Page:Life of William Blake, Gilchrist.djvu/300

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240
[1804
LIFE OF WILLIAM BLAKE.

Crucifixion; and then the thread is lost again. The whole spirit of the designs might seem well symbolized in one of the finest among them, where we see a triple-headed and

Life of William Blake (1880), volume 1, page 240.png

triple-crowned figure embedded in rocks, from whose breast is bursting a string of youths, each in turn born from the others breast in one sinuous throe of mingled life, while the life of suns and planets dies and is born, and rushes together around them.

Milton: a Poem in Two Books. The Author and Printer, W. Blake, 1804, is a small quarto of forty-five engraved pages, coloured by hand in the usual manner. In the frontispiece of the Jerusalem, a man enters at a dark door carrying a planet. Would we might follow him through those dim passages, and see them by his light! Nor would his company be less serviceable among the mazes of the Milton. As this latter work has no perceptible affinity with its title, so the designs it contains seem unconnected with the text. This principle of independence is carried even into Blake's own portrait of his cottage at Felpham, p. 245, which bears no accurate resemblance to the real place. In beauty, the drawings do not rank with Blake's most notable works; the copy at the Museum (as seen by the water-mark of its paper—1808) is not one of the earliest, and others might, probably, be found surpassing it in point of colour. Two of the designs chiefly arrest attention; each of which shows us a figure falling as if struck by Heaven; one bearing the inscription Robert, and the other William. They embody the sweet remembrance which Blake preserved of his lost brother, throughout the dying life of every day. Of the two figures, Robert, the already dead, is wrapped in the deeper shadow; but, in other respects, they are almost the same.