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

Monday, April 11, 2016


Yale Center for British Art Jerusalem Plate 37
Blake's illuminated books on only a few occasions picture Jesus. There are two images in Jerusalem. On Plate 37 the image on the upper part of the page pictures Albion prostrate in the arms of Jesus. Blake would have been familiar with reproductions of Michelangelo's Pieta which shows the body of Jesus prostrate in the arms of Mary. Blake calls to mind the same agonizing sadness in showing Jesus supporting Albion, as the representative of all mankind, sunk in the despair of disbelief and rebellion.  

Jerusalem, Plate 32 [36], (E 179)
"Then those in Great Eternity who contemplate on Death
Said thus.  What seems to Be: Is: To those to whom  It seems to Be, & is productive of the most dreadful  Consequences to those to whom it seems to Be: even of 
Torments, Despair, Eternal Death; but the Divine Mercy
Steps beyond and Redeems Man in the Body of Jesus Amen
And Length Bredth Highth again Obey the Divine Vision Hallelujah
PLATE 33 [37]  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 41, (E 189)
"Alas!--The time will come, when a mans worst enemies   
Shall be those of his own house and family: in a Religion
Of Generation, to destroy by Sin and Atonement, happy Jerusalem,
The Bride and Wife of the Lamb. O God thou art Not an Avenger!
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."

Jerusalem, Plate 34 [38], (E 180)
"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." 
The biblical story which represented to Blake the plight of Albion was the account of the raising of Lazarus. Blake's faith that the fall of man did not end in eternal death but in eternal life, was iterated as he explored with Milton the 'ways of God' which led back to Eden. Jesus did not leave Lazarus or Albion in the grave but called them forth to live again.  

John 11
[21] Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
[22] But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
[23] Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
[24] Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
[25] Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
[26] And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
[27] She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

Lazarus in No Natural Religion 
  Lazarus in Tate Gallery
  Lazarus in Young's Night Thoughts

No comments:

Post a Comment