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

Monday, June 4, 2012


British Museum
Copy A
Plate 31 [35] 

Genesis 2
[7] And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
[8] And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
[21] And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
[22] And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

The creation account in the second chapter of Genesis indicates that God created Adam from the dust of the ground and Eve from the rib of Adam. Before the creation of Eve, Adam included both male and female principles. Blake's Albion was all-inclusive before the Zoas changed their positions. Blake identifies Albion as our original ancestor:

 Descriptions of the Last Judgment, (E 558)
"a Youthful couple are awakd by their Children an Aged patriarch is awakd by his aged wife whose History Preceded that of the Hebrews <& in whose Sleep Creation began,"

Following the
      change Albion's feminine nature, Brittannia, split into spiritual
      consciousness, Jerusalem, and material consciousness, Vala. 

Jerusalem, Plate 32 [36], (E178)

"And the Four Zoa's clouded rage East & West & North & South      
They change their situations, in the Universal Man.
Albion groans, he sees the Elements divide before his face.
And England who is Brittannia divided into Jerusalem & Vala
And Urizen assumes the East, Luvah assumes the South
In his dark Spectre ravening from his open Sepulcher             

And the Four Zoa's who are the Four Eternal Senses of Man
Became Four Elements separating from the Limbs of Albion" 
The division of the mind begins with identifying multiple forces within; it continues as external manifestation become projected as having separate existence.

Milton Percival in
William Blake's Circle of Destiny, describes the fall of Albion in terms of losing the Edenic condition of a unified mind:   

"In Albion's sexless state is imaged the imaginative life of Eden, complete, unified, single in purpose. Here the contraries are indissoluble, their adjustment so perfect that neither is recognised. Duality is as yet not even apparent. The androgynous and cosmic Albion contains, like Adam Kadmon, the sun, the moon, and the stars within his limbs. All life is one. All natural forms are 'men seen afar.' This knowledge of the identity of all his members Albion loses with the Fall, for as he descends, his perceptive powers decline. In Eden they were flexible, contracting and expanding as he wills. Consequently the problem of multiplicity has for him no terrors. He knows that the Many and the One are but two ways of looking at life; contracting his infinite senses he sees Many, expanding them he sees One.

That Blake felt these expansive powers to be akin to his own visionary capacity is little doubt. Isaiah, in the
Marriage of Heaven and Hell, speaks both for Blake and the unfallen Albion: 'I saw no God, nor heard any, in a finite organical perception; but my senses discovered the infinite in everything.' As the androgynous Albion falls, his perceptions lose their power to contract and expand, and sink to the fixed level of the organic senses which hedge the sexual man. As a consequence, the world appears diverse; the unity of the androgyne disappears." Page 111 
"In Eden, where the contraries function together in perfect unity, life is lived in understanding, in energy, in brotherhood, and in forgiveness, and Christ is recognized as the true and only God." Page 136  

Jerusalem, PLATE 29 [33], (E 175)                
"Turning his back to the Divine Vision, his Spectrous
Chaos before his face appeard: an Unformed Memory.

Then spoke the Spectrous Chaos to Albion darkning cold
From the back & loins where dwell the Spectrous Dead

I am your Rational Power O Albion & that Human Form              
You call Divine, is but a Worm seventy inches long
That creeps forth in a night & is dried in the morning sun
In fortuitous concourse of memorys accumulated & lost
It plows the Earth in its own conceit, it overwhelms the Hills
Beneath its winding labyrinths, till a stone of the brook        
Stops it in midst of its pride among its hills & rivers[.] 
Battersea & Chelsea mourn, London & Canterbury tremble
Their place shall not be found as the wind passes over[.]
The ancient Cities of the Earth remove as a traveller
And shall Albions Cities remain when I pass over them            
With my deluge of forgotten remembrances over the tablet

So spoke the Spectre to Albion. he is the Great Selfhood
Satan: Worshipd as God by the Mighty Ones of the Earth
Having a white Dot calld a Center from which branches out
A Circle in continual gyrations. this became a Heart           
From which sprang numerous branches varying their motions
Producing many Heads three or seven or ten, & hands & feet
Innumerable at will of the unfortunate contemplator
Who becomes his food[:] such is the way of the Devouring Power"

Jerusalem, Plate 40 [45], (E 187)
 "O Albion mildest Son of Eden! clos'd is thy Western Gate
Brothers of Eternity! this Man whose great example
We all admir'd & lov'd, whose all benevolent countenance, seen  
In Eden, in lovely Jerusalem, drew even from envy
The, tear: and the confession of honesty, open & undisguis'd
From mistrust and suspition. The Man is himself become
A piteous example of oblivion. To teach the Sons
Of Eden, that however great and glorious; however loving    
And merciful the Individuality; however high
Our palaces and cities, and however fruitful are our fields
In Selfhood, we are nothing: but fade away in mornings breath,
Our mildness is nothing: the greatest mildness we can use
Is incapable and nothing! none but the Lamb of God call heal   
This dread disease: none but Jesus! O Lord descend and save!
Albions Western Gate is clos'd: his death is coming apace!
Jesus alone can save him; for alas we none can know
How soon his lot may be our own."

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