Wednesday, September 04, 2013

America 5

PLATE 4........ Solemn heave the Atlantic waves between the gloomy nations,
Swelling, belching from its deeps red clouds & raging Fires! Albion is sick. 
America faints! enrag'd the Zenith grew.
As human blood shooting its veins all round the orbed heaven
Red rose the clouds from the Atlantic in vast wheels of blood 

And in the red clouds rose a Wonder o'er the Atlantic sea; 
Intense! naked! a Human fire fierce glowing, as the wedge 
Of iron heated in the furnace; his terrible limbs were fire 
With myriads of cloudy terrors banners dark & towers
Surrounded; heat but not light went thro' the murky atmosphere 

The King of England looking westward trembles at the vision 

The image

What a weird creature at the top of the plate, reptile-like but with a 

head and hands like a humanoid.  It refers to an earlier plate where
Blake spoke of the king as having 'dragon form'.  It appears to be a
winged flying figure.

"descending into the left margin, is an old man. His gown forms a long, 
snake-like tail behind him, rather like the wyvern's tail. He has a long 
beard and long hair. His right arm is at his side, but we can see that, 
with his right hand, he grasps a large book or tablet...
This figure may be Albion's Angel or Urizen (twice referred to in the text) 
with his book of laws. "(Works); in his left hand a scepter showing royal 
authority pointing downward (downward for punishment? for war? for his 
consciousness? and/or something else). He is proceeded and followed 
by jagged lightning, a symbol of wrath.

The lower half of the plate is made of clouds with a prominent black

spot, the impending war and blood.
The King of England looking westward trembles at the vision 
This line is almost surrounded by blackness.

At the very bottom right we see a distraught man on his knees and
to his right a woman (with children? or an angel?) Together they may 
represent the defenseless colonies.

Erdman Illuminated) page 142 speaks of a huge oak behind the two
people (what an imagination!!!)

Here's a wyvern:

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