Page:The Library, volume 5, series 3.djvu/258

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246
AN EARLY APPRECIATION

passages on page 240 come from the same source. A complete copy of the leaflet must therefore have fallen into the hands of Crabb Robinson, and as Gilchrist did not reprint it entire, the quotations add something to our knowledge of a characteristic document. Blake's reference to 'the distinction my works have obtained from those who best understand such things' is probably an allusion to the complimentary expressions of Fuseli and others in the preface to Blair's 'Grave,' to which we therefore indirectly owe the 'Descriptive Catalogue.'

Elsewhere he says that Adam and Noah were Druids, and that he himself is an inhabitant of Eden.[1] Blake's religious convictions appear to be those of an orthodox Christian; nevertheless, passages concerning earlier mythologies occur which might cast a doubt on it. These passages are to be found in his Public Address on the subject of this picture of Chaucer's Pilgrims, certainly the most detailed and accurate of his works since, kept within limits by his subject, he could not run riot in his imagination. [Blake's saying concerning Chaucer's Pilgrims, that 'every one is an antique statue,' with the instances he gives, 'some of whose names and titles are altered by time, but the characters themselves for ever remain unaltered,' are then quoted. Crabb Robinson continues.] These passages could be explained as the diatribes of a fervid monotheist against polytheism; yet, as our author elsewhere says, 'The antiquities of every nation under the Heaven are no less sacred than those of the Jews,' his

  1. 'Descriptive Catalogue,' text to No. v.