Page:The Library, volume 5, series 3.djvu/244

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232
AN EARLY APPRECIATION

simple in manner and address, and displayed an inbred courteousness of the most agreeable character. At the age of sixty-six he commenced the study of Italian, for the sake of reading Dante in the original, which he accomplished!

William Blake died as he had lived, piously cheerful! talking calmly, and finally resigning himself to his eternal rest, like an infant to its sleep. His effects are nothing, except some pictures, copper-plates, and his principal work, a series of a hundred large Designs from Dante. His widow is left in a very forlorn condition, Mr. Blake himself having latterly been much indebted for succour and consolation to his friend, Mr. Linnell, the painter. We have no doubt but her cause will be taken up by the distributors of those funds which are raised for the relief of distressed artists, and also by the benevolence of private individuals.'

The year after Blake's death appeared J. T. Smith's very interesting and important Memoir, appended to the second volume of his 'Life of Nollekens,' and in 1830 the biography by Alan Cunningham, the greater part of which was translated into German in the third volume of 'Zeitgenossen,' published at Leipsic in the same year, which also refers to the paper in the 'Vaterlandisches Museum,' but knows no other authority; while in the first volume of Nagler's 'Künstler-Lexicon' (1835) over three large octavo pages are devoted to Blake, more, in fact, than to Bellini, homage which might satisfy the most exacting worshipper. This outburst of German interest, hitherto, I believe, unnoticed in England, is without doubt due to the article by Henry Crabb Robinson, who is referred to by Gilchrist as 'a gentleman whom, so long ago as 1809, we beheld