Blake seeks to provide the Golden String which can lead us through the labyrinth of our experience or his own poetry.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Yale Center for British Arts
Paul Mellon Collection
Jerusalem, Plate 62

Frequently Blake used a shorthand to present his ideas. He quoted words or phrases from his sources to evoke larger bodies of ideas without stating them explicitly.

On Plate 62 of Jerusalem he points our attention to various Biblical passages to expand the context of the statements he is making about Jesus and about his own developing myth. To facilitate a more complete understanding of part of Plate 62, here are some Biblical passages which incorporated phrases from Blake's poem.

John 20:
11-12 - But Mary [Maglalen] stood just outside the tomb, and she was crying. And as she cried, she looked into the tomb and saw two angels in white who sat, one at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had lain.

20:13 - The angels spoke to her, "Why are you crying?" they asked. "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don't know where they have put him!" she said.
20:14 - Then she turned and noticed Jesus standing there, without realising that it was Jesus.
20:15 - "Why are you crying?" said Jesus to her. "Who are you looking for?" She, supposing that he was the gardener, said, "Oh, sir, if you have carried him away, please tell me where you have put him and I will take him away."
20:16 - Jesus said to her, "Mary!" At this she turned right round and said to him, in Hebrew, "Master!"

Mark 1:
2 - just as the prophet Isaiah had written: "Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way.

Numbers 10:
12 - and the sons of Israel set out on their journeys from the wilderness of Sinai. Then the cloud settled down in the wilderness of Paran.

Nehemiah 9:
19 - You, in Your great compassion, Did not forsake them in the wilderness; The pillar of cloud did not leave them by day, To guide them on their way, Nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they were to go

Exodus 17:
5-6 -
The Lord answered Moses, “Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Exodus 16:
4 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction.

John 11:
24 - "I know," said Martha, "that he [her brother Lazarus]

will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
25-26 - "I myself am the resurrection and the life," Jesus
told her. "The man who believes in me will live even though he
dies, and anyone who is alive and believes in me will never die
at all. Can you believe that?"

John 14:28 - You have heard me say, 'I am going away and I am
coming back to you. ' If you really loved me, you would be glad
because I am going to my Father, for my Father is greater than I.
And I have told you of it now, before it happens, so that when
it does happen, your faith in me will not be shaken.

Revelation 14:20 - And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses' bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.

This may seem like a lot of Biblical references for one short passage but with some effort you can find even more.

Jerusalem, Plate 62, (E 213)
[Jerusalem speaking:]
"These are the Daughters of Vala, Mother of the Body of death
But I thy Magdalen behold thy Spiritual Risen Body
Shall Albion arise? I know he shall arise at the Last Day!
I know that in my flesh I shall see God: but Emanations
Are weak. they know not whence they are, nor whither tend.

Jesus replied. I am the Resurrection & the Life.
I Die & pass the limits of possibility, as it appears
To individual perception. Luvah must be Created
And Vala; for I cannot leave them in the gnawing Grave.
But will prepare a way for my banished-ones to return
Come now with me into the villages. walk thro all the cities.
Tho thou art taken to prison & judgment, starved in the streets
I will command the cloud to give thee food & the hard rock
To flow with milk & wine, tho thou seest me not a season
Even a long season & a hard journey & a howling wilderness!
Tho Valas cloud hide thee & Luvahs fires follow thee!
Only believe & trust in me, Lo. I am always with thee!

So spoke the Lamb of God while Luvahs Cloud reddening above
Burst forth in streams of blood upon the heavens & dark night
Involvd Jerusalem. & the Wheels of Albions Sons turnd hoarse
Over the Mountains & the fires blaz'd on Druid Altars
And the Sun set in Tyburns Brook where Victims howl & cry.

But Los beheld the Divine Vision among the flames of the Furnaces
Therefore he lived & breathed in hope."

As you may gather after viewing the plate, Blake is attempting to convey much more in this Plate than has been suggested in this post.

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