Friday, July 13, 2012

Plate 96

Plate 96
Yale Center for British Art
PLATE 96                                                      
As the Sun & Moon lead forward the Visions of Heaven & Earth
England who is Brittannia entered Albions bosom rejoicing    

Then Jesus appeared standing by Albion as the Good Shepherd
By the lost Sheep that he hath found & Albion knew that it
Was the Lord the Universal Humanity, & Albion saw his Form
A Man. & they conversed as Man with Man, in Ages of Eternity
And the Divine Appearance was the likeness & similitude of Los

Albion said. O Lord what can I do! my Selfhood cruel
Marches against thee deceitful from Sinai & from Edom
Into the Wilderness of Judah to meet thee in his pride  
I behold the Visions of my deadly Sleep of Six Thousand Years
Dazling around thy skirts like a Serpent of precious stones &
I know it is my Self. O my Divine Creator & Redeemer

Jesus replied Fear not Albion unless I die thou canst not live
But if I die I shall arise again & thou with me       
This is Friendship & Brotherhood without it Man Is Not

So Jesus spoke! the Covering Cherub coming on in darkness
Overshadowd them & Jesus said Thus do Men in Eternity
One for another to put off by forgiveness, every sin

Albion replyd. Cannot Man exist without Mysterious     
Offering of Self for Another, is this Friendship & Brotherhood
I see thee in the likeness & similitude of Los my Friend

Jesus said. Wouldest thou love one who never died
For thee or ever die for one who had not died for thee
And if God dieth not for Man & giveth not himself      
Eternally for Man Man could not exist. for Man is Love:
As God is Love: every kindness to another is a little Death
In the Divine Image nor can Man exist but by Brotherhood

So saying. the Cloud overshadowing divided them asunder
Albion stood in terror: not for himself but for his Friend
Divine, & Self was lost in the contemplation of faith
And wonder at the Divine Mercy & at Los's sublime honour

Do I sleep amidst danger to Friends! O my Cities & Counties
Do you sleep! rouze up! rouze up. Eternal Death is abroad

So Albion spoke & threw himself into the Furnaces of affliction
All was a Vision, all a Dream: the Furnaces became
Fountains of Living Waters Howing from the Humanity Divine
And all the Cities of Albion rose from their Slumbers, and All
The Sons & Daughters of Albion on soft clouds Waking from Sleep
Soon all around remote the Heavens burnt with flaming fires
And Urizen & Luvah & Tharmas & Urthona arose into
Albions Bosom: Then Albion stood before Jesus in the Clouds
Of Heaven Fourfold among the Visions of God in Eternity


This is the climax of Jerusalem and of Blake’s myth:

Plates 95-97 have three images of Albion in various modes:
95: the newly awakened Albion springing up from the grave;
96: an aged Albion embracing England, who is surprised that he is not dead.
97: the embrace of Plate 96 occurs  in the flaming “fountains of living waters” 

Then Jesus appeared like the shepherd finding the lost sheep, conversing as ‘Man to Man’.

So Jesus spoke! the Covering Cherub coming on in darkness Overshadowd them
In the midst of this reconciliation a stark symbol of evil is still there.

The appearance of Jesus is the primary symbol of the new birth that has occurred for Albion  ithe likeness & similitude of Los:   

  Los was always the creative Zoa; he has a special name in his fallen state which in Eternity is called Urthona.

In the paragraph starting with ‘Albion said’ he confessed his cruel Selfhood. Confession is preliminary to forgiveness.  Jesus is called the Forgiveness. In his presence (‘man to man’) we surely must become aware of our deficiencies and react as Albion did here.

Jesus’ reply points to his sacrificial death and Resurrection which Albion has shared and which Jesus calls Friendship & Brotherhood.

So Albion spoke & threw himself into the Furnaces of affliction
All was a Vision, all a Dream: the Furnaces became
Fountains of Living Waters.

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