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


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 
Plate 97  
Yale Center for British Art 
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                                         
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
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"

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