Saturday, June 14, 2014

Thel 1

From wikipedia:
"The daughters of Mne Seraphim are all shepherdesses in the Vales of Har, apart from the youngest, Thel. She spends her time wandering on her own, trying to find the answer to the question that torments her: why does the springtime of life inevitably fade so that all things must end? She meets the Lily of the Valley who tries to comfort her. When Thel remains uncomforted, the Lily sends her on to ask the Cloud. The Cloud explains that he is part of a natural process and, although he sometimes disappears, he is never gone forever. Thel replies that she is not like the Cloud and when she disappears she will not return. So the Cloud suggests asking the same question of the Worm. The Worm is still a child and cannot answer. Instead it is the Worm’s mother, the Clod of Clay, who answers. The Clod explains that we do not live for ourselves, but for others. She invites Thel to enter into her underground realm and see the dark prison of the dead where Thel herself will one day reside. However, Thel is assailed by mysterious voices asking a whole series of yet more terrible questions about existence. Uttering a shriek, she flees back to her home in the Vales of Har. The pit represents sex and mortality of life, while the Vales of Har represent virginity and eternity. The first part of the poem shows the good part of life as in Songs of Innocence whereas the concluding part shows that life is full of sorrows where smiles are never seen, as in Songs of Experience."
The question is "Why the physical senses darken the soul by excluding it from the wisdom and joy of eternity?".
Thel is the allegory of the unborn spirit who has gathered experience from her own discoveries and has decided to remain forever innocent."
"The Book of Thel is best understood as a rewriting of Milton's Comus..
Blake tells the same story, but in biological terms, not moral ones."
This from
"Thel’s Motto can be interpreted as Blake’s rejection of the Church of England. The “silver rod” where Wisdom cannot be found represents a scepter or staff that would have been used in traditional kingship or even high-ranking ecclesiasts before the rise of nationalism and the consequent fall of the papacy in the 16th and 17th centuries.[3] The Motto goes on to express doubt that Love can be found in a “golden bowl.” The image of the golden bowl refers to a chalice that is raised when priests in the Christian tradition celebrate the Eucharist.[3] The religious connotations of the rod and bowl help explain the disillusionment that many Romantic writers, notably William Blake, had with the state church. This type of theological alienation is consistent with the revolutionary and rebellious sentiments of the era. Another interpretation of the silver rod and the golden bowl are that of the male and female genitalia. Wisdom resides in the male organ and Love resides in the female organ.[4] Should one accept this interpretation, the rod and bowl are transformed from an imperishable state to one of mortal flesh, and the reader acknowledges that a voice of authority is narrating the poem’s action. It is important to remember that Blake inscribed the “Motto” plate after he had already composed the first five plates, and the dates suggest that the Motto plate and plate 6 were created at or near the same time. Since Thel’s Motto is clearly an afterthought to the Book, one can connect the final plate, plate 6, and Thel’s Motto. The connection between the mole’s pit and the subterranean area that Thel enters in plate 6 suggests the disparate knowledge between beings in separate domains.[4] The eagle knows only the sky and must ask the mole to gain knowledge about the pit; likewise, Thel knows only innocence and eternity and must be endowed mortality if she wants to learn about the ways of the mortal beings on Earth."

      The Author & Printer Willm Blake, 1789.

            THEL'S Motto,

 Does the Eagle know what is in the pit?
 Or wilt thou go ask the Mole:
 Can Wisdom be put in a silver rod?
 Or Love in a golden bowl?

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