|Yale Center for British Art|
Jerusalem, Plate 6
Los and his Spectre
The Spectre (reason) commences work for Los (imagination) at his furnaces but under duress and threat of extinctiion.
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Jerusalem, Plate 8, (E 151) [Los to Spectre] "I know thy deceit & thy revenges, and unless thou desist I will certainly create an eternal Hell for thee. Listen! Be attentive! be obedient! Lo the Furnaces are ready to recieve these. I will break thee into shivers! & melt thee in the furnaces of death; I will cast thee into forms of abhorrence & torment if thou Desist not from thine own will, & obey not my stern command! I am closd up from my children: my Emanation is dividing And thou my Spectre art divided against me. But mark I will compell thee to assist me in my terrible labours. To beat These hypocritic Selfhoods on the Anvils of bitter Death I am inspired: I act not for myself: for Albions sake I now am what I am: a horror and an astonishment Shuddring the heavens to look upon me: Behold what cruelties Are practised in Babel & Shinar, & have approachd to Zions Hill While Los spoke, the terrible Spectre fell shuddring before him Watching his time with glowing eyes to leap upon his prey Los opend the Furnaces in fear. the Spectre saw to Babel & Shinar Across all Europe & Asia. he saw the tortures of the Victims. He saw now from the ou[t]side what he before saw & felt from within He saw that Los was the sole, uncontrolld Lord of the Furnaces Groaning he kneeld before Los's iron-shod feet on London Stone, Hungring & thirsting for Los's life yet pretending obedience. While Los pursud his speech in threatnings loud & fierce. Thou art my Pride & Self-righteousness: I have found thee out: Thou art reveald before me in all thy magnitude & power Thy Uncircumcised pretences to Chastity must be cut in sunder! Thy holy wrath & deep deceit cannot avail against me Nor shalt thou ever assume the triple-form of Albions Spectre For I am one of the living: dare not to mock my inspired fury If thou wast cast forth from my life! if I was dead upon the mountains Thou mightest be pitied & lovd: but now I am living; unless Thou abstain ravening I will create an eternal Hell for thee. Take thou this Hammer & in patience heave the thundering Bellows Take thou these Tongs: strike thou alternate with me: labour obedient"
Milton O Percival explains in Circle of Destiny how imagination is assisted by reason in creating definite form:
"Imagination, as the existence itself, is an inclusive concept; in it all other powers are implicit. At this high level reason and imagination function together. But imagination such as this is limited to the unfallen world. In the fallen world the powers fall into separation. Cut off from imagination, reason becomes an analytic power, the instigator of doubt, a completely disintegrating force...Urizen is the great creator of the Mundane Shell period, and Los, his successor in the mortal world, has the assistance of his Spectre whom he must first subdue. Left alone, the Spectre would of course create nothing. The indefinite is the product of doubting and abstracting intellect. What is wanted is faith - faith and a vision of the future, an attitude of affirmation. These Los supplies. It would seem, therefore, that the 'intellectual measure' necessary for the achievement of definite form is provided by reason and imagination acting together in this relationship."