Page:William Blake (Symons).djvu/278

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WILLIAM BLAKE

art, and on poetry, and on religion; but it was my object, and I was successful, in drawing him out, and in so getting from him an avowal of his peculiar sentiments. I was aware before of the nature of his impressions, or I should at times have been at a loss to understand him. He was shewn soon after he entered the room some compositions of Mrs. Aders which he cordially praised. And he brought with him an engraving of his Canterbury Pilgrims for Aders. One of the figures ressembled one in one of Aders's pictures. 'They say I stole it from this picture, but I did it 20 years before I knew of the picture—however, in my youth I was always studying this kind of paintings. No wonder there is a resemblence.' In this he seemed to explain humanly what he had done, but he at another time spoke of his paintings as being what he had seen in his visions. And when he said my visions it was in the ordinary unemphatic tone in which we speak of trivial matters that every one understands and cares nothing about. In the same tone he said repeatedly, the 'Spirit told me.' I took occasion to say—You use the same word as Socrates used. What resemblance do you suppose is there between your spirit and the spirit of Socrates?' The same as between our countenance.' He paused and added—'I was Socrates.' And then, as if correcting himself, 'A sort of brother. I must have had conversations with him. So I had with Jesus