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Ed Harris (Venezia)
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Date Posted: 12:37:07 12/20/04 Mon
In reply to: Ian (Australia) 's message, ""As the plow follows words, so God rewards prayers"" on 12:20:37 12/20/04 Mon
Well, I would say that it represents not the physical lump of rock which is England but the idea of the Perfect England. Manifest destiny is not universal if one believes that only one people has that manifest destiny. I do not think that Cromwell, Milton, Blake and the American Anglo-Saxonists thought that God (he's always involved somewhere) looked equally as favourably on the French or Patagonians as he did on the British.
As for the High Romantic anti-industrialism of Blake, which many use as the basis for their belief that "dark satanic mills" is a poke at the ghastly conditions of early-industrial work-places, I would disagree with that for a very simple reason. In short, the context is right off. This poem is about religion, not social deprivation. If old wossisname, Jesus, was schlepping around the West Country with Joseph of Arimathea, the religious institutions which he encountered would have been pagan, and hence satanic in Blake's opinion, rather than Christian. The idea of British Israelitism is that the Britons were converted personally by Jesus as the First Church of God, rather than converted by the papist Romans centuries later, which is why We Are God's Chosen People and all that nonsense. So, for me, the 'dark satanic mills' have always been the pre-Christian druidic shrines which retreated before the "countenance divine" shining on them and dispelling myth and ignorance.
Still, old Blake has been dead for some time, so we can never ask him if I'm right; and, indeed, even if he were very much alive he was probably too bonkers to be able to give a coherent answer...
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Date Posted: 15:17:48 12/20/04 Mon
"The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of Angels & God, and at liberty when of Devils & Hell, is because he was a true Poet and of the Devil's party without knowing it."
Marriage of Heaven and Hell, plate 6
"Messiah or Satan or Tempter was formerly thought to be one of the Antediluvians who are our Energies."
Marriage of Heaven and Hell, plate 17
"Energy is Eternal Delight."
Marriage of Heaven and Hell, plate 4
To say that the mills are "satanic" does not therefore mean that they are "bad". They are a manifestation of energy, and thus a source of delight.
"Where man is not, nature is barren."
Marriage of Heaven and Hell, plate 10
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