Tuesday, February 19, 2013

BLAKE'S FURNACES IV

Yale Center for British Art
Jerusalem, Plate 6
Los and his Spectre
In this passage Los is not speaking to some external entity but to his Spectre, an aspect of himself. His Spectre is captive to erroneous paradigms of thought which oppose what he wishes to accomplish through his true dominant self. When divided from the integral man, the Spectre exercises a distinct will which threatens to destroy the man's work. Los has become divided because of the efforts he is making to restore Albion's consciousness of the Eternal. The cost to him has been to assume some of the brokenness of Albion. Instead of trying to force his Spectre out of existence he proposes to engage the Spectre in assisting with the work of the furnaces. The Spectre's perspective is changed; he becomes capable of seeing from outside the destruction in which he has participated.   

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."  

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