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The Scholars & A Grain of Sand

Other readers no doubt immediately recognized the lines quoted by Nelson Hilton in “The Shock of the New Blake” (Blake 58, [Fall 1981], 103), from p. 235 of Robert Hughes’ The Shock of the New (New York: Knopf, 1981):

Seek those images
That constitute the Wild,
The lion and the Virgin,
The Harlot and the Child.
This is the third of four stanzas from Yeats’ “Those Images,” published in Last Poems and written, so Richard Ellmann tells us (The Identity of Yeats, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1975, p. 294), “before Aug. 10, 1937”—some dozen decades after Blake’s major works were composed. (Hughes’s capitalization of Virgin, Wild, Harlot, and Child are especially beguiling.)*[The Yeats lines were also identified by F. S. Corlew, Ashtabula, Ohio. Eds.]

Scholars have long known how strongly Yeats identified with his precursor; but

Lord, what would William Butler say,
That Yeats should pass for Blake today?

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