Wednesday, May 13, 2015


National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Plate 51
As the inner struggle cited in the post BINDING SATAN became fuel for the composition of Milton, Blake's confrontation with Satan in the form of Schofield became embodied in the confrontations with error which he depicted in Jerusalem


Northrop Frye in his introduction to Selected Poetry and Prose of William Blake writes on Page xvi:  
"Blake's second experience was his trial for treason as a result of a quarrel with the soldier Schofield. Blake found Schofield trespassing in his garden and threw him out, whereupon Schofield went to the magistrate and swore that Blake had damned the king and hoped and expected to see Napoleon win the war. Schofield had, fortunately for Blake, overestimated judicial hysteria in wartime. But Blake had glimpsed for a moment the lethal malignity in human nature which the Crucifixion the central event of history. This experience forms the autobiographical core of Jerusalem, which like Milton expands from an event in Blake's life to the apocalyptic form of the same event, the salvation of the world by God contrasted with that which Blake calls 'Druidism,' or the attempt by man by searching to find out God with the object of torturing and killing him."

William R Hughes in Jerusalem: William Blake characterizes this incident thus:
"But he had been in real danger, and he experienced the whole episode as something having a deep allegorical meaning. Satan had struck him outwardly as well as inwardly, and had been defeated." (Page 16)


Alexander Gilchrist found this newspaper account of Blake's trial and included it in his biography, The Life of William Blake. (Page 198)

"Reference obligingly made for me by the present editor,
to the file of the Sussex Advertiser, at that date the only
Sussex newspaper, discovers a report (l6th January, 1804)
of this singular trial, one its editor little thought would
ever become curious and interesting. The report is after
the curt fashion of local journals in those backward days.


  'William Blake, an engraver at Felpham, was tried on
a charge exhibited against him by two soldiers, for having
uttered seditious and treasonable expressions, such as
' D — n the King, d — -n all his subjects, d — n his soldiers,
they are all slaves ; when Bonaparte comes, it will be cut-
throat for cut-throat, and the weakest must go the wall ; I
will help him,' &c. &c.'
In his cross-examination
of the accuser, he 'most happily exposed,' says Hayley,
'the falsehood and malignity of the charge,' and also
spoke very eloquently for his client although, in the midst
of his speech, seized with illness, and concluding it with
difficulty. Blake's neighbours joined Hayley in giving
him the same character of habitual gentleness and peace-
ableness ; which must have a little astonished the soldier,
after his peculiar experiences of those qualities. A good
deal of the two soldiers' evidence being plainly false, the
whole was received with suspicion. It became clear that
whatever the words uttered, they were extorted in the
irritation of the moment by the soldier's offensive conduct


' After a very long and patient hearing,' the Sussex
Advertiser continues, 'he was by the jury acquitted ; which;
so gratified the auditory that the court was, in defiance
all decency, thrown into an uproar by their noisy exul
tions. The business of the aforegoing Sessions,' it !s
added, 'owing to the great length of time taken up by
the above trials' (Blake's and others), 'was extended to a
late hour on the second day, a circumstance that but rarely
happens in the western division' of the county, 'The
Duke of Richmond sat the first day from ten in the morn-
ing till eight at night, without quitting the court, or taking
any refreshnient.'


Great was Hayley's satisfaction. 'It was late in the
evening,' writes he to Johnson, and 'I was eager to pre-
sent the delivered artist to our very kind and anxious
friend, the lady of Lavant, Mrs. Poole,' The friendly
welcome and social evening meal which followed all this
frivolous vexation and even peril, the pleasant meeting in
the cheerful hospitable house of the venerable lady, we can


Blake identified Schofield in the image he created for the introduction to chapter 3 of Jerusalem, To the Deists. In the copy of Plate 51 in the Fitzwilliam Museum are the labels Vala, Hyle, and Skofeld. The fallen Vala is the earth mother who operates on the principle of self-interest and survival of the fittest. Hyle is the principle of materialism which denies the existence of the Eternal. Schofield is the principle of vengeance which projects outwardly any destructive forces which arise within.   
Jerusalem, Plate 52, (E 201)
"Man must & will have Some Religion; if he has not the Religion
of Jesus, he will have the Religion of Satan, & will erect the
Synagogue of Satan. calling the Prince of this World, God; and
destroying all who do not worship Satan under the Name of God.
Will any one say: Where are those who worship Satan under the
Name of God! Where are they? Listen! Every Religion that Preaches
Vengeance for Sins the Religion of the Enemy & Avenger; and not
the Forgiver of Sin, and their God is Satan, Named by the Divine
Name   Your Religion O Deists: Deism, is the Worship of the God
of this World by the means of what you call Natural Religion and
Natural Philosophy, and of Natural Morality or
Self-Righteousness, the Selfish Virtues of the Natural Heart.
This was the Religion of the Pharisees who murderd Jesus.  Deism
is the same & ends in the same."

No comments: