Page:William Blake, a critical essay (Swinburne).djvu/99

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WILLIAM BLAKE.

Only such men die so; though the worst have been known to die calmly and the meanest bravely, this pure lyric rapture of spirit and perfect music of sundering soul and body can only be given to these few. Knowing nothing of whence and whither, the how and the when of a man's death we can at least know, and put the knowledge to what uses we may. In this case, if we will, it may help us to much in the way of insight and judgment; it may show us many things that need not be wrought up into many words. For what more is there now to say of the man? Of the work he did we must speak gradually, if we are to speak adequately. Into his life and method of work we have looked, not without care and veneration; and find little to conclude with by way of comment. If to any reader it should not by this time appear that he was great and good among the chief of good and great men, it will not appear for any oration of ours. Most funeral speeches also are cheap and inconclusive. Especially they must be so, or seem so, when delivered over the body of a great man to whom his own generation could not even grant a secure grave. In 1831 his wife was buried beside him: where they are laid now no man can say: it seems certain only that their graves were violated by hideous official custom, and their bones cast

ness of the most agreeable character." Finally, the writer has no doubt that Mrs. Blake's "cause will be taken up by the distributors of those funds which are raised for the relief of distressed artists, and also by the benevolence of private individuals": for she "is left (we fear, from the accounts which have reached us) in a very forlorn condition, Mr. Blake himself having been much indebted for succour and consolation to his friend Mr. Linnell the painter." The discreet editor, "when further time has been allowed him for inquiry, will probably resume the matter:" but, we may now more safely prophesy, assuredly will not.