Wednesday, May 24, 2017

BLAKE'S SIBYL


Wikiart
Michelangelo
Sistine Chapel - Cumaean Sibyl
Michelangelo's design for the ceiling of the Sistine chapel in the Vatican included seven Hebrew prophets and five Greek sibyls arranged prominently around the borders of the central scenes. The figure of Daniel is between the Cumaean and Libyan sibyls. 

Wikimedia Commons
Cumaean Sibyl
Copy after Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling
These are the prophets and sibyls listed on the Italian Renaissance Art website: Jonah, Jeremiah, Persian Sibyl, Ezekiel, Erythraean Sibyl, Joel, Zechariah, Delphic Sibyl, Isaiah, Cumaean Sibyl, Daniel, Libyan Sibyl.

In his studies of Michelangelo's art Blake copied from a print the Cumaean Sibyl. Michelangelo and Blake owed a debt to Greek art and thought although their principal obligation was to the Hebrew narratives of the Old Testament. The distilled wisdom of the Greeks was embodied in the female sibyls parallel to the Hebrew wisdom being embodied in the prophets. The sibyls provided their guidance through oracles offered to supplicants seeking advice. The words of the prophets were written in books and collected by scholars to be read for their instruction and edification. The sibyls acted through intuitive processes which reached directly into the psyche, whereas the prophets used historical experiences to speak to the intellect with the aim of modifying man's understanding. There is no evidence that the methods of the sibyls were less influential on Blake's attempts to communicate than were the prophet's. Blake wrote poetry not law.
ON HOMERS POETRY, (E 269)
"Every Poem must necessarily be a perfect Unity, but why Homers is
peculiarly so, I cannot tell: he has told the story of
Bellerophon & omitted the judgment of Paris which is not only a
part, but a principal part of Homers subject
  But when a Work has Unity it is as much in a Part as in the
Whole. the Torso is as much a Unity as the Laocoon
  As Unity is the cloke of folly so Goodness is the cloke of
knavery  Those who will have Unity exclusively in Homer come out
with a Moral like a sting in the tail: Aristotle says Characters
are either Good or Bad: now Goodness or Badness has nothing to do
with Character. an Apple tree a Pear tree a Horse a Lion, are
Characters but a Good Apple tree or a Bad, is an Apple tree
still: a Horse is not more a Lion for being a Bad Horse. that is
its Character; its Goodness or Badness is another consideration.
  It is the same with the Moral of a whole Poem as with the Moral
Goodness& Morality, are secondary considerations &
belong to Philosophy & not to Poetry, to Exception & not to Rule,
to Accident & not to Substance. the Ancients calld it eating of
the tree of good & evil.
  The Classics, it is the Classics! & not Goths nor Monks, that
Desolate Europe with Wars.                                                                

ON VIRGIL              
Sacred Truth has pronounced that Greece & Rome as Babylon &
Egypt: so far from being parents of Arts & Sciences as they
pretend: were destroyers of all Art.  Homer Virgil & Ovid confirm
this opinion & make us reverence The Word of God, the only light
of antiquity that remains unperverted by War.  Virgil in the
Eneid Book VI. line 848 says Let others study Art: Rome has
somewhat better to do, namely War & Dominion
  Rome & Greece swept Art into their maw & destroyd it     a
Warlike State never can produce Art.  It will Rob & Plunder &
accumulate into one place, & Translate & Copy & Buy & Sell &
Criticise, but not Make.
  Mathematic Form is Eternal in the Reasoning Memory.  Living
Form is Eternal Existence.
  Grecian is Mathematic Form
  Gothic is Living Form" 
Vision of Last Judgment, (E 554)
 "The Last judgment is one of these Stupendous

Visions. I have represented it as I saw it.
to different People it appears differently as every
thing else does for tho on Earth things seem Permanent they are
less permanent than a Shadow as we all know too well
     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 as the Imaginative Image
returns by 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
... 
The Greek Muses which are not Inspiration as the Bible is. 
Reality was Forgot & the Vanities of Time & Space only Rememberd
& calld Reality Such is the Mighty difference between Allegoric
Fable & Spiritual Mystery Let it here be Noted that the Greek
Fables originated in Spiritual Mystery & Real Vision 
and Real Visions Which are lost & clouded in Fable & Alegory
while the Hebrew Bible & the Greek Gospel are
Genuine Preservd by the Saviours Mercy The Nature of my Work is
Visionary or Imaginative it is an Endeavour to Restore the Golden Age
     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 & Temporal    There Exist
in that Eternal World the Permanent Realities of Every Thing
which we see are reflected in this Vegetable Glass of Nature
     All Things are comprehended in their Eternal Forms in the
Divine body of the Saviour the True Vine of Eternity
The Human Imagination who appeard to Me as Coming to Judgment.
among his Saints & throwing off the Temporal that the Eternal
might be Establishd. around him were seen the Images of
Existences according to a certain order suited to my Imaginative Eye"

Vision of Last Judgment,(E 560) 
 "A Mother
Meets her  Family in the Arms of their Father these are
representations of the Greek Learned & Wise as also of those of
other Nations such as Egypt & Babylon in which were multitudes
who shall meet the Lord coming in the Clouds" 


Sunday, May 21, 2017

LARRY'S JOURNAL

 Larry's Journal
1985 - Fri April 5


"Warm today. Life is good.

4 Z's IV - Tharmas "rap'd bright Enitharmon far apart from Los." I just (maybe for the first time) realized the analogy with the making of Eve. "O how Los howl'd at their rending asunder."

Blake imagines a time before that when man and woman were one flesh - a happier time.

"That deadly night when Urizen gave the horses of Light into the hands of Luvah."
Blake - and everyone else - knows that intellect (the province of Urizen) is contaminated  by Desire. Reason has become rationalized. Self interest is universally mistaken for Truth.

Ellie revolted against the general statement I was making last night about the corruption of colleges by money. A sad scene. She was saying that she doesn't want to hear the things I want to say.

I want to make statements about universal fallenness - which naturally no one wants to hear. It seems very important to me for people to become fully aware of the fallenness of the world in which they live. Everyone's existence is contaminated, corrupted, depraved, oppressed and diminished by it. People refuse to make the connection that we are all members of the one fallen, corrupt world."



Ellie's Comment
May 2017

Since I was not a student of Blake in 1985, I didn't realize that I was trying to play Ahania to Larry's Urizen. I was trying to warn Larry's intellectual side about failing to find the joy and delight in applying the intellect to seeking solutions to the world's problems. 

He however was responding as Los to Enithamon as she tried to draw him away from his prophetic role to become engrossed in materiality. 

Blake knew that he had to avoid both the pitfalls of projecting only the woes of the fallen world which stunted him, or only the joy of the visionary world which beckoned. For neither the joy nor the woe was the complete picture. It was the interplay of pain and pleasure, of shadow and light, of loss and gain, which provided the dynamic for a soul at home in two worlds.   

Is this why Eve was initially separated from Adam: to initiate the creative dialogue which illuminates the appreciation of the 'not I' by the 'I?' 
 
Found on Internet
Frontispiece: Book of Ahania
 Book of Ahania, Plate 4, (E 88)
 "Chap: V

1: The lamenting voice of Ahania            
Weeping upon the void.
And round the Tree of Fuzon:
Distant in solitary night
Her voice was heard, but no form
Had she: but her tears from clouds         
Eternal fell round the Tree

2: And the voice cried: Ah Urizen! Love!
Flower of morning! I weep on the verge
Of Non-entity; how wide the Abyss
Between Ahania and thee!                      

3: I lie on the verge of the deep.
I see thy dark clouds ascend,
I see thy black forests and floods,
A horrible waste to my eyes!

4: Weeping I walk over rocks                 
Over dens & thro' valleys of death
Why didst thou despise Ahania
To cast me from thy bright presence
Into the World of Loneness

5: I cannot touch his hand:                  
Nor weep on his knees, nor hear
His voice & bow, nor see his eyes
And joy, nor hear his footsteps, and
My heart leap at the lovely sound!
I cannot kiss the place                     
Whereon his bright feet have trod,

Plate 5
But I wander on the rocks
With hard necessity.

6: Where is my golden palace
Where my ivory bed
Where the joy of my morning hour         
Where the sons of eternity, singing

7: To awake bright Urizen my king!
To arise to the mountain sport,
To the bliss of eternal valleys:

8: To awake my king in the morn!        
To embrace Ahanias joy
On the bredth of his open bosom:
From my soft cloud of dew to fall
In showers of life on his harvests.

9: When he gave my happy soul                   
To the sons of eternal joy:
When he took the daughters of life.
Into my chambers of love:

10: When I found babes of bliss on my beds.
And bosoms of milk in my chambers               
Fill'd with eternal seed
O! eternal births sung round Ahania
In interchange sweet of their joys.

11: Swell'd with ripeness & fat with fatness
Bursting on winds my odors,                     
My ripe figs and rich pomegranates
In infant joy at thy feet
O Urizen, sported and sang;

12: Then thou with thy lap full of seed
With thy band full of generous fire         
Walked forth from the clouds of morning
On the virgins of springing joy,
On the human soul to cast
The seed of eternal science.

13: The sweat poured down thy temples           
To Ahania return'd in evening
The moisture awoke to birth
My mothers-joys, sleeping in bliss.

14: But now alone over rocks, mountains
Cast out from thy lovely bosom:                          
Cruel jealousy! selfish fear!
Self-destroying: how can delight,
Renew in these chains of darkness
Where bones of beasts are strown
On the bleak and snowy mountains
Where bones from the birth are buried
Before they see the light.

       FINIS"

Saturday, May 20, 2017

BLAKE & DANIEL

Wikimedia Commons
Michelangelo
Sistine Chapel - Daniel

There are several dramatic stories in Book of Daniel with which Blake was thoroughly familiar. Blake's well known figure of Nebuchadnezzar is his representation of the powerful king who was reduced to the condition of a beast until he developed awareness. Daniel's accounts of the three prophets who were consigned to the furnace being accompanied by 'the son of man' influenced Blake's poignant accounts of characters being thrown into the furnaces of affliction to be made whole. The image of the man with legs of iron, loins of brass, breast of silver and head of gold was equally influential on Blake. But in his portrait of Daniel, Blake did not refer to these incidents but to the representation of Daniel among the prophets painted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
British Museum
Daniel
Copy after Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling
To Blake, Daniel was a true prophet: a man who dreamed dreams and saw visions; a man who could discern truth which was hidden from others. Both Blake and Daniel conveyed the truth which was given to them according to their individual abilities, but always with the caveat that they could only reveal what their audience was able to receive.   

Daniel 7
[25] And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
[26] But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
[27] And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
[28] Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.


Descriptive Catalogue, (E 543)
 "The antiquities of every Nation Under Heaven, is no less
sacred than that of the Jews.  They are the same thing as Jacob
Bryant, [P 44] and all antiquaries have proved.  How other
antiquities came to be neglected and disbelieved, while those of
the Jews are collected and arranged, is an enquiry, worthy of
both the Antiquarian and the Divine.  All had originally one
language, and one religion, this was the religion of Jesus, the
everlasting Gospel.  Antiquity preaches the Gospel of Jesus.  The
reasoning historian, turner and twister of causes and
consequences, such as Hume, Gibbon and Voltaire; cannot with all
their artifice, turn or twist one fact or disarrange self evident
action and reality.  Reasons and opinions concerning acts, are not
history.  Acts themselves alone are history, and these are
neither the exclusive property of Hume, Gibbon nor Voltaire,
Echard, Rapin, Plutarch, nor Herodotus.  Tell me the Acts, O
historian, and leave me to reason upon them as I please; away
with your reasoning and your rubbish.  All that is not action is
not [P 45] worth reading.  Tell me the What; I do not want you to
tell me the Why, and the How; I can find that out myself, as well
as you can, and I will not be fooled by you into opinions, that
you please to impose, to disbelieve what you think improbable or
impossible.  His opinions, who does not see spiritual agency, is
not worth any man's reading; he who rejects a fact because it is
improbable, must reject all History and retain doubts only."

Monday, May 15, 2017

PASSING THRU STATES

Wikipedia Commons
Michelangelo
Sistine Chapel - Eleazar and Mathan

The number of figures which Michelangelo painted on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel is said to be 343. In our post about the Reposing Traveller we focused on an image identified as Aminidab, an ancestor of Jesus. Michelangelo painted 22 pictures bearing names of individuals in Matthew's list of the ancestor's of Jesus. The individuals are identifiable only because Michelangelo supplied names. The pictures consistently show men, women and children in situations which may involve tensions among family members. "In them Michelangelo has portrayed the anger and unhappiness of the human condition."(wiki) The impression conveyed is that the generations leading up to the birth of Jesus suffered hardships related to unredeemed humanity. 

British Museum
Mathan
Copy after Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling
A picture which Blake sketched when he was young was that of Mathan. He was named in Matthew's book of generation of Jesus Christ among the 42 individuals - some famous and powerful, others little known and humble. Perhaps Blake thought of states when he considered the generations which preceded Jesus. Blake promulgated the idea that we necessarily should distinguish men from the states in which they temporarily find themselves. Although individuals go from state to state, there is consistency in the available states through which they travel. Blake could see that Michelangelo's representations of the ancestors of Jesus were not individuals but states which led to the possibility of the state 'savior' eventually entering into the generated world.

 

Matt.1

[1] The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Jerusalem, Plate 25, (E 170)
"Descend O Lamb of God & take away the imputation of Sin
By the Creation of States & the deliverance of Individuals
     Evermore Amen"

Jerusalem, Plate 73, (E 228)
"Which Los with his mighty Hammer demolishes time on time
In miracles & wonders in the Four-fold Desart of Albion
Permanently Creating to be in Time Reveald & Demolishd
Satan Cain Tubal Nimrod Pharoh Priam Bladud Belin                
Arthur Alfred the Norman Conqueror Richard John
[Edward Henry Elizabeth James Charles William George] 
And all the Kings & Nobles of the Earth & all their Glories
These are Created by Rahab & Tirzah in Ulro: but around
These, to preserve them from Eternal Death Los Creates           
Adam Noah Abraham Moses Samuel David Ezekiel
[Pythagoras Socrates Euripedes Virgil Dante Milton] 
Dissipating the rocky forms of Death, by his thunderous Hammer
As the Pilgrim passes while the Country permanent remains
So Men pass on: but States remain permanent for ever" 
Milton, Plate 32 [35], (E 132)
"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.
Satan & Adam are States Created into Twenty-seven Churches       
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 31 [35], (E 177)
"Albion goes to Eternal Death: In Me all Eternity.
Must pass thro' condemnation, and awake beyond the Grave!
No individual can keep these Laws, for they are death
To every energy of man, and forbid the springs of life;
Albion hath enterd the State Satan! Be permanent O State!
And be thou for ever accursed! that Albion may arise again:
And be thou created into a State! I go forth to Create           
States: to deliver Individuals evermore! Amen.

So spoke the voice from the Furnaces, descending into Non-Entity"
                                         
Descriptive Catalogue, (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."

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 556)
"it ought to be understood that the Persons
Moses & Abraham are not here meant but the States Signified by
those Names the Individuals being representatives or Visions of
those States as they were reveald to Mortal Man in the Series of
Divine Revelations. as they are written in the Bible these
various States I have seen in my Imagination when distant they
appear as One Man but as you approach they appear
Multitudes of Nations.  Abraham hovers above his posterity which
appear as Multitudes of Children ascending from the Earth
surrounded by Stars as it was said As the Stars of Heaven for
Multitude Jacob & his Twelve Sons hover beneath
the feet of Abraham & recieve their children from the Earth" 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA


Detail of the Crucifixion of St. Peter 
by Michelangelo in the Cappella Paolina. 



When Blake was a young apprentice just learning his trade of engraving he choose as his subject an image from a figure by Michelangelo. Blake was familiar with the work of Michelangelo through prints which he studied to become familiar with the great art of the past. A small portion of a fresco in the Pauline Chapel of the Vatican presented an image of a powerful but pensive man caught in the crowd gathered around the crucifixion of Peter. The craft of engraving requires the artist to intensely concentrate his focus on the image he is engraving . Michelangelo's figure became to Blake more than just a picture. It became Joseph of Arimathea, if became William Blake, it became everyman, it became Albion.

British Museum
Nicolas Beatrizet
(after Michelangelo)
Figure of a Man
British Museum
Student Engraving
1773
British Museum
Joseph of Arimathea Among the Rocks of Albion 
c. 1810
According to the Gospel of John it was Joseph of Arimathea who requested that Roman governor Pilate release the body of Jesus for burial. Legends grew up around Joseph including that he was Jesus' uncle, a tin merchant who had taken Jesus on a trip to England with him when Jesus was an adolescent. The legend included the idea that Joseph stood by helplessly when Jesus was crucified, perhaps standing at a distance to avoid arousing the attention of the Roman Soldiers or the Jewish authorities. The legend continued with Joseph using a Chalice to catch the blood of the Lord as it flowed from the wound in his side. The Chalice became identified as the Holy Grail and as the story goes, traveled to England with Joseph.
The legend tells of Joseph founding Christianity in England at Glastonbury in Cornwall. It is events in this tale which led to Blake's writing the lines:

"And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!"

 
 

Blake did not forget the image which he had made when an apprentice to Basire. He returned to it years later reengraved it with additional detail and words to explain what it meant to him. The image tied him to Joseph of Arimathea, to Jesus, to Michelangelo and to the restored Albion which incorporated the idea of Jerusalem being built in England's green and pleasant land.

Harold Bloom commenting on The Everlasting Gospel, (E 876):
 

"But in the 1818 fragment the drama remains the static threefold scene: Christ and Lucifer arguing their opposite views before "Me" (Every man, or Joseph of Arimathea, or Blake)."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Inscriptions, (E 671)
     "JOSEPH of Arimathea among The Rocks of Albion
     
Engraved by W Blake 1773 from an old Italian Drawing 
     This is One of the Gothic Artists who Built the Cathedrals
in what we call the Dark Ages    Wandering about in sheep skins &
goat skins of  whom  the World was not worthy   such were the
Christians in all Ages
     Michael Angelo Pinxit" 

Inscriptions, (E 671)
[on a proof of the early state of the plate]
     "Engraved when I was a beginner at Basires from a drawing by
Salviati after Michael Angelo" 
 
Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 110 [106], (E 379)
"Thus was the Lamb of God condemnd to Death            
They naild him upon the tree of Mystery weeping over him
And then mocking & then worshipping calling him Lord & King
Sometimes as twelve daughters lovely & sometimes as five
They stood in beaming beauty & sometimes as one even Rahab
Who is Mystery Babylon the Great the Mother of Harlots    

Jerusalem saw the Body dead upon the Cross She fled away 
Saying Is this Eternal Death   Where shall I hide from Death
Pity me Los pity me Urizen & let us build    
A Sepulcher & worship Death in fear while yet we live 
Death! God of All from whom we rise to whom we all return
And Let all Nations of the Earth worship at the Sepulcher      
With Gifts & Spices with lamps rich embossd jewels & gold

Los took the Body from the Cross Jerusalem weeping over
They bore it to the Sepulcher which Los had hewn in the rock 
Of Eternity for himself he hewd it despairing of Life Eternal" 

Four Zoas, Night VIII, PAGE 103, (E 375) 
"The sorrower of Eternity in love with tears submiss I rear
My Eyes to thy Pavilions hear my prayer for Luvahs sake
I see the murderer of my Luvah clothd in robes of blood
He who assured my Luvahs throne in times of Everlasting
Where hast thou hid him whom I love in what remote Abyss 
Resides that God of my delight O might my eyes behold
My Luvah then could I deliver all the sons of God
From Bondage of these terrors & with influences sweet   
As once in those eternal fields in brotherhood & Love
United we should live in bliss as those who sinned not 
The Eternal Man is seald by thee never to be deliverd
We are all servants to thy will O King of Light relent
Thy furious power be our father & our loved King
But if my Luvah is no more If thou hast smitten him
And laid him in the Sepulcher Or if thou wilt revenge     
His murder on another Silent I bow with dread
But happiness can never [come] to thee O King nor me
For he was source of every joy that this mysterious tree
Unfolds in Allegoric fruit. When shall the dead revive
Can that which has existed cease or can love & life Expire"

John 19
[33] But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
[34] But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
[35] And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
[36] For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
[37] And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
[38] And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
[39] And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
[40] Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
[41] Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
[42] There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

Matthew 27
[57] When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:
[58] He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
[59] And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
[60] And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

BLAKE'S REPOSE

British Museum The Reposing Traveller
1785

Matt.1
[1] The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
[2] Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;
[3] And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;

[4] And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon;
...
[16] And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
[17] So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.


William Blake was an enthusiastic admirer of Michelangelo from his youth. The first image he created independently as an apprentice engraver was a copy of a figure from the Pauline Chapel of the Vatican. Another of the images from Michelangelo's frescos which he copied from a print which was available to him was named by Blake The Reposing Traveller. Michelangelo identified the figure as Aminadab and pictured him among the ancestors of Jesus in accordance with the list of generations of Jesus Christ listed in the gospels of Matthew and Luke.


Although The Reposing Traveller was an early work of Blake it epitomized themes which he incorporated in his system of thought throughout his life. We follow the metaphor of life as a journey applied in Blake's poetry from beginning to end. Simultaneously we encounter the image of rest and repose as equally essential as are movement and activity.


The state of repose for Blake finds expression in 'becoming receptive to Generation', in becoming a 'Womb', and in the sleep of Beulah
.
Jerusalem, Plate 53, (E 203)
"Here on the banks of the Thames, Los builded Golgonooza,   
Outside of the Gates of the Human Heart, beneath Beulah
In the midst of the rocks of the Altars of Albion. In fears
He builded it, in rage & in fury. It is the Spiritual Fourfold
London: continually building & continually decaying desolate!
In eternal labours: loud the Furnaces & loud the Anvils          
Of Death thunder incessant around the flaming Couches of
The Twentyfour Friends of Albion and round the awful Four
For the protection of the Twelve Emanations of Albions Sons
The Mystic Union of the Emanation in the Lord; Because    
Man divided from his Emanation is a dark Spectre                 
His Emanation is an ever-weeping melancholy Shadow
But she is made receptive of Generation thro' mercy
In the Potters  Furnace, among the Funeral Urns of Beulah
From Surrey hills, thro' Italy and Greece, to Hinnoms vale." 
Milton, Plate 34 [38], (E 133)
"And all the Songs of Beulah sounded comfortable notes
To comfort Ololons lamentation, for they said:
Are you the Fiery Circle that late drove in fury & fire
The Eight Immortal Starry-Ones down into Ulro dark
Rending the Heavens of Beulah with your thunders & lightnings
And can you thus lament & can you pity & forgive?
Is terror changd to pity O wonder of Eternity!

And the Four States of Humanity in its Repose,
Were shewed them. First of Beulah a most pleasant Sleep
On Couches soft, with mild music, tended by Flowers of Beulah    
Sweet Female forms, winged or floating in the air spontaneous
The Second State is Alla & the third State Al-Ulro;
But the Fourth State is dreadful; it is named Or-Ulro:
The First State is in the Head, the Second is in the Heart:
The Third in the Loins & Seminal Vessels & the Fourth            
In the Stomach & Intestines terrible, deadly, unutterable
And he whose Gates are opend in those Regions of his Body
Can from those Gates view all these wondrous Imaginations
...
Then view'd from Miltons Track they see the Ulro: a vast Polypus
Of living fibres down into the Sea of Time & Space growing       
A self-devouring monstrous human Death Twenty-seven fold
Within it sit Five Females & the nameless Shadowy Mother
Spinning it from their bowels with songs of amorous delight
And melting cadences that lure the Sleepers of Beulah down
The River Storge (which is Arnon) into the Dead Sea:             
Around this Polypus Los continual builds the Mundane Shell

Jerusalem, Plate 41 [46], (E 188)
"with eloquence
Divine, he wept over Albion: speaking the words of God
In mild perswasion: bringing leaves of the Tree of Life.

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 74, (E 229)
"And the Four Zoa's are Urizen & Luvah & Tharmas & Urthona
In opposition deadly, and their Wheels in poisonous              
And deadly stupor turn'd against each other loud & fierce
Entering into the Reasoning Power, forsaking Imagination
They became Spectres; & their Human Bodies were reposed
In Beulah, by the Daughters of Beulah with tears & lamentations

The Spectre is the Reasoning Power in Man; & when separated      
From Imagination, and closing itself as in steel, in a Ratio
Of the Things of Memory. It thence frames Laws & Moralities
To destroy Imagination! the Divine Body, by Martyrdoms & Wars"

Gates of Paradise:For the Sexes, The Keys, (E 267)     
"1    My Eternal Man set in Repose
     The Female from his darkness rose
     And She found me beneath a Tree                     
     A Mandrake & in her Veil hid me
     Serpent Reasonings us entice
     Of Good & Evil: Virtue & Vice"

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.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

MANSIONS IN ETERNITY

British Museum
Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
Larry posted this to his blog Reflections of a Happy Old Man on Friday, December 30, 2011.

Ageing

For many years I used to say, "this is the best year of my life".

But everything comes to an end.
 
2012 looms ahead as a stopping point.  There will be many challenges; there will be triumphs -- and failures.  This is par for the course, but right now with greater intensity than ever before.
 
Two years ago, when Ellie took up Blake, a great new vitality came into our lives. What had been my (occasional) obsession became a primary interest for us. For two years we have posted on William Blake: Religion and Psychology, one or the other each day (ramhornd.blogspot.com).
 
That was a new discipline for me; heretofore I did Blake sporadically for a few months and then something else for a few months.   But every day!! No way, until two years ago. A salutary development.  (It occurred to me that this might have been the shape of my life, had not ten wartime years intruded over most of my twenties.)
 
However this intensive mental activity came at a cost.  After an intense two hours doing research I discovered I was sleepy (you might say my brain started getting sluggish). Strangely enough it was much like what happened to me after two intense hours of tennis.
 
Wow! a Discovery! Intense mental activity and/or physical activity led to a diminution of energy - for one or the other.
 
For an old man the challenge of this is to learn balanced habits that use the appropriate amount of the two activities -- to go from one to the other.  Perhaps this was simple second nature to many people much younger that my (advanced) age, but for me it was a Revelation.
 
Memory is the greatest problem. Strangely enough a fairly large vocabulary was still in force, but I was frequently guilty of making up a sentence with appropriate words, only to the find the appropriate words forgotten before I got around to writing them; like going to the kitchen for something and forgetting the purpose before I got there.
 
Memory is something to fight for. There are in fact two levels: the immediate memory continually diminished, but a (largely) unconscious reservoir exists available under certain circumstances. The challenge is to learn how to use it more consciously.  Memory loss is one of the primary concomitants of Alzheimer's disease and similar disabilities.
 
How can we learn to remember?
Letters, To Hayley, 1800, (E 705)
"Thirteen years ago.  I lost a
brother & with his spirit I  converse daily & hourly in the
Spirit.  & See him in my remembrance in the  regions of my
Imagination.  I hear his 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." 
Four Zoas, Night VII, PAGE 87 [95] (FIRST PORTION), (E 367)
"Mourning the daughters of Beulah saw nor could they have sustaind
The horrid sight of death & torment   But the Eternal Promise
They wrote on all their tombs & pillars & on every Urn     
These words   If ye will believe your Brother shall rise again
In golden letters ornamented with sweet labours of Love
Waiting with Patience for the fulfilment of the Promise Divine"

One friend made this comment:
 Vincent said...
Hi Larry
 

It's a delight to discover this blog after we already know one another through Blake. I discovered this blog through googling Ellie Divine Economy, in connection in the project Ellie & I have recently brought to fruition, & deciding to make it the topic of my next post on A Wayfarer’s Notes.
 

I reached 72 the other day which is nothing much by the standards of you and Ellie, but I notice a diminution gradually but probably inexorably advancing, especially in physical activity.
 

Being retired like you both, it's daily on my mind that my primary task is to go gracefully and to bequeath what I have to offer in a clean and tidy state. In material things my main asset is this little house. There are two younger children to leave it to. A previous one was shared between the two elder ones, enabling them to buy their own properties - not easy for young people in England today. The other thing to bequeath is my writings. The project with Ellie and Divine Economy has revealed a straightforward model: to publish and give them away freely: divine economy in action.
 

It doesn't matter how important these tasks are to the world. We do our little bit with the strength that we have.
 

Bless you both for the inspiration you have provided and continue to provide.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

JOB - PAGE 21


Wikipedia Commons
Job and His Wife Restored to Prosperity
Linnell Set of Illustrations for the Book of Job
This is the Legend on the engraving which Blake later made of this image:

Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints (Revelation 15: 3)
So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning (Job 42: 12)
After this lived Job and hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations. So Job died, being old and full of days (Job 42: 16-17)
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou has had no pleasure (Hebrews 10: 6)

Revelation 15
[2] And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
[3] And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

Job 42
[12] So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.
[13] He had also seven sons and three daughters.
[14] And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Keren-happuch.
[15] And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.
[16] After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations.

Hebrews 10
[6] In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
[7] Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
[8] Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
[9] Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
[10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
...
[16] This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
[17] And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

Blake's final illustration of the Book of Job is titled Job and His Wife Restored to Prosperity. Job had traveled a journey through destruction, doubt and despair. He had sunk into the darkness of his own distorted psyche and had been brought out by the Wind of the Spirit which replaced worn out hand-me-down images to which he had tenaciously clung. He had been guided into building new understandings and new ways of relating in the exterior world. He now had the perspective and the tools to live in the joyous knowledge of being a human vehicle in which the Spirit dwells. The image which Blake  choose to represent Job's new status was music. Job and his family, representing the Brotherhood of Man, joined in producing the song which expressed the gifts that they had received and then returned joyfully to a world unaccustomed to their offering of saving grace.

Kathleen Raine in Golgonnoza : City of Imagination, makes this statement about Blake's use of the term 'Art':
"In Eastern civilizations some form of meditation is the norm of spiritual practice. For Blake art was such a practice and the arts are the channels through which visions of these 'eternal things displayed' are embodied and disseminated. 'Prayer is the Study of Art. Praise is the Practice of Art.' Prayer is receptive, praise active: the one must precede the other." (Page 6)

Producing music together is the Practice of Art for which Job's long journey was the study or preparation. Blake pictures images in his final illustration which allude to the bringing together of the Four Zoas (instinct, emotion, intellect and intuition), of Male and Female (the sun and moon), and of Earth and Heaven (job stands on earth and reaches for heaven). What remains of the process which was described in the Book of Job is for the Holy Spirit as Imagination to remain active as Job continues to live in the knowledge of the presence of God Within.

Europe, Plate iii, (E 60)
"Five windows light the cavern'd Man; thro' one he breathes the air;
Thro' one, hears music of the spheres; thro' one, the eternal vine
Flourishes, that he may recieve the grapes; thro' one can look.
And see small portions of the eternal world that ever groweth;
Thro' one, himself pass out what time he please, but he will not;
For stolen joys are sweet, & bread eaten in secret pleasant.
 
Milton, Plate 27 [29], (E 125)
"But in Eternity the Four Arts: Poetry, Painting, Music,          
And Architecture which is Science: are the Four Faces of Man.
Not so in Time & Space: there Three are shut out, and only
Science remains thro Mercy: & by means of Science, the Three
Become apparent in time & space, in the Three Professions
Poetry in Religion: Music, Law: Painting, in Physic & Surgery: 

That Man may live upon Earth till the time of his awaking,
And from these Three, Science derives every Occupation of Men."

Jerusalem, Plate 3, (E 146)
"Poetry Fetter'd, Fetters the Human Race! Nations are Destroy'd,
or Flourish, in proportion as Their Poetry Painting and Music,
are Destroy'd or Flourish! The Primeval State of Man, was Wisdom,
Art, and Science."

Vision of Last Judgment, (E 559)
"Poetry Painting & Music the three Powers in
Man of conversing with Paradise which the flood did not Sweep
away"   

Jerusalem, Plate 77, (E 231)
 "I know of no other
Christianity and of no other Gospel than the liberty both of body
& mind to exercise the Divine Arts of Imagination.   
  Imagination the real & eternal World of which this Vegetable
Universe is but a faint shadow & in which we shall live in our
Eternal or Imaginative Bodies, when these Vegetable Mortal Bodies
are no more.  The Apostles knew of no other Gospel.  What were
all their spiritual gifts? What is the Divine Spirit? is the Holy
Ghost any other than an Intellectual Fountain? What is the
Harvest of the Gospel & its Labours? What is that Talent which it
is a curse to hide? What are the Treasures of Heaven which we are
to lay up for ourselves, are they any other than Mental Studies &
Performances? What are all the Gifts. of the Gospel, are they not
all Mental Gifts? Is God a Spirit who must be worshipped in
Spirit & in Truth and are not the Gifts of the Spirit Every-thing
to Man? O ye Religious discountenance every one among
you who shall pretend to despise Art & Science! I call upon you
in the Name of Jesus! What is the Life of Man but Art & Science?
is it Meat & Drink? is not the Body more than Raiment? What is
Mortality but the things relating to the Body, which Dies? What
is Immortality but the things relating to the Spirit, which Lives
Eternally! What is the joy of Heaven but Improvement in the
things of the Spirit? What are the Pains of Hell but Ignorance,
Bodily Lust, Idleness & devastation of the things of the
Spirit?
...
 Let every Christian as much as in him lies engage himself
openly & publicly before all the World in some Mental pursuit for
the Building up of Jerusalem"
 
Here I Am Lord