Page:Life of William Blake 2, Gilchrist.djvu/214

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156
SELECTIONS FROM BLAKE'S WRITINGS.

Dancing Faun for your Ugly Man. Now he comes to his trial. He knows that what he does is not inferior to the grandest Antiques. Superior it cannot be, for human power cannot go beyond either what he does, or what they have done; it is the gift of God, it is inspiration and vision. He had resolved to emulate those precious remains of antiquity; he has done so, and the result you behold; his ideas of strength and beauty have not been greatly different. Poetry as it exists now on earth, in the various remains of ancient authors, Music as it exists in old tunes or melodies. Painting and Sculpture as they exist in the remains of Antiquity and in the works of more modern genius—each is Inspiration, and cannot be surpassed; it is perfect and eternal. Milton, Shakspeare, Michael Angelo, Raphael, the finest specimens of Ancient Sculpture and Painting and Architecture, Gothic, Grecian, Hindoo, and Egyptian, are the extent of the human mind. The human mind cannot go beyond the gift of God, the Holy Ghost. To suppose that Art can go beyond the finest specimens of Art that are now in the world is not knowing what Art is; it is being blind to the gifts of the Spirit.

It will be necessary for the Painter to say something concerning his ideas of Beauty, Strength, and Ugliness.

The Beauty that is annexed and appended to folly, is a lamentable accident and error of the mortal and perishing life; it does but seldom happen; but with this unnatural mixture the sublime Artist can have nothing to do; it is fit for the burlesque. The Beauty proper for sublime art is lineaments, or forms and features, that are capable of being the receptacles of intellect; accordingly the Painter has given, in his Beautiful Man, his own idea of intellectual Beauty. The face and limbs that deviate or alter least, from infancy to old age, are the face and limbs of greatest Beauty and perfection.

The Ugly likewise, when accompanied and annexed to imbecility and disease, is a subject for burlesque and not for historical grandeur; the Artist has imagined his Ugly Man;—one approaching to the beast in features and form, his forehead small without frontals, his jaws large, his nose high on the ridge, and narrow, his chest and the stamina of his make comparatively little, and his joints and his extremities large; his eyes with scarce any whites, narrow and cunning, and everything tending toward what is truly Ugly—the incapability of intellect.

The Artist has considered his Strong Man as a receptacle of Wisdom, a sublime energiser; his features and limbs do not spindle out into length without strength, nor are they too large and unwieldy