Page:The letters of William Blake (1906).djvu/76

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22
THE LIFE OF WILLIAM BLAKE

chimerical, the forms unusual, the inventions abstract; the poem not only abstruse, but absolutely, according to common rules of criticism, as near ridiculous as it is completely heterogeneous. With all that is incomprehensible in the poem, with all that might by some be termed ridiculous in the plan, the designs are possessed of some of the most sublime ideas, some of the most lofty thoughts, some of the most noble conceptions possible to the mind of man. You may doubt, however, the means, and you may criticise the peculiarity of the notions, but you cannot but admire, nay, "wonder at with great admiration," these expressive, these sublime, these awful diagrams of an eternal phantasy. Michael Angelo, Julio Romano, or any other great man, never surpassed Plates 25, 35, 37, 46, 51, 76, 94, and many of the stupendous and awful scenes with which this laborious work is so thickly ornamented.

"Visions of glory, spare my aching sight;
Ye unborn ages, crowd not on my soul."

Even supposing the poetry to be the mere vehicle or a mere alloy for the sake of producing or combining these wonderful thoughts, it should at all events be looked upon with some respect.

But to return to the biography. Blake continued to apply himself, as heretofore, to the art he so dearly loved and so implicitly followed. He