William Blake

William Blake

William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. 

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If a thing loves it is infinite.

No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings

Shame is pride's cloak.

The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.

Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow.

Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate are necessary to human existence.

It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.

It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted.

What is the price of experience? Do men buy it for a song? Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No, it is bought with the price of all the man hath, his house, his wife, his children.

I give you the end of a golden string, Only wind it into a ball, It will lead you in at Heaven's gate, Built in Jerusalem's wall.

Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.

I heard an Angel singing, When the day was springing, "Mercy, Pity, Peace, Is the world's release."

He who binds to himself a joy, Does the winged life destroy, But he who kisses the joy as it flies, Lives in eternity's sunrise.

And I made a rural pen, And I stained the water clear, And I wrote my happy songs, Every child may joy to hear.

A dog starved at his master's gate predicts the ruin of the state.

Piping down the valleys wild, Piping songs of pleasant glee, On a cloud I saw a child.

Travelers repose and dream among my leaves.

Dip him in the river who loves water.

Seek Love in the pity of others' woe, In the gentle relief of another's care, In the darkness of night and the winter's snow, In the naked and outcast seek Love there!

As the air to a bird or the sea to a fish, so is contempt to the contemptible.

The eyes of fire, the nostrils of air, the mouth of war, the beard of earth.

The pride of the peacock is the glory of God.

When the stars threw down their spears, And watered heaven with their tears, Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Active Evil is better than Passive Good.

Good is Heaven. Evil is Hell.

He whose face gives no light shall never become a star.

For the Eye altering alters all, The Senses roll themselves in fear, And the flat Earth becomes a Ball.

The pride of the peacock is the glory of God. The lust of the goat is the bounty of God. The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God. The nakedness of woman is the work of God.

He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence

And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds, And binding with briars my joys and desires.

And because I am happy and dance and sing, They think they have done me no injury.

Expect poison from the standing water.

Bring out number, weight and measure in a year of dearth.

I sometimes try to be miserable that I may do more work, but find it is a foolish experiment.

I have mental joys and mental health, Mental friends and mental wealth, I've a wife that I love and that loves me, I've all but riches bodily.

The Angel that presided o'er my birth / Said Little creature formed of joy and mirth / Go love without the help of anything on earth.'

I am sure this Jesus will not do / Either for Englishman or Jew.

Sweet babe in thy face Soft desires I can trace Secret joys and secret smiles Little pretty infant wiles

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination nature is imagination itself.

The voice of honest indignation is the voice of God.

Want of money and the distress of a thief can never be alleged as the cause of his thieving for many honest people endure greater hardships with fortitude. We must therefore seek the cause elsewhere than in want of money for that is the miser's passion not the thief s.

The hum of multitudes was there but multitudes of lambs Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.

The strongest poison ever known / Came from Caesar's laurel crown.

None but blockheads copy each other.

Eternity is in love with the productions of time.

I cry Love! Love! Love! happy happy Love! free as the mountain wind!

In seed time learn in harvest teach in winter enjoy.

Truth lies within a little and certain compass but error is immense.

My mother groaned, my father wept, into the dangerous world I leapt, helpless naked piping loud, like a fiend hid in a cloud.

If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as if it is infinite

You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough

All futurity seems teeming with endless destruction never to be repelled, Desperate remorse swallows the present in a quenchless rage.

Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.

Damn braces: Bless relaxes.

I feel that a Man may be happy in This World. And I know that This World Is a World of Imagination & Vision.

The weak in courage is strong in cunning.

For everything exists and not one sigh nor smile nor tear one hair nor particle of dust not one can pass away.

Never seek to tell thy love / Love that never told can be, / For the gentle wind does move / Silently invisibly.

The ancient tradition that the world will be consumed in fire at the end of six thousand years is true as I have heard from Hell.

To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour.

I thought Love lived in the hot sunshine But O he lives in the moony light! I thought to find Love in the heat of day But sweet Love is the comforter of night.

O Rose thou art sick! The invisible worm That flies in the night In the howling storm Has found out thy bed Of crimson joy, And his dark secret love Does thy life destroy

Beats all the lies you can invent.

His whole life is an epigram smart smooth and neatly penned Plaited quite neat to catch applause with a hang noose at the end

Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead.

Folly is the cloak of knavery.

The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom...for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough.

The apple tree never asks the beech how he shall grow nor the lion the horse how he shall take his prey.

The selfish smiling fool and the sullen frowning fool shall be both thought wise that they may be a rod.

If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear as it is - infinite

I am really sorry to see my countrymen trouble themselves about politics. If men were wise the most arbitrary princes could not hurt them. If they are not wise the freest government is compelled to be a tyranny. Princes appear to me to be fools. Houses of Commons and Houses of Lords appear to me to be fools, they seem to me to be something else besides human life.

Then my verse I dishonor my pictures despise my person degrade and my temper chastise, and the pen is my terror the pencil my shame, and my talents I bury and dead is my fame.

Both read the Bible day and night But thou read'st black where I read white

But to go to school in a summer morn Oh it drives all joy away! Under a cruel eye outworn The little ones spend the day in sighing and dismay

If the Sun and Moon should doubt / They'd immediately go out.

The foundation of empire is art and science. Remove them or degrade them and the empire is no more. Empire follows art and not vice versa as Englishmen suppose.

I was angry with my friend: I told my wrath my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not my wrath did grow.

The Goddess Fortune is the devil's servant, ready to kiss any one's ass.

The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of Angels and God, and at liberty when of Devils and Hell is because he was a true poet, and of the Devil's party without knowing it.

Every thing possible to be believed is an image of truth.

I was in a Printing-house in Hell and saw the method in which knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation.

The cut worm forgives the plough.

The difference between a bad artist and a good one is: The bad artist seems to copy a great deal, the good one really does.

Those who restrain their desires do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.

I must Create a System or be enslav'd by another Man's

Great things are done when men and mountains meet

He who doubts from what he sees Will ne'er believe do what you please.

Every Night and every Morn Some to Misery are born. Every Morn and every Night Some are born to Sweet Delight Some are born to Endless Night.

A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.

It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity: Thus could I sing and thus rejoice: but it is not so with me.

The hours of folly are measured by the clock but of wisdom no clock can measure.

You smile with pomp and rigor you talk of benevolence and virtue, I act with benevolence and virtue and get murdered time after time.

Enlightenment means taking full responsibility for your life.

The sound is forced the notes are few!

Your chimneys I sweep and in soot I sleep.

This life's dim windows of the soul Distorts the heavens from pole to pole And leads you to believe a lie When you see with not through the eye.

Prisons are built with stones of Law Brothels with bricks of Religion.

Where there is money there is no art.

I see the Fourfold Man, the Humanity in deadly sleep / And its fallen Emanation the Spectre and its cruel Shadow. / I see the Past Present and Future existing all at once / Before me.

He who shall hurt the little wren / Shall never be beloved by men.

The Bat that flits at close of Eve Has left the Brain that won't believe. The Owl that calls upon the Night Speaks the Unbeliever's fright.

When the voices of children are heard on the green / And laughing is heard on the hill / My heart is at rest within my breast / And everything else is still.

And Eternity in an hour.

For everything that lives is holy life delights in life

Man's Desires are limited by his Perceptions, none can desire what he has not perceived.

The Desire of Man being Infinite the possession is Infinite and himself Infinite.

What is a wife and what is a harlot? What is a church and what is a theatre? are they two and not one? Can they exist separate? Are not religion and politics the same thing? Brotherhood is religion. O demonstrations of reason dividing families in cruelty and pride!

Always be ready to speak your mind and a base man will avoid you.

When I saw that rage was vain And to sulk would nothing gain Turning many a trick and wile I began to soothe and smile.

As a man is so he sees

Let man wear the fell of the lion woman the fleece of the sheep.

The world of imagination is the world of eternity. It is the divine bosom into which we shall all go after the death of the vegetated [i.e. mortal] body. This world of imagination is infinite and eternal whereas the world of generation is finite and temporal. There exist in that eternal world the eternal realities of everything which we see reflected in this vegetable glass of nature.

The Child's Toys and the Old Man's Reasons Are the Fruits of the Two seasons.

There is a smile of love And there is a smile of deceit And there is a smile of smiles In which these two smiles meet.

I myself do nothing. The Holy Spirit accomplishes all through me.

Exuberance is beauty.

Then every man of every clime That prays in his distress Prays to the human form divine Love Mercy Pity Peace.

The generations of men run on in the tide of time but leave their destined lineaments permanent for ever and ever.

For he hears the lambs innocent call. And he hears the ewes tender reply. He is watchful while they are in peace. For they know when their Shepherd is nigh.

England! awake! awake! awake! / Jerusalem thy sister calls! / Why wilt thou sleep the sleep of death / And close her from thy ancient walls?

Some will say Is not God alone the Prolific? I answer God only Acts & Is in existing beings or Men.

They suppose that Woman's Love is Sin, in consequence all the Loves & Graces with them are Sin.

He who loves his enemies betrays his friends, this surely is not what Jesus meant.

A skylark wounded in the wing / A cherubim does cease to sing.

Hear the voice of the Bard! Who present past and future sees, Whose ears have heard The Holy Word, That walked among the ancient trees.

`Father O father! what do we here, In this land of unbelief and fear? The Land of Dreams is better far, Above the light of the morning star.

The fields from Islington to Marybone / To Primrose Hill and Saint John's Wood / Were builded over with pillars of gold, / And there Jerusalem's pillars stood.

You never know what is enough unless you know more than enough.

The merchants are rich enough, Can they not help themselves?

The moon like a flower In heaven's high bower With silent delight Sits and smiles on the night.

The most sublime act is to set another before you.

Can I see another's woe and not be in sorrow too? Can I see another's grief and not seek for kind relief?

What is now proved was only once imagined.

One Law for the Lion and Ox is Oppression

The roaring of lions the howling of wolves the raging of the stormy sea and the destructive sword are portions of eternity too great for the eye of man.

To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.

Choosing forms of worship form poetic tales.

Great Men & Fools do often me Inspire But the Greater Fool the Greater Liar.

Nothing can be more contemptible than to suppose Public Records to be true.

Reason or the ratio of all we have already known is not the same that it shall be when we know more.

There is no mistake so great as the mistake of not going on.

Cruelty has a human heart, And jealousy a human face, Terror the human form divine, And secrecy the human dress.

He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars: General Good is the plea of the scoundrel hypocrite and flatterer

I love laughing.

You throw the sand against the wind And the wind blows it back again.

Man has closed himself up till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.

Energy is eternal delight

Humility is only doubt, And does the sun and moon blot out.

Father! father! where are you going? / O do not walk so fast. / Speak father speak to your little boy / Or else I shall be lost.

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 believe.

Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.

What is it men in women do require? The lineaments of Gratified Desire. What is it women do in men require? The lineaments of Gratified Desire.

Then I asked: `Does a firm persuasion that a thing is so make it so?' He replied: `All Poets believe that it does and in ages of imagination this firm persuasion removed mountains, but many are not capable of a firm persuasion of anything.'

Art can never exist without Naked Beauty display'd.

Every wolf 's and lion's howl / Raises from Hell a human soul.

see the world in a grain of sand ... And eternity in an hour.

Come live and be merry and join with me To sing the sweet chorus of 'Ha ha he!'

There certainly are moments in history when poets and painters connect so closely as to be one and the same person

Those who control their passions do so because their passions are weak enough to be controlled.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.

The rat the mouse the fox the rabbet, watch the roots.

God forbid that Truth should be confined to Mathematical Demonstration!

Lives in eternity's sun rise.

Jesus was all virtue and acted from impulse not from rules.

The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the crow.

The crow wished everything was black the owl that every thing was white.

Abstinence sows sand all over The ruddy limbs & flaming hair, But Desire Gratified Plants fruits of life & beauty there.

I can look at the knot in a piece of wood until it frightens me.

Where man is not nature is barren.

Innocence dwells with wisdom but never with ignorance

Opposition is true friendship.

The busy bee has no time for sorrow.

Mere enthusiasm is the all in all. . . . Passion and expression are beauty itself.

How sweet I roamed from field to field and tasted all the summer's pride.

The Vision of Christ that thou dost see / Is my vision's greatest enemy.

You cannot have Liberty in this world without what you call Moral Virtue and you cannot have Moral Virtue without the slavery of that half of the human race who hate what you call Moral Virtue.

That the Jews assumed a right exclusively to the benefits of God will be a lasting witness against them and the same will it be against Christians.

My mother bore me in the southern wild / And I am black but O! my soul is white.

If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.

See what it is to play unfair! Where cheating is there's mischief there.

The glory of Christianity is to conquer by forgiveness.

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Praises reap not! Joys laugh not! Sorrows weep not!

Can I see another's woe / And not be in sorrow too?

Every harlot was a virgin once.

Do what you will this world's a fiction and is made up of contradiction

Everything that lives lives not alone nor for itself.

Improvement makes straight roads, but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius

All wholesome food is caught without a net or a trap.

Some say that happiness is not good for mortals and they ought to be answered that sorrow is not fit for immortals and is utterly useless to any one, a blight never does good to a tree and if a blight kill not a tree but it still bear fruit let none say that the fruit was in consequence of the blight.

I must Create a System or be enslaved by another Man's, / I will not Reason and Compare, my business is to Create.

There can be no Good Will. Will is always Evil, it is persecution to others or selfishness.

To open the Eternal Worlds to open the immortal Eyes Of Man inwards into the Worlds of Thought: into Eternity Ever expanding in the Bosom of God the Human Imagination.

Nature in darkness groans and men are bound to sullen contemplation in the night: restless they turn on beds of sorrow, in their inmost brain feeling the crushing wheels they rise they write the bitter words of stern philosophy and knead the bread of knowledge with tears and groans.

The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God.

Sleep sleep beauty bright Dreaming in the joys of night, Sleep sleep, in thy sleep Little sorrows sit and weep.

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.

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

He who would see the Divinity must see him in his Children.

Men are admitted into Heaven not because they have curbed and governed their passions or have no passions but because they have cultivated their understandings. The treasures of Heaven are not negations of passion but realities of intellect from which all the passions emanate uncurbed in their eternal glory. The fool shall not enter into Heaven let him be ever so holy.

A petty sneaking thief I knew - / O! Mr Cr- how do you do?

Tiger! Tiger! burning bright / In the forests of the night / What immortal hand or eye / Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

What is now proved was once only imagined.

Where Mercy Love and Pity dwellThere God is dwelling too.

The human mind cannot go beyond the gift of God the Holy Ghost. To suppose that art can go beyond the finest specimens of art that are now in the world is not knowing what art is, it is being blind to the gifts of the spirit.

The bird a nest the spider a web man friendship.

Brotherhood is Religion!

What is now proved was once only imagin'd

The lust of the goat is the bounty of God.

Thinking as I do that the Creator of this world is a very cruel being and being a worshipper of Christ I cannot help saying: ''the Son O how unlike the Father!'' First God Almighty comes with a thump on the head. Then Jesus Christ comes with a balm to heal it.

He who shall teach the child to doubt / The rotting grave shall ne'er get out.

When the doors of perception are cleansed man will see things as they truly are infinite.

Joys impregnate sorrows bring forth.

And we are put on earth a little space, That we may learn to bear the beams of love.

Man has no Body distinct from his Soul, for that called Body is a portion of Soul discerned by the five Senses the chief inlets of Soul in this age.

Mechanical excellence is the only vehicle of genius.

`Pipe a song about a Lamb!' So I piped with merry cheer.

When Sir Joshua Reynolds died / All Nature was degraded, / The King dropped a tear in the Queen's ear / And all his pictures faded.

Excess of sorrow laughs excess of joy weeps.

To create a little flower is the labour of ages.

To generalize is to be an idiot.

To me this world is all one continued vision of fancy or imagination and I feel flattered when I am told so. What is it sets Homer Virgil and Milton in so high a rank of art? Why is the Bible more entertaining and instructive than any other book? Is it not because they are addressed to the imagination which is spiritual sensation and but immediately to the understanding or reason?

Puts all Heaven in a Rage.

To the eyes of a miser a guinea is far more beautiful than the sun and a bag worn with the use of money has more beautiful proportions that a vine filled with grapes

Without contraries is no progression.

As a man is so he sees. As the eye is formed such are its powers.

Enthusiastic Admiration is the first Principle of Knowledge and its last.

O! why was I born with a different face? / Why was I not born like the rest of my race?

The essentials to happiness are something to love something to do and something to hope for.

In every cry of every man In every infant's cry of fear In every voice in every ban The mind-forged manacles I hear.

The soul of sweet delight can never be defiled.

I am in you and you in me mutual in divine love.

The eye altering alters all

You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.

Forgiveness of enemies can only come upon their repentance.

As I was walking among the fires of Hell delighted with the enjoyments of Genius, which to Angels look like torment and insanity, I collected some of their Proverbs thinking that, as the sayings used in a nation mark its character, so the Proverbs of Hell show the nature of Infernal wisdom better than any description of buildings or garments.

Prepare your hearts for Death's cold hand! prepare Your souls for flight your bodies for the earth, Prepare your arms for glorious victory, Prepare your eyes to meet a holy God! Prepare prepare!

The countless gold of a merry heart The rubies and pearls of a loving eye The indolent never can bring to the mart Nor the secret hoard up in his treasury.

The man who never alters his opinions is like standing water and breeds reptiles of the mind.

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy.

When a man has married a wife he finds out whether / Her knees and elbows are only glued together.

`I have no name: / I am but two days old.' / What shall I call thee? / `I happy am / Joy is my name.' / Sweet joy befall thee!

The fool who persists in his folly will become wise.

The best wine is the oldest the best water the newest.

Thy friendship oft has made my heart to ache, do be my enemy - for friendship's sake

Truth can never be told so as to be understood and not be believed.

As the caterpillar chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys.

Since all the riches of this world May be gifts from the Devil and earthly kings I should suspect that I worshipp'd the Devil If I thank'd my God for worldly things

To see a world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wild flower Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour. ot their name. William James's mysticism chapter from 'Varieties of Relligious Experience' may help here.

Love seeketh not itself to please nor for itself hath any care but for another gives its ease and builds a Heaven in Hell's despair.

When a sinister person means to be your enemy they always start by trying to become your friend.

They said this mystery never shall cease: the priest promotes war and the soldier peace

If the lion was advised by the fox he would be cunning.

Listen to the fools reproach! it is a kingly title!

And the gates of this Chapel were shut / And `Thou shalt not' writ over the door.

It is not because angels are holier than men or devils that makes them angels, but because they do not expect holiness from one another but from God only.

Mutual Forgiveness of each vice / Such are the Gates of Paradise.

Bring me my bow of burning gold! Bring me my arrows of desire! Bring me my spear! O clouds unfold! Bring me my chariot of fire!

Every tear from every eye / Becomes a babe in Eternity.

Every year we are growing by leaps and bounds.

Poetry fettered fetters the human race. Nations are destroyed or flourish in proportion as their poetry painting and music are destroyed or flourish.

I care not whether a man is good or evil, all that I care / Is whether he is a wise man or a fool. Go! put off holiness / And put on intellect.

Enough! or Too much.

He who has suffered you to impose on him knows you.

Tools were made and born were hands, every farmer understands.

Every Mortal loss is an Immortal Gain. The Ruins of Time build Mansions in Eternity.

The Old and New Testaments are the Great Code of Art.

The cistern contains: the fountain overflows.

And now the time returns again: / Our souls exult and London's towers / Receive the Lamb of God to dwell / In England's green and pleasant bowers.

Excessive sorrow laughs. Excessive joy weeps.

One thought fills immensity.

God appears and God is Light To those poor souls who dwell in Night But does a human form display To those who dwell in realms of day.

Am not I A fly like thee? Or art not thou A man like me?

When nations grow old the arts grow cold and commerce settles on every tree.

The true method of knowledge is experiment.

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.

What is grand is necessarily obscure to weak men. That which can be made explicit to the idiot is not worth my care.

Better murder an infant in its cradle than nurse an unacted desire.

When my mother died I was very young / And my father sold me while yet my tongue / Could scarcely cry `'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!' / So your chimneys I sweep and in soot I sleep.

The inquiry in England is not whether a man has talents and genius but whether he is passive and polite and a virtuous ass and obedient to noblemen's opinions in art and science. If he is he is a good man. If not he must be starved.

He is meek and He is mild, / He became a little child. / I a child and thou a lamb / We are called by His name. / Little Lamb God bless thee!

Pity would be no more / If we did not make somebody poor, / And Mercy no more could be/ If all were as happy as we.

The harlot's cry from street to street / Shall weave old England's winding-sheet.

Commerce is so far from being beneficial to arts or to empire that it is destructive of both as all their history shows for the above reason of individual merit being its great hatred. Empires flourish till they become commercial and then they are scattered abroad to the four winds.

The caterpillar on the leaf / Repeats to thee thy mother's grief.

Great things are done when men and mountains meet, This is not done by jostling in the street

And Father how can I love you Or any of my brothers more? I love you like the little bird That picks up crumbs around the door.

The Man who pretends to be a modest enquirer into the truth of a self evident thing is a Knave.

The whore and gambler by the state Licensed build the nation's fate

I do not like the man's face. He looks as if he will live to be hanged.

If others had not been foolish we should be so.

What is the Divine Spirit? Is the Holy Ghost any other than an Intellectual fountain?

The fox provides for himself but God provides for the lion.

Art is the tree of life. Science is the tree of death. God is Jesus.

Imitation is criticism.

Children of the future Age Reading this indignant page Know that in a former time Love! sweet Love! was thought a crime.

Christianity is art and not money. Money is its curse.

Swedenborg is the Angel sitting at the tomb: his writings are the linen clothes folded up.

Wandering in many a coral grove / Fair Nine forsaking Poetry!

The arts of peace are great And no less glorious than those of war.

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