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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

ALBION IN FURNACES

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?

First posted in February 2013.  

Is an individual capable of exercising control over what goes on in his mind? Some would argue that he is not; that his thoughts are simply reactions to his memories or to external activity. Others observe an ability to decide what response is made by the psyche to the ever changing panorama of sensation and thought to which one is subject. Blake fell into the second category. Blake had developed his image of the furnaces as a means of gaining the ability to alter the 'mind forged manacles.' The difficulty in altering the way the mind perceives is that the mind is subject to the very strictures which it projects onto the outside world. In his four chapters of Jerusalem Blake explores both the outward and inward manifestations of a mind which has lost its unity and its ability to view ultimate reality. 

The final reference in Jerusalem to the furnaces of Los is on plate 91. Here the furnaces succeeded in amalgamating the nations into one because Los had succeeded in in altering his Spectre. The Spectre was no longer able to take control of Los' mind. Los no longer saw his Spectre as good or evil, he could now serve Los as intellect because Los no longer expects him to make him holy.  

The work of the furnaces, the inner work, was over but the final achievement of Los' furnaces had begun a chain reaction of reassembling Albion. The process of disintegration was reversed. Reintegration took place in multiple stages involving Los, Enitharmon, Britannia, Albion, Jesus and Jerusalem. The final appearance of a furnace was the 'Furnace of Affliction' into which Albion threw himself as an 'Offering of Self for Another'. By this act there was a transformation of the furnaces into 'Fountains of Living Waters' which initiated the final universal awakening.        


Yale Center for British Art 
Jerusalem 
Plate 97  
Yale Center for British Art 
Jerusalem  
Plate 73
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jerusalem, Plate 91, (E 251)
"Thus Los alterd his Spectre & every Ratio of his Reason      
He alterd time after time, with dire pain & many tears
Till he had completely divided him into a separate space.

Terrified Los sat to behold trembling & weeping & howling
I care not whether a Man is Good or Evil; all that I care
Is whether he is a Wise Man or a Fool. Go! put off Holiness    
And put on Intellect: or my thundrous Hammer shall drive thee
To wrath which thou condemnest: till thou obey my voice

So Los terrified cries: trembling & weeping & howling! Beholding                                         
PLATE 92
What do I see? The Briton Saxon Roman Norman amalgamating
In my Furnaces into One Nation the English: & taking refuge
In the Loins of Albion. The Canaanite united with the fugitive
Hebrew, whom she divided into Twelve, & sold into Egypt
Then scatterd the Egyptian & Hebrew to the four Winds!       
This sinful Nation Created in our Furnaces & Looms is Albion

So Los spoke. Enitharmon answerd in great terror in Lambeths Vale

The Poets Song draws to its period & Enitharmon is no more."

Jerusalem, Plate 96, (E 256)
"Albion replyd. Cannot Man exist without Mysterious          
Offering of Self for Another, is this Friendship & Brotherhood
I see thee in the likeness & similitude of Los my Friend

Jesus said. Wouldest thou love one who never died
For thee or ever die for one who had not died for thee
And if God dieth not for Man & giveth not himself           
Eternally for Man Man could not exist. for Man is Love:
As God is Love: every kindness to another is a little Death
In the Divine Image nor can Man exist but by Brotherhood

So saying. the Cloud overshadowing divided them asunder
Albion stood in terror: not for himself but for his Friend     
Divine, & Self was lost in the contemplation of faith
And wonder at the Divine Mercy & at Los's sublime honour

Do I sleep amidst danger to Friends! O my Cities & Counties
Do you sleep! rouze up! rouze up. Eternal Death is abroad

So Albion spoke & threw himself into the Furnaces of affliction 
All was a Vision, all a Dream: the Furnaces became
Fountains of Living Waters Flowing from the Humanity Divine
And all the Cities of Albion rose from their Slumbers, and All
The Sons & Daughters of Albion on soft clouds Waking from Sleep
Soon all around remote the Heavens burnt with flaming fires    
And Urizen & Luvah & Tharmas & Urthona arose into
Albions Bosom: Then Albion stood before Jesus in the Clouds
Of Heaven Fourfold among the Visions of God in Eternity
PLATE 97
Awake! Awake Jerusalem! O lovely Emanation of Albion
Awake and overspread all Nations as in Ancient Time
For lo! the Night of Death is past and the Eternal Day
Appears upon our Hills: Awake Jerusalem, and come away"
. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

ALBION GUARDED

william-blake.org
Christ in the Sepulcher Guarded by Angels
There are two perspectives from which Blake presents Albion. The first is that of the fallen Albion, asleep on his rock or dead in his sepulcher. This fallen giant undergoes the agonies of separation into warring factions. He suffers the anguish of  a disintegrating  world. He has lost the cohesion which the Divine Vision provides.

Blake, however, provides a view of Albion from a contrasting perspective as well. He presents Albion as under the guardianship of benevolent forces which protect him until the processes which he undergoes have returned him to a state of unity. Offering him protection and succor are Sons of Eden, Daughters of Beulah, the Divine Hand, the Seven Eyes of God, Los the Imagination, and all Beulah hovering over his couch. 
 

Jerusalem, Plate 72, (E 227)
"And the Four Gates of Los surround the Universe Within and       
Without; & whatever is visible in the Vegetable Earth, the same
Is visible in the Mundane Shell; reversd in mountain & vale
And a Son of Eden was set over each Daughter of Beulah to guard
In Albions Tomb the wondrous Creation: & the Four-fold Gate
Towards Beulah is to the South[.] Fenelon, Guion, Teresa,    
Whitefield & Hervey, guard that Gate; with all the gentle Souls
Who guide the great Wine-press of Love; Four precious stones that Gate:"

Jerusalem, Plate 15, (E 158)
"And Hand & Hyle rooted into Jerusalem by a fibre
Of strong revenge & Skofeld Vegetated by Reubens Gate
In every Nation of the Earth till the Twelve Sons of Albion
Enrooted into every Nation: a mighty Polypus growing
From Albion over the whole Earth: such is my awful Vision.   

I see the Four-fold Man. The Humanity in deadly sleep
And its fallen Emanation. The Spectre & its cruel Shadow.
I see the Past, Present & Future, existing all at once
Before me; O Divine Spirit sustain me on thy wings!
That I may awake Albion from His long & cold repose.             
For Bacon & Newton sheathd in dismal steel, their terrors hang
Like iron scourges over Albion, Reasonings like vast Serpents
Infold around my limbs, bruising my minute articulations

I turn my eyes to the Schools & Universities of Europe
And there behold the Loom of Locke whose Woof rages dire  
Washd by the Water-wheels of Newton. black the cloth
In heavy wreathes folds over every Nation; cruel Works
Of many Wheels I View, wheel without wheel, with cogs tyrannic
Moving by compulsion each other: not as those in Eden: which
Wheel within Wheel in freedom revolve in harmony & peace. 

I see in deadly fear in London Los raging round his Anvil
Of death: forming an Ax of gold: the Four Sons of Los
Stand round him cutting the Fibres from Albions hills
That Albions Sons may roll apart over the Nations
While Reuben enroots his brethren in the narrow Canaanite    
From the Limit Noah to the Limit Abram in whose Loins
Reuben in his Twelve-fold majesty & beauty shall take refuge
As Abraham flees from Chaldea shaking his goary locks
But first Albion must sleep, divided from the Nations

I see Albion sitting upon his Rock in the first Winter           
And thence I see the Chaos of Satan & the World of Adam
When the Divine Hand went forth on Albion in the mid Winter
And at the place of Death when Albion sat in Eternal Death
Among the Furnaces of Los in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom"
Four Zoas, Night I, Page 21 [19], (E 312) 
"Jerusalem his Emanation is become a ruin       
Her little ones are slain on the top of every street    
And she herself le[d] captive & scatterd into the indefinite
Gird on thy sword O thou most mighty in glory & majesty
Destroy these opressors of Jerusalem & those who ruin Shiloh     

So spoke the Messengers of Beulah. Silently removing
The Family Divine drew up the Universal tent
Above High Snowdon & closd the Messengers in clouds around 
Till the time of the End. Then they Elected Seven. called the Seven
Eyes of God & the Seven lamps of the Almighty                    
The Seven are one within the other the Seventh is named Jesus
The Lamb of God blessed for ever & he followd the Man
Who wanderd in mount Ephraim seeking a Sepulcher
His inward eyes closing from the Divine vision & all
His children wandering outside from his bosom fleeing away"   
Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 99 (E 370)
"The Fallen Man stretchd like a Corse upon the oozy Rock
Washd with the tides Pale overgrown with weeds
Two winged immortal shapes one standing at his feet
Toward the East one standing at his head toward the west
Their wings joind in the Zenith over head
Such is a Vision of All Beulah hovring over the Sleeper

The limit of Contraction now was fixd & Man began
To wake upon the Couch of Death he sneezed seven times
A tear of blood dropped from either eye again he reposd
In the saviours arms, in the arms of tender mercy & loving kindness

Then Los said I behold the Divine Vision thro the broken Gates
Of thy poor broken heart astonishd melted into Compassion & Love
And Enitharmon said I see the Lamb of God upon Mount Zion
Wondring with love & Awe they felt the divine hand upon them"
.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

ANGUISHED ALBION

Yale Center for British Art Jerusalem Plate 62
In the introduction to William Blake's Circle of Destiny, Percival presents the overall theme of his book: that when the long cycle comes to an end, it renews (repeats) itself if error is not cast off, or it reaches the Last Judgment which ends all temporal things. Percival sees Blake presenting the whole of the cycle: from the undifferentiated status of Eternity to the Apocalypse where time ends - in all its aspects of politics, science, history, sociology, psychology and religion.

Through the images incorporated in this picture of Albion, Blake may be suggesting a turning point in cosmic events. The ouroboros (seen as a snake around Albion's head), as a representation of cyclical experience reminds us that Albion may break the cycle or repeat it. The peacock feathers surrounding the head remind us that this is a point of transition. The Seven Eyes of God tell us that Albion is under the protection of the Eternals though he has not returned from the world of time. Adding the five fainter eyes we arrive at the number twelve which points to the Zodiac, another image of cyclical movement. (Percival is able to correlate the stages traversed in Blake's myth with passage through the signs of the Zodiac in Chapter VIII of his book.)

Using alchemical symbolism, Percival makes this observation, "The feminine mercury passes from black to white through an intermediate stage in which all the colors assert themselves. The symbol of this stage is the peacock's tail. The appearance of this symbol is a good omen; it means that the fire is doing its work, that death is awakening into life, or, as Paracelsus puts it alchemically, "it showeth the workings of the philosopher's mercury on the vulgar mercury."
(Milton O. Percival, William Blake's Circle of Destiny, Page 206.)

Just as Blake wanted us to think of the events of the Old and New Testaments as we read the words of the text, in the illumination he is calling to our minds the seven days of creation, the twelve tribes of Israel, and whatever associations with the numbers seven and twelve which we may have from our reading of history, literature and numerology. The feet, cold to the point of blue death, are surrounded by the fires of destruction and redemption. Albion grasps the stone tenaciously. The face of fear, anguish and confusion suggests an agonizing decision taking process like that undergone by Jesus in the Garden.

Between the giant feet of Albion is Los, the one who 'stood forth' to watch over Albion until his dark nightmare was over. 

Blake bombards us with images, as he makes us ask the question, "Which direction will Albion choose?"

Jerusalem, Plate 33 [37], (E 179)
"And One stood forth from the Divine Family &,said    

I feel my Spectre rising upon me! Albion! arouze thyself!
Why dost thou thunder with frozen Spectrous wrath against us?
The Spectre is, in Giant Man; insane, and most deform'd.
Thou wilt certainly provoke my Spectre against thine in fury!    
He has a Sepulcher hewn out of a Rock ready for thee:
And a Death of Eight thousand years forg'd by thyself, upon
The point of his Spear! if thou persistest to forbid with Laws
Our Emanations, and to attack our secret supreme delights

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

Jerusalem, Plate 62, (E 212)
"Repose on me till the morning of the Grave. I am thy life.

Jerusalem replied. I am an outcast: Albion is dead!
I am left to the trampling foot & the spurning heel!
A Harlot I am calld. I am sold from street to street!
I am defaced with blows & with the dirt of the Prison!           

And wilt thou become my Husband O my Lord & Saviour?
Shall Vala bring thee forth! shall the Chaste be ashamed also?
I see the Maternal Line, I behold the Seed of the Woman!
Cainah, & Ada & Zillah & Naamah Wife of Noah.
Shuahs daughter & Tamar & Rahab the Canaanites:                  
Ruth the Moabite & Bathsheba of the daughters of Heth
Naamah the Ammonite, Zibeah the Philistine, & Mary
These are the Daughters of Vala, Mother of the Body of death
But I thy Magdalen behold thy Spiritual Risen Body
Shall Albion arise? I know he shall arise at the Last Day!
I know that in my flesh I shall see God: but Emanations
Are weak. they know not whence they are, nor whither tend.

Jesus replied. I am the Resurrection & the Life.
I Die & pass the limits of possibility, as it appears
To individual perception. Luvah must be Created                  
And Vala; for I cannot leave them in the gnawing Grave.
But will prepare a way for my banished-ones to return
Come now with me into the villages. walk thro all the cities.
Tho thou art taken to prison & judgment, starved in the streets
I will command the cloud to give thee food & the hard rock       
To flow with milk & wine, tho thou seest me not a season
Even a long season & a hard journey & a howling wilderness!
Tho Valas cloud hide thee & Luvahs fires follow thee!
Only believe & trust in me, Lo. I am always with thee!

So spoke the Lamb of God while Luvahs Cloud reddening above      
Burst forth in streams of blood upon the heavens & dark night
Involvd Jerusalem. & the Wheels of Albions Sons turnd hoarse
Over the Mountains & the fires blaz'd on Druid Altars
And the Sun set in Tyburns Brook where Victims howl & cry.

But Los beheld the Divine Vision among the flames of the Furnaces
Therefore he lived & breathed in hope. but his tears fell incessant
Because his Children were closd from him apart: & Enitharmon
Dividing in fierce pain: also the Vision of God was closd in clouds
Of Albions Spectres, that Los in despair oft sat, & often ponderd
On Death Eternal in fierce shudders upon the mountains of Albion 
Walking: & in the vales in howlings fierce, then to his Anvils
Turning, anew began his labours, tho in terrible pains!"
. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

ALBION VS LOS

Yale center for British Art
Jerusalem
Plate 22
THE MARRIAGE of HEAVEN and HELL, Plate 3, (E 34):
"Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and
Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence."

In the passage below we see the contraries at work personified in Los and Albion. It is apparent that Los is being forced into a contrary positions by Albion's behavior. 'Albion sat...Brooding on evil'.

Albion was trapped in a self destructive mental state from which he could not extricate himself. Albion accused Los and made demands. Los' opposition began the breaking down of the intractable disease with with Albion was afflicted. Albion began to reflect on the consequences of his misguided decisions.


Milton, Plate 42 (E 189)
"Thus Albion sat, studious of others in his pale disease:
Brooding on evil: but when Los opend the Furnaces before him:
He saw that the accursed things were his own affections,
And his own beloveds: then he turn'd sick! his soul died within him
Also Los sick & terrified beheld the Furnaces of Death
And must have died, but the Divine Saviour descended
Among the infant loves & affections, and the Divine Vision wept
Like evening dew on every herb upon the breathing ground

Albion spoke in his dismal dreams: O thou deceitful friend
Worshipping mercy & beholding thy friend in such affliction:
Los! thou now discoverest thy turpitude to the heavens.
I demand righteousness & justice. O thou ingratitude!
Give me my Emanations back[,] food for my dying soul!
My daughters are harlots! my sons are accursed before me.
Enitharmon is my daughter: accursed with a fathers curse!
O! I have utterly been wasted! I have given my daughters to devils

So spoke Albion in gloomy majesty, and deepest night
Of Ulro rolld round his skirts from Dover to Cornwall."

Albion is his self righteous desire to be the object of mercy forced Los to direct his mercy to those whom Albion may harm. Los rejected Albions pleas. Albion by not showing mercy, forced cruelty on Los. Albion demanded righteousness and justice for himself with no thought for the harm that his failures were causing others. Albion could not be healed of his sickness by being affirmed in the symptoms he was displaying. (Think of the alcoholic and the enabler.) Los provided the contraries so that progress might take place.

Milton, Plate 42 (E 189)
"Los answerd
. Righteousness & justice I give thee in return
For thy righteousness! but I add mercy also, and bind
Thee from destroying these little ones: am I to be only
Merciful to thee and cruel to all that thou hatest[?]
Thou wast the Image of God surrounded by the Four Zoa's
Three thou hast slain! I am the Fourth: thou canst not destroy me.
Thou art in Error; trouble me not with thy righteousness.
I have innocence to defend and ignorance to instruct:
I have no time for seeming; and little arts of compliment,
In morality and virtue: in self-glorying and pride."

In this little tableau contrariness was the result as well as the cause of progress. Error had not been removed but progress was being made in recognizing and defining it. The process must continue because 'One Error not remov'd, will destroy a human Soul."
'Why should Punishment Weave the Veil with Iron Wheels of War When Forgiveness might it Weave with Wings of Cherubim' (Jerusalem, Plate 22)
.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ALBION & LOS

Wikicommons 
Jerusalem
Plate 19, Copy A


Albion cannot wake from his tortured sleep on his own, nor can he be awoken without his consent. Until conditions are ripe for his restoration he will remain in his deathlike slumber. Los, seeing that Albion is helpless to return to health and wholeness, decides to assume the responsibility of intervening on his behalf. Los will suffer along with Albion, he will build structures in which life may flourish, he will reveal error that it may be rejected, and he will patiently watch for the signs that the dawn is breaking within Albion reborn.
 
Jerusalem, Plate 38 [43], (E 184)
"They saw their Wheels rising up poisonous against Albion
Urizen, cold & scientific: Luvah, pitying & weeping
Tharmas, indolent & sullen: Urthona, doubting & despairing
Victims to one another & dreadfully plotting against each other
To prevent Albion walking about in the Four Complexions.      

They saw America clos'd out by the Oaks of the western shore;
And Tharmas dash'd on the Rocks of the Altars of Victims in Mexico.
If we are wrathful Albion will destroy Jerusalem with rooty Groves
If we are merciful, ourselves must suffer destruction on his Oaks!
Why should we enter into our Spectres, to behold our own corruptions
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 Non-Entity:
Seeing these Heavens & Hells conglobing in the Void. Heavens over Hells
Brooding in holy hypocritic lust, drinking the cries of pain

From howling victims of Law: building Heavens Twenty-seven-fold.
Swelld & bloated General Forms, repugnant to the Divine-
Humanity, who is the Only General and Universal Form         
To which all Lineaments tend & seek with love & sympathy"

Jerusalem, Plate 39 [44], (E 186)
"But as the Will must not be bended but in the day of Divine
Power: silent calm & motionless, in the mid-air sublime, 
The Family Divine hover around the darkend Albion.          
Such is the nature of the Ulro: that whatever enters:
Becomes Sexual, & is Created, and Vegetated, and Born.
From Hyde Park spread their vegetating roots beneath Albion
In dreadful pain the Spectrous Uncircumcised Vegetation.
Forming a Sexual Machine: an Aged Virgin Form,           
In Erins Land toward the north, joint after joint & burning
In love & jealousy immingled & calling it Religion
And feeling the damps of death they with one accord delegated Los
Conjuring him by the Highest that he should Watch over them
Till Jesus shall appear: & they gave their power to Los       
Naming him the Spirit of Prophecy, calling him Elijah

Strucken with Albions disease they become what they behold;
They assimilate with Albion in pity & compassion;
Their Emanations return not: their Spectres rage in the Deep
The Slumbers of Death came over them around the Couch of Death  
Before the Gate of Los & in the depths of Non Entity
Among the Furnaces of Los: among the Oaks of Albion.

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!"
. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

SUFFERING OF ALBION

Yale Center for British Art
Jerusalem
Plate 84
Blake saw the alienation which Albion experienced manifested in multiple ways. There was the isolation he felt because of the loss of his perception of the Eternal. There was the internal contention which arose from the imbalance among the demands of his psychic factions. And he saw Albion's alienation expressed in the failure of humanity to live in a harmonious community of brotherhood.
 
If man could become conscious of the source of the suffering within himself and surrounding himself, it would become intolerable. The hardness of his heart would be melted and he would be consumed by the pity, love and compassion which could heal the world's wounds.
 


From: An Interview Conducted with Kathleen Raine on July 12, 1993 by Donald E. Stanford:

"Yeats describes genius as bringing together at certain moments the waking and the sleeping mind. The available knowledge is greater in states of inspiration. Blake certainly had this. There is much suffering, as your critic says, in the writings of Blake: the turmoil, the anguish of Jerusalem. But this was not a personal thing; he was talking about the nation. He was a spiritual patriot, and he was speaking of the suffering of the giant Albion, as he calls the English nation. He was a prophet in the sense of the Old Testament prophets in the Jewish Bible, who also were speaking for their nation. They were not speaking of their individual suffering; they were speaking of the national psyche, if you like, into which Blake had certainly a remarkably clear insight. He speaks of living. He says, “in South Molton Street I see and hear” what is going on in the soul of Albion, which is, of course, the soul of England. In other words, here in South Moulton Street I both see and hear the sufferings of the military, or the war against France that broke out after the French Revolution, of the conscription of soldiers, and the suffering of child labor, the endless sufferings of his people at that time, the hangings of boys at Tyburn for the theft of a yard of cloth, the injustices, the national crimes against which Blake spoke out. You may say these were descriptions of deep, deep suffering, the psychological sufferings of various kinds of mental and physical and spiritual tyrannies in his nation at the time. I wonder what he would have been writing about had he lived now. Certainly many things would have been the same — perhaps not all — but when he writes of London and marking, “in every face marks of weakness, marks of woe,” he felt the collective suffering: that was the nature of his inspiration. He was not a personal poet expressing himself. He was a
national prophet, calling to his nation to awake from their “deadly sleep,” which is unconsciousness of what is going on, and to awake to the truths of the imagination and to reform many things. This is not madness."

Jerusalem, Plate 34 [38], (E 180) 
"Thus speaking; the Divine Family follow Albion:
I see them in the Vision of God upon my pleasant valleys.

I behold London; a Human awful wonder of God!
He says: Return, Albion, return! I give myself for thee:         
My Streets are my, Ideas of Imagination.
Awake Albion, awake! and let us awake up together.
My Houses are Thoughts: my Inhabitants; Affections,
The children of my thoughts, walking within my blood-vessels,
Shut from my nervous form which sleeps upon the verge of Beulah  
In dreams of darkness, while my vegetating blood in veiny pipes,
Rolls dreadful thro' the Furnaces of Los, and the Mills of Satan.
For Albions sake, and for Jerusalem thy Emanation
I give myself, and these my brethren give themselves for Albion.

So spoke London, immortal Guardian! I heard in Lambeths shades:  
In Felpham I heard and saw the Visions of Albion
I write in South Molton Street, what I both see and hear
In regions of Humanity, in Londons opening streets."

Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 99, (E 371)
"Then All in Great Eternity Met in the Council of God 
as one Man Even Jesus upon Gilead & Hermon            
Upon the Limit of Contraction to create the fallen Man
The Fallen Man stretchd like a Corse upon the oozy Rock
Washd with the tides Pale overgrown with weeds  
That movd with horrible dreams hovring high over his head
Two winged immortal shapes one standing at his feet
Toward the East one standing at his head toward the west
Their wings joind in the Zenith over head     
Such is a Vision of All Beulah hovring over the Sleeper     

The limit of Contraction now was fixd & Man began
To wake upon the Couch of Death   he sneezed seven times
A tear of blood dropped from either eye again he reposd
In the saviours arms, in the arms of tender mercy & loving kindness

Then Los said I behold the Divine Vision thro the broken Gates
Of thy poor broken heart astonishd melted into Compassion & Love
And Enitharmon said I see the Lamb of God upon Mount Zion     
Wondring with love & Awe they felt the divine hand upon them  

For nothing could restrain the dead in Beulah from descending
Unto Ulros night tempted by the Shadowy females sweet    
Delusive cruelty they descend away from the Daughters of Beulah
And Enter Urizens temple Enitharmon pitying & her heart
Gates broken down. they descend thro the Gate of Pity
The broken heart Gate of Enitharmon She sighs them forth upon the wind
Of Golgonooza Los stood recieving them         
For Los could enter into Enitharmons bosom & explore
Its intricate Labyrinths now the Obdurate heart was broken" 
___________________________________________________________
Thanks to remarks from Susan on her own blog, I append this passage form Ezekiel with the reminder that, to Blake, Israel symbolically was synonymous with Albion (England) in its fallenness and potential or redemption.
 
Ezekiel 36
[7] Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame.
[8] But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come.
[9] For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown:
[10] And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded:
[11] And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
[12] Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of men.

...
[24] For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
[25] Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
[26] A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
[27] And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
[28] And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

SAVING ALBION

First posted March 15, 2011.

Wikimedia Commons
Drawing for Title Page
Blair's The Grave
In your journey have you ever turned away from the Divine Vision? Or have you known others who have become lost in a wilderness of pain and despair? Do you know of anyone who has refused the assistance of friends and family who attempted to show one the error of one's ways? Blake shows Albion in the circumstances of such a person - disintegrating in a morass of bad decisions, insisting on continuing along the road to destruction.

Albion's life is in a shambles when Los as the agent of the Divine Family continues his mission of saving Albion. Here he gives Albion a reminder of Albion's home in Eden.

Jerusalem, Plate 34 [38], (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

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 [Albion] 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."

Albion's plight is obvious as are attempts to save him. Here he is given a reminder that whatever heights one may have reached, the Selfhood must be annihilated if the process of healing is to continue. The incarnation which was first manifest through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is presented to Albion for his salvation. He again refuses.

Jerusalem, Plate 40 [45], (E 187)
"Bath, healing City! whose wisdom in midst of Poetic
Fervor: mild spoke thro' the Western Porch, in soft gentle tears

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. When Africa in sleep
Rose in the night of Beulah, and bound down the Sun & Moon
His friends cut his strong chains, & overwhelm'd his dark
Machines in fury & destruction, and the Man reviving repented
He wept before his wrathful brethren, thankful & considerate
For their well timed wrath. But Albions sleep is not
Like Africa's: and his machines are woven with his life
Nothing but mercy can save him! nothing but mercy interposing
Lest he should slay Jerusalem in his fearful jealousy
O God descend! gather our brethren, deliver Jerusalem
But that we may omit no office of the friendly spirit
Oxford take thou these leaves of the Tree of Life: with eloquence
That thy immortal tongue inspires; present them to Albion:
Perhaps he may recieve them, offerd from thy loved hands.

So spoke, unheard by Albion. the merciful Son of Heaven
To those whose Western Gates were open, as they stood weeping
Around Albion: but Albion heard him not; obdurate! hard!
He frown'd on all his Friends, counting them enemies in his
sorrow

And the Seventeen conjoining with Bath, the Seventh:
In whom the other Ten shone manifest, a Divine Vision!
Assimilated and embrac'd Eternal Death for Albions sake."

We can see ourselves in Albion, and Albion in ourselves. His experiences are our experiences.

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

ALBION & ZOAS



Yale Center For British Art
Jerusalem
Plate 46
Albion and his Emanation Jerusalem, both asleep, sit aboard their chariot, which is under the control of beings of which they are unaware. Two beasts  with the faces of man supply the energy which move the vehicle in which they passively ride. The turning wheels in the form of serpents propel the vehicle under the direction of two tiny bird-headed winged creatures riding on the backs of the ox-like creatures. What is meant to be Albion's chariot of fire, without direction from human consciousness, moves man into deeper error.  

Before Los initiates the process of restoring Albion to the Humanity Divine, each of the four Zoas has fallen to the point that his outlook is totally opposite to his role in eternity.
 

Jerusalem, Plate 38, (E184)
"They [the Four Zoas] saw their Wheels rising up poisonous against Albion
Urizen, cold & scientific: Luvah, pitying & weeping
Tharmas, indolent & sullen: Urthona, doubting & despairing
Victims to one another & dreadfully plotting against each other
To prevent Albion walking about in the Four Complexions."

Jerusalem, Plate 46, (E 188)
"Thou art in Error Albion, the Land of Ulro:               
One Error not remov'd, will destroy a human Soul
Repose in Beulahs night, till the Error is remov'd
Reason not on both sides. Repose upon our bosoms
Till the Plow of Jehovah, and the Harrow of Shaddai
Have passed over the Dead, to awake the Dead to Judgment.     
But Albion turn'd away refusing comfort." 
Urizen, meant to be the active intellect involving itself in interfacing with information and developing understanding of relationships, has become cold and detached. He has reduced interactions to measurements, and objective descriptions from his frozen mind.

Luvah, meant to be the source of empathy and delight through the expression of emotional attachments, has been reduced to regret and depression. The spontaneous outpouring of approval or disapproval no longer flows from his detached heart.

Tharmas, meant to be energetic and active, involved in giving outer expression to inner dynamics, is passive and lifeless. The energy which should be generated through sensory perception and the impetus to create life is not flowing in his lethargic body.

Urthona, meant to be faith and vision, the connective function which holds together disparate parts, has lost the 'blessed assurance' and fallen into a dark pit of isolation. The connection of the body with the wholeness of purposeful living finds no expression without imagination.

From Blake's Poetry and Designs, Edited by Mary Lynn Johnson and John E. Grant, we get a sense of the origin on Blake's term Zoas and the change they underwent as Albion fell:
"Cosmic man, lying unconscious in England, is dominated by his 'Zoas,' Blake's English plural for a word (already a plural in Greek) which in the Authorized Version is translated 'beasts' in Revelation 4:6, though the Hebrew equivalent is translated 'living creatures' in Ezekiel 1:5, 19-23. Both of these Biblical passages describe the four beings who surround God's presence. From this hint, as suggested in postbiblical iconography, Blake developed a conception of man's fourfold nature. Humanity should be composed of wisdom, love, imagination, and strength, but in the fallen state it is torn apart by hypocritical morality, lust, rage, confused fantasy, and chaotic weakness. The personifications of cold reason, wild emotion, misguided imagination, and weakened instinct behave like Titans with fallible human personalities." (Page 215) 

Ezekiel 1
[3] The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.
[4] And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
[5] Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.
[6] And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
[7] And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass.
[8] And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.
[9] Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.
[10] As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.
[11] Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.
[12] And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.
[13] As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.
[14] And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.

Revelation 4
[5] And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
[6] And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
[7] And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
[8] And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
[9] And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,

One's greatest gifts can turn into one's worst liabilities if not recognized as gifts and put to work in the service of the giver. The Zoas will recover their gifts as Albion is restored to Eternity through the work of Jesus and Los.
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Monday, April 13, 2015

SLEEP OF ALBION

Albion's fall into disease, disaster and despair is the result of his loss of the fine-tuned integrity of the integrated whole. When he loses the ability to perceive the vision of the Form Divine, he loses access to his Jerusalem, his Soul where his image of God resides. There are three simultaneous occurrences: Albion falls asleep, Jerusalem is lost to him and his Spectre arises. 

Yale Center for British Arts
Jerusalem
Plate 37
Albion's fall is not complete. He is not allowed to reach the depths of the void outside of existence for it becomes a womb to nurture his regeneration. He reaches the precipice but does not fall into non-entity.

In Plate 37 Blake incorporates Jesus, the incarnate God, cradling the unconscious Albion between the palm of suffering and the oak of sacrifice, supported by the moon of generation on the wings of regeneration. The text is surrounded by the stars of redemption. The lower section portrays the fractured aspects of the divided Albion: his Spectre and his Emanation.

Jerusalem, Plate 23, (E 168)
"Jerusalem reply'd, like a voice heard from a sepulcher:
Father! once piteous! Is Pity. a Sin? Embalm'd in Vala's bosom
In an Eternal Death for. Albions sake, our best beloved.         
Thou art my Father & my Brother: Why hast thou hidden me,
Remote from the divine Vision: my Lord and Saviour.

Trembling stood Albion at her words in jealous dark despair:
He felt that Love and Pity are the same; a soft repose!
Inward complacency of Soul: a Self-annihilation!                 

I have erred! I am ashamed! and will never return more:
I have taught my children sacrifices of cruelty: what shall I
     answer?
I will hide it from Eternals! I will give myself for my Children!
Which way soever I turn, I behold Humanity and Pity!

He recoil'd: he rush'd outwards; he bore the Veil whole away     
His fires redound from his Dragon Altars in Errors returning.
He drew the Veil of Moral Virtue, woven for Cruel Laws,
And cast it into the Atlantic Deep, to catch the Souls of the Dead.
He stood between the Palm tree & the Oak of weeping
Which stand upon the edge of Beulah; and there Albion sunk       
Down in sick pallid languor! These were his last words, relapsing!
Hoarse from his rocks, from caverns of Derbyshire & Wales
And Scotland, utter'd from the Circumference into Eternity.

Blasphemous Sons of Feminine delusion! God in the dreary Void
Dwells from Eternity, wide separated from the Human Soul         

But thou deluding Image by whom imbu'd the Veil I rent
Lo here is Valas Veil whole, for a Law, a Terror  & a Curse!
And therefore God takes vengeance on me: from my clay-cold bosom
My children wander trembling victims of his Moral justice."
Jerusalem, Plate 36 [40], (E 182)
"O! how the torments of Eternal Death, waited on Man:     
And the loud-rending bars of the Creation ready to burst:
That the wide world might fly from its hinges, & the immortal mansion
Of Man, for ever be possess'd by monsters of the deeps:
And Man himself become a Fiend, wrap'd in an endless curse,
Consuming and consum'd for-ever in flames of Moral Justice. 
For had the Body of Albion fall'n down, and from its dreadful ruins
Let loose the enormous Spectre on the darkness of the deep,
At enmity with the Merciful & fill'd with devouring fire,
A nether-world must have recievd the foul enormous spirit,
Under pretence of Moral Virtue, fill'd with Revenge and Law."
 
Albion's members must be returned to consciousness of their connectivity. The oneness of the many must override their identification as individuals whose self-interest supersedes membership in the one body. 

1 Corinthians 12
[11] But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
[12] For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
[13] For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
[14] For the body is not one member, but many.
...
[25] That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
[26] And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
[27] Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
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Friday, April 10, 2015

ALBION & ARTHUR

First published April 14, 2014

Although we are first struck by the resemblance of the motif of sleep in the myth of King Arthur and Blake's myth of Albion, there is another remarkable  correspondence. The female characters in the myth of Arthur are the source of much of the difficulties which destroy the kingdom. Arthur's queen Guenevere proves to be unfaithful to him. His half sister Morgan, together with her son lead the rebellion which results in the end of the fellowship of the Knights of the Round Table. Merlin loses his freedom and power to the woman who was his protege. Furthermore the motif of the virginal maiden who exercises dominion over and requires devotion from her knight is prominent in the story.

We see in Enitharmon, Vala and Enion the same characteristics displayed in the women of Camelot. Enitharmon, as the queen of heaven is most like Guenevere, queen of Camelot. They both turn from their own men to others. Enitharmon aligns herself with Urizen or the Spectre. Guenevere chooses Arthur's 'best knight' as her paramour. Each woman rules in a world where the characteristics of the female are designed to undermine the role which the male should play.
 
Vala like Morgan is bent on obscuring and subverting the culmination of the possibility for achieving the unifying vision.

 
Enion like Nimue prevents the vision of wholeness from being revealed by withdrawing and fleeing.



Yale Center for British ArtJerusalem
Plate 54


Blake is speaking of more than the unpleasantness that results when men allow themselves to serve bossy women, he is writing about the consequences of the active, inner, spiritual principle becoming subservient to the passive, outer, material principle. 




Here is the situation as presented in William Blake's Circle of Destiny by Milton O Percival:

 
"It is easy to see, then, how great is the violence done to the divine plan when man, in his impiety, begins to reason about his apparently dual self and sets the feminine contrary above the masculine - the emanation above its spiritual source...The principles of life are thrown into reverse. The effect is taken as the cause. The emotional life takes precedence over the intellectual life. Beulah sets itself up as Eden. When this happens Eden and Beulah are both lost, and the sexual  strife of the sundered contraries is set up in Ulro. The struggle in Ulro takes many forms. It the emotions threatening to engulf the intelligence. It is outward nature threatening to extinguish the inner light. It is conventional technique warring against original genius. It is the moral ideal of a passive rather than an active good. In brief, the division is fourfold - of the head, heart, loins, and body, with all they imply." (Page 95)

Jerusalem, Plate 64, (E 215)
"Of the Mundane Shell which froze on all sides round Canaan on
The vast Expanse: where the Daughters of Albion Weave the Web
Of Ages & Generations, folding & unfolding it, like a Veil of Cherubim
And sometimes it touches the Earths summits, & sometimes spreads
Abroad into the Indefinite Spectre, who is the Rational Power. 
Then All the Daughters of Albion became One before Los: even Vala!
And she put forth her hand upon the Looms in dreadful howlings
Till she vegetated into a hungry Stomach & a devouring Tongue.
Her Hand is a Court of Justice, her Feet: two Armies in Battle
Storms & Pestilence: in her Locks: & in her Loins Earthquake.    
And Fire. & the Ruin of Cities & Nations & Families & Tongues

She cries: The Human is but a Worm, & thou O Male: Thou art
Thyself Female, a Male: a breeder of Seed: a Son & Husband: & Lo.
The Human Divine is Womans Shadow, a Vapor in the summers heat
Go assume Papal dignity thou Spectre, thou Male Harlot! Arthur   
Divide into the Kings of Europe in times remote O Woman-born
And Woman-nourishd & Woman-educated & Woman-scorn'd!

Wherefore art thou living? said Los, & Man cannot live in thy presence
Art thou Vala the Wife of Albion O thou lovely Daughter of Luvah
All Quarrels arise from Reasoning. the secret Murder, and        
The violent Man-slaughter. these are the Spectres double Cave
The Sexual Death living on accusation of Sin & judgment
To freeze Love & Innocence into the gold & silver of the Merchant
Without Forgiveness of Sin Love is Itself Eternal Death

Then the Spectre drew Vala into his bosom magnificent terrific"  
Jerusalem, Plate 88, (E 246)
"For Man cannot unite with Man but by their Emanations 
Which stand both Male & Female at the Gates of each Humanity
How then can I ever again be united as Man with Man
While thou my Emanation refusest my Fibres of dominion.
When Souls mingle & join thro all the Fibres of Brotherhood
Can there be any secret joy on Earth greater than this? 

Enitharmon answerd: This is Womans World, nor need she any
Spectre to defend her from Man. I will Create secret places
And the masculine names of the places Merlin & Arthur.
A triple Female Tabernacle for Moral Law I weave
That he who loves Jesus may loathe terrified Female love  
Till God himself become a Male subservient to the Female.

She spoke in scorn & jealousy, alternate torments; and
So speaking she sat down on Sussex shore singing lulling
Cadences, & playing in sweet intoxication among the glistening
Fibres of Los:" 
.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

GIANT ALBION

JERUSALEM: The Emanation of The Giant Albion, Plate 1, Frontispiece, (E 144) 
"There is a Void, outside of Existence, which if enterd into
Englobes itself & becomes a Womb, such was Albions Couch
A pleasant Shadow of Repose calld Albions lovely Land

His Sublime & Pathos become Two Rocks fixd in the Earth
His Reason his Spectrous Power, covers them above                
Jerusalem his Emanation is a Stone laying beneath
O behold the Vision of Albion

Half Friendship is the bitterest Enmity said Los
As he enterd the Door of Death for Albions sake Inspired
The long sufferings of God are not for ever there is a Judgment 

Every Thing has its Vermin O Spectre of the Sleeping Dead!"

  The following is reposted from April 12, 2014.
British Museum
Jerusalem
Plate 19




Descriptive Catalog, (E 543) 

"The giant Albion, was Patriarch of the Atlantic, he is the Atlas of the Greeks, one of those the Greeks called Titans. The stories of Arthur are the acts of Albion, applied to a Prince of the fifth century, who conquered Europe, and held the Empire of the world in the dark age, which the Romans never again recovered."





The mythology which is formative for the British is the Legend of King Arthur. Kathleen Raine's chapter The Sleep of Albion, in her book Golgonooza: City of Imagination connects King Arthur and Blake's Albion.
 
Raine:
"Above all the Matter of Britain centres about a fifth-century, Romanized British king or warleader, King Arthur, his chivalry, his court at Camelot, his round table, and the mysterious sanctity, neither wholly Christian nor wholly pagan, of the  Holy Grail and its Quest." (Page 161)

 
"And finally there is the legend of Arthur's death-sleep, somewhere in a secret cave where, with his knights around him, he awaits the time when he will return to restore just rule to his kingdom and to repel its enemies." (Page 163)

 
"The unfamiliar supernatural figures are those 'gods' or archetypal energies Blake discerned within the national collective life; and the central figure, whose inner drama is the theme of the whole drama is 'the Giant Albion', the collective person, so to speak, of the nation...Albion  is the sleeping 'giant' (not a king, for the 'giant' is not one man but a nation) for whose re-awakening  the 'four Zoas' and the other persons of the myth, labor." (Page 167)

 
"Blake was versed in the Arthurian literature and traditions and it is plain that the Sleeping Arthur is the model of  the majestic sleeping form of the Giant Albion." (Page 167)

 
"But the 'sleep' of the Giant Albion is conceived by Blake not as the mere passage of time but as a state of apathy, of lowering of consciousness, of forgetfulness of higher things." (Page 171)

 
"Albion's state of 'eternal death' therefore is seen not in terms of some comfortable remote myth but clearly and precisely identified as the materialist ideology to which the West has succumbed." (Page 175)

Jerusalem, Plate 54, (E 203)
"But the Spectre like a hoar frost & a Mildew rose over Albion    
Saying, I am God O Sons of Men! I am your Rational Power!
Am I not Bacon & Newton & Locke who teach Humility to Man!
Who teach Doubt & Experiment & my two Wings Voltaire: Rousseau.
Where is that Friend of Sinners! that Rebel against my Laws!

Who teaches Belief to the Nations, & an unknown Eternal Life     
Come hither into the Desart & turn these stones to bread.
Vain foolish Man! wilt thou believe without Experiment?
And build a World of Phantasy upon my Great Abyss!
A World of Shapes in craving Lust & devouring appetite

So spoke the hard cold constrictive Spectre he is named Arthur   
Constricting into Druid Rocks round Canaan Agag & Aram & Pharoh

Then Albion drew England into his bosom in groans & tears
But she stretchd out her starry Night in Spaces against him. like
A long Serpent, in the Abyss of the Spectre which augmented
The Night with Dragon wings coverd with stars & in the Wings     
Jerusalem & Vala appeard: & above between the Wings magnificent
The Divine Vision dimly appeard in clouds of blood weeping."  

Arthur is not a hero to Blake but a state through which man travels; a stage of development which is demolished when man reaches the subsequent stage of development. The Spectre, man's rational power is here named Arthur perhaps in response to Arthur's failure to achieve the Holy Grail. Blake continues his list of British Royalty who created an empire through military, political and economic power but failed to give their people the liberty to develop their inner lives. To Blake it is the prophets and poets who create the conditions in which man's humanity can reach fruition.
Jerusalem, Plate 73, (E 228)    
"Voltaire insinuates that these Limits are the cruel work of God
Mocking the Remover of Limits & the Resurrection of the Dead     
Setting up Kings in wrath: in holiness of Natural Religion
Which Los with his mighty Hammer demolishes time on time
In miracles & wonders in the Four-fold Desart of Albion
Permanently Creating to be in Time Reveald & Demolishd
Satan Cain Tubal Nimrod Pharoh Priam Bladud Belin                
Arthur Alfred the Norman Conqueror Richard John
[Edward Henry Elizabeth James Charles William George]
And all the Kings & Nobles of the Earth & all their Glories
These are Created by Rahab & Tirzah in Ulro: but around

These, to preserve them from Eternal Death Los Creates           
Adam Noah Abraham Moses Samuel David Ezekiel
[Pythagoras Socrates Euripedes Virgil Dante Milton]  
Dissipating the rocky forms of Death, by his thunderous Hammer
As the Pilgrim passes while the Country permanent remains
So Men pass on: but States remain permanent for ever"       

Wikimedia and Yale Center for British Arts
 

Monday, April 6, 2015

HYMN OF CHRIST

Giclee Prints from Private Collection
Hymn of Christ and the Apostles
1805
Only one incident of hymn singing is recorded in the Gospels. Following the Last Supper Jesus and his disciples sang a hymn before they proceeded to the mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane. Blake pictures two female and four male musicians with Jesus. Judging from the expressions on the faces, each is feeling the sadness occasioned by Jesus's announcement that he expects to be betrayed by one of the twelve disciples. None of his followers is able to understand why Jesus has offered his Body and Blood as he passed the bread and wine. The hymn is a pause between the celebration of the Passover and the drama of the arrest, trial and condemnation of Jesus.

Mark 14 
[22] And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. 
[23] And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. 
[24] And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. 
[25] Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. 
[26] And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. [27] And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. 
[28] But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.

In the Four Zoas Blake wrote a transitional passage in which music is the metaphor for preparation for the birth of Orc. Blake echoed the interlude of music which introduced the ordeal which Jesus faced as Orc became dominant in his myth.  Orc, the generate form of Luvah, released repressed sexuality and violence as Urizen was 'bound in chains.' There is a pause in the Four Zoas as there is in the Gospel of Mark before the destructive forces take sway. 

Four Zoas, Night V, Page 57, (E 339)
"Los from the furnaces a Space immense & left the cold           
Prince of Light bound in chains of intellect among the furnaces
But all the furnaces were out & the bellows had ceast to blow

He stood trembling & Enitharmon clung around his knees
Their senses unexpansive in one stedfast bulk remain
The night blew cold & Enitharmon shriekd on the dismal wind      
PAGE 58 
Her pale hands cling around her husband & over her weak head
Shadows of Eternal death sit in the leaden air

But the soft pipe the flute the viol organ harp & cymbal
And the sweet sound of silver voices calm the weary couch
Of Enitharmon but her groans drown the immortal harps           
Loud & more loud the living music floats upon the air
Faint & more faint the daylight wanes. The wheels of turning darkness
Began in solemn revolutions. Earth convulsd with rending pangs
Rockd to & fro & cried sore at the groans of Enitharmon  
Still the faint harps & silver voices calm the weary couch      
But from the caves of deepest night ascending in clouds of mist
The winter spread his wide black wings across from pole to pole
Grim frost beneath & terrible snow linkd in a marriage chain
Began a dismal dance. The winds around on pointed rocks
Settled like bats innumerable ready to fly abroad            
The groans of Enitharmon shake the skies the labring Earth
Till from her heart rending his way a terrible Child sprang forth
In thunder smoke & sullen flames & howlings & fury & blood

Soon as his burning Eyes were opend on the Abyss
The horrid trumpets of the deep bellowd with bitter blasts      
The Enormous Demons woke & howld around the new born king    
Crying Luvah King of Love thou art the King of rage & death
Urizen cast deep darkness round him raging Luvah pourd       
The spears of Urizen from Chariots round the Eternal tent
Discord began then yells & cries shook the wide firma[m]ent
.