Milton (excerpts)/Book the Second

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* * *

Book the Second

Thou hearest the Nightingale begin the Song of Spring.
The Lark sitting upon his earthly bed, just as the morn
Apears, listens silent; then springing from the waving Corn-field loud
He leads the Choir of Day! trill, thrill, thrill, trill,
Mounting upon the wings of light into the great Expanse,
Reechoing against the lovely blue & shining heavenly Shell.
His little throat labours with inspiration; every feather
On throat & breast & wings vibrates with the effluence Divine.
All Nature listens silent to him, & the awful Sun
Stands still upon the Mountain looking on this little Bird
With eyes of soft humility & wonder, love & awe.
Then loud from their green covert all the Birds begin their Song:
The Thrush, the Linnet & the Goldfinch, Robin & the Wren
Awake the Sun from his sweet reverie upon the Mountain;
The Nightingale again assays his song, & thro’ the day
And thro’ the night warbles luxuriant, every Bird of Song
Attending his loud harmony with admiration & love.
This is a Vision of the lamentation of Beulah over Ololon.

Thou perceivest the Flowers put forth their precious Odours,
And none can tell how form so small a center comes such sweets,
Forgetting that within that Center Eternity expends
Its ever during doors that Og & Anak fiercely guard.
First, e’er the morning breaks, joy opens in the flowery bosoms,
Joy even to tears, which the
Sun rising dries; first the Wild Thyme
And Meadow-sweet, downy & soft, waving among the reeds,
Light springing on the air, lead the sweet Dance: they wake
The Honeysuckle sleeping on the Oak; the flaunting beauty
Revels along upon the wind; the White-thorn, lovely May,
Opens her many lovely eyes; listening the Rose still sleeps –
None dare to wake her; soon she bursts her crimson curtain’d bed
And comes forth in the majesty of beauty; every Flower,
The Pink, the Jessamine, the Wall-flower, the Carnation,
The Jonquil, the mild Lilly opes her heavens; every Tree
And Flower & Herb soon fill the air with an innumberable Dance,
Yet all in order sweet & lovely. Men are sick with Love.
Such is a Vision of the Lamentation of Beulah over Ololon.
And Milton oft sat upon the Couch of Death, & oft conversed
In vision & dream beatific with the Seven Angels of the Presence:
‘I have turned my back upon these Heavens builded on cruelty.
My Spectre still wandering thro’ them follows my Emanation;
He hunts her footsteps thro’ the snow & the wintry hail & rain.
The idiot Reasoner laughs at the Man of Imagination,
And from laughter proceeds o murder by undervaluing calumny.’
Then Hillel, who is Lucifer, replied over the Couch of Death,
And thus the Seven angels instructed him, & thus they converse:
‘We are not Individuals but States, Combinations of Individuals.
We were Angels of the Divine Presence, & were Druids in Annandale,
Compell’d to combine into Form by Satan, the Spectre of Albion,
Who make himself a God & destroyed the Human Form Divine.
But the divine Humanity & Mercy gave us a Human Form
Because we were combin’d in Freedom & holy Brotherhood;
Whild those combin’d by Satan’s Tyranny, first in the blood of War
And Sacrifice & next in Chains of imprisonment, are Shapeless Rocks
Retaining only Satan’s Mathematic holiness, Length, Bredth & Highth,
Calling the Human Imagination, which is the Divine Vision & Fruition
In which Man liveth eternally, madness & blasphemy, against
Its own Qualities, which are Servants of Humanity, not Gods or Lords.
Distinguish therefore States from Individuals in those States.
States change, but Individual Identities never change nor cease.
You cannot go to Eternal Death in that which can never Die.
Satan & Adam are States Created in Twenty-seven Churches,
And thou, O Milton, are a State about to be Created
Called Eternal Annihilation, that none but the Living shall
Dare to enter; & they shall enter triumphant over Death
And Hell & the Grave: States that are not, but ah! Seem to be.
‘Judge then of thy Own Self: thy Eternal Lineaments explore,
What is Eternal & what Changeable, & what Annihilable?
The Imagination is not a State: it is the Human Existence itself.
Affection of Love becomes a State when divided from Imagination.
The Memory is a State always, & the Reason is a State
Created to be Annihilated & a new Ratio Created.
Whatever can be Created can be Annihilated. Forms cannot.
The Oak is cut down by the Ax, the Lamb falls by the Knife;
But their Forms Eternal Exist For-ever. Amen. Hallelujah!’

Thus they converse with the Dead, watching round the Couch of Death.
For God himself enters Death’s door always with those that enter,
And lays down in the grave with them, in Vision of Eternity,
Till they awake & see Jesus, & the Linen Clothes lying
That the Females had Woven for them, & the Gates of their Father’s House.

* * *

There is a Moment in each Day that Satan cannot find,
Nor can his Watch Fiends find it; but the Industrious find
This Moment & it multiply; & when it once is found
It renovates every Moment of the Day if rightly placed.
In this Moment Ololon descended to Los & Enitharmon,
Unseen beyond the Mundane Shell, Southward in Milton’s track.

Just in this Moment when the morning odours rise abroads,
And first from the Wild thyme, stands a Fountain in a rock
Of crystal flowing into two Streams: one flow thro’ Golgonooza
And thro’ Beulah to Eden, beneath Los’s western wall;
The other flows thro’ the Aerial Void & all the Churches,
Meeting again in Golgonooze beyond Satan’s Seat.

The Wild thyme is Los’s Messenger to Eden, a mighty Demon,
Terrible, deadly & poisonous his presence in Ulro dark;
Therefore the appears only a small Root creeping in grass,
Covering over the Rock of Odours his bright purple mantle
Beside the Fount, above the Lark’s Nest in Golgonooza.
Luvah slept here in death, & here is Luvah’s empty Tomb.
Ololon sat beside this Fountain on the Rock of Odours.

Just at the place to where the Lark mounts is a Crystal Gate:
It is the entrance of the First Heaven, named Luther; for
The Lark is Los’s Messenger thro’ the Twenty-seven Churches,
That the Seven Eyes of god, who walk even to Satan’s Seat
Thro’ all the Twenty-seven Heavens, may not slumber nor sleep.
But the Lark’s Nest is at the gate of Los, at the eastern
Gate of wide Golgonooza, & the Lark is Los’s Messenger.
When on the highest lift of his light pinions he arrives
At that bright Gate, another Lark meets him, & back to back
They touch their pinions, tip tip, and each descend
To their respective Earths, & there all night consult with Angels
Of Providence & with the eyes of God all night in slumbers
Inspired, & at the dawn of day send out another Lark
Into another Heaven to carry news upon his wings.
Thus are the Messengers dispatch’d till they reach the Earth again
In the East Gate of Golgonooza; & the twenty-eighth bright
Lark met the Female Ololon descending my Garden.
Thus it appears to Mortal eyes & those of the Ulro Heavens,
But not thus to Immortals; the Lark is a mighty Angel.
For Ololon step’d into the Polypus within the Mundane Shell –
They could not step into Vegetable Worlds without becoming
The enemies of Humanity, except in a Female Form –
And as One Female Ololon and all its mighty Hosts
Appear’d, a Virgin of twelve years. Nor time nor space was
To the perception of the Virgin Ololon; but as the
Flash of lightning, but more quick, the virgin in my Garden
Before my Cottage stood; for the Satanic space is delusion.

For when Los join’d with me he took me in his fi’ry
My Vegetated portion was hurried from Lambeth’s shades;
He set me down in Pelpham’s Vale & prepar’d a beautiful
Cottage for me, that in three years I might write all these Visions
To display Nature’s cruel holiness, the deceits of Natural Religion.
Walking in my Cottage Garden sudden I beheld
The Virgin Ololon & address’d her as a Daughter of Beulah:

‘Virgin of Providence fear not to enter into my Cottage.
What is thy message to thy friend? What am I now to do?
Is it again to plunge into deeper affliction? Behold me
Ready to obey, but pity thou my Shadow of Delight.
Enter my Cottage, comfort her, for she is sick with fatigue.’
The Virgin answer’d: ‘Knowest thou of Milton who descended
Driven form Eternity? Him I seek! terrified at my Act
In Great Eternity which thou knowest, I come him to seek.’

So Ololon utter’d in words distinct the anxious thought:
Mild was the voice, but more distinct than any earthly.
That Milton’s Shadow heard; & condensing all his Fibres
Into a strength impregnable of majesty & beauty infinite,
I saw he was the Covering Cherub, & within him Satan
And Rahab, in an outside which is fallacious, within
Beyond the outline of Identity, in the Selfhood deadly.
And he appear’d the Wicker Man of Scandinavia, in whom
Jerusalem’s children consume in flames among the Stars.

Descending down into my Garden, a Human Wonder of God
Reaching form heaven to earth, a Cloud & Human Form,
I beheld Milton with astonishment, & in him beheld
The Monstrous Churches of Beulah, the Gods of Ulro dark
Twelve monstrous dishumaniz’d terrors, Synagogues of Satan,
A Double Twelve & Thrice Nine: such their divisions.

* * *

and Milton, collecting all his fibres into impregnable strength,
Descended down a Paved work of all kinds of precious stones
Out from the eastern sky; descending down into my Cottage
Garden, clothed in black, severe & silent he descended.

The Spectre of Satan stood upon the roaring sea & beheld
Milton within his sleeping Humanity; trembling & shudd’ring
He stood upon the waves, a Twenty-seven-fold mighty Demon,
Gorgeous & beautiful; loud roll his thunders against Milton.
Loud Satan thunder’d, loud & dark upon mild Felpham shore;
Not daring to touch one fibre he howl’d round upon the Sea.

I also stood in Satan’s bosom & beheld its desolatons:
A ruin’d Man, a ruin’d building of God not made with hands;
Its plains of burning sand, its mountains of marble terrible;
Its pits & declivities flowing with molten ore & fountains
Of pitch & nitre; its ruin’d palaces & cities & mighty works;
Its furnaces of affliction, in which his Angels & Emanations
Labour with blacken’d visages among its stupendous ruins,
Arches & pyramids & porches, colonnades & domes,
In which dwells Mystery, Babylon; here is her secret place;
From hence she comes forth on the Churches in delight;
Here is her Cup fill’d with its poisons, in these horrid vales,
And here her scarlet Veil woven in pestilence & war;
Here is Jerusalem bound in chains, in the Dens of Babylon.

In the Eastern porch of Satan’s Universe Milton stood & said:
‘Satan! my Spectre! I know my power thee to annihilate
And be a greater in thy place, & be thy Tabernacle,
A covering for thee to do thy will, till one greater comes
And smites me as I Smote thee & becomes my covering.
Such are the laws of thy false Heav’ns; but Laws of eternity
Are not such. Know thou, I come to Self Annihilation.
Such are the Laws of Eternity, that each shall mutully
Annighilate himself for other’s good, as I for thee.
Thy purpose & the purpose of thy Priests & of thy Churches
Is to impress on men the fear of death, to teach
Trembling & fear, terror, constriction, abject selfishness.
Mine is to teach Men to despise death & to go on
In fearless majesty annihilating Self, laughing to scorn
Thy Laws & terrors, shaking down thy Synagogues as webs.
I come to discover before Heav’n & Hell the Self righteousness
In all it Hypocritic turpitude, opening to every eye
These wonders of Satan’s holiness, shewing to the Earth
The Idol Virtues of the Natural Hearth, & Satan’s Seat
Explore in all its Selfish Natural Virtue, & put off
In Self annihilation all that is not of God alone,
To put off Self & all I have, ever & ever. Amen.’

Satan heard, Coming in a cloud with trumpets & flaming fire,
Saying: ‘I am God the judge of all, the living & the dead.
Fall therefore down& worship me; submit thy supreme
Dictate to my eternal Will, & to my dictate bow.
I hold the Balances of Right & just, & mine the Sword.
Seven Angels bear my Name & in those Seven I appear;
But I alone am God, & I alone in Heav’n & Earth
Of all that live dare utter this; others tremble & bow,
Till All Things become One Great Satan, in Holiness
Oppos’d to Mercy, and the Divines Delusion, Jesus, be no more.’

Suddenly around Milton on my Path the Starry Seven
Burn’d terrible! My Path became a solid fire, as bright
As the clear Sun, & Milton silent came down on my Path.
And there went forth from the Starry limbs of the Seven, Forms
Human, with Trumpets innumerable, sounding articulate
As the Seven spake; and they stood in a mighty Column of Fire
Surrounding Felpham’s Vale, reaching to the Mundane Shell, Saying:

‘Awake, Albion awake! reclaim thy Reasoning Spectre. Subdue
Him to the Divine Mercy; Cast him down into the Lake
Of Los that ever burneth with fire, ever & ever, Amen!
Let the Four Zoas awake form Slumbers of Six Thousand Years.’

Then loud the Furnaces of Los were heard, & seen as Seven Heavens
Stretching from south to north over the mountains of Albion.
Satan heard’ trembling round his Body, he incircled it;
He trembled with exceeding great trembling & astonishment,
Howling in his Spectre round his Body, hung’ring to devour
But fearing for the pain; for if he touches a Vital
His torment is unendurable. Therefore he cannot devour,
But howls round it as a lion round his prey continually.
Loud Satan thunder’d, loud& dark upon mild Felpham’s Shore,
Coming in a Cloud with Trumpets & with Fiery Flame,
An awful Form eastward, form midst of a bright Pavedwork
Of Precious stones by Cherubim surrounded, so permitted
(Lest he should fall apart in his Eternal Death) to imitate
The Eternal Great Humanity Divine surrounded by
His Cherubim & Seraphim in ever happy Eternity.
Beneath sat Chaos: sin on his right hand, Death on his left;
And Ancient Night spread over all the heav’n his Mantle of Laws.
He trembled with exceeding great trembling & astonishment.

Then Albion rose up in the Night of Beulah on his Couch
Of dread repose seen by the visionary eye; his face is toward
The east, toward Jerusalem’s Gates; groaning he sat above
His rocks. London & Bath & Legions & Edinburgh
Are the four pillars of his Throne; his left foot near London
Covers the shades of Tyburn; his instep from Windsor
To Primrose Hill stretching to Highgate & Holloway;
London is between his knees, its basements fourfold;
His right foot stretches to the sea on Dover cliffs, his heel
On Canterbury’s ruins; his right hand covers lofty Wales,
His left Scotland; his bosom girt with gold involves
York, Edinburgh, Durham & Carlisle, & on the front
Bath, Oxford, Cambridge, Norwich; his right elbow
Leans on the Rocks of Erin’s Land, Ireland, ancient nation;
His head bends over London. He sees his embodied Spectre
Trembling before him with exceeding great trembling & fear.
He views Jerusalem & Babylon, his tears flow down.
He mov’d his right foot to Cornwall, his left to the rocks of Bognor;
He strove to rise to walk into the Deep, but strength failing
Forbad; & down with dreadful groans he sunk upon his Couch
In moony Beulah. Los, his strong Guard, walks round beneath the Moon.

Urizen faints in terror, striving among the Brooks of Arnon
With Milton’s Spirit. As the Plowman of Artificer of Shepherd
While in the labours of his Calling sends his thought abroad
To labour in the ocean or in the starry heaven, So Milton
Labour’d in Chasms of the Mundane Shell, tho’ here before
My Cottage midst the Starry Seven, where the Virgin Ololon
Stood rembling in the Porch. Loud Satan thunder’d on the stormy Sea,
Circling Albion’s Cliffs in which the Four-fold World resides,
Tho’s seen in fallacy outside, a fallacy of Satan’s Churches.
Before Ololon Milton stood & perceiv’d the Eternal Form
Of that mild Vision; wondrous were their acts by me unknown
Except remotely; and I heard Ololon say to Milton:

‘I see thee strive upon the Brooks of Arnon. There a dread
And awful Man I see, o’vercover’d with the mantle of years.
I behold Los & Urizen, I behold Orc & Tharmas,
The Four Zoas of Albion, & thy Spirit with them striving,
In Self annihilation giving thy life to thy enemies.
Are those who contemn Religion & seek to annihilate it
Become in their Feminine portions the causes & promoters
Of these Religions? How is this thing, this Newtonian Phantasm,
This Voltaire & Rousseau, this Hume & Gibbon & Bolingbroke,
This Natural Religion, this impossibleabsurdity?
Is Ololon the cause of this? O where shall I hide my face?
These tears fall for the little ones, the Children of Jerusalem,
Lest they be annihilated in thy annihilation.’

No sooner she had spoke but Rahab Babylon appear’d
Eastward upon the Paved work across Europe & Asia,
Glorious as the midday Sun, in Satan’s bosom glowing,
A Female hidden in a Male, Religion hidden in War,
Nam’d Moral Virtue, cruel two-fold Monster shining bright,
A Dragon red & hidden Harlot which John in Patmos saw.

And all beneath the Nations innumberable of Ulro
Apear’d: the Seven Kingdoms of Canaan & Five Baalim
Of Philistea into Twelve divided, call’d after the Names
Of Israel, as they are in Eden – Mountain, River & Plain,
City & sandy Desart intermingled beyond mortal ken.
But turning toward Ololon in terrible majesty, Milton
Replied: ‘Obey thou the Words of the Inspired Man.
All that can be annihilated must be annihilated
That the Children of Jerusalem may be saved form slavery.
There is a Negation, & there is a Contrary;
The Negation must be destroy’d to redeem the Contraries.
The Negation is the Spectre, the reasoning Power in Man.
This is a false body, an Incrustation over my Immortal
Spirit, a Selfhood which must be put off & annihilated always.
To cleanse the face of my Spirit by Self-examination,
To bathe in the Waters of Life, to wash off the Not Human,
I come in Self-annihilation & the grandeur of Inspiration;
To cast off rational Demonstration by Faith in the Saviour,
To cast off the rotten rags of Memory by Inspiration,
To cast off Bacon, Locke & Newton form Albion’s covering,
To take off his filthy garments, & clothe him with Imagination;
To cast aside from Poetry all that is not Inspiration,
That is no longer shall dare to mock with the aspersion of Madness
Cast on the Inspired by the tame high finisher of paltry Blots
Indefinite, or paltry Rhymes, or Paltry Harmonies,
Who creeps into State Government like a catterpiller to destroy;
To cast off the idiot Questioner who is always questioning
But never capable of answering, who sits wit a sly grin
Silent plotting when to question, like a thief in a cave;
Who publishes doubt & calls it knowledge, whose Science is Despair,
Whose pretence to knowledge is Envy, whose whole Science is
To destroy the wisdom of ages to gratify ravenous Envy,
That rages round him like a Wolf day & night without rest.
He smiles with condescension, he talks of Benevolence & Virtue,
And those who act with Benevolence & Virtue they murder time on time.
These are the destroyers of Jerusalem, these are the murderers
Of Jesus, who deny the Faith & mock at Eternal life;
Who pretend to Poetry that they may destroy Imagination
By imitation of Nature’s Images drawn from Remembrance.
These are the Sexual Garments, the Abomination of Desolation,
Hiding the Human Lineaments as with an Ark & Curtains,
Which Jesus rent & now shall wholly purge away with Fire,
Till Generation is swallow’d up in Regeneration.’

Then trembled the Virgin Ololon & reply’d in clouds of despair:

‘Is this our Feminine Portion, the Six-fold Miltonic Female?
Terrible this Portion trembles before thee, O awful Man!
Altho’ our Human Power can sustain the severe contentions
Of Friendship, our Sexual cannot, but flies into the Ulro.
Hence arose all our terrors in Eternity; & now remembrance
Returns upon us. Are we Contraries, O Milton, Thou & I?
O Immortal! how were we led to War the Wars of Death?
Is this the Void Outside of Existence, which if enter’d into
Becomes a Womb? & is this the Death Couch of Albion?
Thou goest to Eternal Death, & all must go with thee.’

So saying, the Virgin divided Six-fold, & with a shriek
Dolorous that ran thro’ all Creation, a Double-Six-fold Wonder,
Away from Ololon she divided & fled into the depths
Of Milton’s Shadow, as a Dove upon the stormy Sea.

Then as a Moony Ark Ololon descended to Felpham’s Vale
In clouds of blood, in streams of gore, with dreadful thunderings
Into the Fires of Intellect that rejoic’d in Felpham’s Vale
Around the Starry Eight. With one accord the Starry Eight became
One Man, Jesus the Saviour, wonderful! Round his limbs
The Clouds of Ololon folded as a Garment dipped in blood,
Written within & without in woven letters; & the Writing
Is the Divine Revelation in the Litteral expression,
A Garment of War. I heard it nam’d the Woof of Six Thousand Years.

And I beheld the Twenty-four Cities of Albion
Arise upon their Thrones to Judge the Nations of the Earth;
And the Immortal Four in whom the Twenty-four appear Four-fold
Arose around Albion’s body. Jesus wept & walked forth
From Felpham’s Vale clothed in Clouds of blood, to enter into
Albion’s Bosom, the bosom of death, & the Four surrounded him
In the Column of Fire in Felpham’s Vale. Then to their mouths the four
Applied their Four Trumpets & them sounded to the Four winds.

Terror struck in the Vale. I stood at that immortal sound;
My bones trembles. I fell outstretch’d upon the path
A moment, & my Soul return’d into its mortal state,
To Resurrection & Judgment in the Vegetable body;
And my sweet Shadow of Delight stood trembling by my side.

Immediately the Lark mounted with a loud trill form Felpham’s Vale,
And the Wild Thyme from Wimbleton’s green & impurpled Hills;
And Los& Enitharmon rose over the Hills of Surrey.
Their clouds roll over London with a south wind. Soft Oothoon
Pants in the Vales of Lambeth, weeping o’er her Human Harvest.
Los listens to the Cry of the Poor Man, his Cloud
Over London in volume terrific, low bended in anger.

Rintrah & Palamabron view the Human Harvest beneath.
Their Wine-presses & Barns stand open; the Ovens are prepar’d,
The Waggons ready; terrific, Lions & Tygers sport & play.
All Animals upon the Earth are prepar’d in all their strength
To go forth to the Great Harvest & Vintage of the Nations.