Allen’s class on Blake’s Visions of The Daughters of Albion continues
AG: The Argument, (or the beginning-story):
“I loved Theotormon/ And I was not ashamed/I trembled in my virgin fears/And I hid in Leutha’s vale!/. I plucked Leutha’s flower,/And I rose up from the vale;/But the terrible thunders tore/My virgin mantle in twain.”
Okay, so we got some characters here to explain, to begin with. Who is Theotormon? Theo-torment. Theo – god. Torment. Theo-torment. Obvious. – The torment of God. Theo-torah. The Torah – The Law of God. The torment and law of God – Theotormon.
However, it’s law, (but she loved Theotormon and she wasn’t ashamed). So there is… (S.Foster) Damon and others have interpreted Theotormon as the desire stuck with moral torment. Desire under law. Reason. Desire being governed by reason. Or energy, which is governed by reason and so restrained somewhat. Legal. (In fact, practically like desire that you can only fuck if you get married, or something, or if everybody approves. But it’s Theo-tormented desire.)
She wasn’t ashamed. Oothoon “trembled in (her) virgin fears”, though she wasn’t ashamed, and she “hid in Leutha’s vale”. Now, Leutha, according to Foster Damon and all the dictionaries, just to give it to you in advance so that you can read it right on in (and) get right into it, Leutha is, well, “Leutha’s vale” is otherwise known as the “Valley of Delight”. Now what would be the Valley of Delight, in these terms? That would be the genitals. So she “trembled in (he)r virgin fears” and “hid in Leutha’s vale” and “she plucked Leutha’s flower”, “And I rose up from the vale.”
There’s a picture of her plucking Leutha’s flower on the third plate of the Visions.. Without grasping too much, there’s a little sprite kissing her on the face, kissing her on her lips, coming up out of the marigold. Erdman‘s interpretation (says): “Sharing the light, a naked Oothoon, kneeling, holds her crossed hands against her very full breasts and kisses the joyous human form of the Marygold: ‘I see thee now a flower: now a nymph!’ According to the text Oothoon is plucking the flower and putting it ‘between my breasts’; it can ‘glow’ there because, as the picture makes us see, she does not ‘bind’ the joy to herself … but kisses it “as it flies….”
That’s from that little … that does relate – “He who binds to himself a joy/Does the winged life destroy.” If you grab, obviously, you know when you’re trying to get laid, if you start grabbing and getting too hungry, you can screw up the scene. Anxiety, in other words. Whereas, “He who kisses the joy as it flies/ Lives in eternity’s sunrise.” So this is an actual painting of “kissing the joy as it flies”, done in the form of plucking Leutha’s flower.
Now Leutha is a little more … (we’ll get into Leutha later on, but to give you advance warning), she is.. as Theotormon is desire under law, she is the actual sex under law, too. She’s got some little shade of guilt in her, too.
There are two couples here involved. There is Theotormon and his emanation, or feminine relation, and Bromion, the rapist, and his feminine relation, his feminine projection. We’ll get into them because we’ve got to get into the play itself.. But a general theme is desire versus reason.
(Oothoon says) “I was not ashamed.” – (that’s her desire, Oothoon’s desire., she’s the heroine. Having to deal with Bromion the rapist, and Theotormon, who, seeing her raped, begins to put her down, or doesn’t know how to react to it, and that’s what you got (with) the triplet, the three people in the front..
to be continued
Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately sixty-two-and-a-half minutes in, and concluding at approximately sixty-seven-and-a-half minutes in