Monday, February 25, 2008

William Blake is regarded as one of the most creative artist of the Romantic era; even through he was little appreciated during his lifetime. Blake was a poet, illustrator, engraver, writer and painter. He was born in London on November 28, 1757. He began to write poetry at a young age. At age fourteen, he apprenticed with an engraver because art school was too costly. Blake made a meager living as an engraver and illustrator for books and magazines. But his heart was in the books that he wrote, printed and published himself. His beloved wife and partner, Catherine Boucher, helped to bind his books and colored some of the plates.

Blake’s imagination played a key role to his creations. By the time he was an adult his active imagination allowed him to create vivid poetry and paintings. Blake published many writings, two being very famous books of poems of “Songs of Experience” and “Songs of Innocence”. Among Blake's later artistic works are drawings and engravings for Dante's Divine Comedy and the 21 illustrations to the book of Job, which was completed when he was almost 70 years old.


by: William Blake (1757-1827) down the valleys wild,

Piping songs of peasant 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 sang the same again,

While he wept with joy to hear.

'Piper, sit thee down and write

In a book, that all may read.'

So he vanished from my sight;

And I plucked a hollow reed,

And I made a rural pen,

And I stain'd the water clear,

And I wrote my happy songs

Every child may joy to hear.

'Songs of Innocence' is reprinted from English Poems. Ed. Edward Chauncey Baldwin. New York: American Book Company, 1908.

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