triumphant over Death
And Hell & the Grave! States that are not, but ah! Seem to be.

Judge then of thy Own Self: thy Eternal Lineaments explore       
What is Eternal & what Changeable? & what Annihilable!

The Imagination is not a State: it is the Human Existence itself
Affection or Love becomes a State, when divided from Imagination
The Memory is a State always, & the Reason is a State
Created to be Annihilated & a new Ratio Created                  
Whatever can be Created can be Annihilated Forms cannot
The Oak is cut down by the Ax, the Lamb falls by the Knife
But their Forms Eternal Exist, For-ever. Amen Halle[l]ujah

Thus they converse with the Dead watching round the Couch of Death.
For God himself enters Death's Door always with those that enter 
And lays down in the Grave with them, in Visions of Eternity
Till they awake & see Jesus & the Linen Clothes lying
That the Females had Woven for them, & the Gates of their Fathers House" 
Milton, Plate 14 [15], (E 109)
"The Seven Angels of the Presence wept over Miltons Shadow!
Plate 15 [17]
As when a man dreams, he reflects not that his body sleeps,
Else he would wake; so seem'd he entering his Shadow: but
With him the Spirits of the Seven Angels of the Presence
Entering; they gave him still perceptions of his Sleeping Body;
Which now arose and walk'd with them in Eden, as an Eighth   
Image Divine tho' darken'd; and tho walking as one walks
In sleep; and the Seven comforted and supported him.

Like as a Polypus that vegetates beneath the deep!
They saw his Shadow vegetated underneath the Couch
Of death: for when he enterd into his Shadow: Himself:           
His real and immortal Self: was as appeard to those
Who dwell in immortality, as One sleeping on a couch
Of gold; and those in immortality gave forth their Emanations
Like Females of sweet beauty, to guard round him & to feed
His lips with food of Eden in his cold and dim repose!           

But to himself he seemd a wanderer lost in dreary night.

Onwards his Shadow kept its course among the Spectres; call'd
Satan, but swift as lightning passing them, startled the shades
Of Hell beheld him in a trail of light as of a comet
That travels into Chaos: so Milton went guarded within." 
Milton, Plate 40 [46], (E 141)
"Obey thou the Words of the Inspired Man
All that can be annihilated must be annihilated 

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

Galations 2
[19] For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
[20] I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
[21] I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Galations 2:19-21
Phillips Translation
For under the Law I "died", and now I am dead to the Law's demands so that I may live for God. As far as the Law is concerned I may consider that I died on the cross with Christ. And my present life is not that of the old "I", but the living Christ within me. The bodily life I now live, I live believing in the Son of God, who loved me and sacrificed himself for me. Consequently I refuse to stultify the grace of God by reverting to the Law. For if righteousness were possible under the Law then Christ died for nothing!

Thursday, January 11, 2018


University of Adelaide
The Grave
- Page 6
Fuseli's arrangement
Blake's Watercolor

British Museum
The Grave - Page 6
Cromak's arrangement
Schiavonetti's Engraving 


BOOK - 6  The Soul Hovering Over the Body reluctantly parting with Life

This image is not about Death or the Grave; it is about Life and the Soul. The Soul is not transient but Eternal. Since the Soul is not part of the temporal world it does not lend itself to be spoken of in non-poetic language.

As children my brother, sister and I were taught to pray this bedtime prayer:

"Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
And If I die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take."

Then we went directly into asking God to bless all the individuals whom we loved, followed by Amen.

I never thought to ask my mother about sleeping and waking, about keeping or taking, about the Lord and the Soul. Although I may have been puzzled, the Soul remained undefined.

Although Blake declared in Marriage of Heaven and Hell that 'Man has no Body distinct from his Soul' he proceeded to write about the Soul as distinguishable.

I think now of the Soul as being the dimension of what I call myself, which connects me with the Infinite and Eternal. It is the permanent part of me which exists outside of time and space. No matter how deep my sleep, my Soul remains awake - ready to cast aside the garment in which my body has clothed it. The Soul is no more definable to me now than when I was a child, but it is more real because I have put aside some 'childish things' in order to prepare myself for 'seeing face to face.' 

First Corinthians 13
[9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
[10] But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
[11] When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
[12] For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

The phrase 'reluctantly parting with the body' is contrary to Blake's thinking. I think that the body clings to the Soul, not the Soul to the body. 

Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 4, (E 34)
"But the following Contraries to these are True
  1 Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that calld Body is
a portion of Soul discernd by the five Senses. the chief inlets
of Soul in this age
  2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is
the bound or outward circumference of Energy.
  3 Energy is Eternal Delight" 

Songs of Innocence & of Experience, Plate 10, (E 9)
Little black boy 
"For when our souls have learn'd the heat to bear
The cloud will vanish we shall hear his voice.
Saying: come out from the grove my love & care,
And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice."

America, Plate 6, (E 53)
"Let the inchained soul shut up in darkness and in sighing,
Whose face has never seen a smile in thirty weary years;
Rise and look out, his chains are loose, his dungeon doors are open."

Milton, Plate 14 [15], (E 108)
"And Milton said, I go to Eternal Death! The Nations still
Follow after the detestable Gods of Priam; in pomp               
Of warlike selfhood, contradicting and blaspheming.
When will the Resurrection come; to deliver the sleeping body
From corruptibility: O when Lord Jesus wilt thou come?
Tarry no longer; for my soul lies at the gates of death.
I will arise and look forth for the morning of the grave.       
I will go down to the sepulcher to see if morning breaks!
I will go down to self annihilation and eternal death,
Lest the Last Judgment come & find me unannihilate
And I be siez'd & giv'n into the hands of my own Selfhood
The Lamb of God is seen thro' mists & shadows, hov'ring          
Over the sepulchers in clouds of Jehovah & winds of Elohim
A disk of blood, distant; & heav'ns & earth's roll dark between
What do I here before the Judgment? without my Emanation?
With the daughters of memory, & not with the daughters of inspiration[?]
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." 
Milton, Plate 26 [28], (E 123)
"There are Two Gates thro which all Souls descend. One Southward
From Dover Cliff to Lizard Point. the other toward the North
Caithness & rocky Durness, Pentland & John Groats House.         

The Souls descending to the Body, wail on the right hand
Of Los; & those deliverd from the Body, on the left hand
For Los against the east his force continually bends
Along the Valleys of Middlesex from Hounslow to Blackheath
Lest those Three Heavens of Beulah should the Creation destroy   
And lest they should descend before the north & south Gates
Groaning with pity, he among the wailing Souls laments." 
Jerusalem, Plate 18, (E 161) 
"From every-one of the Four Regions of Human Majesty,
There is an Outside spread Without, & an Outside spread Within
Beyond the Outline of Identity both ways, which meet in One:
An orbed Void of doubt, despair, hunger, & thirst & sorrow.
Here the Twelve Sons of Albion, join'd in dark Assembly,         
Jealous of Jerusalems children, asham'd of her little-ones
(For Vala produc'd the Bodies. Jerusalem gave the Souls)
Became as Three Immense Wheels, turning upon one-another
Into Non-Entity, and their thunders hoarse appall the Dead
To murder their own Souls, to build a Kingdom among the Dead     

Cast! Cast ye Jerusalem forth! The Shadow of delusions!
The Harlot daughter! Mother of pity and dishonourable forgiveness
Our Father Albions sin and shame! But father now no more!
Nor sons! nor hateful peace & love, nor soft complacencies
With transgressors meeting in brotherhood around the table, 
Or in the porch or garden." 
Jerusalem, Plate 41 [46], (E 188) 
"Thou art in Error Albion, the Land of Ulro:
One Error not remov'd, will destroy a human Soul
Repose in Beulahs night, till the Error is remov'd
Reason not on both sides. Repose upon our bosoms
Till the Plow of Jehovah, and the Harrow of Shaddai
Have passed over the Dead, to awake the Dead to Judgment.
But Albion turn'd away refusing comfort."
Jerusalem, Plate 68, (E 222)
"Once Man was occupied in intellectual pleasures & energies   
But now my soul is harrowd with grief & fear & love & desire
And now I hate & now I love & Intellect is no more:
There is no time for any thing but the torments of love & desire" 
Jerusalem, Plate 71, (E 224)
"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:"

Laocoon, (E 273)
"Adam is only The Natural Man & not the Soul or Imagination
The Eternal Body of Man is The IMAGINATION. God himself"

Jerusalem, Plate 62,(E 213)
"These are the Daughters of Vala, Mother of the Body of death

But I thy Magdalen behold thy Spiritual Risen Body
Shall Albion arise? I know he shall arise at the Last Day!
I know that in my flesh I shall see God: but Emanations
Are weak. they know not whence they are, nor whither tend.

Jesus replied. I am the Resurrection & the Life.
I Die & pass the limits of possibility, as it appears
To individual perception. Luvah must be Created                  
And Vala; for I cannot leave them in the gnawing Grave.
But will prepare a way for my banished-ones to return
Come now with me into the villages. walk thro all the cities."

Tuesday, January 09, 2018


June 2016

 You may have noticed a number of links on our pages have recently led nowhere. This is because the University of Georgia is no longer supporting the material by Nelson Hilton which was provided through their domain. Professor Hilton gave us access to many resources including his work on the Blake Digital Text Project. Our links on our sidebar to Blake's Contents, Blake's Index and the Concordance to Complete Works have disappeared because of the loss of links to his works.

I personally am most disappointed because the links Hilton provided to images in the Four Zoas are not longer available. The page images on a number of pages of the Four Zoas which I posted, no longer have images because the files they were linked to are unavailable. I can replace the images with those which the crawler picked up
when the posts were published, but the images there are of lower resolution. Hilton's images allowed us to read Blake's text as he wrote and edited it, as well as view the sketches which illuminated his pages.


The manuscript for the Four Zoas resides in the British Library. The library provides digital imagery for a portion of the book starting at page 44. Using Professor Hilton's files for the early pages of the manuscript and the British Library's images for later pages, I published posts on 80 of the 138 pages of the Four Zoas. There is always more work to be done but there are many hands and minds who are contributing to the effort.

Professor Hilton graciously replied to my plea for help with a copy of his file for the 4ZS.

Keep watching for further developments.

January 2018

I am happy to report that the British Library arranged for all of the images for pages of the Four Zoas to be posted at the William Blake Archive. I was concerned because the Archive does not allow copying of their images. However when I requested use of the images from the British Library they readily granted permission to download the images from the Archive and to post them to my blog. Posts which for a time had only broken links, now have pictures of the text and sketches which Blake abandoned over 200 years ago.

The Blake Archive provides a readily-used format and well produced images. Study of the Four Zoas should be enhanced by this addition to Blake's work which is available on the internet.

British Library
Four Zoas Manuscript
Page 94

Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 94, (E 367)
"Tho all those fair perfections which men know only by name
In beautiful substantial forms appeard & served her
As food or drink or ornament or in delightful works
To build her bowers for the Elements brought forth abundantly    
The living soul in glorious forms & every One came forth
Walking before her Shadowy face & bowing at her feet"

Monday, January 08, 2018


University of Adelaide
The Grave
- Page 5
Fuseli's arrangement
Blake's Watercolor
British Museum
The Grave - Page 5
Cromak's arrangement
Schiavonetti's Engraving

Book - 5 Death of the Strong Wicked Man

Perhaps it is worth noting that in Fuseli's title to the fifth illustration to Blair's The Grave, he used the word 'dying' instead of 'death' to describe what was happening. Dying is a process which takes place in the world of matter. It is the relinquishing the natural body to be replaced by the spiritual body. Man enters the Door of Death into Eternal Death not naked but carrying a body fit for Eden.
Blake taught that the babe is born innocent and bearing the potential for goodness to be expressed as he journeys through life in the material world. The Good Old Man Dying has not accumulated sorrows and regrets as he traveled through the Vale of Death for he lived in hope and faith and love patiently awaiting the glory which would be revealed.

Annotations to Reynolds, (E 656)
   "Reynolds Thinks that Man Learns all that he Knows I say on
the Contrary That Man Brings All that he has or Can have Into the
World with him.  Man is Born Like a Garden ready Planted & Sown  
This World is too poor to produce one Seed"  
Four Zoas, Night VII, Page 86, (E 369)
"Come hither be patient let us converse together because  
I also tremble at myself & at all my former life

Enitharmon answerd I behold the Lamb of God descending
To Meet these Spectres of the Dead I therefore fear that he
Will give us to Eternal Death fit punishment for such
Hideous offenders Uttermost extinction in eternal pain    
An ever dying life of stifling & obstruction shut out
Of existence to be a sign & terror to all who behold
Lest any should in futurity do as we have done in heaven
Such is our state nor will the Son of God redeem us but destroy
PAGE 98 [90] 
So Enitharmon spoke trembling & in torrents of tears

Los sat in Golgonooza in the Gate of Luban where     
He had erected many porches where branchd the Mysterious Tree 
Where the Spectrous dead wail & sighing thus he spoke to Enitharmon

Lovely delight of Men Enitharmon shady refuge from furious war
Thy bosom translucent is a soft repose for the weeping souls
Of those piteous victims of battle there they sleep in happy obscurity
They feed upon our life we are their victims. Stern desire
I feel to fabricate embodied semblances in which the dead
May live before us in our palaces & in our gardens of labour  
Which now opend within the Center we behold spread abroad
To form a world of Sacrifice of brothers & sons & daughters   
To comfort Orc in his dire sufferings; look! my fires enlume afresh
Before my face ascending with delight as in ancient times" 
Four Zoas, Night VIII Page 103, (E 376)
"In Golgonoozas Furnaces among the Anvils of time & space
Thus forming a Vast family wondrous in beauty & love
And they appeard a Universal female form created,
From those who were dead in Ulro from the Spectres of the dead
And Enitharmon namd the Female Jerusalem the holy
Wondring she saw the Lamb of God within Jerusalems Veil
The divine Vision seen within the inmost deep recess
Of fair Jerusalems bosom in a gently beaming fire

Then sang the Sons of Eden round the Lamb of God & said 
Glory Glory Glory to the holy Lamb of God
Who now beginneth to put off the dark Satanic body
Now we behold redemption Now we know that life Eternal
Depends alone upon the Universal hand & not in us
Is aught but death In individual weakness sorrow & pain" 
Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 104 (SECOND PORTION), (E 378)
"Los said to Enitharmon Pitying I saw
Pitying the Lamb of God Descended thro Jerusalems gates
To put off Mystery time after time & as a Man
Is born on Earth so was he born of Fair Jerusalem
In mysterys woven mantle & in the Robes of Luvah 

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"

Prayer of St Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me
sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; 
where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where 
there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to
console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For
it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are 
pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. 

Wednesday, January 03, 2018


University of Adelaide
The Grave
- Page 4
Fuseli's arrangement
Blake's Watercolor
British Museum
The Grave - Page 4
Cromak's arrangement
Schiavonetti's Engraving


Book - 4 The Counseller, King, Warrior, Mother and Child in the Tomb
If we are looking at Eternal Death as passage through the material world by the Soul or Identity, we encounter both righteousness and wickedness. Fuseli places the image of The Strong and Wicked Man Dying at the beginning of the journey. The implication is that there is an accumulation of darkness or wickedness which enters worldly life when the Soul first puts on the garment of flesh.
Some religious people would call the baggage man carries into the world original sin which originated with the disobedience of Eve and Adam in Eden. John Wesley in his sermon Original Sin emphasized that the only escape from the wickedness which is the natural condition of fallen man is God's grace through which man is reborn as a new man with a new mind.
Excerpt from Wesley's sermon 44, Original Sin:
"Keep to the plain, old faith, "once delivered to the saints," and delivered by the Spirit of God to our hearts. Know your disease! Know your cure! Ye were born in sin: Therefore, "ye must be born again," born of God. By nature ye are wholly corrupted. By grace ye shall be wholly renewed. In Adam ye all died: In the second Adam, in Christ, ye all are made alive. "You that were dead in sins hath he quickened:" He hath already given you a principle of life, even faith in him who loved you and gave himself for you! Now, "go on from faith to faith," until your whole sickness be healed; and all that "mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus!""
Blake's image of The Strong and Wicked Man Dying can be seen as the death of the old man from the wickedness in which he lived, in preparation for the new birth into the knowledge of God which had been foreign to him in life. If Blake is illustrating mankind as carrying the burden of original sin as he enters The Door of Death - the gateway to the journey leading to Eternity - we see the wicked man being prepared to shed the error which had created his burden. As in his poem The Mental Traveller, Blake presented the life of man in terms of both his soul and his body whose influence may alternate as he gains experience. Using Wesley's imagery, in order for the sickness of man to be healed, he must undergo the process of receiving new life by dying to the old life. 

Jerusalem, Plate 27, (E 171
"Jerusalem the Emanation of the Giant Albion! Can it be? Is it a
Truth that the Learned have explored? Was Britain the Primitive
Seat of the Patriarchal Religion? If it is true: my title-page is
also True, that Jerusalem was & is the Emanation of the Giant
Albion.  It is True, and cannot be controverted.  Ye are united O
ye Inhabitants of Earth in One Religion.  The Religion of Jesus:
the most Ancient, the Eternal: & the Everlasting Gospel--The
Wicked will turn it to Wickedness,
the Righteous to Righteousness.  Amen! Huzza! Selah!
  "All things Begin & End in Albions Ancient Druid Rocky Shore."" 

Four Zoas, Night II, Page 3, (E 300)
[4 lines of  Greek text Ephesians 6:12]
[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)] 

A Vision of the Last Judgment, (E 560)
"The Graves beneath are opend & the Dead awake & obey
the call of the Trumpet those on the Right hand awake in joy
those on the Left in Horror. beneath the Dragons Cavern a
Skeleton begins to Animate starting into life at the Trumpets
sound while the Wicked contend with each other on the brink of 

A Vision of the Last Judgment, (E 563)
"beneath these a Cloud of Women & Children are taken
up fleeing from the rolling Cloud which separates the Wicked from
the Seats of Bliss.  These represent those who tho willing were
too weak to Reject Error without the Assistance & Countenance of
those Already in the Truth for a Man Can only Reject Error by the
Advice of a Friend or by the Immediate Inspiration of God it is
for this Reason among many others that I have put the Lords
Supper on the Left hand of the Throne for it appears so
at the Last Judgment for a Protection" 

A Vision of the Last Judgment, (E 563)
"By this it will be seen that I do not consider either the Just
or the Wicked to be in a Supreme State but to be every one of
them States of the Sleep which the Soul may fall into in its
Deadly Dreams of Good & Evil when it leaves Paradise
following the Serpent" 

Annotations to Watson, (E 618)
"This sense of
the Bible is equally true to all & equally plain to all. none can
doubt the impression which he recieves from a book of Examples. 
If he is good he will abhor wickedness in David or Abraham if he
is wicked he will make their wickedness an excuse for his & so he
would do by any other book"

Annotations to Reynolds, (E 634)
 "the grandest Poetry is Immoral the Grandest characters
Wicked.  Very Satan.  Capanius    Othello a murderer. 
Prometheus.  Jupiter.  Jehovah, Jesus a wine bibber
     Cunning & Morality are not Poetry but Philosophy the Poet is
Independent & Wicked the Philosopher is Dependent & Good
     Poetry is to excuse Vice & show its reason & necessary

Sunday, December 31, 2017


University of Adelaide
The Grave
- Page 3
Fuseli's arrangement
Blake's Watercolor
British Museum
The Grave - Page 3
Cromak's arrangement
Schiavonetti's Engraving


Book - 3 The Meeting of a Family in Heaven

For himself and for his audience Blake longs for the passage through Eternal Death and awakening to Eternal Life. His view is that if man voluntarily enters the Door of Death, he embarks on the journey which leads to Eternal Life. There is a Golden String which man may follow through the labyrinth of existence. The preparation for undertaking the journey through the grave is awareness of the 'Immortal Man that cannot Die.
When we think metaphorically, death in the physical world connotes entry into the unknown void. But life beyond physical death is no more of a mystery than life in the physical world. The 'events' of one's life are pointers to, or tracings of, what is experienced in another realm. If life were just the passage from material birth to material death it would easily be discarded, but we cling to it tenaciously because it contains more than is revealed externally. When we are aware that we have received life as a gift, we have the responsibility to live purposefully. So death is a metaphor for relinquishing the known, just as life is a metaphor for affirming the unknown.
If one enters the Door of Death one assumes the responsibility of looking within, of exploring the recesses of the grave for the purpose of discerning what cannot be learned in the outer world.

Jerusalem, Plate 1, (E 144)
"There is a Void, outside of Existence, which if enterd into
Englobes itself & becomes a Womb, such was Albions Couch
A pleasant Shadow of Repose calld Albions lovely Land

His Sublime & Pathos become Two Rocks fixd in the Earth
His Reason his Spectrous Power, covers them above                
Jerusalem his Emanation is a Stone laying beneath
O [Albion behold Pitying] behold the Vision of Albion"

Jerusalem, Plate 4, (E 146)
"Of the Sleep of Ulro! and of the passage through
Eternal Death! and of the awaking to Eternal Life.

This theme calls me in sleep night after night, & ev'ry morn
Awakes me at sun-rise, then I see the Saviour over me
Spreading his beams of love, & dictating the words of this mild song." 
THE GATES of PARADISE For The Sexes, (E 269)
"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"

Dedication to Blake's Illustrations to Blair's Grave, (E 480)
             "TO THE QUEEN   

The Door of Death is made of Gold,
That Mortal Eyes cannot behold;
But, when the Mortal Eyes are clos'd,
And cold and pale the Limbs repos'd,
The Soul awakes; and, wond'ring, sees
In her mild Hand the golden Keys:
The Grave is Heaven's golden Gate,
And rich and poor around it wait;
O Shepherdess of England's Fold,
Behold this Gate of Pearl and Gold!                 

  To dedicate to England's Queen 
The Visions that my Soul has seen,
And, by Her kind permission, bring 
What I have borne on solemn Wing,
From the vast regions of the Grave,
Before Her Throne my Wings I wave;
Bowing before my Sov'reign's Feet,
"The Grave produc'd these Blossoms sweet
"In mild repose from Earthly strife;
"The Blossoms of Eternal Life!               

                         WILLIAM BLAKE"

Milton, Plate 32 [35], (E 132)
"Judge then of thy Own Self: thy Eternal Lineaments explore       
What is Eternal & what Changeable? & what Annihilable!

The Imagination is not a State: it is the Human Existence itself
Affection or Love becomes a State, when divided from Imagination
The Memory is a State always, & the Reason is a State
Created to be Annihilated & a new Ratio Created                  
Whatever can be Created can be Annihilated Forms cannot
The Oak is cut down by the Ax, the Lamb falls by the Knife
But their Forms Eternal Exist, For-ever. Amen Halle[l]ujah
Thus they converse with the Dead watching round the Couch of Death.
For God himself enters Death's Door always with those that enter 
And lays down in the Grave with them, in Visions of Eternity
Till they awake & see Jesus & the Linen Clothes lying
That the Females had Woven for them, & the Gates of their Fathers House"  

Thursday, December 28, 2017


Life in this world is referred to by Blake as Eternal Death. Man enters it at birth and leaves it at the Last Judgment when he Annihilates his Selfhood. From the perspective of the natural man, Eternal Death is the furnace of affliction where all that can be annihilated is annihilated. From the perspective of the Redeemed Man, Eternal Death is the opportunity to pass through states which lead to Eternal Life. The lessons of love and forgiveness are learned through encountering the stages through which one passes.

Fuseli put this plate second in his order of arranging the pages of The Grave to show what man may expect to experience as he pursues his journey through life. As a man or woman travels with his or her own endowments, he/she moves into situations which elicit responses. The individual gains self-knowledge by interacting with various classes of humanity in multiple circumstances. From the images in the illustration we can focus on states we have already passed through and ones which may lie in the future as our lives unfold.

Fuseli's comment:

"The pious daughter weeping and conducting her sire onward; age, creeping carefully on hands and knees; an elder, without friend or kindred; a miser; a bachelor, blindly proceeding, no one knows where, ready to drop into the dark abyss; frantic youth rashly devoted to vice and passion, rushing past the diseased and old, who totters on crutches; the wan declining virgin; the miserable and distracted widow; the hale country youth; and the mother and her numerous progeny, already arrived in this valley, are among the groups which speak irresistibly to the feelings."

University of Adelaide
The Grave
- Page 2
Fuseli's arrangement
Blake's Watercolor

British Museum
The Grave - Page 2
Cromak's arrangement
Schiavonetti's Engraving

 Milton, Plate 4, (E 98)
"Every Mans Wisdom is peculiar to his own Individuality
O Satan my youngest born, art thou not Prince of the Starry Hosts
And of the Wheels of Heaven, to turn the Mills day & night?  
Art thou not Newtons Pantocrator weaving the Woof of Locke
To Mortals thy Mills seem every thing & the Harrow of Shaddai
A scheme of Human conduct invisible & incomprehensible
Get to thy Labours at the Mills & leave me to my wrath,

Satan was going to reply, but Los roll'd his loud thunders.   

Anger me not! thou canst not drive the Harrow in pitys paths.
Thy Work is Eternal Death, with Mills & Ovens & Cauldrons.
Trouble me no more. thou canst not have Eternal Life

So Los spoke! Satan trembling obeyd weeping along the way.
Mark well my words, they are of your eternal Salvation"  

Milton, Plate 14 [15], (E 108)
"And Milton said, I go to Eternal Death! The Nations still
Follow after the detestable Gods of Priam; in pomp               
Of warlike selfhood, contradicting and blaspheming.
When will the Resurrection come; to deliver the sleeping body
From corruptibility: O when Lord Jesus wilt thou come?
Tarry no longer; for my soul lies at the gates of death.
I will arise and look forth for the morning of the grave.       
I will go down to the sepulcher to see if morning breaks!
I will go down to self annihilation and eternal death,
Lest the Last Judgment come & find me unannihilate
And I be siez'd & giv'n into the hands of my own Selfhood"

Milton, Plate 24 [26], (E 120)
"Arise O Sons give all your strength against Eternal Death
Lest we are vegetated, for Cathedrons Looms weave only Death     
A Web of Death: & were it not for Bowlahoola & Allamanda
No Human Form but only a Fibrous Vegetation
A Polypus of soft affections without Thought or Vision"

Milton, Plate 26 [28] (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.

Milton, Plate 32 [35], (E 135)
"States Change: but Individual Identities never change nor cease:
You cannot go to Eternal Death in that which can never Die."

Jerusalem, Plate 31, [35], (E 177)
"And the Divine voice came from the Furnaces, as multitudes without
Number! the voices of the innumerable multitudes of Eternity.
And the appearance of a Man was seen in the Furnaces;            
Saving those who have sinned from the punishment of the Law,
(In pity of the punisher whose state is eternal death,)
And keeping them from Sin by the mild counsels of his love.

Albion goes to Eternal Death: In Me all Eternity.
Must pass thro' condemnation, and awake beyond the Grave!"

Jerusalem, Plate 48, (E 196)
"These were his last words, and the merciful Saviour in his arms
Reciev'd him, in the arms of tender mercy and repos'd
The pale limbs of his Eternal Individuality
Upon the Rock of Ages. Then, surrounded with a Cloud:
In silence the Divine Lord builded with immortal labour,         
Of gold & jewels a sublime Ornament, a Couch of repose,
With Sixteen pillars: canopied with emblems & written verse.
Spiritual Verse, order'd & measur'd, from whence, time shall reveal.
The Five books of the Decologue, the books of Joshua & Judges,
Samuel, a double book & Kings, a double book, the Psalms & Prophets 
The Four-fold Gospel, and the Revelations everlasting
Eternity groan'd. & was troubled, at the image of Eternal Death!"

Jerusalem, Plate 63, (E 215) 
"Without Forgiveness of Sin Love is Itself Eternal Death"

Jerusalem, Plate 96, (E 256)
"Jesus said. Wouldest thou love one who never died
For thee or ever die for one who had not died for thee
And if God dieth not for Man & giveth not himself           
Eternally for Man Man could not exist. for Man is Love:
As God is Love: every kindness to another is a little Death
In the Divine Image nor can Man exist but by Brotherhood

So saying. the Cloud overshadowing divided them asunder
Albion stood in terror: not for himself but for his Friend     
Divine, & Self was lost in the contemplation of faith
And wonder at the Divine Mercy & at Los's sublime honour

Do I sleep amidst danger to Friends! O my Cities & Counties
Do you sleep! rouze up! rouze up. Eternal Death is abroad

So Albion spoke & threw himself into the Furnaces of affliction 
All was a Vision, all a Dream: the Furnaces became
Fountains of Living Waters Howing from the Humanity Divine
And all the Cities of Albion rose from their Slumbers, and All
The Sons & Daughters of Albion on soft clouds Waking from Sleep"

2 Christ Descending - Eternal King whose potent arm sustains the keys of Hell and Death

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
John 14:2

Henry Fuseli and William Blake were both 'corporeal' friends and spiritual friends: they enjoyed each others company and shared interests, but they also related with each other through the bond of a common spiritual sensitivity. Fuseli recognized in Blake's watercolor illustrations for Blair's The Grave the implications of what he was trying to communicate of everyman's spiritual journey. To enhance the message that Blake incorporated in his illustrations, Fuseli arranged the pictures in the order appropriate to carry Blake's message.

"By the arrangement here made, the regular progression
of Man, from his first descent into the Vale of
Death, to his last admission into Life eternal, is
exhibited. These Designs, detached from the
Work they embellish, form of themselves a most
interesting Poem."


To Blake the Door of Death marked entry into earthly life. Christ and Man alike enter the door of death to gain experience by living in a physical, mortal body. A man takes on an identity on earth suited to the tasks assigned to him. Although the man may experience himself as a body separated from his soul this is a misapprehension. The soul remains a presence which can be accessed whenever the body is prepared to receive it. In the Vale of Death are many mansions which the man may have occasion to explore as he seeks the truth which will remain when error is annihilated. When the trumpet sounds for a man he receives the transcending vision and his body of flesh is exchanged for a spiritual body suited for Eternity. Man is not alone in the Eternal Realm but reunited with the company of the redeemed in the fellowship of love. Error is annihilated and truth reigns when the Last Judgment separates the Eternal from the transient, the Infinite from restraints of space.

Cromek, the publisher, did not follow the order suggested by Fuseli but used a completely different order in the published book:

1 Title Page - The Grave - A Poem 
2 Christ Descending
3 The Meeting of a Family in Heaven
4 The Counselor, King, Warrior, Mother and Child in the Tomb
5 Death of the Strong Wicked Man
6 The Soul Hovering Over the Body reluctantly parting with Life
7 The Death of The Good Old Man
8 The Descent of Man into the Vale of Death
9 The Day of Judgment
10 The Soul Exploring the Recesses of the Grave
11 Death's Door
12 The Reunion of the Soul & the Body

The arrangement by Cromak follows the more common understanding of Death as the end of Life when the evil man is subject to punishment and the good man is rewarded in heaven by being rejoined by his soul from whom he was alienated on earth. 

Page 1
Fuseli's arrangement
Blake's Watercolor
Page 1
Cromak's arrangement
Schiavonetti's Engraving 

Monday, December 18, 2017


National Portrait Gallery
Oil Portrait by Thomas Phillips

The only formal portrait of William Blake was painted by Thomas Phillips in 1807. It is uncertain if the work was as a result of friendship between Phillips and Blake or in conjunction with Cromek's proposed publication of Blair's The Grave with illustrations by Blake. As it turned out Blake did not engrave the illustrations he had painted for Cromek's publication but his portrait was included prominently as the frontispiece.   

The Phillips portrait resides in the National Portrait Gallery in London. Cromek had the engraving of Blake's portrait done by Luis Schiavonetti whom he also hired to engrave Blake's images.
British Museum
Luis Schiavonetti Engraving
Published book The Grave
National Gallery of Victoria
Morgan Library and Museum 
Watercolor Copy from Butts Collection
Blake Portrait by Phillips  
Milton, Plate 21 [23], (E 115)
"But I knew not that it was Milton, for man cannot know
What passes in his members till periods of Space & Time
Reveal the secrets of Eternity: for more extensive
Than any other earthly things, are Mans earthly lineaments."     

Milton, Plate 32 [35], (E 132)
"And thou O Milton art a State about to be Created
Called Eternal Annihilation that none but the Living shall
Dare to enter: & they shall enter triumphant over Death
And Hell & the Grave! States that are not, but ah! Seem to be.

Judge then of thy Own Self: thy Eternal Lineaments explore
What is Eternal & what Changeable? & what Annihilable!"          

Jerusalem, Plate 38 [43], (E 185)
Humanity, who is the Only General and Universal Form         
To which all Lineaments tend & seek with love & sympathy
All broad & general principles belong to benevolence
Who protects minute particulars, every one in their own identity."

Descriptive Catalogue, (E 530)
"CLEARNESS and precision have been the chief objects in painting
these Pictures.  Clear colours unmudded by oil, and firm and
determinate lineaments unbroken by shadows, which ought to
display and not to hide form, as is the practice of the latter
Schools of Italy and Flanders."

Descriptive Catalogue,(E 541)
"He who does
not imagine in stronger and better lineaments, and in stronger
and better light than his perishing mortal eye can see does not
imagine at all.  The painter of this work asserts that all his
imaginations appear to him infinitely more perfect and more
minutely organized than any thing seen by his
mortal eye."

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 560)
"I intreat then that the Spectator will attend to the
Hands & Feet to the Lineaments of the Countenances they are all
descriptive of Character & not a line is drawn without intention
& that most discriminate & particular as Poetry admits not a
Letter that is Insignificant so Painting admits not a Grain of
Sand or a Blade of Grass Insignificant much less an
Insignificant Blur or Mark"