Sunday, March 11, 2018


British Museum
Large Book of Designs
"The Accusers of Theft Adultery Murder
 W Blake inv & sculp
 A Scene in the Last Judgment
 Satans' holy Trinity
The Accuser The Judge & The Executioner"
The majority of the Sons of Albion named by Blake were connected with Blake's trial for sedition which took place in Chichester in 1804. Blake had forcefully expelled from his garden a soldier stationed in the neighborhood. The dragoon accused Blake of sedition for expressing disloyalty to the King. Blake was arraigned, was provided bail by Hayley, was tried after a period of five months, and was acquitted by a jury. His confrontation with the legal system gave him first hand experience of the danger of falling into the net of the law. And so he named among the twelve Sons of Albion his accusers, prosecutors, and justices.
The inclusion among the Sons of Albion of those who opposed Blake before the law, fosters the implication that Albion was so threatened. The threat was not only from  the false reasoning of Hand, and the distorted emotion of Hyle, but from  the system of justice which conspired to oppress people rather than make them secure. Schofield, Cock, Brereton, Peachy. and Quantock, represent cogs in the wheel that keeps men fearful, suspicious, defensive and intimidated. The fact that Blake's accuser was a military man added to the syndrome of man under the control of the power of the state. 
To come before the machinery of the law under the threat of imprisonment, focuses the attention on one's vulnerability. Blake was not immune to the feeling that he had been unjustly accused and might be unjustly punished. He knew of several good and just men who had spent time in prison: among them the apostles Peter and Paul, Fox, Bunyan, Milton, Paine and his publisher friend Joseph Johnson. Being a prophet and a poet Blake reacted by incorporating his experiences and his emotional reactions to his precarious situation into his poetry. When we read the names 'Skofeld and Kox' in Jerusalem we know that Blake was not referring just to two men who accused him, but to the organization of government which can deprive a man of his liberty. He may lose his freedom by being sent to prison, or by being forced to endure the insecurity of anxiety, suspicion, hostility, and isolation through being the accused. Blake's own acquaintance with the troubles of man formed the framework of his prophetic poetry and impelled him to look for a way for man to escape from his predicament .   
Erdman (Prophet Against Empire) tells us: "Yet the wounds made by the accusations and the inarticulate trial never entirely healed." Page 411

Jerusalem, Plate 46 [32], (E 195)
"In stern defiance came from Albions bosom Hand, Hyle, Koban, 
Gwantok, Peachy, Brertun, Slaid, Huttn, Skofeld, Kock, Kotope 
Bowen: Albions Sons: they bore him a golden couch into the porch 
And on the Couch reposd his limbs, trembling from the bloody field." 

Annotations to Berkley, (E 664)
  "The Whole Bible is filld with Imaginations & Visions from
End to End & not with Moral virtues that is the baseness of Plato
& the Greeks & all Warriors  The Moral Virtues are continual
Accusers of Sin & promote Eternal Wars & Domineering over others"  

Inscriptions, (E 672)
"Satans' holy Trinity The Accuser The Judge & The Executioner" 

Jerusalem, Plate 19 (E 164)
"All his Affections now appear withoutside: all his Sons,
Hand, Hyle & Coban, Guantok, Peachey, Brereton, Slayd & Hutton,
Scofeld, Kox, Kotope & Bowen"

Jerusalem, Plate 9, (E 152)  
"And this is the manner of the Sons of Albion in their strength
They take the Two Contraries which are calld Qualities, with which
Every Substance is clothed, they name them Good & Evil
From them they make an Abstract, which is a Negation             
Not only of the Substance from which it is derived
A murderer of its own Body: but also a murderer
Of every Divine Member: it is the Reasoning Power
An Abstract objecting power, that Negatives every thing
This is the Spectre of Man: the Holy Reasoning Power             
And in its Holiness is closed the Abomination of Desolation

Therefore Los stands in London building Golgonooza"

Jerusalem, Plate 25, (E 170)
"Why did you take Vengeance O ye Sons of the mighty Albion?
Planting these Oaken Groves: Erecting these Dragon Temples
Injury the Lord heals but Vengeance cannot be healed:            
As the Sons of Albion have done to Luvah: so they have in him
Done to the Divine Lord & Saviour, who suffers with those that suffer:
For not one sparrow can suffer, & the whole Universe not suffer also,
In all its Regions, & its Father & Saviour not pity and weep.
But Vengeance is the destroyer of Grace & Repentance in the bosom
Of the Injurer: in which the Divine Lamb is cruelly slain:
Descend O Lamb of God & take away the imputation of Sin 

Jerusalem, Plate 38 [43], (E 185)
Scofeld & Kox are let loose upon my Saxons! they accumulate
A World in which Man is by his Nature the Enemy of Man,
In pride of Selfhood unwieldy stretching out into Non Entity" 

Jerusalem, Plate 17, (E 162)
 "but thou shalt be a Non Entity for ever
And if any enter into thee, thou shalt be an Unquenchable Fire
And he shall be a never dying Worm, mutually tormented by
Those that thou tormentest, a Hell & Despair for ever & ever.

So Los in secret with himself communed & Enitharmon heard
In her darkness & was comforted: yet still she divided away
In gnawing pain from Los's bosom in the deadly Night;            
First as a red Globe of blood trembling beneath his bosom[.]
Suspended over her he hung: he infolded her in his garments
Of wool: he hid her from the Spectre, in shame & confusion of
Face; in terrors & pains of Hell & Eternal Death, the
Trembling Globe shot forth Self-living & Los howld over it:      
Feeding it with his groans & tears day & night without ceasing:
And the Spectrous Darkness from his back divided in temptations,
And in grinding agonies in threats! stiflings! & direful strugglings.

Go thou to Skofield: ask him if he is Bath or if he is Canterbury
Tell him to be no more dubious: demand explicit words            
Tell him: I will dash him into shivers, where & at what time
I please: tell Hand & Skofield they are my ministers of evil
To those I hate: for I can hate also as well as they!"

Jerusalem, Plate 45,(E 196)
"And the Veil of Vala, is composed of the Spectres of the Dead

Hark! the mingling cries of Luvah with the Sons of Albion
Hark! & Record the terrible wonder! that the Punisher
Mingles with his Victims Spectre, enslaved and tormented         
To him whom he has murderd, bound in vengeance & enmity
Shudder not, but Write, & the hand of God will assist you!
Therefore I write Albions last words. Hope is banish'd from me."

Jerusalem, Plate 49, (E 199)
"Rush on: Rush on! Rush on! ye vegetating Sons of Albion        
The Sun shall go before you in Day: the Moon shall go
Before you in Night. Come on! Come on! Come on! The Lord
Jehovah is before, behind, above, beneath, around
He has builded the arches of Albions Tomb binding the Stars
In merciful Order, bending the Laws of Cruelty to Peace."  

Jerusalem, Plate 90, (E 250)
"So Los cried in the Valleys of Middlesex in the Spirit of Prophecy
While in Selfhood Hand & Hyle & Bowen & Skofeld appropriate    
The Divine Names: seeking to Vegetate the Divine Vision
In a corporeal & ever dying Vegetation & Corruption
Mingling with Luvah in One. they become One Great Satan"

Jerusalem, Plate 92, (E 252)
"Los answerd swift as the shuttle of gold. Sexes must vanish & cease
To be, when Albion arises from his dread repose O lovely Enitharmon:
When all their Crimes, their Punishments their Accusations of Sin: 
All their Jealousies Revenges. Murders. hidings of Cruelty in Deceit 
Appear only in the Outward Spheres of Visionary Space and Time.
In the shadows of Possibility by Mutual Forgiveness forevermore
And in the Vision & in the Prophecy, that we may Foresee & Avoid
The terrors of Creation & Redemption & Judgment. Beholding them 
Displayd in the Emanative Visions of Canaan in Jerusalem & in Shiloh
And in the Shadows of Remembrance, & in the Chaos of the Spectre
Amalek, Edom, Egypt, Moab, Ammon, Ashur, Philistea, around Jerusalem

Where the Druids reard their Rocky Circles to make permanent Remembrance
Of Sin. & the Tree of Good & Evil sprang from the Rocky Circle & Snake
Of the Druid, along the Valley of Rephaim from Camberwell to Golgotha
And framed the Mundane Shell Cavernous in Length Bredth & Highth"


Susan J. said...

very interesting series of posts. I'm having trouble taking it all in.

So.... Is "Sons of Albion" pejorative?

thanks so much, as always!


ellie Clayton said...

Here is one way to look at it:
When Albion, the representative man, fell into error he went to sleep. The errors which led to his fall became his sons. Blake is fond of reversals; the sons who should have loved and supported him became his enemies as he was withdrawn from activity while sleeping in his tomb. The contrary of Albion's Sons, who made life more difficult for individual men, was the Daughters of Jerusalem who struggled to bring life and love and light to mankind.

Blake wasn't trying to confuse his reader, but to make him alter his perceptions. Read Oliver Sacks for examples of various ways the mind perceives the information it has access to.

Always Grateful,