Saturday, September 29, 2012

book of Thel 3

O little Cloud the virgin said, I charge thee to tell me
Why thou complainest now when in one hour thou fade away:
Then we shall seek thee but not find: ah Thel is like to thee.
I pass away, yet I complain, and no one hears my voice.
The Cloud then shewd his golden head & his bright form emerg'd.
Hovering and glittering on the air before the face of Thel.
O virgin know'st thou not our steeds drink of the golden springs
Where Luvah doth renew his horses: lookst thou on my youth.
And fearest thou because I vanish and am seen no more.
Nothing remains; O maid I tell thee, when I pass away.
It is to tenfold life, to love, to peace, and raptures holy:
Unseen descending, weigh my light wings upon balmy flowers:
And court the fair eyed dew, to take me to her shining tent
The weeping virgin, trembling kneels before the risen sun.
Till we arise link'd in a golden band and never part:
But walk united bearing food to all our tender flowers.
Dost thou O little cloud? I fear that I am not like thee:
For I walk through the vales of Har, and smell the sweetest flowers:
But I feed not the little flowers: I hear the warbling birds,
But I feed not the warbling birds, they fly and seek their food:
But Thel delights in these no more because I fade away
And all shall say, without a use this shining women liv'd,
Or did she only live to be at death the food of worms.
The Cloud reclind upon his airy throne and answerd thus.
Then if thou art the food of worms, O virgin of the skies,
How great thy use, how great thy blessing, every thing that lives.
Lives not alone nor or itself: fear not and I will call,
The weak worm from its lowly bed, and thou shalt hear its voice.
Come forth worm and the silent valley, to thy pensive queen.
The helpless worm arose and sat upon the Lillys leaf,
And the bright Cloud saild on, to find his partner in the vale.

There is little or nothing pictorial in this plate. Erdman, in The
Illuminated Blake tells us that it is "a curving branch of the seven
flowered lilly stem" of the previous plate.

The cloud is a very common symbol in Blake's poetry. Look for example at the
Introduction to Songs of Innocence. From this we might surmise that the
Cloud is a general symbol for dreams and visions.

The virgin speaking is of course Thel. 'Virgin' in this context suggests that
she has never beeen exposed to Experience or Mortal Life; she doesn't
understand why anything else would.

The cloud understands and tells Thel that though she pass away she will be
renewed tenfold.

Thel says it's not like that for her; she will fade away; she will eventually
be food for worms.

The (masculine) cloud returns: "How great thy use".  That's reminiscent of Walt
Whitmans statement to the dying soldier:  "I do not commiserate—I congratulate 

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