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The human senses are pale imitations of the true senses that allow one to perceive eternity.

William Blake

In The Song of Los , Los sings of the decayed state of man, where the arbitrary laws of Urizen have become institutionalized:. Blake condemns this materialistic view of the world espoused in the writings of Newton and Locke. Although man is in a fallen state, the end of the poem points to the regeneration that is to come:. Orc, raging in European darkness, Arose like a pillar of fire above the Alps, Like a serpent of fiery flame!

In The Book of Ahania Urizen is further divided into male and female forms. Urizen is repulsed by his feminine shadow that is called Ahania:. Urizen, the lawgiver, can not accept the liberating aspects of sexual pleasure.

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At the end of the poem, Ahania laments the lost pleasures of eternity:. Where is my golden palace? Where my ivory bed? Where the joy of my morning hour? Where the sons of eternity singing.

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The physical pleasures of sexual union are celebrated as an entrance to a spiritual state. The physical union of man and woman is sign of the spiritual union that is to come. The poem traces the changes in Albion:. The poem progresses from disunity toward unity as each Zoa moves toward final unification.

His reputation as an artist was mixed.

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Response to his art ranged from praise to derision, but he did gain some fame as an engraver. His commissions did not produce much in the way of income, but Blake never seems to have been discouraged. Because of his monetary woes, Blake often had to depend on the benevolence of patrons of the arts.

This sometimes led to heated exchanges between the independent artist and the wealthy patron. John Trusler was one such patron whom Blake failed to please. Trusler was a clergyman, a student of medicine, a bookseller, and the author of such works as Hogarth Moralized , The Way to be Rich and Respectable ? At any rate, my Excuse must be: I could not do otherwise; it was out of my power! Blake left Felpham in and returned to London. Milton , which Blake started to engrave in probably finishing in , is a poem that constantly draws attention to itself as a work of literature.

Its ostensible subject is the poet John Milton , but the author, William Blake, also creates a character for himself in his own poem. Blake examines the entire range of mental activity involved in the art of poetry from the initial inspiration of the poet to the reception of his vision by the reader of the poem. Milton examines as part of its subject the very nature of poetry: what it means to be a poet, what a poem is, and what it means to be a reader of poetry. In the preface to the poem, Blake issues a battle cry to his readers to reject what is merely fashionable in art:.

For as he makes clear, Blake demands the exercise of the creative imagination from his own readers. Blake is at pains to show us that his mythology is not something far removed from us but is part of our day to day life. As Milton is presented as a man in the process of becoming a poet, Blake presents himself as a character in the poem undergoing the transformation necessary to become a poet.

The Bard, Milton, Los, and Blake begin to merge into a powerful bardic union. In the second book of Milton Blake initiates the reader into the order of poets and prophets.

William Blake Biography, Life & Quotes | TheArtStory

Blake continues the process begun in book one of taking the reader through different stages in the growth of a poet. A searching inquiry into the self is a necessary stage in the development of the poet. It is bartering in human emotions and is not love at all. As Blake attacks accepted notions of love, he also forces the reader to question the value society places on reason. Destroying the Selfhood allows Milton to unite with others.

The apocalypse is still to come. The author falls before the vision of the Throne of God and the awful sound of the coming apocalypse. Its sudden flight here demonstrates that the vision of the poem continues. It is up to the reader to follow the flight of the lark to the Gate of Los and continue the vision of Milton.

Before Blake could leave Felpham and return to London, an incident occurred that was very disturbing to him and possibly even dangerous. Blake seeing the soldier and thinking he had no business being there promptly tossed him out. Blake denied the charge, but he was forced to post bail and appear in court. His trial was set for the following January at Chichester. In any event Blake forever damned the soldier by attacking him in the epic poem Jerusalem.

It is an epic poem consisting of illuminated plates. Blake dated the title page , but he seems to have worked on the poem for a considerable length of time after that date. As the narrative begins, man is apart from God and split into separate identities. Much of Jerusalem is devoted to the idea of awakening the human senses, so that the reader can perceive the spiritual world that is everywhere present. Separation from God leads to further separation into countless male and female forms creating endless division and dispute.

Blake describes the fallen state of man by describing the present day. Interwoven into the mythology are references to present-day London. As the human body is a limited form of its divine origin, the cities of England are limited representations of the Universal Brotherhood of Man. Caught by the errors of sin and vengeance, Albion gives up hope and dies.

In such a framework physical death marks the end of existence.

The Tate Gallery in London has one of the best collections of Blake's art. Another major collection of illuminated works, including the manuscript for An Island in the Moon, is located in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England. Prose Home Harriet Blog. Visit Home Events Exhibitions Library. Newsletter Subscribe Give. Poetry Foundation. Back to Previous. William Blake. He insists on laws for all to follow: One command, one joy, one desire One curse, one weight, one measure, One King, one God, one Law. Although man is in a fallen state, the end of the poem points to the regeneration that is to come: Orc, raging in European darkness, Arose like a pillar of fire above the Alps, Like a serpent of fiery flame!

At the end of the poem, Ahania laments the lost pleasures of eternity: Where is my golden palace? In the preface to the poem, Blake issues a battle cry to his readers to reject what is merely fashionable in art: Rouze up, O Young Men of the New Age! Poems by William Blake. Related Content. More About this Poet. Region: England. Poems by This Poet Related Bibliography. Auguries of Innocence.

Apprenticeship to Basire

The Book of Thel. The Chimney Sweeper: A little black thing among the snow. The Chimney Sweeper: When my mother died I was very young. The Clod and the Pebble.