Milton

The Spectre of Satan stood upon the roar­ing sea & beheld

Milton with­in his sleep­ing Human­ity: trem­bling & shud­d’ring
He stood upon the waves a Twenty sev­en fold mighty Demon
Gor­geous & beau­ti­ful: loud roll his thun­ders against Milton:
Loud Satan thun­der­’d, loud & dark upon mild Felpham shore,
Not dar­ing to touch one fibre he howl’d round upon the Sea.
I also stood in Satan’s bos­om & beheld its des­ol­a­tions:
A ruin’d Man: a ruin’d build­ing of God, not made with hands:
Its plains of burn­ing sand, its moun­tains of marble ter­rible:
Its pits & decliv­it­ies flow­ing with mol­ten ore & foun­tains
Of pitch & nitre: its ruin’d palaces & cit­ies & mighty works:
Its fur­naces of afflic­tion, in which his Angels & Eman­a­tions
Labour with black­en’d vis­ages among its stu­pendous ruins,
Arches & Pyr­am­ids & porches, colon­ades & domes,
In which dwells Mys­tery, Babylon, here is her secret place,
From hence she comes forth in the Churches in delight,
Here is her cup fill’d with its pois­ons, in these hor­rid vales,
And here her scar­let Veil woven in pes­ti­lence & war;
Here is Jer­u­s­alem bound in chains in the Dens of Babylon.
In the East­ern porch of Satan’s Universe 
Milton stood & said:
Satan! my Spectre! I know my power thee to anni­hil­ate,
And be a great­er in thy place, & be thy Tab­er­nacle,
A cov­er­ing for thee to do thy will, till one great­er comes
And smites me as I smote thee & becomes my cov­er­ing.
Such are the Laws of thy false Heav’ns: but Laws of Etern­ity
Are not such: know thou! I come to Self Anni­hil­a­tion.
Such are the Laws of Etern­ity, that each shall mutu­ally
Anni­hil­ate him­self for oth­ers’ good, as I for thee.
Thy pur­pose & the pur­pose of thy Priests & of thy Churches
Is to impress on men the fear of death; to teach
Trem­bling & fear, ter­ror, con­stric­tion: abject selfish­ness.
Mine is to teach Men to des­pise death & to go on
In fear­less majesty anni­hil­at­ing Self, laugh­ing to scorn
Thy Laws & ter­rors, shak­ing down thy
Syn­agogues, as webs.
I come to dis­cov­er before Heav’n & Hell the Self right­eous­ness
In all its Hypo­crit­ic turpitude, open­ing to every eye
These won­ders of Satan’s holi­ness, shew­ing to the Earth
The Idol Vir­tues of the Nat­ur­al Heart, & Satan’s Seat
Explore in all its Selfish Nat­ur­al Vir­tue & put off
In Self anni­hil­a­tion all that is not of God alone
Com­posed c. 1804-11

Wil­li­am Blake
A Man and Two Chil­dren beside an Open Grave, from Blake’s Illus­tra­tions to Robert Blair’s ‘The Grave’ (1805)

Death

This is Wordsworth’s God: a dark, ter­ri­fy­ing and indif­fer­ent absence that lies ahead of us like a gash. It’s a vis­ion of the future accord­ing to those who believe in Nat­ur­al Reli­gion, which is what the man is reveal­ing to the two hor­ri­fied chil­dren. Blake believed that this view of life bey­ond the grave was a delu­sion and a pro­jec­tion of the ratios of memory and Urizen­ic reas­on­ing, which don’t know what they don’t know — since real­ity lies bey­ond its pro­grams and self-reflex­ive para­met­ers (note the book: always a sign of learned, Urizen­ic ideas, not dir­ect intu­ited wis­dom). It pro­jects its own inner Void into the out­er Void, and becomes a mind-set obsessed with death (the image of the skull is its God) and with the noth­ing­ness it senses with­in itself. Blake’s work is an attempt to chal­lenge these assump­tions: Thy pur­pose & the pur­pose of thy Priests & of thy Churches
Is to impress on men the fear of death; to teach
Trem­bling & fear, ter­ror, con­stric­tion: abject selfish­ness.
Mine is to teach Men to des­pise death & to go on
In fear­less majesty anni­hil­at­ing Self, laugh­ing to scorn
Thy Laws & terrors

From The God of the Left Hemisphere

Blake Milton, Plate 43
Wil­li­am Blake
Plate 43, from Copy D, 1818, Ros­en­wald Col­lec­tion, Lib­rary of Con­gress, Wash­ing­ton, DC
Blake Milton, Plate 43
Wil­li­am Blake Plate 18, from Copy D, 1818, Ros­en­wald Col­lec­tion, Lib­rary of Con­gress, Wash­ing­ton, DC.  “To Anni­hil­ate the Self­hood of Deceit”.