Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
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William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
 
Poems from Letters
To my Dearest Friend, John Flaxman, these lines
 
I BLESS 1 thee, O Father of Heaven and Earth! that ever I saw Flaxman’s face:
Angels stand round my spirit in Heaven; the blessèd of Heaven are my friends upon Earth
When Flaxman was taken to Italy, Fuseli was given to me for a season;
And now Flaxman hath given me Hayley, his friend, to be mine—such my lot upon Earth!
Now my lot in the Heavens is this: Milton lov’d me in childhood and show’d me his face;        5
Ezra came with Isaiah the Prophet, but Shakespeare in riper years gave me his hand;
Paracelsus and Behmen appear’d to me; terrors appear’d in the Heavens above;
The American War began; all its dark horrors pass’d before my face
Across the Atlantic to France; then the French Revolution commenc’d in thick clouds;
And my Angels have told me that, seeing such visions, I could not subsist on the Earth,        10
But by my conjunction with Flaxman, who knows to forgive nervous fear.
12 Sept., 1800.
 
Note 1. For the setting of these poems see Mr. A. G. B. Russell’s excellent edition of The Letters of William Blake, 1906, to which I owe the correct text of the first two pieces. [back]
 
 
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