How Does Divine Human Form Relate To The Theme Of Blake's The Divine Image?

William Blake was one of the greatest poets of the Romantic age and a protest against oppression which also becomes an aspect of Blake’s religious faith. His The Divine Image   glorifies the innocence of human being as in the grand design of God.

The poem The Divine Image   is from Songs of Innocence and is written in the ballad metre. It expresses Blake’s faith in man as being an embodiment of all the divine qualities. This being so, the poet feels that man must love his fellow-beings just as he loves God, Love for man alone, believed Blake  could bring man closer to God and create paradise on earth.

 The Divine Image is a visible representation of something. In Blake’s poem, God or the divine qualities cannot be seen. But ‘man’ becomes the image of God and of these qualities.

  Mercy and pity mean almost the same, compassion and sympathy for someone in distress. Mercy also means forgiveness for someone who has committed an offence. Peace and love arc two other related Christian virtues. But Blake regards all these as universal human virtues which also reflect the divine in man. These divine qualities, according to Blake may be found in human relationship itself, cutting across religions:
“For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is God, our father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is Man, his child and care.”
  Delighted virtues, for Blake, are not just a matter of stern moral duty. They are ‘virtues’ because they bring delight or joy to both giver and taker. So both sides are ‘thankful’ for them:
“And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.”

  Is God our father dear is a modification of the Christian idea of the Trinity, that is, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (the spirit of God).

God the son, His child is Jesus Christ; Christ is sometimes called the ‘son of man’, being born of a human mother. Here ‘man’ refers both to Christ and to mankind, who are seen as Gad’s children. In this poem, God is not an angry and punishing, hut an affectionate and forgiving father.

  Human heart offers mercy and compassion. In it we may see the virtues embodied. ‘Heart’ is believed to be the seat of feelings in man.  Human face is in the expressions of the human face that pity becomes visible.  The phrase ‘human form divine’ recalls Genesis 1:26 - “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, to Our likeness.” the ‘human form divine’ also recalls the feeling that Christ has sometimes been described as the embodiment of God’s love for man. He is both ‘human’ and divine’. Human dress is Peace. Like the other virtues, it is an idea that cannot be seen. We see it only when it wears a human flesh or ‘dress’ and expresses itself through human action:
“For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.”

Ultimately these are the divine design of human being and humanity. A change of place or order of faith does not change its greater meaning of being innocent of God’s broad design:
“Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk, or Jew;
Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.”


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