Friday, April 26, 2013

The Rock

Blake used ‘rock’ extensively as did the Bible.
Among the 128 occurrences of the Rock, we might begin with the Rock of Horeb:

17 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of
Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the Lord, and pitched in
Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.

2 Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may
drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt
the Lord?

3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses,
and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and
our children and our cattle with thirst?

4 And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be
almost ready to stone me.

5 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the
elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand,
and go.

6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite
the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses
did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of
the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among
us, or not?

Exodus 33:
12 And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people:
and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I
know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.

13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy
way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this
nation is thy people.

14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

15 And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.

16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy
sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people,
from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.

17 And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for
thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.

19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the
name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and
will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.

20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

21 And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a

22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift
of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:

23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face
shall not be seen.

Deuteronomy 34:
3 Because I will publish the name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.

4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth
and without iniquity, just and right is he.

Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in
whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Turning to the Blake Concordance, among 324 others we find:
The Book of Milton Plate25:
The Awakener is come. outstretchd over Europe! the Vision of God is
fulfilled The Ancient Man upon the Rock of Albion Awakes,

Jerusalem (Erdman 191):
PLATE 43 [29]
Then the Divine Vision like a silent Sun appeard above
Albions dark rocks: setting behind the Gardens of Kensington
On Tyburns River, in clouds of blood: where was mild Zion Hills
Most ancient promontory, and in the Sun, a Human Form appeard
And thus the Voice Divine went forth upon the rocks of Albion
Albions Reactor must have a Place prepard: Albion must Sleep
The Sleep of Death, till the Man of Sin & Repentance be reveald.
I come that I may find a way for my banished ones to return
Fear not O little Flock I come! Albion shall rise again.

And Jerusalem PLATE 48:
These were his last words, and the merciful Saviour in his arms
Reciev'd him, in the arms of tender mercy and repos'd
The pale limbs of his Eternal Individuality
Upon the Rock of Ages. Then, surrounded with a Cloud:
In silence the Divine Lord builded with immortal labour,
Of gold & jewels a sublime Ornament, a Couch of repose,
With Sixteen pillars: canopied with emblems & written verse.
Spiritual Verse, order'd & measur'd, from whence, time shall
The Five books of the Decologue, the books of Joshua & Judges,
Samuel, a double book & Kings, a double book, the Psalms &
The Four-fold Gospel, and the Revelations everlasting
Albions Reactor must have a Place prepard: Albion must Sleep
The Sleep of Death, till the Man of Sin & Repentance be reveald.
I come that I may find a way for my banished ones to return
Fear not O little Flock I come! Albion shall rise again.

From study of the above we may surmise that for the Bible the ‘Rock’ had become a
synonym for God. Blake used it likewise; the Rock of Albion became the place where
Albion (and us) went to sleep and in due course AWAKENED.

The Rock quoted above in Exodus was closely related to the river, another metaphor prominent in
the Bible and in Blake.

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