Письма Уильяма Блейка/Томасу Баттсу 6 июля 1803

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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 [5]<6>S t Paul Preaching. & [6]<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 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 Mrs 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 Mr 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 & Yr hble Servt & 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—& Mr Addington & Mr 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 Mr 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 Mr 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 Mr 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 & 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 Mrs Butts & Family & believe me to remain

Yours in truth & sincerity


Письмо к Томасу Баттсу, 6 июля 1803

Возвышенная Аллегория, которая теперь полностью закончена, приняла вид великой Поэмы. Я могу восхвалять её, так как не отваживаюсь претендовать на большее, чем на роль Секретаря; Авторы её находятся в Вечности. Я считаю её Величайшей поэмой, которой этот мир обладает. Аллегория, обращённая к силам Разума, и в то же самое время полностью скрытая от Телесного Понимания – вот моё определение Самой Возвышенной Поэзии; Платон даёт приблизительно такое же определение. Поэма эта, с Божьей Помощью, через некоторое время будет украшена иллюстрациями, отпечатана и преподнесена Публике. Но мистеру Х. я постараюсь как можно меньше говорить об этом, ибо он так же мало расположен к моей поэзии, как к любой Главе из Библии. Он знает, что я написал поэму, ибо я показывал ему её; он сам пожелал прочесть Часть, и у него было такое презрительное выражение, что это ещё больше подняло моё мнение о поэме. Но я не хочу раздражать его своим кажущимся упрямством в моих поэтических исканиях. Однако, если весь Мир ополчится на Это, мне Предписано сделать “лице мое как алмаз, который крепче камня против лиц их и мое чело крепким против их лба” (см. Книгу пророка Иезекииля 3:9) .

Что касается мистера Х., я чувствую себя достаточно свободным высказать на эту щекотливую тему следующее. Я считаю, что мода в поэзии так же мало значит, как и в живописи; так что, если поэты и художники высказывают поочерёдно свою неприязнь (но я знаю, что большинство из них так не делает), я не должен обращать на это ни малейшего внимания; но мистер Х. так же мало принимает мои художественные работы, как и стихи, и я вынужден был просить его оставить меня в отношении того и другого при Моём Собственном Мнении, ибо я больше не собираюсь позволять ему Докучать мне своим Аристократическим Невежеством и Вежливым Неодобрением. Я знаю себя как Художника, и как Поэта, и это не его напускное Презрение приводит меня к каким-либо результатам, но неустанные поиски в обоих Искусствах. В самом деле, своей твёрдостью я сломил пафос его Высокомерия и он начинает думать, что я обладаю неким Гением, как будто Гений и Самоуверенность это одно и то же. Но его слабоумные попытки подавить меня заслуживают лишь насмешки, – я говорю это Вам, зная, что вы не употребите это во вред... Когда мы встретимся, я подробно объясню вам своё Поведение и Поведение других по отношению ко мне, и вы увидите, что я делал всё, что в моих силах, и что у меня ангельское терпение.