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william blake Quotes

William Blake Quotes

Birth Date: 1757-11-28 (Monday, November 28th, 1757)
Date of Death: 1827-08-12 (Sunday, August 12th, 1827)



    • Reason, or the ratio of all we have already known, is not the same that it shall be when we know more.
    • The true method of knowledge is experiment.
    • There can be no Good Will. Will is always Evil; it is persecution to others or selfishness.
    • If a thing loves, it is infinite.
    • Does the Eagle know what is in the pit? Or wilt thou go ask the Mole? Can Wisdom be put in a silver rod? Or Love in a golden bowl?
    • Nothing can be more contemptible than to suppose Public RECORDS to be True.
    • That the Jews assumed a right Exclusively to the benefits of God. will be a lasting witness against them. & the same will it be against Christians
    • Degrade first the arts if you'd mankind degrade, Hire idiots to paint with cold light and hot shade.
    • To Generalize is to be an Idiot. To Particularize is the Alone Distinction of Merit-General Knowledges are those Knowledges that Idiots possess
    • The Foundation of Empire is Art & Science Remove them or Degrade them & the Empire is No More-Empire follows Art & Not Vice Versa as Englishmen suppose.
    • When a Man has Married a Wife He finds out whether Her Knees & elbows are only glued together.
    • When nations grow old, the Arts grow cold, And Commerce settles on every tree.
    • Fiery the Angels rose, and as they rose deep thunder roll'd Around their shores: indignant burning with the fires of Orc.
    • Acts themselves alone are history, and these are neither the exclusive property of Hume, Gibbon nor Voltaire, Echard, Rapin, Plutarch, nor Herodotus. Tell me the Acts, O historian, and leave me to reason upon them as I please; away with your reasoning and your rubbish. All that is not action is not worth reading.
    • Art can never exist without Naked Beauty displayed.
    • Art is the tree of life. SCIENCE is the Tree of DEATH ART is the Tree of LIFE GOD is JESUS
    • Commerce is so far from being beneficial to Arts or to Empire, that it is destructive of both, as all their History shows, for the above Reason of Individual Merit being its Great Hatred. Empires flourish till they become Commercial & then they are scattered abroad to the four winds
    • When I tell any Truth it is not for the sake of Convincing those who do not know it but for the sake of defending those who Do
    • Every Harlot was a Virgin once
    • It is not because Angels are Holier than Men or Devils that makes them Angels but because they do not Expect Holiness from one another but from God only
    • Thinking as I do that the Creator of this World is a very Cruel Being & being a Worshipper of Christ, I cannot help saying: 'the Son, O how unlike the Father!' First God Almighty comes with a Thump on the Head. Then Jesus Christ comes with a balm to heal it.
    • You cannot have Liberty in this world without what you call Moral Virtue & you cannot have Moral Virtue without the Slavery of that half of the Human Race who hate what you call Moral Virtue
    • :some say that Happiness is not Good for Mortals & they ought to be answerd that Sorrow is not fit for Immortals & is utterly useless to any one a blight never does good to a tree & if a blight kill not a tree but it still bear fruit let none say that the fruit was in consequence of the blight.
    • The Goddess Fortune is the devils servant ready to Kiss any ones Arse.
    • Fiery the Angels rose, & as they rose deep thunder roll'd Around their shores: indignant burning with the fires of Orc
    • 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 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 driv'n away; And mournful lean Despair Brings me yew to deck my grave: Such end true lovers have.
    • 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.
    • How have you left the ancient love That bards of old enjoyed in you! The languid strings do scarcely move! The sound is forced, the notes are few!
    • Damn sneerers!
    • True superstition is ignorant honesty & this is beloved of god and man.
    • Forgiveness of enemies can only come upon their repentance.
    • Active Evil is better than Passive Good.
    • They suppose that Woman's Love is Sin; in consequence all the Loves & Graces with them are Sin.
    • 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.
    • And I made a rural pen, And I stained the water clear, And I wrote my happy songs Every child may joy to hear.
    • Sing louder around To the bells' cheerful sound, While our sports shall be seen On the ecchoing green.
    • Little Lamb, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee? Gave thee life and bid thee feed By the stream and o'er the mead; Gave thee clothing of delight, Softest clothing, woolly bright.
    • My mother bore me in the southern wild, And I am black, but O! my soul is white; White as an angel is the English child, But I am black as if bereaved of light.
    • And we are put on earth a little space, That we may learn to bear the beams of love, And these black bodies and this sunburnt face Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove.
    • I'll shade him from the heat till he can bear To lean in joy upon our Father's knee; And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair, And be like him and he will then love me.
    • When my mother died I was very young, And my father sold me while yet my tongue Could scarcely cry 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!'weep! So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep.
    • To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love All pray in their distress; And to these virtues of delight Return their thankfulness.
    • For Mercy has a human heart, Pity, a human face, And Love, the human form divine, And Peace, the human dress.
    • The moon like a flower In heaven's high bower, With silent delight, Sits and smiles on the night.
    • And there the lion's ruddy eyes Shall flow with tears of gold, And pitying the tender cries, And walking round the fold, Saying: 'Wrath by his meekness, And by his health, sickness, Is driven away From our immortal day.'
    • 'For washed in life's river, My bright mane forever Shall shine like the gold As Iguard o'er the fold.'
    • When the voices of children are heard on the green And laughing is heard on the hill, My heart is at rest within my breast And everything else is still.
    • Can I see another's woe, And not be in sorrow too? Can I see another's grief, And not seek for kind relief?
    • Rintrah roars and shakes his fires in the burdened air; Hungry clouds swag on the deep.
    • Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence.
    • The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of Angels and God, and at liberty when of Devils and Hell, is because he was a true poet and of the Devil's party without knowing it.
    • Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained; and the restrainer or reason usurps its place & governs the unwilling.
    • If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.
    • The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.
    • Opposition is true Friendship.
    • The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.
    • He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.
    • A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
    • He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.
    • Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
    • The busy bee has no time for sorrow.
    • The hours of folly are measured by the clock, but of wisdom no clock can measure.
    • No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.
    • If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.
    • Prisons are built with stones of law, brothels with bricks of religion.
    • The pride of the peacock is the glory of God. The lust of the goat is the bounty of God. The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God. The nakedness of woman is the work of God.
    • The cistern contains: the fountain overflows.
    • One thought. fills immensity.
    • Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you.
    • The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the crow.
    • Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.
    • The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.
    • You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.
    • The weak in courage is strong in cunning.
    • When thou seest an Eagle, thou seest a portion of Genius; lift up thy head!
    • Exuberance is Beauty
    • Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.
    • Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believed.
    • Enough! or too much.
    • The ancient poets animated all objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged & numerous senses could perceive. And particularly they studied the genius of each city & country, placing it under its mental deity; Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of, & enslav'd the vulgar by attempting to realize or abstract the mental deities from their objects: thus began priesthood; Choosing forms of worship from poetic tales. And at length they pronounc'd that the Gods had order'd such things. Thus men forgot that all deities reside in the human breast.
    • Never seek to tell thy love Love that never told can be; For the gentle wind does move Silently, invisibly. I told my love, I told my love, I told her all my heart; Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears- Ah, she doth depart. Soon as she was gone from me A traveler came by Silently, invisibly- Oh, was no deny.
    • I asked a thief to steal me a peach: He turned up his eyes. I asked a lithe lady to lie her down: Holy and meek, she cries. As soon as I went An angel came. He winked at the thief And smiled at the dame- And without one word said Had a peach from the tree, And still as a maid Enjoyed the lady.
    • Sleep, sleep, beauty bright, Dreaming o'er the joys of night. Sleep, sleep: in thy sleep Little sorrows sit and weep.
    • Why art thou silent and invisible, Father of Jealousy?
    • Love to faults is always blind, Always is to joys inclined, Lawless, winged, and unconfined, And breaks all chains from every mind.
    • The sword sung on the barren heath, The sickle in the fruitful field; The sword he sung a song of death, But could not make the sickle yield.
    • Abstinence sows sand all over The ruddy limbs and flaming hair, But desire gratified Plants fruits of life and beauty there.
    • If you trap the moment before it's ripe, The tears of repentance you'll certainly wipe; But if once you let the ripe moment go You can never wipe off the tears of woe.
    • Then old Nobodaddy aloft Farted and belched and coughed, And said, 'I love hanging and drawing and quartering Every bit as well as war and slaughtering.'
    • He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged life destroy; But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in eternity's sunrise.
    • The look of love alarms Because 'tis filled with fire; But the look of soft deceit Shall win the lover's hire.
    • What is it men in women do require? The lineaments of gratified desire. What is it women in men require? The lineaments of gratified desire.
    • You'll quite remove the ancient curse.
    • Hear the voice of the Bard, Who present, past, and future, sees; Whose ears have heard The Holy Word That walked among the ancient trees.
    • Turn away no more; Why wilt thou turn away? The starry floor, The watery shore,> Is given thee till the break of day.
    • Love seeketh not itself to please, Nor for itself hath any care, But for another gives its ease, And builds a heaven in hell's despair.
    • Love seeketh only Self to please, To bind another to its delight, Joys in another's loss of ease, And builds a hell in heaven's despite.
    • O rose, thou art sick! The invisible worm, That flies in the night, In the howling storm, Has found out thy bed Of crimson joy, And his dark secret love Does thy life destroy.
    • Little Fly, Thy summer's play My thoughtless hand Has brushed away. Am not I A fly like thee? Or art not thou A man like me? For I dance, And drink, and sing, Till some blind hand Shall brush my wing.
    • The modest Rose puts forth a thorn, The humble sheep a threat'ning horn: While the Lily white shall in love delight, Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.
    • In every cry of every Man, In every Infant's cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forg'd manacles I hear.
    • But most, thro' midnight streets I hear How the youthful Harlot's curse Blasts the new born Infant's tear, And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.
    • Pity would be no more If we did not make somebody Poor; And Mercy no more could be If all were as happy as we.
    • My mother groan'd! my father wept. Into the dangerous world I leapt: Helpless, naked, piping loud: Like a fiend hid in a cloud.
    • I was angry with my friend: I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow.
    • In the morning glad I see My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree.
    • Children of the future Age Reading this indignant page, Know that in a former time Love! sweet Love! was thought a crime.
    • Cruelty has a human heart, And Jealousy a human face; Terror the human form divine, And Secrecy the human dress.
    • Tyger! Tyger! burning bright in the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
    • In what distant deeps or skies Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand dare seize the fire?
    • When the stars threw down their spears, And water'd heaven with their tears, Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
    • What is Grand is necessarily obscure to Weak men. That which can be made Explicit to the idiot is not worth my care.
    • But Want of Money & the Distress of A Thief can never be alleged as the Cause of his Thieving, for many honest people endure greater hard ships with Fortitude. We must therefore seek the Cause else where than in want of Money for that is the Misers passion, not the Thiefs.
    • Fun I love, but too much Fun is of all things the most loathsom. Mirth is better than Fun & Happiness is better than Mirth.
    • To the Eyes of a Miser a Guinea is more beautiful than the Sun & and a bag worn with the use of Money has more beautiful proportions than a Vine filled with Grapes. The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the Eyes of others only a Green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all Ridicule and Deformity, and by these I shall not regulate my proportions; and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the Eyes of the Man of Imagination, Nature is Imagination itself. As a man is, So he Sees. As the Eye is formed, such are its Powers.
    • My specter around me night and day Like a wild beast guards my way, My emanation far within Weeps incessantly for my sin.
    • And throughout all eternity I forgive you, you forgive me.
    • Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau. Mock on, mock on-'tis all in vain! You throw the sand against the wind, And the wind blows it back again.
    • Terror in the house does roar, But Pity stands before the door.
    • There is a smile of love, And there is a smile of deceit, And there is a smile of smiles In which these two smiles meet.
    • This cabinet is formed of gold And pearl and crystal shining bright, And within it opens into a world And a little lovely moony night.
    • For a tear is an intellectual thing, And a sigh is the sword of an Angel King, And the bitter groan of the martyr's woe Is an arrow from the Almighty's bow.
    • To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.
    • A robin redbreast in a cage Puts all Heaven in a rage.
    • A dog starved at his master's gate Predicts the ruin of the state.
    • He who shall hurt the little wren Shall never bebeloved by men.
    • A truth that's told with bad intent Beats all the lies you can invent.
    • Man was made for joy and woe, And when this we rightly know Through the world we safely go.
    • Every tear from every eye Becomes a babe in eternity.
    • He who shall teach the child to doubt The rotting grave shall ne'er get out.
    • The strongest poison ever known Came from Caesar's laurel crown.
    • He who doubts from what he sees Will ne'er believe, do what you please. If the sun and moon should doubt They'd immediately go out.
    • The harlot's cry from street to street Shall weave old England's winding sheet.
    • Every night, and every morn, Some to misery are born. Every morn, and every night, Some are born to sweet delight. Some are born to sweet delight. Some are born to endless night.
    • The Stolen and Perverted Writings of Homer & Ovid, of Plato & Cicero, which all men ought to contemn, are set up by artifice against the Sublime of the Bible
    • Rouze up, O Young Men of the New Age! set your foreheads against the ignorant Hirelings! For we have Hirelings in the Camp, the Court & the University, who would, if they could, for ever depress Mental & prolong Corporeal War.
    • And did those feet in ancient time, Walk upon England's mountains green? And was the holy Lamb of God On England's pleasant pastures seen? And did the Countenance Divine Shine forth upon our clouded hills? And was Jerusalem builded here Among these dark Satanic mills? Bring me my Bow of burning gold, Bring me my Arrows of desire, Bring me my Spear-O clouds, unfold! Bring me my Chariot of fire! I will not cease from mental fight, Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand, Till we have built Jerusalem In England's green & pleasant land.
    • Great things are done when men and mountains meet; This is not done by jostling in the street.
    • If you have formed a circle to go into, Go into it yourself and see how you would do.
    • The Angel that presided o'er my birth Said, 'Little creature, formed of joy and mirth, Go love without the help of any thing on earth.'
    • Grown old in love from seven till seven times seven, I oft have wished for Hell for ease from Heaven.
    • Poetry fettered fetters the human race. Nations are destroyed, or flourish, in proportion as their poetry, painting, and music are destroyed or flourish!
    • I must Create a System, or be enslav'd by another Man's; I will not Reason and Compare: my business is to Create.
    • He who would do good to another must do it in minute particulars; General good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, and flatterer: For art and science cannot exist but in minutely organized Particulars.
    • What is a Wife & what is a Harlot? What is a Church & What Is a Theatre? are they Two & not One? can they Exist Separate? Are not Religion & Politics the Same Thing? Brotherhood is Religion O Demonstrations of Reason Dividing Families in Cruelty & Pride!
    • England! awake! awake! awake! Jerusalem thy sister calls! Why wilt thou sleep the sleep of death And close her from thy ancient walls?
    • The vision of Christ that thou dost see Is my vision's greatest enemy.
    • Both read the Bible day and night, But thou read'st black where I read white.
    • This life's dim windows of the soul Distorts the heavens from pole to pole And leads you to believe a lie When you see with, not through, the eye.
    • I am sure this Jesus will not do Either for Englishman or Jew.
    • 'I die, I die!' the Mother said, 'My children die for lack of Bread.'
    • My Brother starv'd between two Walls, His Children's Cry my Soul appalls;
    • The iron hand crush'd the Tyrant's head And became a Tyrant in his stead.
    • When a sinister person means to be your enemy, they always start by trying to become your friend.
    • It is not at all certain that a merely moral criticism of society may not be just as 'revolutionary' - and revolution, after all, means turning things upside down - as the politico-economic criticism which is fashionable at this moment. Blake was not a politician, but there is more understanding of the nature of capitalist society in a poem like 'I wander through each charter'd street' than in three-quarters of Socialist literature.
    • william blake

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