Monday, July 25, 2011


The final chapter of Jerusalem is addressed 'To the Christians'. Doskow refers to Chapter 4 as treating affective error, whereas chapter 1 treated the entire story, chapter 2 treated religious error, and chapter 3 treated rational error.

Of great concern to Blake was the fact that the spiritual experience of Jesus had been transformed into a religion which deprived man of the liberty to use the imagination to express the fullness of his spirit. In Chapter 4, Jerusalem as an expression of that liberty, has been distorted by the sons of Albion. This is another example of the war between emotions as represented by Jerusalem, and reason represented by the Sons of Albion. Los will assume the job of protecting Jerusalem in her fallen state from Albion's spectrous sons.

Jerusalem, Plate 78
Yale Center for British Art
Comments from Minna Doskow's William Blake's Jerusalem:
"Here a bird-headed human figure sits upon a white rock surrounded by the sea of time and space. Vala's clouds dominate the sky while the sun of imagination sets at the left, its brown rays sending an ominous light over the whole. The figure with the bird of prey's beak represents Albion's twelve spectrous sons, who the text explains are "ravening to devour/The Sleeping Humanity". (Page 141)

Jerusalem like the other fallen emanations becomes involved in emotional errors against the male:
"As Enitharmon extols secrecy, jealousy, feminine domination, pride, and morality, and uses sexuality as the ultimate weapon in her arsenal, she echo's the affective errors of the other fallen females;" (Page 151)

Jerusalem, PLATE 78, (E 233)
"Chapter 4
The Spectres of Albions Twelve Sons revolve mightily
Over the Tomb & over the Body: ravning to devour
The Sleeping Humanity.
Los with his mace of iron
Walks round: loud his threats, loud his blows fall
On the rocky Spectres, as the Potter breaks the potsherds;
Dashing in pieces Self-righteousnesses: driving them from Albions
Cliffs: dividing them into Male & Female forms in his Furnaces
And on his Anvils: lest they destroy the Feminine Affections
They are broken. Loud howl the Spectres in his iron Furnace

While Los laments at his dire labours, viewing Jerusalem,
Sitting before his Furnaces clothed in sackcloth of hair;
Albions Twelve Sons surround the Forty-two Gates of Erin,
In terrible armour, raging against the Lamb & against Jerusalem,
Surrounding them with armies to destroy the Lamb of God.
They took their Mother Vala, and they crown'd her with gold:
They namd her Rahab, & gave her power over the Earth

The Concave Earth round Golgonooza in Entuthon Benython,
Even to the stars exalting her Throne, to build beyond the Throne
Of God and the Lamb, to destroy the Lamb & usurp the Throne of God
Drawing their Ulro Voidness round the Four-fold Humanity

Naked Jerusalem lay before the Gates upon Mount Zion
The Hill of Giants, all her foundations levelld with the dust!

Her Twelve Gates thrown down: her children carried into captivity
Herself in chains: this from within was seen in a dismal night
Outside, unknown before in Beulah, & the twelve gates were fill'd
With blood; from Japan eastward to the Giants causway, west
In Erins Continent: and Jerusalem wept upon Euphrates banks
Disorganizd; an evanescent shade, scarce seen or heard among
Her childrens Druid Temples dropping with blood wanderd weeping!
And thus her voice went forth in the darkness of Philisthea.

My brother & my father are no morel God hath forsaken me
The arrows of the Almighty pour upon me & my children
I have sinned and am an outcast from the Divine Presence!"

Milton Percival, in William Blake's Circle of Destiny, explains the role the feminine emotions play in bringing Albion to a state in which his regeneration is possible:

"The feminine emotions, driven in desperation by the increasing severity of the rational mind, turn from vengeance to forgiveness in their own defense...the emotions have been driven by the doubting rational mind into such narrow and cruel forms, such perversions of their own nature, that a sudden conversion is induced... Redeemed from error's power, the female unites herself again with her masculine contrary. As Blake puts it, the female "is made receptive of generation through mercy in the potters furnace." The sterile feminine world is made spiritually productive. Christ is born in Vala's woven mantle. (Page 228)
"Such then is the redemptive process. By means of it the emotional life (the feminine contrary) is made self-sacrificing and the original relationship of the contraries is restored. (Page 229)

Doskow concludes her commentary with these words:
"Contraries that form the basis of progression and dialectic within the poem, therefore, still continue within imaginative existence. They complement each other in living relationships so that finite and infinite, natural and immortal, are not exclusive but interdependent. As soon as such conditions obtain, liberty prevails - everyone's Emanation is called Jerusalem. Man can then exercise the arts of imagination in creative effort. He is unified with the world and his fellow men through sympathy and brotherhood, and his society reflects his regeneration in external conditions. The moment of Eternal Life forecast at the outset is now accomplished." (Page 169)

This post follows posts on the first chapter of Jerusalem: To the Public, and the second chapter: To the Jews, and the third: To the Deists.

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