More Blake – Tiriel – 4

“Har blessing Tiriel, while Mnetha comforts Heva” – illustration by William Blake to his edition of “Tiriel” (1789)

AG: Does that make sense? (my interpretation of “Tiriel”)?  I think you’d have to read it through.  I’ve just been reading it through and reading the footnotes and trying to figure it out.  But it wasn’t probably clear enough for him to engrave, because it was his first trip, his first prophetic trip and the first time he used this long line.  There are some drawings that do belong to this, and if you go in the library and check it out you’ll probably find in one of the books I’ve left there some of the drawings reproduced that belong to “Tiriel”.  They’re kind of stiff and wooden, actually. He had spent a lot of time working in Westminster Abbey making drawings of the tombs of the kings, oddly enough.  Just like Tiriel. The tombs of the kings of Britain,  the ancient kings, and so they look like those student drawings of very straight lines (and) rectangular robes.  The effigies of the kings are lying around in British churches which you can see in Westminster Abbey.  The drawings are not at all as wild as the poetry, but (rather, the) gloomy heaviness of the dead kings.  The emptiness and heaviness of the dead kings rather than any more delightful image.

But around the same time he did paint the painting called the “Glad Day”  –  a naked kid looking like Leonardo’s model man. A naked kid standing on a mountain with a worm and a bat at his foot, greeting the sunrise with electric punk hair.  You know the new style of punk hair, sticking out?  So that Blake had a sort of punk haircut on this naked kid, and it represents revolution — the spirit of revolution, the American Revolution and the French Revolution.  Usually it’s called “A Glad Day” (orThe Dance of Albion”).  Does anybody know that?  I have a little reproduction of it here.  I think I’ve got it here.  Do you know this one?  It’s one of the most famous of the (paintings).  Can you see (it) at all, (those) far, far away?  Can you see the punk haircut?  Actually an early version (of a punk haircut). It probably means the same thing; that electrical charge coming out of the head.  The charge of electrical rebellion.  “Albion rose from where he labored at the mill with slaves,” is the subtitle.

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