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

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


British Museum

Copy A, Plate 76
Blake was of the opinion that the church had taught man that God is distant from him; that his home is in the sky, far removed from our home on earth. Even Jesus taught people to pray to 'Our Father which art in Heaven.' The distance between God and man was further increased when in the Age of Reason man was taught that God did not intervene in the activities of man. God became the observer who let the universe run itself according to the laws of physics. 

This idea of God was totally contrary to the God that Blake knew and loved. From the time that Blake was a child he had known God as a presence who visited him. Blake is reported to have seen God's face at his nursery window, later he saw a tree full of angels on Peckham Rye. Blake's mother was sympathetic to these direct experiences of God because through the Moravian Church she was familiar with acknowledging and following the guidance of the spirit. This accessible presence was the God whom Blake wanted to share with his readers.

Blake was not timid about expressing his conviction that God has descended to man and resides in humanity and in each individual. Blake had the confidence to write about God as the Holy Spirit who dwells in man because he was familiar with the theme which permeates the writings of the New Testament. He confirmed the experience in his own life and testified to it in his works of imagination.

Jerusalem, Plate 4, (E 146)
"Awake! awake O sleeper of the land of shadows, wake! expand!
I am in you and you in me, mutual in love divine:
Fibres of love from man to man thro Albions pleasant land.
In all the dark Atlantic vale down from the hills of Surrey
A black water accumulates, return Albion! return!                
Thy brethren call thee, and thy fathers, and thy sons,
Thy nurses and thy mothers, thy sisters and thy daughters
Weep at thy souls disease, and the Divine Vision is darkend:
Thy Emanation that was wont to play before thy face,
Beaming forth with her daughters into the Divine bosom
Where hast thou hidden thy Emanation lovely Jerusalem
From the vision and fruition of the Holy-one?
I am not a God afar off, I am a brother and friend;
Within your bosoms I reside, and you reside in me:
Lo! we are One; forgiving all Evil; Not seeking recompense!      
Ye are my members O ye sleepers of Beulah, land of shades!

But the perturbed Man away turns down the valleys dark;
[Saying. We are not One: we are Many, thou most
Phantom of the over heated brain! shadow of immortality!
Seeking to keep my soul a victim to thy Love! which binds
Man the enemy of man into deceitful friendships:
Jerusalem is not! her daughters are indefinite:
By demonstration, man alone can live, and not by faith.
My mountains are my own, and I will keep them to myself!
Jerusalem, Plate 38 [43], (E 184)
"O God of Albion descend! deliver Jerusalem from the Oaken Groves!

Then Los grew furious raging: Why stand we here trembling around
Calling on God for help; and not ourselves in whom God dwells
Stretching a hand to save the falling Man: are we not Four
Beholding Albion upon the Precipice ready to fall into

No comments:

Post a Comment