Sounds of Infinity

Queen of Elphame

“O see not ye yon narrow road,
So thick beset wi thorns and briers?
That is the path of righteousness,
Tho after it but few enquires.
And see not ye that braid braid road,
That lies across yon lillie leven?
That is the path of wickedness,
Tho some call it the road to heaven.
And see not ye that bonnie road,
Which winds about the fernie brae?
That is the road to fair Elfland,
Whe[re] you and I this night maun gae.”

Thus says the fair Queen of Elphame to True Thomas when he is presented with the three paths. The choice offered here is rich and deep in layers of metaphysics. It positions the realm of Faerie or Elphame, just as the old stories about the genesis of faeries did, as an in-between realm that is neither Hell nor Heaven, neither rejection and transcendence of the material world nor materialistic immersion in it, a third option, a thing that human thinking seems to struggle with.

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