Volume 2 · Issue 2

September 15, 1968

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1. David V. Erdman, revising Blake: Prophet for a new edition, writes:

Is the swimmer at the bottom of J.11 “a resplendent American Indian”? (p. 445)

Has anyone in the 20th century seen Paine’s face in the “Spiritual form of Pitt”? Cp. 416)

Is “Tyburns Brook” the same as “Tyburns River”; and is it the Serpentine River; or is one that and the other not that? Damon’s Dictionary under TYBURN has a brook flowing like a uroboros: crossing “Oxford Street a little to the east of the present Marble Arch,” then flowing “through St. James’s Park” (a mile away!) and “then plung[ing] underground at the intersection of Stratford Place and South Molton Street” (i.e. a little to the east of Marble Arch, said intersection being at or with Oxford Street): the brook’s mouth then swallowing its tail. (pp. 429-430; 368)

On pp. 446-447, after saying that at the end of chapter three of Jerusalem “Blake sees ‘the youthful form of Erin’ arising, ‘a Feminine Form . . . Beautiful but terrible struggling to take a form of beauty’ (J.74),” I am tempted to add—for people (like myself) who like a hint of prophetic influence now and then—: “a century later Blake’s son Yeats will see the terrible beauty born.”

Is there any evidence that Blake was aware, when he lamented his friend Fuseli’s being “hid” from/by the royal and noble patrons of art (p. 406), that the wealthiest banker in England, Thomas Coutts, had patronized Fuseli from the beginning, bought most of his works, and continued to encourage his elitism? (See Frederick Antal, Fuseli Studies, 1956, pp. 79-80 & notes) That “Fuseli certainly knew how to treat rich clients”?

An unverifiable hypothesis about THEL: In dates of etching (and presumably of composition) the last plate and the Motto are quite certainly of a later time than the rest of the poem. The last plate must have replaced an earlier plate or plates, something hardly to have been undertaken unless some important change was involved. Question: What was the original THEL like, i.e. how did it end? Mightn’t it have been an “Innocence” version, the new ending producing an “Experience” version—and the Motto made for the latter? Obviously Blake felt that the patch worked, that the changed poem had its own unity, or sufficient to be worth saving the copper and labor of thorough revision. But doesn’t this hypothesis account for the reader’s difficulty—and help him over it by suggesting that when he reads the last page he must look back and alter his view of the preceding pages?

MHH: Is “Enough! or Too much” a final proverb by the Devil—or the poet’s intrusion? Both?

In note 14, p. 407, I dismiss the John Sartain account of the Cromek-Sartain affair with the point that Sartain “has Henry Richter become Stothard’s pupil about two decades later (1807) than he actually did.” But Damon, in his recent Blake’s Grave (p. [3] of introduction), treats Sartain’s as the true begin page 25 | back to top “inside story” and has it that Richter was refused as Stothard’s pupil. Does anyone know how to untangle this?

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