Page:Works of William Blake; poetic, symbolic, and critical (1893) Volume 2.djvu/106

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THE BOOK OF THEL.

Chapter I.—Thel Questions Mortal New-born Joy.

The daughters of inspiration led their flocks of innocent imaginings, all but the youngest, who became fascinated by the fear of incarnation. She, the pure spiritual essence,[1] ever fleeting because ever incarnating, laments her momentariness (1-5). In her lamentation she numbers over things that express her to man—the life of spring—the rainbow—the passing smiles of infants—the voice of the dove. (She is transient beauty, and above all, the fleeting and pensive charm of youth and virginity) (6-14). The first flowering of innocent organized joy out of earth, typified in the lily, replies and tells how weak and small it is, and yet it is protected by heaven. Why then should Thel lament? (15-25). Thel replies that the lily has many uses, it nourishes innocence — lamb—for instance, but she has none and is as fleeting as a cloud (26-36). The lily bids her ask of the cloud to say for what purpose it shines in the morning. The lily calls down the cloud (36-40). The cloud—a mortal vegetative desire — appears, and the lily, who is a pure undesiring joy, bows its modest head (41, 42).


Chapter II.—Thel Questions Mortal Vegetative Desire.

Thel asks the cloud why it does not complain when it is so fleeting (1-4). The cloud answers that its steeds, the mental powers that bear it on its course, drink of the springs

  1. The spiritual oil of Boehmen and at times also of Blake.