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

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Yale Center for British Art
Blake's Water-Colours for the
Poems of Thomas Gray
Design 93

The first product of Los' furnaces (Damon) was Erin. Like Enitharmon she was Space. Since Los had compelled his Spectre to join him in operating the furnaces, the outcome was not optimum; first because Erin was partially the work of the Spectre and second because the Spectre was compelled. With Erin came all the Daughters of Beulah but not in their eternal form.

The appearance of the spaces of Erin provided a field in which the problems of Albion and Jerusalem could be addressed but solutions still were unclear by the end of chapter 2. Erin had provided the space in which Golgonooza might be built; the work continued.
Jerusalem, Plate 9, (E 152)
"Thus they contended among the Furnaces with groans & tears;
Groaning the Spectre heavd the bellows, obeying Los's frowns;
Till the Spaces of Erin were perfected in the furnaces
Of affliction, and Los drew them forth, compelling the harsh Spectre.         
Plate 10
Into the Furnaces & into the valleys of the Anvils of Death
And into the mountains of the Anvils & of the heavy Hammers
Till he should bring the Sons & Daughters of Jerusalem to be
The Sons & Daughters of Los that he might protect them from
Albions dread Spectres; storming, loud, thunderous & mighty      
The Bellows & the Hammers move compell'd by Los's hand."

Jerusalem, Plate 11, (E 154)
"Then Erin came forth from the Furnaces, & all the Daughters of Beulah
Came from the Furnaces, by Los's mighty power for Jerusalems
Sake: walking up and down among the Spaces of Erin:              
And the Sons and Daughters of Los came forth in perfection lovely!
And the Spaces of Erin reach'd from the starry heighth, to the starry depth.

Los wept with exceeding joy & all wept with joy together!
They feard they never more should see their Father, who
Was built in from Eternity, in the Cliffs of Albion.             

But when the joy of meeting was exhausted in loving embrace;
Again they lament. O what shall we do for lovely Jerusalem?
To protect the Emanations of Albions mighty ones from cruelty?
Sabrina & Ignoge begin to sharpen their beamy spears
Of light and love: their little children stand with arrows of gold:   
Ragan is wholly cruel Scofield is bound ill iron armour!
He shoots beneath Jerusalems walls to undermine her foundations!
A shadow animated by thy tears O mournful Jerusalem!"      

Jerusalem, Plate 12, (E 155)
"Why wilt thou give to her a Body whose life is but a Shade?.
Her joy and love, a shade: a shade of sweet repose:
But animated and vegetated, she is a devouring worm:
What shall we do for thee O lovely mild Jerusalem?

And Los said. I behold the finger of God in terrors!           
Albion is dead! his Emanation is divided from him!
But I am living! yet I feel my Emanation also dividing
Such thing was never known! O pity me, thou all-piteous-one!
What shall I do! or how exist, divided from Enitharmon?
Yet why despair! I saw the finger of God go forth                
Upon my Furnaces, from within the Wheels of Albions Sons:
Fixing their Systems, permanent: by mathematic power
Giving a body to Falshood that it may be cast off for ever.
With Demonstrative Science piercing Apollyon with his own bow!
God is within, & without! he is even in the depths of Hell!      

Such were the lamentations of the Labourers in the Furnaces!

And they appeard within & without incircling on both sides
The Starry Wheels of Albions Sons, with Spaces for Jerusalem:
And for Vala the shadow of Jerusalem: the ever mourning shade:
On both sides, within & without beaming gloriously!              

Terrified at the sublime Wonder, Los stood before his Furnaces.
And they stood around, terrified with admiration at Erins Spaces
For the Spaces reachd from the starry heighth, to the starry depth;
And they builded Golgonooza: terrible eternal labour!"

In the final section of chapter 2 (To The Jews) Erin reappeared as the spokesperson for reviewing the situation which existed because of the religious errors existing in Blake's time as the result of the long history of belief in a God of vengeance and moral law. Blake spent chapter 2 enumerating the errors which result from man's misconceptions of God with the hope of revealing error that it may be recognized and annihilated. 
Jerusalem, Plate 49, (E 197) 
"And thus Erin spoke to the Daughters of Beulah, in soft tears" 

Jerusalem, Plate 50, (E 199)
"The Atlantic Mountains where Giants dwelt in Intellect;
Now given to stony Druids, and Allegoric Generation
To the Twelve Gods of Asia, the Spectres of those who Sleep:
Sway'd by a Providence oppos'd to the Divine Lord Jesus:
A murderous Providence! A Creation that groans, living on Death. 
Where Fish & Bird & Beast & Man & Tree & Metal & Stone
Live by Devouring, going into Eternal Death continually:
Albion is now possess'd by the War of Blood! the Sacrifice
Of envy Albion is become, and his Emanation cast out:

Come Lord Jesus, Lamb of God descend! for if; O Lord!            
If thou hadst been here, our brother Albion had not died.
Arise sisters! Go ye & meet the Lord, while I remain--
Behold the foggy mornings of the Dead on Albions cliffs!
Ye know that if the Emanation remains in them:
She will become an Eternal Death, an Avenger of Sin              
A Self-righteousness: the proud Virgin-Harlot! Mother of War!
And we also & all Beulah, consume beneath Albions curse.

So Erin spoke to the Daughters of Beulah. Shuddering
With their wings they sat in the Furnace, in a night
Of stars, for all the Sons of Albion appeard distant stars,      
Ascending and descending into Albions sea of death.
And Erins lovely Bow enclos'd the Wheels of Albions Sons."
Evidence that error continued is spoken by the Daughters of Beulah presented in their reply to Erin's lament:

Jerusalem, Plate 50, (E 200)
 "Expanding on wing, the Daughters of Beulah replied in sweet response

Come O thou Lamb of God and take away the remembrance of Sin
To Sin & to hide the Sin in sweet deceit. is lovely!!            
To Sin in the open face of day is cruel & pitiless! But
To record the Sin for a reproach: to let the Sun go down
In a remembrance of the Sin: is a Woe & a Horror!
A brooder of an Evil Day, and a Sun rising in blood
Come then O Lamb of God and take away the remembrance of Sin"  
Minna Doskow, author of William Blake' Jerusalem, Structure and Meaning in Poetry and Pictures, states the continued errors the Daughters make:
"They do not abolish the category of sin or separate the individual from the state. They wish simply to end the recording or remembrance of of sin, Albion's religious tally sheets, which is a worthy but insufficient aim.They have achieved a half truth only. Therefore the prayer to God cannot bring about salvation nor end generation. Unlike the inhabitants of Beulah, who express the imaginative vision after chapter 1's general survey of all error and its alternatives, these Daughters of Beulah at the end of chapter 2's survey of religious error and its alternatives are still involved in it." 

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