Page:Works of William Blake; poetic, symbolic, and critical (1893) Volume 2.djvu/107

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93
THE BOOK OF THEL.

where the horses of Love, himself, drink. It knows that it must pass away, but so do all things. And when it passes it goes to greater love and life. It nourishes the flowers or joys by its death, and then rises, being made one with the dew. Its feminine or darker and more shadowy portion, redeemed by its death, thus remounts towards the sun of love (for the desires arouse the otherwise dead portions of the mind into life) (5-16). Thel replies that she is not like the cloud for she feeds neither flowers nor birds, and yet passes away, though useless, to be the food of worms (17-23). The cloud answers that to be the food of worms— of generated life—is a great use and calls up the worm—that she may hear its voice (24-29). The dumb young life sat upon the lily, or showed itself within the innocent spiritual joy. The cloud having fulfilled its purpose and called up the worm, as it had been itself called up by the lily, sails on (30, 31).


Chapter III.—Thel Questions Mortal Vitality.

Thel sees the worm like an infant wrapped in the leaf of the lily and none to love it (the generative life is perceived to be the beginning of regeneration—the destroyer and creator are one) (1-6). The clod of clay hears the voice of the infant and begins to cherish it; the generative life is wrapped in the physical body (7-9). The clod speaks to Thel and tells her that nothing lives for itself. God cares even for her—lowliest of things—and calls her the mother of His children. Thus the clod also lives on and loves (10-18). Thel ceases to lament, because she had not known that God nourished the worm with milk and oil, with the material and spiritual essences—the food of the generated life and the basis of the intellectual fire in the clod as in herself—and therefore she had complained when she found she was to be absorbed into the bodily clay (19-25). The clay bids Thel enter its house and see what awaits her there (26, 29).