Monday, January 16, 2012

Plate 19 of Jerusalem

Plate 19


His [Albion's] Children exil'd from his breast pass to and fro before him

His birds are silent on his hills, flocks die beneath his
His tents are fall'n! his trumpets, and the sweet sound of his
Are silent on his clouded hills, that belch forth storms & fire.
His milk of Cows, & honey of Bees, & fruit of golden harvest,
Is gather'd in the scorching heat, & in the driving rain:
Where once he sat he weary walks in misery and pain:
His Giant beauty and perfection fallen into dust:
Till from within his witherd breast grown narrow with his woes:
The corn is turn'd to thistles & the apples into poison:
The birds of song to murderous crows, his joys to bitter groans!
The voices of children in his tents, to cries of helpless
And self-exiled from the face of light & shine of morning,
In the dark world a narrow house! he wanders up and down,
Seeking for rest and finding none! and hidden far within,
His Eon weeping in the cold and desolated Earth.

All his Affections now appear withoutside: all his Sons,
Hand, Hyle & Coban, Guantok, Peachey, Brereton, Slayd & Hutton,
Scofeld, Kox, Kotope & Bowen; his Twelve Sons: Satanic Mill!
Who are the Spectres of the Twentyfour, each Double-form'd:
Revolve upon his mountains groaning in pain: beneath
The dark incessant sky, seeking for rest and finding none:
Raging against their Human natures, ravning to gormandize
The Human majesty and beauty of the Twentyfour.
Condensing them into solid rocks with cruelty and abborrence
Suspition & revenge, & the seven discases of the Soul
Settled around Albion and around Luvah in his secret cloud[.]
Willing the Friends endur'd, for Albions sake, and for
Jerusalem his Emanation shut within his bosom;
Which hardend against them more and more; as he builded onwards
On the Gulph of Death in self-righteousness, that roll'd
Before his awful feet, in pride of virtue for victory:
And Los was roofd in from Eternity in Albions Cliffs
Which stand upon the ends of Beulah, and withoutside, all
Appear'd a rocky form against the Divine Humanity.

Albions Circumference was clos'd: his Center began darkning
Into the Night of Beulah, and the Moon of Beulah rose
Clouded with storms: Los his strong Guard walkd round beneath the
And Albion fled inward among the currents of his rivers.
He found Jerusalem upon the River of his City soft repos'd
In the arms of Vala, assimilating in one with Vala
The Lilly of Havilah: and they sang soft thro' Lambeths vales,
In a sweet moony night & silence that they had created
With a blue sky spread over with wings and a mild moon,
Dividing & uniting into many female forms: Jerusalem
Trembling! then in one comingling in eternal tears,
Sighing to melt his Giant beauty, on the moony river.
(Erdman 163-65)

This plate is an example of Albion's fundamental fallenness.
(Much of it is taken from Night 9 of The Four Zoas. Look
especially at Erdman 388-89))

"Where once he sat...." Our older readers will feel that
intensely. (cf Isaiah 40:31)

"All his Affections now appear without...."
His sons (listed here) are all the reprehensible figures in
Blake's corpus

"The corn is turned to thistes": here we find an echo of
Enion's Song, one of the most eloquent poems Blake ever
wrote (at Erdman at the end of 324:

"I am made to sow the thistle for wheat; the nettle for a
     nourishing dainty
I have planted a false oath in the earth, it has brought forth a
     poison tree
I have chosen the serpent for a councellor & the dog
For a schoolmaster to my children
I have blotted out from light & living the dove & nightingale    
And I have caused the earth worm to beg from door to door
I have taught the thief a secret path into the house of the just
I have taught pale artifice to spread his nets upon the morning
My heavens are brass my earth is iron my moon a clod of clay
My sun a pestilence burning at noon & a vapour of death in night 

What is the price of Experience do men buy it for a song
Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No it is bought with the
Of all that a man hath his house his wife his children
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy
And in the witherd field where the farmer plows for bread in vain

It is an easy thing to triumph in the summers sun
And in the vintage & to sing on the waggon loaded with corn
It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted
To speak the laws of prudence to the houseless wanderer
To listen to the hungry ravens cry in wintry season
When the red blood is filld with wine & with the marrow of lambs

It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements
To hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughter
     house moan
To see a god on every wind & a blessing on every blast           
To hear sounds of love in the thunder storm that destroys our
     enemies house
To rejoice in the blight that covers his field, & the sickness 
     that cuts off his children
While our olive & vine sing & laugh round our door & our children
     bring fruits & flowers

Then the groan & the dolor are quite forgotten & the slave
     grinding at the mill
And the captive in chains & the poor in the prison, & the soldier
     in the field
When the shatterd bone hath laid him groaning among the happier

It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity
Thus could I sing & thus rejoice, but it is not so with me!"
(Erdman 324-25) 

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