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THE DEAN OF MOROCCO = GEORGE CUMBERLAND?

In note 34 to his interesting paper “Mr. Jacko ‘knows what riding is’ in 1785: dating Blake’s Island in the Moon” (Blake, 48 (xii, 4):250) R. J. Shroyer refers to Erdman’s statement that it is “hard to think who” Cumberland might be in An Island (Prophet, p. 100, fn. 22) and himself suggests that “it would seem logical to identify Cumberland with Quid on the evidence Erdman presents.” I tentatively suggest that Cumberland, who was a professional “morocco man,” may be identified as the Dean of Morocco. Stung by the poisonous honey-bee, Quid may well resent that an aim-at-your printer has had the nerve to invent a printing method which a cunning-sure like himself has been unable to develop. In the passage “Then,” said he, “I would have all the writing Engraved instead of Printed, & at every other leaf a high finish’d print—all in three Volumes folio—& sell them a hundred pounds apiece. They would print off two thousand.” Quid may well give good-humoured vent to his resentment, while at the same time indulging in self-irony.

In a recent annotated translation of An Island into Swedish I daringly suggest—well aware of the fact that the suggested anagrammatical transformation yields a residue of N—that Nannicantipot is an anagram for Cannotpaint, a suitable epithet for Catherine who is said to have been able to neither read nor write at the time when she married William Blake. My suggestion that Sicknaker stands for Kick’n arse is highly tentative.

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