William Blake

(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827 / London)

William Blake Quotes

  • ''I went to the Garden of Love,
    And saw what I never had seen:
    A Chapel was built in the midst,
    Where I used to play on the green.
    And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
    And 'Thou shalt not' writ over the door;''
    William Blake (1757-1827), British poet, painter, mystic. The Garden of Love (l. 1-6). . . The Complete Poems [William Blake]. Alicia Ostriker, ed. (1977) Penguin Books.
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  • ''Then my verse I dishonour, my pictures despise,
    My person degrade & my temper chastise;
    And the pen is my terror, the pencil my shame;
    And my talents I bury, and dead is my fame.''
    William Blake (1757-1827), British poet, painter, engraver. letter, Aug. 16, 1803. Complete Writings, ed. Geoffrey Keynes (1957).
  • ''And I saw it was filled with graves,
    And tomb-stones where flowers should be;
    And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
    And binding with briars my joys and desires.''
    William Blake (1757-1827), British poet, painter, mystic. The Garden of Love (l. 9-12). . . The Complete Poems [William Blake]. Alicia Ostriker, ed. (1977) Penguin Books.
  • ''Since the French Revolution Englishmen are all intermeasurable one by another, certainly a happy state of agreement to which I for one do not agree.''
    William Blake (1757-1827), British poet, painter, engraver. Letter, October 24, 1910, to George Cumberland. Complete Writings, ed. Geoffrey Keynes (1957).
  • ''Every harlot was a virgin once.''
    William Blake (1757-1827), British poet, painter, engraver. The Gates of Paradise, epilogue, l. 3 (c. 1818), repr. In Complete Writings, ed. Geoffrey Keynes (1957).
  • ''Commerce is so far from being beneficial to arts, or to empire, that it is destructive of both, as all their history shows, for the above reason of individual merit being its great hatred. Empires flourish till they become commercial, and then they are scattered abroad to the four winds.''
    William Blake (1757-1827), British poet, painter, engraver. Public address, c. 1810, in Blake's notebook. Complete Writings, ed. Geoffrey Keynes (1957).
  • ''Pity would be no more,
    If we did not make somebody poor;
    And mercy no more could be,
    If all were as happy as we;''
    William Blake (1757-1827), British poet, painter, mystic. The Human Abstract (l. 1-4). . . The Complete Poems [William Blake]. Alicia Ostriker, ed. (1977) Penguin Books.
  • ''To me this world is all one continued vision of fancy or imagination, and I feel flattered when I am told so. What is it sets Homer, Virgil and Milton in so high a rank of art? Why is Bible more entertaining and instructive than any other book? Is it not because they are addressed to the imagination, which is spiritual sensation, and but mediately to the understanding or reason?''
    William Blake (1757-1827), British poet, painter, engraver. letter, Aug. 23, 1799. Complete Writings, ed. Geoffrey Keynes (1957).
  • ''The gods of the earth and sea
    Sought through nature to find this tree.
    But their search was all in vain:
    There grows one in the human brain.''
    William Blake (1757-1827), British poet, painter, mystic. The Human Abstract (l. 21-24). . . The Complete Poems [William Blake]. Alicia Ostriker, ed. (1977) Penguin Books.
  • ''Some say that happiness is not good for mortals, & they ought to be answered 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.''
    William Blake (1757-1827), British poet, painter, engraver. letter, Oct. 7, 1803. Complete Writings, ed. Geoffrey Keynes (1957).

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Best Poem of William Blake

A Poison Tree

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

Read the full of A Poison Tree

Why Was Cupid A Boy

Why was Cupid a boy,
And why a boy was he?
He should have been a girl,
For aught that I can see.

For he shoots with his bow,
And the girl shoots with her eye,
And they both are merry and glad,
And laugh when we do cry.

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