Page:The letters of William Blake (1906).djvu/23

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INTRODUCTION

LETTERS are of two kinds, reflective and impulsive. The writer may be concerned with the analysis of his impressions and the choice of words, or he may simply rely upon the sheer intensity of his passions or emotions to carry conviction to the reader's imagination. The Letters of William Blake are of the latter sort. That very impatience and impetuosity which so often mars the perfection of his achievement in other directions, is their incomparable distinction. His personality reveals itself in them in its most charming aspect. They are filled with a delightful freshness and spontaneity; and at the same time his most intimate ideas, in regard to both religion and art, are expressed with a clearness and simplicity which is scarcely to be found anywhere else in his writings. He never tires of writing exultantly and triumphantly of the supreme joy of the visionary life. "He had a devil," Mr. Swinburne has said, "and its name was faith"; and his letters are everywhere inspired with the child-like enthusiasm