Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Plate 70

And this the form of mighty Hand sitting on Albions cliffs
Before the face of Albion, a mighty threatning Form.

His bosom wide & shoulders huge overspreading wondrous
Bear Three strong sinewy Necks & Three awful & terrible Heads
Three Brains in contradictory council brooding incessantly.    
Neither daring to put in act its councils, fearing each-other,
Therefore rejecting Ideas as nothing & holding all Wisdom
To consist. in the agreements & disagree[me]nts of Ideas.
Plotting to devour Albions Body of Humanity & Love.

Plate 70

Such Form the aggregate of the Twelve Sons of Albion took; & such
Their appearance when combind: but often by birth-pangs & loud
They divide to Twelve: the key-bones & the chest dividing in pain
Disclose a hideous orifice; thence issuing the Giant-brood
Arise as the smoke of the furnace, shaking the rocks from sea to
And there they combine into Three Forms, named Bacon & Newton &
In the Oak Groves of Albion which overspread all the Earth.

Imputing Sin & Righteousness to Individuals; Rahab
Sat deep within him hid: his Feminine Power unreveal'd
Brooding Abstract Philosophy. to destroy Imagination, the Divine-
-Humanity A Three-fold Wonder: feminine: most beautiful: Three-
Each within other. On her white marble & even Neck, her Heart
Inorb'd and bonified: with locks of shadowing modesty, shining
Over her beautiful Female features, soft flourishing in beauty
Beams mild, all love and all perfection, that when the lips
Recieve a kiss from Gods or Men, a threefold kiss returns  
From the pressd loveliness: so her whole immortal form three-fold
Three-fold embrace returns: consuming lives of Gods & Men
In fires of beauty melting them as gold & silver in the furnace
Her Brain enlabyrinths the whole heaven of her bosom & loins
To put in act what her Heart wills; O who can withstand her power
Her name is Vala in Eternity: in Time her name is Rahab

The Starry Heavens all were fled from the mighty limbs of Albion


This Plate focuses on the number three (symbol of incompleteness rather than Blake's more wholesome number, 4.)

The Plate begins with this gruesome description of Hand.  (in real life Hand was the reviewer who shredded Blake's Exhibition.) This three headed monster is a symbol of the materialistic mind that rejects all ideas and plots to devour Humanity and Love.  In the second paragraph he moves on to a similar figure, namely Bacon, Newton and Locke-- the most influential sources of the British culture.

He moves on to the feminine: Rahab is threefold filled with false (female) love, and citing to violence and War and conludes with "The Starry Heavens all were fled from the mighty limbs of Albion".  The Plate seems to be about nothing but fallenness.

The three fold kiss is reminiscent of the Crystal Cabinet; in fact the whole plate is; both portray unrelieved fallenness.

The large structure in the picture is one of Blake's frequent icons recalling the druidic  Stonehenge. 

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