William Blake's Jerusalem Explained.

Chapter 4: Plate 82

I have heard Jerusalems groans; from Valas cries & lamentations
I gather our eternal fate: Outcasts from life and love:
Unless we find a way to bind these awful Forms to our
Embrace we shall perish annihilate, discoverd our Delusions.
Look I have wrought without delusion: Look! I have wept!
And given soft milk mingled together with the spirits of flocks
Of lambs and doves, mingled together in cups and dishes
Of painted clay; the mighty Hyle is become a weeping infant;
Soon shall the Spectres of the Dead follow my weaving threads.

The Twelve Daughters of Albion attentive listen in secret shades
On Cambridge and Oxford beaming soft uniting with Rahabs cloud
While Gwendolen spoke to Cambel turning soft the spinning reel;
Or throwing the wingd shuttle; or drawing the cords with softest songs
The golden cords of the Looms animate beneath their touches soft.
Along the Island white, among the Druid Temples, while Gwendolen
Spoke to the Daughters of Albion standing on Skiddaws top.

So saying she took a Falshood & hid it in her left hand:
To entice her Sisters away to Babylon on Euphrates.
And thus she closed her left hand and utterd her Falshood:
Forgetting that Falshood is prophetic, she hid her hand behind her.
Upon her back behind her loins & thus utterd her Deceit.

I heard Enitharmon say to Los! Let the Daughters of Albion
Be scatterd abroad and let the name of Albion be forgotten:
Divide them into three! name them Amalek Canaan & Moab.
Let Albion remain a desolation without an inhabitant:
And let the Looms of Enitharmon & the Furnaces of Los
Create Jerusalem. & Babylon & Egypt & Moab & Amalek.
And Helle & Hesperia & Hindostan & China & Japan.
But hide America. for a Curse an Altar of Victims & a Holy Place.
See Sisters Canaan is pleasant, Egypt is as the Garden of Eden:
Babylon is our chief desire, Moab our bath in summer:
Let us lead the stems of this Tree let us plant it before Jerusalem
To judge the Friend of Sinners to death without the Veil:
To cut her off from America. to close up her secret Ark!
And the fury of Man exhaust in War! Woman permanent remain
See how the fires of our loins point eastward to Babylon
Look. Hyle is become an infant Love; look: behold! see him lie!
Upon my bosom, look! here is the lovely wayward form
That gave me sweet delight by his torments beneath my Veil;
By the fruit of Albions Tree I have fed him with sweet milk
By contentions of the mighty for Sacrifice of Captives;
Humanity the Great Delusion: is changd to War & Sacrifice:
I have naild his hands on Beth Rabbim & his hands on Heshbons Wall:
O that I could live in his sight; O that I could bind him to my arm.

So saying: She drew aside her Veil from Mam-Tor to Dovedale
Discovering her own perfect beauty to the Daughters of Albion
And Hyle a winding Worm beneath
& not a weeping Infant.
Trembling & pitying she screamd & fled upon the wind:
Hyle was a winding Worm and herself perfect in beauty;
The desarts tremble at his wrath: they shrink themselves in fear.

Cambel trembled with jealousy: she trembled! she envied!
The envy ran thro Cathedrons Looms into the Heart
Of mild Jerusalem, to destroy the Lamb of God. Jerusalem
Languishd upon Mount Olivet. East of mild Zions Hill.

Los saw the envious blight above his Seventh Furnace
On Londons Tower on the Thames: he drew Cambel in wrath,
Into his thundering Bellows, heaving it for a loud blast:
And with the blast of his Furnace upon fishy Billingsgate,
Beneath Albions fatal Tree, before the Gate of Los;
Shewd her the fibres of her beloved to ameliorate
The envy; loud she labourd in the Furnace of fire,
To form the mighty form of Hand according to her will,
In the Furnaces of Los & in the Wine-press treading day & night
Naked among the human clusters: bringing wine of anguish
To feed the afflicted in the Furnaces: she minded not
The raging flames, tho she returnd
: instead of beauty
Defomity: she gave her beauty to another: bearing abroad
Her struggling torment in her iron arms: and like a chain,
Binding his wrists & ankles with the iron arms of love,
Gwendolen saw the Infant in her sistes arms: she howld
Over the forests with bitter tears, and over the winding Worm
Repentant: and she also in the eddying wind of Los's Bellows
Began her dolorous task of love in the Wine-press of Luvah
To form the Worm into a form of love by tears & pain.
The Sisters saw: trembling ran thro their Looms! softeng mild
Towards London: then they saw the Furnaes opend, & in tears
Began to give their souls away in the Furnaes of affliction.

Los saw & was comforted at his Furnaces uttering thus his voice.

I know I am Urthona keeper of the Gates of Heaven,
And that I can at will expatiate in the Gardens of bliss;
But pangs of love draw me down to my loins which are
Become a fountain of veiny pipes: O Albion: my brother!

Plate 82: Analysis.

I have heard Jerusalems groans; from Valas cries & lamentations
I gather our eternal fate: Outcasts from life and love:
Unless we find a way to bind these awful Forms to our
Embrace we shall perish annihilate, discoverd our Delusions.
Look I have wrought without delusion: Look! I have wept!
And given soft milk mingled together with the spirits of flocks
Of lambs and doves, mingled together in cups and dishes
Of painted clay; the mighty Hyle is become a weeping infant;
Soon shall the Spectres of the Dead follow my weaving threads.

1-9

At this point in the narrative of the compression cycle downward and inward Gwendolen speaks to Cambel. She claims she understands the sisters' fate from Jerusalem's and Vala's words on Albion's fall: "I have heard Jerusalem's groans; from Vala's cries & lamentations/I gather our eternal fate! Outcasts from life and love!" As the compression cycle of Beulah bears down upon the centre, Gwendolen will continue to intensify her attempt to be the emanative creative source of finite life. The life she weaves is formed into finite being; however, she does not regenerate a human child but weaves a finite worm. Gwendolen's delusion, namely that she possesses Divine power over the creation of life in finitude, is revealed as negation when Los opens the seventh furnace. Then, as will be outlined, the daughter's visionary understandings of regeneration are elevated to the perspective of the infinite.

Conditioned entirely by the perceptual limitations of finitude, Gwendolen is unable to envision regeneration and she fears non-being. Regeneration requires a death that can be regenerated. Thus the emanative potencies in Beulah create the forms of regenerate life that are reborn. Seen as a whole this is the work of the plough of nations, harrow, and the harvest and vintage. The forms of death or sleep are received in Beulah, to be reborn, nourished and nurtured in love by the daughters into the fullness of the rhythms of infinite being and form. By contrast, before the furnace is opened and God's setting of the limits to the fall, Gwendolen can only weave a finite parody of infinite regeneration.

Deluded, she believes her woven forms of finitude will determine being for all futurity: "Unless we find a way to bind these awful Forms to our /Embrace we shall perish annihilate, discovered our Delusions". Control of the male energies seems essential to her for survival: "Look", she claims, "I have wrought without delusion". She claims her powers of creative loving are the powers of regeneration: "Look! I have wept! /And given soft milk mingled together with the spirits of flocks/Of lambs and doves" which she has "mingled together in cups and dishes of painted clay". With these, she believes, she is able to ‘mother' human life: "the mighty Hyle is become a weeping infant".

Thus, she claims that she possesses the potencies to weave regenerate life for the forms of all the dead in the world of Beulah: "Soon shall the Spectres of the Dead follow my weaving thread", she boasts, and be woven into infants, like "the mighty Hyle".

The Twelve Daughters of Albion attentive listen in secret shades
On Cambridge and Oxford beaming soft uniting with Rahabs cloud
While Gwendolen spoke to Cambel turning soft the spinning reel;
Or throwing the wingd shuttle; or drawing the cords with softest songs
The golden cords of the Looms animate beneath their touches soft.
Along the Island white, among the Druid Temples, while Gwendolen
Spoke to the Daughters of Albion standing on Skiddaws top.

10-16

Self-intoxicated, Gwendolen's narcissism intensifies and is communicated to the other daughters of Albion who "Attentive listen in secret shades/On Cambridge and Oxford beaming soft uniting with Rahabs cloud".

The daughters, Cambel in particular, weave finitude: "soft the spinning reel" and "winged shuttle" while "drawing the cords with softest songs/The golden cords of the Looms animate beneath their touches soft". She weaves throughout "the Island white", or Britain, "among the Druid Temples" of fertility worship.

Gwendolen speaks from "Skiddaws top" from which, as noted, Hyle circulates to Albion's tree and back.

So saying she took a Falshood & hid it in her left hand:
To entice her Sisters away to Babylon on Euphrates.
And thus she closed her left hand and utterd her Falshood:
Forgetting that Falshood is prophetic, she hid her hand behind her.
Upon her back behind her loins & thus utterd her Deceit.

17-21

This "Falsehood" is Canaan. As discussed, Blake uses Canaan as his vehicle of prophetic history. His mythology of the Promised Land outlined those historical processes that prepare the ruined inner universe of Albion for the incarnation, and, after Christ's return, the regeneration of Albion and the four worlds of the human form Divine. In Beulah, finite procreation is a delusion of Albion's selfhood. In his post-lapsarian world the emanative potencies are inverted and give material form to the delusion, which becomes the finite. Manifesting in the daughters of Albion, the feminine energies weave the delusion of procreation into a fibrous unity. The delusion of Canaan gives definite form to the indefinite and formless.

Gwendolen shapes this delusion: "she took a Falsehood & hid it in her left hand", the hand normally holding the carded cloud-like fibres of wool for spinning, "To entice her Sisters away to Babylon on Euphrates". The feminine energies will weave their forms in unity in the finite, in Babylon, the negation of Jerusalem: "And thus she closd her left hand and utterd her Falsehood". This falsehood is the finite process of the prophetic history of Canaan. She deceives, "Forgetting that Falsehood is prophetic", or that the woven forms of her delusions do actually take on finite being, and "thus utterd her Deceit".

I heard Enitharmon say to Los! Let the Daughters of Albion
Be scatterd abroad and let the name of Albion be forgotten:
Divide them into three! name them Amalek Canaan & Moab.
Let Albion remain a desolation without an inhabitant:
And let the Looms of Enitharmon & the Furnaces of Los
Create Jerusalem. & Babylon & Egypt & Moab & Amalek.
And Helle & Hesperia & Hindostan & China & Japan.
But hide America. for a Curse an Altar of Victims & a Holy Place.
See Sisters Canaan is pleasant, Egypt is as the Garden of Eden:
Babylon is our chief desire, Moab our bath in summer:
Let us lead the stems of this Tree let us plant it before Jerusalem
To judge the Friend of Sinners to death without the Veil:
To cut her off from America. to close up her secret Ark!
And the fury of Man exhaust in War! Woman permanent remain
See how the fires of our loins point eastward to Babylon

22-36

Her deception leads to error hardening into emanative form. She describes a finite inversion of the infinitely regenerative eternal city of God of Jerusalem. Here, within Albion's ruined form, Gwendolen's female potency is perceptually restricted to envision a finite centre for fertility with its worship in Babylon, and the sacrifice of the male potency, Luvah, in a pseudo-crucifixion that is a perversion of the incarnation.

She claims she "heard Enitharmon say to Los" that "the Daughters of Albion/Be scatterd abroad and let the name of Albion be forgotten". She suggests a prophetic history in which "Albion" will "remain a desolation without an inhabitant". The "Looms of Enitharmon & the Furnaces of Los" will continue to fabricate the world, except for the circumference, the west: "But hide America, for a curse an Altar of Victims & a Holy Place". Albion's circumference is closed off from the infinite, and closed up. Within him, Gwendolen cannot perceive outside of Albion's finite interiority: "See Sisters" she urges, "Canaan is pleasant, Egypt is as the Garden of Eden, Babylon is our chief desire, Moab our bath in summer". She weaves the emanative landscape of Canaan into a finite parody of Jerusalem's city of God.

Gwendolen seeks power to control Jerusalem's energies, Enitharmon's looms and Los' furnaces; she seeks absolute power over life and death, and being and form in the world of Beulah. She intends to guide or "lead the stems of this", or Albion's, "Tree" and "plant it before Jerusalem". Blake consistently shows the reader Albion's component energies undermining Jerusalem's gates. Here, Gwendolen seduces her sisters into the politics of zealotry. If they condemn the human/Divine, the "Friend of Sinners", Christ, and put him "to death without the Veil" in the centre/east, then, Jerusalem "is cut" off "from America", in the circumference/west. This means Jerusalem is so severed from the infinite being within Albion's circumference that the daughters will rule finitude.

Thus the vortex of Beulah bears down more and more intensely, Gwendolen seeks to separate Jerusalem and "close up her secret Ark", her womb/source, entirely away from infinite connectivity. Thus, held in secret the source of generation, Jerusalem, can be controlled. Gwendolen schemes to enflame the masculine energies to destructive anarchy, for thus divided, the female can rule them: "And the fury of Man exhaust in War".

For Gwendolen, only by such deceptions can the feminine energies control the masculine and thereby survive and "Woman permanent remain". In her delusion of procreation, she cannot perceive regeneration. Therefore, for her, not to dominate procreation in the finite means not to exist at all: to survive, she claims, the daughters must rule.

Blake's geographical referents show the reader the downward and inward compression of the vortex of Beulah upon the centre: "the fires of" their "loins point eastward" upon the centre "to Babylon" where Gwendolen attempts to create the human form Divine.

 
Look. Hyle is become an infant Love; look: behold! see him lie!
Upon my bosom, look! here is the lovely wayward form
That gave me sweet delight by his torments beneath my Veil;
By the fruit of Albions Tree I have fed him with sweet milk
By contentions of the mighty for Sacrifice of Captives;
Humanity the Great Delusion: is changd to War & Sacrifice:
I have naild his hands on Beth Rabbim & his hands  on Heshbons Wall:
O that I could live in his sight; O that I could bind him to my arm.

37-44

The proof of her claims is the regenerated life form itself: "Look" she claims "Hyle is become an infant Love; look! behold! See him lie"! /Upon my bosom; look! here is his lovely wayward form". She is the emanative, component energy who expresses Albion's attempt to deny contingency. Gwendolen's cry "Look. Hyle is become an infant Love" is the materialised summation of Albion attempted self-creation. She believes she is the autonomous mother of regenerate life, the maternal divinity of all. If that is true, then Albion can create eternal life out of his own energies, and defy God.

The event complex in which Vala, or a manifestation of her such as Rahab or Gwendolen, claims divinity is consistent throughout the four contexts of the four worlds of the poem. The claim is made within Albion's closed interiority, as the male and female whirl out into extreme counter-poles of their bonded energies. Thus Blake consistently interweaves her claim to be goddess of life with her insatiable, ecstatic sacrifice of Luvah's energies on the ‘stems of vegetation'. Her hunger for fertilising potency is insatiable, for Albion is incapable of creating regenerative being. Only infinite being can satiate her emanative energies. Severed within Albion, her love is consumed in the negation of concupiscence and she is closed to the lethal consequences of her deranged appetite.

In Chapter 4, Blake presents the Vala/ Luvah sacrifice through the identities of Gwendolen and Hyle. Gwendolen draws delusory joy from Hyle's suffering, "That gave" her "sweet delight by his torments beneath" her "Veil" of woven form. He is nourished with the food of finitude: "By the fruit of Albions Tree" she "fed him with sweet milk".

She believes she is the maternal divinity for life and death, creator and destroyer, and her forms of procreative life must be nourished and energised, hence she demands sacrifice: "By contentions of the mighty for Sacrifice of Captives: /Humanity the Great Delusion: is changd to War & Sacrifice".

Her lethal delusion parodies the crucifixion: "I have naild his hands on Beth Rabbim & his on Heshbons Wall". Yet, despite her draining of the male energies, as in all Chapters, still she hungers for being. Finitude is death. There is no regeneration in Beulah: "O that I could live in his sight" she laments in deluded alienation, still seeking power over his form, "O that I could bind him to my arm".

So saying: She drew aside her Veil from Mam-Tor to Dovedale
Discovering her own perfect beauty to the Daughters of Albion
And Hyle a winding Worm beneath
& not a weeping Infant.
Trembling & pitying she screamd & fled upon the wind:
Hyle was a winding Worm and herself perfect in beauty;
The desarts tremble at his wrath: they shrink themselves in fear.
Cambel trembled with jealousy: she trembled! she envied!
The envy ran thro Cathedrons Looms into the Heart
Of mild Jerusalem, to destroy the Lamb of God. Jerusalem
Languishd upon Mount Olivet. East of mild Zions Hill.

 
Los saw the envious blight above his Seventh Furnace
On Londons Tower on the Thames: he drew Cambel in wrath,
Into his thundering Bellows, heaving it for a loud blast:
And with the blast of his Furnace upon fishy Billingsgate,
Beneath Albions fatal Tree, before the Gate of Los;
Shewd her the fibres of her beloved to ameliorate
The envy; loud she labourd in the Furnace of fire,

45-62

At this point, the compression cycle bearing down upon the centre of the world of Beulah concentrates most intensely upon Gwendolen: "So saying: She drew aside her Veil from Mam-Tor to Dovedale/Discovering her own perfect beauty to the Daughters of Albion". She has become beautiful; she is the beauty of finite attractiveness in nature, and in her mind, the focus for all emanative potency. She draws the veil of nature's forms away from the underlying creative energies of finitude to reveal what she believes is the human child, an eternal form, created by her, into which all of the dead will be woven in a regenerate universe. Closed to all but finite perception she cannot perceive that regeneration is impossible in a closed finite; in Blake, finitude is an attribute of infinity, not the other way around.

However, as Gwendolen reveals her beauty, she reveals the delusion of life within Albion's ruined generative interiority: "Hyle was a winding Worm beneath & not a weeping Infant", and she "fled upon the wind/Hyle was a winding Worm and herself perfect in beauty". She is incapable of creating the human form Divine. She is a component energy of Albion, and Albion is not God and not capable of autonomous regeneration, which is why he seems dead to those without him in the infinite.

Within Albion in finitude, Cambel "trembled! She envied/The envy ran thro Cathedrons Looms" from the circumference, where the daughters of Los and Enitharmon weave sublime form, into the centre, "into the heart of mild Jerusalem", or, as noted, the gate of the heart. This woven net of Cambel's envy vibrates from circumference to centre to become the unifying web of finitude.

In parallel with her sister's lethal delusions, Cambel seeks "to destroy the Lamb of God" at the heart of Beulah, at the centre, where Jerusalem "Languishd" in the "East" at "Zions Hill".

Los "saw the envious blight above his Seventh Furnace/On Londons Tower on the Thames". Then Los shows her the work of God and the two limits of opacity and contraction. The vortex of the world of Beulah now reverses. Los "drew Cambel in wrath/Into his thundering Bellows" and "with the blast of his Furnace", Los reveals the delusion: "Beneath Albion's fatal Tree, before the Gate of Los", he "Shewd her the fibres of her beloved to ameliorate/The envy".

The transformational event complex of Los' opening of his furnace occurs, in context, in each of the four worlds. Revealed to Cambel is the work of God; the setting of the limits; and revealed is the self-exile of Albion and his eternal death.

In Chapter 1, "Los opend the Furnaces in fear, the Spectre saw to Babel & Shinar/Across all Europe & Asia": The spectre "saw now from the outside what he before saw & felt from within" (1: 8; 23-25).

In Chapter 2, "when Los opend the Furnaces before" Albion "He saw that the accursed things were his own affections/And his own beloveds: then he turn'd sick: his soul died within him". Los too beheld "the Furnaces of Death/And must have died, but the Divine Saviour descended"; God is within and without.

In Chapter 3, Albion took his "Seat upon the Rock" and the "Center rolled out into an Expanse" (3: 57; 18). In the centre "Los who is of the Elohim/Opens the furnaces of affliction in the Emanation" and fixes "the Sexual into an ever-prolific Generation/Naming the Limit of Opakeness Satan & the Limit of Contraction/Adam" (3: 73; 24-28).

The world of Beulah in Chapter 4 is the world of regeneration; in it Los' furnaces of affliction open the perceptions of the daughters to the infinite. Thus their perceptions are dimensionally expanded and they perceive the deception of finite procreation. They see ‘from the outside what they saw and felt from within', like the spectre of Urthona in Chapter 1 or Albion in Chapter 2.

Blake's symbol of the furnaces of affliction is consistent, and culminates in Albion's self- sacrifice in the furnaces and his regeneration in a cleansed Beulah. Now, in Chapter 4, Cambel and her sisters give themselves to the furnaces.

To form the mighty form of Hand according to her will,
In the Furnaces of Los & in the Wine-press treading day & night
Naked among the human clusters: bringing wine of anguish
To feed the afflicted in the Furnaces: she minded not
The raging flames, tho she returnd
: instead of beauty
Defomity: she gave her beauty to another: bearing abroad
Her struggling torment in her iron arms: and like a chain,
Binding his wrists & ankles with the iron arms of love,
Gwendolen saw the Infant in her sisters arms: she howld
Over the forests with bitter tears, and over the winding Worm
Repentant: and she also in the eddying wind of Los's Bellows
Began her dolorous task of love in the Wine-press of Luvah
To form the Worm into a form of love by tears & pain.
The Sisters saw: trembling ran thro their Looms! softeng mild
Towards London: then they saw the Furnaes opend, & in tears
Began to give their souls away in the Furnaes of affliction.

Los saw & was comforted at his Furnaces uttering thus his voice.

63-80

Thus, at this point in the vortex of Beulah, then, Los opens the furnaces to Cambel and she is transformed: "loud she laboured in the Furnace of fire/To form the mighty form of Hand according to her will" in the "Furnaces of Los & in the Wine-press" of Luvah. The vortex is reversed, the fertility sacrificial dances of ecstatic cruelty are subdued to the self-sacrifice of the vintage: "treading day & night/Naked among the human clusters".

Cambel nourishes the "human clusters" by "bringing wine of anguish" to "feed the afflicted in the Furnaces: she minded not/The raging flames". These furnaces consume the energies of ecstatic fertility and human sacrifice of the delusions of finitude. Once the furnace is opened and the vortex reversed, Cambel sacrifices her beauty to shape a "form of love" and "tho she returnd instead of beauty/Deformity: she gave her beauty to another".

Though formed in love now not narcissistic delusion, living form is still bound to finitude. She shapes "Her struggling torment". She dominates still, holding him "in her iron arms: and like a chain/Binding his wrist & ankles with the iron arms of love". Her maternal love transforms her narcissistic claims of beauty. She has emptied her beauty into the form of infant life; the human form Divine is renewed in her self-sacrifice.

Gwendolen "saw the Infant in her sisters arms" and "howld/Over the forests" of finitude, Entuthon Benython, "and over the winding Worm/Repentant". The vortex is reversed and the outward and upward energies reshape emanative focus: "she also in the eddying wind of Los's Bellows" renewed her attempts to give form to life and "Began her dolorous task of love in the Wine-press of Luvah/To form the Worm into a form of love by tears & pain". Gwendolen too gives herself to the furnaces to mother the human form Divine.

She transmits her reformed and refocused energies to vibrate throughout the finite web of emanative labour: "The Sisters saw: trembling ran thro their Looms". Able now to see from without, "they saw the Furnaces opend & in tears/Began to give their souls away in the Furnaces of Affliction". They restore vision to their understanding of regeneration, thus "Los saw" their renewed vision of form and "was comforted at his Furnaces". The closed dimension of the delusion of finitude is thereby opened to the emanations in the furnace.

I know I am Urthona keeper of the Gates of Heaven,
And that I can at will expatiate in the Gardens of bliss;
But pangs of love draw me down to my loins which are
Become a fountain of veiny pipes: O Albion: my brother!

81-84

Because the visionary understandings of the emanations are able to see within from without, the connectivities between the infinite and the finite are restored to Beulah. Los now is able to speak to the daughters of Beulah. Their regenerative powers flow into the finite from the centre and weave inspired regenerative forms for finitude.

Los asserts his prophetic energies: "I know I am Urthona keeper of the Gates of Heaven" he states, and that he "can expatiate in the Gardens of bliss" if he should chose to do so. However, his care for Albion leads him to self-sacrifice: "pangs of love draw" him "down to" his "loins", now shrunken to "Become a fountain of veiny pipes" in the networks of finite humanity.