AN UNPUBLISHED POEM ABOUT BLAKE BY WILLIAM BELL SCOTT
My copy of the 1808 quarto edition of Blair’s Grave1↤ 1 Several of the pages are watermarked J. S. Whatman 1807; others are 1808. One of the engravings is of the 1807 watermark. The copy is in original cloth with leather edges and back. is the original subscriber’s copy which belonged to Robert Scott, father of William Bell Scott. It contains the bookplate of William Bell Scott, his signature on the title-page dated 5 March 1849, and a poem inserted at the end in MS. The text is as follows: ↤ 2 First written, “An inspiration, not mere handwork skilled,” then “An inspiration, in art that littlest skilled”; “that” was then deleted.
On seeing again after many yearsW. B. S.
William Blake’s designs for ‘the Grave’
There was a time before the chick could fly
But still was screened by the maternal wing
I looked on these with awe, they were a spring
Of marvels: had not God on high
Shown innocent William what it is to die,
And made him paint the raptures of the pain,—
Body, soul parting but to meet again,
The truths concealed within futurity?
And now that years have shriven and tonsured me
When labouring much in various fields have filled
The tablets of my brain, these pictures burn
With their old fires by whose light still I see
An inspiration, in art littlest skilled2—
My soul leaps up, my childhood’s awes return.