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William Blake (1757–1827). The Poetical Works. 1908.

On Art and Artists

Florentine Ingratitude

SIR JOSHUA sent his own portrait to

The birthplace of Michael Angelo,

And in the hand of the simpering fool

He put a dirty paper scroll,

And on the paper, to be polite,

Did ‘Sketches by Michael Angelo’ write.

The Florentines said ‘’Tis a Dutch-English bore,

Michael Angelo’s name writ on Rembrandt’s door.’

The Florentines call it an English fetch,

For Michael Angelo never did sketch;

Every line of his has meaning,

And needs neither suckling nor weaning.

’Tis the trading English-Venetian cant

To speak Michael Angelo, and act Rembrandt:

It will set his Dutch friends all in a roar

To write ‘Mich. Ang.’ on Rembrandt’s door;

But you must not bring in your hand a lie

If you mean that the Florentines should buy.

Giotto’s circle or Apelles’ line

Were not the work of sketchers drunk with wine;

Nor of the city clock’s running … fashion;

Nor of Sir Isaac Newton’s calculation.