The poetical works of William Blake; a new and verbatim text from the manuscript engraved and letterpress originals/Poems from the Rossetti Manuscript

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(circa 1793-1811)

commonly known as





The Rossetti MS. is the name used in this edition as a descriptive title for Blake's book of notes and sketches, commonly called 'The MS. Book,' and sometimes, less correctly, 'Ideas of Good and Evil.' The latter title, partially covered by a pencil sketch, is found written, in bold script characters, on the verso of the second leaf. In all probability Blake intended it to refer to the series of designs, beginning on p. 15, afterwards engraved and published as The Gates of Paradise. The poems which some editors include under this title had not then been written.

The Rossetti MS. is a foolscap quarto volume (734x638 inches) of 58 leaves, paginated consecutively 1-116 by its present owner. The drawing paper is without watermark; but the stitching in the centre of the quires after ff. 5, 18, 30, 42, and 54, shows that the book is made up of one gathering of 10 leaves and four gatherings of 16 and 8 leaves alternately. Bound in at the end is a folded sheet of different and smaller paper forming two leaves, upon which are written part of 'The Everlasting Gospel' and part of the first draft of Blake's description of his 'Canterbury Pilgrims.'

A pencil note on the verso of the flyleaf, signed 'D.G.C.R.,' Rossetti's earlier signature, tells how he became possessed of the volume: 'I purchased this original MS. of Palmer, an attendant in the Antique Gallery at the British Museum, on the 30th April, '47. Palmer knew Blake personally, and it was from the artist's wife that he had the present MS. which he sold me for 10s. Among the sketches there are one or two profiles of Blake himself.'

Rossetti transcribed certain of the contents, heading them 'Verse and Prose by William Blake (Natus 1757: obiit 1827). All that is of any value in the foregoing pages has here been copied out. D. G. C. R.' Rossetti's transcript (in my footnotes referred to as R1) contains a number of emendatory readings, some of which he subsequently rejected in his version of the poems printed in Gilchrist's Life. This transcript, bound in at the end of the MS. Book proper, consists of 33 leaves, of which 5 (evidently containing Epigrams 1-19) have been cut out. Part of the paper bears the watermark 1844. The volume is bound in half-calf and labelled ' Blake MS.'

The MS. Book covers a period of at least twenty years of Blake's life. He first used it for sketches only, and when it had served this purpose, converted it into a note-book for poetry, and, still later, for prose. The sketches include two drawings of the figure of Nebuchadnezzar which Blake afterwards engraved in the undated Marriage of Heaven and Hell, all the designs for The Gates of Paradise (engraved 1793), most of those for the Visions of the Daughters of Albion (engraved 1793), and some for the Songs of Experience, Urizen, and America (all engraved 1794). As there are no designs for Blake's earlier works, the Songs of Innocence and The Book of Thel (both engraved 1789), we may infer that his use of the sketch-book began not earlier, but probably not much later, than the year 1789. Some of the sketches are full page, a few are in colour or sepia, but the greater number are small finished or rough pencil drawings occupying the centre of the page.

About 1793, when most of the leaves were thus filled, Blake began to use the sketch-book for the transcription of some of his poems, reversing the volume and beginning on the three blank pages at the end of the book. Here he copied, in most cases apparently from earlier rough drafts, certain of the Songs of Experience, besides other lyrical
poems which he himself never published. These pieces, as our facsimile shows, were neatly written in two columns in a small, but fairly clear hand; separation lines being drawn between the different poems. In most cases the titles were afterthoughts. Vertical pencil lines are drawn through those poems which Blake engraved as part of the Songs of Experience. Avoiding at first the pages on which sketches of any importance appeared, Blake continued to write from the reversed end as far as p. 98. All the poems in this section of the book — Songs of Experience or lyrics of the same character — must have been written before the end of the year 1793. After writing these poems, which form the first section of the MS. Book (i-xxxvi), Blake discontinued the use of it as a notebook for several years. Taking it up again about the beginning of his Felpham period, he added some new poems, writing them, not as before from the reversed end, but from the original beginning of the sketch - book. On pp. 3 and 2 is the fine poem 'My spectre around me night and day,' which, as Swinburne points out, embodies precisely the same theme as Jerusalem (1804). On p. 12 are the lines 'Each man is in his spectre's power,' and the long poem 'I saw a monk of Charlemaine,' both of which were afterwards engraved as part of Jeru- salem. On p. 21 begins the series of epigrams which may be dated from the end of Blake's stay at Felpham to the year 1809; they relate to his differences with Hayley, Cromek, Stothard, and Hunt, and were obviously written down, animnm solvere, without view to publication. To the same period evidently belong the epigrams on art and artists, which are probably, as Ellis and Yeats conjecture, an overflow from his marginal notes to his copy of Reynolds's Discourses, now preserved in the British Museum. Among the last entries in the MS. are Blake's 'Advertisement' and 'Additions to the Catalogue for the year 1810,' which are scattered here and there throughout the book with frequent encroachments upon the sketches. In the same category should be placed his great unfinished poem 'The Everlasting Gospel,' the last written piece in the MS. Book. Fragments of this are drafted or copied on blank spaces left on the now crowded pages, part of the poem being written, obviously after the exhaustion of other space, upon a scrap of paper bound in at the end of the book.

The earliest dated entry in the MS. Book is the note on p. 10, 'I say I shan't live five years. And if I live one it will be a Wonder. June 1793 ' ; the latest, on p. 59, is an extract ' From Bell's Weekly Messenger, Aug. 4th, 1811.'

A few of the poems in the Rossetti MS., such as 'Fayette,' were left in an unfinished state, while others have elsewhere received Blake's revision. The lines beginning 'Three virgins at the break of day' appear in a more perfect form in the Pickering MS., where I print them with the readings from the MS. Book in footnotes. The MS. Book version of 'I saw a monk of Charlemaine' was afterwards split up by Blake into two separate poems — 'The Grey Monk' of the Pickering MS. and the 'Address to the Deists' in Jerusalem. In the following Index to the Rossetti MS., the sketches, poems, and prose contents are given in the order in which they occur in the volume; inverted pieces, written from the reversed end, are marked by an asterisk. To follow roughly Blake's own order of writing the poems enumerated, the Index should be read backwards page by page, from p. 115 to p. 98, and continued straightforwardly from p. 3 to the same point. Italics indicate sketches or prose. For prose passages, of which only the few first or last words are quoted in this Index, reference may be made to Gilchrist (vol. ii) or to Ellis and Yeats (vol. ii. pp. 383-403). The following contractions are used: — S.E., Sougs of Experience; MS. Book, Rossetti Manuscript (followed by number of poem in the present edition); Advt., Advertisement to Blake's Canterbury Pilgrims from Chancer, containing anecdotes of Artists (apparently intended as Blake's own title for piece which Rossetti and others call 'Public Address'); Cat. 1810, For the year 1810. Additions to Blake s Catalogue of Pictures, &c. ; WMR., W. M. Ros- setti's 'Annotated Lists of Blake's Paintings, Drawings, and Engravings,' List 2, no. 25 (Gilchrist's Life, ii. pp. 242-243).


p. 1.  Prose. — If men of weak capacities . . . without which the art is lost. [Advt.]
p. 2. Sketch (pencil). — Daphne.
My spectre continued (stanzas 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, *1, *2, and *3). [MS. Book xxxvii.]
p. 3. My spectre around me night & day. [MS. Book xxxvii.]
p. 4. Title-page. — Ideas of Good & Evil.
Sketch (pencil). — A young woman dressing.
When a man has married a wife. [MS. Book xxxviii.]
p. 5. When Klopstock England defied. [MS. Book xxxix.]
p. 6. Sketch (pen and ink) [see WMR (a)].

On the Virginity of the Virgin Mary & Johanna Southcott. [MS. Book xl.]

p. 7. Mock on, Mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau. [MS. Book xli.]
p. 8. Sketch.
p. 9. Sketch (sepia).
p. 10.  Note. — Tuesday Jan' 20, 1807, between Two & seven in the Evening Despair.
Note. — I say I shan't live five years. And if I live one it will be

a Wonder. June 1793.

Memoranda. — To engrave on pewter. To woodcut on pewter. To engrave on copper. [See Gil. ii. 158.]
p. 11.  Sketch.
p. 12.  I saw a Monk of Charlemaine. [MS. Book xlii.]
Morning : To find the Western path. [MS. Book xliii.]
Terror in the house does roar. [MS. Book xliv.]
Each man is in his spectre's power. [Jerusalem.]
p. 13.  Sketch (sepia).
p. 14. Three Virgins at the Break of day. [Pickering MS. The Golden Net.]
The Birds. [MS. Book xlv.]
p. 15. Sketch.— For Gates Of Paradise.
Sketch. — ? Lucifer discovering Judas. (Inferno, Canto xxxiv.) [See WMR (b)].
p. 16. Sketch. — (The same.)
p. 17. Sketch. — (The same.)
Sketch.— [See WMR (f1.)]
Note. — I wonder who can say 'speak no ill of the dead' etc.
Note. — Columbus discovered America etc.
p. 18. Prose. — There is not because there cannot be any difference . . . should consider the following. [Advt.]
Note. — Princes appear to me to be fools etc.
p. 19. Sketch. — For Gates of Paradise.
Prose. — Rubens' Luxembourg gallery is confessed ... as guilty of mental high treason. [Advt.]
Prose. — Who that has eyes ... Oh rare wisdom. [Advt.]
p. 20. Prose. — The wretched state of the arts in this country ... I demand therefore of the Amateurs of [Advt.]
p. 21. Sketch.— For Songs of Experience— 'The Sick Rose.' [See WMR (g)].
No real style of colouring ever appears. [MS. Book xlvi.]
You don't believe, I won't attempt to make ye. [MS. Book xlvii.]
Prose. — Art the encouragement which is my due . . . nothing can hinder my course. [Advt.]
And in melodious accents L [MS. Book xlviii.]
You don't believe continued. [MS. Book xlvii.]
p. 22.  And his legs cover'd it like a long fork. [MS. Book xlix.]
p. 23.  Sketch.— [See WMR (h).]
Prose. — The painters of England are unimployed . . . storehouse of intellectual riches. [Advt.]
Was I angry with Hayley who used me so ill. [MS. Book 1.]
Anger & Wrath my bosom rend. [MS. Book li.]
p. 24.  The Sussex Men are Noted Fools. [MS. Book lii.]
Prose. — (continued from p. 25) ... as a public duty. William Blake. [Advt.]
p. 25.  Sketch. — For Gates of Paradise.
Madman I have been called. Fool they call thee. [MS. Book liii.]
To H——: You think Fuseli is not a Great Painter. I'm glad. [MS. Book liv.]
Prose. — In a commercial nation ... in the journeyman's labour. [Advt.]
Prose. — P.S. I do not believe . . . (continued on p. 24) [Advt.]
p. 26.  To F——: I mock thee not, though I by thee am Mocked. [MS. Book lv.]
p. 26.  Can there be anything more mean. [MS. Book lvi.]
p. 27.  S—— in Childhood on the nursery floor. [MS. Book lvii.]
To Nancy F——: How can I help thy husband's copying me.

[MS. Book lviii.]

Of H—— 's birth this was the happy lot. [MS. Book lix.]
p. 28.  Sketch (pencil). — For Visions of the Daughters of Albion.
Sir Joshua praises Michael Angelo. [MS. Book lx.]
He's a Blockhead who wants a proof of what he can't Perceive. [MS. Book lxi.]
p. 29. Cr—— loves artists as he loves his Meat. [MS. Book lxii.]
A Petty Sneaking Knave I knew. [MS. Book lxiii.]
Sir Joshua praised Rubens with a smile. [MS. Book lxiv.]
He is a Cock would. [MS. Book lxv.]
p. 30.  Sketch.— [See WMR. (i)].
He has observ'd the Golden Rule. [MS. Book Ixvi.]
To S——d: You all your Youth observ'd the Golden Rule. [MS.

Book lxvii.]

p. 31.  Mr. Stothard to Mr. Cromek: For Fortune's favours you your riches bring. [MS. Book 1xiii.]
Mr. Cromek to Mr. Stothard: Fortune favours the Brave, old proverbs say, [MS. Book lix.]
I am no Homer's Hero you all know. [MS. Book lxx.]
p. 32.  The Angel that presided o'er my birth. [MS. Book lxxi.]
Florentine Ingratitude: Sir Joshua sent his own portrait to. [MS. Book Ixxii.]
p. 33.  A Pitiful Case: The villain at the gallows tree. [MS. Book Ixxiii.]
To the Royal Academy: A Strange Erratum in all the Editions.

[MS. Book Ixxiv.]

If it is true, what the Prophets write. [MS. Book lxxv.]

[The Everlasting Gospel, a. ]

p. 34.  Sketch. — For Gates of Paradise.
On F—— and S——: I found them blind, I taught them how to see. [MS. Book lxxvi.]
P—— loved me not as he lov'd his friends. [MS. Book lxxvii.]
To forgive enemies H—— does pretend. [MS. Book lxxviii.]
p. 35.  To F—— : You call me Mad; 'tis folly to do so. [MS. Book lxxix.]
On H——y's Friendship: When H——y finds out what you cannot

do. [MS. Book Ixxx.]

To forgive enemies H—— does pretend continued (ll. 3, 4). [MS. Book Ixxviii.]
p. 36.  Sketch.— [See WMR. (j).]
Some men created for destruction come. [MS. Book lxxxi.]
On S——: You say reserve and modesty he has. [MS. Book lxxxii.]
p. 37.  Imitation of Pope, & a compliment to the Ladies. [MS. Book lxxxiii.]
To H——: Thy friendship oft has made my heart to ake. [MS. Book lxxxiv.]
Cosway Frazer & Baldwin of Egypt's Lake. [MS. Book lxxxv.]
p. 37.  An Epitaph : Come knock j'our heads against this stone. [MS. Book lxxxvi.]
Another: I was buried near this dyke. [MS. Book lxxxvii.]
Another: Here lies John Trot, the Friend of all mankind. [MS.

Book lxxxviii.]

p. 38.  My title as a Genius thus is prov'd. [MS. Book lxxxix.]
I, Rubens, am a Statesman and a Saint. [MS. Book xc]
To English Connoisseurs : You must agree that Rubens was a fool. [MS, Bookxci.]
Note. — There is just the same science in Lebrun or Rubens or even Vanloo that there is in Raphael or Michael Angelo, but not the same genius. Science is soon got; the other never can be acquired but must be born.
Swelled limbs with no outline that you can descry. [MS. Book xcii.]
A Pretty Epigram for the encouragement of those Who have paid

great sums in the Venetian and Flemish ooze. [MS. Book xciii.] These are the Idiots' chiefest arts. [MS. Book xciv.]

p. 39.  Raphael Sublime Majestic Graceful Wise. [MS. Book xcv.]
Learn the laborious stumble of a Fool. [MS. Book xcvi.]
If I e'er Grow to Man's Estate, [MS. Book xcvii.]
The cripple every step drudges & labours. [MS. Book xcviii.]
p. 40. Sketch. — For Gates of Paradise.
On the great encouragement given by English Nobility. [MS.

Book xcix.]

Give Pensions to the Learned Pig. [MS. Book c]
All pictures that's painted with sense and with thought. [MS.

Book ci.]

p. 41.  On H the Pickthank : I write the rascal thanks, till he and I [MS. Book cii.]
Cromek speaks: I always take my judgement from a Fool. [MS.

Book ciii.]

When you look at a picture you always can see. [MS. Book civ.]
English Encouragement of Art, Cromek's opinions put into rhyme, [MS. Book cv.]
p. 42.  You say their Pictures well painted be. [MS, Book cvi.]
The Washerwoman's Song: I wash'd them out and wash'd them in.

[MS. Book cvii.]

p. 43.  When I see a Rubens Rembrandt Correggio. [MS. Book cviii.]
Great things are done when Men & Mountains meet. [MS. Book cix.]
p. 44.  Sketch (pencil). — For Marriage of Heaven and Hell — 'Nebuchadnezzar.'
Note. — Let a Man who has made a drawing gt) on & on & he will produce a Picture or Painting, but if he chooses to leave it before he has spoil'd it he will do a Better Thing,
p. 45.  Sketch. — For Gates of Paradise — I have said to corruption etc.
p. 46.  Sketch.— Murder. [See WMR. (k).]
Prose. — They say there is no straight line in nature . . . Machination, [Advt.]
Prose. — Delicate Hands & Heads will never appear While Titian &c, as in the Book of Moonlight, p. 5.
p. 46.  Prose. — Woollett I know . . . (continued on p. 47), [Advt.]
*I give you the end of a golden string. [Jerusalem.]
p. 47.  Prose. — (Continued from p. 46) . . . master's touch. [Advt.]
Prose. — Every line is the line of beauty. It is only fumble and bungle which cannot draw a line. This only is ugliness, But that is not a line which doubts and hesitates in the midst of its course. [Advt.]
If you play a Game of chance. [MS. Book ex.]
p. 48.  Sketch. — Nebuchadnezzar.
Note. — This was spoke by My Spectre to Voltaire Bacon &c.
[The Everlasting Gospel. ζ. ll. 1-26.]
[The Everlasting Gospel. δ.]
p. 49.  [The Everlasting Gospel, ζ. ll. 27-52.]
p. 50.  [The Everlasting Gospel. ζ. ll. 53-71.]
The only Man that e'er I knew. [MS. Book cxi.]
For this is being a Friend just in the nick. [MS. Book cxii.]
p. 51.  [The Everlasting Gospel. ζ. ll. 72-92.]
Prose. — In this plate Mr. B. has resumed ... in condemnation. [Advt.]
p. 52.  Sketch (pencil).
Prose. — Of my Work & approbation . . . reputation as a draughtsman. [Advt.]
[The Everlasting Gospel, ζ. ll. 93-96.]
[The Everlasting Gospel. η. ]
The Everlasting Gospel. (γ2 ll. 1-25.)
Prose. — The manner in which my character has been blasted . . . paid for what they put in on these ungracious subjects. [Advt.]
I will tell you what Joseph of Arimathea. [MS. Book cxiii.]
p. 53.  Prose.— Y&xma.u cannot deny ... as Machlin told me at the time [Advt.]
[The Everlasting Gospel. γ2. ll. 26-83.]
Prose. — Many people are so foolish . . . asserted that Woollett's. [Advt.]
p. 54.  [The Everlasting Gospel. γ2. ll. 84-106.]
Grown old in Love from Seven till Seven times Seven. [MS. Book cxiv.]

[The Everlasting Gospel. θ.]

p. 55.  Prose. — Prints were superior to Basire's because . . . beginnings of art. [Advt.]
p. 56.  Sketch.— [See WMR. (l).]
Why was Cupid a Boy. [MS. Book cxv.]
Note. — This day is Publish'd Advertizements to Blake's Canterbury
Pilgrims from Chaucer, containing anecdotes of Artists.
Prose. — I hope this print ... It is very true what you have said. [Advt.]
p. 57.  Sketch.
Prose.— For these thirty-two Years . . . [Advt.]
Prose. — Woollett's best works ... I forget. [Advt.]
Prose.— The Cottager's ... is never correct. [Advt.]
Prose.— I do not pretend to Paint better than Rafael (or Mich. Ang.) . . . which they understand not. [Advt.]

p. 58.  Prose. — In this manner the English public . . . but day do not draw de draw. [Advt.]
Prose. — Resentment for Personal Injuries has had some share in this public address but love to my art and zeal for my country a much greater. [Advt.]
p. 59.  Sketch. — For Gates of Paradise.
Prose. — Men think they can Copy Nature . . . manifest to all. [Advt.]
Extract. — From Bell's Weekly Messenger, Aug. 4th 1811 etc.
p. 60.  I asked my Dear Friend Orator Prig. [MS. Book cxvi.]
That God is Colouring Newton does show. [MS. Book cxviii.]
Prose. — Cooke wished to give to Hogarth . . . but he could not. [Adv.]
p. 61.  Sketch. — For Gates of Paradise — What we hope we see.
O dear Mother Outline of wisdom most sage. [MS. Book cxvii.]
To Venetian Artists : Perhaps this little Fable may make us merry. [MS. Book cxviii.]
Prose. — Englishmen rouse yourselves . . . Hogarth's works prove. [Advt.]
p. 62.  Prose. — A detestable Falsehood . . . God or man. [Advt.]
Prose. — I do not mean smooth'd up & Nigled & Poco Pen'd and all the beauties [picked out] blurr'd & blotted but Drawn with a firm & decided hand at once, like Fuseli & Michael Angelo, Shakespeare & Milton. [Advt.]
Some laugh at what others can see no crime in. [MS. Book cxx.]
p. 63.  Sketch. — For Gates of Paradise — I found him beneath a tree.
I've given great Provision to my Foes. [MS. Book cxx.]
Prose. — Whoever looks at any ... to look at his print. [Advt.]
Later Note. — He who could represent Christ . . . fine art. [Advt.]
*Great Men and Fools do often me inspire. [MS. Book cxix.]
p. 64.  Extract. — From Cratelos. Me time has crook'd, no good workman Is he, Infirm is all that he does.
Prose.— I do not know whether Homer . . . trading competition. [Advt.]
Note. — I always thought that Jesus Christ was a snubby or I should not have worshipped him if I thought he had been one of those long spindled nosed rascals.
p. 65.  Having given great offence by writing in Prose. [MS. Book cxx.]
Prose. — Chaucer's Canterbury Pilgrims. Being a complete Index of Human Characters as they exist age after age. [Title for Advt.]
If men will act like a maid smiling over a churn. [MS. Book cxxi.]
Sketch. — For Songs of Experience — The Angel.
p. 66.  Prose. — The English artist . . . Vasari tells us. [Advt.]
Call that the Public Voice which is their Error. [MS. Book cxxii.]
Prose. — What kind of intellect ... & not the forms of Things. [Advt]
Prose. — Let us teach Buonaparte & whomsoever else it may concern that it is not Arts that follow & attend upon Empire but Empire that attends upon & follows The Arts. [Advt.]
Prose. — It is nonsense for Noblemen . . . but not to make a Man. [Advt.]
p. 67.  Sketch.— Profile of Blake. [See WMR. (c).]

p. 67.  Prose.— The originality of this production . . . whitloes on their fingers. [Advt.]
Prose. — No man of sense ... as to believe this. [Advt.]
Note. — 23 May 1810 found the Word Golden.
Prose. A man sets himself . . . yourselves to be disgraced. [Advt.]
p. 68.  Sketch. — For Gates of Paradise — (frontispiece).
Prose. — The Last Judgment is not Fable . . . [Cat. 1810.]
Prose. — Note here that Fable or allegory . . . [Cat. 1810.]
p. 69.  Sketch. For Gates of Paradise — At last for hatching ripe.
Prose.— [Cat. 1810.]
p. 70.  Prose.— For the year 1810 Addition to Blake's Catalogue of Pictures &c. [Title for Cat. 1810.]
Some people admire the work of a Fool. [MS. Book cxxiii.]
Prose. — [Cat. 1810.]
p. 71.  {A quarter of this leaf has been cut out.)
Sketch.— Tot Gates of Paradise — Death's Door.
Prose.— The—when they assert that Jupiter . . . [Cat. 1810.]
Note.— A jockey that is anything of a jockey will never buy a horse by the colour & a man who has got any brains will never buy a picture by the colour.
Note. — When I tell any truth it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those who do.
p. 72.  Prose.— And heal Visions ... the golden Age. [Cat. 1810.]
p. 73.  Sketches.— [See WMR. (m).]
To God. [MS. Book cxxviii.]
Since all the Riches of this World. [MS. Book cxxiv.]
p. 74.  Sketches.
p. 75.  Sketches.— [See WMR. (d).]
p. 76.  Prose.— No Man of Sense ... a Male & Female chain'd [Cat, iBic]
p. 77.  Prose. — together by the feet ... a Cruel Church. [Cat. 1810.]
p. 78.  Prose. — The greatest part of what are call'd . . . cord in his hand. [Cat. 1810.]
To Chloe's breast young Cupid slily stole. [MS. Book cxxvi.]
p. 79.  Now Art has lost its mental Charms. [MS. Book cxxvii.]
Prose. — In Eternity one Thing . . . vegetable Nature also. [Cat. 1810.]
Nail his neck to the Cross, nail it with a nail. [MS. Bock cxxviii.]
p. 80.  Prose. — Between the Figures ... on the brink of [Cat. 1810.]
p. 81.  Prose. — perdition . . . of the Hebrew. [Cat. 1810.]
p. 82.  Prose. — Just above ... & Intentions. [Cat. 1810.]
p. 83.  Prose. — The Characters . . . removing the [Cat. 1810.]
p. 84.  Prose. — old heavens . . . Art in proportion to his means. [Cat. 1810.]
Prose. — (continued from p. 83.) [Cat. 1810.]
Sketch— [See WMR (n).]
p. 85.  Prose. — Over the head ... for a Protection. [Cat. 1810.]
p. 86.  Prose. — The painter hopes that his Friends Amytus Melitus & Lycon will perceive . . . begs public protection and all will be well. [Cat. 1810.]
Prose. — The Combats of Good & Evil . . . Knowledge of good & evil. L 2,
p. 87.  The Caverns of the Grave I've seen. [MS. Book cxxix.]
Prose. — (Description of Last Judgment.) [Cat. 1810.]
p. 88.  Note and Quotatious from Aphra Behn & Dryden, dated Sunday, August 1807. [See Swinb. Essay, pp. 130-1.]
p. 89.  Note. — (The same.)
I rose up at the dawn of day. [MS. Book cxxx.]
p. 90.  Prose. — Shall know them ... be Painting. [Cat. 1810.]
p. 91.  Sketch. — For Gates of Paradise — Fire, he rears from the pool his mighty stature.
Prose. — Such as Rafael . . . Mercy I have. [Cat. 1810.]
p. 92.  Prose. — Represented those who are . . . Envy the Success. [Cat. 1810.]
p. 93.  Sketch. — For Gates of Paradise — Earth.
Prose. — Of Satan or of Og . . . Angels happier than. [Cat. 1810.]
p. 94.  Sketch (sepia) — For Gates of Paradise — Air.
Prose. — Men because . . . Last Judgment &. [Cat. 1810.]
p. 95. Sketch. — For Gates of Paradise — Water. Prose. — that Bad art . . . not with it. [Cat. 1810.]
p. 96. Extract. — Lines written . . . surrender of Copenhagen.
p. 97. Sketch. — For Europe — an assassin.
Extract.Continued (from p. 96) signed 'Birmingham I.'
p. 98.  [The Everlastins: Gospel. γ1 11. 1-38.]
Do what you will this life's a fiction. [MS. Book cxxxi.]
*Fayette (Stanzas i, 4, 6). [MS. Book xxxv.]
p. 99.  *Several Questions Answered. [MS. Book xxxvi.]
Fayette (Stanzas 3, 9, 10). [MS. Book xxxv.]
p. 100.  [The Everlasting Gospel. β. ll. 1-37.]
*Her whole Life is an Epigram. [MS. Book xxxiii.]
*An Old maid early e'er I knew. [MS. Book xxxiv.]
p. 101.  [The Everlasting Gospel. β. ll. 38-57.]
*Littie fly. [SE.]
*Motto to the Songs of Innocence & of Experience, [MS. Book xxxii.]
p. 102.  Sketch. — Adam and Eve.
p. 103.  *The Angel: I dreamt a Dream ! what can it mean. [SE.]
*Because I was happy upon the heath. [SE.: The Chimney Sweeper, stanzas 2, 3.]
*The Question Answer'd: What is it men in women do require

[MS. Book xxxvi, 4.]

*Lacedemonian Instruction: Come hither, my boy, tell me what

thou seest there. [MS. Book xxix.]

*Riches: The countless gold of a merry heart. [MS. Book xxx, stanza 2.]
*An answer to the parson: Why of the sheep do you not learn peace ? [MS. Book xxxi.]
*The look of love alarms. [MS. Book xxxvi, 2.]
*Holy Thursday: Is this a holy thing to see. [SE.]
p. 104.  Sketch.
p. 105.  *Day: The sun arises in the East. [MS. Book xxii.]
*The Fairy: Come hither, my sparrows. [MS. Book xxiii.]
*The sword sung on the barren heath. [MS. Book xxiv.]
p. 105.  *Abstinence sows sand all over. [MS. Book xxv.]
*In a wife I would desire. [MS. Book xxvi.]
*If you trap the moment before it 's ripe. [MS. Book xxvii.]
*Eternity: He who bends to himself a joy. [MS. Book xxxvi, 1.]
*The Kid: Thou, little Kid, did'st play. [MS. Book xxviii.]
*The little Vagabond : Dear Mother, Dear Mother, the Church is

cold. [SE.]

p. 106.  *To my Mirtle: To a lovely mirtle bound. [MS. Book xiii.]
*Nought loves another as itself [A Little Boy Lost. SE.]
*Love to faults is always blind continued (stanza 2). [MS. Book


*The Chimney Sweeper (stanza i), [SE.]
*Merlin's prophecy: The harvest shall flourish in wintry weather. [MS. Book xxi.]
p. 107.  *The human Image: Pity would be no more. [The Human Abstract. SE.]
*They said this mystery never shall cease. [MS. Book xvi.]
*Love to faults is always blind. [MS. Book xvii.]
*There souls of men are bought & sold. [MS. Book xviii.]
*The wild flower's song: As I wander'd the forest (stanza 1). [MS. Book xix.]
*The sick Rose: O Rose, thou art sick. [SE.]
*Soft Snow: I walked abroad on a snowy day. [MS. Book xx.]
*An ancient Proverb: Remove away that black'ning church. [MS.

Book xxxvi, 5.]

p. 108.  Sketches (pencil).
*The Tyger: Tyger, Tyger, burning bright (first draft of stanzas 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6). [SE.]
p. 109.  *London: I wander thro' each charter d street. [SE.]
*The wild flower's song: continued (stanzas 2, 3). [MS. Book xix.]
*To Nobodaddy : Why art thou silent & invisible. [MS. Book xiv.]
*The modest rose puts forth a thorn. [The Lilly. SE.]
*When the voices of children are heard on the green. [Nurse's Song. SE.]
*Are not the joys of morning sweeter. [MS. Book xv.]
*The Tyger: Tyger, Tyger, burning bright (stanzas i, 3, 5, 6). [SE.]
p. 110.  Sketch. — Suggests Urizen.
p. 111.  Sketch. — Continuation of above.
*Thou hast a lap full of seed. [MS. Book xii.]
*Earth's Answer: Earth rais'd up her head. [SE.]
*In a mirtle shade: Why should I be bound to thee. [MS. Book


p. 112.  Sketch.
p. 113.  *Silent Silent Night. [MS. Book vii.]
*O lapwing thou fliest around the heath. [MS. Book viii.]
*I fear'd the fury of my wind. [MS. Book ix.]
*Infant Sorrow: My mother groan'd, my father wept. [MS. Book X, also SE.]
*Why should I care for the men of thames. [MS. Book xi.]

p. 114.  *I asked a thief to steal me a peach. [MS. Book iv.]
*I heard an Angel singing. [MS. Book v.]
*A cradle Song : Sleep Sleep beauty bright. [MS. Book vi.]
*Christian Forbearance : I was angry with my friend. [A Poison Tree. SE.]
p. 115.  *A flower was offer'd to me. [My Pretty Rose Tree. SE.]
*I told my love I told my love. [MS. Book i.]
*Love seeketh not itself to please. [The Clod and the Pebble.


*I laid me down upon a bank. [MS. Book ii.]
*I went to the garden of love. [The Garden of Love. SE.]
*I saw a chapel all of gold. [MS. Book iii.]
p. 116.  List (in ink). — Of twenty -two subjects for history of England.
    I.Giants ancient inhabitants of England.
List (in pencil). — Of plagues of Egypt.
    Lice, Boils, Hail, Locusts, etc.

[Here follow the contents of the two leaves bound in at the end of the MS.]

p. [117].  Prose. — (Description of Canterbury Pilgrims.) [Descriptive Cat.]
p. [118].  Prose. — (The same.)
p. [119].  Prose. — [Cat. 1810.]
p. [120].  [The Everlasting Gospel, ε.]

[End of the Rossetii MS.]


The Everlasting Gospel (part).
My Spectre around me night and day.
To find the western path.
Three virgins at the break of day.
I see, I see, the mother said.
Where thou dwellest, in what grove.
Why was Cupid a boy.
If e'er I grow to man's estate.
Sleep, sleep, beauty bright.
When the voices of children are heard on the green.
The look of love alarms.
I heard an angel singing.
I give you the end of a golden string.
I laid me down upon a bank.
A flower was offer'd to me.
The angel who presided o'er my birth.
I saw a chapel all of gold.
Never seek to tell thy love.
Great things are done when men and mountains meet.
I wander'd the forest.

The errors of a wise man make your rule.
rose thou art sick.
Nought loves another as itself.
Tyger, Tyger, burning bright.
 walk'd abroad on a snowy day.
Love seeketh not itself to please.
I was angry with my friend.
Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau.
What do I care for the men of Thames.
I rose up at the dawn of day.
Dear mother, dear mother, the church is cold.
I asked a thief to steal me a peach.
To Chloe's heart young Cupid slily stole.
The caverns of the grave I've seen.
The countless gold of a merry heart.
He 's a blockhead who wants a proof of what he can't perceive.
[Hiatus of five leaves.]
Five epigrams numbered 20-4.
Prose descriptions of Blake's pictures, Canterbury Pilgrims and
Vision of the Last Judgment.

In making his transcript, Rossetti appears to have contemplated publication of part of the contents of the MS. Book, edited by his brother, or by his friend, Wilham Allingham, the poet. In a letter to the latter dated November 1, 1860, he writes : 'A man (one Gilchrist, who lives next door to Carlyle, and is as near him in other respects as he can manage) wrote to me the other day, saying he was writing a life of Blake, and wanted to see my manuscript by that genius. Was there not some talk of your doing something in the way of publishing its contents? I know William thought of doing so, but fancy it might wait long for his efforts, and I have no time, but really think its contents ought to be edited, especially if a new Life gives a "shove to the concern" (as Spurgeon expressed himself in thanking a liberal subscriber to his Tabernacle). I have not yet engaged myself any way to said Gilchrist on the subject, though I have told him he can see it here if he will give me a day's notice.' Rossetti, as we know, did lend the MS. to Gilchrist in the following year, and on the death of the latter helped to complete his unfinished work by editing the selection from Blake's poetical and prose works given in the second volume of the Life. Under the heading 'Poems hitherto unpublished,' Rossetti, without distinguishing between the two separate sources, prints for the first time a number of poems from the Blake autograph in his own possession, together with others from the borrowed Pickering MS. He takes considerable liberty with the text and gives to several of the pieces titles of his own. From the MS. Book also he excerpts the prose manifesto which he calls ' Public Address,' Blake's Memo-randa on his modes of engraving, and his 'Vision of the Last Judgment' (i.e. Additions to Catalogue 1810).

Swinburne was the next to make use of the MS. Book in his Critical Essay (1868). He adds to the number of new poems printed, and, by his copious extracts and illuminative comment, gives for the first time some adequate conception of Blake's great and extraordinary poem 'The Everlasting Gospel.'

About the same time the Pickering MS., which has since disappeared, became the property of Basil Montague Pickering, the publisher, who printed the whole of it for the first time in his editions of 1866, 1868, and 1874 edited by R. H. Shepherd. Pickering's last edition, and the Aldine edition which appeared in the same year, mutually supplement each other. W. M. Rossetti was able to use that part only of the Pickering MS. which had already been printed by his brother, while Shepherd was prohibited from using any part of the larger MS. Book, W. M. Rossetti, who generally follows his brother's text, prints more, though not as stated all, of 'The Everlasting Gospel,' as well as a few new poems, chiefly epigrams.

The Rossetti MS. Book was purchased January 26, 1887, by its present owner, Mr. W. A. White, who soon after lent it for a time to the publisher of Ellis and Yeats' large edition of Blake's Works, 1893. A copy of the manuscript, made for Mr. Ellis, was used for their three-volume edition, as well as by Mr. Yeats' in his small 'Muses' Library' Blake, published in the same year. Mr. Ellis' transcript, if one may judge by the text of these editors, bears obvious marks of having been made in haste by a copyist unfamiliar with Blake's hand. In their description of the MS. Book (vol. i. pp. 202-32) Ellis and Yeats include for the first time a few minor poems which had been rejected or ignored by former editors. Their versions of some of the longer poems and prose pieces in the MS. Book must be sought elsewhere, e.g. 'Fayette' (vol. ii. pp. 24-7), 'My spectre around me night and day ' (vol. ii. pp. 37, 38), 'The Everlasting Gospel' (vol. ii. pp. 42-60), and 'To the Deists' in Jerusalem (vol. ii. pp. 221-4), and the prose ' Advertisement ' and ' Additions to Blake's Catalogue ' (vol. ii. pp. 333-403). My own text of the poems has been prepared from transcripts of the MS. Book made by Mr. White for the present edition. These transcripts, which faithfully reproduce the relative positions of poems or stanzas on the original page, with all Blake's deletions, insertions, and corrections, together with his marks of transposition and successive numerations of stanzas and lines (without careful observance of which many of the poems would be unintelligible), possess the advantage of having been made by a Blake student thoroughly familiar with his author's handwriting and mode of composition. The aid of the magnifying glass or of photography has also been resorted to, and any obscure passage submitted to minute scrutiny.

From these transcripts copies of the poems have been made by the present editor, and collated with the chief existing texts, any differences of reading being again referred to Mr. White for further examination. Some idea of the care bestowed upon this part of the work may be gathered from the fact that in more than one instance the original transcription of a single page has cost Mr. White four or five hours' close labour. Similar care has been given by the editor to unravelling Blake's method of building up a poem, enabling the reader to follow the same process by reference to the notes. The proofs have lastly been read by Mr. White, and the text and notes again checked from the original manuscript. This edition therefore, while it serves every purpose of a facsimile, presents he matter in a much clearer and more intelligible form.

Not the least important result of the plan here pursued — besides the light which it throws upon Blake's self-criticism apparent in his successive changes — is the new form in which a number of the most familiar poems now appear. One may hesitate to change the generally received line 'Sweet morning leads me on' (xliii) to 'Sweet mercy leads me on,' yet the latter is not only as Blake wrote it, but also imparts a deeper meaning to the poem. The lyric 'To a lovely mirtle bound' (MS. Book xiii, D. G. Rossetti's 'In a Myrtle Shade') gains by the recovery of Blake's final version. Blake's final readings, whether for the worse or for the better, are here uniformly adopted. Instances will be noted where, as in 'Cupid' (MS. Book cxv), these changes are the reverse of improvements, or where the MS. version of some of the Songs of Experience may be preferred to the text of the engraved book. The poetical pieces forming part of the MS. Book, but not printed in this section of my edition, are part of the Songs of Experience, the variant readings of which are suppUed in the footnotes to that work — 'Three virgins at the break of day,' which I print in the poems from the Pickering MS. with the readings of the MS. Book version, and the two quatrains 'Each man is in his spectre's power' and 'I give you the end of a golden string,' afterwards engraved as part of Jerusalem and here printed among poems from the Prophetic Books.




MS. Book i-xxxvi, pp. 115-98


Written in the reversed book
circa 1793



1I told my love, I told my love,
I told her all my heart ;
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears,
Ah ! she doth depart.

5Soon as she was gone from me,
A traveller came by.
Silently, invisibly —
O! was no deny.

MS. Book, p. 115. Printed by DGR and later add. under the title 'Love's Secret.' Not in Swinb. All edd. print the first stanza deleted by Blake:—

'Never pain [seek del.] to tell thy love,
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind does move
Silently, invisibly.'

All edd. read seek for pain; WBY reads shall for can; all edd. except WBY read doth for does.

2, 3 heart . . . fears] All edd. punctuate by comma after heart and period after fears. 4 doth] did all edd. 5 Soon as] Soon after all edd. 8 O!... deny] He took her with a sigh MS. Book 1st rdg. del. and all edd.


1I laid me down upon a bank,
Where love lay sleeping;
I heard among the rushes dank
Weeping, Weeping.

5Then I went to the heath & the wild.
To the thistles & thorns of the waste;
And they told me how they were beguil'd,
Driven out, & compel'd to be chaste.

MS. Book, p. 115. DGR, Swinb., WMR and EY print these as the first two stanzas of 'The Garden of Love,' ignoring the separation line drawn between the two poems. EY however note this, iii. p. 93. WBY prints separately with title 'The Thistles and Thorns.'


1I saw a chapel all of gold
That none did dare to enter in,
And many weeping stood without,
Weeping, mourning, worshipping.

5I saw a serpent rise between
The white pillars of the door,
And he forc'd & forc'd & forc'd ;
Down the golden hinges tore,

9And along the pavement sweet,
Set with pearls & rubies bright,
All his shining length he drew,
Till upon the altar white

13Vomiting his poison out
On the bread & on the wine.
So I turn'd into a sty,
And laid me down among the swine.

MS, Book, p. 115. DGR and all later editors entitle this 'The Defiled Sanctuary.' Not in Swinb.

8 Down . . . tore] Till he broke the pearly door MS. Book 1st rdg. del.; Till he the golden hinges tore all except WBY, who reads, Till down the golden hinges tore. 13 Vomiting] He vomited DGR, WMR, EY; Vomited WBY.


1I askèd a thief to steal me a peach:
He turnèd up his eyes.
I ask'd a lithe lady to lie her down:
Holy & meek, she cries.

MS. Book, p. 114. Not in DGR. Swinb. (p. 141) and later edd. entitle this 'The Will and the Way.'

1 asked] asked = ask'd all edd. steal] steel EY (Index to MS. Book, i. 205). 2 He] And he MS. Book 1st rdg. del. turned] turnèd = turn'd all edd.

5As soon as I went an angel came:
He wink'd at the thief,
And smil'd at the dame;

8And without one word said
Had a peach from the tree,
And still as a maid
Enjoy'd the Lady.

As . . . came] all edd. print as two lines. 6 He] And he MS. Book 1st rdg. del. 8 said] spoke MS. Book 1st rdg. del. and all edd. 10 And . . . maid] And 'twixt earnest & joke MS. Book 1st rdg. del. and all edd. 11 Enjoy'd] He enjoy'd MS. Book 1st rdg. del.


1I heard an Angel singing
When the day was springing:
'Mercy, Pity, Peace
Is the world's release.'
5Thus he sang all day
Over the new mown hay,
Till the sun went down,
And haycocks looked brown.
9I heard a Devil curse
Over the heath & the furze:
'Mercy could be no more
If there was nobody poor,
13And pity no more could be,
If all were as happy as we.'
At his curse the sun went down
And the heavens gave a frown.

MS. Book, p. 114. An earlier version of ' The human Image ' (engraved under the title ' The Human Abstract ' in the Songs of Experience). DGR and later edd. name this ' The Two Songs.' Swinb. p. 147.

3 Pity, Peace] Pity and Peace all edd. 4 Is] Are all edd. 5 Thus] So all except WBY. 12 was] were all edd. 13 could] would Swinb. 14 as happy] All edd. omit. 15 'as.' we] ye all except Swinb., EY correcting later in note iii. p. 97. 15 At his curse] Thus he sang & MS. Book 1st rdg. del. 16 frown] Here, as Blake's line drawn beneath

this stanza shows, the poem originally ended. Later he added a fifth stanza : —

[17]'Down [at first And down'] pourd the heavy rain
Over the new reap'd grain,
And Mercy & Pity & Peace descended;
The Farmers were ruined & harvest was ended'

and again indicated the completion of the poem by a fresh terminal line. This stanza Blake afterwards deleted. Lastly follow several attempts at a new stanza, the final form of the only completed couplet of which reads :

[21]'And Miseries' increase
Is Mercy, Pity, Peace';

the rejected readings, which are not very legibly written, being : —

'And Mercy Pity _& del.] Peace
{? Joy'd) at their increase
{? With) Poverty's Increase
And by distress increase
Mercy, Pity, Peace
By Misery to increase
Mercy, Pity, Peace.'

Swinb. (p. 147) re-arranges and prints ll. [17], [18], [21], and [22] as his last stanza: —

'Down poured the heavy rain
Over the new-reaped grain ;
And Misery's increase
Is Mercy, Pity, Peace.'

DGR prints as his third stanza II. 9-14, 1. 5 of ' The Human Abstract ' version (Songs of Experience) and ll. [21], [22] (slightly altered) : —

'I heard a Devil curse
Over the heath and the furze:
"Mercy could be no more
If there were nobody poor,
And Pity no more could be
If all were happy as ye:
And mutual fear brings Peace.
Misery's increase
Are Mercy, Pity, Peace"';

concluding, as a separate couplet, with ll. 15, 16 : —

'At his curse the sun went down,
And the heavens gave a frown.

WMR, EY, and WBY follow DGR. EY however, in their 'Notes to the Poetical Sketches, Songs, &c.' iii. p. 97, print the poem as it is found in the MS. Book, their readings of the partially illegible words being rather different from mine.


[First Version]

In a Mirtle Shade

1Why should I be bound to thee,
O my lovely mirtle tree?
Love, free love, cannot be bound
To any tree that grows on ground.

5O ! how sick and weary I
Underneath my mirtle lie ;
Like to dung upon the ground,
Underneath my mirtle bound.

9Oft my mirtle sigh'd in vain
To behold my heavy chain :
Oft my father saw us sigh,
And laugh'd at our simplicity.

13So I smote him, & his gore
Stain'd the roots my mirtle bore.
But the time of youth is fled,
And grey hairs are on my head.

MS. Book, p. 111. DGR and WMR omit this version ; Swinb., pp. 137, 138, quotes stanzas i and 3. EY (Notes to the Poetical Sketches, Songs, &c.) iii. 94 ; WBY (Notes), p. 245. Cp. with this poem the fuller form of ' Infant Sorrow ' (MS. Book x).

5-8 O . . . bound] This stanza was added after the rest were written, in the left-hand column, prefixed numerals to 11. 5 and 9 indicating the relative position of the second and third stanzas. WBY, by omitting these and printing the stanzas as written, misrepresents the true order. Blake began stanza 2 with the couplet, afterwards deleted :

'To a lovely mirtle bound,
Blossoms show'ring all around.'

Both EY and WBY print this couplet without marking the deletion, as else- where, by italics. 5 sick] weak EY, WBY. 11 Oft . . . saw] Oft the priest beheld MS. Book 1st trig, del, : cp. MS. Book x. 13-16 So. . . head] cp. ' Infant Sorrow,' 11 33-6 (MS. Book x).

Rossetti MS. j Final Versto?i] To My Mirtle To a lovely mirtle bound, i Blossoms show'ring all around, O how sick & weary I Underneath my mirtle lie ! Why should I be bound to thee, 5 O my lovely mirtle tree? MS. Book, p. io6, where it immediately precedes ' Nought loves another as itself ('A Little Boy Lost'). The simple and faultless form into which Blake here compresses the sixteen lines of the preceding version has been obscured by editorial changes. As this poem has never been correctly printed, it may be well to reproduce it in the exact form in which it is found in the MS. Book, indicating deleted Hnes by italics : — TO MY MIRTLE.

Why should I be bound to thee *i 
O my lovely mirtle tree 

Love free love cannot be bound To any tree that grows on ground.

To a lovely mirtle bound *S 
Blossoms showring all around 

Like to dung upon the ground Underneath my mirtle bound

O how sick & weary I *9 
Underneath my mirtle lie. 

It will thus be seen that Blake began by transcribing, as it stood, the first stanza of the earlier version, beginning his second stanza with the couplet which he had rejected in the previous draft and adding — but in transposed order — two accepted couplets of the same stanza. He then struck out 11. *3,

  • 4 and *7, *8, prefixing marginal numbers in his usual manner to indicate the

position of the lines retained. Blake's intention is perfectly plain ; yet we find all Blake's editors following DGR in restoring the deleted lines *3, *4, and printing the poem as two four-line stanzas. The original arrangement of the verses must have misled Mr. Rossetti into supposing that two more lines were required, otherwise he would have been the first to perceive how greatly the poem gains in freshness and sweetness by the omission of the rhetorical tag : — Love, free love, cannot be bound To any tree that grows on ground ! All edd. follow DGR's text. EY (Notes to the Poetical Sketches, Songs, &c.) iii. 95, and WBY (Notes), print the lines in the order in which they were written in the MS. Book, but leave them meaningless by the omission of Blake's marginal numbers, and by ignoring deletions. DGR and all edd. give this poem the title used in the earlier version, ' In a Myrtle Shade.'

sick] weak all edd. 4 lie] All edd. end first stanza here. 6 tree] 

Alledd.add.*z, *4 xiv

To Nobodaddy

Why art thou silent & invisible, i Father of Jealousy? Why dost thou hide thyself in clouds From every searching Eye ? Why darkness & obscurity 5 In all thy words & laws, That none dare eat the fruit but from The wily serpent's jaws? Or is it because Secresy gains females' loud applause ? MS. Book, p. 109. The title added later in different ink. Not in DGR. Swinb., p. 264 ; EY, iii. 91, i. 209. Printed by WMR under the title ' Father of Jealousy,' and by WBY in text as * To Old Nobodaddy,' and in notes as 'To Nobodady ' {sic). 'Nobodaddy' (obviously 'Nobody's Daddy,' anti- thetical to 'Father of AH') was Blake's jocular nickname for Urizen, the Father of Jealousy. The same name occurs also in ' Fayette ' and in the lines on Klopstock (MS. Book xxxvi, xxxix

Father] Man MS. Book isi rdg. del. 4 searching] passing EY. 
EY and WBY print both stanzas as one. 7 dare] can EY. 9 Or 

. . . applause] a later addition in pencil. All edd. print as two lines. Secresy] Jealousy iwith note querying ' secrecy' as the true reading) Swinb. : gains] gives Swinb. : females' loud] feminine MS. ^o<^strdg.del., Swinb., EY,WBY. XV Are not the joys of morning sweeter i Than the joys of night? And are the vig'rous joys of youth Ashamed of the light? MS. Book, p. 109. Printed by DGR and later edd, with title 'Young Love.' Swinb. (first two lines only), p. 140. Cp. Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793) : — ' Innocence ! honest, open, seeking The vigorous joys of morning light ; open to virgin bliss, Who taught thee modesty, subtil modesty, child of night & sleep ? ' 4 Ashamed] Ashamed DGR. Let age & sickness silent rob 5 The vineyards in the night ; But those who burn with vig'rous youth Pluck fruits before the light.

vineyards] vineyard all edd. 

XVI They said this mystery never shall cease: The priest promotes war, & the soldier peace. MS. Book, p. 107. Cp. note to ' The Lilly ' {Songs of Experience^. 2 promotes] loves MS. Book st rdg. del. XVll Love to faults is always blind ; i Always is to joy inclin'd, Lawless, wing'd & unconfin'd, And breaks all chains from every mind. Deceit to secresy confin'd, 5 Lawful, cautious & refin'd ; To anything but interest blind. And forges fetters for the mind. MS. Book, written in pencil at top right-hand corners of pp. 107, 106. I print the two stanzas as one poem, their connexion being obvious, though not indicated by Blake himself. Not in DGR, WMR, or Swinb. EY and WBY (the latter with the title ' Freedom and Captivity ') print the first stanza and an altered version of the fragment by which it is immediately followed in the MS. (' There souls of men are bought & sold ') as a single poem. See also WBY (Notes), p. 246.

Lawless . . . unconfin'd] Always . . . unconfin'd MS. Book 1st rdg. 

' Always ' is underlined, which was probably a hasty attempt at erasure ; Lawless, winged, unconfined EY, WBY. 5-8 Deceit . . . mind] MS. Book 15/ rdg. : — ' Deceit to secresy inclin'd, Modest, prudish & confin'd, Never is to interest blind. And chains in fetters every mind.' xviii

There souls of men are bought & sold, i And milk fed infancy for gold ; And youth to slaughter houses led, And beauty, for a bit of bread. MS. Book, p. 107. Not in DGR and WMR. Swinb., p. 127. EY and WBY print as second stanza to preceding poem. See note to xvii. I There] The EY, WBY. 2 And] In EY, WBY: milk fed . . . gold] cradled infancy is sold MS. Book st rdg. del. 3 youth] youths Swinb., EY, WBY. 4 beauty] maidens MS. Book st rdg.del.,^v4v^. XIX The Wild Flower's Song As I wander'd the forest, i The green leaves among, I heard a wild flower Singing a song. ' I slept in the Earth 5 In the silent night, I murmur'd my fears And I felt delight. ' In the morning I went, 9 As rosy as morn. To seek for new Joy ; But I met with scorn.' MS. Book, pp. 107, 109. The second and third stanzas on p. 109 at first formed the entire poem : later Blake added on p. 107 the introductory stanza and catchwords (' I slept in the dark, &c.'), and finally the title. I wander'd the] wandered in the all edd. 3 flower] thistle MS. Book st rdg. del. 5 I . . . Earth] I was found in the dark ibid. 7 fears] thoughts R^ (though correctly in DGR), WMR, EY, WBY.


Soft Snow

I walked abroad on a snowy day : 1 I ask'd the soft snow with me to play : She play'd & she melted in all her prime; And the winter call'd it a dreadful crime.

MS. Book, p. 107. The last line is in pencil. Title added later. DGR,
WMR, EY and WBY ('Couplets and Fragments,' i ), Swinb. pp. 135, 136
1 walked] walked MS. Book and all edd. : snowy] sunny Swinb. 2
ask'd] wooed Swinb., WBY. 4 And . . . crime] Oil, that sweet love
should be thought a crime ! MS. Book 1st rdg. del. ; Ah ! that, &c. R',
Swinb, note).


Merlin's Prophecy

The harvest shall flourish in wintry weather i When two virginities meet together : The King & the Priest must be tied in a tether Before two virgins can meet together.

MS. Book, p. 106. Only printed by EY, i. 207.
I wintry] windy EY (Index to MS. Book), i. 205. 3 The King &
the Priest] The king and priest EY.



The sun arises in the East, r Cloth'd in robes of blood & gold ; Swords & spears & wrath increast All around his bosom roll'd, Croun'd with warlike fires & raging desires. 5

MS. Book, p. 105. Printed here for first time. EY quote title and first
line in their index to the MS. Book, i. 205.
I sun] day MS. Book 15/ rdg. del., EY {Index). 4 bosom] ancles
MS. Book 1st rdg. del.


The Fairy

' Come hither, my sparrows, i My little arrows. If a tear or a smile Will a man beguile, If an amorous delay 5 Clouds a sunshiny day, If the step of a foot Smites the heart to its root,

  • Tis the marriage ring — 9

Makes each fairy a king.' So a fairy sung. From the leaves I sprung ; He leap'd from the spray ss To flee away ; But in my hat caught, He soon shall be taught. Let him laugh, let him cry, 17 He 's my butterfly ; For I've pulled out the sting Of the marriage ring.

MS. Book, p. 105. Title in pencil. Only in Swinb., pp. 142, 143, and EY,
iii. 96. Blake's first title (afterwards erased) was 'The Marriage Ring.'
Swinb. gives this instead of the later title : EY print both titles, without
indicating the author's deletion of the first.

step] tread MS. Book isi rdg. del. 10, 11 Swinb. prints both 

stanzasasone. 11 sung] sang Swinb., EY. 12 sprung] sprang Swinb.,
EY. 13 the] his Swinb. 15 hat caught] Cp. a sketch in the MS.
Book, afterwards engraved by Blake for The Gates of Paradise, no. 7, repro-
duced in Gilchr., i. 99. 19, 20 For . . . ring] 1. 19 is an addition, the
poem originally ending with 1, 20 and a line now thoroughly erased :
' And the marriage ring '
20 Of] And MS. Book ist rdg. del. See preceding note. xxiv

The sword sung on the barren heath, The sickle in the fruitful field : The sword he sung a song of death, But could not make the sickle yield. MS. Book, p. 105. Not in DGR or Swinb. WMR, EY, WBY (' Couplets and Fragments,' vii). I, 3 sung] sang all edd. XXV Abstinence sows sand all over The ruddy limbs & flaming hair, But Desire Gratified Plants fruits of life & beauty there. MS. Book, p. 105. DGR, WMR, EY (ii) and WBY (3) ' Couplets and Fragments,' Swinb., p. 137. a flaming] ? flowering ? flowery Swinb. XXVI In a wife I would desire What in whores is always found — The lineaments of Gratified desire. MS. Book, p. 105. Cp. ' Several Questions Answered ' (xxxv). XXVll If you trap the moment before it's ripe, The tears of repentance you'll certainly wipe ; But if once you let the ripe moment go You can never wipe off the tears of woe. MS. Book, p. 105. In pencil. Printed by DGR and all later edd. as the second stanza of the poem immediately following in the MS. Book (xxxv, ' Eternity ') under the title ' Opportunity.' I trap] catch MS. Book 15^ rdg. del. 4 You can] You'll MS. Book st rdg, del. xxviii The Kid Thou, little Kid, did'st play &c. So in MS. Book, p. 105. Blake here, according to his usual practice, uses ' &c.' to signify that the poem had already been noted elsewhere. He never transcribed it into the MS. Book, and the remainder of this piece is therefore lost to us. XXIX Lacedemonian Instruction Come hither, my boy, tell me what thou seest there. A fool tangled in a religious snare. MS. Book, p. 103. Title added later. Only in EY. I tell . , . there] what see you there ? EY. 2 tangled] caught EY. XXX Riches The countless gold of a merry heart. The rubies & pearls of a loving eye. The indolent never can bring to the mart, Nor the secret hoard up in his treasury. MS. Book, p. 103 (reversed). All edd. follow DGR in printing this as second stanza of cxxv, WBY with title ' The Two Kinds of Riches.'

of a loving eye] In the MS., ivritten in error, ' of a loving of a loving eye. 

3 indolent] idle man MS. Book 1st rdg. del., and all edd. 4 secret] cunning MS. Book 15/ rdg. del., and all edd. Rossetti MS, 175 XXXI An Answer to the Parson Why of the sheep do you not learn peace? Because I don't want you to shear my fleece. MS. Book, p. 103. DGR and WMR (' Couplets and Fragments,' xiii). Not in Swinb., EY, or WBY. xxxii Motto to the Songs of Innocence and of Experience The Good are attracted by Men's perceptions, r And think not for themselves; Till Experience teaches them to catch And to cage the Fairies & Elves. And then the Knave begins to snarl, 5 And the Hypocrite to howl ; And all his good Friends shew their private ends, And the Eagle is known from the Owl. MS. Book, p. loi. Not in DGR or EY. Swinb., p. 124. WMR prefixes to Songs of Innocence and of Experience with the title ' A Motto.' WBY (Notes) p. 238.

to catch] how to catch Swinb. 7 ends] end WBY. 

xxxiii Her Whole Life is an Epigram smart, smooth & neatly pen'd, Platted quite neat to catch applause, with a hang-noose at the end. MS. Book, p. 100. Placed among ' Couplets and Fragments' by DGR (x), WMR, EY (xii), and WBY (14). Not in Swinb. I Her] Not plainly written ; possibly ' His ' : smart] smack all edd. a hang-noose] strong noose all edd.


1An Old maid early e'er I knew
Ought but the love that on me grew;
And now I'm cover'd o'er & o'er,
And wish that I had been a Whore.

5O ! I cannot cannot find
The undaunted courage of a Virgin Mind ;
For Early I in love was crost,
Before my flower of love was lost.

MS. Book, p. 100. Printed only by EY, i. 206. The second stanza was originally the first, Blake afterwards renumbering them in their present order.
1 e'er] Read ere. 3 I'm cover'd] I am covered EY.


Several Questions Answered



1He who bends to himself a joy
Doth the winged life destroy ;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in Eternity's sunrise.

MS. Book, p. 99. Under the general title 'Several Questions Answered,' Blake here transcribes hastily in pencil, short pieces, the first drafts of which are written elsewhere in the MS. Book. The original order of pieces was 4, 2, 3, 1, 5, the revised sequence being indicated by Blake's usual marginal figures. None of Blake's editors print these fragments together. Title incorrectly given in EY's Index (i. 206) as ' Questions answered (again).'
1-4 He . . . sunrise] First written on p. 105 with title ' Eternity.' Printed by DGR and later edd. with the title 'Opportunity,' as the first stanza of xxvii, the first draft of which immediately precedes it, on p. 105 of the MS. Book. 2 Doth] Does MS. Book, p. 105 and all edd.: winged] winged WMR, EY, WBY. 3 kisses] just kisses MS. Book, p. 105 1st rdg. del.
Eternity's] an eternal MS. Book, p. 105 1st rdg. del.

2. The look of love alarms, 5 Because it 's fill'd with fire ; But the look of soft deceit Shall win the lover's hire.

3. Soft deceit & Idleness, 9 These are Beauty's sweetest dress.

4. [The Question Answer'd] What is it men in women do require ? 11 The lineaments of Gratified Desire. What is it women do in men require? The lineaments of Gratified Desire.

5. An ancient Proverb Remove away that black 'ning church, 15 Remove away that marriage hearse, Remove away that [man] of blood — You'll quite remove the ancient curse.

-8 The . . . hire] Transcribed from p. 103 of the MS. Book. Among ' Couplets and Fragments ' (iii), DGR, WMR, EY (4), WBY. 6 it 's] 'tis MS. Book I5^z^<?rs2b«, p. 103, and all edd. HW d' filled all edd. 9, 10 Soft . . . dress] Transcribed from MS. Book, p. 103, where it follows the pre- ceding quatrain but with Blake's usual line of separation. DGR and later edd. print as the two last Unes of 'The look of love alarms.' Blake at first began this couplet with the deleted line ' Which are beauties sweetest dress ? ' 10 Beauty's] beauties MS. Book 1st version, p. 103. 11-14 What . . . Desire] Transcribed from MS. Book, p. 103, where it bears the title 'The Question Answer'd.' Not in DGR or WMR. Swinb., p. 182. EY, i. 206. WBY (title omitted) ' Couplets and Fragments ' (2). 11,13 in] of MS. Book ist version, ist rdg. del. 15-18 Transcribed from MS. Book, p. 107, where the title is an addition. Only in WBY (Notes), p. 240. Cp. note to ' London ' {Songs of Exp.). 15 black'ning] blackening WBY. 17 man] dash in MS. ; place MS. Book 1st ver- sion, 1st rdg, del. I supply ' man ' from the last rdg. of the earlier version. 18 You'll] 'Twill MS. Book 1st version, 1st rdg. del. the] that WBY. SAMPSON N Page:The poetical works of William Blake; a new and verbatim text from the manuscript engraved and letterpress originals (1905).djvu/220 stanzas were then numbered 3, 2, i to show that their position was to be inverted, and later the figure 3 was struck out to mark the cancellation of ' Who will exchange . . . dungeon floor,' a boundary line being drawn around the two retained stanzas. This gives us the poem in its fullest and best form B. Blake's next alteration was to erase the two Fayette stanzas on p. 99 (B iv, v), leaving only that beginning ' Fayette beheld the King & Queen,' which he re-transcribed below, B vii. Cancelling the two stanzas above (B vii and B viii) Blake then added a slightly amended form of the lines beginning ' Who will exchange his own fireside,' and, at the head of the second column, the stanza ' O who would smile on the wintry seas,' the prefixed numbers 2, I, 3, added later, indicating a new but not very happy revision of the arrangement of the three last stanzas. These changes are manifestly for the worse. Blake seems to have lost his grip of the poem, and to have abandoned any further attempt at completion. In version C I print the poem as he left it. Under the title ' Lafayette,' WMR prints the stanzas in the following order : B i B ii A *iii B iv B v B iii (is/ rdg.) C v B vii B viii. EY (ii. 24- 27 "i give a not very accurate account of the evolution of the poem, omitting one stanza (A iv) altogether and ignoring or misinterpreting the successive re-arrangements of lines and stanzas indicated by Blake's marginal numbers. On p. 98 we reach the point at which Blake reversed the MS. Book and began writing from the other end. Passages of ' The Everlasting Gospel ' and one epigram are found upside down upon the same page. [i] 'Let the Brothels of Paris be opened i With many an alluring dance, To awake the Physicians thro' the city,' Said the beautiful Queen of France. ["] The King awoke on his couch of gold, 5 As soon as he heard these tidings told : 'Arise & come, both fife & drum, And the [Famine] shall eat both crust & crumb.'

Physicians] Pestilence MS. Book is/ rdg. del, EY. 8 Famine] MS. 

Book is/ rdg. del, ; no word substituted. N 2 Page:The poetical works of William Blake; a new and verbatim text from the manuscript engraved and letterpress originals (1905).djvu/222 [iv] Fayette beside King Lewis stood ; 13 He saw him sign his hand ; And soon he saw the famine ragfe About the fruitful land. [v] Fayette beheld the Queen to smile 17 And wink her lovely eye ; And soon he saw the pestilence From street to street to fly. [vi] Fayette beheld the King & Queen 31 In tears & iron bound ; But mute Fayette wept tear for tear, And guarded them around. fa' [vii] Fayette, Fayette, thou'rt bought & sold 25 And sold is thy happy morrow ; Thou gavest the tears of Pity away In exchange for the tears of sorrow.

beheld] liked EY. 22 tears & iron] curses and iron WMR ; tears 

of iron EY. 24 Here follow in the MS. the deleted stanza : — ' Fayette, Fayette, thou'rt bought & sold For well I see thy tears Of Pity are exchanged for those Of selfish slavish fears.' and the deleted beginning of a stanza : — ' Fayette beside his banner stood, His captains false around, Thou'rt bought & sold ' EY reading ' I will see ' for ' well I see,' and ' King Lewis ' for 'his banner.' This again is followed by the stanza marked for erasure : — ' Who will exchange his own fireside For the steps of another's door? "Who will exchange his wheaten loaf For the links of a dungeon floor ? ' and the two deleted lines : — ' Who will exchange his own heart's blood For the drops of a Harlot's eye 1 ' 25-32 Fayette . . . floor] These stanzas were at first written in reversed order. Page:The poetical works of William Blake; a new and verbatim text from the manuscript engraved and letterpress originals (1905).djvu/224

MS. Book, pp. 2-98. § xxxvii-cxxxi
Written circa 1800-1810

Page:The poetical works of William Blake; a new and verbatim text from the manuscript engraved and letterpress originals (1905).djvu/226 Rossetti MS, 1 8s

the reasoning power in man, and the latter his imagination and emotion, supplies the clue to the meaning of this beautiful but obscure poem. The theme is identical with that of the later Prophetic Books, i.e. the separation of reason and emotion into two contrary and conflicting selves, and their reunion in a state of regained humanity and moral liberty, through self- annihilation achieved by the infinite tolerance and forgiveness of sin. Cp. the author's invocation to the Muses — in Blake's mythology the Daughters, not of Memory, but of Imagination — in the opening lines of The Four Zoas : — ' Daughters of Beulah, sing

His fall into Division and his resurrection into Unity,
His fall into the generation of decay and death, and his
Regeneration by resurrection from the dead.'

Of this poem, with the title 'Broken Love,' descriptive of the meaning which he reads into it, Mr. D. G. Rossetti gives a very corrupt text, printing stanzas i, a, 3, a fourth and fifth stanza, formed by amalgamating couplets taken from the unplaced or rejected stanzas :—

' Poor pale pitiable form
That I follow in a storm,
From sin I never shall be free
Till thou forgive and come to me.
' A deep winter dark and cold
Within my heart thou dost unfold ;
Iron tears and groans of lead
Thou bind'st around my aching head.'

then stanza 4, the unplaced stanza *i, the rejected stanza 'Thy weeping thou shall ne'er give o'er,' the unplaced stanza *2, and stanzas 5, 6, 7, 8, 14. The same version is adopted by Mr. W. M. Rossetti, and has been accepted without question by the majority of editors who follow the text of the Aldine edition. Mr. Swinburne (pp. 278, 279) prints with commentary the two rejected stanzas 'Thou hast parted from my side,' and 'When my love did first begin,' and stanzas 8-14, transposing the position of 11 and 12, which he thinks Blake must have so numbered 'by some evident slip of mind or pen.' In vol. ii, pp. 37-41, Messrs. Ellis and Yeats print fourteen stanzas with S3'mbolic 'interpretation.' They conclude with the note: 'The text of the poem here is reprinted from the Aldine edition, the present editors not having seen the MS.' ; which must mystify readers who find, three pages before, ' the above is the true text of this poem with the numberings of the verses as finally arranged after three re-considerations by Blake. Not a word is altered from the original. The poem as printed in the Aldine Edition and elsewhere is erroneously arranged, partly from numberings of verses put experimentally and then erased by Blake.' The latter of these two contradictory statements, it may be explained, is the nearer to the truth ; though the editors have rendered their third stanza meaningless by printing the second in its earlier and cancelled, instead of in its revised form; and their text contains one or two of their customary deviations from verbal accuracy. Under the title ' Spectre and Emanation,' the poem is rather more correctly given by Mr. W. B. Yeats, who prints the fourteen approved and numbered stanzas in the text, and the three unplaced stanzas (' appa- rently rejected ') in the notes (p. 249). Page:The poetical works of William Blake; a new and verbatim text from the manuscript engraved and letterpress originals (1905).djvu/228 Page:The poetical works of William Blake; a new and verbatim text from the manuscript engraved and letterpress originals (1905).djvu/229 Page:The poetical works of William Blake; a new and verbatim text from the manuscript engraved and letterpress originals (1905).djvu/230 Page:The poetical works of William Blake; a new and verbatim text from the manuscript engraved and letterpress originals (1905).djvu/231 Page:The poetical works of William Blake; a new and verbatim text from the manuscript engraved and letterpress originals (1905).djvu/232 Rossetti MS, 191


*5 What Transgressions I commit
Are for thy Transgressions fit.
They thy Harlots, thou their slave ;
And my bed becomes their Grave.


*9 Poor, pale, pitiable form *
That I follow in a storm ;
Iron tears & groans of lead
Bind around my aching head.

*5—*8 This stanza was written after the following one. *6 Trans-
gressions] transgression WBY. *8 my] thy WBY *g Cp. Jerusalem,
f. 67, 11. 43, 44 :—

' O thou poor Human Form ! said she, O thou poor child of woe !
Why wilt thou wander away from Tirzah, why compel me to bind thee?'
  • I2 Followed in the MS. Book by the partly illegible but unerased

stanza : —

' And let [us go] to the [? day]
With many wiles
Woman that does not love your [? wiles]
Will never [? win back] your smiles.'

When a Man has Married a Wife, he finds out whether
Her knees & elbows are only glued together.

MS. Book, p. 4. Below a graceful little sketch of man in bed, and
a young woman sitting on the edge of it in a very elementary stage of
dressing. FY's reproduction of this drawing (vol. iii, without pagination)
conveys the idea that it is found on the same page as ' Daphne,' which is
not the case. EY (i. 208) print as a quatrain : —

'When a man marries a wife.
He finds out whether
Her elbows and knees are only
Glued together.'

The lines are certainly so divided in the MS., but the absence of initials in
the second and fourth, as well as the indentation, prove that Blake meant
them to form a couplet. In altering ' has Married ' to ' marries,' and calling
the piece ' droll and risqué', EY miss the point of the allusion to ' knees and

elbows,' which the colloquial ' elbow-grease ' might have suggested. Page:The poetical works of William Blake; a new and verbatim text from the manuscript engraved and letterpress originals (1905).djvu/234 Page:The poetical works of William Blake; a new and verbatim text from the manuscript engraved and letterpress originals (1905).djvu/235 Page:The poetical works of William Blake; a new and verbatim text from the manuscript engraved and letterpress originals (1905).djvu/236 Page:The poetical works of William Blake; a new and verbatim text from the manuscript engraved and letterpress originals (1905).djvu/237

5 Gibbon arose with a lash of steel,
And Voltaire with a wracking wheel :
The schools, in Clouds of learning roU'd,
Arose with War in iron & gold.
9 ' Thou lazy Monk,' they said afar,
' In vain condemning Glorious War,
And in thy Cell thou shall ever dwell.
Rise, War, & bind him in his Cell ! '
13 The blood red ran from the Grey Monk's side,
His hands & feet were wounded wide.
His body bent, his arms & knees
Like to the roots of ancient trees.

17 'I see, I see,' the Mother said,
' My Children will die for lack of bread.
What more has the merciless tyrant said ? '
The Monk sat down on her stony bed.

5-8 Gibbon . . . gold] Variants of this stanza are : —
(a) Sideways, middle column, top of page :

'Gibbon plied his lash of steel,
Voltaire turned his wracking wheel,
Charlemaine & his barons bold
Stood by, and mocked in iron & gold.'

(b) Sideways, in right-hand margin, at top of page :

' The Wheel of Voltaire whirl'd on high,
Gibbon aloud his lash does ply,
Charlemaine & his Clouds ofWar [ & his barons bold, ist rdg. del.]
Must[er around] the Polar Star.'

In printing the above, as ' Readings rejected by Blake,' EY in (a) 2 read ' And Voltaire ' for ' Voltaire,' (a) 3 ' warriors ' for ' barons,' (b) 4 'Must now arouse the polar bear ' for ' Muster around the Polar Star.' These words are partially hidden by the binding. 5 arose] armed EY. 6 wracking] racking EY. 7 The . . . roll'd] Charlemagne and his warriors bold EY. 9, 10 Thou . . . War]

' Seditious Monk said Charlemaine
The Glory of War thou condemn'st in vain.'

MS. Book 15/ rdg. del., EY reading in last line : —

'The glory of war thou cursedst in vain.'

18 will] shall EY. 20 sat down] sat him down EY.

Page:The poetical works of William Blake; a new and verbatim text from the manuscript engraved and letterpress originals (1905).djvu/239 'But the Tear of Love — & forgiveness sweet, 49 And submission to death beneath his feet — The tear shall melt the sword of steel, And every wound it has made shall heal. ' For the tear is an intellectual thing, 53 And a sigh is the sword of an Angel King, And the bitter groan of the Martyr's woe Is an arrow from the Almightie's bow.'

-52 But . . . heal] Omitted in both the Jerusalem and the Pickering MS. versions. 55 of the Martyr's] for another's MS. Book 1st rdg. del. ; of a martyr's EY.



To find the Western path, i Right thro' the Gates of Wrath I urge my way ; Sweet Mercy leads me on 4 With soft repentant moan : I see the break of day. The war of swords & spears, Melted by dewy tears, 8 Exhales on high; The Sun is freed from fears, And with soft grateful tears Ascends the sky. 12

MS. Book, p. 12. Title added later. Printed by DGR and all later editors with the title ' Daybreak.' -6 Sweet . . . day] All edd. read :—

' Sweet morning leads me on ;
With soft repentant moan
I see the break of day.'

The correction of ' morning ' to ' Mercy ' conveys a meaning to the poem entirely lacking in the received text. The marks of an erasure in D, G. Rossetti's transcript of ' all that is of any value ' in the MS. Book show that he had at first written some other word— probably the right one— before 'morning.' The word 'Morning' in the title may have misled him into supposing that the same word was repeated in 1. 4 of the song, ' Morning '

and 'Mercy' being somewhat alike in Blake's handwriting.


Terror in the house does roar ; But Pity stands before the door.

MS. Book, p. 12. See Prefatorj' Note to xlii. Here printed for the first


The Birds

He. Where thou dwellest, in what Grove, i Tell me, Fair one, tell me love ; Where thou thy charming Nest dost build, thou pride of every field ! She. Yonder stands a lonely tree, 5 There I live and mourn for thee ; Morning drinks my silent tear, And evening winds my sorrow bear. He. O thou summer's harmony, 9

have liv'd and mourn'd for thee ; 

Each day I mourn along the wood. And night hath heard my sorrows loud. She. Dost thou truly long for me? 13 And am I thus sweet to thee ? Sorrow now is at an end, O my lover and my Friend ! He. Come on wings of joy we'll fly 17 To where my bower hangs on high ; Come, and make thy calm retreat Among green leaves and blossoms sweet.

MS. Book, p. 14.
1, 5, sqq. He . . . She No italics in MS. 3 dost] doth EY. n
mourn] moan EY, WBY. i8 hangs] is hung all edd.


No real Style of Colouring ever appears,
But advertizing in the News Papers.
Look there — you'll see S"" Joshua's Colouring :
Look at his Pictures — All has taken Wing !

MS. Book, p. 21. Gil. i. 266. Printed by WMR among ' Epigrams and Satirical Pieces on Art and Artists ' (xiv) with title ' Colour,' and by EY among ' Couplets and Fragments ' (xvi) without title. The epigrams on Art which begin on this page would appear to be an overflow from those jotted down in the margins of Blake's copy of Reynolds' Discourses.

I ever] now Gil., EY. 2 But . . . Papers] Save thro' advertisements in the newspapers Gil., cp. Blake's Advertisement (^MS. Book, p. 56) : ' Advertisements in newspapers are no proof of popular approbation, but often the contrary.' 3 there] here EY. 4 All has taken wing] 'tis quite another thing MS. Book 1st rdg. del. ; cp. ' Epigrams from Reynolds' Discourses,' iv : —

'When Sir Joshua Reynolds died
All Nature was degraded.
The King dropped a Tear into the Queen's Ear,
And all his Pictures Faded.'


1You don't believe — I won't attempt to make ye :
You are asleep — I won't attempt to wake ye.
Sleep on ! Sleep on ! while in your pleasant dreams
Of Reason you may drink of Life's clear streams.
5Reason and Newton, they are quite two things ;
For so the Swallow & the Sparrow sings.

MS. Book, p. 21, the two stanzas separated by a sketch. Printed among 'Couplets and Fragments' (xv) by WMR as a single stanza with title ' Reason,' and by EY (xvii) without title.
1 You . . . ye] You don't believe I would attempt to make you WMR. won't] would MS. Book 1st rdg. del. 2 ye] you WMR.

Reason says ' Miracle ' : Newton says ' Doubt.'
Aye! that's the way to make all Nature out.
9' Doubt, Doubt, & don't believe without experiment ' :
That is the very thing that Jesus meant,
When he said ' Only Believe ! Believe & try !
Try, Try, & never mind the Reason why ! '

7-12 No quotation marks in MS. WMR omits to 11. 9 and 12. EY place around 11. 7-12 ('Doubt . . . why') with enclosed single quotation marks to 11. II, 12 ('Only . . . why'). Cf. Jerusalem, f. 54, 11. 15-24 : —

' But the Spectre, like a hoar frost & a Mildew, rose over Albion,
Saying ' I am God, O Sons of Men ! I am your Rational Power.
Am I not Bacon & Newton & Locke, who teach Humility to Man,
Who teach Doubt & Experiment, & my two Wings Voltaire Rousseau ?
Where is that Friend of Sinners, that Rebel against my Laws,
Who teaches Belief to the Nations & an unknown Eternal life?
Come hither into the Desart & turn these stones to bread.
Vain Foolish Man, wilt thou believe without Experiment
And build a World of Phantasy upon my Great Abyss,
A World of Shapes, in craving lust & devouring appetite ? '


And in melodious accents I
Will sit me down, & cry ' I ! I ! '

MS. Book, p. 21, These lines occur in Blake's Advertisement, following the prose passage : [' Imagination is my World. This world of dross is beneath my notice, and beneath the notice of the Public del.'] I demand therefore of the amateurs of art the encouragement which is my due. If they continue to refuse, theirs is the loss, not mine, and theirs is the contempt of posterity. I have enough in the approbation of fellow labourers. This is my glory, and my exceeding great reward. I go on, and nothing can hinder my course.'


1And his legs carried it like a long fork,
Reached all the way from Chichester to York,
From York all across Scotland to the Sea ;
This was a Man of Men, as seems to me.

MS. Book, p. 22. 11. 1-14, 31-51 were first written, 11. 15-30 being added in the margin, and marked for insertion after 1. 14. This fragment, of which the beginning is missing, was probably composed soon after Sept. 17, 1809,

5Not only in his Mouth his own Soul lay,
But my soul also would he bear away.
Like as a Pedlar bears his weary Pack,
So Stewhard's Soul he buckled to his back.
9But once, alas! committing a Mistake,
He bore the wretched Soul of William Blake
That he might turn it into Eggs of Gold ;
But neither back nor mouth those eggs could hold.
13 His under jaw drop'd as those Eggs he laid,
And Stewhard's Eggs are addled and decay'd.
The Examiner, whose very name is Hunt,
Call'd Death a Madman, trembling for the affront ;
17Like trembling Hare sits on his weakly paper
On which he used to dance & sport & caper.
Yorkshire Jack Hemp & Quibble, blushing daw,
Clap'd Death into the corner of their jaw.
21And Felpham Billy rode out every morn,
Horseback with Death, over the fields of corn ;
Who with iron hand cuff'd, in the afternoon,
The Ears of Billy's Lawyer & Dragoon.
25And Cur my lawyer, and Dady, Jack Hemp's parson,
Both went to Law with Death to keep our Ears on.

when the article on 'Mr. Blake's Exhibition' appeared in Leigh Hunt's Examiner (no. go) and may have been part of the poem which Blake alludes to in his Advertisement. See note to Ixxviii. Chichester was the scene of Blake's trial for high treason, at the instance of the ' Dragoon ' (see Gilchrist, i, chap, xix) ; Yorkshire was the birthplace of Cromek, here called
' Screwmuch,' and Scotland refers to the latter's visit to that country in search of material for his Reliques of Bums (1808). ' Death' is a nickname for Blake, possibly because of his association with Blair's Grave, 'Yorkshire Jack Hemp,' for Flaxman ; ' Felpham Billy,' for Hayley ; and ' Dady, Jack Hemp's parson,' for Dr. Malkin, of the Fathers Memoirs. ' Stewhard,' the speaker, is of course Stothard. EY mistakenly suppose that Boydel and Bowyer of the following piece may be the true names of the lawyers ' Cur ' and ' Quibble ' ; but see footnote. Only printed by EY in their ' Memoir ' (i, 78-79).

I carried] covered EY. 4 This] That EY. 8 So Stewhard's Soul] He would bear my soul MS. Book is/ rdg. del, EY. 10 of] and EY. 14 Stewhard's] all my MS. Book 15/ rdg. del., EY. 16 trembling . . . affront] Deadly the affront MS. Book 1st rdg. del. 17 weakly] weekly EY, ignoring the play upon words. 18 sport] shout EY. 19 Yorkshire] And Yorkshire MS. Book 15/ rdg. del, EY. daw] saw EY. 20 their] his EY.

For how to starve Death we had laid a plot
Against his Price — but Death was in the Pot.
29 He made them pay his Price, alackaday!
He knew both Law and Gospel better than they.
O that I ne'er had seen that William Blake,
Or could from Death Assassinette wake !
33 We thought — Alas, that such a thought could be ! —
That Blake would Etch for him and draw for me.
For 'twas a kind of Bargain Screwmuch made
That Blake's designs should be by us display 'd,
37 Because he makes designs so very cheap.
Then Screwmuch at Blake's soul took a long leap.
'Twas not a Mouse. Twas death in a disguise.
And I, alas ! live to weep out my Eyes.
41 And Death sits laughing on their Monuments
On which he 's written ' Received the Contents.'
But I have writ — so sorrowful my thought is —
His epitaph ; for my tears are aquafortis.
45 'Come, Artists, knock your head against this stone,
For sorrow that our friend Bob Screwmuch 's gone.'
And now the Muses upon me smile and laugh
I'll also write my own dear epitaph,
49 And I'll be buried near a dyke
That my friends may weep as much as they like:
' Here lies Stewhard the Friend of all &c.'

27 how] now EY. 31 ne'er] never EY. that] EY omit. 36 designs]
design EY. 43-4 But . . . aquafortis] But I have writ with tears, as aqua-
fortis, This Epitaph — so sorrowful my thought is MS. Book 1st rdg. del.
47 upon] in EY. 51 Stewhard] Stothard EY, who finish the couplet : —

' . . . the Friend of all Mankind
Who has not left one enemy behind,'

explaining that ' a later page of the notebook completes the epitaph, changing
the name to John Trot.' Here again, however, they misinterpret the force
of Blake's ' &c.' which is always a reference to a passage already written.

See Ixxxviii.


1 Was I angry with Hayley who us'd me so ill,
Or can I be angry with Felpham's old Mill ?
Or angry with Flaxman, or Cromek, or Stothard,
Or poor Schiavonetti, whom they to death bother'd ?
5 Or angry with Macklin, or Boydel, or Bowyer,
Because they did not say ' O what a beau ye are ' ?
At a Friend's Errors anger shew,
Mirth at the Errors of a Foe.

MS. Book, p. 23. Only printed by EY (i. 8i), except last couplet, which WMR and WBY print as beginning of li. As the allusion to Schiavonetti's death shows, written after June 1810.

3 Or . . . Stothard] Or angry with Boydell, or Bowyer or Bu . . .
MS. Book 1st rdg. del. 5 Macklin] Malchin EY, confusing Macklin
for whom Blake engraved Stothard's 'Fall of Rosamund ' (1783) with
Dr. Malkin (Father's Memoirs of His Child, 1806) : Boydel] Read 'Boy-
dell,' for whom Blake engraved Hogarth's Scene from the Beggar's Opera
(1788) : Bowyer] publisher of the sumptuous illustrated edition of
Hume's History (1806).


1 Anger & Wrath my bosom rends:
I thought them the Errors of friends.
But all my limbs with warmth glow:
I find them the Errors of the foe.

MS. Book, p. 23. Written in margin of preceding piece. Printed by
WMR and WBY ('Coup, and Frag.' xvi) prefixed by l. II. 7, 8 ; by EY
(' Coup, and Frag.' xiii) as above. WMR with title ' Friends and Foes.'
3 warmth glow] warmth do glow EY.


The Sussex Men are Noted Fools,
And weak is their brain pan —
I wonder if H—— the painter
Is not a Sussex Man.

MS. Book, p. 24. Written about 1809, the date of the publication of
Hayley's Life of Romney, to which William Haines and Blake both contri-
buted engravings. Cp. Gilchrist, i. 178. Only ptd. by EY i. 212.

2 is] in EY.

'Madman,' I have been call'd : 'Fool,' they call thee.
I wonder which they Envy — Thee or Me?

MS. Book, p. 25. Probably addressed to Flaxman. Only printed by EY
i. 213.


To H——

You think Fuseli is not a Great Painter. I'm glad.
This is one of the best compliments he ever had.

MS. Book, p. 25. Gil. i. 181, EY i. 213. Gil. (wrongly) expands title
<To Hayley,' while EY think this and the preceding epigram are addressed
to Haines. Both are, without doubt, ' To H[unt].' Cp. the latter's references
to Fuseli and Blake, Examiner, no. 75, June 4, 1809, and no. 90, Sept. 17,
1809, also Blake's Advertisement (MS. Book, p. 53) : ' Many people are so
foolish to think they can wound Mr. Fuseli over my shoulder. They will
find themselves mistaken : they could not wound even Mr. Barry so.'
1 Fuseli is] Fuseli 's EY.


To F——

I mock thee not, though I by thee am Mocked:
Thou call'st me Madman, but I call thee Blockhead.

MS. Book, p. 26. DGR and WMR ('Coupl. and Frag.' viii, 'Epigrams,'
xvii) with title ' To the Same' [i.e. Flaxman], EY ('Coupl. and Frag.' xiv).
WBY omits. Cf. Ixxix.


Can there be anything more mean, 1
More Malice in disguise,
Than Praise a Man for doing what
That Man does most despise? 4
Reynolds lectures exactly so
When he praises Michael Angelo.

MS. Book, p. 26. Cp. prefatory note to 'Epigrams from Blake's copy of
Sir Joshua Reynolds' Discourses' U798). Only ptd. by EY i. 213.
3 what] that MS. Book 1st rdg. del. 4 That man] Which he ibid,

5 Reynolds ... so] This Reynolds' lectures plainly shew ibid.

S—— in Childhood, on the nursery floor,
Was extreme Old and most extremely poor :
He has grown old & rich & what he will :
He is extreme old & extreme poor still.

MS. Book, p. 27. EY i. 213, WBY (' Coupl. and Frag.' 19),
1 S—— ] Stothard WBY. on] upon EY. 4 & extreme] and is
extreme WBY. Cp. ' Epigrams from Reynolds' Discourses' (v).


To Nancy F——

How can I help thy Husband's copying Me?
Should that make difference 'twixt me and thee?

MS. Book, p. 27. Only in EY i. 213. Cp. Advertisement (MS. Book,
P' 53): ' Flaxman cannot deny that one of the very first monuments he
did I gratuitously designed for him, and at the same time he was blasting
my character to Macklin my employer, as Macklin told me at the time.
How much of his Homer and Dante he will allow to be mine I do not
know, as he went far enough off to publish them, even to Italy, but the
public will know.'


Of H 's birth this was the happy lot:
His Mother on his Father him begot.

MS. Book, p. 27. Swinb. p. 38, WMR (' Coupl.' xxi. 4), EY i. 213, WBY
(' Coupl.' 20).

1 H——'s] Hayley's Swinb., WMR, WBY. this] there EY. 2 Mother

on his Father] mother or his father EY.

Sir Joshua praises Michael Angelo. 1
'Tis Christian mildness when Knaves praise a foe ;
But 'twould be Madness, all the world would say,
Should Michael Angelo praise Sir Joshua —
Christ vis'd the Pharisees in a rougher way. 5

MS. Book, p. 28. DGR ('Epig.' 6), WMR ('Epig.' xiii), others omit. Cp.
Blake's MS. note in Reynolds' Discourses, p. [ii] : 'I consider Reynolds'
Discourses to the Royal Academy as the Simulations of the Hypocrite who
Smiles particularly where he means to Betray. His Praise of Rafael is like
the Hysteric Smile of Revenge. His Softness & Candour, the hidden trap,
& the poisoned feast. He praises Michael Angelo for Qualities which
Michael Angelo abhorr'd : & He blames Rafael for the only Qualities which
Rafael Valued. Whether Reynolds knew what he was doing, is nothing to
me : the Mischief is just the Same whether a Man does it Ignorantly or
Knowingly. I alwaj's consider'd True Art & True Artists to be particularly
Insulted & Degraded by the Reputation of these Discourses. As much as
they were Degraded by the Reputation of Reynolds' Paintings, & that
Such Artists as Reynolds are at all times Hired by the Satans for the Depres-
sion of Art.'

2 'Tis . . . foe] And counts it outrage thus to praise his foe MS. Book 1st
rdg. del. mildness] meekness all edd. when Knaves] thus to DGR, WMR.

3 all . . . would] that we all must MS. Book 1st rdg. del. 5 Christ . . .
way] This line added later.


He's a Blockhead who wants a proof of what he can't
Perceive ;
And he 's a fool who tries to make such a Blockhead

MS. Book, p. 28. DGR (' CoupL' viii), WMR, EY ('Coupl.' x), WBY
('Coupl.' II).


Cr—— loves artists as he loves his Meat :
He loves the Art ; but 'tis the art to cheat.

MS. Book, p. 29. Gil. i. 208. EY i. 214 print first line only.

1 Cr ] Cromek Gil. Meat] meal EY.

A Petty Sneaking Knave I knew —
O! Mr. Cr , how do ye do?

MS. Book, p. 29. Gil. i. 208, WMR ('Coupl.' xxn) headed 'Cromek.'
2 Cr ] Cromek Gil, WMR. ye] you Gil.


1 Sir Joshua praised Rubens with a smile,
By calling his the ornamental style ;
And yet his praise of Flaxman was the smartest,
When he called him the Ornamental Artist.
5 But sure such ornaments we well may spare 5
As crooked limbs and louzy heads of hair.

MS. Book, p. 29. Only in EY i. 2x4.
I praised] praises EY. 6 As . . . hair] Like a filthy infectious head
of hair MS. Book 1st rdg. del. ; A crooked stick & a louzy head of hair, ibid.
2nd rdg. del.


He is a Cock would
And would be a Cock if he could .

MS. Book, p. 29. Only in EY i. 214. I Heis]He'sEY.


He has observ'd the Golden Rule,
Till he's become the Golden Fool.

MS. Book, p. 30. Cp. Ixvii. Only in EY i. 214.

2 he 's] he has EY.

To S———d

1 You all your Youth observ'd the Golden Rule,
Till you're at last become the golden fool :
I sport with Fortune, Merry, Blithe and Gay,
Like to the Lion sporting with his Prey.
5Take you the hide & horns which you may wear,
Mine is the flesh — the bones may be your share.

MS. Book, p. 30. Only in EY (i. 214) 'addressed to I——— d (Who was
I ———d ?).' A similar misreading of Blake's capital S for I occurs in their text
of Ixxvi. This and the preceding epigram refer of course to Stothard. In its
original form this epigram was written in the third person, ' he ' for ' you,'
' his ' for ' your,' and ' He has ' for ' Take you ' in 1. 5.
1 Youth] life EY. 5 Take you] You have EY.


Mr Stothard to Mr Cromek

For Fortune's favours you your riches bring,
But Fortune says she gave you no such thing.
Why should you be ungrateful to your friends,
Sneaking, & backbiting, & Odds-&-Ends?

MS. Book, p. 31. Swinb. p. 53, EY i. 214. 1 favours] favour Swinb. 3 be ungrateful] prove ungrateful Swinb.;
be unfaithful EY.


Mr Cromek to Mr Stothard

Fortune favours the Brave, old proverbs say ;
But not with Money; that is not the way.
Turn back, turn back ; you travel all in vain ;
Turn through the iron gate down sneaking lane.

MS. Book, p. 31. Swinb. p. 53, EY i. 215, WHY ('Coupl.' 6) without

4 sneaking lane] Sneaking Lane Swinb.

1 I am no Homer's Hero you all know ;
I profess not Generosity to a Foe.
My Generosity is to my Friends,
That for their Friendship I may make amends.
5 The Generous to Enemies promotes their Ends,
And becomes the Enemy & Betrayer of his Friends.

MS. Book, p. 31. Only in EY i. 215.
6 And . . . Friends] Cp. ' Everlasting Gospel,' 7 γ2, 1. 25 : ' He who loves his
enemies betrays his friends.'


The Angel that presided o'er my birth
Said 'Little creature, form'd of Joy and Mirth,
Go, love without the help of anything on Earth.'

MS. Book, p. 32. Gil. i. 311, WMR (< Coupl.' xiv), EY i. 215, WBY
1 that] who Gil. o'er] at Gil, WBY. 2 form'd . . . Mirth] thou
art form'd for mirth MS. Book 1st rdg. del. of] for EY. 3 love] live WMR.


Florentine Ingratitude

1 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 Michael Angelo' write.

MS. Book, p. 32. Title an addition. Only in EY i. 215. This and the
other epigrams on Sir Joshua Reynolds were probably written about the
same time as the marginal notes in his copy of Sir Joshua's Discourses,
now in the Brit. Mus. In 1776 Reynolds was elected a member of the
Florentine Academy, and in accordance with their rule, sent his portrait

painted by himself.

The Florentines said ' 'Tis a Dutch-English bore,
Michael Angelo's Name writ on Rembrandt's door.'
9The Florentines call it an English fetch,
For Michael Angelo never did sketch —
Every line of his has Meaning,
And needs neither Suckling nor Weaning.
13'Tis the trading English- Venetian cant
To speak Michael Angelo, and act Rembrandt,
It will set his Dutch friends all in a roar
To write ' Mich. Ang.' on Rembrandt's door ;
17But you must not bring in your hand a Lie
If you mean that the Florentines should buy.
Ghiotto's Circle or Apelles' Line
Were not the Work of Sketchers drunk with Wine ;
21Nor of the City Clock's running . . . fashion ;
Nor of Sir Isaac Newton's calculation.

7, 8 The . . . door] EY incorrectly call this a ' rejected ' couplet. 10 For
Michael] EY omit For. 13, 14 Tis . . . Rembrandt] 'Rejected' EY,
who insert here, after 1. 14, an incorrect version of the first reading of
ll. 19-22. 18 mean that] EY omit ih.a.t. If . . . buy] Following this
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.'

19-22 Ghiotto's . . . calculation] These lines written later at foot of page.
Another reading was : —

' Nor of the City Clock's Idle Facilities
Which sprang from Sir Isaac Newton's great Abilities.'

EY omit 11. 19-22, and print this rejected couplet after 1. 14, reading
' futilities ' for ' facilities ' and ' sprang of for ' sprang from.'


A Pitiful Case

1 The Villain at the Gallows tree,
When he is doom'd to die,
To assuage his misery
In virtue's praise does cry.

MS. Book, p. 33. Only in EY i. 216. This epigram refers to the con-

cluding words of the last Discourse delivered by Reynolds at the Royal

5 So Reynolds when he came to die,
To assuage his bitter woe,
Thus aloud did howl & cry :
'Michael Angelo ! Michael Angelo ! '

Academy, Dec. 1790 : ' I should desire that the last words which I should
pronounce in this Academy, and from this place, might be the name of
3 his misery] his bitter misery EY. 7 did howl &] was heard to
MS. Book 1st rdg. del.


To the Royal Academy

1 A Strange Erratum in all the Editions
Of Sir Joshua Reynolds' Lectures
Should be corrected by the Young Gentlemen
And the Royal Academy's Directors.

5 Instead of ' Michael Angelo,'
Read ' Rembrandt ' ; for it is fit
To make mere common honesty
In all that he has writ.

MS. Book, p. 33. Only in EY i. 216. Cp. note to Ix.
6-8 for , . . writ]
' . . . . . & you will know

That Sir Joshua Reynolds now wished to speak
Of Michael Angelo.'

MS. Book 15/ rdg. del. 7 mere common] either sense or MS. Book
1st rdg. del. 8 In] Of EY.


1If it is true, what the Prophets write,
That the Heathen Gods are all stocks and stones,
Shall we, for the sake of being Polite,
Feed them with the juice of our marrow-bones?

MS. Book, p. 33. WMR and EY with title 'Idolatry.'

5 And if Bezaleel and AhoHab drew
What the finger of God pointed to their View,
Shall we suffer the Roman and Grecian rods
To compell us to worship them as Gods ?

9 They stole them from the Temple of the Lord
And worshipp'd them that they might make Inspired Art
abhorr'd ;

11The Wood and Stone were call'd the Holy Things,
And their Sublime Intent given to their kings.
All the Atonements of Jehovah spurn'd,
And Criminals to Sacrifices turn'd.

9, 10 WMR and EY print as quatrain : —

'They stole them from
The Temple of the Lord,
And worshiped them that they might make
Inspired art abhorred.'

10 that . . . make] to make MS. Book 1st rdg. del.


To F——— and S———

I found them blind : I taught them how to see ;
And now they know neither themselves nor me.
'Tis excellent to turn a thorn to a pin,
A Fool to a bolt, a Knave to a glass of gin.

MS. Book, p. 34. The words ' and S——— ' are an addition. Swinb. p. 53.
WMR (' Epig.' viii) with title ' On certain Friends,' prints first couplet only.
EY i. 217 with title ' On F——— and I ———.' See note to Ixvii.
1, 2 I . . . me] Blake introduces this couplet into his Descriptive Catalogue
(1809). I them] him MS. Book 1st rdg. del. 2 they knowl he

knows ibid. 1st rdg. del. themselves] himself ibid. 1st rdg. del.
Rossetti MS.


P——— loved me not as he lov'd his friends ;
For he lov'd them for gain, to serve his Ends :
He loved me, and for no Gain at all,
But to rejoice & triumph in my fall.

MS. Book, p. 34. Only in EY i. 217. P——— is probably Thomas Phillips
the portrait painter. Cp. Descriptive Catalogue, p. 26 : ' Those who say
that men are led by interest are knaves. A knavish character will often say,
"of what interest is it to me to do so and so?" I answer, "of none at all,
but the contrary, as you well know. It is of malice and envy that you have
done this : I am aware of you, because I know that you act, not from
interest, but from malice, even to your own destruction." '
3 and] EY omit. 4 in] at EY.


To forgive enemies H——— does pretend,
Who never in his life forgave a friend,
And when he could not act upon my wife
Hired a Villain to bereave my Life.

MS. Book, at foot of p. 34. First couplet only ptd. by DGR ('Coupl.' xi),
WMR (' Coupl.' XXI. i), EY i. 217.

1 H——— ] Hayley DGR, WMR. 4 Hired . . . Life] The same line occurs
in one of the Poetical Sketches, cp. ' Fair Elenor,' 1. 68. By the phrase
' bereave my Life ' Blake here probably means, deprive me of my means of
livelihood ; this is another reference to the critiques in the Examiner (cp.
notes to xlix, liv). Cp. Advertisement (MS. Book, p. 52) : 'The manner in
which my character has been blasted these thirty years both as an Artist and
a Man may be seen particularly in a Sunday paper called the Examiner,
published in Beaufort's Buildings, and the manner in which I have rooted
out the nest of villains will be seen in a poem concerning my three years'
Herculean labours at Felpham, which I shall soon publish. Secret calumny
and open professions of friendship are common enough all the world over,
but have never been so good an occasion of poetic imagery. When a base
man means to be your enemy, he always begins with being your friend.
We all know that editors of newspapers trouble their heads very little about
art and science, and that they are always paid for what they put in on those

ungracious subjects.'

To F

You call me Mad ; 'tis folly to do so —
To seek to turn a Madman to a Foe.
If you think as you speak, you are an Ass.
If you do not, you are but what you was.

MS. Book, p. 35. DGR ('Epig.' 7), WMR ('Epig.' xvi) both with title
'To Flaxman,' EY i. 218.
4 but what] just what MS. Book 1st rdg. del. ; but as EY.


On H y's Friendship

When H y finds out what you cannot do,
That is the very thing he'll set you to ;
If you break not your Neck, 'tis not his fault ;
But pecks of poison are not pecks of salt.

MS, Book, p. 35. Only in EY i. 218 (title omitted).
3 Neck] back EY.


Some men, created for destruction, come
Into the World, & make the World their home.
Be they as Vile and Base as e'er they can,
They'll still be called 'The World's Honest Man.'

MS. Book, p. 36. Only in EY i. 218,
2 & make] to make EY. 3, 4 Be . . . Man]
'Friend Caiaphas is one, do what he can.
He'll still be called "The World's Honest Man.'"

MS. Book 2nd rdg. del. 3 Be they as] For they are EY.

On S——

You say reserve and modesty he has,
Whose heart is iron, his head wood, and his face brass.
The Fox, the Owl, the Beetle, and the Bat
By sweet reserve and modesty get Fat.

MS. Book, p. 36. Gil. i. 307 (last couplet only), DGR ('Coupl.' xii) with-
out title, WMR ('Epig.' xviii) with title < On Stothard,' EY i. 218, WBY
('Coupl.' 17) without title.
3, 4 Blake uses this couplet in his Descriptive Catalogue (1809). 3 Owl]
mole Descriptive Catalogue, Beetle] spider Gil., DGR, WMR. 4 get]
grow Gil., DGR, WMR.


Imitation of Pope : a compliment to the

Wondrous the Gods, more wondrous are the Men,
More Wondrous, Wondrous still, the Cock and Hen,
More wondrous still the Table, Stool and Chair ;
But ah ! more wondrous still the Charming Fair.

MS. Book, p. 37. Only in EY i. 218.
Title, ' Imitation of Pope, and a Compliment,' etc., EY.


To H——

Thy friendship oft has made my heart to ake :
Do be my Enemy — for Friendship's sake.

MS. Book, p. 37. Gil. i. 181, with title 'To the Same' (i.e. Hayley),
WMR (' CoupL' XXI. 2) with general title ' On Hayley,' EY i. 218.

2 Do] Do Gil.

Cosway, Frazer, & Baldwin of Egypt's Lake1
Fear to associate with Blake.
This Life is a Warfare against Evils ;
They heal the sick : he casts out devils.
Hayley, Flaxman, & Stothard are also in doubt5
Lest their Virtue should be put to the rout.
One grins, t'other spits, and in corners hides.
And all the Virtuous have shewn their backsides.

MS. Book, p. 37. EY ('Memoir' chap, vii) i. 81, with last couplet, i. 219.
6 Virtue] friendship EY. 7, 8 One . . . backsides] A marginal
addition. 7 fother] other EY. 8 shewn] shaved EY.


An Epitaph

Come knock your heads against this stone,
For sorrow that poor John Thompson 's gone.

MS. Book, p. 37. This and the two following epitaphs were obviously
written before the Stothard lines (cp. xlix, 11. 45, 46). Only in EY i. 219,
without title.



I was buried near this dyke,
That my Friends may weep as much as they like.

MS. Book, p. 37. Cp. xlix, II. 49, 50, WMR ('Coupl.' XVIII), EY (ist

line only) i. 219.


Here lies John Trot, the Friend of all mankind :
He has not left one enemy behind.
Friends were quite hard to find, old authors say ;
But now they stand in everybody's way.

MS. Book, p. 37. Cp. xlix, 1. 51. Gil. i. i8r (last couplet only), DGR,
WMR, EY, WBY (' Coupl' xiv, xvii, xv, 18). DGR entitles ' Epitaph ';
the rest omit title.


My title as a Genius thus is prov'd :
Not prais'd by Hayley, nor by Flaxman lov'd.

MS. Book, p. 38. Gil. i. 181, WMR (« Coupl.' xxi. 3) with title 'On
Hayley,' EY i. 219.
2 nor] or EY.
Cp. with this and other epigrams in the MS. Book on Flaxman and
Hayley the verses written some eight years earlier : these interesting lines,
which have not been previously printed, I owe to the courtesy of Mr. A. G. B.

I bless thee, O Father of Heaven and Earth ! that ever I saw Flax-
man's face.
Angels stand round my spirit in Heaven, the blessed of Heaven are
my friends upon Earth.
When Flaxman was taken to Italy, Fuseli was given to me for
a Season,
And now Flaxman hath given me Hayley, his friend, to be mine —
such my lot upon Earth !
Now my lot in the Heavens is this : Milton lov'd me in childhood,
and shew'd me his face ;
Ezra came with Isaiah the Prophet, but Shakespeare in riper years
gave me his hand ;
Paracelsus and Behmen appeared to me ; terrors appeared in the
Heavens above ;
The American War began ; All its dark horrors passed before my face
Across the Atlantic to France ; Then the French Revolution commenc'd
in thick clouds ;
And my Angels have told me that seeing such visions, I could not
subsist on the Earth,
But by my conjunction with Flaxman, who knows to forgive nervous
12 Sept., 1800.'

I, Rubens, am a Statesman and a Saint.
Deceptions . . . And so I'll learn to paint.

MS. Book, p. 38. Only in EY i. 219.
1, 2 I . . , paint]

'Rubens had been a Statesman or a Saint ;
He mixed them both — and so he learn'd to Paint.'

MS. Book 1st rdg. del. 1 I, Rubens, am] Rubens was EY. 2 . . .] A word illegible in MS.


To English Connoisseurs

1 You must agree that Rubens was a Fool,
And yet you make him master of your School,
And give more money for his slobberings
Than you will give for Rafael's finest things.
5 I understood Christ was a Carpenter
And not a Brewer's Servant, my good Sir.

MS. Book, p. 38. DGR, WMR (' Epig.' 5, xi), EY (' Coupl.' xix) with-
out title.
4 things] thing EY. 5, 6 I . . . Sir] An addition, EY omit. Cp. Adveriise-
ment (MS. Book, p. 63) :' He who could represent Christ uniformly like a dray-
man must have queer conceptions : consequently his execution must have
been as queer, and these must be queer fellows who give great sums for such
nonsense and think it fine art.'


Swelled limbs, with no outline that you can descry.
That stink in the nose of a stander-by.
But all the pulp-wash'd, painted, finish'd with labour.
Of an hundred journeymen's — how-d'ye do Neighbour ?

MS. Book, p. 38. Only in EY i. 220. Cp. Advettisement (MS. Book, p. 19) :
' Rubens' Luxembourg Gallery is confessed on all hands to be the work
of a blockhead. It bears this evidence in its face. How can its execution
be any other than the work of a blockhead? Bloated gods — Mercury, Juno,
Venus, and the rattle-traps of mythology, and the lumber of an awkward
French palace are thrown together, around clumsy and ricketty princes and
princesses, higledy-piggledy.'
2 stander] passer EY. 3 But] For EY. painted] EY omit. 4 an]
a EY. journeymen's] journeymen EY. Cp. Advertisement (MS. Book,
p. 18, circa 1810) : ' What man of sense will lay out his money upon the life's

labour of imbecility, and imbecility's journeyman . . . ?'

A Pretty Epigram for the encourage-
ment of those Who have paid great
sums in the Venetian and Flemish

Nature and Art in this together suit:
What is Most Grand is always most Minute.
Rubens thinks Tables, Chairs and Stools are Grand,
But Rafael thinks a Head, a foot, a hand.

MS. Book, p. 38, where the original title (del.) read 'a Pretty Epigram
for those who have given high Prices for Bad Pictures.' WMR prints this,
xcv and xcvi, as a single poem with the title ' Raphael and Rubens ' (' Epig.'
xii), EY i. 220, omitting ' paid ' in 1. 2 of title.


1These are the Idiots' chiefest arts:
To blend and not define the parts.
The Swallow sings, in Courts of Kings,
That Fools have their high finishings.

MS. Book, p. 38. The correct position of the lines is indicated by prefixed
arable numerals, 11. 7, 8 being a marginal addition. Only in EY i. 221, who
arrange as two stanzas made up of 11. i, 2, 7, 8, and 3. 4, 5, 6. Cp. Descriptive
Catalogue (1809), pp. 26, 27 : ' The character and expression in this picture
[Blake's 'Canterbury Pilgrims'] could never have been produced with
Rubens' light and shadow, or with Rembrandt's, or any thing Venetian or
Flemish. The Venetian and Flemish practice is broken lines, broken masses,
and broken colours. Mr. B.'s practice is unbroken lines, unbroken masses,
and unbroken colours. Their art is to lose form : his art is to find form and
to keep it. His arts are opposite to theirs in all things.' Also Notes in
Blake's copy of Reynolds' Works, p. xcviii : ' To Generalize is to be an Idiot.
To Particularize is the Alone Distinction of Merit. General Knowledges
are those Knowledges that Idiots possess.'
I the] EY omit. 3 The Swallow sings] Let it be told MS. Book

1st rdg. del. ; EY read ' known ' for 'told.' 4 That . . . finishings]

And this the Princes' golden rule, 5
The Laborious Stumble of a Fool.
To make out the parts is the wise man's aim,
But to loose them the Fool makes his foolish Game.

Cp. Advertisement (MS. Book, p. 55): 'I allow that there is such a thing as
high-finished ignorance, as there may be a fool or a knave in an embroidered
coat ' ; also, Blake's notes to Reynolds' Discourses, p. xlvii : ' I was once
looking over the Prints from Rafael & Michael Angelo in the Library of the
Royal Academy. Moser came to me cfe said, " You should not study these
old Hard, Stiff, & Dry Unfinish'd Works of Art. Stay a little, & I will shew
you what you should Study." He then went and took down Le Brun's and
Rubens' Galleries. How I did secretly rage. I also spoke my Mind. . . .
I said to Moser, " These things that you call Finish'd are not Even Begun,
how can they then be Finish'd ? The Man who does not know The Begin-
ning never can know the End of Art." ' 6 The . . . Fool] Cp. MS. Book
xcvi. 8 Game] aim EY.


Rafael, Sublime, Majestic, Graceful, Wise —
His Executive Power must I despise?
Rubens, Low, Vulgar, Stupid, Ignorant —
His power of Execution I must grant ?

MS. Book, p. 39. Gil. i. 265, WMR (as continuation of xciii), EY i. 220.
Cp. Blake's ms. note on flyleaf of his copy of Reynolds' Discourse no. v,
Works, vol. i, p. [114] : 'The following Discourse is written with the Same
End in View that Gainsborough had . . . Namely To Represent Vulgar Artists
as the Models of Executive Merit.'
2, 4 Power] powers EY. 4 His . . . grant] EY obscure the whole
point of this epigram by punctuating the last line : —

' His power of execution I must grant.'

The following extracts, however, taken from Blake's marginal notes to
Reynolds' Discourses, show clearly that the last line should be read as an
indignant question involving an answer in the negative : —
p. xxix. ' Why are we to be told that Masters who Could Think, had not
the Judgment to Perform the Inferior parts of Art, as Reynolds artfully
calls them ? But that we are to Learn to Think from Great Masters, & to
Learn to Perform from Underhngs ! Learn to Design from Rafael, and to
Execute from Rubens I '
p. 126. ' Can any Man be Such a fool as to believe that Rafael & Michael
Angelo were Incapable of the meer Language of Art, & That Such Idiots as
Rubens, Correggio, & Titian knew how to Execute what they could not
Think or Invent.'
p. 167. ' He who Admires Rafael, Must admire Rafael's Execution. He

who does not admire Rafael's Execution, Cannot Admire Rafael.'

Learn the laborious stumble of a Fool !
Go, send your Children to the Slobbering School !

MS. Book, p. 39. WMR as conclusion of xciii, xcv, interpolating
between lines i and 2 the line, presumably his own : —

' And from an idiot's action form my rule I '

EY i. 221 invert order of the two lines.
2 Go, send] Go and send EY. Slobbering] globbering EY.


If I e'er Grow to Man's Estate,
O ! Give to me a Woman's fate.
May I govern all, both great & small,
Have the last word, and take the wall.

MS. Book, p. 39. DGR ('Coupl.' ix), WMR, EY ('Coupl.' xi), WBY
(' Coupl.' 12).
1 I e'er] e'er I DGR, WMR, EY, WBY. e'en I] EY (Index, MS.
Book, i. asi).


The cripple every step drudges & labours, 1
And says : ' Come, learn to walk of me, Good Neighbours.'
Sir Joshua in astonishment cries out:
' See, what Great Labour ! Pain in Modest Doubt !

MS. Book, p. 39. Gil. (first 4 11. only) i. 265, EY i. 221, 222. Cp.
Advertisement (MS. Book, p. 19): 'Who that has eyes cannot see that
Rubens & Corregio must have been very weak & vulgar fellows ? And
are we to imitate their execution ? This is like what Sir Francis Bacon
says : — that a healthy child should be taught & compelled to walk like
a cripple, while the cripple must be taught to walk like healthy people. O,
rare wisdom ! '
1 drudges] smudges EY. 4 See . . . Doubt] His pains are more than
others, there 's no doubt MS. Book 1st rdg. del. EY insert this after 1. 4

as part of the poem. Pain in] springs from Gil.

5 He walks & stumbles as if he crep,
And how high labour'd is every step ! '
Newton and Bacon cry ' Being badly Nurst,
He is all Experiments from last to first.'

5, 6 He . . . step] A marginal addition. 6 labour'd] finished EY.
7, 8 Newton . . . first] An addition. 7 cry] EY omit. 8 Experiments]
experiment EY.


On the great encouragement given by
English Nobihty & Gentry to Cor-
reggio, Rubens, Reynolds, Gains-
borough, Catalani, Du Crow, and
Dilbury Doodle

1 As the Ignorant Savage will sell his own Wife
For a Sword, or a Cutlass, a dagger, or Knife ;
So the taught, savage Englishman, spends his whole
On a smear, or a squall, to destroy Picture or tune,
5 And I call upon Colonel Wardle
To give these Rascals a dose of Caudle.

MS. Book, p. 40, title an addition. DGR (' Epig.' 3), WMR (' Epig.' ix)
prints under this title c, xcix, ci. EY i. 222. DGR, WMR omit ' Du Crow,'
and insert ' Rembrandt ' after ' Rubens ' in title ; EY insert ' The ' before
'English," omit 'and Gentry,' and read ' Catelans ' for 'Catalani.'
2 For . . . Knife] For a button, a Bauble [buckle 2nd rdg. del.], a bead, or
a knife MS. Book 15^ rdg. del., DGR, WMR, EY. 3 taught] wise MS.
Book 1st rdg. del., EY ; learned ibid. 2nd rdg. del. 4 On] For ibid. 1st
rdg. del., EY; to destroy] that is not MS. Book 1st rdg. del., EY. 5, 6
And . . . Caudle] EY print this couplet after c. 5 Wardle] Warble

EY. For Col. Wardle see Examiner, 1809 passim.

Give Pensions to the Learned Pig,
Or the Hare playing on a Tabor ;
Anglus can never see Perfection
But in the Journeyman's Labour.

MS. Book, p. 40. DGR, WMR (see note to xcix), EY i. 222. Cp.
Advertisement (MS. Book, p. 25) : ' In the art of painting, these impostors
sedulously propagate an opinion that great inventors cannot execute. This
opinion is as destructive of the true artist as it is false by all experience.
Even Hogarth cannot be either copied or improved. Can Anglus ever
discern perfection but in the journeyman's labour ? ' Cp. also Advertisement
(MS. Book, p. 47) : ' Englishmen have been so used to journeymen's undecided
bungling that they cannot bear the firmness of a master's touch.'
3 Anglus] Bunglers EY.


All pictures that 's painted with sense and with thought i
Are painted by Madmen, as sure as a Groat ;
For the Greater the Fool is the Pencil more blest,
As when they are drunk they always paint best.
They never can Rafael it, Fuseli it, nor Blake it ; 5
If they can't see an outline, pray how can they make it?
When Men will draw outlines begin you to jaw them ;
Madmen see outlines and therefore they draw them.

MS. Book, p. 40. DGR, WMR (see note to xcix), EY i. 222.
1 and] or DGR, WMR. 3 is the Pencil] in the art the DGR, WMR.
4 As] And DGR, WMR. 5 nor] or EY. 7 When . . . them]
All men have drawn outlines whenever they saw them DGR, WMR.


On H——— the Pickthank

I write the Rascal thanks, till he and I
With Thanks and Compliments are quite drawn dry.

MS. Book, p. 41. Gil. i. 181, extending ' H——— ' to ' Hayley.' EY i. 223.

Cromek speaks

I always take my judgment from a Fool
Because his Judgment is so very Cool ;
Not prejudiced by feelings great or small,
Amiable state ! he cannot feel at all.

MS. Book, p. 41. Gil. i. 208. EY i. 223. 1 judgment] judgments Gil., EY. 2 Because . . . Cool] Because I know he always judges cool. MS. Book 1st rdg. del. judgment is] judgments are EY. 3 or] and Gil. 4 Amiable state] Because we know MS. Book 1st rdg. del.


1 When you look at a picture, you always can see
If a Man of Sense has Painted he.
Then never flinch, but keep up a jaw
About freedom, and Jenny sink awa'.
5 As when it smells of the lamp, we can
Say all was owing to the Skilful Man ;
For the smell of water is but small :
So e'en let Ignorance do it all.

MS. Book, p. 41. Only in EY i. 223.
4 Jenny sink awa'] Blake's purposely grotesque spelling of 'Je ne sais quoi.' Cp. 'menny wouver' in the next piece. That Blake probably read French with ease may be inferred from his quotation of a passage from Voltaire's Essai sur les mœurs et l'esprit des nations, copied with indignant comment on p. [cxxvii] of his copy of Reynolds' Discourses, 5 we] all

MS. Book 1st rdg. del., EY.

English Encouragement of Art : Cro-
mek's opinions put into rhyme

1If you mean to Please Everybody, you will
Menny wouver both Bunglishness & skill ;
For a great conquest are Bunglers,
And . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . like mad ranters !
5Like displaying oil and water in a lamp, 5
'Twill hold forth a huge splutter with smoke and damp ;
For it 's all sheer loss, as it seems to me,
Of displaying up a light when we want not to see.

MS. Book, p. 41. EY i. 223 (with ' Encouragers' for 'Encouragement'
and 'opinion' for 'opinions' in title) print the earlier and clearer version
which reads : —

*1 'If you mean to please everybody you will
Set to work both ignorance and skill.
For a great multitude are ignorant,
And skill to them seems raving and rant.
*5 Like putting oil and water in a lamp,
'Twill make a great splutter with smoke and damp.
For there is no use as it seems to me
Of lighting a lamp, when you don't wish to see.'

2 Menny wouver] read manoeuvre. See note to civ, 1. 4. 4 Obscurely
written. *5 in] into EY. *8 Of] For EY.


1 You say their Pictures well Painted be,
And yet they are blockheads you all agree :
Thank God ! I never was sent to school
To be Flog'd into following the Style of a Fool.
5 The errors of a wise man make your Rule, 5
Rather than the Perfections of a Fool.

MS. Book, p. 42. The last couplet is separated from the two preceding
by a sketch. DGR and WMR print the second and third couplets as
separate epigrams ; EY i. 223, 11. 1-4, and 5, 6 as distinct pieces ; WBY the
last couplet only.
3 God] heaven EY. 4 To . . . Fool] To learn to admire the works

of a Fool MS. Book 1st rdg. del.

The Washerwoman's Song

I wash'd them out & wash'd them in,
And they told me it was a great sin.

MS. Book, p. 42. Only in EY i. 224. Possibly a reference to Blake's
manner of using water-colour. Cp. the allusion to ' water ' in an epigram on
the preceding page of the MS. Book, civ, 1. 7.


1 When I see a Rubens, Rembrandt, Correggio,
I think of the Crippled Harry and Slobbering Joe ;
And then I question thus : Are artists' rules
To be drawn from the works of two manifest fools ?
5 Then God defend us from the Arts I say !
Send Battle, Murder, sudden death, O pray!
Rather than be such a blind Human Fool
I'd be an Ass, a Hog, a Worm, a Chair, a Stool !

MS. Book, p. 43. DGR, WMR (' Epig.' 4 and x), EY iii. 86.
1 When . . . Correggio] Seeing a Rembrandt or Correggio DGR, WMR;
When I see a Rembrandt or Correggio MS. Book 1st rdg. del., EY.
2 I . . . Joe] Of crippled Harry I think and slobbering Joe DGR, WMR;
I think of crippled Harry, or slobbering Joe EY. 3 question thus] say
to myself MS. Book 1st rdg. del., EY. 6 Send] For DGR, WMR.
O] we MS. Book 1st rdg. del., EY ; let's DGR, WMR. 7 blind] EY
omit. 8 an Ass] EY omit. Cp. Descriptive Catalogue, pp. 56-59 :
' Rubens is a most outrageous demon, and by infusing the remembrances
of his Pictures and style of execution, hinders all power of individual
thought ; so that the man who is possessed by this demon loses all admira-
tion of any other Artist but Rubens, and those who were his imitators and
journeymen : he causes to the Florentine and Roman Artist fear to execute,
and though the original conception was all fire and animation, he loads it
with hellish brownness, and blocks up all its gates of light, except one, and
that one he closes with iron bars, till the victim is obliged to give up the
Florentine and Roman practice, and adopt the Venetian and Flemish.
' Correggio is a soft and effeminate and consequently a most cruel demon,
whose whole delight is to cause endless labour to whoever suffers him to
enter his mind. The story that is told in all Lives of the Painters, about
Correggio being poor and but badly paid for his Pictures, is altogether false ;
he was a petty Prince, in Italy, and employed numerous Journeymen in
manufacturing (as Rubens and Titian did) the Pictures that go under his
name. The manual labour in these Pictures of Correggio is immense, and
was paid for originally at the immense prices that those who keep manufac- tories of art always charge to their employers, while they themselves pay their journeymen little enough. But, though Correggio was not poor, he will make any true artist so, who permits him to enter his mind, and take possession of his affections ; he infuses a love of soft and even tints without boundaries, and of endless reflected lights, that confuse one another, and hinder all correct drawing from appearing to be correct ; for if one of Rafael's or Michael Angelo's figures was to be traced, and Correggio's reflections and refractions to be added to it, there would soon be an end of proportion and strength, and it would be weak, and pappy, and lumbering, and thick-headed, like his own works ; but then it would have softness and evenness, by a twelvemonth's labour, where a month would with judgment have finished it better and higher ; and the poor wretch who executed it would be the Correggio that the life-writers have written of — a drudge and a miserable man, compelled to softness by poverty. I say again, O Artist! you may disbelieve all this, but it shall be at your own peril.'


Great things are done when Men & Mountains meet ;
This is not done by jostling in the street.

MS. Book, p. 43. DGR, WMR, WBY (' Coupl.' v, vii, and 8), EY i. 224.

2 This is] These are all edd.


If you play a Game of Chance, Know, before you begin,
If you are benevolent You will never win.

MS. Book, p. 47. Only in EY i. 224, printed as a quatrain.


The only Man that e'er I knew
Who did not make me almost spew
Was Fuseli : he was both Turk and Jew —
And so, dear Christian Friends, how do you do ?

MS. Book, p. 50. These hnes are written over an erasure, with the title 'William Cowper, Esqre.' which probably belonged to the deleted passage. WMR ('Epig.' xv) with title 'Fuseli,' EY i. 225.

1 that e'er I] that ever I WMR; I ever EY. 2 make me almost] almost make me EY. 4 dear] sweet MS. Book 1st rdg. del. Christian Friends] Christians ibid, 1st rdg. del.


For this is being a Friend just in the nick,1
Not when he's well, but waiting till he's sick ;
He calls you to his help ; be you not mov'd
Until, by being sick, his wants are prov'd.

You see him spend his Soul in Prophecy: 5
Do you believe it a confounded lie,
Till some Bookseller, & the Public Fame,
Prove there is truth in his extravagant claim.

For 'tis atrocious in a Friend you love 9
To tell you anything that he can't prove,
And 'tis most wicked in a Christian Nation
For any man to pretend to Inspiration.

MS. Book, p. 50. This is probably the continuation of the erased stanza,
referred to in note to cxi, and was therefore written before the preceding
piece. Only in WMR (' Coupl.' xix) with title ' Blake's Friends.'

9 atrocious] most wicked MS. Book 1st rdg. del. 12 man] one WMR.
ir, 12] Cp. Notes to Reynolds' Discourses, p. 5 : 'Reynolds' Opinion was
That Genius May be Taught, & that all Pretence to Inspiration is a Lie &
a Deceit, to say the least of it. For if it is a Deceit the whole Bible is
Madness. This Opinion originates in the Greeks calling the Muse[s]
Daughters of Memory.

'The Enquiry in England is not whether a Man has Talents & Genius !
But whether he is Passive & Polite & a Virtuous Ass, & obedient to
Noblemen's Opinions in Art & Science. If he is, he is a Good Man. If
Not, he must be Starved.'


I will tell you what Joseph of Arimathea 1
Said to my Fairy : was not it very queer ?
Priestly & Bacon ! What, are you here ?
Come before Joseph of Arimathea.
Listen patient, & when Joseph has done 5
I will make a fool laugh, & a Fairy fun.

MS. Book, p. 52. Only in EY i. 225. For Joseph cp. Gil. i. 19 : for the
Fairy see footnote to ' Poems from Jerusalem,' iv.
2 was . . . queer] was it not queer EY. 3 Priestly & Bacon] Priestly
— Bacon EY. 5 & . . . done] when Joseph is done EY. 6 I will]
Not legibly written, perhaps 'Twill; I'll EY. & a Fairy] at a Fairy's EY.


Grown old in Love from Seven till Seven times Seven,
I oft have wish'd for Hell, for Ease from Heaven.

MS. Book, p. 54. Apparently written in or after 1806. WMR, EY


1Why was Cupid a Boy,
And why a boy was he?
He should have been a Girl,
For aught that I can see.

5For he shoots with his bow,
And the Girl shoots with her Eye,
And they both are merry & glad,
And laugh when we do cry.

9And to make Cupid a boy
Was the Cupid girl's mocking plan;
For a boy can't interpret the thing
Till he is become a man.

13And then he's so pierc'd with cares,
And wounded with arrowy smarts,
That the whole business of his life
Is to pick out the heads of the darts.

MS. Book, p. 56. Ri, DGR, WMR, EY (iii. 69), WBY, all with title
' Cupid ' and omission of last stanza (except R1. ) which is printed separately
by Swinb. (p. 144), EY i. 225, and WBY (notes, p. 248).
6 the] a WBY. 9-12 And . . . man] All edd. print the infinitely
preferable first draft of this stanza : —

*9 ' Then to make Cupid a Boy
Was surely a Woman's plan,
For a boy ne'er learns so much
Till he is become a man ' ;

all reading 'never' for 'ne'er' (l. *11), all except R' 'has ' for ' is' (l. *12)
and WBY ' And ' for ' Then ' (l. *9) and ' to mock ' for ' so much ' (l. *11),

13 he 's . . . cares] he is so pierced through WBY.

'Twas the Greeks' love of war i?
Turn'd Love into a Boy,
And Woman into a Statue of Stone —
And away fled every Joy.

17-20 'Twas . . . Joy] Swinb. calls this 'the last (rejected) stanza,' but
there is no trace of deletion in the MS. Book. 17 Greeks'] Greek
Swinb. 18 Turn'd] That turned Swinb. Love] Cupid EY, WBY.
20 And] WBY omils. fled] flew EY, WBY.


1 I asked my Dear Friend Orator Prig :
'What's the first part of Oratory?' He said : 'A great
'And what is the second?' Then, dancing a jig
d bowing profoundly, he said : ' A great wig.'
5 ' And what is the third ? ' Then he snored like a pig, 5
And, puffing his cheeks out, replied ; ' A great wig.'
So if a Great Painter with Questions you push
'What's the first part of painting?' he'll say: 'A Paint-
9 ' And what is the second ? ' with most modest blush,
He'll smile like a cherub, and say : ' A paint-brush.'
' And what is the third ? ' he'll bow like a rush,
With a leer in his Eye, he'll reply: 'A Paint-brush.'
13 Perhaps this is all a Painter can want: 13
But, look yonder — that house is the house of Rem-
brandt ! &c.

MS. Book, p. 60. DGR, WMR ('Epig.' i) with title in WMR of ' Orator
Prig.' EY (' Coupl.' xxi). Following the ' &c.' which indicates that more
of this piece was written elsewhere Blake has added the words ' to come
in Barry : a Poem.
1 my] of my DGR, WMR. 2 part of] thing in EY. 6 And . . . out]
And thrust out his cheeks and MS. Book 1st ydg. del. , EY. 7 So . . . push]
So if tp a painter the question you push DGR, WMR, EY. 8 he'll] he'd
EY. II he'll] He will EY. 12 he'll] and DGR, WMR, EY. 13 all

a] all that a EY.

1 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 h'ke a Fury, and said ' Patronage.'
5And what is the Third : she put off Old Age 5
And smil'd like a Syren and said ' Patronage.'

MS. Book, p. 6r. DGR, WMR (' Epig.' 2), EY (' Coupl." xxii). This is
perhaps the continuation of the preceding epigram (cxvi).


To Venetian Artists

1That God is Colouring Newton does shew,
And the devil is a black outline, all of us know.
Perhaps this little P'able may make us merry :
A dog went over the water without a wherry ;
5A bone which he had stolen he had in his mouth ;
He cared not whether the wind was north or south.
As he swam he saw the reflection of the bone.
'This is quite Perfection — one Generalizing Tone !
9Outline ! There 's no outline, there 's no such thing :
All is Chiaroscuro, Poco-Pen — it 's all Colouring ! '
Snap, snap ! He has lost shadow and substance too.
He had them both before. ' Now how do ye do ? '
13'A great deal better than I was before:
Those who taste colouring love it more and more.'

MS. Book, pp. 60, 61 : the first couplet with the catchwords ' Perhaps
this little Fable, &c.' occurs at foot of p. 60, the rest, with the title, on p. 61.
WMR ('Epig.'v), EY print first couplet ('Coupl.' xxiii) followed by the
rest as a separate poem.

8 This . . . Tone] Here 's two for one, what a brilliant tone MS. Book 1st
rdg. del. one] EY omit. 9, 10 Outline . . . Colouring] A marginal addi-
tion ; EY omit. 11 He . . . too] and lost the shadow and the substance
too EY. 12 them both] both these EY. do ye] d'ye EY. 13 A. . . before] EY omit. 14 taste] have tasted EY.

Cp. Blake's Descriptive Catalogue, pp. 63, 64. No. xv, ' Ruth a drawing' : 'If losing and obliterating the outline constitutes a Picture, Mr. B. will
never be so foolish as to do one. Such art of losing the outlines is the
art of Venice and Flanders ; it loses all character and leaves what some
people call "expression" ; but this is a false notion of expression, . . . The
great and golden rule of art as well as of life is this ; — That the more
distinct, sharp, and wirey the boundary line, the more perfect the work
of art, — and the less keen and sharp, The greater is the evidence of weak
imitation, plagiarism, and bungling. Great inventors, in all ages, knew this.'
Also Descriptive Catalogue, p. 54 : 'These pictures, among numerous others
painted for experiment, were the result of temptations and perturbations,
labouring to destroy Imaginative power, by means of that infernal machine
called Chiaro Oscuro, in the hands of Venetian and Flemish Demons, whose
enmity to the Painter himself, and to all Artists who study in the Florentine
and Roman Schools, may be removed by an exhibition and exposure of their
vile tricks.'


Great Men and Fools do often me inspire ;
But the Greater Fool, the Greater Liar.

MS. Book, p. 63 (reversed). Only in EY ii. 384.
1 me] we EY. 2 Fool] fools EY.


Having given great offence by writing in Prose, i
I'll write in Verse as soft as Bartolloze.
Some blush at what others can see no crime in ;
But nobody sees any harm in Rhyming.

MS. Book, p. 65. The rough draft of most of this piece occurs on p. 62,
where the lines were composed in the following order, 5-8, 3, 4, 15-18,
which Blake, interlineating ll. 1 and 1 between ll. 8 and 9 (or 4, 5 in the original
draft), afterwards renumbered 1-12. Lines 13 and 14 are also an inter-
lineation in the first draft. The verses were then transcribed on p. 65, with
the couplet ll. 11, 12, added in a slightly changed form, from the first draft on
p. 63, and the addition of 11. 19-22. Only in EY (' Memoir' i. 76).

1] Cp. Hunt's reference to Blake's Descriptive Catalogue, Examiner, no.
90, September 17, 1809. in Prose] EY omit in. 4 But . . . Rhyming]
But Nobody at all sees harm in Rhyming MS. Book 1st rdg. del.
(p. 62). Dryden, in rhyme, cries ' Milton only plann'd : ' 5 Every Fool shook his bells throughout the land. Tom Cooke cut Hogarth down with his clean graving: Thousands of connoisseurs with joy ran raving. Thus, Hayley on his Toilette seeing the sope, 9 Cries ' Homer is very much improv'd by Pope.' Some say I've given great Provision to my foes, And that now I lead my false friends by the nose. Flaxman and Stothard, smelling a sweet savour, 13 Cry ' Blakefied drawing spoils painter and Engraver ; ' While I, looking up to my Umbrella, Resolv'd to be a very contrary fellow, Cry, looking quite from skumference to center, 17 ' No one can finish so high as the original Inventor.' Thus Poor Schiavonetti died of the Cromek — A thing that 's tied around the Examiner's neck ! This is my sweet apology to my friends, 21 That I may put them in mind of their latter ends. , 6] Cp. Advertisement (MS. Book, p. 20) : * An example of the contrary arts is written us in the characters of Milton and Dryden as they are given in a poem signed with the name of Nat Lee, which perhaps he never wrote, and perhaps he wrote in a paroxysm of insanity, in which it is said that IMilton's poem is a rough, unfinished piece, and Dryden has finished it. Now let Dryden's Fall and Milton's Paradise be read, and I will assert that everybody of understanding must cry out shame on such niggling and poco-pen as Dryden has degraded Milton with. But at the same time I will allow that stupidity will prefer Dryden, because it is rhyme, and monotonous sing-song sing-song from beginning to end. Such are Bartolozzi, Woollett and Strange.' 7] Cp. Advertisement (MS. Book, p. 57) : 'Cooke wished to give Hogarth what he could take from Rafael, that is, outline, and mass, and colour ; but he could not.' 8 Thousands . , . raving] How many Thousands of Conoisseurs ran raving MS. Book 15/ rdg. del. (p. 62). 9 Thus] An addition ; Then EY. 10 Cries] Says MS. Book 1st idg. del. II, 12 Some . . . nose] ' I've given great Provision to my Foes But now ril lead my false Friends by the Nose.' MS. Book 1st rdg. del. (p. 63). 11 Some say] A marginal addition. great] "EY omit. 12 that] .^ marginal addition ; HY omit. 17 Cry. .. center] Cry Tom Cooke proves from circumference to Center MS. Book 1st rdg. del. (p. 62 19, 20 A reference to Cromek's 'Account of Mr.

Schiavonetti,' in the E.vaminer, July i, 1810. 20 around] about EY.

1 If men will act like a maid smiling over a churn,
They ought not, when it comes to another's turn,
To grow sour at what a friend may utter,
Knowing and feeling that we all have need of Butter.
5 False Friends, fie I fie! Our Friendship you shan't sever ; 5
In spite we will be greater friends than ever.

MS. Book, p. 65. Perhaps a continuation of cxx. Printed here for the first time.
5 fie ! fie !] O no ! MS. Book st rdg. del. you shan't] ne'er shall
MS. Book 1st rdg. del. 6 In spite] For now MS. Book 1st rdg. del.


Call that the Public Voice which is their Error ?
Like as a Monkey, peeping in a Mirror,
Admires all his colours brown & warm.
And never once perceives his ugly form.

MS. Book, p. 66. Written in continuation of a passage in Blake's Adver-
iisement, in which he says that ' Rafael and Michael Angelo abhorr'd studying
nature, as Vasari tells us.' Gil. i. 266 with title ' On Colourists, ' WMR
(' Epig.' vi) with title * Colour and Form,' EY i. 226.
2 Like as] Like to EY. 3 Admires] Admireth Gil.


Some people admire the work of a Fool,
For it 's sure to keep your judgment cool ;
It does not reproach you with want of wit ;
It is not like a lawyer serving a writ.

MS. Book, p. 70. DOR, WMR, EY, WBY('Coupl.'vii,ix,andio). Cp.
MS. Book, ciii, ll. 1, 2.


To God

If you have form'd a Circle to go into.
Go into it yourself, & see how you would do.

MS. Book, p. 73. Only in EY i. 226.

2 how] what EY.

Since all the Riches of this World
May be gifts from the Devil & Earthly Kings,
I should suspect that I worship'd the Devil
If I thank'd my God for worldly things.

MS. Book, p. 73 (reversed) in pencil. All add. follow DGR in printing
as first stanza of xxx ; DGR, WMR and EY with title ' Riches,' WBY with
title ' The Two Kinds of Riches.'
4 my God] WBY omits my.


To Chloe's breast young Cupid slily stole,
But he crept in at Myra's pocket-hole.

MS. Book, p. 78. DGR, WMR, EY (' Coupl.' iv), WBY (' Coupl.' 5).
1 breast] heart R1


1 'Now Art has lost its mental Charms
France shall subdue the World in Arms.'
So spoke an Angel at my birth ;
Then said ' Descend thou upon earth ;
5 Renew the Arts on Britain's shore,
And France shall fall down & adore.
With works of Art their Armies meet
And War shall sink beneath thy feet.

MS. Book, p. 79. Lines 13, 14 are apparently the beginning of a second
stanza which was left unfinished. Only in EY i. 227. Cp. Advertisement
(MS. Book, p. 66): 'Let us teach Buonaparte and whomsoever else it
may concern that it is not Arts that follow & attend upon Empire, but
Empire that attends upon & follows The Arts.' Also Blake's notes to
Reynolds' Works (vol. i, p. [cxxv]), ' The Foundation of Empire is Art
& Science. Remove them, or Degrade them, & the Empire is No More.
Empire follows Art, & not Vice Versa as Englishmen suppose.'

4 upon] on the EY. 7 their] her EY.

9 But if thy Nation Arts refuse,
And if they scorn the immortal Muse,
France shall the arts of Peace restore
And save thee from the ungrateful shore.'
13 Spirit who lov'st Brittannia's Isle
Round which the Fiends of Commerce smile —

12 And . . . shore] And save thy works from Britain's shore MS. Book
1st rdg. del. 13, 14 Spirit . . . smile]

'Spirit who lovest Britannia's shore
Round which the Fiends of Commerce roar.'

EY. 14 Cp. Advertisement (MS. Book, p. 25), ' In a commercial nation
impostors are abroad in all professions. These are the greatest enemies of


Nail his neck to the Cross: nail it with a nail.
Nail his neck to the Cross: ye all have power over his

MS. Book, p. 79. EY ii. 57 wrongly regard this as part of The Everlasting
Gospel, 'for which no place can be assigned.'


1 The Caverns of the Grave I've seen,
And these I shew'd to England's Queen.
But now the Caves of Hell I view,
Who shall I dare to shew them to?
5 What mighty Soul in Beauty's form
Shall dauntless View the Infernal storm?

MS. Book. p. 87, on same page as part of Blake's descriptive account of
his picture of 'The Last Judgment,' headed 'For the Year 1810 : Addition
to Blake's Catalogue of Pictures, &c.' Swinb. p. 55, WMR p. 170, EY iii.
74, WBY p. 140, all except Swinb. with title ' For a Picture of the Last
Judgment : Dedication.' WMR (p. 144) seems unaware that this poem
forms part of the MS. Book.
1 Caverns] Visions MS. Book 1st rdg. del. 3 But] And MS. Book 1st
rdg. del. 4 Who] Whom WMR, EY, WBY. 6 daunt'ess] dare to

MS. Book 1st rdg. del.

Egremont's Countess can controll
The flames of Hell that round me roll;
9If she refuse, I still go on
Till the Heavens & Earth are gone,
Still admir'd by Noble minds,
Follow'd by Envy on the winds,
13Re-engrav'd Time after Time,
Ever in their Youthful prime.
My Designs unchang'd remain.
Time may rage, but rage in vain.
17For above Time's troubled Fountains,
On the Great Atlantic Mountains,
In my Golden House on high,
There they shine Eternally.

7 can] dare MS. Book 1st rdg. del. 8 flames] doors ibid, ist )dg. del.
11 Noble] worthy ibid, 1si rdg. del. 15 unchang'd] shall still ibid. 1st
rdg. del.


1 I rose up at the dawn of day —
'Get thee away! get thee away!
Pray'st thou for Riches? away! away!
This is the Throne of Mammon grey.'

5Said I: this, sure, is very odd;
I took It to be the Throne of God.
For everything besides I have:
It is only for Riches that I can crave.

MS. Book. p. 89, written immediately under and partly around an entry
dated Aug. 1807. R1 has stanzas 1, 2, 3, the first couplet of 6, then 4 and 7;
Gil. i. 309, 310, prints 1, 2, 3, a fourth stanza formed of the first couplets of
6 and 4, a fifth stanza formed of the second couplet of 4 and the first couplet
of 5, then 7 ; Swinb. p. 128 (with title 'Prayer') arranges stanzas in the
order 1, 2, 3, 6. 4, 5, 7 ; WMR follows Gilchrist with title 'Mammon' ; EY
(i. 228) and WBY place stanzas in correct order, the latter with title 'The
Two Thrones.'
5 Said 1] I said R1 EY, WBY. 7 For everything] Everything R1,
Gil., WMR ; Everything else EY, WBY. 8 It . . . crave] It's only
riches that I can crave Gil., WMR ; It's only riches I can crave EY, WBY.

It is] It's R1.

9 I have Mental Joy, & Mental Health,
And Mental Friends, & Mental wealth;
I've a Wife I love, & that loves me;
I've all But Riches Bodily.

13 I am in God's presence night & day,
And he never turns his face away ;
The accuser of sins by my side doth stand,
And he holds my money bag in his hand.

17 For my worldly things God makes him pay,
And he'd pay for more if to him I would pray;
And so you may do the worst you can do;
Be assur'd, Mr Devil, I won't pray to you.

21 Then if for Riches I must not Pray,
God knows, I little of Prayers need say;
So, as a Church is known by its Steeple,
If I pray it must be for other People.

25 He says, if I do not worship him for a God,
I shall eat coarser food, & go worse shod;
So, as I don't value such things as these.
You must do, Mr Devil, just as God please.

9 Joy] joys R1 and all edd. 10 And Mental Friends] R1 and all
edd. except Swinb. omit 'And.' 11 Wife I love] Wife that I love R1
and all edd. except Swinb. 13-20 I am ... to you] Written later in
margin, and marked for insertion here. 14 And he] R1 and all edd.
except Swinb. omit 'And.' 15, 16 Cp. 'The Laocoon' (Prophetic
Books, 21) : ' Money, which is The Great Satan or Reason the Root of Good
& Evil In the Accusation of Sin.' 15 doth] does Swinb., EY, WBY.
16 money bag] money-bags EY, WBY. 19 And so you] And you
EY, WBY. 22 God . . . say] God knows it 's little prayers I need
say R1. Gil., WMR, EY. 25 if . . . him] if I worship not him R1, Gil.,
WMR ; if I don't worship him EY, WBY. 27 So] But R1, Gil.,


Do what you will this life's a fiction,
And is made up of contradiction.

MS. Book, p. 98, above stanza C 4 of ' Fayette' (MS. Book, xxxvi), which
appears upside down, written from the reversed end of the book. Printed

here for first time.






§ cxxxii

Written circa 1810