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“Bring out number, weight & measure in a year of dearth”

William Blake’s use of the Bible is copiously documented, but it has as yet gone unnoticed that one of the Proverbs of Hell, “Bring out number, weight & measure in a year of dearth,” is built on a close translation of the Aramaic writing on the wall (Daniel 5.25-28), “mene, mene, tekel, upharsin,” or “numbered, numbered, weighed, divided.”

Blake announces in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell the advent of a new heaven consequent upon the destruction of a rationalistic epistemology based on a reductive materialism. The writing on the wall appeared at the feast of Belshazzar, last king of Babylon, prophesying the fall of his kingdom, the biblical analogue of Blake’s prophecies against the Babylon of Newton, Bacon, Locke, and other despicable “Angels.”

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