Below is Eugene Delacroix’s Lady Liberty Leading the People commemorating the 1830 July Revolution (not the French Revolution Blake is supporting), but I thought it was fitting.

So I pulled out the Blake dictionary by S. Foster Damon and found some interesting things about Revolution, Art, and Empire.

On REVOLUTION (311): Revolution is the third stage in the life of man.  He begins with the joys of Innocence, the woes of Experience.  When these woes (presumably Empire) become intolerable, he revolts.  Rebellion against the established order is the first necessity for progress (and contraries ensure progress)…but revolution is no end in itself.  The Tyger burns up the forests of the night, but that is all which physical violence can accomplish.  The high hopes of original ideas vanish in the blood-bath. (The text then redirected me to ORC).

Things I found out about ORC, who is a really interesting character (309-311):

1. Orc is revolution in the material world.  He is a lower form of Luvah, the emotions, because repressed love turns to war.

2. The true poet, being a prophet, is always a revolutionary in one way or another.

3. Orc’s name is an anagram of cor, because he is born from Enitharmon’s heart.

4. Although the enemy of religion (aha, one of the facets of Empire), he has become a religion of his own, “in forms of priesthood, in the dark delusions of repentance.”

5. Orc is only a stage, and no immediate answer to the problem: revolution in the material world degenerates, till in its fury it loses all of its original meaning.

There was much, much, more, and I suggest you go take a look.  I then searched “Empire” in the index, and came up with “Consequently, great art is always revolutionary” (28).

I could have spared you this process of deduction, but I thought all of these notes were so pertinent to what we have been studying in class this past week.  Blake is calling for Revolution in Art and Imagination.  The Revolution shown above with Lady Liberty is the Revolution of Burke, Paine, and Price’s writings.  They are calling for societal reform, and do not mention the process of imagination.  Revolution STARTS with a fire in the mind (ie The Tyger), but even Blake says in his notes on Watson’s An Apology for the Bible “To defend the Bible in this year 1798 would cost a man his life.  The Beast & the Whore rule without control,” or in other words, external chaos has ensued, and this fury (in part on both sides, from Empire (the English, the Church), and the Revolutionaries (the French), has driven the original reason for revolting out of their minds until it is just bloody battle.

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