Friday, February 17, 2012

Plate 42

Thus Albion sat, studious of others in his pale disease:
Brooding on evil: but when Los opend the Furnaces before him:
He saw that the accursed things were his own affections,
And his own beloveds: then he turn'd sick! his soul died within
Also Los sick & terrified beheld the Furnaces of Death         

Among the infant loves & affections, and the Divine Vision wept

Like evening dew on every herb upon the breathing ground

Albion spoke in his dismal dreams: O thou deceitful friend

Worshipping mercy & beholding thy friend in such affliction: 
Los! thou now discoverest thy turpitude to the heavens.
I demand righteousness & justice. O thou ingratitude!
Give me my Emanations back[,] food for my dying soul!
My daughters are harlots! my sons are accursed before me.
Enitharmon is my daughter: accursed with a fathers curse!   
O! I have utterly been wasted! I have given my daughters to

So spoke Albion in gloomy majesty, and deepest night

Of Ulro rolld round his skirts from Dover to Cornwall.

Los answerd. Righteousness & justice I give thee in return

For thy righteousness! but I add mercy also, and bind          
Thee from destroying these little ones: am I to be only
*Merciful to thee and cruel to all that thou hatest[?]*
Thou wast the Image of God surrounded by the Four Zoa's
Three thou hast slain! I am the Fourth: thou canst not destroy
Thou art in Error; trouble me not with thy righteousness.  
I have innocence to defend and ignorance to instruct:
I have no time for seeming; and little arts of compliment,
In morality and virtue: in self-glorying and pride.
There is a limit of Opakeness, and a limit of Contraction;
In every Individual Man, and the limit of Opakeness,           
Is named Satan: and the limit of Contraction is named Adam.
But when Man sleeps in Beulah, the Saviour in mercy takes
Contractions Limit, and of the Limit he forms Woman: That
Himself may in process of time be born Man to redeem
But there is no Limit of Expansion! there is no Limit of
In the bosom of Man for ever from eternity to eternity.
Therefore I break thy bonds of righteousness; I crush thy
That they may not crush me and mine: do thou be righteous,
And I will return it; otherwise I defy thy worst revenge:

Consider me as thine enemy: on me turn all thy fury            
But destroy not these little ones, nor mock the Lords anointed:
Destroy not by Moral Virtue, the little ones whom he hath chosen!
The little ones whom he hath chosen in preference to thee.
He hath cast thee off for ever; the little ones he hath anointed!
Thy Selfhood is for ever accursed from the Divine presence  

So Los spoke: then turn'd his face & wept for Albion.

Albion replied. Go! Hand & Hyle! sieze the abhorred friend: 

As you Have siezd the Twenty-four rebellious ingratitudes;

To atone for you, for spiritual death! Man lives by deaths of Men
Bring him to justice before heaven here upon London stone,
Between Blackheath & Hounslow, between Norwood & Finchley
All that they have is mine: from my free genrous gift,
They now hold all they have: ingratitude to me!
To me their benefactor calls aloud for vengeance deep.

Los stood before his Furnaces awaiting the fury of the Dead:

And the Divine hand was upon him, strengthening him mightily.

The Spectres of the Dead cry out from the deeps beneath

Upon the hills of Albion; Oxford groans in his iron furnace
Winchester in his den & cavern; they lament against
Albion: they curse their human kindness & affection
They rage like wild beasts in the forests of affliction
In the dreams of Ulro they repent of their human kindness.

Come up, build Babylon, Rahab is ours & all her multitudes

With her in pomp and glory of victory. Depart
Ye twenty-four into the deeps! let us depart to glory!

Their Human majestic forms sit up upon their Couches

Of death: they curb their Spectres as with iron curbs
They enquire after Jerusalem in the regions of the dead,
With the voices of dead men, low, scarcely articulate,
And with tears cold on their cheeks they weary repose.

O when shall the morning of the grave appear, and when

Shall our salvation come? we sleep upon our watch
We cannot awake! and our Spectres rage in the forests
O God of Albion where art thou! pity the watchers!

Thus mourn they. Loud the Furnaces of Los thunder upon

The clouds of Europe & Asia, among the Serpent Temples!

And Los drew his Seven Furnaces around Albions Altars

And as Albion built his frozen Altars, Los built the Mundane
In the Four Regions of Humanity East & West & North & South,

Till Norwood & Finchley & Blackheath & Hounslow, coverd the whole


This is the Net & Veil of Vala, among the Souls of the Dead.

(Erdman 189-91)


The first five verses show a world wide negative thinker and critic of everyone. The opening of the furnaces of Los show Albion (and Los) that the disease is of their own making.  (So true of all of us!)
*"And must have died, but the Divine Saviour descended".
Here Blake shows himself to be a pure evangelical. (Remember that all of his verses are his spiritual autobiography!)

But beginning at verse 9 we see that Albion maintains his blindness (like Pharaoh hardening his heart)), accusing the Divine Saviour and Los in turn, also his emanation snd his daughters.

Ulro stretches 'from Dover to Cornwall' (in other words the entire south coast of England)

In verse 22 ("*Merciful to thee and cruel to all that thou hatest[?]; that's so typical of the human race: like 'good Americans' we love those in our group and '*hate*' those outside it. (In the context of Blake's poetry, and indeed of the Bible, people love their own and hate the others.)

Going on Los accuses Albion of 'slaying' his three brother zoas (including urizen!!)

Line 25: "
Thou art in Error; trouble me not with thy righteousness" is loaded:
1) Error instead of Sin is Blake's vernacular.
2) "thy righteousness" in this context is 'self righteousness'.

There is a limit of Opakeness, and a limit of Contraction;
In every Individual Man, and the limit of Opakeness,           
Is named Satan: and the limit of Contraction is named Adam." 
This famous saying probably appears several times in Blake's poetry (the word opakeness appears once in Milton and 5 times in Jerusalem).

Line 45: "
Thy Selfhood is for ever accursed from the Divine presence" (the Selfood, the Spectre, Satan are synonyms, to be accursed, annihilated); Satan is not a person, but a state, in which we may enter at any time--for a time.   

Albion invokes Hand and Hyle to deal summarily with Los, whom he considers an 'ingrate'.

Lines 48-80 work it out.
The right border image in the words of Morton Paley portrays:
"An Atlas like figure supports a human tower that succeeds in reaching another giant bunch of grapes."
Evocative of John 15:5: "I am the vine; ye are the branches."

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