Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
On Art and Artists
English Encouragement of Art: Cromek’s opinions put into rhyme
IF 1 you mean to please everybody you will
Set to work both ignorance and skill.
For a great multitude are ignorant,
And skill to them seems raving and rant.
Like putting oil and water in a lamp,        5
’Twill make a great splutter with smoke and damp.
For there is no use as it seems to me
Of lighting a lamp, when you don’t wish to see.
Note 1. XI I print here the earlier and clearer version of this piece, Blake’s subsequent changes being noted below. 2 ‘Menny wouver’ both bunglishness and skill MS. 2nd rdg. 5 putting] displaying MS. 2nd rdg. 6 ’Twill make a great splutter] ’Twill hold forth a huge splutter MS. 2nd rdg. 7 For there is no use] For it’s all sheer loss MS. 2nd rdg. 8 Of displaying up a light when we want not to see MS. 2nd rdg. [back]

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