Wednesday, June 13, 2012

plate 82


I have heard Jerusalems groans; from Valas cries & lamentations
I gather our eternal fate: Outcasts from life and love:
Unless we find a way to bind these awful Forms to our
Embrace we shall perish annihilate, discoverd our Delusions.
Look I have wrought without delusion: Look! I have wept!    
And given soft milk mingled together with the spirits of flocks
Of lambs and doves, mingled together in cups and dishes
Of painted clay; the mighty Hyle is become a weeping infant;
Soon shall the Spectres of the Dead follow my weaving threads.

The Twelve Daughters of Albion attentive listen in secret shades
On Cambridge and Oxford beaming soft uniting with Rahabs cloud
While Gwendolen spoke to Cambel turning soft the spinning reel:
Or throwing the wingd shuttle; or drawing the cords with softest
The golden cords of the Looms animate beneath their touches soft,
Along the Island white, among the Druid Temples, while Gwendolen
Spoke to the Daughters of Albion standing on Skiddaws top.

So saying she took a Falshood & hid it in her left hand:
To entice her Sisters away to Babylon on Euphrates.
And thus she closed her left hand and utterd her Falshood:
Forgetting that Falshood is prophetic, she hid her hand behind
Upon her back behind her loins & thus utterd her Deceit.

I heard Enitharmon say to Los: Let the Daughters of Albion
Be scatterd abroad and let the name of Albion be forgotten:
Divide them into three; name them Amalek Canaan & Moab:
Let Albion remain a desolation without an inhabitant:     
And let the Looms of Enitharmon & the Furnaces of Los
Create Jerusalem, & Babylon & Egypt & Moab & Amalek,
And Helle & Hesperia & Hindostan & China & Japan.
But hide America, for a Curse an Altar of Victims & a Holy Place.
See Sisters Canaan is pleasant, Egypt is as the Garden of Eden:
Babylon is our chief desire, Moab our bath in summer:
Let us lead the stems of this Tree let us plant it before
To judge the Friend of Sinners to death without the Veil:
To cut her off from America, to close up her secret Ark:
And the fury of Man exhaust in War! Woman permanent remain   

See how the fires of our loins point eastward to Babylon
Look. Hyle is become an infant Love: look! behold! see him lie!
Upon my bosom. look! here is the lovely wayward form
That gave me sweet delight by his torments beneath my Veil;
By the fruit of Albions Tree I have fed him with sweet milk

By contentions of the mighty for Sacrifice of Captives;
Humanity the Great Delusion: is changd to War & Sacrifice:
I have naild his hands on Beth Rabbim & his [feet] on Heshbons
    Wall:                                                      t
O that I could live in his sight: O that I could bind him to my
So saying: She drew aside her Veil from Mam-Tor to Dovedale
Discovering her own perfect beauty to the Daughters of Albion
And Hyle a winding Worm beneath [her Loom upon the scales.
Hyle was become a winding Worm:
] & not a weeping Infant.
Trembling & pitying she screamd & fled upon the wind:
Hyle was a winding Worm and herself perfect in beauty:      
The desarts tremble at his wrath: they shrink themselves in fear.

Cambel trembled with jealousy: she trembled! she envied!
The envy ran thro Cathedrons Looms into the Heart
Of mild Jerusalem, to destroy the Lamb of God. Jerusalem
Languishd upon Mount Olivet, East of mild Zions Hill.     

Los saw the envious blight above his Seventh Furnace
On Londons Tower on the Thames: he drew Cambel in wrath,
Into his thundering Bellows, heaving it for a loud blast!
And with the blast of his Furnace upon fishy Billingsgate,
Beneath Albions fatal Tree, before the Gate of Los:      
Shewd her the fibres of her beloved to ameliorate 
The envy; loud she labourd in the Furnace of fire,
To form the mighty form of Hand according to her will.
In the Furnaces of Los & in the Wine-press treading day & night
Naked among the human clusters: bringing wine of anguish   
To feed the afflicted in the Furnaces: she minded not
The raging flames, tho she returnd [consumd day after day
A redning skeleton in howling woe:
] instead of beauty
Defo[r]mity: she gave her beauty to another: bearing abroad
Her struggling torment in her iron arms: and like a chain,  
Binding his wrists & ankles with the iron arms of love.

Gwendolen saw the Infant in her siste[r]s arms; she howld
Over the forests with bitter tears, and over the winding Worm
Repentant: and she also in the eddying wind of Los's Bellows
Began her dolorous task of love in the Wine-press of Luvah  
To form the Worm into a form of love by tears & pain.
The Sisters saw! trembling ran thro their Looms! soften[in]g mild
Towards London: then they saw the Furna[c]es opend, & in tears
Began to give their souls away in the Furna[c]es of affliction.

Los saw & was comforted at his Furnaces uttering thus his voice.

I know I am Urthona keeper of the Gates of Heaven,
And that I can at will expatiate in the Gardens of bliss;
But pangs of love draw me down to my loins which are
Become a fountain of veiny pipes: O Albion! my brother!
(Erdman 238-40)

Plate 82

In the first paragraph Gwendolen voices her forboding re what the future holds for the daughters of Albion. 

In the paragraph beginning “So saying she took a Falshood” Blake makes pretty explicit the meaning of hiding something in her left hand, behind her back.

Then in a dramatic interruption Enitharmon, the emanation of Los seems to have fallen under the dominion of Gwendolen to the point of suggestions to Los, depraved to the nth degree; in other words, “Let’s go to the devil”.

That gave me sweet delight by his torments beneath my Veil;
By the fruit of Albions Tree I have fed him with sweet milk

This sounds suspiciously like the Garden Incidence: Hyle is the serpent; Enitharmon is Eve.  In this subtle way Blake shows the closeness of his poetry and myth with those of the Bible.

It looked like the whole world was going to hell until Los took action: 
he drew Cambrel in wrath
into his thundering Bellows, heaving it for a loud blast! 

The women make fabric-- for garments for the worldlings, while Los reshapes them with his furnace.

Albions fatal Tree
Fatal tree indeed.  The possessor of the original fatal tree is ambiguous: is it God? is it Satan? (owned by the ‘left hand of God’?) (Friends, this is poetry!!)  

before the Gate of Los (Might that be the circle guarded by the Cherubim with a flaming sword?) 

Began to give their souls away in the Furnaces of affliction.
The plate closes on a redemptive note. The whole thing appears to be a recapitulation of the Fall, Ulro, Generation, Regeneration, Redemption.

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