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They hung a medal round his neck,
'Tis forty years from then till now—
And from my sleep I sometimes wake,
(By permission of the Author.)
[William Blake, painter, author, and engraver, was born in 1759, and died in 1827. He was a most original genius, though eccentric both as an artist and an author. "Living in the humblest manner, with little money, plain food, and shabby clothes," says his biographer, "his fame has been restricted to a few enthusiastic admirers; yet poor as he was, he was not unvisited by men of rank and genius. He ennobled poverty, and, by his conversation and by the influence of his genius, made two small rooms in Fountain Court more attractive than the threshold of princes." To the congenial such was Blake, and to a few whose genius or position made them independent. But to the middle class of artists who painted portraits of a gentleman, he was less than nobody. There is an anecdote of one of these, who had been near him in society a few evenings before, meeting him near his own door with a little jug of porter in his hand. Frugal and abstemious, he did not, in youth, indulge in this or any other similar luxury; but in his later years he thought that a pint of this stuff did him good, and, as he had nobody to send for it, he had to pay the penalty of carrying it himself. The popular painter was about to shake hands, but seeing the porter, drew up, and did not know him. Blake would tell the story very quietly and without sarcasm. Blake's principal works are Europe, a Prophecy," "America, a Prophecy," and Songs of Experience." His engravings are very numerous and are well known; his poems, for the most part very beautiful, are scarcely known at all, but we cannot help
thinking that a "people's edition" would introduce them to a wide and appreciative audience. There is, published a few years ago by Messrs. Macmillan, a "Life of Blake," by the late Alexander Gilchrist; it is a most charming piece of biography; all artists would find their advantage in perusing it, while for lovers of art, we know not a more delightful or attractive book.]
An analysis of the following poem will render its meaning clearer to the reader or student. It is from the pen of Mr. D. G. Rosett, who wrote the introduction to Blake's Life and Works."
"Never," he says, "perhaps, have the agony and perversity of sundered affections been more powerfully (however singularly) expressed than in the piece called Broken Love. The speaker is one whose whole soul has been intensified by pain to be his only world, among the scenes, figures, and events of which he moves as in a new state of being. The emotions have been quickened and isolated by conflicting torments, till each is a separate companion. There is a 'spectre,' the jealous pride which scents in the snow the footsteps of the beloved rejected woman, but is a wild beast to guard his way from reaching her; his emanation' which silently weeps within him, for has he not sinned? So they wander together in a 'fathomless and boundless deep,' the morn full of tempests and the night of fears. Let her weep, he says, not for his sins only, but for her own; nay, he will cast his sins upon her shoulders, too; they shall be more and more till she comes to him again. Also this woe of his can array itself in stately imagery. He can count separately how many of his soul's affections the knife she stabbed it with had slain; how many yet mourn over the tombs which he had built for these; he can tell, too, of some that will watch around his bed, bright sometimes with ecstatic passion of melancholy, and crowning his mournful head with vine. All these living forgive her transgressions: when will she look upon them that the dead may live again? Has she not pity to give for pardon? Nay, does he not need her pardon, too? He cannot seek her; but, oh! if she would return! Surely her place is ready for her, and bread and wine of forgiveness of sin.
My spectre round me night and day
A fathomless and boundless deep,
On the hungry craving wind
He scents thy footsteps in the snow,
Poor, pale, pitiable form,
A deep winter, dark and cold,
Dost thou not, in pride and scorn,
O'er my sins thou dost sit and moan;
Thy weeping, then, shall ne'er give o'er;
What transgressions I commit,
Seven of my sweet loves thy knife
Their marble tombs I built with tears,
Seven more loves weep night and day
When wilt thou return and view
Throughout all Eternity
I forgive you, you forgive me,
THE SMUGGLER'S LEAP.
THE REV. RICHARD HARRIS BARHAM,
["Near this hamlet (Acol) is a long-disused chalk-pit of formidable depth, known by the name of 'The Smuggler's Leap.' The tradition of the parish runs, that a riding-officer from Sandwich, called Anthony Gill, lost his life here in the early part of the present (last) century, while in pursuit of a smuggler. A fog coming on, both parties went over the precipice. The smuggler's horse only, it is said, was found crushed beneath its rider. The spot has, of course, been haunted ever since."-See "Supplement to Lewis's History of Thanet by the Rev. Samuel Pegge, A.M., Vicar of Gomersham." W. Bristow, Canterbury, 1795, p. 127.]
THE fire-flash shines from Reculver cliff,
And the answering light burns blue in the skiff,
Some in the water and some on the sand,
"Now lower away! come, lower away! We must be far ere the dawn of the day. If Exciseman Gill should get scent of the prey, And should come, and should catch us here, what would he say?
Come, lower away, lads-once on the hill,
The cargo's lower'd from the dark skiff's side,
But your real Schiedam.
"Now mount, my merry men, mount and ride!”
In the oil-skin case
Of proof to guard its contents from ill,
The "prime of the swag," is with Smuggler Bill!
Merrily now in a goodly row,
Away and away those smugglers go,
And they laugh at Exciseman Gill, ho! ho!
Of the road to Herne,
Comes Gill, wide awake to the whole concern!
With his Custom-house officers all at his side!
That lawless crew,
Away, and away, and away they flew!
Some dropping one tub, some dropping two;-