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

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


During the time that Blake was most reproachful  about the treatment he has received at the hands of Cromek for cheating him out of the earnings he should have received for engraving his designs of Blair's The Grave, he made a unique entry into his notebook.

British Museum
Blake's Notebook
Page 88
British Museum
Blake's Notebook
Page 89
 Miscellaneous Prose, Memoranda from Notebook,  PAGE 88, (E 696)
          "South Molton Street
     Sunday August . 18O7  My Wife was told by a Spirit to look
for her fortune by opening by chance a book which she had in her
hand it was Bysshes Art of Poetry.  She opend the following
          I saw 'em kindle with Desire
          While with soft sighs they blew the fire
          Saw the approaches of their joy
          He growing more fierce & she less coy
          Saw how they mingled melting rays
          Exchanging Love a thousand ways
          Kind was the force on every side      
          Her new desire she could not hide
          Nor would the shepherd be denied
          The blessed minute he pursud
          Till she transported in his arms
          Yields to the Conqueror all her charms
          His panting breast to hers now joind
          They feast on raptures unconfind
          Vast & luxuriant such as prove
          The immortality of Love
          For who but a Divinity
          Could mingle souls to that degree 
          And melt them into Extasy
          Now like the Phoenix both expire 
          While from the ashes of their fire 
          Spring up a new & soft desire 
          Like charmers thrice they did invoke 
          The God & thrice new Vigor took

I was so well pleased with her Luck that I thought I would try my
Own & opend the following
          As when the winds their airy quarrel try
          Justling from every quarter of the Sky
          This way & that the Mountain oak they bear    
          His boughs they shatter & his branches tear
          With leaves & falling mast they spread the Ground
          The hollow Valleys Eccho [the] to the Sound
          Unmovd the royal plant their fury mocks
          Or shaken clings more closely to the rocks
          For as he shoots his lowring head on high     
          So deep in earth his fixd foundations lie
                                             DRYDENS VIRGIL" 
The book in which they found these verses which affirmed and comforted them was a popular work by Edward Bysshe which was first published in 1702 and revised several times. The Art of English Poetry contains sections on writing poetry, quotes from numerous poets arranged by themes, and a rhyming dictionary.

In this electronic copy of the 1737 edition you can locate the passage Catherine selected: Vol i, Page 139. William's selection is included on Page 9 in Vol ii of the 1762 edition.

This is the poem Blake wrote in the notebook following the poetry he copied from The Art of English Poetry.

British Museum
Blake's Notebook
Page 4
Songs & Ballads, From Notebook, (E 481)
"I rose up at the dawn of day
Get thee away get thee away
Prayst thou for Riches away away
This is the Throne of Mammon grey

Said I this sure is very odd                                     
I took it to be the Throne of God
For every Thing besides I have
It is only for Riches that I can crave

I have Mental Joy & Mental Health
And Mental Friends & Mental wealth          
Ive a Wife I love & that loves me
Ive all But Riches Bodily
I am in Gods presence night & day           
And he never turns his face away
The accuser of sins by my side does stand                      
And he holds my money bag in his hand

For my worldly things God makes him pay     
And hed pay for more if to him I would pray
And so you may do the worst you can do
Be assurd Mr Devil I wont pray to you                         
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   

He says if I do not worship him for a God                     
I shall eat coarser food & go worse shod
So as I dont value such things as these
You must do Mr Devil just as God please"

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