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

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Yale Center for British Art Jerusalem
Plate 76
The second image of Christ in Jeusalem, like the first, is of Jesus and Albion. It is something of a reversal of the first image for Jesus is at the depth of degradation as he hangs helplessly on a Druiadic oak of suffering. Albion standing and facing Jesus spreads his arms in a posture of rejoicing rather than despair. Albion who had been in the depths has been raised to the heights, and Jesus who had been at the height of his ministry has reached the nadir of rejection.

Stuart Curran states in Blake's Sublime Allegory that:
"Only once in Jerusalem does Blake epitomize his meaning simply and totally upon a single plate. On the full page illumination on Plate 76 {36}, Albion stretches his arms wide in unconscious sympathy, contemplates the crucified Christ. The structure of Jerusalem continually returns its participants - Albion, Los, Blake, the reader - to this essential symbol until our contemplation attains the visionary penetration that transforms the pathos of suffering humanity into the sublime of willing self-annihilation." (Page 346)

Although we can apply all that Blake has been teaching about God and Humanity to understanding this picture, the appropriate response to the image is not analysis but contemplation.

Jerusalem, Plate 24, (E 169)
[Albion speaks]
"O Jerusalem Jerusalem I have forsaken thy Courts
Thy Pillars of ivory & gold: thy Curtains of silk & fine
Linen: thy Pavements of precious stones: thy Walls of pearl
And gold, thy Gates of Thanksgiving thy Windows of Praise:       
Thy Clouds of Blessing; thy Cherubims of Tender-mercy
Stretching their Wings sublime over the Little-ones of Albion
O Human Imagination O Divine Body I have Crucified
I have turned my back upon thee into the Wastes of Moral Law:"
Four Zoas, Night VIII, PAGE 107 [115], (E 381)
"Jerusalem pitying them wove them mantles of life & death
Times after times And those in Eden sent Lucifer for their Guard
Lucifer refusd to die for Satan & in pride he forsook his charge
Then they sent Molech Molech was impatient They sent
Molech impatient They Sent Elohim who created Adam
To die for Satan Adam refusd but was compelld to die
By Satans arts. Then the Eternals Sent Shaddai
Shaddai was angry Pachad descended Pachad was terrified
And then they Sent Jehovah who leprous stretchd his hand to Eternity
Then Jesus Came & Died willing beneath Tirzah & Rahab" 
Hebrews 9
[24] For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
[25] Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
[26] For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
[27] And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
[28] So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

The Wesley brothers were older contemporaries of William Blake. John and Charles Wesley were both ministers and poets who composed hymns of faith. Blake shared their love of music and their willingness to express enthusiasm - the emotional response to religious experience. This hymn by Charles may have been included in the Wesley hymnals which Blake owned and used.
1 O Love Divine what hast thou done!
The incarnate God hath died for me!
The Father's co-eternal Son,
Bore all my sins upon the tree!
The son of God for me hath died:
My Lord, my Love, is crucified.

2 Behold him, all ye that pass by,
The bleeding Prince of life and peace!
Come, sinners, see your Saviour die,
And say, was ever grief like his 

Come, feel with me his blood applied:
My Lord, my Love, is crucified:

3 Is crucified for me and you,
To bring us rebels back to God:
Believe, believe the record true,
Ye all are bought with Jesus' blood:
Pardon for all flows from his side:
My Lord, my Love, is crucified.

4 Then let us sit beneath his cross,
And gladly catch the healing stream;
All things for him account but loss,
And give up all our hearts to him:
Of nothing think or speak beside,
My Lord, my Love, is crucified.


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