Friday, June 01, 2012

Plate 76

Plate 76
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There is no text with this Plate.  It serves as a separation between Chapters Three and Four of Jeusalem.

The nude figure with his back to us facing Jesus (with a loin cloth) we may call Albion. He has reached the ‘end of his rope’ and in his time of need he meets Jesus.  

(We don’t know exactly when Blake met Jesus; my personal opinion is that he always recognized Jesus but came into a personal relationship with God as his three years at Felpham were ending.
On Feb  25 1803 Blake wrote to Butts, his friend and benefactor:

“I have a thousand & ten thousand things to say to you. My heart is full of futurity. I percieve that the sore travel which has been given me these three years leads to Glory & Honour. I rejoice & I tremble "I am fearfully & wonderfully made". I had been reading the cxxxix Psalm a little before your Letter arrived. I take your advice. I see the face of my Heavenly Father he lays his Hand upon my Head & gives a blessing to all my works why should I be troubled why should my heart & flesh cry out. I will go on in the Strength of the Lord through Hell will I sing forth his Praises. that the Dragons of the Deep may praise him & that those who dwell in darkness & on the Sea coasts may be gatherd into his Kingdom.”  

Albion’s arms are stretched out with palms “arms up, in Blake’s characteristic gesture of self-sacrifice” (Paley’s Jerusalem). Blake puts the crucifixion on an oak tree (one of Blake’s common metaphors).

The green earth at the bottom signifies hope.

In Erdman’s Illuminated Blake, page 355, a contrary is suggested making Jesus “the Satanic Selfhood, the bodily victim of a vegetated Christ, and worshipping him Albion “becomes what he beholds”.

The setting natural sun is in the lower left, while the “sun of imagination behind Jesus’ head can be seen as the Sun of the Saviour’s Light.

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