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Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Blake won't let us make the straight line associations which would divide Innocence and Experience unequivocally. The three women named Mary in the gospels can help with sorting out the threads.

The mother Mary is the virgin, yet she is the mother of Jesus' material side. The list of the maternal line includes some disreputable women of the OT. Blake's class of redeemed, may include his mother since she bore the suffering and rejection on her worldly side without losing sight of the spiritual.

Mary Magdalen with the reputation of a 'sinner', seems to have had greater awareness of Jesus' spiritual nature than did his mother. Blake often uses the term 'experience' to mean participation in the condition of contrariness - divided or conflicted. If Magdalen is both the woman taken in adultery, and the first to see the risen Christ; she represents one who has passed through 'experience' and reached unity - Eternity. ( "But I thy Magdalen behold thy Spiritual Risen Body." )

The third Mary, the sister of Lazarus may be closer to a state of 'innocence.' She, as Jesus says, has 'chosen the better part.' Her sister Martha represents the material side. Mary learns from Jesus; she weeps with Jesus. She is patient, loving, undemanding. Unblemished by sin or doubt she is like a child. She is more 'innocent' than Magdalen, since she is not known to have passed through 'experience' as Magdalen did.

Jerusalem, Plate 61, (E 211)
" Should I
Marry a Harlot & an Adulteress? Mary answerd, Art thou more pure
Than thy Maker who forgiveth Sins & calls again Her that is Lost
Tho She hates. he calls her again in love."

Everlasting Gospel, Pages 48-52, (E 520)

Was Jesus Chaste or did he
Give any Lessons of Chastity
The morning blushd fiery red
Mary was found in Adulterous bed
Earth groand beneath & Heaven above
Trembled at discovery of Love
Jesus was sitting in Moses Chair
They brought the trembling Woman There
Moses commands she be stoned to Death
What was the sound of Jesus breath
He laid his hand on Moses Law
The Ancient Heavens in Silent Awe
Writ with Curses from Pole to Pole
All away began to roll
The Earth trembling & Naked lay
In secret bed of Mortal Clay
On Sinai felt the hand Divine
Putting back the bloody shrine
And she heard the breath of God
As she heard by Edens flood
Good & Evil are no more
Sinais trumpets cease to roar
Cease finger of God to Write
The Heavens are not clean in thy Sight
Thou art Good & thou Alone
Nor may the sinner cast one stone
To be Good only is to be
A Devil or else a Pharisee
Thou Angel of the Presence Divine
That didst create this Body of Mine
Wherefore has[t] thou writ these Laws
And Created Hells dark jaws
My Presence I will take from thee
A Cold Leper thou shalt be
Tho thou wast so pure & bright
That Heaven was Impure in thy Sight
Tho thy Oath turnd Heaven Pale
Tho thy Covenant built Hells Jail
Tho thou didst all to Chaos roll
With the Serpent for its soul
Still the breath Divine does move
And the breath Divine is Love
Mary Fear Not Let me see
The Seven Devils that torment thee
Hide not from my Sight thy Sin
That forgiveness thou maist win
Has no Man Condemned thee
No Man Lord! then what is he
Who shall Accuse thee.

Three Maries at the Sepulcher

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