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displayed poetic symptoms-scraps of paper and the blank leaves of books were found covered with groups and stanzas. When his father saw sketches at the top of the sheet and verses at the bottom, he took him away to Basire, the engraver, in Green Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, and bound him apprentice for seven years. He was then fourteen years old.... :
It is told of Blake that at ten years of age he became an artist, and at twelve a poet. Of his boyish pencillings I can find no traces-but of his early intercourse with the Muse the proof lies before me in seventy pages of verse, written, he says, between his twelfth and his twentieth year, and published, by the advice of friends, when he was Thirty. There are songs, ballads, and a dra. matic poem; rude sometimes and unmelodious, but full of fine thought and deep and peculiar feeling.
To those who love poetry for the music of its bells, * these seventy pages will sound harsh and dissonant;
but by others they will be more kindly looked upon. "John Flaxman, a judge in all things of a poetic
nature, was so touched with many passages, that he not only counselled their publication, but joined with a gentleman of the name of Matthews in the expense, and presented the printed sheets to the artist to dispose of for his own advantage. One of these productions is an address to the Musesa common theme, but sung in no common manner. ·
"Whether on Ida's shady brow,
Or in the chambers of the East,
From ancient melody have ceased; , !
Where the melodious winds have birth;
How have ye left the ancient love,
That Bards of old enjoyed in you;
The sound is forced-the notes are few."
• The little poem called “ The Tiger” has been
admired for the force and vigour of its thoughts by poets of high name. - Many could weave smoother lines--few could stamp such living images. ini.
Tiger! Tiger! burning bright
What immortal hand or eye
What the hammer! what the chain!
What the anvil! What dread grasp
When the stars threw down their spheres,
In the dramatic poem of King Edward the Third there are many nervous lines, and even whole påssages of high merit. The structure of the verse is often defective, and the arrangement inharmonious; but before the ear is thoroughly offended, it is soothed. by some touch of deep melody and poetic thought. The princes and earls of England are conferring tö- .. gether on the eve of the battle of Cressy--the Black Prince takes Chandos aside, and says
.'"Now we 're alone, John Chandos, I 'll unburthen
And breathe my hopes into the burning air .
* Methinks I see them arm my gallant soldiers, so
.; . In the same high poetic spirit Sir Walter Manny converses with a genuine old English warrior, Sir Thomas Dagworth.
Dagworth !-France is sick!-the very sky,
Sir Thomas answers
u Thousands of souls must leave this prison-
The flowers of heaven upon the banquet-table.
The table, it is spread in sliining heaven. .?
I might transcribe from these modest and unno. ticed pages many such passages. It would be unfair not to mention that the same volume contains some wild and incoherent prose, in which we may trace more than the dawning of those strange, mystical, and mysterious 'fancies on which he subsequently misemployed his pencil. There is much that is weak, and something that is strong, and a great deal that is wild and mad, and all so strangely mingled, that no meaning can be assigned to it; it seems like a lamentation over the disasters which came on England during the reign of King John.
Though blake lost himself a little in the enchanted region of song, he seems not to have ne. glected to make himself master of the graver, or to have forgotten his love of designs and sketches. He was a dutiful servant to Basire, and he studied. occasionally under Flaxman and Fuseli; but it was his chief delight to retire to the solitude of his chamber, and there make drawings, and illustrate, these with verses, to be hung up together in his mother's chamber." He was always at work; he called amusement idleness, sight-seeing vanity, and money-making the ruin of all high aspirations.: "Were. I to love money,” he said, “ I should lose all power of thought; desire of gain deadens the genius of man. I might roll in wealth and ride in a golden chariot, were I to listen to the voice of parsimony. My business is not to gather gold, but to make glorious shapes, expressing godlike sentiments.". The day was given to the graver, by which he earned enough to maintain himself respectably; and he bestowed his evenings upon painting and poetry, and intertwined these so closely in his compositions, that' they cannot well be separated. cn · When he was six-and-twenty years old, he mar.. ried Katharine Boutcher, a young woman of hum-. ble connexions the dark-eyed Kate of several of his lyric poems." She lived near his father's liouse, and was noticed by Blake for the whiteness of her hand, the brightness of her eyes, and a slim and handsome shape, corresponding with his own no. tions of sylphs and nasads. As he was an original in all things, it would have been out of character to fall in love like an ordinary mortal: he was describing one evening in company the pains he had suf.. fered from some capricious lady or another, when Katharine Boutcher said, “I pity you from my, heart.”. “Do you pity me?” said Blake," then I love you for that." "And I love you," said the frank-hearted lass, and so the courtship began. He
tried how well she looked in a drawing, then how her charms became verse; and finding moreover that she had good domestic qualities, he married her. They lived together long and happily.
She seemed to have been created on purpose for Blake: she believed him to be the finest genius on earth; she believed in his verse; she believed in his designs; and to the wildest flights of his imagina tion she bowed the knee, and was a worshipper. She set his house in good order, prepared his frugal meal, learned to think as he thought, and, indulging him in his harmless absurdities, became, as it were, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh. She learned—what a young and handsome woman is seldom apt to learn—to despise gaudy dresses, costly meals, pleasant company, and agreeable invitations - she found out the way of being happy at home, living on the simplest of food, and contented in the homeliest of clothing. It was no ordinary mind which could do all this; and she whom Blake emphatically called his “beloved," was no ordinary woman. She wrought off in the press the impressions of his plates-she coloured them with a light and neat hand-made drawings much in the spirit of her husband's compositions, and almost rivalled him in all things save in the power which he pos. sessed of seeing visions of any individual living or dead, whenever he chose to see them.
His marriage, I have heard, was not agreeable to his father; and he then left his roof and resided with his wife in Green Street, Leicester Fields. He returned to Broad Street, on the death of his father, a devout man, and an honest shopkeeper, of fifty years' standing, took a first floor and a shop, and in company with one Parker, who had been his fellowapprentice, commenced printseller. His wife attended to the business, and Blake continued to en. grave, and took Robert, his favourite brother, for a pupil. This speculation did not succeed-his bro