Page:The letters of William Blake (1906).djvu/64

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
10
THE LIFE OF WILLIAM BLAKE

Then she sits and feeds her young:
 Sweet I hear her mournful song;
And thy lovely leaves among,
 There is love, I hear his tongue.


There his charming nest doth lay,
 There he sleeps the night away,
There he sports along the day,
 And doth among our branches play."

The others, although well for a lad, are but moderate. His blank verse is prose cut in slices, and his prose inelegant, but replete with imagery. The following is a specimen:[1]

"Who is this with unerring step doth tempt the wilds, where only nature's foot hath trod. Tis Contemplation, daughter of Grey Morning. Majestical she steppeth, and with her pure quill on every flower writeth Wisdom's name. Now lowly bending, whispers in mine ear: O man, how great, how little art thou. O man, slave for each moment, Lord of eternity, Seest thou where mirth sits on the painted cheek; doth it not seem ashamed and grow immoderate to brave it out? O what a humble garb true joy puts on. Those who want happiness must stoop to find it: it is a flower that grows in every vale. Vain, foolish man that roams on lofty rocks! where, because his garments are swollen with wind, he fancies he is grown into a giant."

The aphorism on happiness is worthy of his after days; he seems at this time to have sighed after something invisible, for he complains in these words: "I am wrapped in mortality, my flesh is a prison, and my bones the bars of death."[2]

About this time Blake took to painting, and

  1. Poetical Sketches, p. 63.
  2. Ibid, p. 64.