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William Blake (1757–1827). The Poetical Works. 1908.

Selections from ‘Milton’

[Milton’s Journey to Eternal Death]

(Milton, f. 12, ll. 10–41.)

THEN Milton rose up from the Heavens of Albion ardorous:

The whole Assembly wept prophetic, seeing in Milton’s face

And in his lineaments divine the shades of Death and Ulro;

He took off the robe of the Promise, and ungirded himself from the oath of God.

And Milton said: ‘I go to Eternal Death! The Nations still

Follow after the detestable Gods of Priam, in pomp

Of warlike Selfhood, contradicting and blaspheming.

When will the Resurrection come to deliver the sleeping body

From corruptibility? O when, Lord Jesus! wilt Thou come?

Tarry no longer, for my soul lies at the gates of death.

I will arise and look forth for the morning of the grave;

I will go down to the sepulchre to see if morning breaks;

I will go down to self-annihilation and Eternal Death;

Lest the Last Judgement come and find me unannihilate,

And I be seiz’d and giv’n into the hands of my own Selfhood.

The Lamb of God is seen thro’ mists and shadows, hov’ring

Over the sepulchres, in clouds of Jehovah and winds of Elohim,

A disk of blood, distant; and Heav’ns and Earths roll dark between.

What do I here before the Judgement without my Emanation,

With the Daughters of Memory, and not with the Daughters of Inspiration?

I, in my Selfhood, am that Satan! I am that Evil One!

He is my Spectre! In my obedience to loose him from my Hells,

To claim the Hells, my Furnaces, I go to Eternal Death.’

And Milton said: ‘I go to Eternal Death!’ Eternity shudder’d;

For he took the outside course, among the graves of the dead,

A mournful Shade. Eternity shudder’d at the image of Eternal Death.

Then on the verge of Beulah he beheld his own Shadow,

A mournful form, double, hermaphroditic, male and female

In one wonderful body, and he enter’d into it

In direful pain; for the dread Shadow, twenty-seven-fold,

Reach’d to the depths of direst Hell, and thence to Albion’s land,

Which is this Earth of Vegetation on which now I write.