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William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
 
Appendix to the Prophetic Books
[From Blake’s Engraving of the Laocoon]
 
To left of plate. 1

  SPIRITUAL WAR: Israel delivered from Egypt is Art deliver’d from Nature and Imitation.
  1
  A Poet, a Painter, a Musician, an Architect; the man or woman who is not one of these is not a Christian.  2
  You must leave fathers and mothers and houses and lands if they stand in the way of Art.  3
  The Eternal Body of Man is the Imagination; that is God Himself, the Divine Body, [Hebrew] Jesus; we are His Members.  4
  It manifests itself in His Works of Art: In Eternity all is Vision!  5
  The true Christian Charity not dependent on Money, the life’s blood of poor families; that is on Caesar or Empire, or Natural Religion.  6
  Money! which is the great Satan or Reason, the root of Good and Evil, in the Accusation of Sin.  7
  Prayer is the study of Art.  8
  Praise is the practice of Art.  9
  Fasting, etc. all relate to Art.  10
  The outward Ceremony is Antichrist.  11
 
Encircling the three figures.

  Good and Evil are Riches and Poverty, a Tree of Misery propagating Generation and Death.
  12
  The Gods of Priam are the Cherubim of Moses and Solomon, the Hosts of Heaven.  13
  Without unceasing Practice nothing can be done: Practice is Art. If you leave off you are lost.  14
  Hebrew Art is called Sin, by the Deist Science.  15
  All that we see is Vision; from Generated Organs, gone as soon as come; permanent in the Imagination; consider’d as nothing by the Natural Man.  16
  Satan’s wife, the Goddess Nature, is War and Misery, and Heroism a Miser.  17
 
At head of plate.

  Where any view of Money exists, Art cannot be carried on, but War only; by pretences to the two Impossibilities, Chastity and Abstinence, Gods of the Heathen. (Read Matthew x. 9, 10).
  18
  He repented that He had made Adam (of the Female, the Adamah); and it grieved Him at His heart.  19
  Art can never exist without Naked Beauty displayed.  20
  The Gods of Greece and Egypt were Mathematical Diagrams. (See Plato’s Works.)  21
  What can be created can be destroyed.  22
  Adam is only the Natural Man, and not the Soul or Imagination.  23
  Divine Union deriding and denying Immediate Communion with God. The Spoilers say: ‘Where are His Works that He did in the Wilderness?’ Lo! what are these? Whence came they? These are not the Works of Egypt, nor Babylon, whose Gods are the Powers of this World, Goddess Nature; who first spoil and then destroy Imaginative Art, for their Glory is War and Dominion.  24
  Empire against Art. (See Virgil’s Æneid. Lib. VI. v. 848.)  25
 
To right of plate

  Jesus and His Apostles and Disciples were all Artists. Their Works were destroy’d by the Seven Angels of the Seven Churches in Asia, Antichrist, Science.
  26
  The Old and New Testaments are the great code of Art.  27
  The whole business of Man is the Arts, and all things, common.  28
  No secrecy in Art.  29
  Art is the Tree of Life.  30
  God is Jesus.  31
  Science is the Tree of Death.  32
  For every pleasure Money is useless.  33
  There are States in which all Visionary Men are accounted Mad Men: such are Greece and Rome, such is Empire or Tax. (See Luke ii. 1.)  34
  The unproductive Man is not a Christian, much less the Destroyer.  35
  What we call antique gems are the gems of Aaron’s breast-plate.  36
  Is not every Vice possible to Man described in the Bible openly?  37
  All is not Sin that Satan calls so—all the Loves and Graces of Eternity.  38
  Christianity is Art and not Money. Money is its Curse.  39
 
At foot of plate.

  If Morality was Christianity, Socrates was the Saviour.
  40
  Art degraded, Imagination denied, War governed the Nations.  41
 
Note 1. These aphorisms are written around an engraving of the Laocoon, bearing the imprint, ‘Drawn and Engraved by William Blake’ (circa 1817). At the base of the group is the title, ‘[Hebrew] and his two sons Satan and Adam as they were copied from the Cherubim of Solomon’s Temple by three Rhodians, and applied to Natural Fact, or History of Ilium.’ Above the figure of Laocoon is the inscription ‘The Angel of the Divine Presence [Hebrew]’ and to the left of his head ‘[Greek]’, the two serpents being labelled respectively ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’. Beneath the left hand of Laocoon, clenching the neck of the serpent, is the inscription ‘[Hebrew]’.
  These symbolic sayings fill the whole ground of the plate; and as they are written from all four sides, and squeezed into every vacant corner, the intended order, if any, is largely conjectural. [back]
 
 
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