O dear Mother outline of knowledge most sage

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Blake manuscript - Notebook - page 061

Edited text:[2][edit]

* * *
‘O DEAR Mother Outline! of wisdom most sage,
What’s the first part of painting?’ She said: ‘Patronage.’
‘And what is the second, to please and engage?’
She frowned like a fury, and said: ‘Patronage.’
5‘And what is the third? She put off old age,
And smil’d like a siren, and said: ‘Patronage.


The original text:[3][edit]

* * *

O dear Mother outline of knowledge most sage[4]
Whats the First Part of Painting she said Patronage[5]
And what is the second to Please & Engage[6]
She frownd like a Fury & said Patronage
5 And what is the Third she put off Old Age
And smild like a Syren & said Patronage



  1. Keynes considers this as a part of previous poem.
  2. The Poetical Works of William Blake, including the unpublished French Revolution together with the Minor Prophetic Books and Selections from The Four Zoas, Milton & Jerusalem; edited with an introduction and textual notes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.
  3. "The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake", ed. by David V. Erdman, Anchor Books, 1988, p. 515.
  4. A variant of the preceding stanzas, perhaps meant to replace them, perhaps to follow them, in “Barry a Poem”.
  5. 1-2 Then Reynolds said O woman most sage O dear Mother outline be not in a Rage 1st rdg
  6. 3 mispunctuated in Keynes; the sense would require: “And what is the second—to Please & Engage?”

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