Wednesday, July 27, 2011

TO THE PUBLIC

In the frontispiece of Jerusalem we see Los entering the Door of Death to wake the Giant Albion from the sleep which has numbed his senses, distorted his reason and bound his imagination. The following plate acts a a title page for the work and introduces the first chapter of the book - To the Public. The butterfly images represent phases of Jerusalem the emanation of Albion, who like her male counterpart is asleep to her true Eternal nature. The artist Blake has used his skills and imagination to present the 'lovely, mild Jerusalem' in her splendor.

Yale Center for British Art
Jerusalem, Plate 2





Later on Plate 86 of the poem Blake uses words to present Jerusalem. Notice how the word picture complements, supplements and reinforces the image which introduced the poem, and in which we are introduced to Jerusalem, the Emanation of the Giant Albion. The lovely Jerusalem is pictured four-fold and described three-fold.








Jerusalem, PLATE 86, (E 244)
"I see thy Form O lovely mild Jerusalem, Wingd with Six Wings
In the opacous Bosom of the Sleeper, lovely Three-fold
In Head & Heart & Reins, three Universes of love & beauty
Thy forehead bright: Holiness to the Lord, with Gates of pearl
Reflects Eternity beneath thy azure wings of feathery down
Ribbd delicate & clothd with featherd gold & azure & purple
From thy white shoulders shadowing, purity in holiness!
Thence featherd with soft crimson of the ruby bright as fire
Spreading into the azure Wings which like a canopy
Bends over thy immortal Head in which Eternity dwells
Albion beloved Land; I see thy mountains & thy hills
And valleys & thy pleasant Cities Holiness to the Lord
I see the Spectres of thy Dead O Emanation of Albion.

Thy Bosom white, translucent coverd with immortal gems
A sublime ornament not obscuring the outlines of beauty
Terrible to behold for thy extreme beauty & perfection
Twelve-fold here all the Tribes of Israel I behold
Upon the Holy Land: I see the River of Life & Tree of Life
I see the New Jerusalem descending out of Heaven
Between thy Wings of gold & silver featherd immortal
Clear as the rainbow, as the cloud of the Suns tabernacle

Thy Reins coverd with Wings translucent sometimes covering
And sometimes spread abroad reveal the flames of holiness
Which like a robe covers: & like a Veil of Seraphim
In flaming fire unceasing burns from Eternity to Eternity
Twelvefold I there behold Israel in her Tents
A Pillar of a Cloud by day: a Pillar of fire by night
Guides them: there I behold Moab & Ammon & Amalek
There Bells of silver round thy knees living articulate
Comforting sounds of love & harmony & on thy feet
Sandals of gold & pearl, & Egypt & Assyria before me
The Isles of Javan, Philistea, Tyre and Lebanon

Thus Los sings upon his Watch walking from Furnace to Furnace."
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