Tuesday, September 10, 2013

America 8

                                      PLATE 7
"In thunders ends the voice. Then Albions Angel wrathful burnt 
Beside the Stone of Night; and like the Eternal Lions howl
In famine & war, reply'd. Art thou not Orc, who serpent-form'd 
Stands at the gate of Enitharmon to devour her children; 
Blasphemous Demon, Antichrist, hater of Dignities;
Lover of wild rebellion, and transgresser of Gods Law;
Why dost thou come to Angels eyes in this terrific form?
(Erdman 53-4)

About the Text

In Blake's myth 'Albions Angel' is a title for the King of England,  
and perhaps the Stone of Night is synonymous with the Rock of Eternity, 
as also the Rock of Ages.
Look at Plate 23 of The Book of Milton:
"Awake thou sleeper on the Rock of Eternity Albion awake
The trumpet of Judgment hath twice sounded: all Nations are awake
But thou art still heavy and dull: Awake Albion awake! 
Lo Orc arises on the Atlantic. Lo his blood and fire
Glow on Americas shore: Albion turns upon his Couch....

Milton 15.36-40; Erdman 109:
First Milton saw Albion upon the Rock of Ages,
Deadly pale outstretchd and snowy cold, storm coverd;
A Giant form of perfect beauty outstretchd on the rock
In solemn death: the Sea of Time & Space thunderd aloud
Against the rock, which was inwrapped with the weeds of death"

Stone of Night  appeared in the earlier plate; I wonder if Blake used 
this figure in later works where Albion slept on the Rock.

Rock of Ages:
(Look also at The Rock.)
About the Image

From Erdman Illuminated Blake page 145:
A weeping tree overlays most of the figures:
Three birds of paradise sit in the branches and another bird flies upward.
Notice the drooping catkins,
ram is sleeping with two naked children on or beside it.
Behind the ram is a large grape leaf.
From Works: "This gentle, pastoral scene contrasts sharply with the apocalyptic 
tone of the text on the plate."

No comments: