and the Bard's Song (First Attempt)
In MHH we met two classes: angels and devils.
Blake ironically names free spirits as devils and
good dutifull church goers (and other
establishment types) as angels.
Los and his 'emanation', Enitharmon "bore an enormous race" (not only mankind, but
every other created thing as well). But
in particular Enitharmon's progeny consists of three classes:
Milton Plate 7 :
The first the Elect from the foundation of the World, symbolized here by Satan.
The second, the Redeem'd, symbolized by Palamabron.
The third, The Reprobate, symbolized by Rintrah.
The Bard's Song begins Blake's description of how
these three classes of men relate.
To Rintrah (the just man) was assigned the plow.
To Palamabron, a kind and gentle boy (not a strong
minded one), was assigned the harrow.
Satan (Selfhood) was assigned to the
Rintrah and Palamabron are contraries; Satan is a
In the Bard's Song those were the three
assignments of Enitharmon's three sons.
A post could be written about the plow (See Damon
329); the plow of Rintrah might be the heated
words of the prophet that denounces and breaks up
the corrupt establishment. (It might be several
other things as well.)
The harrow follows the plow; for Blake it was a
metaphor for redemptive poetry.
The Mill symbolizes Reason-- conservative,
reducing the creative to the commonplace.
Los of course was the father of these three boys,
a farmer-- the World being his field. He had
expressly forbidden Satan from using the harrow.
But Satan wheedled his amicable brother,
Palamabron into letting him use the harrow.
This led to disaster (the kind of disaster we have
all lived under most of our lives).
A simpler (and probably better) explanation of the Bard's Song can be found at The Farrm at
Felpham, but you may have to join the Yahoo
William Blake group to gain access to it.
All this was part of the tale told by the Bard at
an Eternal gathering. The Bard's Song induced
Milton to forsake heaven and return to the Earth
to correct the errors of his mortal life. Milton's
adventures in the World with Los and Blake is the
subject of Blake's Milton.
There is much more to the Bard's Song, but this
will give you a beginning. Learn the Bard's Song,
and you will find it much easier to enjoy Milton,
the first of Blake's two major works.