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

Poems from Letters

To my Dearest Friend, John Flaxman, these lines

I BLESS thee, O Father of Heaven and Earth! that ever I saw Flaxman’s face:

Angels stand round my spirit in Heaven; the blessèd of Heaven are my friends upon Earth

When Flaxman was taken to Italy, Fuseli was given to me for a season;

And now Flaxman hath given me Hayley, his friend, to be mine—such my lot upon Earth!

Now my lot in the Heavens is this: Milton lov’d me in childhood and show’d me his face;

Ezra came with Isaiah the Prophet, but Shakespeare in riper years gave me his hand;

Paracelsus and Behmen appear’d to me; terrors appear’d in the Heavens above;

The American War began; all its dark horrors pass’d before my face

Across the Atlantic to France; then the French Revolution commenc’d in thick clouds;

And my Angels have told me that, seeing such visions, I could not subsist on the Earth,

But by my conjunction with Flaxman, who knows to forgive nervous fear.

12 Sept., 1800.