Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Plate 41

PLATE 41 [46]
Bath, mild Physician of Eternity, mysterious power
Whose springs are unsearchable & knowledg infinite.
Hereford, ancient Guardian of Wales, whose hands
Builded the mountain palaces of Eden, stupendous works!
Lincoln, Durham & Carlisle, Councellors of Los.
And Ely, Scribe of Los, whose pen no other hand
Dare touch! Oxford, immortal Bard! with eloquence
Divine, he wept over Albion: speaking the words of God
In mild perswasion: bringing leaves of the Tree of Life.

Thou art in Error Albion, the Land of Ulro:
One Error not remov'd, will destroy a human Soul
Repose in Beulahs night, till the Error is remov'd
Reason not on both sides. Repose upon our bosoms
Till the Plow of Jehovah, and the Harrow of Shaddai
Have passed over the Dead, to awake the Dead to Judgment.
But Albion turn'd away refusing comfort.

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Oxford trembled while he spoke, then fainted in the arms
Of Norwich, Peterboro, Rochester, Chester awful, Worcester,
Litchfield, Saint Davids, Landaff, Asaph, Bangor, Sodor,
Bowing their heads devoted: and the Furnaces of Los
Began to rage, thundering loud the storms began to roar
Upon the Furnaces, and loud the Furnaces rebellow beneath

And these the Four in whom the twenty-four appear'd four-fold:
Verulam, London, York, Edinburgh, mourning one towards another

Alas!--The time will come, when a mans worst enemies
Shall be those of his own house and family: in a Religion
Of Generation, to destroy by Sin and Atonement, happy Jerusalem,
The Bride and Wife of the Lamb. O God thou art Not an Avenger!
(Erdman 188-89)


"Councellors of Los": in his imagination Blake chose
five locations: Bath a resort on the South Coast, three counties, Hereford, Lincoln, and Durham and Carlisle (a city in Cumbria on the northwestern border. (Here's another good example of Blake's love of irregularity. It would be interesting to pursue these names in other Blake contexts.)

The Picture is a lollapaloosa showing a great many aspects of Blake's works and thought. (You need to look at a more vivid image than appears in Erdman's Illuminated Blake; Paley (Plate 46) or the Blake Archive
show a lot more.

Erdman's Notes are much better:
"Till the Plow of Jehovah, and the Harrow of Shaddai
Have passed over the Dead, to awake the Dead to Judgment.
But Albion turn'd away refusing comfort."
is his first statment.
You can see how the old gentleman running a vehicle of some sort might lead Erdman to that idea.

Fire envelopes the whole scene and serpents, a least four of them. The wheel of the vehicle becomes a serpent. The creatures on the back of the horse (oxen, whatever) have strange vesture, or is the back of one of them a fish heading down with wide open mouth. Or is it just a flame. Rorschach test, nightmare, whatever; it's conducive to thought.

The man in the driver's seat might be Albion, Jehovah, Urizen, or the King of England, accompanied by his emanation (Jerusalem or Vala perhaps).

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