Study Guide

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell A Memorable Fancy (3)

By William Blake

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A Memorable Fancy (3)

  • In this section, our speaker visits a printing press in Hell. That sounds like a pretty special field trip.
  • He describes the method of printing he finds there:
  • In the first cave-like room, we have a "dragon-man," cleaning up the trash while other dragons are working on hollowing out the chamber. So far, that's pretty normal.
  • In the next chamber, he sees a snake twisting around a rock while others decorate it with gold, silver, and jewels. What—how else do you expect a printing press to work?
  • The third chamber features "an eagle with wings and feathers of air" (6.4). Got it.
  • The eagle is making this room "infinite," while other "eagle-like men" build palaces on huge cliffs. This all seems just perfectly reasonable.
  • The next room has "lions of flaming fire"—oh my—which are melting metals into liquid (6.5).
  • Chamber five has "unnamed forms" that are pouring the liquid metals into huge casts (6.6.).
  • In the six chamber, this casts take the form of books. Some guys take them and organize them into libraries.
  • And that, Shmoopers, is how Amazon-in-Hell makes its books.
  • After this description, we're told about the Giants who made the world.
  • They were responsible for giving it "its sensual existence," but now it's like they're all chained up—thanks to "weak and tame minds" (6.7).
  • Our speaker divvies up existence into two parts: the Prolific and the Devouring. A helpful way to think of these guys is as the creatively energetic (the Prolific) and the fearfully repressed (the Devouring).
  • Devourers think that the Prolific beings are in chains, but that's just because they (the devourers) don't fully experience life.
  • All the same, the Prolific can only be prolific because the devourers take away "the excess of [their] delights" (6.9).
  • This is a bit confusing, but the idea is that there is a productive, energetic force in humanity (the Prolific) and a restraining, denying force (the Devourer). And it seems that they need each other to exist.
  • If you ask our speaker if God is Prolific, he'll tell you that God only acts in existing beings.
  • Even though they need each other, the speaker says that the Prolific and the Devouring should be enemies.
  • Religion tries to put them both together, but Jesus Christ himself wanted them to be at odds.
  • The last note here is that Satan was once thought to be one of these founding Giant "Energies" (6.14).

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