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This is a sketch for the first illustration to Blake’s poem Tiriel. It illustrates the lines ‘the aged man rais’d up his right hand to the heavens, His left supported Myratana shrinking in pangs of death’. Tiriel is the blind, mad and tyrannical King of the West. He cursed his sons when they rebelled against him. Then, after the death of his wife Myratana, ‘darkling o’er the mountains’ he ‘sought his pathless way’.
This brief sketch shows how Blake began his compositions.

May 2003