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Both of them speak in favour of the cleansing of the senses which the fairy in Europe describes as closed through man's lack of will. Such cleansing would enable man to see "through" his eye and "not with it" K : "This will corne to pass by an improvement of sensual enjoyment" K Thus, Christ is also clearly related to Orc who says, when he appears in America, to inspire the American revolution:. But terrible Orc, when he beheld the morning in the east, Shot from the heights of Enitharmon And in the vineyards of red France appear'd the light of his fury.

Indeed, to the Syrian Gnostics of the early centuries such as Saturninus, Marcion or Valentinus, the creator of this world was a fallen being or demiurge, whose usurpation Christ had corne to expose. Just as in Blake's and Boehme's works, Marcion's true God is unknown and inaccessible except through his son, Jesus Christ.

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Just as in Blake's vision, his System leaves no place to such concepts as sin, God's judgment or the need to repent. To underline his belonging to this tradition, Blake exposes, in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the Jehovah of the Bible as "being no other than he who dwells in flaming fire" K Suffice it to point out here that Blake's originality can at least unmistakably be regarded as lying in his evaluation of eighteenth-century Europe by reference to spiritual vision. At a time when scientific, philosophical and religious establishments shared the ideological field between themselves and imposed their critiria, the lone poet gauges their achievements by reference to the spirit they manifest.

In so doing, the poet lies in the wake of a spiritual struggle that has begun long before, and which reappears with new strength in the Augustan age which turns towards the Greeks and Romans as models of culture. For everything which is not separate and simple but joined and connected with other things must have within it some governing principle. How evil its brilliance must have looked to them, how alarming its vastness and the rigid immutability of its courses, how cruel its muteness!

The music of the spheres was no longer heard, and the admiration for the perfect spherical form gave place to the terror of so much perfection directed at the enslavement of man. Jonas They should desist from the horror-stories of the frightful things which allegedly take place in the cosmic spheres, those spheres which in truth are the givers of everything beneficial. What have they frightful in them by which to frighten those who are inexperienced in reason and have never heard of the well-ordered knowledge [ gnosis ] acquired by education?

If their bodies are of fire, that is no reason to fear them, for they are in proper proportion to the All and to the earth; but one must rather consider their souls—after all, do not the Gnostics themselves claim their own value according to theirs? If men are superior to the other living creatures, how much more superior are they the spheres , which are in the All not for tyrannical rule but to confer on it order and harmony.

The stars too have souls, which far surpass ours in intelligence, goodness, and contact with the spiritual world. This may well be one of the reasons why Blake was simply dismissed by some as mad. From the economic point of view our liberal System owes its firmest basis to Adam Smith; from the scientific point of view, investigation methods into the origin and reasons of the universe are still derived from the methods of empiricism based on observation and the deduction of laws; from the point of view of laws, both religious and civil, we still refer to the Christian rules as they were defined by the official church, or to the constitutional monarchy in Britain.

Lastly, from the point of view of ideas, present-day Europe still widely regards the Enlightenment as a model for development and progress.

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Blake's Europe could be an opportunity to question these assumptions from the point of view of their spiritual significance. The fact that Los appears at the end of Europe to call "his sons to the strife of blood" foreshadows the failure to corne K In , Blake had written a poem to praise the events in France as a liberation of spiritual energies, but he never completed the announced series of poems on the subject: Orc is a State of revolution and, as such, is distinct from Christ's Imagination.

In the end, he also materialises an error to be rejected. The possibility for the Last Judgment nevertheless remains intact through the ages, as it is not a historical event that will take place at the end of time, but a spiritual moment which can be actualised any time, anywhere, for any individual. This is why the shadowy female is "drown'd in shady woe and visionary joy" K, emphasis added. The spiritual struggle, as it were, goes on. The world is "a Fiction Whether his poems seem to deal with historical events, matter-of-fact descriptions or mythological beings, they all refer to the contradictions at work in the spiritual world: forces of ascent as opposed to forces of descent, of dispersion as opposed to re-unification, of blindness as opposed to vision, of self-centredness as opposed to love.

In the wake of the Gnostic tradition, Blake insists in Europe on the very idea summed up by Hans Jonas:.

Through his numerous attacks on eighteenth-century European society, Blake becomes a man of action who does not fight for any kind of crusade for institutionalised organisation begets error , but advocates individual action centred on the Christian liberation of spiritual, emotional, and bodily energies. You can suggest to your library or institution to subscribe to the program OpenEdition Freemium for books. Feel free to give our address: contact openedition.

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Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle. Search inside the book. Table of contents. Cite Share. Cited by. Text Notes Endnotes Author. Full text. Endnotes 1 The page references K Author Patrick Menneteau. Read Open Access. Freemium Recommend to your library for acquisition. Never did he so successfully unite the compression demanded by the short lyric with the powerful impression of word and image. Although he is at his absolute greatest in the huge expatiations which we come to later in our list, in these latter he never attained the still, haunting atmosphere of the present eerie verses. The cycle, which is so interlinked as fairly to be considered a unit, consists of five short poems:.

A violet by a mossy stone Half hidden from the eye! Fair as a star, when only one Is shining in the sky. Being longer, it allows for slightly more complexity, and the poem shows beautiful use of enjambement and pattern. The fourth stanza begins,. Out of context, some of the beauty of the rhythm is lost, and I would encourage the reader to see this poem in its entirety above. But even out of context, some of the beauty of both sentiment and sonority comes through, e. Most of the poem is occupied with the speech of Nature—too complex and protracted to delve into here—but concludes on notes of quiescence, melancholy, and absence:.

She died, and left to me This heath, this calm and quiet scene; The memory of what has been, And never more will be. Lucy seems to hover between allegory her name means Light and for want of a better word reality.

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The discussion of these poems among passionate Wordsworthians rages on. But the mystery which makes them so powerful remains. It boasts in its short space such compression, beauty, and mystery, you may profitably read it above for yourself.


You look round on your mother earth, As if she for no purpose bore you; As if you were her first-born birth, And none had lived before you! And hark! And he is no mean preacher; Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your teacher. She has a world of ready wealth, Our minds and hearts to bless— Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health, Truth breathed by cheerfulness.

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One impulse from a vernal wood May teach you more of man; Of moral evil and of good, Than all the sages can. Sweet is the lore which nature brings; Our meddling intellect Misshapes the beauteous forms of things; —We murder to dissect. Enough of science and of art; Close up these barren leaves; Come forth, and bring with you a heart That watches and receives. These two poems, which are explicitly paired together by the poet, are perhaps not his most beautiful, but effectively constitute his poetic and intellectual manifesto in only a few quatrains.

A powerful criticism, we can all agree.

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There is so much to read; even with a thousand lifetimes you could not do it. Wordsworth has an answer.

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A wise passiveness—few poets writing in English can or have matched so much beauty, calm, and simplicity in three words, and moreover in such a short line. This is Wordsworth at his simplest, and perhaps at his intellectual best. To my knowledge, Wordsworth never said clearly what these are and this, as a substantial point, required a systematic prose or philosophical treatment, not verse, if they were ever to be taken seriously. But the poem is nevertheless great, and deeply affecting—emotionally, and intellectually. But Wordsworth should not be taken completely at his word here: he is far from against reading.

Indeed, he is amongst the most literary of writers. Although this opening exhortation is hardly stirring, it sets perfectly the message and the rhythm of the poem.