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William Blake


William Blake

(Born – November 28, 1757-August 12, 1827)

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.


“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.”
(from ‘Jerusalem’ in Milton, 1804-1808)

Born in London, William Blake was an English Author who lived most of his life with powerful Imagination. He stayed in a cottage at Felpham, near the seaside town of Bognor, in Sussex. A Brilliant but unconventional English Poet, engraver and painter. His symbolic pictures and visionary poems are not always easy to understand because he invented his own mythology to express his ideas. But his pictures and poems reveal a powerful artistic imagination.

He attended Henry Pars’ Drawing school in 1767. He experienced visions of angels and ghostly monks and he saw he conversed with Angel Gabriel, Virgin Mary and various historical figures. At the age of 14, he was apprenticed for seven years to an Engraver James Basire. Gothic art and architecture influenced him greatly. However, as a book illustrator and engraver, he was also interested in his illuminated printing‘, a process of engraving poems and related pictures on metal plates and then hand colouring the prints made from them. Except for Poetical sketches, all the Blake’s published poetry appeared in unique form. In 1783, he married Catherine Boucher, the daughter of a market gardener. He taught her to draw and paint and she assisted him.

In 1783, Blake’s first book of poems, Poetical Sketches appeared, followed by Songs of Innocence (1789), and Songs of Experience (1794). His most famous work ‘The Tyger’ was a part of Songs of Experience. In this work, the world is seen from a child’s point of view but also functions as a parable of adult experience. In ‘The Lamb’ and The Tiger’, Blake shows opposite sides of human nature, what he calls ‘the two contrary states of the human soul’. His ‘prophetic’ works include The French Revolution (1791), America (1793), The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (about 1793), Milton (about 1810) and Jerusalem (about 1820).

Blake was economically poor and Died on 12 August in his room at 3 Fountain Court.


A Song by William Blake

Sweet dreams, form a shade
O’er my lovely infant’s head!
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams
By happy, silent, moony beams!

Sweet Sleep, with soft down
Weave thy brows an infant crown
Sweet Sleep, angel mild,
Hover o’er my happy child!

Sweet smiles, in the night
Hover over my delight!
Sweet smiles, mother’s smile,
All the livelong night beguile.

Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,
Chase not slumber from thine eyes!
Sweet moan, sweeter smile,
All the dovelike moans beguile.

Sleep, sleep, happy child!
All creation slept and smiled.
Sleep, sleep, happy sleep,
While o’er thee doth mother weep.

Sweet babe, in thy face
Holy image I can trace;
Sweet babe, once like thee
Thy Maker lay, and wept for me:

Wept for me, for thee, for all,
When He was an infant small.
Thou His image ever see,
Heavenly face that smiles on thee!

Smiles on thee, on me, on all,
Who became an infant small;
Infant smiles are his own smiles;
Heaven and earth to peace beguiles


Laughing Song by William Blake

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;

When the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene,
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing “Ha, Ha, He!”

When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread,
Come live & be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of “Ha, Ha, He!”

William Blake







A Dream by William Blake

Once a dream did weave a shade
O’er my angel-guarded bed,
That an emmet lost its way
Where on grass methought I lay.

Troubled, wildered, and forlorn,
Dark, benighted, travel-worn,
Over many a tangle spray,
All heart-broke, I heard her say:

‘Oh my children! do they cry,
Do they hear their father sigh?
Now they look abroad to see,
Now return and weep for me.’

Pitying, I dropped a tear:
But I saw a glow-worm near,
Who replied, ‘What wailing wight
Calls the watchman of the night?

‘I am set to light the ground,
While the beetle goes his round:
Follow now the beetle’s hum;
Little wanderer, hie thee home!’

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