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William Blake's

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell


There are nine known copies of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the third of Blake's illuminated books. It was probably begun in 1789 and completed in 179 . !click on the highlighted plate numbers to see the illuminated pages" Title #age $ #late 1 THE ARGUMENT !#late % " &intrah roars ' shakes his fires in the burden'd air( )ungry clouds swag on the deep. *nce meek+ and in a perilous path+ The ,ust man kept his course along The -ale of death. &oses are planted where thorns grow+ .nd on the barren heath /ing the honey bees. Then the perilous path was planted0 .nd a ri-er and a spring *n e-ery cliff and tomb0 .nd on the bleached bones &ed clay brought forth. Till the -illain left the paths of ease+ To walk in perilous paths+ and dri-e The ,ust man into barren climes. 1ow the sneaking serpent walks In mild humility+ .nd the ,ust man rages in the wilds 2here lions roam. &intrah roars ' shakes his fires in the burden'd air( )ungry clouds swag on the deep. !#late 3 " .s a new hea-en is begun+ and it is now thirty$three years since its ad-ent0 the 4ternal )ell re-i-es. .nd lo5 /wedenborg is the .ngel sitting at the tomb0 his writings are the linen clothes folded up. 1ow is the dominion of 4dom+ ' the return of .dam into #aradise0 see Isaiah 666I7 ' 6667

8hap0 2ithout 8ontraries is no progression. .ttraction and &epulsion+ &eason and 4nergy+ 9o-e and )ate+ are necessary to )uman e:istence. ;rom these contraries spring what the religious call <ood ' 4-il. <ood is the passi-e that obeys &eason. 4-il is the acti-e springing from 4nergy. <ood is )ea-en. 4-il is )ell THE VOI E O! THE "EVI# !#late = " .ll Bibles or sacred codes+ ha-e been the causes of the following 4rrors. 1. That >an has two real e:isting principles 7i?0 a Body ' a /oul. %. That 4nergy+ call'd 4-il+ is alone from the Body+ ' that &eason+ call'd <ood+ is alone from the /oul. 3. That <od will torment >an in 4ternity for following his 4nergies. But the following 8ontraries to these are True. 1. >an has no Body distinct from his /oul( for that call'd Body is a portion of /oul discern'd by the fi-e /enses+ the chief inlets of /oul in this age. %. 4nergy is the only life and is from the Body and &eason is the bound or outward circumference of 4nergy. 3. 4nergy is 4ternal @elight. !#late A and #late B " Those who restrain desire+ do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained( and the restrainer of reason usurps its place ' go-erns the unwilling. .nd being restrain'd it by degrees becomes passi-e till it is only the shadow of desire. The history of this written in #aradise 9ost+ ' the <o-ernor of &eason is call'd >essiah. .nd the original .rchangel or possessor of the command of the hea-enly host+ is call'd the @e-il or /atan and his children are call'd /in ' @eath. But in the Book of Cob >iltons >essiah is call'd /atan. ;or this history has been adopted by both parties. It indeed appear'd to &eason as if @esire was cast out+ but the @e-ils account is that the >essiah !#late B" fell+ ' formed a hea-en of what he stole from the .byss.

This is shewn in the <ospel+ where he prays to the ;ather to send the comforter or @esire that &eason may ha-e Ideas to build on+ the Ceho-ah of the Bible being no other than he who dwells in flaming fire. Dnow that after 8hrists death+ he became Ceho-ah. But in >ilton' the ;ather is @estiny+ the /on+ a &aio of the fi-e senses+ ' the )oly$ghost+ 7acuum5 1ote. The reason >ilton wrote in fetters when he wrote of .ngels ' <od+ and at liberty when of @e-ils ' )ell+ is because he was a true #oet and of the @e-ils party without knowing it. A MEMORAB#E !AN $ !#late B and #late 7" .s I was walking among the fires of hell+ delighted with the en,oyments of <enius( which to .ngels look like torment and insanity+ I collected some of their #ro-erbs( thinking that as the sayings used in a nation+ mark its character+ so the #ro-erbs of )ell+ shew the nature in Infernal wisdom better than any description of buildings or garments+ 2hen I came home0 on the abyss of the fi-e senses+ where a flat sided steep frowns o-er the present world+ I saw a mighty @e-il folded in black clouds+ ho-ering on the sides of the rock+ with corroding fires !#late 7" he wrote the following sentence now percie-ed by the minds of men+ ' read by them on earth. )ow do you know but e-'ry Bird that cuts the airy way+ Is an immense world of delight+ clos'd by your senses fi-eE %ROVERB& O! HE## !#late 7 " In seed time learn+ in har-est teach+ in winter en,oy. @ri-e your cart and your plow o-er the bones of the dead. The road of e:cess leads to the palace of wisdom. #rudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity. )e who desires but acts not+ breeds pestilence. The cut worm forgi-es the plow. @ip him in the ri-er who lo-es water. . fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. )e whose face gi-es no light+ shall ne-er become a star. 4ternity is in lo-e with the productions of time. The busy bee has no time for sorrow. The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock+ but of wisdom0 no clock can measure. .ll wholsom food is caught without a net or a trap. Bring out number weight ' measure in a year of dearth.

1o bird soars too high+ if he soars with his own wings. . dead body+ re-enges not in,uries. The most sublime act is to set another before you. If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise. ;olly is the cloke of kna-ery. /hame is #rides cloke. %ROVERB& O! HE## !#late 8 " #risons are built with stones of 9aw+ Brothels with bricks of &eligion. The pride of the peacock is the glory of <od. The lust of the goat is the bounty of <od. The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of <od. The nakedness of woman is the work of <od. 4:cess of sorrow laughs. 4:cess of ,oy weeps. The roaring of lions+ the howling of wol-es+ the raging of the stormy sea+ and the destructi-e sword+ are portions of eternity too great for the eye of man. The fo: condemns the trap+ not himself. Coys impregnate. /orrows bring forth. 9et 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. 2hat is now pro-ed was once+ only imagin'd. The rat+ the mouse+ the fo:+ the rabbit0 watch the roots( the lion+ the tyger+ the horse+ the elephant+ watch the fruits. The cistern contains( the fountain o-erflows. *ne thought+ fills immensity. .lways be ready to speak your mind+ and a base man will a-oid you. 4-ery thing possible to be belie-'d is an image of truth. The eagle ne-er lost so much time+ as when he submitted to learn of the crow. %ROVERB& O! HE## !#late 9" The fo: pro-ides for himself+ but <od pro-ides for the lion. Think in the morning. .ct in the noon. 4at in the e-ening. /leep in the night. )e who has suffer'd you to impose on him knows you. .s the plow follows words+ so <od rewards prayers. The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction. 4:pect poison from the standing water. Fou ne-er know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough. 9isten to the fools reproach5 it is a kingly title5 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 ne-er asks the beech how he shall grow+ nor the lion+ the horse+ how he shall take his prey. The thankful recie-er bears a plentiful har-est. If others had not been foolish+ we should be so. The soul of sweet delight+ can ne-er be defil'd. 2hen thou seest an 4agle+ thou seest a portion of <enius+ lift up thy head5 .s the catterpiller chooses the fairest lea-es to lay her eggs on+ so the priest lays his curse on the fairest ,oys. To create a little flower is the labour of ages. @amn+ braces0 Bless rela:es. The best wine is the oldest+ the best water the newest. #rayers plow not5 #raises reap not5 Coys laugh not5 /orrows weep not5 %ROVERB& O! HE## !#late 1 " The head /ublime+ the heart #athos+ the genitals Beauty+ the hands ' feet #roportion. .s the air to a bird of the sea to a fish+ so is contempt to the contemptible. The crow wish'd e-ery thing was black+ the owl+ that e-ery thing was white. 4:uberance is Beauty. If the lion was ad-ised by the fo:+ he would be cunning. Impro-ement makes strait roads+ but the crooked roads without Impro-ement+ are roads of <enius. /ooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires. 2here man is not nature is barren. Truth can ne-er be told so as to be understood+ and not be belie-'d. 4nough5 or Too much5 !#late 11" The ancient #oets animated all sensible ob,ects with <ods or <eniuses+ calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods+ ri-ers+ mountains+ lakes+ cities+ nations+ and whate-er their enlarged ' numerous senses could percie-e. .nd particularly they studied the genius of each city ' country+ placing it under its mental deity. Till a system was formed+ which some took ad-antage of ' ensla-'d the -ulgar by attempting to reali?e or abstract the mental deities from their ob,ects( thus began #riesthood. 8hoosing forms of worship from poetic tales. .nd a length they pronounc'd that the <ods had order'd such things. Thus men forgot that .ll deities reside in the human breast. A MEMORAB#E !AN $

!#late 1% and #late 13" The #rophets Isaiah and 4?ekiel dined with me+ and I asked them how they dared so roundly to assert+ that <od spoke to them( and whether they did not think at the time+ that they would be misunderstood+ ' so be the cause of imposition. Isaiah answer'd+ I saw no <od+ nor heard any+ in a finite organical perception( but my senses disco-er'd the infinite in e-ery thing+ and as I was then perswaded+ ' remain confirm'd( that the -oice of honest indignation is the -oice of <od+ I cared not for conseGuences but wrote. Then I asked0 does a firm perswasion that a thing is so+ make it soE )e replied+ .ll poets that it does+ ' in ages of imagination this firm perswasion remo-ed mountains( but many are not capable of a firm perswasion of any thing. Then 4?ekiel said+ The philosophy of the east taught the first principles of human perception0 some nations held one principle for the origin ' some another( we of Israel taught that the #oetic <enius !as you now call it" was the first principle and all other others merely deri-ati-e+ which was the cause of our despising the priests ' #hilosophers of other countries+ and prophecying that all <ods !#late 13" would at last be pro-ed to originate in ours ' to be the tributaries of the #oetic <enius( it was this that our great poet Ding @a-id desired so fer-ently ' in-okes so patheticly+ saying by this he conGuers enemies ' go-erns kingdoms( and we so lo-ed our <od+ that we cursed in his name all deities of surrounding nations+ and asserted that they had rebelled( from these opinions the -ulgar came to think that all nations would at last be sub,ect to the ,ews. This said he+ like all firm perswasions+ is come to pass+ for all nations belie-e the ,ews code and worship the ,ews god+ and what greater sub,ection can beE I heard this with some wonder+ ' must confess my own con-iction. .fter dinner I ask'd Isaiah to fa-our the world with his lost works+ he said none of eGual -alue was lost. 4?ekiel said the same of his. I also asked Isaiah what made him go naked and barefoot three yearsE he answer'd+ the same that made our friend @iogenes the <recian. I then asked 4?ekiel+ why he eat dung+ ' lay so long on his right ' left sideE he answer'd+ the desire of raising other men into a perception of the infinite( this the 1orth .merican tribes practise+ ' is he honest who resists his genius or conscience only for the sake of present ease or gratificationE !#late 1=" The ancient tradition that the world will be consumed in fire at the end of si: thousand years is true+ as I ha-e heard from )ell. ;or the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to lea-e 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 ' corrupt. This will come to pass by an impro-ement of sensual en,oyment. But first the notion that man has a body distinct from his soul+ is to be e:punged0 this I shall do+ by printing in the infernal method+ by corrosi-es+ which in )ell are salutary and medicinal+ melting apparent surfaces away+ and displaying the infinite which was hid. If the doors of perception were cleansed e-ery thing would appear to man as it is+ infinite. ;or man has closed himself up+ till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his ca-ern. A MEMORAB#E !AN $ !#late 1A" I was in a #rinting house in )ell ' saw the method in which knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation. In the first chamber was a @ragon$>an+ clearing away the rubbish from a ca-es moth( within+ a number of @ragons were hollowing the ca-e. In the second chamber was a 7iper folding round the rock ' the ca-e+ and others adorning it with gold+ sil-er and precious stones. In the third chamber was an 4agle with wings and feathers of air( he caused the inside of the ca-e to be infinite( around were numbers of 4agle like men+ who built palaces in the immense cliffs. In the fourth chamber were 9ions of flaming fire raging around ' melting the metals into li-ing fluids. In the fifth chamber were Hnnam'd forms+ which cast the metals into the e:panse. There they were recie-'d by >en who occupied the si:th chamber+ and took the forms of books ' were arranged in libraries. !#late 1B and #late 17" The <iants who formed this world into its sensual e:istence and now seem to li-e in it in chains+ are in truth+ the causes of its life ' the sources of all acti-ity( but the chains are+ the cunning of weak and tame minds+ which ha-e power to resist energy+ according to the pro-erb+ the weak in courage is strong in cunning. Thus one portion of being+ is the #rolific+ the other+ the @e-ouring0 to the de-ourer it seems as if the producer was in his chains+ but it is not so( he only takes portions of e:istence and fancies that the whole. But the #rolific would cease to be #rolific unless the @e-ourer as a sea recie-ed the e:cess of his delights. /ome will say+ Is not <od alone the #rolificE I answer+ <od only .cts ' Is+

in e:isting beings or >en. These two classes of men are always upon earth+ ' they should be enemies( whoe-er tries !#late 17" to reconcile them seeks to destroy e:istence. &eligion is an endea-our to reconcile the two. 1ote. Cesus 8hrist did not wish to unit but to seperate them+ as in the #arable of sheep and goats5 ' he says I came not to send #eace but a /word. >essiah or /atan or Tempter was formerly thought to be one of the .ntedilu-ians who are our 4nergies. A MEMORAB#E !AN $ !#late 17+ #late 18 + #late 19 + #late % " .n .ngel came to me and said * pitiable foolish young man5 * horrible5 * dreadful state5 consider the hot burning dungeon thou art preparing for thyself to all eternity+ to which thou art going in such career. I said+ perhaps you will be willing to shew me my eternal lot ' we will contemplate together upon it and see whether your lot or mine is most desirable. /o he took me thro' a stable ' thro' a church ' down into the church -ault at the end of which was a mill0 thro' the mill we went+ and came to a ca-e+ down the winding ca-ern we groped our tedious way till a -oid boundless as a nether sky appear'd beneath us+ ' we held by the roots of trees and hung o-er this immensity+ but I said+ if you please we will commit oursel-es to this -oid+ and see whether pro-idence is here also+ if you will not+ I willE but he answer'd+ do not presume * young$man but as we here remain behold thy lot which will soon appear when the darkness passes away. /o I remain'd with him sitting in the twisted !#late 18 " root of an oak( he was suspended in a fungus+ which hung with the head downward into the deep. By degrees we beheld the infinite .byss+ fiery as the smoke of a burning city( beneath us at an immense distance was the sun+ black but shining( round it were fiery tracks on which re-ol-'d -ast spiders+ crawling after their prey( which flew or rather swum in the infinite deep+ in the most terrific shapes of animals sprung from corruption+ ' the air was full of them+ ' seem'd composed of them( these are @e-ils+ and arc called #owers of the air. I now asked my companion which was my eternal lotE he said+ between the black ' white spiders. But now+ from between the black ' white spiders+ a cloud and fire burst and rolled thro' the deep+ blackning all beneath+ so that the nether deep grew black as a sea ' rolled with a terrible noise( beneath us was nothing now to be seen but a black tempest+ till looking east between the clouds '

the wa-es+ we saw a cataract of blood mi:ed with fire+ and not many stones throw from us appear'd and sunk again the scaly fold of a monstrous serpent( at last to the east+ distant about three degrees appear'd a fiery crest abo-e the wa-es( slowly it reared like a ridge of golden rocks till we disco-er'd two globes of crimson fire+ from which the sea fled away in clouds of smoke+ and now we saw+ it was the head of 9e-iathan( his forehead was di-ided into streaks of green ' purple like those on a tygers forehead0 soon we saw his mouth ' red gills hang ,ust abo-e the raging foam tinging the black deep with beams of blood+ ad-ancing toward !#late 19" us with all the fury of a spiritual e:istence. >y friend the .ngel climb'd up from his station into the mill( I remain'd alone+ ' then this appearance was no more+ but I found myself sitting on a pleasant bank beside a ri-er by moonlight hearing a harper who sung to the harp+ ' his theme was+ The man who ne-er alters his opinion is like standing water+ ' breeds reptiles of the mind. But I arose+ and sought for the mill ' there I found my .ngel+ who surprised asked me how I escapedE I answer'd+ .ll that we saw was owing to your metaphysics( for when you ran away+ I found myself on a bank by moonlight hearing a harper. But now we ha-e seen my eternal lot+ shall I shew you yoursE he laugh'd at my proposal( but I by force suddenly caught him in my arms+ ' flew westerly thro' the night+ till we were ele-ated abo-e the earths shadow( then I flung myself with him directly into the body of the sun( here I clothed myself in white+ ' taking in my hand /wedenborgs -olumes+ sunk from the glorious clime+ and passed all the planets till we came to saturn( here I staid to rest+ ' then leap'd into the -oid+ between saturn ' the fi:ed stars. )ere+ said I5 is your lot+ in this space+ if space it may be call'd. /oon we saw the stable and the church+ ' I took him to the altar and open'd the Bible+ and lo5 it was a deep pit+ into which I descended dri-ing the .ngel before me( soon we saw se-en houses of brick( one we enter'd( in it were a !#late % " number of monkeys+ baboons+ ' all of that species+ chain'd by the middle+ grinning and snatching at one another+ but witheld by the shortness of their chains( howe-er I saw that they sometimes grew numerous+ and then the weak were caught by the strong+ and with a grinning aspect+ first coupled with ' then de-our'd+ by plucking off first one limb and then another till the body was left a helpless trunk( this after grinning ' kissing it with seeming fondness they de-our'd too( and here ' there I saw one sa-ourily picking the flesh off of his own tail( as the stench terribly annoy'd us both we went into the mill+ ' I in my hand brought the skeleton of a body+ which in the mill was .ristotles .nalytics. /o the .ngel said0 thy phantasy has imposed upon me ' thou oughtest to be ashamed. I answer'd0 we impose on one another+ ' it is but lost time to con-erse with you whose works are only .nalytics.

*pposition is true ;riendship. !#late %1+ #late %%" I ha-e always found that .ngels ha-e the -anity to speak of themsel-es as the only wise( this they do with a confident insolence sprouting from systematic reasoning0 Thus /wedenborg boasts that what he writes is new( tho' it is only the 8ontents or Inde: of already publish'd books. . man carried a monkey about for a shew+ ' because he was a little wiser than the monkey+ grew -ain+ and concie-'d himself as much wiser than se-en men. It is so with /wedenborg( he shews the folly of churches ' e:poses hypocrites+ till he imagines that all are religious+ ' himself the single !#late %%" one on earth that e-er broke a net. 1ow hear a plain fact0 /wedenborg has not written one new truth0 1ow hear another0 he has written all the old falshoods. .nd now hear the reason. )e con-ersed with .ngels who are all religious+ ' con-ersed not with @e-ils who all hate religion+ for he was incapable thro' his conceited notions. Thus /wedenborgs writings are a recapitulation of all superficial+ opinions+ and an analysis of the more sublime+ but no further. )a-e now another plain fact0 .ny man of mechanical talents may from the writings of #aracelsus or Cacob Behmen+ produce ten thousand -olumes of eGual -alue with /wedenborgs+ and from those of @ante or /hakespear+ an infinite number. But when he has done this+ let him not say that he knows better than his master+ for he only holds a candle in sunshine. A MEMORAB#E !AN $ !#late %%+ #late %3+ #late %=" *nce I saw a @e-il in a flame of fire+ who arose before an .ngel that sat on a cloud+ and the @e-il utter'd these words. The worship of <od is+ )onouring his gifts in other men each according to his genius+ and lo-ing the greatest !#late %3" men best( those who en-y or calumniate great men hate <od+ for there is no other <od. The .ngel hearing this became almost blue+ but mastering himself he grew yellow+ ' at last white pink ' smiling+ and then replied+ Thou Idolater+ is not <od *neE ' is not he -isible in Cesus 8hristE and has not Cesus 8hrist gi-en his sanction to the law often commandments+ and are not all other men fools+ sinners+ ' nothingsE The @e-il answer'd0 bray a fool in a morter with wheat+ yet shall not his folly be beaten out of him( if Cesus 8hrist is the greatest man+ you ought to lo-e him in the greatest degree( now hear how he has gi-en his sanction to

the law of ten commandments0 did he not mock at the sabbath+ and so mock the sabbaths <odE murder those who were murder'd because of himE turn away the law from the woman taken in adulteryE steal the labor of others to support himE bear false witness when he omitted making a defence before #ilateE co-et when he pray'd for his disciples+ and when he bid them shake off the dust of their feet against such as refused to lodge themE I tell you+ no -irtue can e:ist without breaking these ten commandments( Cesus was all -irtue+ and acted from impulse+ !#late %=" not from rules. 2hen he had so spoken0 I beheld the .ngel who stretched out his arms embracing the flame of fire+ ' he was consumed and arose as 4li,ah. 1ote. This .ngel+ who is now become a @e-il+ is my particular friend( we often read the Bible together in its infernal or diabolical sense which the world shall ha-e if they beha-e well. I ha-e also0 The Bible of )ell0 which the world shall ha-e whether they will or no. *ne 9aw for the 9ion ' *: is *ppression. A &ONG O! #IBERT$ !#late %A+ #late %B+ #late %7" 1. The 4ternal ;emale groan'd5 it was heard o-er all the 4arth0 %. .lbions coast is sick silent( the .merican meadows faint5 3. /hadows of #rophecy shi-er along by the lakes and the ri-ers and mutter across the ocean. ;rance rend down thy dungeon( =. <olden /pain burst the barriers of old &ome( A. 8ast thy keys * &ome into the deep down falling+ e-en to eternity down falling+ B. .nd weep. 7. In her trembling hands she took the new born terror howling( 8. *n those infinite mountains of light+ now barr'd out by the atlantic sea+ the new born fire stood before the starry king5 9. ;lag'd with grey brow'd snows and thunderous -isages the ,ealous wings wa-'d o-er the deep. 1 . The speary hand burned aloft+ unbuckled was the shield+ forth went the hand of ,ealousy among the flaming hair+ and !#late %B" hurl'd the new born wonder thro' the starry night. 11. The fire+ the fire+ is falling5 1%. 9ook up5 look up5 * citi?en of 9ondon+ enlarge thy countenance( * Cew+ lea-e counting gold5 return to thy oil and wine( * .frican5 black .frican5 !go+ winged thought+ widen his forehead." 13. The fiery limbs+ the flaming hair+ shot like the sinking sun into the western sea. 1= 2ak'd from his eternal sleep+ the hoary element roaring fled away( IA. @own rush'd beating his wings in -ain the ,ealous king( his grey brow'd

councellors+ thunderous warriors+ curl'd -eterans+ among helms+ and shields+ and chariots+ horses+ elephants0 banners+ castles+ slings+ and rocks+ IB. ;alling+ rushing+ ruining5 buried in the ruins+ on Hrthona's dens( 17. .ll night beneath the ruins+ then their sullen flames faded emerge round the gloomy Ding. 18. 2ith thunder and fire0 leading his starry hosts thro' the waste wilderness+ !#late %7" he promulgates his ten commands+ glancing0 his beamy eyelids o-er the deep in dark dismay+ 19. 2here the son of fire in his eastern cloud+ while the morning plumes her <olden breast+ % . /purning the clouds written with curses+ stamps the stony law to dust+ loosing0 the eternal horses from the dens of night+ crying+ 4mpire is no more5 and now the lion ' wolf shall cease Chorus 9et the #riests of the &a-en of dawn+ no longer in deadly black+ with hoarse note curse the sons of ,oy. 1or his accepted brethren+ whom tyrant+ he calls free0 lay the bound or build the roof. 1or pale religious letchery call that -irginity+ that wishes but acts not5 ;or e-ery thing that li-es is )oly.