Page:Shelley, a poem, with other writings (Thomson, Debell).djvu/135

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THE POEMS OF WILLIAM BLAKE.

able, not little events insupportable.—"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered."—"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."—"For verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."—"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."—These texts from the mouth of one of the sublimest of mystics realise the very same object in the very same manner. The sharply cut symbol leaves a distinct and enduring impression, where the abstract dogma would have perhaps made no impression at all. Briefly, in almost every couplet of this poem, Blake has attempted what all profound poets and thinkers have ever most earnestly attempted; to seize a rude but striking image of some sovereign truth, and to stamp it with roughest vigour on the commonest metal for universal circulation. To such attempts we owe all the best proverbs in the world; the abounding small currency of our intellectual commerce, more invaluably essential to our ordinary daily business than nuggets of gold, than rubies, and pearls, and diamonds.

As to the longer poems produced after the Songs of ExperienceVisions of the Daughters of Albion, Europe, Jerusalem, Ahania, Urizen, etc.—the Selections given by Mr. Gilchrist are not sufficient to enable one to form a settled opinion. This may be said; that a careful