chapter  5
35 Pages

Blake

This is accompanied in all Blake’s work by his unique capacity for vision, a capacity which makes him at once the most original and the most exclusive o f the Romantic poets, and - in one sense - the purest, the most uncompromising o f them. As a child he saw God at the window, and a tree full o f angels; while the death o f his brother Robert, in 1787 (Blake was twenty-nine, Robert nineteen) convinced him o f the reality of the world o f his imagination in which he could ‘converse daily and hourly in the spirit’ with Robert after his death. Such visions of infancy, and such intimations o f immortality, are not uncommon: what is extraordinary about Blake’s visions is the unquestioning elaboration o f them, and their continuation throughout his life. In 1825, for instance, he was visited by Henry Crabb Robinson, a lawyer who was friendly with a number o f poets, including W ordsworth and Coleridge:

Shall I call him artist or genius - or mystic - or madman? . . .