Cruelty has a Human Heart
And Jealousy a Human Face
Terror the Human Form Divine
And Secrecy, the Human Dress
The Human Dress, is forged Iron
The Human Form, a fiery Forge.
The Human Face, a Furnace seal’d
The Human Heart, its hungry Gorge.
The secret to unlocking this poem, ‘A Divine Image’ by William Blake is in the title. Blake correctly reminds that it is declared in Genesis that mankind, humanity was created in the divine image of God, our alleged perfect creator. Both quatrains of this poem immediately declare a denial any perfection or divine image, in the state of fallen humanity. Blake focuses totally upon dark images and faults within people, who deny love compassion forgiveness kindness; and this theme of an inability to love, a passion to hate, is the entire theme and meaning of the poem. Failures in the character of base humans, are described as a succinct list, of several of the most despicable treacherous, human characteristics; listed as Cruelty, Jealousy, Terror and Secresy in the first quatrain. Each characteristic is capitalized for emphasis and used to describe the condition of the human heart, face, form and dress of the fallen state of humanity. Blake declares we secretly hide our motives intentions deceits behind clothes, meant to symbolize our evolved civilization, but in reality necessary after the fall of Adam and Eve, created in God’s image divine, but now estranged from the divine. The next stanza focuses upon negative aspects of the human condition; clothes or the dress, ‘forged iron’, form ‘a fiery forge’, face ‘a furnace sealed’ and lastly ‘The human heart its hungry gorge’. The last emphasis is the terrible greed of humanity, consuming, feeding upon insatiable lust, devouring. The symbolism strongly suggests warfare, forged weapons of iron, the conquest of armies in hate, cruelty; yet perhaps to beat swords into plough shares. The genius, mastery of Blake, is to say so much, imply so much more through title and symbolism. An excellent example of a highly crafted succinct poem rich in extended metaphors. William Blake is one of my favourite poets and artists.
From Adam to Noah
5 This is the written account of Adam’s family line.
When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God.
2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created.