Translating “A Vision of the Last Judgment” into German, and working with the editions of Blake’s works by David Erdman (1988) and Geoffrey Keynes (1985), I came upon three words that didn’t seem to make sense. Consider the following passage (E 558/K 609): “He is Albion our Ancestor patriarch of the Atlantic Continent whose History Preceded that of the Hebrews & in whose Sleep or Chaos Creation began, [his Emanation or Wife is Jerusalem who is about to be recievd like the Bride of the] at their head the Aged Woman is Brittania the Wife of Albion Jerusalem is their Daughter little Infants creep out of the flowery mould into the Green fields of the blessed . . .” The words “at their head” don’t relate to anyone. But placed before “little Infants” they would be part of a meaningful sentence.
Looking at David Erdman’s and Donald Moore’s facsimile edition of The Notebook of William Blake (rev. ed. 1977), we see (N 81) that Blake continued the inserted sentence “He is Albion . . .” down the right margin with “& in whose Sleep or Chaos Creation began.” Then he wrote “his Emanation or Wife is Jerusalem,” while he must have meant the following “at their head” to link up with the main text “little Infants creep. . . .” He later amended the short remark about the Emanation with “who is about to be recievd like the Bride of the,” but then, obviously having changed his mind, he erased both remark and addendum and replaced them with the line written upside down at the top of the page “the Aged Woman is Brittani[c]a the Wife of Albion Jerusalem is their Daughter.” This does not, however, alter the connection between “at their head” and “little Infants creep. . . .”
We find this confirmed in the picture of “The Last Judgment” in the Rosenwald Collection (Butlin 645), where the Infants can be seen creeping out of the mould—“at their head,” i.e., Albion’s and Brittania’s. It seems to me that the placement of these three words in the text editions of Blake’s works needs to be corrected.