Page:William Blake, a critical essay (Swinburne).djvu/246
manner, regardless who might gather them up or let them lie.
In the next and longest division of the book, direct allegory and imaginative vision are indivisibly mixed into each other. The stable and mill, the twisted root and inverted fungus, are transparent symbols enough: the splendid and stormy apocalypse of the abyss is a chapter of pure vision or poetic invention. Why "Swedenborg's volumes" are the weights used to sink the travellers from the "glorious clime" to the passive and iron void between the fixed stars and the coldest of the remote planets, will be conceivable in due time.
"A Memorable Fancy.
"An Angel came to me and said, 'O pitiable foolish young man! O horrible! O dreadful state! Consider the hot burning dungeon thou art preparing for thyself to all eternity, to which thou art going in such career.'
"I said, 'Perhaps you will be willing to show me my eternal lot and we will contemplate upon it and see whether your lot or mine is most desirable.'
"So he took me through a stable and through a church and down into the church vault at the end of which was a mill; through the mill we went, and came to a cave; down the winding cavern we groped our tedious way, till a void, boundless as a nether sky, appeared beneath us, and we held by the roots of trees and hung over this immensity; but I said, 'If you please, we will commit ourselves to this void, and see whether Providence is here also; if you will not, I will.'
"But he answered, 'Do not presume, O young man, but as we here remain, behold thy lot, which will soon appear when the darkness passes away.'
"So I remained with him, sitting in the twisted root of an oak; he was suspended in a fungus, which hung with the head downward into the deep.
"By degrees we beheld the infinite Abyss, fiery as the smoke of a burning city; beneath us at an immense distance was the sun, black but shining; round it were fiery tracks on which revolved vast spiders, crawling after their prey; which flew or rather swam in the infinite deep,