1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Blake

Thomas Frognall Dibdin, in Library Companion (1824; 1825) 2:742 & n.



Wherefore is it, that I love to read that portion of the poem [Night Thoughts], published in a folio form, with bizarre but original and impressive ornaments by Blake? At times, the pencil of the artist attains the sublimity of the poet: and it is amidst the wild uproar of the wintry elements — when piping winds are howling for entrance round every corner of the turretted chamber, and the drifted snow works its way into the window casement, however closely fashioned — it is in moments LIKE THESE that I love to open that portion of the text of Young which has been embellished by the pencil of Blake. My friends will laugh . . peradventure deride . . but let us all be endured in these venial moments of hallucination. The soul of poetry itself (we are told) is fiction: and I would feign happiness at such moments....

Mr. Blake is himself no ordinary poet.