1825 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Wordsworth

William Blake, 10 December 1825; in Henry Crabb Robinson, Diary, Reminiscences, and Correspondence (1870; 1872) 2:9.



Blake, as I have said, thinks Wordsworth no Christian, but a Platonist. He asked me whether Wordsworth believed in the Scriptures. On my replying in the affirmative, he said he had been much pained by reading the introduction to "The Excursion." It brought on a fit of illness. The passage was produced and read:—

Jehovah, — with his thunder and the choir
Of shouting angels, and the empyreal thrones,—
I pass them unalarmed.

This "pass them unalarmed" greatly offended Blake. Does Mr. Wordsworth think his mind can pass Jehovah? I tried to explain this passage in a sense in harmony with Blake's own theories, but failed, and Wordsworth was finally set down as a Pagan; but still with high praise, as the greatest poet of the age.