Blake seeks to provide the Golden String which can lead us through the labyrinth of our experience or his own poetry.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Job Illustration Twenty
Linnell set
Some of Blake's pictures which include dogs:

Job pictures:
Illustration One

Illustration Two

Illustration Five

Illustration Twenty-one
Judgement of Paris

On the Morning of Christ's Nativity, Picture 2

Book of Urizen, Plate 26

It seems that Blake had an affectionate relationship with dogs. He mentions them in his poetry and includes them in his visual images. Their presence seems to have indicated a dependable, loyal companion. They were appreciated and loved but their role was limited. They were akin to children in being neglected and abused. But to expect from them more than their species was suited to, was like the other poor choices would lead to bitter and costly experience. 

Jerusalem, Plate 21, (E 166)
"First fled my Sons, & then my Daughters, then my Wild Animations
My Cattle next, last ev'n the Dog of my Gate." 
Visions of Daughters of Albion, Plate 5, (E 48)
"and wilt thou take the ape
For thy councellor? or the dog, for a schoolmaster to thy

Book of Urizen, Plate 24, (E 81)
4. He in darkness clos'd, view'd all his race,
And his soul sicken'd! he curs'd
Both sons & daughters; for he saw
That no flesh nor spirit could keep                        
His iron laws one moment.

5. For he saw that life liv'd upon death
The Ox in the slaughter house moans
The Dog at the wintry door
And he wept, & he called it Pity
And his tears flowed down on the winds" 
Four Zoas, Page 35, (E 324)
"I am made to sow the thistle for wheat; the nettle for a nourishing dainty

I have planted a false oath in the earth, it has brought forth a poison tree
I have chosen the serpent for a councellor & the dog
For a schoolmaster to my children
I have blotted out from light & living the dove & nightingale    
And I have caused the earth worm to beg from door to door
I have taught the thief a secret path into the house of the just
I have taught pale artifice to spread his nets upon the morning
My heavens are brass my earth is iron my moon a clod of clay
My sun a pestilence burning at noon & a vapour of death in night 

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 that a man hath his house his wife his children
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy
And in the witherd field where the farmer plows for bread in vain"

Auguries of Innocence, (E 490)
"A dog starvd at his Masters Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State
The Beggers Dog & Widows Cat
Feed them & thou wilt grow fat"

Satiric Verses and Epigrams, (E 500)
"O who would smile on the wintry seas
& Pity the stormy roar                        
Or who will exchange his new born child
For the dog at the wintry door" 

Annotation to Reynolds, (E 656)
"How ridiculous it would be to see the Sheep Endeavouring to
walk like the Dog, or the Ox striving to trot like the Horse just
as Ridiculous it is see One Man Striving to Imitate Another   
Man varies from Man more than Animal from Animal of Different

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