Monday, June 04, 2018

STRENGTH FAILING


Yale Center for British Art
Jerusalem
Plate 54
Los seized his opening and make his presence known. His implements of change were his furnaces; the assistance he could count upon was the Heavens. Satan knew the threat he faced. He surrounded himself with symbols of strength and dominion which in the past had succeeded in intimidating his opponents. However 'his visionary eye' saw that Albion was awake and beginning to rise from the couch to which he had retreated.
 
Blake created a visual image of the Giant Albion stretched over the geography of Great Britain. Satan, like a beast of prey, circled the sleeping giant. But it was not up to Albion or Satan or Los to initiate the next stage or redemption. They set the stage, but the action depended upon Milton and Urizen entering the drama in order to release Albion from his Deadly Sleep.
 
Blake's Beulah was not the place of activity but of rest and repose created for relief from the 'severe contentions of friendship' which occupy the the rational masculine mind in Eden. Albion did not have the strength to rise from 'his Couch In moony Beulah' before Milton resolved his issue of annihilating his selfhood. Albion would continue in 'selfish cold repose' until the passive feminine life of Beulah was no longer expressed in a separate female will.
  
Milton, Plate 39 [44], (E 140)  
"Then loud the Furnaces of Los were heard! & seen as Seven heaven 
Stretching from south to north over the mountains of Albion
Satan heard; trembling round his Body, he incircled it
He trembled with exceeding great trembling & astonishment
Howling in his Spectre round his Body hungring to devour
But fearing for the pain for if he touches a Vital,
His torment is unendurable: therefore he cannot devour:         
But howls round it as a lion round his prey continually
Loud Satan thunderd, loud & dark upon mild Felphams Shore
Coming in a Cloud with Trumpets & with Fiery Flame
 An awful Form eastward from midst of a bright Paved-work
Of precious stones by Cherubim surrounded: so permitted          
(Lest he should fall apart in his Eternal Death) to imitate
The Eternal Great Humanity Divine surrounded by
His Cherubim & Seraphim in ever happy Eternity
Beneath sat Chaos: Sin on his right hand Death on his left
And Ancient Night spread over all the heavn his Mantle of Laws   
He trembled with exceeding great trembling & astonishment

Then Albion rose up in the Night of Beulah on his Couch
Of dread repose seen by the visionary eye; his face is toward
The east, toward Jerusalems Gates: groaning he sat above
His rocks. London & Bath & Legions & Edinburgh                   
Are the four pillars of his Throne; his left foot near London
Covers the shades of Tyburn: his instep from Windsor
To Primrose Hill stretching to Highgate & Holloway

London is between his knees: its basements fourfold
His right foot stretches to the sea on Dover cliffs, his heel  
On Canterburys ruins; his right hand covers lofty Wales
His left Scotland; his bosom girt with gold involves
York, Edinburgh, Durham & Carlisle & on the front
Bath, Oxford, Cambridge Norwich; his right elbow
Leans on the Rocks of Erins Land, Ireland ancient nation,      
His head bends over London: he sees his embodied Spectre
Trembling before him with exceeding great trembling & fear
He views Jerusalem & Babylon, his tears flow down
He movd his right foot to Cornwall, his left to the Rocks of Bognor
He strove to rise to walk into the Deep. but strength failing    
Forbad & down with dreadful groans he sunk upon his Couch
In moony Beulah. Los his strong Guard walks round beneath the Moon"

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