I am currently in the process of transcribing some of Blake’s manuscript material beginning “then She bore Pale desire” and have run into some difficulty. At the bottom of object 5, Blake adds additional text in a rough hand using pencil. (The majority of the object is covered in brown ink.) I can read the text at the bottom right (which is an addition, the placement of which is indicated by a line). However, there is also what appears to be an abbreviation at the bottom left. I cannot make it out with certainty, and it is not connected to the rest of the text (in any obvious way, at least).
My guess is “EscS.”. Blake doesn’t generally loop the top of the lowercase “s” (at least not to my recollection), but that’s the best I can do. Also, I’m not sure why a capital “S” would appear at the end of a sequence of letters, but this stroke greatly resembles capital “S”s at the bottom right of the object. Here’s “Son” from line 29:
In Tiriel, Blake wrote an abbreviation for “et cetera” in one of the margins (which Erdman said was a reference to additional text written elsewhere– and, in that case, not located). There are a lot of additions to the “Pale desire” manuscript, and some pages have not been located– and so I thought that perhaps this (conjectural) “EscS.” could be an indicator of further additions that are now lost. However, this doesn’t resemble any abbreviation of “et cetera” that I know of (and I’ve never seen Blake abbreviate that in any other way than “&c”). I wondered if it could be an abbreviation for something similar (“et sequentes” maybe?– but that’s a shot in the dark). When looking through Bentley and Erdman, I didn’t see any references to this word/abbreviation at all.
To be continued….