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imagination the poets of an earlier generation would seem as near as the versifiers of his own day. That he should have chosen from the past those models whose example was most needed in order to infuse a new life into English poetry proves of course the justice of his poetic instinct. In fixing upon the great writers of the Elizabethan age he anticipated, as we have already observed, the taste of a succeeding generation, and it is only to be regretted that he did not absolutely confine himself to these nobler models of style. Unfortunately however his own intellectual tendency towards mysticism, found only too ready encouragement in the prophetic vagueness of the Ossianic verse, and we may fairly trace a part at least of Blake's obscurer manner to this source.


[From Poetical Sketches.]


Thou fair-haired Angel of the Evening,
Now whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light
Thy bright torch of love—thy radiant crown
Put on, and smile upon our evening bed !
Smile on our loves; and while thou drawest the
Blue curtains of the sky, scatter thy silver dew
On every flower that shuts its sweet eyes
In timely sleep. Let thy West Wind sleep on
The lake ; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes
And wash the dusk with silver.-Soon, full soon,
Dost thou withdraw; then the wolf rages wide,
And the lion glares through the dun forest,
The fleeces of our flocks are covered with
Thy sacred dew; protect them with thine influence !

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How sweet I roamed from field to field,

And tasted all the summer's pride ;
Till I the Prince of Love beheld,

Who in the sunny beams did glide.
He showed me lilies for my hair,

And blushing roses for my brow;
And led me through his gardens fair,

Where all his golden pleasures grow.
With sweet May-dews my wings were wet,

And Phæbus fired my vocal rage ;
He caught me in his silken net,

And shut me in his golden cage.
He loves to sit and hear me sing,

Then laughing sports and plays with me,
Then stretches out my golden wing,

And mocks my loss of liberty.


My silks and fine array,

My smiles and languished air, By love are driven away ;

And mournful lean Despair Brings me yew to deck my grave : Such end true lovers have.

His face is fair as heaven

When springing buds unfold ; Oh, why to him was 't given

Whose heart is wintry cold ? His breast is love's all-worshipped tomb Where all love's pilgrims come.

Bring me an axe and spade,

Bring me a winding sheet ; When I my grave have made,

Let winds and tempest beat ; Then down I'll lie as cold as clay. True love doth pass away!


Memory, hither come

And tune your merry notes ;
And while upon the wind

Your music floats,
I'll pore upon the stream
Where sighing lovers dream,
And fish for fancies as they pass
Within the watery glass.

I'll drink of the clear stream,

And hear the linnet's song,
And there I 'll lie and dream

The day along ;
And when night comes I 'll go
To places fit for woe,
Walking along the darkened valley,
With silent Melancholy.


The wild winds weep,

And the night is a-cold,
Come hither, Sleep,

And my griefs enfold :
But lo! the morning peeps
Over the eastern steeps,
And the rustling beds of dawn
The earth do scorn.

Lo! to the vault

Of paved heaven
With sorrow fraught

My notes are driven ;
They strike the ear of night,
Make weak the eyes of day;
They make mad the roaring winds
And with tempests play.

Like a fiend in a cloud

With howling woe After night I do crowd

And with night will go ; I turn my back to the east From whence comforts have increased ; For light doth seize my brain With frantic pain.


Whether on Ida's shady brow,

Or in the chambers of the East, The chambers of the Sun that now

From ancient melody have ceased ; Whether in Heaven ye wander fair,

Or the green corners of the Earth, Or the blue regions of the air,

Where the melodious winds have birth ; Whether on crystal rocks ye rove

Beneath the bosom of the sea,
Wandering in many a coral grove ;

Fair Nine, forsaking Poetry:
How have you left your ancient love

That bards of old enjoyed in you !
The languid strings do scarcely move,

The sound is forced, the notes are few.

[From Songs of Innocence.]


Piping down the valleys wild,
Piping songs of pleasant glee,
On a cloud I saw a child,
And he laughing said to me :-
'Pipe a song about a lamb:'
So I piped with merry cheer,
'Piper, pipe that song again :'
So I piped ; he wept to hear.
'Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe,
Sing thy songs of happy cheer :'
So I sung the same again,
While he wept with joy to hear.

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