Page:Life of William Blake, Gilchrist.djvu/432
LIFE OF WILLIAM BLAKE.
In person, there was much in Blake which answered to the remarkable man he was. Though low in stature, not quite five feet and a half, and broad shouldered, he was well made, and did not strike people as short. For he had an upright carriage and a good presence; he bore himself with dignity, as not unconscious of his natural claims. The head and face were strongly stamped with the power and character of the man. There was great volume of brain in that square, massive head, that piled up brow, very full and rounded at the temples, where, according to phrenologists, ideality or imagination resides. His eyes were fine—'wonderful eyes,' some one calls them; prominently set, but bright, spiritual, visionary;—not restless nor wild, but with 'a look of clear heavenly exaltation.' The eyes of some of the old men in his Job, recall his own, to surviving friends. His nose was insignificant as to size, but had that peculiarity which gives to a face an expression of fiery energy, as of a high mettled steed,—'a little clenched nostril; a nostril that opened as far as it could, but was tied down at one end.' His mouth was wide, the lips not full, but tremulous, and expressive of the great sensibility which characterised him. He was short-sighted, as the prominence of his eyes indicated; a prominence in keeping with his faculty for languages, according to the phrenologists again. He wore glasses only occasionally.
Mrs, Blake, the artist's companion at almost every hour of the twenty-four, now, as of old, cheerfully accepted the lot of a poor man's wife as few gifted men's wives are prepared to do. 'Rigid, punctual, firm, precise,' and, as I have said, a good housewife, she extracted the utmost possible amount of domestic comfort out of their slender means, which she, like her husband, was scrupulously careful never to exceed. She shared his destiny and softened it, ministering to his daily wants. Not that he put off everything menial upon her, willing though she were. 'For many years,' writes J, T. Smith, who knew both well, 'he made a constant practice of lighting the fire, and putting on the kettle for breakfast