Prose of Augustan Age 4. Drama of Augustan Age 4. Novel during Augustan Age 4.
By Charles Eliot Norton Boston: The text is in the public domain. This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit. One of the illustrations by Blake: The conditions of his birth were prosaic.
He was the second child of a respectable tradesman,—a hosier in small business, of whom, as well as of his wife, nothing is reported that accounts for the genius of his son by direct inheritance.
Nature, however, so far as she affects the concerns of men, seems often to delight in working by a system of compensations and averages; and after the long reign of worldly wisdom in matters of intellect, that had lasted in England for two full generations, it was but to set even the balance of common sense and spiritual imagination to throw an overweight into the scale of the latter.
Burns was born but fourteen months later than Blake; and we may take the ten years, from toas the beginning of that epoch of imagination in English literature and art which Blake and Burns, Scott, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats, Byron, and Turner have illustrated, and which, so long as Carlyle and Tennyson, Ruskin and Burne Jones, survive, has not reached its close.
It accords with this principle of compensation, to find Blake, the earliest in time of this galaxy, also the most opposed in spirit and genius to the prevailing intellectual tendencies of the preceding period, the most defiant of the popular taste in art, the most resolute in his assertion of individuality and independence.
He was, perhaps, fortunate in getting but little regular education: He was a meditative, dreaming, unsophisticated child. He loved to wander into the country; and, in later life, he was wont to relate, that one day, when, a mere child, he was at Peckham Rye, not far from Dulwich Hill, then a pretty rural region, he had his first vision, seeing a tree filled with angels; and on another summer morning he beheld angels walking in a field amid haymakers at work.
Both the fact and the matter of these visions are characteristic. His whole life was filled with visions that appeared to him not mere subjective images of his own active and exalted fancy, but realized themselves to his perceptions as having actual existence and external reality.
Angels continually visited him: And never was poet more susceptible to the sweet influences of rural nature, or harmonized them more completely with the pure life of angelic existences.
Blake was essentially a poetic mystic, and his work is to be understood and fairly judged only so far as it is unreservedly accepted on its own terms. For the mystic assumes as divine the illuminations that dazzle and blind even when they enlighten. To him these revelations are above himself, and endow him with exceptional rights.
A knowledge of spiritual things has been given to him, unattainable by the natural intellect,—a knowledge not to be questioned, doubted, analyzed, and made conformable to reason, but simply to be accepted and openly declared.
This is no case for modesty: That his visions appear childishness or folly to the worldly-wise is of little concern to him: His genius asserted its mastery from the first. His father, moreover, bought for him a few casts from antique models, that he might study from them at home, and gave him, from time to time, small sums of money to buy such prints as he might need.
I saw and I knew immediately the difference between Raffaelle and Rubens. The imaginative character of his designs is the source of the deepest interest of his work; but the mere student of the art of engraving will find in his best plates, such as the Illustrations of the Book of Job, examples of technical skill, and of fine drawing, which prove not only admirable training of hand and eye, but give evidence of the integrity of his moral nature.
The stroke of his graver is both vigorous and tender: Fanciful as his conceptions may be, they are rendered with a distinctness that leaves no question of the clearness of the vision from which they proceeded, or of his power to express them with definite outline.
The design, and the inscription upon it, are both characteristic. Such were the Christians in all ages.
His life, during his apprenticeship, seems to have been regular, industrious, and uneventful, with nothing to distinguish it externally from any common, dull existence. Yet its secluded, internal course was full of poetry; and the strong individuality of his genius, which made him solitary in the world, and set him apart from his generation, was defining itself to his own consciousness, and finding expression for itself in various forms, but especially in lyrics, such as for natural grace, sweetness, and melody, had not been heard in England for a hundred years and more.
He had no pleasure in the faded poetry of his contemporaries, though he shared in the general admiration of Ossian, mistaking tumid shapes for grand forms, and misty vagueness for sublimity. By Chatterton he was greatly impressed; but his real masters in poetry were the best. But, in the compositions of these early years, there is comparatively little of the mystic and prophet.
Written during his apprenticeship, they were collected and printed by the aid of friends in a thin volume, inwhen Blake was twenty-six years old. Blake, perhaps, never afterwards equalled the best things in this youthful volume, though he often did so in melody and feeling, and more than did so in depth of thought.
He had no training of the critical judgment; and the fine perceptions and native taste, which are manifest in his earlier productions, gradually ceased to exercise controlling influence over his work, as his imagination became more potent, and his self-confident genius claimed for itself an authority that he acknowledged as of supernatural validity.
His apprenticeship ended, he studied for a time in the Antique School of the recently established Royal Academy, then in charge of a Swiss decorative artist named Moser.
From him Blake had little to learn. He drew from living models as well as from ancient statues, but he never mastered the human figure; and his design, however noble in conception, not infrequently exhibits, in some defect or eccentricity of form, the imperfection of his early training, and the influence upon his work of his theories of nature.
But he had now to earn his livelihood, and it would have gone hard with him in London, had he had only his genius and his art to depend on.
Engraving, pursued as a trade, furnished him with the means of subsistence.Nov 11, · i have to do an essay on 'compare and contrast the ways in which blake and wordsworth depict the city of london'.
ive been studying 'london' by blake and 'composed upon westminster bridge' by wordsworth and i need some key points to discuss. i would like as many ideas as possible but i only show more i have to do an essay on 'compare and contrast the ways in which blake and wordsworth Status: Resolved.
Comparison and contrast between Blake and Wordsworth’s views Essay Sample. Poetry was an outsider to the cold, efficient, emotionless environment of the Industrial Revolution.
Romantics of all arts criticized the changing ways of life and idealized the pre-industrial revolution era. London was the haven to this revolution, and the hell to all poetry.
Coleridge's Biographia Literaria was the first serious criticism of Wordsworth's work, recognizing the beauties of the work, while recognizing that some of Wordsworth's "claims for .
William Blake and William Wordsworth portrayed lives of common people in the canvas of their poetry, which became realistic and represented an authentic picture of contemporary society.
(The poem of Goody Blake is, incidentally, the only one Wordsworth said came from a true story.) Otherwise, you will find that this volume is, like Hamlet, full of quotes. Heather Glen, Vision and Disenchantment: Blake’s ‘Songs’ and Wordsworth’s ‘Lyrical Ballads’ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ), p Written by George Norton George Norton is the Head of English at Paston VI Form College in North Norfolk and a freelance writer.