Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Plate 63

Plate 63
Jerusalem, PLATE 63
"Jehovah stood among the Druids in the Valley of Annandale
When the Four Zoas of Albion, the Four Living Creatures, the
Of Albion tremble before the Spectre, in the starry likeness of
    the Plow
Of Nations. And their Names are Urizen & Luvah & Tharmas & Urthona

Luvah slew Tharmas the Angel of the Tongue & Albion brought him
To Justice in his own City of Paris, denying the Resurrection
Then Vala the Wife of Albion, who is the Daughter of Luvah
Took vengeance Twelve-fold among the Chaotic Rocks of the Druids
Where the Human Victims howl to the Moon & Thor & Friga
Dance the dance of death contending with Jehovah among the
The Chariot Wheels filled with Eyes rage along the howling Valley
In the Dividing of Reuben & Benjamin bleeding from Chesters River

The Giants & the Witches & the Ghosts of Albion dance with
Thor & Friga, & the Fairies lead the Moon along the Valley of
Bleeding in torrents from Mountain to Mountain, a lovely Victim
And Jehovah stood in the Gates of the Victim, & he appeared
A weeping Infant in the Gates of Birth in the midst of Heaven

The Cities & Villages of Albion became Rock & Sand Unhumanized
The Druid Sons of Albion & the Heavens a Void around unfathomable
No Human Form but Sexual & a little weeping Infant pale reflected
Multitudinous in the Looking Glass of Enitharmon, on all sides
Around in the clouds of the Female, on Albions Cliffs of the

Such the appearance in Cheviot: in the Divisions of Reuben
When the Cherubim hid their heads under their wings in deep
When the Druids demanded Chastity from Woman & all was lost.

How can the Female be Chaste O thou stupid Druid Cried Los
Without the Forgiveness of Sins in the merciful clouds of Jehovah
And without the Baptism of Repentance to wash away Calumnies. and
The Accusations of Sin that each may be Pure in their Neighbours
O when shall Jehovah give us Victims from his Flocks & Herds
Instead of Human Victims by the Daughters of Albion & Canaan

Then laugh'd Gwendolen & her laughter shook the Nations & Familys
The Dead beneath Beulah from Tyburn to Golgotha, and from
Ireland to Japan. furious her Lions & Tygers & Wolves sport
Los on the Thames & Medway. London & Canterbury groan in pain

Los knew not yet what was done: he thought it was all in Vision
In Visions of the Dreams of Beulah among the Daughters of Albion
Therefore the Murder was put apart in the Looking-Glass of

He saw in Vala's hand the Druid Knife of Revenge & the Poison Cup

Of Jealousy, and thought it a Poetic Vision of the Atmospheres
Till Canaan rolld apart from Albion across the Rhine: along the

And all the Land of Canaan suspended over the Valley of Cheviot
From Bashan to Tyre & from Troy to Gaza of the Amalekite
And Reuben fled with his head downwards among the Caverns

Of the Mundane Shell which froze on all sides round Canaan...
(Erdman 213-15)

The most significant thing about paragraph 1 is “And their Names are Urizen & Luvah & Tharmas & Urthona”. That might be called the Spine of Blake’s myth.

But before that we have the identification of Jehovah among the Druids of the Valley of Annandale.  The Druids were the prehistoric priests of England (and the rest of the world as well), noted for their blood thirstiness.  Blake is telling us that primitive Israel had a blood thirsty God (if you should read them, the books of the Old Testament amply confirm that).

Annandale is a place in Scotland associated with the bloody outbreak of the British civil war, when the Scottish army attacked the forces of English King Charles (who was later beheaded).

Blake continued with a fanciful commentary on Britain’s bloody history in the 17th Century, capped by the French Revolution, which seemed to Blake like Britain’s ample reward for all kinds of political and social abuse of the people. (You may recall that he wrote a long poem on the French Revolution.)

I can only guess that the “weeping infant” is a faint suggestion of the coming of Jesus.

Then he sees the cities and villages of Britain becoming “Rock and Sand Unhumanized” as a consequence of the Druidic mischief.

Then he returned to an earlier theme: of the hypocritical demand for chastity and the fearful cost of ‘getting caught’.

Damon has an entire page (169) on Gwendolen; he calls her the “Female Will rampant”-- about the sorriest social condition in Blake’s lexicon.

Los (Blake) didn’t know what was going on. “He thought it was all in Vision”.
Summing it up my general impression is that Blake let his vivid imagination run wild and thought of it all as a Vision.

(Many of us have trouble due to excessive expressions of our intuition.)

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