Page:A Literary Pilgrim in England.djvu/21

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A LITERARY PILGRIM IN

ENGLAND


WILLIAM BLAKE


BLAKE was born and bred in London, lived there for all but three years of his life, and died there. Nor can I discover that he ever went farther out of London, except on that one excursion to Felpham, than he could walk in a day. And he was not a walker. "He never took walks," says Gilchrist, for walking's sake, or for pleasure; and could not sympathize with those who did." Pictures, statues, and books seem to have had more reality for him than for any other man. Merely out of books and prints, and out of his strong feeling about "the Druid Temples which are the patriarchal pillars and oak groves," he could probably have drawn Stonehenge so as to impress us as we are ready to be impressed after hearing about it, yet seldom are. That was one of his principal gifts, to translate into visible and chiefly human forms what would in other minds remain vague, scattered notions and fragmentary blurred images. For example, at the beginning of the French Revolution he was a Republican, and wore a red cap in the streets of London, and in 1791 wrote the first book of a poem called "The

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