1830 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Blake

Bernard Barton to John Linnell, April 22, 1830; E. V. Lucas, Bernard Barton and his Friends (1893) 121-22.



His style is little calculated to take with the admirers of modern engraving. It puts me in mind of some old prints I have seen, and seems to combine somewhat of old Albert Durer with Bolswert. I cannot but wish he could have clothed his imaginative creations in a garb more attractive to ordinary mortals, or else given simple outlines of them. The extreme beauty, elegance, and grace of several of his marginal accompaniments induce me to think that they would have pleased more generally in that state. But his was not a mind to dictate to; and what he had done is quite enough to stamp him as a genius of the highest order. A still prouder and more enduring meed of praise is due to the excellent and sterling worth of the man; his child-like simplicity, his manly independence, his noble aspirations after the purest and loftiest of all fame, appear to me to form a singular union of those virtue which distinguished the better citizens of Greece and Rome with the milder graces which adorned the primitive apostles.