The Poems of William Blake

The Poetics of Prophecy and the Minute Particular: Finding Justice in William Blake

In “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” (1793), Blake writes with a strong prophetic voice, bringing forth a new set of proverbs, a new poetics, twisting and flipping traditional wisdom. Blake challenges the status quo, questioning stagnant, conventional thought. As if standing before a gathering crowd, he cries out “All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following Errors...” (MHH 4). It is a searing, powerful, poetic production, a collection of proverbs that very easily soars over those still enchained in those forsaken “mind-forg’d manacles” ( London 27). The words of Blake, like those of a prophet, at first, throw us into confusion. He wants to lead the reader off the taken path, through the dark forest, making us feel as if we were lost, with hopes of us entering into a new a clearing; a new understanding of our being, throwing open the “doors of perception” (MHH 39). (We can only imagine how confused the Disciples were when Christ declared, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” taking the commandment against coveting, marginalized within the set of ten, and making it central to his teaching, completely rearranging the social landscape...

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