Wikimedia Watercolour illustration for Robert Blair's The Grave
Jerusalem, Plate 42, (E 189) "The Spectres of the Dead cry out from the deeps beneath Upon the hills of Albion; Oxford groans in his iron furnace Winchester in his den & cavern; they lament against Albion: they curse their human kindness & affection They rage like wild beasts in the forests of affliction In the dreams of Ulro they repent of their human kindness."In reading of the efforts of Los and Enitharmon to provide bodies for the Spectres of the Dead, I am reminded of the movie Wings of Desire in which there are spirits, (angels), who are sent to watch over the world but not interfere or interact with the human beings. The plot of the movie involves the spirits developing 'desire' which may make them choose to abandon their role as angels and descend to the material world where they would have physical bodies and emotions which they were capable of expressing. Some of the unembodied angels relinquish their flexible senses, their perception of the unity with the One Spirit, and their membership in the brotherhood of angels. They take on mortality and sexuality and descend into physical bodies.
Blake postulates a world in which there are spirits (refugees from the wars of Great Eternity), in a limbo which does not allow a return to the unity of all things. The alternative of gaining experience through the 'joy and woe' of living in the material is not open to them. The solution to the problem of the 'wandering fragments of spirits' (Damon) is to provide them bodies so that they can have a physical life in the material world: the world of time and space - of Los and Enitharmon. In Milton Ololon volunteers to descend to 'This World beneath, unseen before: this refuge from the wars Of Great Eternity!' To this refuge were sent the Spectres. By creating bodies for the wandering Spectres of the Dead Los and Enitharmon created our world: the world where we may experience imagination, intellect, and emotions within bodies of flesh and blood in this World beneath.
Four Zoas, Night VIIA, Page 87, (E 369) "Urthonas Spectre terrified beheld the Spectres of the Dead Each Male formd without a counterpart without a concentering vision The Spectre of Urthona wept before Los Saying I am the cause That this dire state commences I began the dreadful state Of Separation & on my dark head the curse & punishment Must fall unless a way be found to Ransom & Redeem But I have thee my [Counterpart Vegetating] miraculous These Spectres have no [Counter(parts)] therefore they ravin Without the food of life Let us Create them Coun[terparts] For without a Created body the Spectre is Eternal Death Los trembling answerd Now I feel the weight of stern repentance Tremble not so my Enitharmon at the awful gates Of thy poor broken Heart I see thee like a shadow withering As on the outside of Existence but look! behold! take comfort! Turn inwardly thine Eyes & there behold the Lamb of God Clothed in Luvahs robes of blood descending to redeem O Spectre of Urthona take comfort O Enitharmon Couldst thou but cease from terror & trembling & affright When I appear before thee in forgiveness of ancient injuries Why shouldst thou remember & be afraid. I surely have died in pain Often enough to convince thy jealousy & fear & terror Come hither be patient let us converse together because I also tremble at myself & at all my former life Enitharmon answerd I behold the Lamb of God descending To Meet these Spectres of the Dead I therefore fear that he Will give us to Eternal Death fit punishment for such Hideous offenders Uttermost extinction in eternal pain An ever dying life of stifling & obstruction shut out Of existence to be a sign & terror to all who behold Lest any should in futurity do as we have done in heaven Such is our state nor will the Son of God redeem us but destroy PAGE 98  So Enitharmon spoke trembling & in torrents of tears Los sat in Golgonooza in the Gate of Luban where He had erected many porches where branchd the Mysterious Tree Where the Spectrous dead wail & sighing thus he spoke to Enitharmon Lovely delight of Men Enitharmon shady refuge from furious war Thy bosom translucent is a soft repose for the weeping souls Of those piteous victims of battle there they sleep in happy obscurity They feed upon our life we are their victims. Stern desire I feel to fabricate embodied semblances in which the dead May live before us in our palaces & in our gardens of labour Which now opend within the Center we behold spread abroad To form a world of Sacrifice of brothers & sons & daughters To comfort Orc in his dire sufferings[;] look[!] my fires enlume afresh Before my face ascending with delight as in ancient times Enitharmon spread her beaming locks upon the wind & said O Lovely terrible Los wonder of Eternity O Los my defence & guide Thy works are all my joy. & in thy fires my soul delights If mild they burn in just proportion & in secret night And silence build their day in shadow of soft clouds & dews Then I can sigh forth on the winds of Golgonooza piteous forms That vanish again into my bosom but if thou my Los Wilt in sweet moderated fury. fabricate forms sublime Such as the piteous spectres may assimilate themselves into They shall be ransoms for our Souls that we may live So Enitharmon spoke & Los his hands divine inspired began To modulate his fires studious the loud roaring flames He vanquishd with the strength of Art bending their iron points And drawing them forth delighted upon the winds of Golgonooza From out the ranks of Urizens war & from the fiery lake Of Orc bending down as the binder of the Sheaves follows The reaper in both arms embracing the furious raging flames Los drew them forth out of the deeps planting his right foot firm Upon the Iron crag of Urizen thence springing up aloft Into the heavens of Enitharmon in a mighty circle And first he drew a line upon the walls of shining heaven And Enitharmon tincturd it with beams of blushing love It remaind permanent a lovely form inspird divinely human Dividing into just proportions Los unwearied labourd The immortal lines upon the heavens till with sighs of love Sweet Enitharmon mild Entrancd breathd forth upon the wind The spectrous dead Weeping the Spectres viewd the immortal works Of Los Assimilating to those forms Embodied & Lovely In youth & beauty in the arms of Enitharmon mild reposing" Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 103, (E 376) "Enitharmon wove in tears Singing Songs of Lamentations And pitying comfort as she sighd forth on the wind the spectres And wove them bodies calling them her belovd sons & daughters Employing the daughters in her looms & Los employd the Sons In Golgonoozas Furnaces among the Anvils of time & space Thus forming a Vast family wondrous in beauty & love And they appeard a Universal female form created From those who were dead in Ulro from the Spectres of the dead"