Thursday, November 24, 2011

Jerusalem Plate 1

Frontspiece of Jerusalem

The Emanation of The Giant Albion

1804 Printed by W. Blake Sth Molton St.


This text appears in Erdman p. 144, but not in the Plates,  except in an early private collection (See Martin Butlin, p. 126).

[Above the archway:]

There is a Void, outside of Existence, which if enterd into
Englobes itself & becomes a Womb, such was 
Albions Couch
A pleasant Shadow of Repose calld Albions lovely Land

His Sublime & Pathos become Two Rocks fixd in the Earth
His Reason his Spectrous Power, covers them above
Jerusalem his Emanation is a Stone laying beneath
O [Albion behold Pitying] behold the Vision of Albion

[On right side of archway:]

Half Friendship is the bitterest Enmity said Los
As he enterd the Door of Death for Albions sake Inspired
The long sufferings of God are not for ever there is a Judgment

[On left side, in reversed writing:]

Every Thing has its Vermin O Spectre of the Sleeping Dead!

(Erdman 144)
Albions Couch sounds pleasant and comfortable, but it appears to be three rocks.  Throughout Jerusalem (the poem) Albion appears sleeping on his rock, which is a metaphor for  what is called Death or material existence.  Finally Albion awakes and materiality is replaced by Eternity.
Blake finished many other pictures that suggest much the same thing. For example
Look at this image from Gates of Paradise; Blake engraved these (For the Children) pictures in 1793 and 25 years later engraved similar ones in 'For the Sexes'.
This also appears in a May 23, 2010 post.
Although Plate 1 of Jerusalem and the old man going into the dark certainly seem very different, they symbolize the same thing: the translation from
Eternity into the material world..
Blake's Works are full of this idea. Look for example at Caverns of the Grave.

 In a fascinating way you may recognize that the Bible story of Rehab and the spies bears directly upon the story of Salvation and more basically to the secret of the Bible.

We're offered the Tree of Life, but we choose the Tree of Mystery. It happened with Joshua's military conquest of Canaan, and repeatedly throughout the Old Testament.
Finally it happed after the Crucifixion.
God and Christ had shown us the way, but Constantine changed the shape of the Church (Wars' primarily).
In the Bible story we read that Rahab hid the spies unto the flax drying on her roof. In Caverns of the Grave we're directed to this passage in Four Zoas, PAGE 115 [111], (E 385)
"But when she saw the form of Ahania weeping on the Void
And heard Enions voice sound from the caverns of the Grave
No more spirit remained in her She secretly left the Synagogue of Satan
she commund with Orc in secret She hid him with the flax"

This occurs at the end of the Eighth Night.
We see here a beautiful picture of how Blake read the Bible.

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