University of Virginia Library

Plate 73 (Illustration V b)

. . . .
Permanently Creating to be in Time Reveald & Demolishd
Satan Cain Tubal Nimrod Pharoh Priam Bladud Belin
Arthur Alfred the Norman Conqueror Richard John
<Edward Henry Elizabeth James Charles William George> [37]
And all the Kings & Nobles of the Earth & all their Glories
These are Created by Rahab & Tirzah in Ulro; but around
These, to preserve them from Eternal Death Los Creates
Adam Noah Abraham Moses Samuel David Ezekiel
<Pythagoras Socrates Euripedes Virgil Dante Milton> [42]
Dissipating the rocky forms of Death, by his thunderous Hammer

Sloss and Wallis (I, 588) and Keynes (713, 714) note the two lines "erased from the plate" but attempt no readings. The Rinder facsimile shows few traces of the deleted kings in line 37 and only enough of line 42 to reveal the name of Virgil among the deleted prophets. In the Mellon copy Blake drew green vines and in the Morgan looping tendrils over the erased names. But the Harvard copy shows more and the Rosenbloom copy, enlarged, reveals enough to leave nothing in my reconstruction conjectural.

The unexpected names among the preservers, to me, were Pythagoras and Euripedes (sic). Only one queen is put among the Satanic but glorious Kings of England. In 1954, I speculated that Blake had scratched away the names after Richard and John "as a precaution against Watch-fiends" (Blake: Prophet, p. 385). I did not try to guess why he also scratched away the countervailing names after David and Ezekiel. Presumably he did so to keep the balance in Eternity. Now that we see what the names all were, other reasons suggest themselves. The Blake who wrote scathingly in the 1820's of "Homer, Virgil & Ovid" and found "Tyrannical Purposes" in Dante's Comedia[27] may have had direct reasons for reducing his list of


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prophets; yet Milton at one end, and some of the kings at the other, may have had to go simply to make whole-line deletions.

A similar, yet impersonal, deletion occurs, however, in both of the late copies of Milton (in both the New York Public Library and the Rosenwald copies, despite Keynes's note of erasure in only "one copy"):

But in Eternity the Four Arts: Poetry, Painting, Music,
And Architecture which is Science: are the Four Faces of Man.
Not so in Time & Space: there Three are shut out, and only
Science remains thro Mercy: & by means of Science, the Three
Become apparent in Time & Space, in the Three Professions
<Poetry in Religion: Music, Law; Painting, in Physic & Surgery:>
That Man may live upon Earth till the time of his awaking, . . . (27:55-61)