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be connected is to be ... I cannot doubt that this more consolidated and extended work will be ... as kindly received . . . &c. * * * Reader, what you do not approve, &c. ... me for this energetic exertion of my talents.
Jerusalem: the Emanation of the Giant Albion, 1804, Printed by W. Blake, South Molton Street, is a large quarto volume, of a hundred engraved pages, writing and design, only one side of each leaf being engraved. Most copies are printed in plain black and white, some with blue ink, some red; a few are tinted. For a tinted copy the price was twenty guineas.
The poem, since poem we are to call it, is mostly written in prose; occasionally in metrical prose; more rarely still it breaks forth into verse. Here is the author's own account of the matter :
When this verse was first dictated to me, I considered a monotonous cadence, like that used by Milton, Shakspeare and all writers of English blank verse, derived from the modern bondage of rhyming, to be a necessary and indispensable part of the verse. But I soon found that, in the mouth of a true orator, such monotony was not only awkward, but as much a bondage as rhyme itself. I, therefore, have produced a variety in every line, both in cadence and number of syllables. Every word and every letter is studied, and put into its place. The terrific numbers are reserved for the terrific parts, the mild and gentle for the mild and gentle parts, and the prosaic for inferior parts : all are necessary to each other.
names are c
The Jerusalem bears little resemblance to the prophetic books'of earlier date. We hear no longer of the wars, the labours, the sufferings, the laments of Orc, Rintrah, Urizen, or Enitharmon; though some of these names are casually inentioned once or twice. What we do hear of, the reader shall gather for himself, from a few extracts. The following lines instance in brief, the devout and earnest spirit in which Blake wrote ; the high aims he set before him ; and afford also a glimpse of the most strange and unhappy result : dark oracles, words empty of meaning to all but him who uttered them :
Trembling I sit, day and night. My friends are astonisht at me:
Entuthon : Of Hand and Hyle, and Coban ; of Kwantok, Peachey, Brereton, Slayd,
and Hutton : Of the terrible sons and danghters of Albion and their generations. Scofield, Kox, Kotope and Bowen revolve most mightily upon The furnace of Los, before the eastern gate bending their fury. They war to destroy the furnaces ; to desolate Golgonooza, And to devour the sleeping humanity of Albion in rage and hunger.
Of these names, many never occur again throughout the book; and to the remainder we, to the last, fail to attach any idea whatever. Their owners cannot even be spoken of as shadows, for a shadow has a certain definiteness of form. But these continue mere names. Perhaps abstract qualities, of some kind or other, may be the things signified; for the Jerusalem, so far as I can understand it, is an allegory in which the lapse of the human race from a higher spiritual state, and its struggles towards a return to such, are the main topics. “Jerusalem' is once spoken of as “Liberty ;' she is also apostrophized as ‘mild shade of man,' and must perhaps, on the whole, be taken to symbolize this ideal state.
There is sometimes a quaint felicity in the choice of homely, familiar things as symbols, which calls John Bunyan to mind; as in this description of Golgonooza, the spiritual, fourfold London' (for so it is afterwards called in the Milton) :
Enamelled with love and kindness; and the tiles, engraven gold,
Far more curious is the following song, which let who can interpret. It occurs in a portion of the Jerusalem that is addressed
To the Jews. The fields from Islington to Marybone,
To Primrose Hill and Saint John's Wood, Were builded over with pillars of gold ;
And there Jerusalem's pillars stood. Her little ones ran on the fields,
The Lamb of God among them seen; And fair Jerusalem, his Bride,
Among the little meadows green.
The Divine Vision still was seen,
Still was the human form divine ; Weeping, in weak and mortal clay,
O Jesus! still the form was Thine !
And Thine the human face; and Thine
The human hands, and feet, and breath, Entering through the gates of birth
And passing through the gates of death.
And, O! Thou Lamb of God! whom I
Slew in my dark, self-righteous pride, Art Thou return'd to Albion's land ?
And is Jerusalem Thy Bride?
Come to my arms, and never more
Depart, but dwell for ever here ; Create my spirit to Thy love,
Subdue my spectre to Thy fear.
Spectre of Albion! warlike fiend !
In clouds of blood and ruin roll’d, I here reclaim Thee as my own,
My selfhood ; Satan arm'd in gold.
Is this thy soft family love ?
Thy cruel patriarchal pride ? Planting thy family alone,
Destroying all the world beside ?
A man's worst enemies are those
of his own house and family : And he who makes his law a curse
By his own law shall surely die.
In my exchanges every land
Shall walk, and mine in every land, Mutual, shall build Jerusalem,
Both heart in heart and hand in hand.