There they were received by Men who occupied the sixth chamber, and took the forms of books and were arranged in libraries. The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest. The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the crow. The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship. Countless stories, books, movies and anecdotes equate Heaven with all that is good and Hell with all that is evil.
Swedenborg is the Angel sitting at the tomb: his writings are the linen clothes folded up. Our speaker sees God's handiwork in every aspect of experience—not just the restrained and devout parts. The eyes of fire, the nostrils of air, the mouth of water, the beard of earth. If the lion was advised by the fox, he would be cunning. Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of Genius. From these contraries spring what the religious call Good and Evil. The late 18th century, when Blake was writing, was a period of unrest throughout the Western World.
As the air to a bird or the sea to a fish, so is contempt to the contemptible. The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God. The pride of the peacock is the glory of God. Prisons are built with stones of law, brothels with bricks of religion. Like all people of his time, Blake's main source of education would have been the bible and other Christian texts. Excess of sorrow laughs, excess of joy weeps. Folly is the cloke of knavery.
But now, from between the black and white spiders, a cloud and fire burst and rolled thro the deep, blackening all beneath; so that the nether deep grew black as a sea, and rolled with a terrible noise. Energy is the only life, and is from the Body; and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy. Did He not mock at the sabbath, and so mock the sabbaths God; murder those who were murderd because of Him; turn away the law from the woman taken in adultery; steal the labour of others to support Him; bear false witness when He omitted making a defence before Pilate; covet when He prayd for His disciples, and when He bid them shake off the dust of their feet against such as refused to lodge them? The selfish smiling fool and the sullen frowning fool shall be both thought wise that they may be a rod. He begins by pointing out the contradictions in the Bible. No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings. But in Milton, the Father is Destiny, the Son a Ratio of the five senses, and the Holy-ghost Vacuum! Expect poison from the standing water.
The busy bee has no time for sorrow. With just the words, we're only getting part of what Blake was trying to show us. In this Romantic reaction to the Enlightenment period's focus on reason, Blake's illustrations and texts suggest that life needs to be embraced in all of its dualities. He conversed with Angels who are all religious, and conversed not with Devils who all hate religion, for he was incapable thro his conceited notions. The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship. . If we shut ourselves off from the bad, we're also denying ourselves the good.
When he does, the world will be destroyed. Thro the mill we went, and came to a cave. The rat, the mouse, the fox, the rabbit watch the roots; the lion, the tyger, the horse, the elephant watch the fruits. If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise. And at length they pronounc'd that the Gods had order'd such things.
He was suspended in a fungus, which hung with the head downward into the deep. Dip him in the river who loves water. For the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to leave his guard at tree of life; and when he does, the whole creation will be consumed and appear infinite and holy, whereas it now appears finite and corrupt. What is now proved was once only imagind. Now hear another: he has written all the old falsehoods. Blake was mostly self-taught, with only the rudimentary education normally given to a working-class boy.
The crow wish'd every thing was black, the owl that every thing was white. He wanted to prove through his writings that what we have been taught for eons, are untruths and misconceptions of what God intended when he created us. But I arose and sought for the mill, and there I found my Angel, who, surprised, asked me how I escaped. As the plough follows words, so God rewards prayers. The fox condemns the trap, not himself.