Monday, November 12, 2012

Sexuality 7

Blake's ethics of sexual love, his symbolism, and his Christian faith all fit together and reach a climax in a sketch virtually guaranteed to astound and provoke the reader (and no doubt dismay and disgust some). 

This passage, Jerusalem Plates 61 and 62, is called "Visions of Elohim Jehovah". Here once again forgiveness is the key, and to Blake forgiveness was everything. Vala, the soul of naterialism, knows nothing of forgiveness. Jerusalem's liberty is expressed most fully in forgiveness. 

In this passage Mary, the mother of Jesus, merges with the other Mary, who was forgiven because "she loved much".

"Visions of Elohim Jehovah" could only have been written by a 
poet who despised the social value placed upon virginity. In an 
earlier work he had called it "pale religious letchery that 
wishes but acts not". Blake hated the ideal of chastity, which 
meant to him a virtuous withholding of woman's body as an 
exercise of power over the deprived male, and he struck directly 
at the archetype of the chaste woman. "Visions of Elohim Jehovah"
is not a theological statement, but an imaginative vision about 
meaning and value. The love of Blake will always be confined to 
people who discriminate between those two things and whose 
theological perspective is neither glassy eyed nor otherwise 

Blake's Mary has perfect trust in the forgiveness of sin, and her relationship with Joseph becomes a type for the relationship of Jerusalem with Jesus: Jerusalem fainted over the Cross and Sepulcher. She heard the voice:

"...........................Wilt thou make Rome thy Patriarch 
Druid & the Kings of Europe his horsemen? Man in the 
Resurrection changes his Sexual Garment sat will.
"Every harlot was once a Virgin: every Criminal an Infant Love.
"Repose on me till the Morning of the Grave. I am thy Life. 
Jerusalem replied: "I am an outcast: Albion is dead:
I am left to the trampling foot is. the spurning heel:
"A Harlot I am call'd: I am sold from street to 
street: I am defaced with blows in with the dirt of the 
Prison,And wilt thou become my Husband, 0 my Lord & Saviour?"
As Jerusalem progressively gains our sympathy, Vala moves 
farther and farther in the opposite direction:

"Then All the Daughters of Albion became One before Los, even Vala
And she put forth her hand upon the Looms in dreadful howling
Till she vegetated into a hungry Stomach in a devouring 
Tongue.Her Hand is a Court of Justice: her Feet two Armies in 
Battle:Storms & Pestilence in her Locks, and in her Loins 
Earthquake And Fire & the Ruin of Cities & Nations and Families and Tongues."

The allegoric drama of good and evil in terms of the two 

females continues and intensifies throughout the epic poem 
until the final awakening of Albion, when sexes disappear. 
The first indication of this appears in the dialogue of Los 
and Enitharmon:

"Enitharmon answer'd in great terror in Lambeth's Vale:
The Poet's Song draws to its period, and Enitharmon is no 
For if he be that Albion, I can never weave him in my Looms,
But when he touches the first fibrous thread,like filmy dew
My Looms will be no more and I annihilate vanish for ever.
Then thou wilt Create another Female according to thy Will.

Los answer"d swift as the shuttle of gold: Sexes must vanish & cease
To be when Albion arises from his dread repose, 0 lovely 
When all their Crimes, their Punishments, their Accusations of Sin,
All their Jealousies, Revenges, Murders,hidings of Cruelty in 
Deceit Appear only in the Outward Spheres of Visionary 
Space and Time,In the shadows of Possibility, by Mutual 
Forgiveness for evermore,
And in the Vision and in the Prophecy, that we may Foresee & 
Avoid The terrors of Creation & Redemption & Judgment...."

Soon comes the last mention of the woman of the world. She is 
connected with her sexual counterpart and described in the 
very specific terms which John used in Revelation 17:

Jerusalem, Plate 93:
"If Bacon, Newton, Locke Deny a Conscience in Man & the 
Communion of Saints & Angels,Contemning the Divine Vision & 
Fruition, Worshiping the Deus
Of the Heathen, the God of This World, & the Goddess 
Nature, Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Druid Dragon, hidden 
Is it not that Signal of the Morning which was told us in the

In Plate 97 Blake attempts to visualize the true place of sex in 

"Awake, Awake, Jerusalem! 0 lovely Emanation of Albion,
Awake and overspread all Nations as in Ancient Time;
For lo! the Night of Death is past and the Eternal Day
Appears upon our Hills. Awake, Jerusalem and come away!...
Then Albion stretch'd his hand into Infinitude
And took his Bow....And the bow is a Male and Female, and the 
Quiver of the Arrows of Love 
And the Children of this Bow, a bow of Mercy & Loving-
kindness laying Open the hidden Heart in Wars of mutual 
Benevolence, Wars of Love;

And the Hand of Man grasps firm between the Male and Female Loves.
And he Clothed himself in Bow and Arrows, in awful state, Fourfold ...."

And after the final chorus of the multiple aspects of Man, 

Blake tells us that he "heard the Name of their Emanation: 
they are named Jerusalem."

And so ends 'Jerusalem'. 

No comments: