Wednesday, April 16, 2014


The prophet Elisha is not mentioned by name by Blake. However an experience of Elisha is a prototype of the awakening of Albion. We are signaled of this connection by the words 'he sneezed seven times' as Albion began to wake. The incident narrated in Second Kings tells of Elisha restoring life to a child by stretching his warm body on the cold body of the lifeless child. Albion begins to return to life when the 'limit of contraction' was fixed.

2 Kings 4
[31] Geha'zi went on ahead and laid the staff upon the face of the child, but there was no sound or sign of life. Therefore he returned to meet him, and told him, "The child has not awaked."
[32] When Eli'sha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed.
[33] So he went in and shut the door upon the two of them, and prayed to the LORD.
[34] Then he went up and lay upon the child, putting his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands; and as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm.
[35] Then he got up again, and walked once to and fro in the house, and went up, and stretched himself upon him; the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.
[36] Then he summoned Geha'zi and said, "Call this Shu'nammite." So he called her. And when she came to him, he said, "Take up your son."
[37] She came and fell at his feet, bowing to the ground; then she took up her son and went out.  

Blake provide two contrasting word pictures of Albion lying on his 'couch of death.' From his appearance to the natural eye Blake describes a corpse on a rock in the midst of watery materiality. To the spiritual eye the scene is of angels hovering over a sleeping man.

Four Zoas, Night VIII, Page 99, (E 371)
"Then All in Great Eternity Met in the Council of God           
as one Man Even Jesus upon Gilead & Hermon                     
Upon the Limit of Contraction to create the fallen Man
The Fallen Man stretchd like a Corse upon the oozy Rock        
Washd with the tides Pale overgrown with weeds    

That movd with horrible dreams hovring high over his head
Two winged immortal shapes one standing at his feet
Toward the East one standing at his head toward the west
Their wings joind in the Zenith over head                 
Such is a Vision of All Beulah hovring over the Sleeper     

The limit of Contraction now was fixd & Man began
To wake upon the Couch of Death   he sneezed seven times
A tear of blood dropped from either eye again he reposd
In the saviours arms, in the arms of tender mercy & loving kindness 
Then Los said I behold the Divine Vision thro the broken Gates 
Of thy poor broken heart astonishd melted into Compassion & Love
And Enitharmon said I see the Lamb of God upon Mount Zion      
Wondring with love & Awe they felt the divine hand upon them"   
Closer attention to the angels that Blake describes, reveals that these are the angels or cherubim whose place is above the mercy seat resting on the Ark of the Covenant. Blake is intimating that the mercy through which Albion awoke was provided by God as an eternal connection between God and man.    

Exodus 25
[1]The LORD said to Moses,
[16] And you shall put into the ark the testimony which I shall give you.
[17] Then you shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth.
[18] And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat.
[19] Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends.
[20] The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be.
[21] And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark; and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you.
[22] There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you of all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.

william-blake .org The Angels hovering over the body of 
Christ in the Sepulchre
Original in Victoria & Albert Museum

When Blake pictured the body of Christ in the sepuchure he replicated the image he had in his mind of the cherubim at the mercy seat and of the angels hovering over the body of Albion.   

Milton, Plate 13 [14], (E 106) "The Elect shall meet the Redeem'd. on Albions rocks they shall meet 
Astonish'd at the Transgressor, in him beholding the Saviour. 
And the Elect shall say to the Redeemd. We behold it is of Divine 
Mercy alone! of Free Gift and Election that we live. 
Our Virtues & Cruel Goodnesses, have deserv'd Eternal Death. 
Thus they weep upon the fatal Brook of Albions River."

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