|National Gallery Los and His Spectre c. 1804/1807|
Los served as the alter-ego of Blake. He tried to accomplish what Blake aspired to do and suffered the struggles Blake endured. The challenge which Blake faced in reconciling the demands of his body, mind and emotions in conjunction with his spiritual aspirations can be discerned in Los. The spirit was revealed to Blake in Vision from the time he was a young child. His desire was to serve with all his abilities the vision of God which he received. But he found that there were impediments which stood in the way of complete devotion to the Truth as he knew it. Foremost was the facet of the psyche which he called his Spectre.
Los became the battleground upon which a struggle between Blake and his Spectre was fought for the sake of reuniting divided Albion.
Jerusalem, Plate 5, (E 148) "Los heard her lamentations in the deeps afar! his tears fall Incessant before the Furnaces, and his Emanation divided in pain, Eastward toward the Starry Wheels. But Westward, a black Horror,
Plate 6 His spectre driv'n by the Starry Wheels of Albions sons, black and Opake divided from his back; he labours and he mourns! For as his Emanation divided, his Spectre also divided In terror of those starry wheels: and the Spectre stood over Los Howling in pain: a blackning Shadow, blackning dark & opake Cursing the terrible Los: bitterly cursing him for his friendship To Albion, suggesting murderous thoughts against Albion. Los rag'd and stamp'd the earth in his might & terrible wrath! He stood and stampd the earth! then he threw down his hammer in rage & In fury: then he sat down and wept, terrified! Then arose And chaunted his song, labouring with the tongs and hammer: But still the Spectre divided, and still his pain increas'd! In pain the Spectre divided: in pain of hunger and thirst: To devour Los's Human Perfection, but when he saw that Los Plate 7 Was living: panting like a frighted wolf, and howling He stood over the Immortal, in the solitude and darkness: Upon the darkning Thames, across the whole Island westward. A horrible Shadow of Death, among the Furnaces: beneath The pillar of folding smoke; and he sought by other means, To lure Los: by tears, by arguments of science & by terrors: Terrors in every Nerve, by spasms & extended pains: While Los answer'd unterrified to the opake blackening Fiend ... Los answer'd. Altho' I know not this! I know far worse than this: I know that Albion hath divided me, and that thou O my Spectre, Hast just cause to be irritated: but look stedfastly upon me: Comfort thyself in my strength the time will arrive, When all Albions injuries shall cease, and when we shall Embrace him tenfold bright, rising from his tomb in immortality. They have divided themselves by Wrath. they must be united by Pity: let us therefore take example & warning O my Spectre, O that I could abstain from wrath! O that the Lamb Of God would look upon me and pity me in my fury. In anguish of regeneration! in terrors of self annihilation: Pity must join together those whom wrath has torn in sunder, And the Religion of Generation which was meant for the destruction Of Jerusalem, become her covering, till the time of the End. O holy Generation! [Image] of regeneration! O point of mutual forgiveness between Enemies! Birthplace of the Lamb of God incomprehensible! The Dead despise & scorn thee, & cast thee out as accursed: Seeing the Lamb of God in thy gardens & thy palaces: Where they desire to place the Abomination of Desolation. Hand sits before his furnace: scorn of others & furious pride: Freeze round him to bars of steel & to iron rocks beneath His feet: indignant self-righteousness like whirlwinds of the north:
Plate 8 Rose up against me thundering from the Brook of Albions River From Ranelagh & Strumbolo, from Cromwells gardens & Chelsea The place of wounded Soldiers. but when he saw my Mace Whirld round from heaven to earth, trembling he sat: his cold Poisons rose up: & his sweet deceits coverd them all over With a tender cloud. As thou art now; such was he O Spectre I know thy deceit & thy revenges, and unless thou desist I will certainly create an eternal Hell for thee. Listen! Be attentive! be obedient! Lo the Furnaces are ready to recieve thee. I will break thee into shivers! & melt thee in the furnaces of death; I will cast thee into forms of abhorrence & torment if thou Desist not from thine own will, & obey not my stern command! I am closd up from my children: my Emanation is dividing And thou my Spectre art divided against me. But mark I will compell thee to assist me in my terrible labours. To beat These hypocritic Selfhoods on the Anvils of bitter Death I am inspired: I act not for myself: for Albions sake I now am what I am: a horror and an astonishment Shuddring the heavens to look upon me: Behold what cruelties Are practised in Babel & Shinar, & have approachd to Zions Hill"