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

Friday, May 16, 2014


Yale Center for British Arts
From Songs of Innocence
The Shepherd  
The roots of the Hebrew people as sheep herders provided the image of God and of Jesus as a shepherd. The shepherd was responsible for the care and protection of the flock. The Zoa whom Blake associated with the shepherd is Tharmas representing the physical body and the senses. Like Jung's function, 'Sensation', Tharmas acts through the unconscious to keep man aware of his body and of his surroundings. Tharmas as a shepherd cares for a man's needs and protects him from harmful invaders. He is watchful and provides the sense of being at peace.

In the same light, Blake envisions the protective, caring family of Eternals following Albion as he strays from the integrity of wholeness. Like the cells of the body, the Eternals may be viewed as multitude or as a single unifying being embodying the life of all.

Songs of Innocence, Plate 5, (E 7)  
"The Shepherd.

How sweet is the Shepherds sweet lot,
From the morn to the evening he strays:
He shall follow his sheep all the day
And his tongue shall be filled with praise.

For he hears the lambs innocent call,
And he hears the ewes tender reply,
He is watchful while they are in peace,
For they know when their Shepherd is nigh."

Jerusalem, Plate 33 [37], (E 179)
"So Los spoke: But when he saw blue death in Albions feet, 
Again he join'd the Divine Body, following merciful;
While Albion fled more indignant! revengeful covering
Plate 34 [38]
His face and bosom with petrific hardness, and his hands
And feet, lest any should enter his bosom & embrace
His hidden heart; his Emanation wept & trembled within him:
Uttering not his jealousy, but hiding it as with
Iron and steel, dark and opake, with clouds & tempests brooding: 
His strong limbs shudderd upon his mountains high and dark.

Turning from Universal Love petrific as he went,
His cold against the warmth of Eden rag'd with loud
Thunders of deadly war (the fever of the human soul)
Fires and clouds of rolling smoke! but mild the Saviour follow'd him,

Displaying the Eternal Vision! the Divine Similitude!
In loves and tears of brothers, sisters, sons, fathers, and friends
Which if Man ceases to behold, he ceases to exist:

Saying. Albion! Our wars are wars of life, & wounds of love,
With intellectual spears, & long winged arrows of thought:       
Mutual in one anothers love and wrath all renewing
We live as One Man; for contracting our infinite senses
We behold multitude; or expanding: we behold as one,
As One Man all the Universal Family; and that One Man
We call Jesus the Christ: and he in us, and we in him,        
Live in perfect harmony in Eden the land of life,
Giving, recieving, and forgiving each others trespasses.
He is the Good shepherd, he is the Lord and master:
He is the Shepherd of Albion, he is all in all,
In Eden: in the garden of God: and in heavenly Jerusalem.        
If we have offended, forgive us, take not vengeance against us.

Thus speaking; the Divine Family follow Albion:
I see them in the Vision of God upon my pleasant valleys."

Revelation 7
[17] For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water;
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."


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