Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Europe A Prophecy Plate 3

Commons Wikipedia

The Text
PLATE 3                    A PROPHECY

    The deep of winter came;                                    
    What time the secret child,
Descended thro' the orient gates of the eternal day:
War ceas'd, & all the troops like shadows fled to their abodes.
Then Enitharmon saw her sons & daughters rise around.          
Like pearly clouds they meet together in the crystal house:
And Los, possessor of the moon, joy'd in the peaceful night:
Thus speaking while his num'rous sons shook their bright fiery wings

Again the night is come                                         
That strong Urthona takes his rest,                              
And Urizen unloos'd from chains                                  
Glows like a meteor in the distant north
Stretch forth your hands and strike the elemental strings!
Awake the thunders of the deep.
(Erdman 61)

About the Text
To Winter
William Blake (from Poetical Sketches, 1783)
"O winter! bar thine adamantine doors: The north is thine;
there hast thou built thy dark Deep-founded habitation.
Shake not thy roofs Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car.
He hears me not, but o’er the yawning deep Rides heavy;
his storms are unchain’d, sheathed In ribbed steel;
I dare not lift mine eyes; For he hath rear’d his sceptre o’er the world.
Lo! now the direful monster, whose skin clings To his strong bones,
strides o’er the groaning rocks: He withers all in silence, and in his hand
Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.
He takes his seat upon the cliffs, the mariner Cries in vain.
Poor little wretch! that deal’st With storms, till heaven smiles, and the monster
is driven yelling to his caves beneath Mount Hecla."

The first paragraph evokes feelings about the virgin birth:the secret child is Jesus.
The orient gates are the door between Eternity and Matter (or Mortality). 
The ideal would be that the mortal Son inaugurated Peace. 
We know of course that it didn't happen that way,.
Enitharmon saw her sons & daughters: 
Mother Enitharmon is the (physical mother of us all. 
She and her husband (Los) preside over an apparently peaceful life. 
They were the worldly dimension of Urthona.
Urthona went to sleep releasing Urizen, the rational principle, 
without feelings of joy or woe.

About the Image
In the segment between 'A' and 'Prophecy' two prominent figures 
emulate the joy of the of the 'secret child'.
Flowers may also be seen.
Quite a few happy humans are seen in the Title; they're all heading east.
Erdman saw in the bottom of the 'O' a shepherd with his flock, etc. etc.

The chief figure is a winged, gowned angel, also heading east.
The gown is several colors depending upon which copy you view.
The angel is face down with streaming black hair.

To the right of the first paragraph is the 'secret child' being born.
(This is one of the few images I've seen that correspond closely
with the text.)

Erdman's Illuminated Blake has much else to show (on page 162-2).


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