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2014-09-07

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake (p1-14)


THE ARGUMENT

Rintrah roars & shakes his fire in the burdened air;
Hungry clouds swag on the deep.

Once meek, and in a perilous path,
The just man kept his course along
The vale of death.
Roses are planted where thorns grow,
And on the barren heath
Sing the honey bees.

Then the perilous path was planted:
And a river, and a spring
On every cliff and tomb;
And on the bleached bones
Red clay brought forth.

Till the villain left the paths of ease,
To walk in perilous paths, and drive
The just man into barren climes.

Now the sneaking serpent walks
In mild humility.
And the just man rages in the wilds
Where lions roam.

Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burdened air;
Hungry clouds swag on the deep.

~  ~  ~

As a new heaven is begun, and it is now thirty-three years since its advent: the Eternal Hell revives.  And lo! Swedenborg is the Angel sitting at the tomb; his writings are the linen clothes folded up.  Now is the dominion of Edom, & the return of Adam into Paradise; see Isiah XXXIV & XXXV chap:

Without Contraries is no progression.  Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence.

From these contraries spring what the religious call Good & Evil.  Good is the passive that obeys Reason.  Evil is the active springing from Energy.

Good is Heaven.  Evil is Hell.

~  ~  ~

THE VOICE OF THE DEVIL

All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following errors.

1.  That Man has two real existing principles, viz: a Body & a Soul.

2.  That Energy, called Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, called Good, is alone from the Soul.

3.  That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.

But the following contraries to these are true.

1.  Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that called Body is a portion of Soul discerned 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.

~  ~  ~

Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained; and the restrainer, or reason, usurps its place & governs the unwilling.

And being restrained it by degrees becomes passive till it is only the shadow of desire.

The history of this is written in Paradise Lost, & the Governor, or Reason, is called Messiah.

And the original Archangel, or possessor of the command of the heavenly host, is called the Devil or Satan and his children are called Sin & Death.

But in the book of Job Milton's Messiah is called Satan.

For this history has been adopted by both parties.

It indeed appeared to Reason as if Desire was cast out, but the Devil's account is that the Messiah fell, & formed a heaven of what he stole from the Abyss.

This is shown in the Gospel, where he prays to the Father to send the comforter, or Desire, that Reason may have ideas to build on, the Jehovah of the Bible being no other than he who dwells in flaming fire.

Know that after Christ's death, he became Jehovah.

But in Milton; the Father is Destiny, the Son, a Ratio of the five senses, & the Holy-ghost, Vacuum!

Note.  The reason Milton wrote  in fetters when he wrote of Angels & God, and at liberty when of Devils and Hell, is because he was a true Poet and of the Devil's party without knowing it.

 A MEMORABLE FANCY

 As I was walking among the fires of hell, delighted with the enjoyments of Genius, which to Angels look like torment and insanity, I collected some of their proverbs; thinking that the sayings used in a nation mark its character, so the Proverbs of Hell show the nature of Infernal wisdom better than any description of buildings or garments.

When I came home: on the abyss of the five senses, where a flat sided steep frowns over the present world, I saw a mighty Devil folded in black clouds, hovering on the sides of the rock: with corroding fires he wrote the following sentences now perceived by the minds of men, & read by them on the earth:

     How do you know but ev'ry Bird that cuts the airy way,
     Is an immense world of delight, clos'd by your senses five?

PROVERBS OF HELL

In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.

Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.

Prudence is a rich, ugly old maid courted by Incapacity.

He who desires but acts not breeds pestilence.

The cut worm forgives the plow.

Dip him in the river who loves water.

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.

He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.

Eternity is in love with the productions of time.

The busy bee has no time for sorrow.

The hours of folly are measured by the clock; but of wisdom, no clock can measure.

All wholesome food is caught without a net or a trap.

Bring out number, weight & measure in a year of dearth.

No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.

A dead body revenges not injuries.

The most sublime act is to set another before you.

If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.

Folly is the cloak of knavery.
Shame is Pride's cloak.

~  ~  ~

Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion.

The pride of the peacock is the glory of God.
The lust of the goat is the bounty of God.
The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God.
The nakedness of woman is the work of God.
Excess of sorrow laughs.  Excess of joy weeps.

The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword, are portions of eternity, too great for the eye of man.

The fox condemns the trap, not himself.

Joys impregnate.  Sorrows bring forth.

Let man wear the fell of the lion, woman the fleece of the sheep.

The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.

The selfish, smiling fool, & the sullen, frowning fool shall be both thought wise, that they may be a rod.

What is now proved was once only imagined.

The rat, the mouse, the fox, the rabbit watch the roots; the lion, the tyger, the horse, the elephant watch the fruits.

The cistern contains: the fountain overflows.
One thought fills immensity.

Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you.

Every thing possible to be believed is an image of truth.

The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the crow.

~  ~  ~

The fox provides for himself, but God provides for the lion.

Think in the morning.  Act in the noon.  Eat in the evening.  Sleep in the night.

He who has suffered you to impose on him, knows you.

As the plow follows words, so God rewards prayers.

The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Expect poison from the standing water.

You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.

Listen to the fool's reproach! it is a kingly title!

The eyes of fire, the nostrils of air, the mouth of water, the beard of earth.

The weak in courage is strong in cunning.

The apple tree never asks the beech how he shall grow; nor the lion, the horse, how he shall take his prey.

The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.

If others had not been foolish, we should be so.

The soul of sweet delight can never be defiled.

When thou seest an Eagle, thou seest a portion of Genius; lift up thy head!

As the caterpillar chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys.

To create a little flower is the labour of ages.

Damn braces: Bless relaxes.

The best wine is the oldest, the best water the newest.

Prayers plow not!  Praises reap not!
Joys laugh not!  Sorrows weep not!

~  ~  ~

The head Sublime, the heart Pathos, the genitals Beauty, the hands & feet Proportion.

As the air to a bird or the sea to a fish, so is contempt to the contemptible.

The crow wished everything was black, the owl that everything was white.

Exuberance is Beauty.

If the lion was advised by the fox, he would be cunning.

Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of Genius.

Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires.

Where man is not, nature is barren.

Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believed.

Enough! or Too much.

~  ~  ~

The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged & numerous senses could perceive.

And particularly they studied the genius of each city and country, placing it under its mental deity;

Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of, & enslaved the vulgar by attempting to realise or abstract the mental deities from their objects: thus began Priesthood;

Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales.

And at length they pronounced that the Gods had ordered such things.

Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast.

~  ~  ~

 A memorable Fancy

The Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel dined with me, and I asked them how they dared so roundly to assert that God spoke to them; and whether they did not think at the time that they would be misunderstood, & so be the cause of imposition.

Isaiah answered: "I saw no God, nor heard any, in a finite organical perception; but my senses discovered the infinite in everything, and as I was then persuaded, & remain confirmed, that the voice of honest indignation is the voice of God, I cared not for consequences, but wrote."

Then I asked: "Does a firm persuasion that a thing is so, make it so?"

He replied: "All poets believe that it does, & in ages of imagination this firm persuasion moved mountains; but many are not capable of a firm persuasion of anything."

Then Ezekiel said: "The philosophy of the east taught the first principles of human perception: some nations held one principle for the origin, & some another: we of Israel taught that the Poetic Genius (as you now call it) was the first principle and all the others merely derivative, which was the cause of our despising the Priests & Philosophers of other countries, and prophesying that all Gods would at last be proved to originate in ours & be the tributaries of the Poetic Genius; it was this that our great poet, King David, desired so fervently & invokes so pathetic'ly, saying by this he conquers enemies & governs kingdoms; and we so loved our God, that we cursed in his name all the deities of surrounding nations, and asserted that they had rebelled: from these opinions the vulgar came to think that all nations would at least be subject to the jews."

"This," said he, "like all firm persuasions, is come to pass; for all nations believe the jews' code and worship the jews' god, and what greater subjection can be?"

I heard with some wonder, & must confess my own conviction.  After dinner I asked Isaiah to favour the world with his lost works; he said none of equal value was lost.  Ezekiel said the same of his.

I also asked Isaiah what made him go naked and barefoot three years?  He answered: "The same thing that made our friend Diogenes, the Grecian."

I then asked Ezekiel why he ate dung, & lay so long on his right and left side?  He answered: "The desire of raising other men into a perception of the infinite: this the North American tribes practice, & is he honest who resists his genius or conscience only for the sake of present ease or gratification?"

~  ~  ~

The ancient tradition that the world will be consumed in fire at the end of six thousand years is true, as I have heard from Hell.

For the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to leave his guard at tree of life, and when he does the whole creation will be consumed, and appear infinite and holy, whereas it now appears finite and corrupt.

This will come to pass by an improvement of sensual enjoyment.

But first the notion that man has a body distinct from his soul is to be expunged; this I shall do by printing in the infernal method, by corrosives, which in Hell are salutary and medicinal, melting apparent surfaces away and displaying the infinite that was hid.

If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is: Infinite.

For man has closed himself up, 'til he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern.

1 comment:

Jean-Eric said...

"Outside is pure energy and colorless substance. All of the rest happens through the mechanism of our senses." ~ Dr. Albert Hofmann