Albion thy fear has made me tremble; thy terrors have surrounded me
Thy Sons have naild me on the Gates piercing my hands & feet:
Till Skofields Nimrod the mighty Huntsman Jehovah came,
With Cush his Son & took me down. He in a golden Ark,
Bears me before his Armies tho my shadow hovers here
The flesh of multitudes fed & nouris[h]d me in my childhood
My morn & evening food were prepard in Battles of Men
Great is the cry of the Hounds of Nimrod along the Valley
Of Vision, they scent the odor of War in the Valley of Vision.
All Love is lost! terror succeeds & Hatred instead of Love
And stern demands of Right & Duty instead of Liberty
Once thou wast to me the loveliest Son of heaven; but now
Where shall I hide from thy dread countenance & searching eyes
I have looked into the secret Soul of him I loved
And in the dark recesses found Sin & can never return.
Albion again utterd his voice beneath the silent Moon
I brought Love into light of day to pride in chaste beauty
I brought Love into light & fancied Innocence is no more
Then spoke Jerusalem O Albion! my Father Albion
Why wilt thou number every little fibre of my Soul
Spreading them out before the Sun like stalks of flax to dry?
The Infant Joy is beautiful, but its anatomy
Horrible ghast & deadly! nought shalt thou find in it
But dark despair & everlasting brooding melancholy!
Then Albion turnd his face toward Jerusalem & spoke
Hide thou Jerusalem in impalpable voidness, not to be
Touchd by the hand nor seen with the eye: O Jerusalem
Would thou wert not & that thy place might never be found
But come O Vala with knife & cup: drain my blood
To the last drop! then hide me in thy Scarlet Tabernacle
(21:44 warshipped] perhaps a scribal error for "worshipped"; but see textual note.)
For I see Luvah whom I slew. I behold him in my Spectre
As I behold Jerusalem in thee O Vala dark and cold
Jerusalem then stretchd her hand toward the Moon & spoke
Why should Punishment Weave the Veil with Iron Wheels of War
When Forgiveness might it Weave with Wings of Cherubim
Loud groand Albion from mountain to mountain & replied
(Erdman 167-8) [continue with Plate 23]
This plate has a colloquy among Vala, Albion, and Jerusalem; first Vala:
"Thy Sons have naild me on the Gates": is this a reference to the
crucifixion? Isn't it strange that he put these words in the mouth of Vala?
The answer might be that Vala is many things; originally she was the emanation
of Luvah; it's he rather than she who stand most often for Christ.
In line 3 Jerhovah is identified with two disreputable characters, which very
adequately reminds us that Blake didn't think much of the Old Testament God
(who brings "a thump on the head" compared to the Son's healing balm.)
"the Valley of Vision": the Bible has many valleys, but the most appropriate
is the valley of gehenna,, where the followers of Moloch sacrificed their
children. (and of course there is the 'valley of the shadow of death'.)
Albion now spoke two lines:
"I brought Love into light of day....."
Then Jerusalem comes in; she takes Albion to task for lapsing from Eternity
into the most crass materiality (joy is beautiful, but its anatomy horrible).
If you're still interested, look at the rest of the conversation (at least
the rest of it on this plate).
Notes on the Picture:
1. Upper: much like plates 18 and 20 two figures; one veiled, one naked,
suggesting Vala and Jerusalem; two figures in close proximity, but not
2. Blake showed three of the "Iron Wheels of War", said to be partially
immersed in water. (See Copy E).
And the two figures, now connected; you might say two double figures; to the
left Vala: fallen and redeemed; to the right Jerusalem: redeemed and fallen.
Erdman pointed out "three birds in the margin beside Albion's lament".
"And he pointed out the description of the Wheels at Plate 18:8-10:
Became as Three Immense Wheels, turning upon one-anotherInto Non-Entity, and their thunders hoarse appall the DeadTo murder their own Souls, to build a Kingdom among the Dead"