Florentine Ingratitude

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Blake manuscript - Notebook 1808 - 27 Florentine Ingratitude

Edited text:[1][edit]


Florentine Ingratitude

SIR JOSHUA sent his own portrait to
The birthplace of Michael Angelo,
And in the hand of the simpering fool
He put a dirty paper scroll,
5 And on the paper, to be polite,
Did ‘Sketches by Michael Angelo’ write.
The Florentines said ‘’Tis a Dutch-English bore,
Michael Angelo’s name writ on Rembrandt’s door.’
The Florentines call it an English fetch,
10 For Michael Angelo never did sketch;
Every line of his has meaning,
And needs neither suckling nor weaning.
’Tis the trading English-Venetian cant
To speak Michael Angelo, and act Rembrandt:
15 It will set his Dutch friends all in a roar
To write ‘Mich. Ang.’ on Rembrandt’s door;
But you must not bring in your hand a lie
If you mean that the Florentines should buy.[2]
Giotto’s circle or Apelles’ line[3]
20 Were not the work of sketchers drunk with wine;
Nor of the city clock’s running … fashion;
Nor of Sir Isaac Newton’s calculation.

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The original text:[4][edit]


Florentine Ingratitude

Sir Joshua sent his own Portrait to
The birth Place of Michael Angelo
And in the hand of the simpering fool
He put a Dirty paper scroll
5 And on the paper to be polite
Did Sketches by Michel Angelo write[5]
The Florentines said Tis a Dutch English bore
Michael Angelos Name writ on Rembrandts door
The Florentines call it an English Fetch
10 For Michael Angelo did never Sketch
Every line of his has Meaning
And needs neither Suckling nor Weaning
Tis the trading English Venetian Cant[6]
To speak Michael Angelo & Act Rembrandt
15 It will set his Dutch friends all in a roar
To write Mch Ang on Rembrandts Door
But You must not bring in your hand a Lie
If you mean that the Florentines should buy
Ghiottos Circle or Apelles Line
20 Were not the Work of Sketchers drunk with Wine
Nor of the City Clarks merry hearted Fashion
Nor of Sir Isaac Newtons Calculation
Nor of the City Clarks Idle Facilities[7]
Which sprang from Sir Isaac Newtons great Abilities
25 These Verses were written by a very Envious Man[8]
Who whatever likeness he may have to Michael Angelo
Never can have any to Sir Jehoshuan

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Notes[edit]

  1. The Poetical Works of William Blake, including the unpublished French Revolution together with the Minor Prophetic Books and Selections from The Four Zoas, Milton & Jerusalem; edited with an introduction and textual notes by John Sampson, Hon. D.Litt. Oxon., 1862–1931. London, New York: Oxford University Press, 1908.
  2. 18 Following this in the MS. Book are the lines:
    These verses were written by a very envious man,
    Who whatever likeness he may have to Michael Angelo
    Never can have any to Sir Jehoshuan.
  3. 19–22 These lines written later at foot of page. Another rdg. was:
    Nor of the city clock’s idle facilities
    Which sprang from Sir Isaac Newton’s great abilities.
  4. "The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake", ed. by David V. Erdman, Anchor Books, 1988, p. 511-512.
  5. 6 Followed by four lines several times revised and finally deleted:
    They said Thus Learning <& Politeness> from England [<& Politeness> was sent] <we fetch>
    [ [I] <We> thought Michael Angelo did never] <For No good Artist will or Can> [Paint] Sketch
    [Isnt it] <And tis> English Politeness as fair as [your] <my> Aunt
    To [say] speak [write ] [Michael Angelo] <Any other word> & [mean] <Act> Rembrandt
  6. 13 Is This Politeness or is it Cant 1st rdg del
  7. 23-24 may have been intended to replace 21-22, but these are not deleted.
  8. 25-27 were added in a different ink, as a comment that might be considered a separate poem.

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.