Monday, June 16, 2014

Thel 2


All the Thel Pics

These pictures came from the Digital Collections of the Library of 
Congress. The url is Blake's 
first large poem (not so large) was Thel. It consisted of 6 Plates 
with two introductory pictures (called in Erdman's Illuminated Blake 
Plates i and ii:Much can be said about all of them

You may view all these plates in The William Blake Archive. 
done that select Thel which will offer you 8 currently available 
copies. Click on any one, then if you see 'compare' click on it; you 
may see all 8 copies. They vary in several ways.


In an excellent post on Romanticism the writer offers several meanings for 
Thel's Motto; here's one of them:
"One reading would be that it asserts a kind of environmentalism, that the mole 
knows about the pit better than the eagle because it’s the mole’s habitat.".
Read in toto much light is cast on Thel's Motto.


The Book of Thel

Thel plate 4

         (Here's a plate from Thel (Plate 4, I believe:)

       This myth is one of Blake's early examples of the descent of
the soul:
       Thel, one of the Immortals (in the vales of Har) is attracted to
the life
below (as we all were). 
After hearing the encouragement of the Lilly of the 
valley, the little cloud, the helpless worm, and the clod of clay 
she ventures 
    The eternal gates terrific porter lifted the northern bar: 
    Thel enter'd in & saw the secrets of the land unknown;
    She saw the couches of the dead,.....
    The Virgin started from her seat, & with a shriek.
    Fled back unhinderd till she came into the vales of Har

       In this early poem Blake asks the question, is life here in the 
world worth living? 

(The question is partly answered in The Little Girl.)

       This poem may also be considered a commentary on 
Innocence and Experience: the vales of Har represent Innocence 
while the northern bar leads to Experience. Descent from Eden 
leads to Experience, and when fully experienced, one may return
to his (eternal) origin. Thel chose not to go through that journey, 
so it doesn't express 
Blake's myth except to act as a preamble.

No comments: