Plate 17, Copy D
Considering the turmoil in England and on the continent of Europe in 1794 and in the previous years since Blake's birth in 1757, cries of 'anguish and dismay' could be expected to continue. Would the agony of war and disintegration continue or would it be resolved in a new birth of consciousness? The final note of Europe is the arrival of the visionary Los to play an active, assertive role in reordering a chaotic situation. Signs of apprehension and sings of hope intermingle as Blake seeks solutions to the tumult in the cauldron of his mind or his outer world.
Europe, Plate 15, (E 66) "Shot from the heights of Enitharmon; And in the vineyards of red France appear'd the light of his fury. The sun glow'd fiery red! The furious terrors flew around! On golden chariots raging, with red wheels dropping with blood; The Lions lash their wrathful tails! The Tigers couch upon the prey & suck the ruddy tide: And Enitharmon groans & cries in anguish and dismay. Then Los arose his head he reard in snaky thunders clad: And with a cry that shook all nature to the utmost pole, Call'd all his sons to the strife of blood. FINIS"Harold Bloom in Blake's Apocalypse commenting on Plates 57 and 58 of Jerusalem makes a statement apropos to understanding Europe:
"The struggle is continuous, and always indecisive, but throughout this dark war for the future the daughters of Los remain at their wheels of life, generating the substance of the human." (Page 407)
The inscription written by Cumberland above this picture is the word "Fire". Below the image is a passage from Sir Richard Blackmore's Prince Arthur as quoted in Edward Bysshe's The Art of English Poetry:
"Th'impetuous flames with lawless powr advance,
On ruddy wings the bright destruction flies,
follow'd with ruin and distressful cries,
The flaky Plague spreads swiftly with the wind
And gastly desolation howls behind."
Blake's use of the symbol Fire in his poetry can be pursued in these posts:
The Element Fire
Consumed by Fire
Fires of Orc