1] Milton was first engraved by Blake in or shortly after 1808, although it bears the date 1804 on its title-page. It is in two books, though originally planned to have twelve, and the most complete of its four surviving copies has fifty plates, The theme is the descent of Milton from heaven into Blake's body at a crucial point in Blake's life. This extract is from the concluding part of the first book.
This passage is a vision of the martyrdom of man, with particular reference to the contemporary Napoleonic wars, presented as a perversion of the erotic impulse, symbolized by Luvah. The imagery of treading the wine-press is derived from Isa. 63: 1-6.
9] cups of gold: cf. Jer. 51: 7 and Rev. 17: 4.
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: William Blake, Milton (1804), plate 24, lines 30-41. Blake's Illuminated Books, ed. David Bindman (Princeton, NJ: William Blake Trust; London: Tate Gallery, 1991-). See Vol. 5. PR 4142 B46 1991 ROBA.
First publication date: 1808
Publication date note: ca. 1808 (notwithstanding the date of publication)
RPO poem editor: Northrop Frye
RP edition: 3RP 2.298.
Recent editing: 4:2002/3/14*1:2003/7/30
Other poems by William Blake