Saturday, December 10, 2011

Plate 11

To labours mighty, with vast strength, with his mighty chains,
In pulsations of time, & extensions of space, like Urns of Beulah
With great labour upon his anvils, & in his ladles the Ore
He lifted, pouring it into the clay ground prepar'd with art;
Striving with Systems to deliver Individuals from those Systems;
That whenever any Spectre began to devour the Dead,
He might feel the pain as if a man gnawd his own tender nerves.

Then Erin came forth from the Furnaces, & all the Daughters of Beulah
Came from the Furnaces, by Los's mighty power for Jerusalems
Sake: walking up and down among the Spaces of Erin:              
And the Sons and Daughters of Los came forth in perfection
And the Spaces of Erin reach'd from the starry heighth, to the
    starry depth.
Los wept with exceeding joy & all wept with joy together!They feard they never more should see their Father, who
Was built in from Eternity, in the Cliffs of Albion.             

But when the joy of meeting was exhausted in loving embrace;
Again they lament. O what shall we do for lovely Jerusalem?
To protect the Emanations of Albions mighty ones from cruelty?
Sabrina & Ignoge begin to sharpen their beamy spears
Of light and love: their little children stand with arrows of
Ragan is wholly cruel Scofield is bound in iron armour!
He shoots beneath Jerusalems walls to undermine her foundations!
A shadow animated by thy tears O mournful 
Jerusalem (Erdman 154)  Blake Archive Jerusalem Plate 11

Notes: Two pictures and the text express 'exceeding joy'.  The upper picture has a tree in each of the upper corners.  The willow implies woe and the oak implies ambition (according to Erdman on page 290 of The Illuminated Blake).

"Horace in Ode 20 of Book 2 prophesying his poetic immortality. feels himself turning into a snowy swan"; in Blakes design for poems by  William a stout naked youth excepting from the sky a lyre" mounted on a singing swan. (This is the Title Page of Blake's Designs.)  

In Ovid's Metaphoses Cygnus, son of Neptune, slain in battle became a swan. All these references imply the strong personal dimension of this material in Blake's design. He was changing, like we all do,  swan, eagle, serpent, you name it (them).  

In the second paragraph of the text we learn that Erin was the first to come out of the furnace (the spaces of Erin  occurred in Plates 9, 11, and 48), followed by the Daughters of Beulah.  Coming out of the furnace seems to mean escaping from Ulro, to achieve generation, then regeneration, then Beulah, then Eternity (IMO).  

This is a happy Plate and might have been placed near the end of Jerusalem.

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