Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Loud groand Albion from mountain to mountain & replied

Jerusalem! Jerusalem! deluding shadow of Albion!
Daughter of my phantasy! unlawful pleasure! Albions curse!
I came here with intention to annihilate thee! But
My soul is melted away, inwoven within the Veil
Hast thou again knitted the Veil of Vala, which I for thee
Pitying rent in ancient times. I see it whole and more
Perfect, and shining with beauty! But thou! O wretched Father!

Jerusalem reply'd, like a voice heard from a sepulcher:
Father! once piteous! Is Pity. a Sin? Embalm'd in Vala's bosom
In an Eternal Death for. Albions sake, our best beloved.
Thou art my Father & my Brother: Why hast thou hidden me,
Remote from the divine Vision: my Lord and Saviour.

Trembling stood Albion at her words in jealous dark despair:
He felt that Love and Pity are the same; a soft repose!

Inward complacency of Soul: a Self-annihilation!

I have erred! I am ashamed! and will never return more:
I have taught my children sacrifices of cruelty: what shall I
I will hide it from Eternals! I will give myself for my Children!
Which way soever I turn, I behold Humanity and Pity!

He recoil'd: he rush'd outwards; he bore the Veil whole away
His fires redound from his Dragon Altars in Errors returning.
He drew the Veil of Moral Virtue, woven for Cruel Laws,
And cast it into the Atlantic Deep, to catch the Souls of the
He stood between the Palm tree & the Oak of weeping
Which stand upon the edge of Beulah; and there Albion sunk
Down in sick pallid languor! These were his last words,
Hoarse from his rocks, from caverns of Derbyshire & Wales
And Scotland, utter'd from the Circumference into Eternity.

Blasphemous Sons of Feminine delusion! God in the dreary Void
Dwells from Eternity, wide separated from the Human Soul

But thou deluding Image by whom imbu'd the Veil I rent
Lo here is Valas Veil whole, for a Law, a Terror & a Curse!
And therefore God takes vengeance on me: from my clay-cold bosom
My children wander trembling victims of his Moral justice.

His snows fall on me and cover me, while in the Veil I fold
My dying limbs. Therefore O Manhood, if thou art aught
But a meer Phantasy, hear dying Albions Curse!
May God who dwells in this dark Ulro & voidness, vengeance take,
And draw thee down into this Abyss of sorrow and torture,
Like me thy Victim. O that Death & Annihilation were the same! 
(Erdman 168-9) 


Line 1 "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! deluding shadow of Albion!"
Quoting from David Whitmarsh's Jerusalem Explained,
   "Albion believes he is substance and Jerusalem a shadow. In Blake’s narrative structure, however, as seen from the true substance of infinite regeneration, Albion is the shadow."
   David points out the infinite complexity of Blake's character, Albion:
   Albion is Mankind
   Albion is England
   Albion is the eternal equivalent of the above (we're in heaven).
   Albion behaves as a fallen creature (perhaps something like the Biblical Adam.
   Albion acts as Moses (another fallen creature)Jerusalem reply'd: In paragraph two we have Catherine (Blake) trying to maintin some
self respect in the face of William's careless brilliance, and pointing out how an inflation can carry us far from (the Eternal) God. The 'bad man' (the spectre has taken control of Blake's psyche.

She obviously got to him because he confesses, expressing his humiliation.

"Trembling stood Albion at her words in jealous dark despair:
He felt that Love and Pity are the same; a soft repose!

This might be perceived as an element of Blake autobiography;
You may know the story of Blake telling Catherine of his rejection
by a higher class lady, the pity she showed and his statement that
he loved her because she pitied him. Love and pity both have 
contraries, good and bad, spiritual and fallen, etc. Today pity
doesn't have the prestige it may have had in Blake's day. this
passage may also be traced to Shakespeare's Othello: "She loved
me for the dangers I had passed, and I loved her that she did
pity them (This contribution from page 166 of Morton Paley's 

"He stood between the Palm tree & the Oak of weeping"
 FZ1-18.11-15 E310 has an earlier version:
"Now Man was come to the Palm tree & to the Oak of Weeping
Which stand upon the Edge of Beulah he [Albion] sunk down
From the Supporting arms of the Eternal Saviour; who disposd
The pale limbs of his Eternal Individuality
Upon The Rock of Ages. Watching over him with Love & Care"

An eloquent statement of the fall, asleep in Beulah; might it be the moment when our journey through life departs from angelic innocence to materialism?

"Therefore O Manhood, if thou art aught
But a meer Phantasy, hear dying Albions Curse!"

Albion perceives himself as dying (going to sleep in Beulah), and utters a 'final curse' (reminiscent of Job's wife).  

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