Friday, July 23, 2010

THIRALATHA

I enjoy locating Blake images which are rarely seen. Last week I came across an image in the British Museum collection which I had not seen before. It is from A Large Book of Designs which Blake was commissioned to make for Ozias Humphry (a painter of miniatures) in 1794.
The images from the book include:
plate 1: "Albion rose from where he laboured at the Mill with Slaves
Giving himself for the Nations he danc'd the dance of Eternal Death"
plate 2: The Accusers of Theft Adultery Murder, used as frontispiece of copy B of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
plate 3: Plate 21 of Book of Urizen - Los, Enitharmon, Orc
plate 4: Plate 4 of Visions of the Daughters of Albion
plate 5: Frontispiece to Visions of the Daughters of Albion
plate 6: Joseph of Arimathea Preaching to the Inhabitants of Britain
plate 7: Plate 8 of Book of Urizen
plate 8: A Dream of Thiralatha from a canceled plate for America

Most of the images in A Large Book of Designs are familiar from other sources but this one was new to me: A Dream of Thiralatha. To see images from the Small and Large books of designs in the British Museum click on link.
These are two mentions of Thiralatha in Blake's early works.
Following America (E 59) [Fragment] [d]

"As when a dream of Thiralatha flies the midnight hour:
In vain the dreamer grasps the joyful images, they fly
Seen in obscured traces in the Vale of Leutha, So
The British Colonies beneath the woful Princes fade.

And so the Princes fade from earth, scarce seen by souls of men
But tho' obscur'd, this is the form of the Angelic land."

Europe, Plate 14, (E 66)
"Sotha & Thiralatha, secret dwellers of dreamful caves,
Arise and please the horrent fiend with your melodious songs.
Still all your thunders golden hoofd, & bind your horses black.
Orc! smile upon my children!
Smile son of my afflictions.
Arise O Orc and give our mountains joy of thy red light."

On page 124 of A Blake Dictionary, Damon provides a diagram of THE REPRESSION OF SEX UNDER ENITHARMON. On the female side the regression is from Ethinthus (the body) to Leutha (guilt) to Oothoon (frustrated desire) to Thiralatha (the erotic dream).
Although Damon calls Thiralatha "the last overt expression of thwarted sex," something of the imagination remains in her as seen in the lovely woman and child of the dream.

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