Lilith by Althea Gyles. 1898. Source: The Dome. According to the article in The Dome, the following epigraph accompanied this drawing: “LILITH REGINA TRAGAEDLE. “O Lilith, tristissima, cujus in corde terrae prima magna tragaedia acta est, propter te adhue amoris manum tenet invidia.” (“O most sorrowful Lilith, in whose heart was played Earth's first great tragedy, still for thy sake does Hatred hold Love's hand.")” Click on image to enlarge it.

In his article on the artist, William Butler Yeats tells us,

It is some time since I saw the original drawing of Lilith, and it has been decided to reproduce it in this number of The Dome too late for me to have a proof of the engraving; but I remember that Lilith, the ever-changing phantasy of passion, rooted neither in good nor evil, half crawls upon the ground, like a serpent before the great serpent of the world, her guardian and her shadow; and Miss Gyles reminds me that Adam, and things to come, are reflected on the wings of the serpent; and that beyond, a place shaped like a heart is full of thorns and roses. I remember thinking that the serpent was a little confused, and that the composition was a little lacking in rhythm, and upon the whole caring less for this drawing than for others, but it has an energy and a beauty of its own. I believe that the best of these drawings will live, and that if Miss Gyles were to draw nothing better, she would still have won a place among the few artists in black and white whose work is of the highest intensity. I believe, too, that her inspiration is a wave of a hidden tide that is flowing through many minds in many places, creating a new religious art and poetry.” — William Butler Yeats

[You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the site and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. — George P. Landow.]


Yeats, W. B. “A Symbolic Artist and the Coming of Symbolic Art.” The Dome 1 (1898): 233-37. Hathi Trust Digital Library. Web. 30 October 2019.

Last modified 30 October 2019