Page:Life of William Blake, Pictor ignotus (Volume 1).djvu/334

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r. 5(--58.] rNVZOS TO Tm BOOer Or JOB. 287 His own omnipotence and right of judgment--of that day of creation ' when the morning stars sang together, and all the sous of God shouted for joy.' All that He says is brought before us, surrounding his own glorified Image; while below, the hearers kneel rapt and ecstatic. This is a design which never has been surpassed in the whole range of Christian art. Very grand, too, is the next, where we see Behemoth, chief of the ways of God, and Leviathan, king over the children of pride. The sixteenth plate, to which we now come, is a proof of the clear dramatic sense with which Blake conceived the series as a whole. It is introduced in order to show us the defeat of Satan in his contest against Job's uprightness. Here, again, is the throned Creator among His angels, and beneath Him the Evil One falls with tremendous plummet-force; Hell naked before his face, and Destruction without a covering. Job with his friends are present as awestruck witnesses. In the design which follows, He who has chas- tened and consoled Job and his wife is seen to bestow His blessing on them; while the three friends, against whom ' His wrath is kindled,' cover their faces in fear and trembling. And now comes the accept- ance of Job, who prays for his friends before an altar, from which a heart-shaped body of flame shoots upward into the sun itself; the background showing a distant evening light through broad tree-stems --the most peaceful sight in the worl& Then Job's kindred return to him, 'every one also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.' Next he is seen relating his trials and mercies to the new daughters who were born to him--no women so fair in the land. And, lastly, the series culminates in a scene of music and rapturous joy, which, contrasted with the calm thanksgiving of the opening design, gloriously embodies the words of its text, ' So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than the besinning.'

In these three last desigus, I would specially direct attention to the exquisite beauty of the female fiooures. Nothing proves more thoroughly how free was the spiritualism of Blake's art from any