Fiery Pegasus 1809

A spirit vaulting from a cloud to turn and wind a fiery Pegasus

william blake is quite fun once you penetrate his meaning

you need to understand the legend of  bellerophon  to understand the picture

hint: it's from the male viewpoint

blake's gloss :

the horse of intellect is leaping from the cliffs of memory: it is a barren rock: it is also called the barren waste of locke and newton

curiously  dali-esque  that gloss, who copied who we can guess  : o )

but imo you just want to look at the picture like a cartoon, it has quite a wry meaning : o ) !

the relevant passage in sir henry  neville's  king  henry  the fourth, he does wax lyrical on his ancestral line !

Baited like eagles having lately bathed;

Glittering in golden coats, like images;

As full of spirit as the month of May,

And gorgeous as the sun at midsummer;

Wanton as youthful goats, wild as young bulls.

I saw young Harry, with his beaver on,

His cuisses on his thighs, gallantly arm'd

Rise from the ground like feather'd Mercury,

And vaulted with such ease into his seat,

As if an angel dropp'd down from the clouds,

To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus

And witch the world with noble horsemanship

 william blake - 1823 life mask

some writers and other people's life  masks

 song of los

These were the Churches: Hospitals: Castles: Palaces:

Like nets & gins & traps to catch the joys of Eternity

And all the rest a desart;

Till like a dream Eternity was obliterated & erased.

Since that dread day when Har and Heva fled.

Because their brethren & sisters liv'd in War & Lust;

And as they fled they shrunk

Into two narrow doleful forms:

Creeping in reptile flesh upon

The bosom of the ground:

And all the vast of Nature shrunk

Before their shrunken eyes.

Thus the terrible race of Los & Enitharmon gave

Laws & Religions to the sons of Har binding them more

And more to Earth: closing and restraining:

Till a Philosophy of Five Senses was complete

Urizen wept & gave it into the hands of Newton & Locke

Clouds roll heavy upon the Alps round Rousseau & Voltaire:

And on the mountains of Lebanon round the deceased Gods

Of Asia; & on the deserts of Africa round the Fallen Angels

The Guardian Prince of Albion burns in his nightly tent