Page:Life of William Blake, Gilchrist.djvu/287

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ÆT. 47.]
231
THE JERUSALEM.

was prone to tell 'good stories' of him, as we shall see later; and in some MS. doggerel of Blake's we meet with the line,

'The Examiner whose very name is Hunt.'

But what form can the irate allegory be supposed to take in the Jerusalem? Is it conceivable that that mysterious entity or non-entity, 'Hand,' whose name occurs sometimes in the poem, and of whom an incribed spectrum is there given at full length, can be a hieroglyph for Leigh Hunt? Alas, what is possible or impossible in such a connection?

Of the names strung together in the first extract in this chapter, many do not occur again throughout the book; and to some, the perplexed reader fails, to the last, to attach any idea. Their owners can hardly be spoken of as shadows, for a shadow has a certain definition of form. It may be surmised that the Jerusalem is to be regarded as 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, on the whole, be taken to symbolize a milennial state.

There is sometimes a quaint felicity in the choice of homely, familiar things as symbols, as in this description of Golgonooza, the 'spiritual fourfold London' (for so it is afterwards called in the Milton):—

Lo!
The stones are pity, and the bricks well-wrought affections,
Enamelled with love and kindness; and the tiles, engraven gold,
Labour of merciful hands; the beams and rafters are forgiveness;
The mortar and cement of the work, tears of honesty; the nails
And the screws and iron traces are well-wrought blandishments,
And well-contrived words, firm fixing, never forgotten,
Always comforting the remembrance: the floors humility;
The ceilings devotion the hearths thanksgiving.

Far more curious is the following song. It seems to indicate again that Jerusalem may have with Blake, in a wide acceptation, its not unusual significance of 'The True Church;' seeing that the portion of the poem in which this song occurs is addressed 'To the Jews,' and that the British