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The Song of Los, object 5 (Bentley 5, Erdman 5, Keynes 5)

Sector E
plate Illustration:

Two figures rest on large lilies. The ground from which the lily plant grows is not clearly represented, but there may be a river behind its stems. If we assume that this is a plant of normal size, then the human figures are diminutive, perhaps fairies. The female, wearing a gown that seemingly does not cover her left shoulder, lies on one blossom with eyes closed; she may be asleep. Her head rests on her right arm and hand. Her hair is long. The male wears a long gown and a separate cloak. He is crowned, and thus probably a king; by association, the woman may be a queen. His eyes are open and he faces forward. He has long hair and a beard. He is more seated than lying on his blossom, with his upper body propped up with his right arm. He holds a scepter in his left hand. The night sky in the distance contains a few indications of stars. The design is based loosely on a monochrome wash drawing, now usually attributed to Blake's brother Robert, in Blake's Notebook, page 5. There is also a separate water color of the design by William Blake (private collection). The two figures have traditionally been identified as Oberon and Titania, although the relevance of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream to The Song of Los is not immediately apparent. Other critics have identified the figures as Har and Heva, as on plate 4. Perhaps, given the cosmic scale of plate 8, this plate represents the microscopic world of the Blakean imagination.

Component (Sector B)

Keywords: male, gown, cloak, reclining, sitting, facing forward, leg dangling, leg drawn up, long hair, beard, arm braced, holding, scepter, crown, arm at side, fairy, king, Har, Oberon

A male figure, wearing a gown and a separate cloak, sits on a lily. If the flower determines the scale, then this diminutive male may be a fairy. He is crowned and holds a scepter in his left hand; he may be a king. He props up his upper body with his right arm; his right leg is drawn up and his left leg dangles from the edge of the flower. He faces forward and has long hair and a beard. He has been identified by modern critics as either Har (see plate 4) or Oberon from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Component (Sector AB)

Keywords: female, gown, long hair, lying, reclining, facing forward, eyes closed, sleeping, fairy, queen, Heva, Titania, head on arm, arm bent, arm at side

A female wearing a gown lies on a lily. Her left shoulder is bare. Her head and long hair rest on her right arm. Her eyes are closed and she may be sleeping. If the scale of the design is determined by the flower, then this diminutive female may be a fairy. Given her association with the crowned male to the right, she may be a queen. She has been identified by modern critics as either Heva (see plate 4) or Titania from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Component (Sector E)

Keywords: plant, flower, lily, leaf

A lily plant, with three blossoms (two fully open), and its stems and leaves dominate the image.

Component (Sector CD)

Keywords: river

A gray horizontal section of color printing may represent a river behind the lily plant.

Component (Sector AB)

Keywords: sky, star, night

The night sky bears a few white spots that may indicate stars.
 
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