Page:The Library, volume 5, series 3.djvu/246

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234
AN EARLY APPRECIATION

exhibited by his brother, a hosier in Carnaby Market. The entrance fee was 2s. 6d., catalogue included. I was deeply interested by the catalogue as well as the pictures. I took four copies, telling the brother I hoped he would let me come again. He said 'Oh, as often as you please.' Afterwards I became acquainted with Blake, but will postpone what I have to relate of this extraordinary character.

The relation was put at the disposal of Mr. Gilchrist, and is familiar to all students of Blake in the 'Life,' or in Crabb Robinson's own 'Diary' and 'Reminiscences.'[1]

Crabb Robinson, as we have seen, knew Malkin's work, but his criticism is essentially at first-hand, based on a warm personal interest in the artist's work, but untempered by that sympathy which personal contact with Blake generally produced. Interested by the reference in Gilchrist, I sought at the British Museum for the 'Patriotische Annalen'—whose real title is the 'Vaterlandisches Museum'—and found the translation published in February, 1810, to be the last article in the last of the six numbers of that short-lived publication. Careful examination of all Crabb Robinson's miscellaneous papers at Dr. Williams' Library, Gordon Square, led not, alas, to the discovery of any part of the original MS.—the complete copy must, of course, have been sent to Germany in 1809—but to that of various notes on the subject, including copies of sixteen of Blake's poems, extracts from

  1. The above passage is taken from the Diary as published. The quotations from Crabb Robinson's own MSS. are printed in full for the first time by Mr. Arthur Symons in his 'William Blake.'