Thursday, December 08, 2011

Plate 10

Into the Furnaces & into the valleys of the Anvils of Death
And into the mountains of the Anvils & of the heavy Hammers
Till he should bring the Sons & Daughters of Jerusalem to be
The Sons & Daughters of Los that he might protect them from
Albions dread Spectres; storming, loud, thunderous & mighty      
The Bellows & the Hammers move compell'd by Los's hand.
And this is the manner of the Sons of Albion in their strength
They take the Two Contraries which are calld Qualities, with
    which

Every Substance is clothed, they name them Good & Evil
From them they make an Abstract, which is a Negation             
Not only of the Substance from which it is derived
A murderer of its own Body: but also a murderer
Of every Divine Member: it is the Reasoning Power
An Abstract objecting power, that Negatives every thing
This is the Spectre of Man: the Holy Reasoning Power             
And in its Holiness is closed the Abomination of Desolation

Therefore Los stands in London building Golgonooza
Compelling his Spectre to labours mighty; trembling in fear
The Spectre weeps, but Los unmovd by tears or threats remains

I must Create a System, or be enslav'd by another Mans           
I will not Reason & Compare: my business is to Create

So Los, in fury & strength: in indignation & burning wrath
Shuddring the Spectre howls. his howlings terrify the night
He stamps around the Anvil, beating blows of stern despair
He curses Heaven & Earth, Day & Night & Sun & Moon               
He curses Forest Spring & River, Desart & sandy Waste
Cities & Nations, Families & Peoples, Tongues & Laws
Driven to desperation by Los's terrors & threatning fears
Los cries, Obey my voice & never deviate from my will
And I will be merciful to thee: be thou invisible to all         
To whom I make thee invisible, but chief to my own Children
O Spectre of Urthona: Reason not against their dear approach
Nor them obstruct with thy temptations of doubt & despair
O Shame O strong & mighty Shame I break thy brazen fetters
If thou refuse, thy present torments will seem southern breezes  
To what thou shalt endure if thou obey not my great will.
The Spectre answer'd. Art thou not ashamd of those thy Sins
That thou callest thy Children? lo the Law of God commands
That they be offered upon his Altar: O cruelty & torment
For thine are also mine! I have kept silent hitherto,            
Concerning my chief delight: but thou hast broken silence
Now I will speak my mind! Where is my lovely Enitharmon
O thou my enemy, where is my Great Sin?  She is also thine
I said: Now is my grief at worst: incapable of being
Surpassed: but every moment it accumulates more & more  It continues accumulating to eternity! the joys of God advance
For he is Righteous: he is not a Being of Pity & Compassion
He cannot feel Distress: he feeds on Sacrifice & Offering:
Delighting in cries & tears & clothed in Holiness & solitude
But my griefs advance also, for ever & ever without end          
O that I could cease to be! Despair! I am Despair
Created to be the great example of horror & agony: also my
Prayer is vain I called for compassion: compassion mockd
Mercy & pity threw the grave stone over me & with lead
And iron, bound it over me for ever: Life lives on my
Consuming: & the Almighty hath made me his Contrary
To be all evil, all reversed & for ever dead: knowing
And seeing life, yet living not; how can I then behold
And not tremble; how can I be beheld & not abhorrd

So spoke the Spectre shuddring, & dark tears ran down his shadowy
    face
Which Los wiped off, but comfort none could give! or beam of hope
Yet ceasd he not from labouring at the roarings of his Forge
With iron & brass Building Golgonooza in great contendings
Till his Sons & Daughters came forth from the Furnaces
At the sublime Labours for Los. compelld the invisible Spectre 
 
(Erdman 152-4)(Blake Archive Plate 10)  

Notes: Very little pictorially here; Erdman, in his Illustrated Blake, felt that this may have been inserted late, when Blake had too much to say textually, so it's justs words, and we're forced to consider exclusively the text:

"Into the Furnaces" occurs 6 times in Blake, 4 of them in Jerusalem:

"They revolve into the Furnaces Southward" (Jeru 5) "Luvah was cast into the Furnaces of affliction (Jeru 7)
This one at Jeru 10 "So Albion spoke & threw himself into the Furnaces of affliction" (Jeru 96)
The stem of all these passages can be found in Daniel.

2 comments:

ellie said...

Blake's 'Holy reasoning power' sounds very much like reductionism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductionism). Blake's solution seems to be melting down the limiting ideas of abstract philosophy and using the molten liquid to build (create) a visionary system called Golgonooza.

Larry said...

Right on, Ellie