Page:The letters of William Blake (1906).djvu/73

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THE LIFE OF WILLIAM BLAKE

course. What appears more odd still, was the power he contended he had of calling up any personage of past days, to delineate their forms and features, and to converse upon the topic most incidental to the days of their own existence. How far this is probable must be a question left either to the credulity or the faith of each person. It is fair, however, to say that what Blake produced from these characters, in delineating them, was often so curiously original, and yet so finely expressed, that it was difficult, if prejudices were cast away, to disbelieve totally this power. It is well known to all inquiring men that Blake was not the only individual who enjoyed this peculiar gift. A great and learned German, Emanuel Swedenborg, whose writings, as well as being so peculiar, are so interesting, saw visions of eternity, a full account of which he gives in his voluminous writings. After having applied himself, in early life, to the minutest studies of philosophy, mathematics, mechanics, and every skilful and theoretical occupation, after having been employed by his country in the most conspicuous and responsible offices, he suddenly (being as suddenly called by a vision) devoted his life to the most abstruse theological discussions and dilations, which, after having developed in vision, he wrote. Such things, indeed, are they, that unquestionably could not be invented by one ever so ingenious