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THE YOUNG LIFE OF BLAKE
William Blake was born in
London on November 28, 1757,
to James, a hosier, and Catherine
Blake had six other siblings, but
two had passed away of infancy.
From an early childhood, Blake
spoke of having visions.
At the age of four he saw God
"put his head to the window”
At around the age of nine, while walking through the his
countryside, he saw a tree filled with angels.
At the age of ten, Blake had a wish to become a painter,
so his parents decided to send him to drawing school.
Although his parents tried to discourage him from "lying,"
they did observe that he was different from other children
and did not force him to attend regular school, he learned
to read and write at home.
After two years of Blake being sent to drawing
school, he started writing poetry.
When he turned fourteen, he experimented with an
engraver because art school.
One of Blake's assignments as apprentice was to
sketch the tombs at Westminster Abbey, exposing
him to a variety of Gothic styles from which he would
draw inspiration throughout his career.
After his seven-year term ended, he studied
momentarily at the Royal Academy.
GROWN UP BLAKE
Blake married a uneducated woman named Catherine
Boucher. He taught her to read and as well as to write,
and also instructed her in draftsmanship. Later, she
helped him print the well-lit poetry for which he is
Blake and Catherine had no children.
1784, he set up a print shop with a friend and former
fellow apprentice named James Parker, but this endeavor
failed several years later.
Blake's first printed work, Poetical Sketches (1783), is a
collection of apprentice verse, mostly imitating classical
Blake published his most popular collection, Songs of
Innocence, in 1789 and followed it, in 1794, with Songs of
All Religions Are One (1788)
The Gates of Paradise (1793)
Poetical Sketches (1783)
The Book of Ahania (1795)
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)
The Song of Los (1795)
There Is No Natural Religion (1788)
Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793)
BLAKE’S FINAL YEARS
Blake spent his last moments in great deficiency,
cheered by the admiring friendship of a group of
younger artists who called themselves "the
1818, he met John Linnell, a young artist who
helped him financially and also helped to create
new interest in his work. It was Linnell who, in
1825, hired him to design illustrations for Dante's
Divine Comedy, the cycle of drawings that Blake
worked on until his death in 1827.
Never seek to tell thy love,
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind does move
I told my love, I told my love,
I told her all my heart;
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears,
Ah! she did depart!
Soon as she was gone from me,
A traveller came by,
He took her with a sigh.
To the Muses
WHETHER on Ida's shady brow
Or in the chambers of the East
The chambers of the Sun that now
From ancient melody have ceased;
Whether in heaven ye wander fair 5
Or the green corners of the earth
Or the blue regions of the air
Where the melodious winds have birth;
Whether on crystal rocks ye rove
Beneath the bosom of the sea 10
Wandering in many a coral grove;
Fair Nine forsaking Poetry;
How have you left the ancient love
That bards of old enjoy'd in you!
The languid strings do scarcely move 15
The sound is forced the notes are few.