Wednesday, January 06, 2010

COUCH OF DEATH

William Bake: The Complete Works
At a critical moment in Blake's myth, he represents one of the low points in the condition of Albion, the Universal Man. Although this picture is labeled "Christ in the Sepulcher", the angels duplicate those described at the beginning of Night VIII of the Four Zoas. The appearance of the Lamb of God signals the impending resolution of Albion's plight.

Guarded by Angels

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"

Although Blake never completed and illuminated the Four Zoas, the image of Albion in the arms of Jesus appears on Plate 37 of Jerusalem, along with a description of Los attempting to turn Albion in the right direction.

Albion in the Arms of Jesus

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