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“Death’s Door”

I was in Coverdale—a long way away from Blake country, I admit—a couple of weeks ago, and I stopped to look at an old mine entrance. After I had stopped, its resemblance to Blake’s “Death’s Door,” especially as it appears in America plate 12, struck me. That is, the entrance consisted of a stone doorway (though without an actual door), roofed over with a large slab. What brought the similarity to my mind was that a sizeable tree was growing above the slab, its roots twining round the entrance (which went into a sloping hillside). Is it possible that, besides the other associations of this image, Blake, having seen such mine entrances in his own area, thought of them as “entrances to death” in yet another connotation? I have not been able to check whether anyone else has thought of this, or whether Kent and Surrey yield similar doorways in fact; but someone closer to this area than I am at present may find the idea interesting.

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