Письма Уильяма Блейка/Джеймсу Блейку 30 января 1803
[To James Blake]
Felpham Jan y 30—1803.
Dear Brother Your Letter mentioning M r Butts's account of my Ague surprized me because I have no Ague but have had a Cold this Winter. You know that it is my way to make the best of every thing. I never make myself nor my friends uneasy if I can help it. My Wife has bad Agues & Rheumatisms almost ever since she has been here, but our time is almost out that we took the Cottage for. I did not mention our Sickness to you & should not to M r Butts but for a determination which we have lately made namely To leave This Place—because I am now certain of what I have long doubted Viz [ that H ]is jealous as Stothard was & will be no further My friend than he is compelld by circumstances. The truth is As a Poet he is frightend at me & as a Painter his views & mine are opposite he thinks to turn me into a Portrait Painter as he did Poor Romney, but this he nor all the devils in hell will never do. I must own that seeing H. like S Envious (& that he is I am now certain) made me very uneasy, but it is over & I now defy the worst & fear not while I am true to myself which I will be. This is the uneasiness I spoke of to M r Butts but
726 I did not tell him so plain& wish you to keep it a secret & to burn this letter because it speaks so plain I told M r Butts that I did not wish to Explore too much the cause of our determination to leave Felpham because of pecuniary connexions between H & me—Be not then uneasy on any account & tell my Sister not to be uneasy for I am fully Employd & Well Paid I have made it so much H's interest to employ me that he can no longer treat me with indifference & now it is in my power to stay or return or remove to any other place that I choose, because I am getting before hand in money matters The Profits arising from Publications are immense & I now have it in my power to commence publication with many very formidable works, which I have finishd & ready A Book price half a guinea may be got out at the Expense of Ten pounds & its almost certain profits are 500 G. I am only sorry that I did not know the methods of publishing years ago & this is one of the numerous benefits I have obtaind by coming here for I should never have known the nature of Publication unless I had known H & his connexions & his method of managing. It now <would> be folly not to venture publishing. I am now Engraving Six little plates for a little work of M r H's for which I am to have 10 G <uineas> each & the certain profits of that work are a fortune such as would make me independent supposing that I could substantiate such a one of my own & I mean to try many But I again say as I said before We are very Happy sitting at tea by a wood fire in our Cottage the wind singing above our roof & the sea roaring at a distance but if sickness comes all is unpleasant
But my letter to M r Butts appears to me not to be so explicit as that to you for I told you that I should come to London in the Spring to commence Publisher & he <has> offerd me every assistance in his power <without knowing my intention> . But since I wrote yours we had made the resolution of which we informd him viz to leave Felpham entirely. I also told you what I was about & that I was not ignorant of what was doing in London in works of art. But I did not mention Illness because I hoped to get better (for I was really very ill when I wrote to him the last time) & was not then perswaded as I am now that the air tho warm is unhealthy
However this I know will set you at Ease. I am now so full of work that I have had no time to go on with the Ballads, & my prospects of more & more work continually are certain. My Heads of Cowper for M r H's life of Cowper have pleasd his Relations exceedingly & in Particular Lady Hesketh & Lord Cowper <to please> Lady H was a doubtful chance who almost adord her Cousin the poet & thought him all perfection & she writes that she is quite satisfied with the portraits & charmd by the great Head in particular tho she never could bear the original Picture
But I ought to mention to you that our present idea is. To take a house in some village further from the Sea Perhaps Lavant. & in or near the road to London for the sake of convenience—I also ought to inform you that I read your letter to M r H & that he is very afraid of losing me & also very afraid that my Friends in London should have a bad opinion of the reception he has given to me But My Wife has undertaken to Print the whole number of the Plates for Cowpers work which she does to admiration & being under my own
727 eye the prints are as fine as the French prints & please every one. in short I have Got every thing so under my thumb that it is more profitable that things should be as they are than any other way, tho not so agreeable because we wish naturally for friendship in preference to interest.—The Publishers are already indebted to My Wife Twenty Guineas for work deliverd this is a small specimen of how we go on. then fear nothing & let my Sister fear nothing because it appears to me that I am now too old & have had too much experience to be any longer imposed upon only illness makes all uncomfortable & this we must prevent by every means in our power
I send with this 5 Copies of N4 of the Ballads for M rs Flaxman & Five more two of which you will be so good as to give to M rs Chetwynd if she should call or send for them. These Ballads are likely to be Profitable for we have Sold all that we have had time to print. Evans the Bookseller in Pallmall says they go off very well & why should we repent of having done them it is doing Nothing that is to be repented of & not doing such things as these
Pray remember us both to M r Hall when you see him
I write in great haste & with a head full of botheration about various projected works & particularly. a work now Proposed to the Public at the End of Cowpers Life. which will very likely be of great consequence it is Cowpers Milton the same that Fuselis Milton Gallery was painted for,, & if we succeed in our intentions the prints to this work will be very profitable to me & not only profitable but honourable at any rate The Project pleases Lord Cowpers family. & I am now labouring in my thoughts Designs for this & other works equally creditable These are works to be boasted of & therefore I cannot feel depress'd tho I know that as far as Designing & Poetry are concernd I am Envied in many Quarters. but I will cram the Dogs for I know that the Public are my friends & love my works & will embrace them whenever they see them My only Difficulty is to produce fast enough.
I go on Merrily with my Greek & Latin: am very sorry that I did not begin to learn languages early in life as I find it very Easy. am now learning my Hebrew
Hebrew text I read Greek as fluently as an Oxford scholar & the Testament is my chief master. astonishing indeed is the English Translation it is almost word for word & if the Hebrew Bible is as well translated which I do not doubt it is we need not doubt of its having been translated as well as written by the Holy Ghost my wife joins me in Love to you both
I am Sincerely yours W BLAKE 728 b15.26 26 [To] M r Butts, Grt Marlborough Street Felpham April 25: 1803 My Dear Sir I write in haste having recievd a pressing Letter from my Brother. I intended to have sent the Picture of the Riposo which is nearly finishd much to my satisfaction but not quite you shall have it soon. I now send the 4 Numbers for M r Birch with best Respects to him <The Reason the Ballads have been suspended is the pressure of other business but they will go on again soon>
Accept of my thanks for your kind & heartening Letter You have Faith in the Endeavours of Me your weak brother & fellow Disciple. how great must be your faith in our Divine Master. You are to me a Lesson of Humility while you Exalt me by such distinguishing commendations. I know that you see certain merits in me which by Gods Grace shall be made fully apparent & perfect in Eternity. in the mean time I must not bury the Talents in the Earth but do my endeavour to live to the Glory of our Lord & Saviour & I am also grateful to the kind hand that endeavours to lift me out of despondency even if it lifts me too high—
And now My Dear Sir Congratulate me on my return to London with the full approbation of M r Hayley & with Promise—But Alas!
Now I may say to you what perhaps I should not dare to say to any one else. That I can alone carry on my visionary studies in London unannoyd & that I may converse with my friends in Eternity. See Visions, Dream Dreams, & prophecy & speak Parables unobserv'd & at liberty from the Doubts of other Mortals. perhaps Doubts proceeding from Kindness. but Doubts are always pernicious Especially when we Doubt our Friends Christ is very decided on this Point. “He who is Not With Me is Against Me” There is no Medium or Middle state & if a Man is the Enemy of my Spiritual Life while he pretends to be the Friend of my Corporeal. he is a Real Enemy—but the Man may be the friend of my Spiritual Life while he seems the Enemy of my Corporeal but Not Vice Versa
What is very pleasant. Every one who hears of my going to London again Applauds it as the only course for the interest of all concernd in My Works. Observing that I ought not to be away from the opportunities London affords of seeing fine Pictures and the various improvements in Works of Art going on in London
But none can know the Spiritual Acts of my three years Slumber on the banks of the Ocean unless he has seen them in the Spirit or unless he should read My long Poem descriptive of those Acts for I have in these three years composed an immense number of verses on One Grand Theme Similar to Homers Iliad or Miltons Paradise Lost the Person & Machinery intirely new to the Inhabitants of Earth (some of the Persons Excepted) I have written
729 this Poem from immediate Dictation twelve or sometimes twenty or thirty lines at a time without Premeditation & even against my Will. the Time it has taken in writing was thus renderd Non Existent. & an immense Poem Exists which seems to be the Labour of a long Life all producd without Labour or Study. I mention this to shew you what I think the Grand Reason of my being brought down here
I have a thousand & ten thousand things to say to you. My heart is full of futurity. I percieve that the sore travel which has been given me these three years leads to Glory & Honour. I rejoice & I tremble “I am fearfully & wonderfully made”. I had been reading the cxxxix Psalm a little before your Letter arrived. I take your advice. I see the face of my Heavenly Father he lays his Hand upon my Head & gives a blessing to all my works why should I be troubled why should my heart & flesh cry out. I will go on in the Strength of the Lord through Hell will I sing forth his Praises. that the Dragons of the Deep may praise him & that those who dwell in darkness & on the Sea coasts may be gatherd into his Kingdom. Excuse my perhaps too great Enthusiasm. Please to accept of & give our Loves to M rs Butts & your amiable Family. & believe me to be——
Ever Yours Affectionately WILL. BLAKE. b15.27 27 [To Thomas Butts] Felpham July 6. 1803 Dear Sir I send you the Riposo which I hope you will think my best Picture in many respects. It represents the Holy Family in Egypt Guarded in their Repose from those Fiends the Egyptian Gods. and tho' not directly taken from a Poem of Miltons (for till I had designd it Miltons Poem did not come into my Thoughts) Yet it is very similar to his Hymn on the Nativity which you will find among his smaller Poems & will read with great delight. I have given in the background a building which may be supposed the ruin of a Part of Nim-rods tower which I conjecture to have spread over many Countries for he ought to be reckond of the Giant brood
I have now on the Stocks the following Drawings for you 1. Jephthah sacrificing his Daughter—2. Ruth & her mother in Law & Sister 3. The three Maries at the Sepulcher. 4. The Death of Joseph. 5. The Death of the Virgin Mary  <6> S t Paul Preaching. &  <7> The Angel of the Divine Presence clothing Adam & Eve with Coats of Skins
These are all in great forwardness & I am satisfied that I improve very much & shall continue to do so while I live which [ if ] <is>a blessing I can never be too thankful for both to God & Man
We look forward every day with pleasure toward our meeting again in London
730 with those whom we have learnd to value by absence no less perhaps than we did by presence for recollection often surpasses every thing. indeed the prospect of returning to our friends is supremely delightful—Then I am determind that M rs Butts shall have a good likeness of You if I have hands & eyes left. for I am become a likeness taker & succeed admirably well. but this is not to be atchievd without the original sitting before you for Every touch. all likenesses from memory being necessarily very very defective but Nature & Fancy are Two Things & can Never be joined neither ought any one to attempt it for it is Idolatry & destroys the Soul
I ought to tell you that M r H. is quite agreeable to our return & that there is all the appearance in the world of our being fully employd in Engraving for his projected Works Particularly Cowpers Milton. a Work now on foot by Subscription & I understand that the Subscription goes on briskly. This work is to be a very Elegant one & to consist of All Miltons Poems with Cowpers Notes and translations by Cowper from Miltons Latin & Italian Poems. These works will be ornamented with Engravings from Designs from Romney. Flaxman & Y r hble Serv t & to be Engravd also by the last mentiond. The Profits of the work are intended to be appropriated to Erect a Monument to the Memory of Cowper in St Pauls or Westminster Abbey. Such is the Project—& M r Addington & M r Pitt are both among the Subscribers which are already numerous & of the first rank. the price of the Work is Six Guineas—Thus I hope that all our three years trouble Ends in Good Luck at last & shall be forgot by my affections & only rememberd by my Understanding to be a Memento in time to come & to speak to future generations by a Sublime Allegory which is now perfectly completed into a Grand Poem [.] I may praise it since I dare not pretend to be any other than the Secretary the Authors are in Eternity I consider it as the Grandest Poem that This World Contains. Allegory addressd to the Intellectual powers while it is altogether hidden from the Corporeal Understanding is My Definition of the Most Sublime Poetry. it is also somewhat in the same manner defind by Plato. This Poem shall by Divine Assistance be progressively Printed & Ornamented with Prints & given to the Public—But of this work I take care to say little to M r H. since he is as much averse to my poetry as he is to a Chapter in the Bible He knows that I have writ it for I have shewn it to him & he had read Part by his own desire & has lookd with sufficient contempt to enhance my opinion of it. But I do not wish to irritate by seeming too obstinate in Poetic pursuits But if all the World should set their faces against This. I have Orders to set my face like a flint. Ezekiel iii C 9 v. against their faces & my forehead against their foreheads
As to M r H I feel myself at liberty to say as follows upon this ticklish subject. I regard Fashion in Poetry as little as I do in Painting. so if both Poets & Painters should alternately dislike (but I know the majority of them will not) I am not to regard it at all but M r H approves of My Designs as little as he does of my Poems and I have been forced to insist on his leaving me in both to my Own Self Will. for I am determind to be no longer Pesterd with his Genteel Ignorance & Polite Disapprobation. I know myself both Poet &
731 Painter& it is not his affected Contempt that can move me to any thing but a more assiduous pursuit of both Arts. Indeed by my late Firmness I have brought down his affected Loftiness & he begins to think I have some Genius. as if Genius & Assurance were the same thing. but his imbecile attempts to depress Me only deserve laughter—I say thus much to you knowing that you will not make a bad use of it But it is a Fact too true That if I had only depended on Mortal Things both myself & my Wife must have been Lost—I shall leave every one in This Country astonishd at my Patience & Forbearance of Injuries upon Injuries & I do assure you that if I could have returnd to London a Month after my arrival here I should have done so, but I was commanded by my Spiritual friends to bear all to be silent & to go thro all without murmuring & in firm hope till my three years should be almost accomplishd at which time I was set at liberty to remonstrate against former conduct & to demand Justice & Truth which I have done in so effectual a manner that my antagonist is silencd completely. & I have compelld. what should have been of freedom My Just Right as an Artist & as a Man. & if any attempt should be made to refuse me this I am inflexible & will relinquish Any engagement of Designing at all unless altogether left to my own Judgment. As you My dear Friend have always left me for which I shall never cease to honour & respect you
When we meet I will perfectly describe to you my Conduct & the Conduct of others toward me & you will see that I have labourd hard indeed & have been borne on angels wings. Till we meet I beg of God our Saviour to be with you & me & yours & mine Pray give My & My wifes love to M rs Butts & Family & believe me to remain
Yours in truth & sincerity WILL BLAKE b15.28 28 [To] M r Butts, Gr Marlborough St, London Felpham August 16. 1803 Dear Sir I send 7 Drawings which I hope will please you. this I believe about balances our account—Our return to London draws on apace. our Expectation of meeting again with you is one of our greatest pleasures. Pray tell me how your Eyes do. I never sit down to work but I think of you & feel anxious for the sight of that friend whose Eyes have done me so much good—I omitted (very unaccountably) to copy out in my last Letter that passage in my rough sketch which related to your kindness in offering to Exhibit my 2 last Pictures in the Gallery in Berners Street it was in these Words. “I sincerely thank you for your kind offer of Exhibiting my 2 Pictures. the trouble you take on my account I trust will be recompensed to you by him who Seeth in Secret. if you should find it convenient to do so it will be gratefully rememberd
732 by me among the other numerous kindnesses I have recievd from you”—
I go on with the remaining Subjects which you gave me commission to Execute for you but shall not be able to send any more before my return tho perhaps I may bring some with me finishd. I am at Present in a Bustle to defend myself against a very unwarrantable warrant from a justice of Peace in Chichester. which was taken out against me by a Private in Capt n Leathes's troop of 1 st or Royal Dragoons for an assault & Seditious words. The wretched Man has terribly Perjurd himself as has his CoM r ade for as to Sedition not one Word relating to the King or Government was spoken by either him or me. His Enmity arises from my having turned him out of my Garden into which he was invited as an assistant by a Gardener at work therein, without my knowledge that he was so invited. I desired him as politely as was possible to go out of the Garden, he made me an impertinent answer I insisted on his leaving the Garden he refused I still persisted in desiring his departure he then threatend to knock out my Eyes with many abominable imprecations & with some contempt for my Person it affronted my foolish Pride I therefore took him by the Elbows & pushed him before me till I had got him out. there I intended to have left him. but he turning about put himself into a Posture of Defiance threatening & swearing at me. I perhaps foolishly & perhaps not, stepped out at the Gate & putting aside his blows took him again by the Elbows & keeping his back to me pushed him forwards down the road about fifty yards he all the while endeavouring to turn round & strike me & raging & cursing which drew out several neighbours. at length when I had got him to where he was Quarterd. which was very quickly done. we were met at the Gate by the Master of the house. The Fox Inn, (who is [ my ]the proprietor of my Cottage) & his wife & Daughter. & the Mans CoM r ade. & several other people My Landlord compelld the Soldiers to go in doors after many abusive threats [ from the ]against me & my wife from the two Soldiers but not one word of threat on account of Sedition was utterd at that time. This method of Revenge was Plann'd between them after they had got together into the Stable. This is the whole outline. I have for witnesses. The Gardener who is Hostler at the Fox & who Evidences that to his knowledge no word of the remotest tendency to Government or Sedition was utterd,—Our next door Neighbour a Millers wife who saw me turn him before me down the road & saw & heard all that happend at the Gate of the Inn who Evidences that no Expression of threatening on account of Sedition was utterd in the heat of their fury by either of the Dragoons. this was the womans own remark & does high honour to her good sense as she observes that whenever a quarrel happens the offence is always repeated. The Landlord of the Inn & His Wife & daughter will Evidence the Same & will evidently prove the Comrade perjurd who swore that he heard me <while> at the Gate utter Seditious words & D—- the K—- without which perjury I could not have been committed & I had no witness with me before the Justices who could combat his assertion as the Gardener remaind in my Garden all the while & he was the only person I thought necessary to take with me. I have been before a Bench of Justices at Chichester this morning. but they as the Lawyer who
733 wrote down the Accusation told me in private are compelld by the Military to suffer a prosecution to be enterd into altho they must know & it is manifest that the whole is a Fabricated Perjury. I have been forced to find Bail. M r Hayley was kind enough to come forwards & M r Seagrave Printer at Chichester. M r H. in 100£ & M r S. in 50£ & myself am bound in 100£ for my appearance at the Quarter Sessions which is after Michaelmass. So I shall have the Satisfaction to see my friends in Town before this Contemptible business comes on I say Contemptible for it must be manifest to every one that the whole accusation is a wilful Perjury. Thus you see my dear Friend that I cannot leave this place without some adventure. it has struck a consternation thro all the Villages round. Every Man is now afraid of speaking to or looking at a Soldier. for the peaceable Villagers have always been forward in expressing their kindness for us & they express their sorrow at our departure as soon as they hear of it Every one here is my Evidence for Peace & Good Neighbourhood & yet such is the present state of things this foolish accusation must be tried in Public. Well I am content I murmur not & doubt not that I shall recieve Justice & am only sorry for the trouble & expense. I have heard that my Accuser is a disgraced Sergeant his name is John Scholfield. perhaps it will be in your power to learn somewhat about the Man I am very ignorant of what I am requesting of you. I only suggest what I know you will be kind enough to Excuse if you can learn nothing about him & what I as well know if it is possible you will be kind enough to do in this matter
Dear Sir This perhaps was sufferd to Clear up some doubts & to give opportunity to those whom I doubted to clear themselves of all imputation. If a Man offends me ignorantly & not designedly surely I ought to consider him with favour & affection. Perhaps the simplicity of myself is the origin of all offences committed against me. If I have found this I shall have learned a most valuable thing well worth three years perseverance. I have found it! It is certain! that a too passive manner. inconsistent with my active physiognomy had done me much mischief I must now express to you my conviction that all is come from the spiritual World for Good & not for Evil.
Give me your advice in my perilous adventure. burn what I have peevishly written about any friend. I have been very much degraded & injuriously treated. but if it all arise from my own fault I ought to blame myself
b15.28.1 O why was I born with a different face t Why was I not born like the rest of my race When I look each one starts! when I speak I offend Then I'm silent & passive & lose every Friend Then my verse I dishonour. My pictures despise5 My person degrade & my temper chastise And the pen is my terror. the pencil my shame All my Talents I bury, and Dead is my Fame I am either too low or too highly prizd When Elate I am Envy'd, When Meek I'm despisd 10 734 b15.28.2 This is but too just a Picture of my Present state I pray God to keep you & all men from it & to deliver me in his own good time. Pray write to me & tell me how you & your family Enjoy health. My much terrified Wife joins me in love to you & M rs Butts & all your family. I again take the liberty to beg of you to cause the Enclosd Letter to be deliverd to my Brother & remain
Sincerely & Affectionately Yours WILLIAM BLAKE b15.29 29 Blake's Memorandum in Refutation of the Information and Complaint of John Scolfield, a private Soldier, &c. t [August 1803] The Soldier has been heard to say repeatedly, that he did not know how the Quarrel began, which he would not say if such seditious words were spoken.—
M rs . Haynes Evidences, that she saw me turn him down the Road, & all the while we were at the Stable Door, and that not one word of charge against me was uttered, either relating to Sedition or any thing else; all he did was swearing and threatening.—
M r . Hosier heard him say that he would be revenged, and would have me hanged if he could! He spoke this the Day after my turning him out of the Garden. Hosier says he is ready to give Evidence of this, if necessary.—
The Soldier's Comrade swore before the Magistrates, while I was present, that he heard me utter seditious words, at the Stable Door, and in particular, said, that he heard me D—n the K—g. Now I have all the Persons who were present at the Stable Door to witness that no Word relating to Seditious Subjects was uttered, either by one party or the other, and they are ready, on their Oaths, to say that I did not utter such Words.—
M rs . Haynes says very sensibly, that she never heard People quarrel, but they always charged each other with the Offence, and repeated it to those around, therefore as the Soldier charged not me with Seditious Words at that Time, neither did his Comrade, the whole Charge must have been fabricated in the Stable afterwards.—
If we prove the Comrade perjured who swore that he heard me D—n the K—g, I believe the whole Charge falls to the Ground. M r . Cosens, owner of the Mill at Felpham, was passing by in the Road, and saw me and the Soldier and William standing near each other; he heard nothing, but says we certainly were not quarrelling.—
The whole Distance that William could be at any Time of the Conversation between me and the Soldier (supposing such Conversation to have existed) is only 12 Yards, & W— says that he was backwards and forwards in the Garden. It was a still Day, there was no Wind stirring.
735 William says on his Oath, that the first Words that he heard me speak to the Soldier were ordering him out of the Garden; the truth is, I did not speak to the Soldier till then, & my ordering him out of the Garden was occasioned by his [P 2] saying something that I thought insulting.
The Time that I & the Soldier were together in the Garden, was not sufficient for me to have uttered the Things that he alledged.
The Soldier said to Mrs. Grinder, that it would be right to have my House searched, as I might have plans of the Country which I intended to send to the Enemy; he called me a Military Painter; I suppose mistaking the Words Miniature Painter, which he might have heard me called. I think that this proves, his having come into the Garden, with some bad Intention, or at least with a prejudiced Mind.
It is necessary to learn the Names of all that were present at the Stable Door, that we may not have any Witnesses brought against us, that were not there.
All the Persons present at the Stable Door were, Mrs. Grinder and her Daughter, all the Time; Mrs. Haynes & her Daughter all the Time; Mr. Grinder, part of the Time; Mr. Hayley's Gardener part of the Time.— Mrs. Haynes was present from my turning him out at my Gate, all the rest of the Time—What passed in the Garden, there is no Person but William & the Soldier, & myself can know.
There was not any body in Grinder's Tap-room, but an Old Man, named Jones, who (Mrs. Grinder says) did not come out—He is the same Man who lately hurt his Hand, & wears it in a sling—
The Soldier after he and his Comrade came together into the Tap-room, threatened to knock William's Eyes out (this was his often repeated Threat to me and to my Wife) because W— refused to go with him to Chichester, and swear against me. William said that he would not take a false Oath, for that he heard me say nothing of the Kind (i.e. Sedition) Mr [s] Grinder then reproved the Soldier for threatening William, and Mr. Grinder said, that W— should not go, because of those Threats, especially as he was sure that no Seditious Words were Spoken.—
[P 3] William's timidity in giving his Evidence before the Magistrates, and his fear of uttering a Falsehood upon Oath, proves him to be an honest Man, & is to me an host of Strength. I am certain that if I had not turned the Soldier out of my Garden, I never should have been free from his Impertinence & Intrusion.
Mr. Hayley's Gardener came past at the Time of the Contention at the Stable Door, & going to the Comrade said to him, Is your Comrade drunk?—a Proof that he thought the Soldier abusive, & in an Intoxication of Mind.
If such a Perjury as this can take effect, any Villain in future may come & drag me and my Wife out of our House, & beat us in the Garden, or use us as he please, or is able, & afterwards go and swear our Lives away.
Is it not in the Power of any Thief who enters a Man's Dwelling, & robs him, or misuses his Wife or Children, to go & swear as this Man has sworn.
736 b15.30 30 [To William Hayley] [19 September 1803] My admiration of Flaxman's genius is more and more—his industry is equal to his other great powers.
Speaks of his works in progress in his studio, and of various matters connected with art.
[Extracts from sale catalogue] b15.31 31 To William Hayley Esq re , Felpham, near Chichester, Sussex London. October 7. 1803 Dear Sir Your generous & tender solicitude about your devoted rebel makes it absolutely necessary that he should trouble you with an account of his safe arrival which will excuse his begging the favor of a few lines to inform him how you escaped the contagion of the Court of Justice— I fear that you have & must suffer more on my account than I shall ever be worth—Arrived safe in London my wife in very poor health still I resolve not to lose. hope of seeing better days.
Art in London flourishes. Engravers in particular are wanted. Every Engraver turns away work that he cannot Execute from his superabundant Employment. Yet no one brings work to me. I am content that it shall be so as long as God pleases I know that many works of a lucrative nature are in want of hands other Engravers are courted. I suppose that I must go a Courting which I shall do awkwardly in the mean time I lose no moment to complete Romney to satisfaction
How is it possible that a Man almost 50 Years of Age who has not lost any of his life since he was five years old without incessant labour & study. how is it possible that such a one with ordinary common sense can be inferior to a boy of twenty who scarcely has taken or deigns to take a pencil in hand but who rides about the Parks or Saunters about the Playhouses who Eats & drinks for business not for need how is it possible that such a fop can be superior to the studious lover of Art can scarcely be imagind Yet such is somewhat like my fate & such it is likely to remain. Yet I laugh & sing for if on Earth neglected I am in heaven a Prince among Princes & even on Earth beloved by the Good as a Good Man this I should be perfectly contented with but at certain periods a blaze of reputation arises round me in which I am considerd as one distinguishd by some mental perfection but the flame
737 soon dies again & I am left stupified & astonishd O that I could live as others do in a regular succession of Employment this wish I fear is not to be accomplishd to me—Forgive this Dirge-like lamentation over a dead horse & now I have lamented over the dead horse let me laugh & be merry with my friends till Christmas for as Man liveth not by bread alone I shall live altho I should want bread—nothing is necessary to me but to do my Duty& to rejoice in the exceeding joy that is always poured out on my Spirit. to pray that my friends & you above the rest may be made partakers of the joy that the world cannot conceive that you may still be replenishd with the same & be as you always have been a glorious & triumphant Dweller in immortality. Please to pay for me my best thanks to Miss Poole tell her that I wish her a continued Excess of Happiness—some say that Happiness is not Good for Mortals & they ought to be answerd that Sorrow is not fit for Immortals & is utterly useless to any one a blight never does good to a tree & if a blight kill not a tree but it still bear fruit let none say that the fruit was in consequence of the blight. When this Soldierlike Danger is over I will do double <the> work I do now. for it will hang heavy on my Devil who terribly resents it. but I soothe him to peace & indeed he is a good naturd Devil after all & certainly does not lead me into scrapes. he is not in the least to be blamed for the present scrape as he was out of the way all the time on other employment seeking amusement in making Verses to which he constantly leads me very much to my hurt & sometimes to the annoyance of my friends as I percieve he is now doing the same work by my letter I will finish it wishing you health & joy in God our Saviour
To Eternity yours WILL m BLAKE b15.32