Page:The letters of William Blake (1906).djvu/58

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
4
THE LIFE OF WILLIAM BLAKE

restraints and rules, so much that his father dared not send him to school. Like the Arabian horse, he is said to have so hated a blow that his father thought it most prudent to withhold from him the liability of receiving punishment. He picked up his education as well as he could. His talent for drawing manifesting itself as spontaneously as it was premature, he was always sketching; and, after having drawn nearly everything around him with considerable ability, he was sent to draw with Pars, a drawing master in the Strand, at ten years of age. He used also at this time to frequent Langford's, the auctioneer, where he saw pictures and bought prints from Raphael, Michael Angelo, Albert Durer, Julio Romano, and others of the great designers of the Cinquecento, and refused to buy any others, however celebrated. Langford favoured him by knocking down the lots he bought so quickly, that he obtained them at a rate suited to the pocket savings of a lad. Langford called him his little connoisseur. Even at this time he met with that opposition and ridicule from his contemporaries (many of whom have since become men of note) that harassed him afterwards: they laughed at his predilection for these great masters. His love for art increasing, and the time of life having arrived when it was deemed necessary to place him under some tutor, a painter of eminence was proposed,