William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English painter, poet and printmaker. Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. His prophetic poetry has been said to form “what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language”. His visual artistry led one contemporary art critic to proclaim him “far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced”. In 2002, Blake was placed at number 38 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. Although he lived in London his entire life (except for three years spent in Felpham), he produced a diverse and symbolically rich oeuvre, which embraced the imagination as “the body of God” or “human existence itself”.
Although Blake was considered mad by contemporaries for his idiosyncratic views, he is held in high regard by later critics for his expressiveness and creativity, and for the philosophical and mystical undercurrents within his work. His paintings and poetry have been characterized as part of the Romantic movement and as “Pre-Romantic”. Reverent of the Bible but hostile to the Church of England (indeed, to all forms of organized religion), Blake was influenced by the ideals and ambitions of the French and American Revolutions. Though later he rejected many of these political beliefs, he maintained an amiable relationship with the political activist Thomas Paine; he was also influenced by thinkers such as Emanuel Swedenborg. Despite these known influences, the singularity of Blake’s work makes him difficult to classify. The 19th-century scholar William Rossetti characterized him as a “glorious luminary”, and “a man not forestalled by predecessors, nor to be classed with contemporaries, nor to be replaced by known or readily surmisable successors”.
On the day of his death (12 August 1827), Blake worked relentlessly on his Dante series. Eventually, it is reported, he ceased working and turned to his wife, who was in tears by his bedside. Beholding her, Blake is said to have cried, “Stay Kate! Keep just as you are – I will draw your portrait – for you have ever been an angel to me.” Having completed this portrait (now lost), Blake laid down his tools and began to sing hymns and verses. At six that evening, after promising his wife that he would be with her always, Blake died. Gilchrist reports that a female lodger in the house, present at his expiration, said, “I have been at the death, not of a man, but of a blessed angel.”
George Richmond gives the following account of Blake’s death in a letter to Samuel Palmer:
“He died … in a most glorious manner. He said He was going to that Country he had all His life wished to see & expressed Himself Happy, hoping for Salvation through Jesus Christ – Just before he died His Countenance became fair. His eyes Brightened and he burst out Singing of the things he saw in Heaven.”
Although Blake’s attacks on conventional religion were shocking in his own day, his rejection of religiosity was not a rejection of religion per se. His view of orthodoxy is evident in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, a series of texts written in imitation of Biblical prophecy. Therein, Blake lists several Proverbs of Hell, among which are the following:
“Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion.”
“As the caterpillar chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys.”
In The Everlasting Gospel, Blake does not present Jesus as a philosopher or traditional messianic figure, but as a supremely creative being, above dogma, logic and even morality:
“If he had been Antichrist Creeping Jesus,
He’d have done anything to please us:
Gone sneaking into Synagogues
And not us’d the Elders & Priests like Dogs,
But humble as a Lamb or Ass,
Obey’d himself to Caiaphas.
God wants not Man to Humble himself.”
Jesus, for Blake, symbolizes the vital relationship and unity between divinity and humanity: “All had originally one language, and one religion: this was the religion of Jesus, the everlasting Gospel. Antiquity preaches the Gospel of Jesus.”
Blake designed his own mythology, which appears largely in his prophetic books. Within these he describes a number of characters, including “Urizen”, “Enitharmon”, “Bromion” and “Luvah”. His mythology seems to have a basis in the Bible as well as Greek and Norse mythology, and it accompanies his ideas about the everlasting Gospel.
One of Blake’s strongest objections to orthodox Christianity is that he felt it encouraged the suppression of natural desires and discouraged earthly joy. In A Vision of the Last Judgment, Blake says that:
“Men are admitted into Heaven not because they have curbed and governed their Passions or have No Passions but because they have Cultivated their Understandings. The Treasures of Heaven are not Negations of Passion but Realities of Intellect from which All the Passions Emanate Uncurbed in their Eternal Glory.”
His words concerning religion in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell:
“All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following Errors.
1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul.
2. That Energy, called Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason, called Good, is alone from the Soul.
3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.
But the following Contraries to these are True
1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that called Body is a portion of Soul discerned by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age.
2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy.
3. Energy is Eternal Delight.”
“Blake does not subscribe to the notion of a body distinct from the soul that must submit to the rule of the soul, but sees the body as an extension of the soul, derived from the ‘discernment’ of the senses. Thus, the emphasis orthodoxy places upon the denial of bodily urges is a dualistic error born of misapprehension of the relationship between body and soul. Elsewhere, he describes Satan as the ‘state of error’, and as beyond salvation.”
“Blake opposed the sophistry of theological thought that excuses pain, admits evil and apologizes for injustice. He abhorred self-denial, which he associated with religious repression and particularly sexual repression: “Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity. / He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence.” He saw the concept of ‘sin’ as a trap to bind men’s desires (the briars of Garden of Love), and believed that restraint in obedience to a moral code imposed from the outside was against the spirit of life:
“Abstinence sows sand all over
The ruddy limbs & flaming hair
But Desire Gratified
Plants fruits & beauty there.”
He did not hold with the doctrine of God as Lord, an entity separate from and superior to mankind; this is shown clearly in his words about Jesus Christ: “He is the only God … and so am I, and so are you.” A telling phrase in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell is “men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast”. This is very much in line with his belief in liberty and social equality in society and between the sexes.
From a young age, William Blake claimed to have seen visions. The first may have occurred as early as the age of four when, according to one anecdote, the young artist “saw God” when God “put his head to the window”, causing Blake to break into screaming. At the age of eight or ten in Peckham Rye, London, Blake claimed to have seen “a tree filled with angels, bright angelic wings bespangling every bough like stars.” According to Blake’s Victorian biographer Gilchrist, he returned home and reported the vision and only escaped being thrashed by his father for telling a lie through the intervention of his mother. Though all evidence suggests that his parents were largely supportive, his mother seems to have been especially so, and several of Blake’s early drawings and poems decorated the walls of her chamber. On another occasion, Blake watched haymakers at work, and thought he saw angelic figures walking among them.
Blake claimed to experience visions throughout his life. They were often associated with beautiful religious themes and imagery, and may have inspired him further with spiritual works and pursuits. Certainly, religious concepts and imagery figure centrally in Blake’s works. God and Christianity constituted the intellectual center of his writings, from which he drew inspiration. Blake believed he was personally instructed and encouraged by Archangels to create his artistic works, which he claimed were actively read and enjoyed by the same Archangels. In a letter of condolence to William Hayley, dated 6 May 1800, four days after the death of Hayley’s son, Blake wrote:
“I know that our deceased friends are more really with us than when they were apparent to our mortal part. Thirteen years ago I lost a brother, and with his spirit I converse daily and hourly in the spirit, and see him in my remembrance, in the region of my imagination. I hear his advice, and even now write from his dictate.”
In a letter to John Flaxman, dated 21 September 1800, Blake wrote:
” [The town of] Felpham is a sweet place for Study, because it is more spiritual than London. Heaven opens here on all sides her golden Gates; her windows are not obstructed by vapors; voices of Celestial inhabitants are more distinctly heard, & their forms more distinctly seen; & my Cottage is also a Shadow of their houses. My Wife & Sister are both well, courting Neptune for an embrace… I am more famed in Heaven for my works than I could well conceive. In my Brain are studies & Chambers filled with books & pictures of old, which I wrote & painted in ages of Eternity before my mortal life; & those works are the delight & Study of Archangels.”
In a letter to Thomas Butts, dated 25 April 1803, Blake wrote:
“Now I may say to you, what perhaps I should not dare to say to anyone else: That I can alone carry on my visionary studies in London unannoyed, & that I may converse with my friends in Eternity, See Visions, Dream Dreams & prophecy & speak Parables unobserved & at liberty from the Doubts of other Mortals; perhaps Doubts proceeding from Kindness, but Doubts are always pernicious, Especially when we Doubt our Friends.”
In A Vision of the Last Judgement Blake wrote:
“Error is Created, Truth is Eternal, Error or Creation will be Burned Up & then & not till then Truth or Eternity will appear It is Burnt up the Moment Men cease to behold it I assert for My self that I do not behold the Outward Creation & that to me it is hindrance & not Action it is as the Dirt upon my feet No part of Me. What it will be Questioned When the Sun rises do you not see a round Disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea O no no I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host crying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty I question not my Corporeal or Vegetative Eye any more than I would Question a Window concerning a Sight I look thro it & not with it.”
Aware of Blake’s visions, William Wordsworth commented, “There was no doubt that this poor man was mad, but there is something in the madness of this man which interests me more than the sanity of Lord Byron and Walter Scott.” In a more deferential vein, writing in A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature, John William Cousins wrote that Blake was “a truly pious and loving soul, neglected and misunderstood by the world, but appreciated by an elect few”, who “led a cheerful and contented life of poverty illumined by visions and celestial inspirations.”. Blake’s sanity was called into question as recently as the publication of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, whose entry on Blake comments that “The question whether Blake was or was not mad seems likely to remain in dispute, but there can be no doubt whatever that he was at different periods of his life under the influence of illusions for which there are no outward facts to account, and that much of what he wrote is so far wanting in the quality of sanity as to be without a logical coherence.”
Blake’s work was neglected for a generation after his death and almost forgotten when Alexander Gilchrist began work on his biography in the 1860s. The publication of the Life of William Blake rapidly transformed Blake’s reputation, in particular as he was taken up by Pre-Raphaelites and associated figures, in particular Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Algernon Charles Swinburne. In the twentieth century, however, Blake’s work was fully appreciated and his influence increased. Important early and mid twentieth-century scholars involved in enhancing Blake’s standing in literary and artistic circles included S. Foster Damon, Geoffrey Keynes, Northrop Frye, David V. Erdman and G. E. Bentley, Jr.
While Blake had a significant role to play in the art and poetry of figures such as Rossetti, it was during the Modernist period that this work began to influence a wider set of writers and artists. William Butler Yeats, who edited an edition of Blake’s collected works in 1893, drew on him for poetic and philosophical ideas, while British surrealist art in particular drew on Blake’s conceptions of non-mimetic, visionary practice in the painting of artists such as Paul Nash and Graham Sutherland. His poetry came into use by a number of British classical composers such as Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughan Williams, who set his works. Modern British composer John Tavener set several of Blake’s poems, including The Lamb (as the 1982 work “The Lamb”) and The Tyger.
Many such as June Singer have argued that Blake’s thoughts on human nature greatly anticipate and parallel the thinking of the psychoanalyst Carl Jung. In Jung’s own words: “Blake [is] a tantalizing study, since he compiled a lot of half or undigested knowledge in his fantasies. According to my ideas they are an artistic production rather than an authentic representation of unconscious processes.” Similarly, although less popularly, Diana Hume George claimed that Blake can be seen as a precursor to the ideas of Sigmund Freud.
Blake had an enormous influence on the beat poets of the 1950s and the counterculture of the 1960s, frequently being cited by such seminal figures as beat poet Allen Ginsberg, songwriters Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, Van Morrison, and English writer Aldous Huxley. Much of the central conceit of Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials is rooted in the world of Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. After World War II, Blake’s role in popular culture came to the fore in a variety of areas such as popular music, film, and the graphic novel, leading Edward Larrissy to assert that “Blake is the Romantic writer who has exerted the most powerful influence on the twentieth century.
Excerpts from his writings:
Auguries of Innocence (Full Poem)
“To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.
A dove-house fill’d with doves and pigeons
Shudders hell thro’ all its regions.
A dog starv’d at his master’s gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.
A horse misused upon the road
Calls to heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear.
A skylark wounded in the wing,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The game-cock clipt and arm’d for fight
Does the rising sun affright.
Every wolf’s and lion’s howl
Raises from hell a human soul.
The wild deer, wand’ring here and there,
Keeps the human soul from care.
The lamb misus’d breeds public strife,
And yet forgives the butcher’s knife.
The bat that flits at close of eve
Has left the brain that won’t believe.
The owl that calls upon the night
Speaks the unbeliever’s fright.
He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be belov’d by men.
He who the ox to wrath has mov’d
Shall never be by woman lov’d.
The wanton boy that kills the fly
Shall feel the spider’s enmity.
He who torments the chafer’s sprite
Weaves a bower in endless night.
The caterpillar on the leaf
Repeats to thee thy mother’s grief.
Kill not the moth nor butterfly,
For the last judgement draweth nigh.
He who shall train the horse to war
Shall never pass the polar bar.
The beggar’s dog and widow’s cat,
Feed them and thou wilt grow fat.
The gnat that sings his summer’s song
Poison gets from slander’s tongue.
The poison of the snake and newt
Is the sweat of envy’s foot.
The poison of the honey bee
Is the artist’s jealousy.
The prince’s robes and beggar’s rags
Are toadstools on the miser’s bags.
A truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so;
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro’ the world we safely go.
Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
The babe is more than swaddling bands;
Every farmer understands.
Every tear from every eye
Becomes a babe in eternity;
This is caught by females bright,
And return’d to its own delight.
The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar,
Are waves that beat on heaven’s shore.
The babe that weeps the rod beneath
Writes revenge in realms of death.
The beggar’s rags, fluttering in air,
Does to rags the heavens tear.
The soldier, arm’d with sword and gun,
Palsied strikes the summer’s sun.
The poor man’s farthing is worth more
Than all the gold on Afric’s shore.
One mite wrung from the lab’rer’s hands
Shall buy and sell the miser’s lands;
Or, if protected from on high,
Does that whole nation sell and buy.
He who mocks the infant’s faith
Shall be mock’d in age and death.
He who shall teach the child to doubt
The rotting grave shall ne’er get out.
He who respects the infant’s faith
Triumphs over hell and death.
The child’s toys and the old man’s reasons
Are the fruits of the two seasons.
The questioner, who sits so sly,
Shall never know how to reply.
He who replies to words of doubt
Doth put the light of knowledge out.
The strongest poison ever known
Came from Caesar’s laurel crown.
Nought can deform the human race
Like to the armour’s iron brace.
When gold and gems adorn the plow,
To peaceful arts shall envy bow.
A riddle, or the cricket’s cry,
Is to doubt a fit reply.
The emmet’s inch and eagle’s mile
Make lame philosophy to smile.
He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne’er believe, do what you please.
If the sun and moon should doubt,
They’d immediately go out.
To be in a passion you good may do,
But no good if a passion is in you.
The whore and gambler, by the state
Licensed, build that nation’s fate.
The harlot’s cry from street to street
Shall weave old England’s winding-sheet.
The winner’s shout, the loser’s curse,
Dance before dead England’s hearse.
Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.
We are led to believe a lie
When we see not thro’ the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.
God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.”
“If a thing loves, it is infinite.”
“Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?”
“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”
“Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.”
“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.”
“The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself.”
“What is now proved was once only imagined.”
“I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man’s. I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.”
“The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.”
“The glory of Christianity is to conquer by forgiveness.”
“In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.”
“Eternity is in love with the productions of time.”
“You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.”
“Truth can never be told so as to be understood and not be believed.”
“Love seeketh not itself to please, nor for itself hath any care, but for another gives its ease, and builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair.”
“For all eternity, I forgive you and you forgive me.”
“He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.”
“He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.”
“Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence.”
“I was walking among the fires of Hell, delighted with the enjoyments of Genius; which to Angels look like torment and insanity.”
“A man can’t soar too high, when he flies with his own wings.”
“Improvement makes strait roads, but the crooked roads without Improvement, are roads of Genius.”
“Excessive sorrow laughs. Excessive joy weeps.”
“Great things are done when men and mountains meet.”
“The most sublime act is to set another before you.”
“A good local pub has much in common with a church, except that a pub is warmer, and there’s more conversation.”
“And we are put on earth a little space,
that we may learn to bear the beams of love;
And these black bodies and this sunburnt face
Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove.”
“Better to shun the bait than struggle in the snare.”
“This life’s dim windows of the soul
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not through, the eye.”
Thy summers play,
My thoughtless hand
Has brush’d away.
Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?
For I dance
And drink & sing:
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.
If thought is life
And strength & breath:
And the want
Of thought is death;
Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.”
“Man was made for joy and woe
Then when this we rightly know
Through the world we safely go.
Joy and woe are woven fine
A clothing for the soul to bind.”
“Exuberance is beauty.”
“For every thing that lives is Holy.”
“Can I see another’s woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief,
And not seek for kind relief?
Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow’s share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?
Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!”
“When I tell the truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do.”
“Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow. Everything to be imagined is an image of truth.”
“I will not reason and compare, my business is to create.”
“For Mercy has a human heart
Pity, a human face:
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.”
“How can a bird that is born for joy
Sit in a cage and sing?”
“Each man must create his own system or else he is a slave to another man’s.”
“My senses discover’d the infinite in every thing.”
“Mercy is the golden chain by which society is bound together.”
“Energy is eternal delight.”
“Both read the Bible day and night,
But thou read’st black where I read white.”
“I myself do nothing. The Holy Spirit accomplishes all through me.”
“The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged & numerous senses could perceive.
And particularly they studied the genius of each city & country, placing it under its mental deity;
Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of & enslav’d the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects: thus began Priesthood;
Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales.
And at length they pronounc’d that the Gods had order’d such things.
Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast.”
“Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.”
“A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.”
“Children of the future age
Reading this indignant page
Know that in a former time
Love, sweet love, was thought a crime.”
“Without contraries there is no progression.”
“Enlightenment means taking full responsibility for your life.”
“Men are admitted into heaven not because they have curbed and governed their passions or have no passions, but because they have cultivated their understandings. The treasures of heaven are not negations of passion, but realities of intellect, from which all the passions emanate uncurbed in their eternal glory.”
“The apple tree never asks the beech how he shall grow, nor the lion, the horse, how he shall take his prey.”
“The eye altering, alters all.”
“What is the price of Experience? Do men buy it for a song?
Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No, it is bought with the price
Of all that a man hath, his house, his wife, his children
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy
And in the wither’d field where the farmer ploughs for bread in vain
It is an easy thing to triumph in the summer’s sun
And in the vintage and to sing on the waggon loaded with corn
It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted
To speak the laws of prudence to the homeless wanderer
To listen to the hungry raven’s cry in wintry season
When the red blood is fill’d with wine and with the marrow of lambs
It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements
To hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughterhouse moan;
To see a god on every wind and a blessing on every blast
To hear sounds of love in the thunderstorm that destroys our enemies’ house;
To rejoice in the blight that covers his field and the sickness that cuts off his children
While our olive and vine sing and laugh round our door and our children bring fruits and flowers.
Then the groan and the dolour are quite forgotten and the slave grinding at the mill
And the captive in chains and the poor in the prison and the soldier in the field
When the shatter’d bone hath laid him groaning among the happier dead
It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity:
Thus could I sing and thus rejoice: but it is not so with me.”
“When nations grow old the Arts grow cold
And commerce settles on every tree.”
“The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.”
“How do you know but ev’ry Bird that cuts the airy way,
Is an immense world of delight, clos’d by your senses five?”
“Excuse my enthusiasm or rather madness, for I am really drunk with intellectual vision whenever I take a pencil or graver into my hand.”
“I wander thro’ each charter’d street,
Near where the charter’d Thames does flow,
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
In every cry of every Man,
In every Infant’s cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear.
How the Chimney-sweeper’s cry
Every black’ning Church appalls;
And the hapless Soldier’s sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls.
But most thro’ midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlot’s curse
Blasts the new born Infant’s tear,
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.”
“As a man is, so he sees. As the eye is formed, such are its powers.”
“We become what we behold.”
“Down the winding cavern we groped our tedious way, till a void boundless as the nether sky appeared beneath us, and we held by the roots of trees and hung over this immensity; but I said: if you please we will commit ourselves to this void and see whether providence is here also.”
“Do what you will, this life’s a fiction, And it is made up of contradiction.”
“What is Above is Within … the Circumference is Within, Without is formed the Selfish Center, and the Circumference still expands going forward to Eternity.”
“Then you’ll see the world as it is: infinite.”
“The stars are threshed, and the souls are threshed from their husks.”
“The cut worm forgives the plow.”
“Joys impregnate. Sorrows bring forth.”
“Shame is Pride’s cloak.”
“Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy.”
“Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done.
Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.”
“The Learned, who strive to ascend into Heaven by means of learning, appear to Children like dead horses, when repelled by the celestial spheres.”
“The Lily of the valley, breathing in the humble grass
Answer’d the lovely maid and said: “I am a watry weed,
And I am very small, and love to dwell in lowly vales;
So weak, the gilded butterfly scarce perches on my head;
Yet I am visited from heaven, and he that smiles on all
Walks in the valley and each morn over me spreads his hand,
Saying: ‘Rejoice, thou humble grass, thou new-born lily flower.”
“He who loves feels love descend into him and if he has wisdom may perceive it from the Poetic Genius which is the Lord.”
“None can desire what he has not perceiv’d.”
“The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the crow.”
“The hours of folly are measur’d by the clock, but of wisdom: no clock can measure.”
“Vision is the end of religion.”
“Mans perceptions are not bounded by organs of perception, he perceives more than sense (tho’ ever so acute) can discover.”
“Gratitude is heaven itself.”