Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
Poems from Letters
[To Thomas Butts]: O! why was I born with a different face?
O! WHY 1 was I born with a different face?
Why was I not born like the rest of my race?
When I look, each one starts; when I speak, I offend;
Then I’m silent and passive, and lose every friend.
Then my verse I dishonour, my pictures despise,        5
My person degrade, and my temper chastise;
And the pen is my terror, the pencil my shame;
All my talents I bury, and dead is my fame.
I am either too low, or too highly priz’d;
When elate I’m envied; when meek I’m despis’d.        10
Note 1. To Thomas Butts] In a letter dated ‘Felpham, August 16, 1803’, in which Blake describes the circumstances which led to his trial for high treason. Prefaced by: ‘Give me your advice in my perilous adventure: burn what I have peevishly written about my friend. I have been very much degraded and injuriously treated; but, if it all arise from my own fault, I ought to blame myself.’
  1. 2] Cp. footnote to ‘Mary’. [back]

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