Page:A Literary Pilgrim in England.djvu/27

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9
WILLIAM BLAKE

He used to go to Mrs. Mathew's salons at 27, Rathbone Place, and meet the Bluestockings and their friends, and, as J. T. Smith said, read and sang several of his poems to airs of his own. His father died in 1784, and he moved to 27, Broad Street, and opened a shop with a partner as printseller and engraver, his favourite younger brother Robert living with him, his brother James keeping on the hosier's business at No. 28, next door. Robert died in 1787, and the poet and his wife moved to 28, Poland Street. There he published "Songs of Innocence" in 1789, having printed it in the manner revealed to him in a vision of the night by his brother Robert. "On his rising in the morning, Mrs. Blake went out with half a crown, all the money they had in the world, and of that laid out is. Iod. on the simple materials necessary for setting in practice the new revelation," the reproduction in facsimile of the songs and their designs. The "Book of Thel" and the "Marriage of Heaven and Hell," reproduced in the same way, also came out of Poland Street. And there he wrote the "French Revolution," which was to have been published by John Johnson, and worked at designing and engraving plates for the same publisher. Blake sometimes sat at Johnson's table at 72, St. Paul's Churchyard, in a company that included, at one time or another, Priestley, Godwin, Holcroft, Tom Paine, Fuseli, and Mary Wollstonecraft. He was then, in Mr. John Sampson's opinion, writing some of the "Songs of Experience" and "A Song of Liberty."

In 1793 he moved to 13, Hercules Buildings, in Lambeth, a one-storied house, with "a narrow strip of real garden behind, wherein grew a fine vine." It was here