Page:The letters of William Blake (1906).djvu/75

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21
THE LIFE OF WILLIAM BLAKE

Lane ghost story, the old women's tales, and the young bravo who defies the ghost in the tap-room, that he shudders at in his walk home, are foolishly mixed up with Blake's visions. They are totally different; they are mental abstractions, that are not necessarily accompanied with fear, such as ghosts and apparitions, which either appear to be, or are, seen by the mortal eyes, which circumstance alone horrifies. These visions of Blake seem to have been more like peopled imaginations and personified thoughts; they only horrified where they represented any scene in which horrors were depicted, as a picture or a poem. Richard Brothers has been classed as one possessing this power, but he was really a decided madman; he asserted that he was nephew to God the Father, and in a mad-house he died, as well indeed he might. Brothers is only classed with Swedenborg in order to ridicule Swedenborg and bring him into contempt. Blake and Brothers, therefore, must not be placed together.

Again, in reference to the authenticity of Blake's visions, let anyone contemplate the designs in this book.[1] Are they not only new in their method and manner, but actually new in their class and origin? Do they look like the localities of common circumstances, or of lower worlds? The combinations are

  1. Jerusalem, The Emanation of the Giant Albion, 1804. The present Life being bound up with a coloured example of this work.