Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 7, (E 35) "How do you know but ev'ry Bird that cuts the airy way, Is an immense world of delight, clos'd by your senses five?"
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Illustration to Poems of Thomas Gray
Ode to Spring
The phrase in context: Marriage of Heaven & Hell, Plate 6 & 7, (E 35) "A Memorable Fancy. 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, shew the nature of Infernal wisdom better than any description of buildings or garments. When I came home; on the abyss of the five senses, where a flat sided steep frowns over the present world. I saw a mighty Devil folded in black clouds, hovering on the sides of the rock, with corroding fires he wrote the following sentence now percieved by the minds of men, & read by them on earth. How do you know but ev'ry Bird that cuts the airy way, Is an immense world of delight, clos'd by your senses five?"