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By Harold Bloom

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Extra resources for Blake's Apocalypse

Sample text

The refrains of the first two stanzas were of sport seen, in present and then in past time, on an Ecchoing Green. Now, with no sport to be seen upon it, the Green has lost its echoes also, and the darken­ ing upon it is the shadow of mortality, recognition of which will end Innocence as a state. The Divine Image sets forth the virtues of that state at its most confident: For Mercy has a human heart, Pity a human face, And Love, the human form divine, And Peace, the human dress. Then every man of every clime, That prays in his distress, Prays to the human form divine, Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

Previously he had cast out his brother Zazel, and cursed all that brother's descendants. " Ironically, the tyrant chooses the fate he has first invented for others. The second section of the poem explains Tiriel's desire to cast him­ self out into the wilderness. Faced by approaching extinction, he has a crucial choice. He can alter his understanding of his own self, and thus be twice-born into an imaginative existence, or he can seek a mere cyclic renewal of the natural existence he has so horribly ex­ perienced.

His mother's wisdom fuses together the hopeful beliefs of Inno­ cence: the loving fatherhood of God, the saving identity of maternal guidance and the natural world, and the brotherhood of all children born from Nature under God. The child accepts all this as truth, and his clear and sweet urge to work out the consequences of such truth reveals the inadequacy of Innocence, of the natural context, to sus­ tain any idealizations whatsoever. The first stanza presents a categorical dualism which is at once philosophical and social, and vicious, to Blake, in either sphere: My mother bore me in the southern wild, And I am black, but 0!

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