Classic Poetry from Passions in Poetry
William Blake 1757 - 1827
English poet, artist and mystic. The first of many notable writings was Poetical Sketches (1783), which contains one of his finest poems, 'To the Muses'. His most read work is probably Songs of Innocence (1789) which project childhood as a glorious state. This was contrasted by Songs of Experience (1794). Other notable works include The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1793), Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793), Milton (1804) and Jerusalem (1804). His best-known artistic work includes engravings for Job and Dante's Divine Comedy. One of the great lyric poets, Blake wrote his early work in a classical style but later used the romantic style made popular by Wordsworth and Coleridge.
Blake was born in London and was educated at Henry Pars Drawing School before becoming apprentice to the engraver, James Basire (1772-79). By the time he opened a print shop in London in 1784, he was already established as a graphic designer and drawing tutor. When he went to live in Sussex (1800-03), he was charged with high treason but acquitted, after which he returned to London. After a rather unsuccessful show of his artistic work in 1809, he went into obscurity and became a mystic. A radical supporter of the French Revolution, he was an outright critic of the social evils which he linked with the Industrial Revolution. His work as a poet and artist is usually understood in the context of his social, political and religious beliefs. He was not really understood by his peers but much has been written on him by twentieth-century readers who appreciate the greatness he achieved in his many fields of interest.