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Redefining the Texts of Blake (another temporary report)

Thirteen years ago I submitted “A Temporary Report on Texts of Blake” to the Damon Festschrift.11 Pp. 395-413, 494-98, in Alvin H. Rosenfeld, ed., William Blake: Essays for S. Foster Damon (Brown Univ. Press, 1969). Wondering how perfectly or imperfectly the “texts” which Blake had etched, left in manuscript, or submitted to printers were represented in the available and forthcoming editions of Blake and in the Concordance of 1968 prepared by a team of ten Blake scholars, I made a survey of the “particular passages” that remained “incompletely transcribed or not certainly established.” Since that time the informal collaboration of editors and other scholars in a “web of mutual communication of reports and queries and photostats” has continued, and the number of uncertain passages has diminished. Many cruxes remain, however, and some of the “certainties” of 1969 have been questioned. And the hope for technological advances that would reduce the “illegibles” of palimpsest (chiefly in The Four Zoas) has risen high, only to sink again.

The texts collated for this new report are four:

2 The 1976 printing of K was checked thoroughly in the preparation of C; the 1979 printing reached me only after C had gone to press, but a fairly complete collation of the passages in the present report revealed very few changes from K1976. Characteristic errors that might have been corrected from E continue in 1979: “thoughts” for “thought” in Anno. Swedenborg p. 12; “Infinity” for “Infinite” in Anno. Swed. p. 40; America 5:3 retains “enclos’d” for “inclosd” and there are no corrections of America c. The K text of The Four Zoas remains frequently inadequate. On K268 “these” is not corrected to “them” in “I have murderd them”; “Or hover’d over” (K284:182) should read “Or hoverd oer”; “turned into cries” (K310) should read “turned to cries”; “better hope” (K355:547) should be “bitter hope”; “girded” (K370:504) is a mistake for “girded on”; “Aloud” (K380) a misreading of “O Luvah.” In the 3rd edition of the Letters (1980) Keynes made several corrections—such as changing the date of letter 56 (K859) from April to March and revising “Home” to “House”—that were not transferred to the K text. The “1979” Preface mentions only two corrections (on pp. 184 and 644 respectively: see below). The second of these is a surprising one, replacing “worshipped” with “warshipped” as probably a “deliberate ‘misprint’ ” that amused Blake (a contextual pun, accepted in the C text as well). Still more curious is an unmentioned change in MHH 7:13, from “wholesome” back to Blake’s “wholsom” (K151): curious because the K text is conscientiously normalized in spelling—and indeed Blake’s “Wholesom” in PA p. 19 is kept in normalized spelling (“Wholesome”) in K599. Also, for instance, in FR 216 (K144) Blake’s “beastial” (respected by Johnson’s printer) remains normalized (K144) as “bestial,” and on K256 the Keynes “steadfast” is not changed to Blake’s “stedfast.” It may be deduced from these and several other examples that the K text of 1979 received only a very few touches of revision or correction, quite possibly more spelling changes than I have noticed but probably very few substantive changes, or none, except in the two passages called attention to in the Preface. The present collation, in short, can stand as a near equivalent to a collation of the 1979 as well as the 1976 Keynes.

E Erdman, ed. The Poetry and Prose of William Blake (Doubleday 1965, fourth printing 1970) with commentary by Bloom.
K Keynes, ed. Blake: Complete Writings (Oxford Univ. Press 1966; 4th revised printing 1976; fifth 19792).
B Bentley, ed. William Blake’s Writings (Oxford Univ. Press 1978; two vols. paginated continuously).
C The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake, ed. Erdman, with commentary by Bloom (Doubleday, paper; University of California Press, cloth 1982).

Also occasionally cited are:

BB Bentley, Blake Books (Oxford Univ. Press 1977).
N Erdman and Moore, eds. The Notebook of William Blake (photographic and typographic facsimile; Oxford Univ. Press 1973; revised ed. Readex Books 1977). N, not in italics, refers simply to the Notebook itself.
SAP Erdman “The Suppressed and Altered Passages in Blake’s Jerusalem,” Studies in Bibliography 17 (1964): 1-54.

“C” has been chosen as symbol for the new edition (rather than, say, E2) as more impersonal and in recognition of the committees of textual scholars who watched and assisted the labor—judicially the CSE (MLA) who approved the procedures and format; critically the four scholars who helped check the text against originals or via film and facsimile: Robert Essick, John E. Grant, Mary Lynn Johnson Grant, and E. B. Murray. The present report is not quite exhaustive (dealing rarely with punctuation) and is intended primarily to enable users of any of the texts collated to find quickly what differences appear in C. Explanations of changes in C will be found in its textual notes, but certain critical passages are discussed briefly in this report. (Changes made in the second and third printings of E are not cited.) Points where B questions readings in E are attended to in the textual notes of C but if puzzling also noted here.

The fact that text and notes have been completely reset for C (and many of the notes rewritten) will mean that some errors have crept in. Responses to this report will be welcome, for revisions in subsequent printings.

The format of the textual notes in E and C is used in the notes that follow, and the symbols used in K and B are transposed into the same format. Square brackets [] enclose words or letters editorially inserted; italicized insertions represent [deleted matter] restored. Angle brackets <> enclose words or letters inserted by Blake; “rdg” and “del” stand for “reading” and “deleted.”

All editorial emendations are indicated, with one exception. For the possessive of “Los” Blake often wrote “Los’s” but also frequently omitted the apostrophe; in the latter instances, to avoid the clutter of brackets, the apostrophe has been inserted silently.

The textual note on punctuation has been revised somewhat. But I find that a further word is advisable about Blake’s indications for paragraphing and about his occasional intermingling of design and text, insofar as it concerns the transcriber. Pictures interrupting the text, in Milton and Jerusalem for instance, sometimes serve as paragraph breaks but sometimes not. The designs after line 12 and line 27 in J 9 and after lines 13 and 26 in J 20 do not halt the narrative; those in J 20 after lines 4, 11, begin page 5 | back to top 20, 21, and 41 definitely do. And in his prose, Blake sometimes indicates a paragraph by a long dash, as after “Sword” in the Milton Preface.

Verse paragraphs are usually only spaced, but sometimes they are indicated by indentation; we treat them alike typographically. Sometimes a punctuation mark seems turning into vegetation or feather; sometimes a detail of foliage is thrust into position to serve as punctuation. Consider: is not the bird at the end of J 61:23 serving as a dash—yet still in flight as a bird?

The punctuation for this edition (C) has been thoroughly checked by our proofreading team against originals and photographs and facsimiles, also against B. Agreement within the team has not always been unanimous; B, however, has been found more often disagreed with than agreed with in this matter. Textual notes deal with some of these punctuational cruxes, but no attempt is made to cover them in the present report.

Works in Illuminated Printing

The works are listed, in this and subsequent sections, in the order of arrangement of texts in E and C.

All Religions are One

Now placed first, from evidence given by Geoffrey Keynes in his Blake Trust facsimile (but not applied in K 1979). Spelling variants are all that occur:

Principle 4th travelling (KE) / traveling (BC)

Principle 5th Religeons (E) / Religions (KBC) each Nation’s (EK) / each Nations (BC)

There is No Natural Religion

The paragraph headed “Conclusion” is now moved from version (a) to version (b) following the paragraph headed “Application.”

Songs of Innocence & of Experience

Night 44 Grase (E) / Graze (KBC—see textual note) The Tyger [6 eyes!] (E) / eyes? (KBC) 16 clasp? (EK) / clasp! (BC)

The Human Abstract Line 8 in N 107 draft (“The human image”): And spreads his [nets] baits with care (EK) / corrected by Bentley to “. . . his [seeds] baits . . .” (BC)

A Divine Image Now described, since discovery of copy BB, as not simply “rejected” but early and replaced.

To Tirzah C note on date (ca. 1803) is important, since B682 gives “perhaps 1797” (despite own evidence).

For Children: The Gates of Paradise

Pl. 13: variant in N 61: What we hope we see (EKC) . . . to see (B)

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

The “Proverbs” are now grouped by spacing, to correspond with the grouping by color made in copy H (with obvious care, since the groups so indicated make sense). Other improvements made by Blake in copy H include the correction of two scribal errors by using (as ancient scribes did) a macron or horizontal stroke above a letter to indicate accidental omission of a letter or letters (or small word) immediately following. In 10:9 Blake corrects “improvent” with a macron over the “v” to make “improvement”(as in the next line). In 14:5 he etched “at tree” (EKB) but a macron in copy H indicates correction to “at the tree” (C). (Uncorrected words, “wholsom” and “witheld,” lack only inessential letters.)

See textual note on 3:6 re “the Devil who dwells.”

In “A Song of Liberty” corrections of punctuation made in copy H are adopted in C: 3 ocean?] corrected to ocean! 6 weep] to weep! (C).

Visions of the Daughters of Albion

All editions agree, except for two variants in B that must be scribal errors: omission of “are” before “their habitations” in 3:5 (B’s 6:5) and “and” for “&” in 3:12. I.e., no variants in Blake.

America a Prophecy

Canceled plate c:12 mossy pile (KEB) / massy pile (C) c:22 [&] or shut . . . [&] in (KB) / or shut . . . & in (E) / & shut & in (C)


2:21 deed (K482) / deed? (E95) / deed[.] (B320) / deed[?] (C96), there being no punctuation at this point in any copy.

10:3 into the Space] B omits “the” in error.

11:35 spake (EK) / spoke (BC)

23:28 spoke (EK) / spake (BC)

24[26]: 63-64. lulld by the flutes lula lula / The bellowing Furnaces blare by the . . . clarion (B, giving text without emendation) / . . . flutes’ lula lula . . . Furnaces blare . . . (K) / . . . flutes lula lula . . . Furnaces[’] blare (EC). Too late to change, it was noted that C should also give “flutes[’]”; readers often mistake this passage, not sensing that “blare” is a noun here, not a verb. The instruments are played “to ameliorate . . . slavery” (61). The sounds of Hammers “are lulld by the flutes[’] lula lula” and the blare of the Furnaces is lulled by the long sounding clarion; the drum drowns the howls, &c.

31:13 Towards America . . . golden bed (EKC) / Line omitted (B)


To the Public

3:8 the Ancients entrusted their love to their Writing (EK) / the ancients acknowledge their love to their Deities (C) / (B questions all restorations of this plate)

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In 1969 I could say that “no passages still in doubt” were “as central and significant as the Plate 3 deletions in Jerusalem” and could describe these as “now restored.” In February 1980 a letter from Michael Tolley queried my restoration of the words “entrusted” and “Writing” in this gouged-out passage, and a very careful rechecking, by myself and others, using enlarged photographs from the Rosenwald and Morgan copies and the posthumous Rosenbloom copy and the unenlarged photograph of the Morgan page in SAP (which shows nearly everything that the others do).

My error resulted from incomplete observance of my own procedures, spelled out in SAP. The word read as “entrusted” or “acknowledge” has three ascending strokes (we must ignore the descending stroke of “p” from the line above); I had failed to notice that on this page Blake’s t’s barely rise above the body of the letters, hence that none of the three ascenders could be a “t”. Indeed, the first ascender has a bend (not apparent in the Morgan, or it would have been noted sooner) which can belong only to a “k” in this script. The word “Acknowledge” in the very next line is more visible and offers a perfect model to test the misread word. Of the other queried word, the only plainly visible letters are “iti” in the center. The first letter, a bombed-out capital, has edges in the Rosenwald copy that fit a Blakean “W”; but, as I now see, in the Morgan the crater is encircled not merely by dots but by a large loop fitting exactly the “D” of “Divine” seven lines further down. And the second letter is more like “e” than “r”. “Writing” was not an impossible hypothesis; “Deities” works perfectly. (I should add that Mary Lynn Johnson and John Grant, in the Norton Critical Blake (1979), recognizing something wrong with the passage, refer to “Blake’s somewhat garbled defense of enthusiasm in this mutilated passage” (p. 312n4). The garbling was mine.

(I am told that in semiotic circles, the phrase “entrusted their love to their Writing” was becoming a favorite locus classicus! Mea culpa!)

7:65 Generation Image of regeneration!] “Image” was scratched through for deletion and is illegible or nearly so in most copies but was retouched into legibility in copies B and D. (Some copy B retouchings are clearly irresponsible: see notes on plate 17 and 18, below.) “Image” is shown undeleted in KB (with a note in B); “[Image]” in EC, signifying deletion editorially restored, with a textual note of explanation, but perhaps it should have been printed with this note but without the bracketing. (The details of the note in B [429] err from the correct account in SAP 16.)

8:32 The uncircumcised (E, in error but corrected in 4th printing) / Thy Uncircumcised (KBC)

17:21 fit for labour (EKBC) / changed to “labours” by printers’ ink in copy B, but unidiomatic. Noted now in C.

18:36 So cry Hand & Hyle (EKBC) mended to “So criest thou? & Hyle” in copy B—first noted in C. The “u” is formed in the space between “n” and “d”; the “?” is made of a bit of interlinear ornament. This and the change in 17:21 are retouchings in the red-brown ink of the printing; other words are retouched without change in lines 10, 11, 20, 22, 25. Whoever made the mendings in 18 and 17 was inattentive to the sense and syntax.

BB 732 notes that some “words and designs are clarified in pencil (pl. 5, 7-10 [but these are in design only], in Red ink (pl. 8 [design only]), or in Black ink (pl. 9-11, 15, 19-22, 25 [words retouched in 10, 11, 20, 22, 25, without change]).” B and BB overlook the actual changes in pl. 17 & 18, noted above.

21:44 worshipped (EKB) / warshipped (C and 1982K) Footnote on the page points out that the reading makes sense yet may be a misprint for “worshipped”.

(The “a” is made with the usual serif at top right, never given to an “o”, which is made in a circular sweep. The “a” is made with a curved stroke that begins at the top, comes up to make the serif and down again to connect with the next letter. Of course an “a” can look something like an “o”, but even the “a” in “massy” in America c, misread until now, though it lacks the protruding serif does have the vertical right side produced by the up and down motion described.

24:60 Hope is banished from me] (KBC; yet B in “Addenda and Corrigenda”, p. xxvi, gives “from us” as a correction, without explanation.)

27 Begin new paragraph with “But now the Starry Heavens . . .” (BC).

27: next paragraph: was Created (EKBC) / B738 lists “was” as an error for “were”; indeed the grammar is polysemous and debatable. Problem overlooked in C.

32[36]:34 South [ ]ing (E) / South bounding (C). Explained in Blake 13:106.

40[45]:31 hands (KEC) / hand (B, printer’s error?)

42:47 abhorred friend (KBC) / abhorred [fiend] (E); B and C note that “friend” may be an error for “fiend” but that the context gives support to the original reading.

30[34]:10 Why have thou elevate (KEC) / [Why has thou elevated] (B). (Yet nine lines earlier “I am Love / Elevate into the Region” is given without comment or emendation in B.)

56:37 earth-Worm (KBC) / earth-Worms (E) Changed by ink in copy F, not necessarily by Blake. B asserts “by Blake” yet retains “earth-Worm”; K does not note; change adopted in E, with note; rejected in C, with note.

66:38 Their ear bent (KEBC) B with note: “Blake probably intended ‘ears’ plural”; perhaps, though singulars come in line 40.

77: bottom corners. Deleted lines, partly legible in copy F and posthumous copies I and J; for the first time fully recovered for C; reading column for column instead of line for line, as we all had been doing: begin page 7 | back to top

The Real Self[hood] is the Imagination in the
Divine Man

K(919n) had read the top row, though not noting that “hood” was scratched out on the copper (Blake, having begun to write about the real Selfhood as against the spectral Selfhood, then passed beyond irony to emphasize “The Real Self”).

In SAP I concurred with the K reading of the top row, venturing only a few letters for the bottom row:

The Real Self[hood] is the?Spectre?within in the
P . . . . T . . m

B has now deciphered that last phrase, putting “Divine Man” convincingly in place of “P . . . T . . . m” but unaccountably losing “in the,” perhaps still trying to read line for line. C puts cautionary question marks on “Imagination” and “Man,” but “tion” is clearly a better fit for the end of the first column than “thin.” The Concordance shows Blake speaking several times of “The Imagination” as the “Real Man,” an idea attributed to Jesus in Anno. Berkeley.

87:6-7 the space between these lines in E has been properly removed in C (as in KB).

89:26 Rocks (KE) / flocks (BC)

96:34 rouze up, rouze up! (K) / rouze up. rouze up. (E) / rouze up! rouze up. (C, as in originals) / (B omits one “rouze up” altogether and puts an editorial “!” on the one retained; probably a simple error of transcription). B’s note that lines 1-25 “are curtailed” omits the explanation found in SAP.

97:45 mending of “thy Covenant” is correctedly described in B637n but wrongly described in B634n.

98:48 Sacrifices (KEC) / Sacrifice (B637, with note treating the “s” as doubtful). But the “s” is only crowded, not hidden, by the border; the syntax requires a plural.

On Virgil

Concluding sequence is rearranged thus:

Mathematic Form is Eternal in the Reasoning Memory. Living Form is Eternal Existence.

Grecian is Mathematic Form

Gothic is Living Form

(This part of the text is in two columns; previous transcripts have put the second column first.)


Practise is Art] now moved to precede A Poet a Painter . . . (Printers’ error in C: photograph facing p. 273 is printed as a negative, with black printed for white; corrected in the clothbound.)


1:19 shrinking] 1st rdg del heaving (K) / living (EBC); 2nd rdg del ?shriecking (EC) Note in B903 mistakes this conjectured 2nd rdg for a proposed final rdg.

1:28 serpents [?all] (B) / (del word is not noted in KEC, but B is correct).

3:32 seeks] runs 1st rdg del (EBC) (K: “word del”)

4:50 rent] mended from rend (noted in EBC, not K)

4:63 . . . and know your father 1st rdg del (EC) (K elides; B notes E rdg but considers its “and know” a single illegible word.)

5:5 [earth] ground (K) / [ground] world (E) / [world] ground (B) / [ground] earth (C) (No comment.)

The French Revolution

Having been mistaken in the faulty recollection (I had once checked the original proofs) that traditional quotation marks were in the printed text, I have now removed them all; Blake himself would have supplied none.

More fully explanatory notes are now supplied for the readings bonds/bands (line 74), cloud/loud (101), war-living/war living (283).

The Four Zoas

This report does not attempt to deal with all the differences among editions in the handling of deleted matter and in arrangement of pages. For the recovery of passages hitherto considered deleted see comment on pages 5, 6, and 7. For drastic rearrangement of the constituent pages of Night the Seventh, briefly described below, one must get one’s sense of the effect by consulting the rearranged text itself.

In the new edition (C) for convenience of using the Concordance (based on K) we have given the K line numbers, within brackets, since they are continuous for each Night. But here I cite simply page and line numbers for the page.

3:8 no Individual [Knoweth nor] (B accidently omits “Individual”).

4:13 It is not Love I bear to [Jerusalem] It is Pity] See textual note for explanation of this editorial replacement of “Enitharmon” by “Jerusalem.”

Pages 5-6] These pages have each ten new lines, previously considered deleted from failure to understand that when Blake circled a deleted passage he meant to restore it to the text; page 7 has been restored from its mistaken conflation (in E) with page 143, the readings in which are now recognized as preceding, not following, the final readings in p. 7. Andrew Lincoln cleared up these matters in Blake 46:91-95.

27:9 O Lamb] I ?die 1st rdg erased (EC) / [word del] (B)

30:16 ?halls of 1st rdg erased (EB) / centr f[orm] (C)

39:18-40:1 But saw not . . . in the cloud] Two lines shown as del (KEB); as undeleted (C): they are simply lined through lightly in pencil to be excluded when the passage was copied into J 43.

P. 41: Text unchanged (except for recognizing the begin page 8 | back to top “I” in line 10 as undeleted), but see elaborately revised textual note concerning the late insertion of the name “Albion” on this page. (But K and B, mistaking the page markings, move line 10 to follow line 4, in error.)

42:18 She ended. [From] his wrathful throne burst forth (E) / She ended. for [from] his wrathful . . . (C) KB change the ms period to a comma; E misread the “for” as a canceled “From”—now supplied in C as the needed connective. The squiggle that looks like “for” may have been meant for “from”—or both words were intended but one slipped away.

It is also worth noting that here, and elsewhere, Bentley’s spacing of lines hides the evidence of paragraph spacing when inserted lines, belonging to one paragraph or the other, physically fill an original gap. In this dialogue between[e] Ahania and Urizen, the line “She ended . . . ” should stand as a paragraph by itself, between her speech and his.

47:22 despair comes over (KEB) / editorial insertion in C: over [me]

56:23 is followed by Blake’s instruction: “Bring in here the Globe of Blood as in the B of Urizen” (a reference to Urizen 18); editors have heretofore shirked their duty, but the lines fit perfectly, treating two Urizen lines as one. (We enclose the resulting four lines within editorial brackets.) (C338)

Night The Seventh

The long debated conflation of the two Nights the Seventh (A and B) into one is carried out here with benefit of the proposals discussed by Andrew Lincoln, Mark Lefebvre, and John Kilgore in Blake 12 (1978): 107-34, along the lines of my discussion following theirs (135-39). See the textual headnote on C836.

78:13 rangd his [Books] Books around (B1185) / rangd his rocks a[round] Book around 1st rdg (EC) / rang’d his [word del.] Books around (K)

82:33 face lightnings] face [thy sons] <& his> lightnings 1st rdg (EC) / face, [word del.] lightnings (K) / face; [thy ?Smiles] lightnings (B1193). Yet not a very difficult ms.

85:41-42 Thou didst subdue me . . . lust & murder (KE) (Now moved in BC to follow 85:38; these lines are written in the bottom margin and not precisely marked for insertion; I agree with B1198 that “The sense seems to sanction their insertion here.”

91:11 red Orc in his [word erased] fury (K) / . . . in his [triumphant] fury (E) / . . . in his [blind(?) f th(?)] fury (B) / . . . in his [?triumphant] fury (C, a bit less certain). B’s “f” is my “p”; his “th” my “nt”; “triumphant” is the right length and has only two odd bits of strokes to account for, above the “p” and the “n” which I take to be a start at deleting the word before erasing it.

93:23 dropping tears of woe (K) / drinking . . . (EC) / . . . drinking? (B)

98, after 31 Then I heard the Earthquake &c (KEB) / Then Heavd the Earthquake &c (C)

101:31 expelled (KB) / repelled (EC)

113:25 in its Islands (E) / on its Islands (KBC)

105:24 there was hidden (E) / then was hidden (KBC)

119:18 flames whirring up (E) / . . . li[c]king up (KBC)

121:7 pleasant garden (EB) / pleasant gardens (KC)

126:6-7 obey & live . . . return O love (EC) / . . . return & Love (KB, missing the progression of thought. Since the “&” and “O” are written clearly, K and B assume a scribal error; B even suggests that “& live” could be “O live”).

145:10 (passage quoted in textual note on 106:6) Of most mournful pity (EK) / Of most merciful(?) pity (BC)—a more probable reading than “mournful” in the context; the written word is wobbly, the first 3 letters more clearly “merc” than “mour,” the fourth not obviously either “i” or “n.”


To Summer: 15 Our youth[s] (E) / youths (K) / youth (BC)

Samson: (10 lines from end): stocks (E) / flocks (KBC)

Then She bore Pale desire

In this fragment a change of position is made of the clause “Shame bore honour & made league with Pride,” from line 75 to lines 91-92.


In E a fairly “clean” text was printed, without the many slight mendings of letters or parts of words that strew the manuscript. C includes some of these, when any significance can be deduced. The few reported here contain some new readings, or confirmation of disputed readings in E.

E440/C449: question mark now removed from [tipsy] (Mrs Gimblet); plural retained in “his own imaginations” (despite removal by B875). B, indeed, seems seldom to accept Blake’s thin terminal “s”; in IM p. 4 he even reduces “the names in the Bible” to a singular.

(À propos, B has 21 footnotes citing readings in E, not always questioning them but never incorporating them; all these have now been multiple-checked and found sound. Most of them are quite legible to others, as well as to me.)

Chap. 1, 3rd par.: [Quid] [<the Elder>] (C)

Ms. p. 2: [here the] (E) / [here Etr (i.e. Etruscan)] (C)

p. 3: call me ass (E) / call me *Arse (C). Blake wrote “ass,” then “Arse,” then “as” again; then put an asterisk on the 2nd rdg to restore it. (K has the asterisk in the wrong place; B does not transcribe it.)

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Chap. 6, opening: Then all went (E) / They all went (KBC)

Chap. 8 O ay Lock said Scopprell. [Its a book about] (K, punctuated, C) / Deletion omitted (E) / [three words del] (B)

Chap. 11 [how many Blackamoors . . . ] (K) / [[If] How many . . . ] (E768/C850) / [?If ?we ?manage Blackamoors] (B898, but quoting E in a note, as supplying a “rather more plausib[le] reading”).


To my Mirtle (N106) The 16 lines (N 113, 111, 106) arranged under the title “in a mirtle shade” in E460 (18 lines in K169) were recognized as not constituting an authentic separate poem when I was collaborating with Donald K. Moore on the Notebook facsimile; a note to that effect was inserted in the 4th printing of E (pp. 769-70—and see the extensive note in N Appendix I pp. 69-71); in C these lines have been allowed to sink back into their proper state as a canceled extension of “Infant Sorrow” (given and discussed in the notes section C797-99). Yeats and Ellis had started this rearranging “according to the editor’s taste” (to quote Geoffrey Keynes in his autobiography, The Gates of Memory, 1981, p. 255) and in 1926 Max Plowman had recognized that “in a mirtle shade” (lower case) was not a title but a catchphrase indicating where Blake wanted to fit the lines that follow into his “Infant Sorrow” extension. Plowman unfortunately had made a mistaken reconstruction of the sequence in the manuscript; so Keynes and the rest of us had carved out a separate poem (KEB). Alas, A. E. Housman wrote to Keynes (loc. cit.) that he preferred the Yeats version, “the old eight-line text,” as, “however ill authenticated, . . . one of the most beautiful of all the poems.” (The eight-line poem was made of the six lines on C469—with “sick” arbitrarily replaced by “weak”—plus two that Blake canceled: “Love, free love, cannot be bound / To any tree that grows on ground.”) (Sampson in 1905 had “To My Mirtle” sorted out, but he treated 16 lines of N 111 as a “first version,” with the title “In a Mirtle Shade.”)

Riches (N 103) Line 1 deletions are correct as given in EC, though questioned in B975.

Eternity (N 105) 1 He who binds to himself a joy (KEC) / . . . bends (B). B declares he cannot see a dot on the “i” of “binds”; E says it’s there. But a curious thing is that there are ten i’s in this four-line poem and its title, none with visible dots except for two tiny bits over “binds” and “it”; if Bentley followed his own rules, he would print: “hemself . . . wenged lefe . . . Leves en eternety’s sun rese.”

“Abstinence . . . ” (N 105) 2 The ruddy limbs & flaming hair (KEC) / flourishing hair (B). Note: flaming hair mended over what was probably a bad scribble for the same two words (EC). Note: “flourishing hair” seems to be written over something else (B978). Our committee struggled with this, to no avail. Was it first “flowery head” or “flourishing head”? No, Blake clearly wrote “haid” and changed the “d” to “r,” perhaps then dotting the “i” (for here is one of the few “i” dots on the page). Was it “flaming” changed to “flourishing” or vice versa? Or “flowing” to “flaming”?

“My Spectre . . . ” (N 13, 12) And let us go to the highest downs (EKC) / . . . high downs . . . (B927—but the “st” is legible, though cramped; a one-syllable word would mar the rhythm).

“A fairy . . . ” [leapt] skipt (K) / [leapt] skipd (EC) / leapt Stept (B1070: “‘Stept’ is written above ‘leapt,’ which has not been deleted”). Presumably B does not mean the line to be read with both verbs in it but means to urge that Blake had not decided which to keep. Presumably “skipt” or “skipd” is ruled out because Blake didn’t dot the “i” (yet he did not cross the “t” either).

To Mrs Ann Flaxman 2 Its form was lovely (EKC) / lively (B1331—curious because there is nothing to be taken for an i dot here; in fact the open o could be mistaken for u: luvely).

The Mental Traveller (Pickering MS scrutinized in the Morgan Library) There are a few passages written over fairly complete erasures; B1306 attempts some conjectural restorations, for lines 85, 86, 91, impossible to confirm.

The Grey Monk (N 8[12]) Deletion under line 11: From his dry tongue . . . (K419/E778/C860) / From his aking tongue (B930)

When Klopstock (N 1[5]) 29: [Then after] <From pity then> (EC; K: “illegible”) / From [anger(?)] <pity then> (B926, not seeing the “Then” beneath the “From” and so turning “after” into “anger?” to make sense).

30 And the spell <removed> unwound (EC) / And the <ninefold?> spell unwound (B) / K declares 29-32 illegible). As I reexamine my photograph of the page, however, I am happy to report that I can see the f and ld (with room for the o) of “ninefold”—a word which not only makes better sense but is written in a position more plausibly intended to precede than follow “spell”: the 2nd printing of C will have to read: “And the ninefold spell unwound.”

31-32 B926 quotes a conjectural reading of mine in Blake Newsletter 1968 which was quite mistaken and, as Bentley says, awkward; his own reading confirms the EC reading.

“You dont believe . . . ” (N 21) 11 When he said [Rich] Only Believe (KEC) / said [Beli] (a start for “Believe”) (B934—which I now, too late for C, see is correct).

From Cratetos (N 64) B emends title to From Cratelos; but both t’s are crossed; “Cratetos” is an understandable Blake error about Greek inflections, while “Cratelos” makes no sense. (See t note in EC).

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“And his legs carried it . . . ” (N 22-23) Line 25 And Cur my Lawyer & Dady [my] Jack Hemps Parson (EC) / . . . & Dadymus(?) . . . (B936). EC infer deletion, i.e. that Blake having written (for his persona, Stewhard) “Cur my Lawyer and Dady my Parson,” then decided to call him Flaxman’s parson: “Jack Hemps Parson.” Until we find an explanation either for Dady or for Dadymus, the crux is empty of content.

“Was I angry . . . ” (N 23) The line 6 deletion “Mirths” (EC, not in K) stands obviously for “Mirth is.” “Mirth” (B) makes nonsense and ignores the visible “s” stroke (between the u and s of the overwritten “Because.”

“He has observd . . . ” (N 30) 2 del ?I ?sport ?with ?Fortune ?merry ?Blithe & gay (E, not in K) / ?Sporting ?with fortune [words illeg] gay (B) / ?Sporting with ?golden ?Fortune ?Blithe & gay (C)

“old acquaintance well renew” (N 24) i.e. “we’ll.” This half line is written on top of an erased full line beginning “Look ?what [or ?how]” and continuing “Flaxman & Stothard do” (EC, not in K; B “can read only ‘Stothard’ with confidence”). C868 suggests that Blake may have meant to retain the first two words, to make the revised line read “Look how [or what] old acquaintance we’ll renew.”

Mr Cromek to Mr Stothard (N31) 3 you travel all in vain (all texts) / B942 notes “‘travel’ might equally well be read as ‘travil,’ i.e. ‘travail.’” Perhaps (though no “i” dot), but the Concordance shows that Blake’s “travel” (he never wrote “travail”) always, in every form, signifies journey or journeying (sometimes associated with travail, e.g. “returnd from his immense labours & travels” (FZ 2:201)—with two exceptions: (1) the female in Europe Prel 1 is “faint with travel” and (2) Blake in a letter writes of “the sore travel which has been given me.” (In the present context, Stothard is advised to “turn back” from his vain “travel”; so the implication of travail is at most a pun.)

Cromek’s Language (I should add, generally, of Cromek that the lyrics by his persona often contain the words “paint” and “painting” with the spelling “pant” and “panting” (more “travel”!). It is obvious that Blake wanted Cromek to pant in these passages; whether in a given instance “ant” or “aint” is intended is sometimes hard to make out, but C prints the shorter form more often than E did.

E497/C506 The couplet beginning “To forgive Enemies H— does pretend” is now seen as the conclusion of “P— loved me,” and no longer printed as a separate poem.

“When you look . . . ” (N 41) 4 About freedom & Jenny Suck awa (KEC have a note on “Jenny Suck awa”—K912 being the best: “interpreted by Sampson as a grotesque way of writing Je ne sais quoi.” B953 only notes that this quatrain “is written in Cromek’s Yorkshire dialect” without mentioning (or noticing?) the French base. The point may still be missed; hence the fuller explanation here. (As for dialect, B952 fails to recognize “ham” as “them,” not “him.”)

Now that we have learned that “poco pen” was really written “poco piu” (a little bit more), we have a punning glossary of the slippery language of the “Cunning-sures & the aim-at-yours” (N 40), i.e. the connoisseurs and amateurs. When they are buying or selling they “keep up a Jaw” (N 43) about that soupçon or poco piu or Je ne sais quoi the presence or absence of which makes a work precious or worthless. (Of course many readers have always understood Blake’s Cromek.)

Florentine Ingratitude (N 32) 21 merry hearted Fashion (EC) / warm hearted Fashion (K) / warm Hearted Fashion (B). B944 gets the capital H from mistaking a descending “p” from the line above as part of the letter. The “y” of “merry” is quite visible.

A Pretty Epigram . . . B949 rightly corrects E789 (and N 38); the suggested first and second titles, deleted, are not there. The second, “Major Testament of—” is (notes B) a misreading of “the Entertainment of” and an overlooking of the caret. C872 now reads: “Title revised in ms thus: A [Pretty Epigram for <the entertainment of> those who have Given high Prices for Bad Pictures And ?have] Pretty Epigram for [those] the Entertainment of those Who [pay] <have Paid> Great Sums in the Venetian & Flemish Ooze.”

“On the Great Encouragement . . . ” (N 40) Dilbury Doodle (KEB) / Dilberry Doodle (C)

To Venetian Artists (N 61) Poco Pen (KEB) / Poco Piu (C)

“Her whole Life is an Epigram . . . ” (N 100) smack smooth & neatly pend (KE) / ?smart smooth & ?neatly pend (B) / smack smooth & nobly pend (C) / smack-smooth and nobly pend (K1982). See textual note (C873) on the exchange in TLS, including the idea this may be a response to Wordsworth’s “perfect Woman, nobly planned.”

The Everlasting Gospel

John Grant is responsible for the discovery that these four lines,

What can be done with such desperate Fools
Who follow after the Heathen Schools
I was standing by when Jesus died
What I calld Humility they calld Pride (N 52),
do not belong in “The Everlasting Gospel” but constitute a comment on it, by the man who was standing by when Jesus died, not William Blake but Joseph of Arimathea. In fact these lines are in the darker ink, with finer pen (this fact got left out of the C textual note) of the Joseph couplets which have hitherto been treated as a separate poem (“I will tell you what Joseph of Arimathea / Said to my Fairy”) ending with the couplet that begins “Listen patient & when Joseph has done,” couplets crowded into begin page 11 | back to top the margins to serve, physically and poetically, as William Blake’s announcement that he is about to quote Joseph. In C, then, we are printing, as Preface to the main poem, first Blake’s three couplets, then Joseph’s two. The other “Comments on this Poem” (as we call them) are printed at the end of the main text: “I am sure This Jesus will not do . . . ” and “This was Spoke by My Spectre” (a comment on the Philosophy section).

Line 58 (now 54 with the moving of “What can be done . . . ” to the Preface) of this first section of the poem proper (d in EK, k in BC) is a difficult palimpsest and has had a checkered career among transcribers:

the seraph hand (Sampson, noted in K921) / Lord Caiaphas hand (E, 4th prtg) / the Caiaphas (?) hand (B) / [the guilty] Lord Caiaphas hand (NC).

Line 31, section e: Wherefore has (KE) / has [t] (BC)

In d:21 the deleted “End” is clearly (from the context) a start for “Ended”; thus: [End(ed)] (ENC) but [?End] (B)

f:51 forgot your (KEC) / forgot our (B)


A Descriptive Catalogue

p. 1 The Spiritual form of Nelson . . . wreathings are infolded] The Spirit of Nelson . . . folds are entangled variant inscription on sketch (Butlin 650). (This textual note got lost from C on the way to press. It is cited in B, from catalogue; in Butlin from original.)

p. 2 ordering the Reaper] commanding the reaper variant inscription, on back of painting, but not in Blake’s hand (nor spelling: ploughman and plough instead of plowman and plow). Butlin suggests “Perhaps by Palmer” (Butlin 651). (Accepted in B as Blake’s.)

p. 27 whose whole delight is the destruction of men (KE) / . . . is in the . . . (BC)


A Vision of the Last Judgment (N68-93)

p. 81 Brittanica (KE) / Britannica (B) / Brittannia (C: see note).


Comparing Bentley’s text and his arrangement of the segments of Public Address has been helpful, though in both respects C differs somewhat from B.

p. 51 [Engraved by William Blake tho Now Surrounded by Calumny & Envy] pencil inscription, deleted. (EC) / Not mentioned in K; mentioned in B (1031 & 1060) as “illegible.” Easy to read in the N facsimile, however, and included in the Blake Concordance.

p. 11, paragraph beginning “If Men of weak Capacities” is transcribed differently in each text (K591/E560/B1029-30/C571). B was right to question “an artist who has carried on” (E&N) and to suggest “an unending.” And E had mistakenly dropped “The Fools hand or the” (KBC).

p. 55 how then should (EKC) / . . . shall (B, simple error)

p. 57, 2nd parag: journeymen whose names (EKC) / journeyman whose name (B, compounded error).

p. 58, 1st parag. The “you/dey” mendings of the words of Gravelot, given incompletely in E, are given fully in KBC. But KB treat the deleted “Aliamet” (ENC) as illegible.

p. 60 Monopolizing Trader [whose whole] (C) / not previously deciphered, though B gives “whose.” Further along: “Poco Pend” (EKB) / Poco Piud (C); “Drawn with a firm <and decided> hand” (KEC) / “Drawn with a firm hand <& decided>” (B, a misconstruction)

p. 17 Corregio & Titian (KB) / Corregio or Titian (EC): technically, “or” written on top of “&” (N)

p. 44 to leave it before he has spoild it (EK) / . . . leave off before . . . (BC)

p. 18 It is the Fashion] written along the right margin of the page, now broken off—but visible in the 1953 facsimile. B and C agree on the placement of this clause (after “a dark cavern”): E lacked it. K misplaced “They Produce System & Monotony.”

p. 18 The two paragraphs beginning “Mr B repeats” have more fully reported deletions in C than E (and concur with B). K is somewhat in agreement, but misreads “Production of a Man” as “Product . . . .”

p. 20 every Body of Understanding must cry out (E) / . . . [will] must cry out (K) / . . . [can(?)] [will] must cry out (B) / [& sen[se] will] must cry out (C) / / Poco-Pen (K) / Poco Pen (EB) Poco Piu (C)

p. 23 [That Painted as well as Sculptured Monuments . . . ] Variants reported more fully in C. B questions several readings, omits “the Plain unpainted” before “Those Sepulchurs,” reads “dead Marble” as “dull(?) Marble”; but does also call attention to the misspelling “Sepulchures” in E.

p. 25 destructive of the true Artist (KC) / . . . Artists (EB)


Annotation to Lavater’s Aphorisms on Man

Date corrected to 1788; underlining and bracketing revised.

248 beast & devil (KEC) / beast or devil (B1361) It would have been good to have more ample quotation of Lavater in C, but R. J. Shroyer’s facsimile edition (1980) fills that need.

One important correction has been made, in Blake’s note on blank page 225. The deletion given heretofore as “& they converse with the spirit of God!” is corrected to “& these are either Good or Evil”—a considerable difference.

11 false for weak (KE) / [?Doubtful] false for weak (BC)

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612 “six or seven words erased” (EC)—still undeciphered.

Annotations to Swedenborg’s Divine Love and Divine Wisdom

Flyleaf: Good to others (K) / This Good to others (EB) / Thus Good to others (C)

11 springs up in your thoughts (KB) / . . . thought (EC)

49 the words Infinity & Eternal (KE) / . . . Infinite . . . (BC)

336 (Section omitted in KB from failure to note Blake’s marking with large cross in right margin; given in EC.)

414 Is it not false then . . . / B399 supplies the wrong context.

(We have checked every variant in B, including capitalization and punctuation and find B quite frequently inaccurate.)

Annotation to Swedenborg’s Divine Providence

277.2 The comment “Cursed Folly!” is placed after the paragraph beginning “Predestination” in K, before it in E, but now (in C, following B) after the phrase “cannot be removed afterwards.” B also supplies correction, at the end of the “Predestinarian” paragraph, from “In 69 . . . ” (KE) to “See 29 . . . ” (BC).

Annotations to Watson’s An Apology for the Bible

Blake’s second line, “The Beast & the Whore . . . controls” (C) / “control” (KEB), is canceled by a ruled double line, in pencil, something quite uncharacteristic of Blake. I take it to have been added by Samuel Palmer, whose signature is on the title page. B gives the line as del.

B ignores Blake’s guide-lines and daggers in the text and comments of p. 2 (though the dagger on “Always”—printed as an asterisk—is given, but not the matching dagger in Watson). On p. 4 B’s questioning of the E readings led to further scrutiny of the ms, confirming them.

p. 5 The reading is “murdered” not “marterd” (B).

p. 9 A deletion not noted in K, noted but not deciphered in E, is somewhat tentatively restored in B and C:

. . . the plan of Providence was . . . not restored til [we in] Christ [were(?) restord(?)] (B1414) / . . . [?made ?restoration] (C) I take it that Blake began to write “we in Christ” and then canceled “we in” before completing the sentence, to read “restored till Christ made restoration” or possibly “gave restoration”?

Annotations to Boyd’s Historical Notes on Dante

C now includes (from K1976) the new comment on p. 75, “Every Sentiment . . . Opinions & Principles” (B1448, C634)

Bacon’s Essays

p. 62 Virtuous I supposed to be Innocents (KEC) / . . . Innocent (B)

Malone’s Reynolds

Notes in B question several E readings; all have been confirmed, with the exceptions given below.

Angle brackets < > to indicate Blake’s inked additions were only incompletely supplied in printings of E; they are all in place in C.

C (639) includes a new, partially recovered, Blake annotation—on Malone’s p. xxxviii, fns. 24 and 25.

p. 3 Ought not the Employers of Fools (K) / Ought not the <Artists &> Employers [Imbecillity] of Fools (E) / Ought not the <Patrons(?) &> [word del] Employers [Imbecility] of [Folly] Fools (B) / Ought not the <?Patrons &> Employers [Imbecility] of Fools (C)

p. 4, misnumbered “[iv]” [Are there Artists . . . Other Men] (EC, questioned in B1461)

p. 7 There are, at this time, a greater number of excellent artists than were ever known before at one period in this nation. (Blake’s comment:) [Artists . . . ?Heavens ?Fool the hxxx Pxxxx as xxxxm] (new in C643)

p. 30 [those who are born for it] (EC) (not in K) / [wretches(?) Who are born for it] (B, plausible, but scrutiny does not confirm.)

p. 48 without Con or Innate Science (EKC) / with Con . . . (B, clearly a mistake)

p. 50 following [Letter] <Discourse> (E) / . . . [Lecture] . . . (KBC)

p. 101 B1479 underlines “not Elegance,” misinterpreting Blake’s guide-line.

p. 126 C654 supplies a context indicating that the “Damnd Fool” is Vasari.

p. 179 Jan Steen (KE) / Jan Stein (BC)

p. 201 Knowledge[s] (EC) / Knowledge (KB)

p. 202 Reason or A Ratio (KEB) / Ratio mended from Ration (C textual note)

Berkeley’s Siris

p. 212 I will not leave you Orphans (KB) / Orphanned (EC)

p. 215 Imagination & Visions (KEB) / Imaginations & Visions (C) // the business of Plato & the Greeks . . . Wars & Dominency over others (KE) / baseness . . . Dominency . . . (B) / baseness . . . Domineering . . . (C) (The “ee” of “Domineering” is quite clear, the conclusion of the word less so.)

p. 219 A new paragraph begins with “Man is All Imagination” (BC)

Thornton’s The Lord’s Prayer

Photostats that Keynes and I had used for this text had been made with the loose, unnumbered leaves of the pamphlet out of order; I had not noticed this even while checking the original. But Robert Essick has now straightened out the sequences.

KE p. iii should be [ii]; “The Beauty of the Bible . . . how was it” should be the 2nd paragraph of Dr. Johnson’s remark. Our p. 1 should be p. 9 and should be moved to follow p. 6 and precede the fly-leaf, p. 10. (B has p. 9 in the right place but has not shifted the Bible remark from Byron to Johnson.)

Changes in the p. 3 transcript, from E to C, are perhaps begin page 13 | back to top worth noting (B has a garbled transcript and his notes question several E readings, all now rechecked). “Heaven < s >” (C) corrects “Heavns” (EB) and “heaven” (K). A somewhat revised sequence is “([His Judgment] < His Accusation > shall be Forgiveness [and he shall] < that he may > be consumd in his own Shame > / Give [me] < us > This Eternal Day [my] < our > [Ghostly].

Annotation to Cellini(?)

Our source for the annotation (one sentence, on the Pope’s confusion of Nature and the Virgin Mary) is the slipshod E. J. Ellis, who says it was “In the margin of a copy of Cennini’s book on fresco painting.” B documents this with evidence that Linnell gave Blake a copy of Cennini’s book and in it Blake found support for his use of carpenter’s glue. Very well, but nothing in Cennini could have inspired the remark about a Pope and the Virgin; whereas Cellini’s work (Ellis just confused the names) offers direct inspiration. (Each work was called “Trattato.”)

Annotation to Young’s Night Thoughts

Blake’s identification of the five books of pompous Ignorance in NT199 constitutes a new entry (Plato, Cicero, Plutarch, Locke). (C670).


There are several changes and additions here and, most important, cancellations.

The N 116 Exodus list is now deciphered as “Exodus [from] Egypt”; item 3 reads “River turnd to blood”; item 12 “First born Smitten.”

The inscriptions “Teach these Souls to Fly” and “I labour upwards . . .” and the long note on the back of The Fall of Man (“The Father indignant . . . the Lamb”) (E662) are dropped from C because not in Blake’s hand. (B1332 confuses matters by silently revising the spelling of “Tiger” to “Tyger” in the latter.)

The note on a pencil drawing of Nine Grotesque Heads (E667/C686) has been freed of the editorialy inserted period after “varies”. (It would probably work better after “Thus”, but the sense is the same either way: the grotesque heads vary; all genius varies; Devils vary—i.e. “All Genius varies Thus”—or “Thus Devils are various”.)

New in C are some notes in John Varley’s hand but copied at Blake’s dictation—having similar authority to Blake’s memorandum on John Scolfield, a dictated document customarily included in Blake’s writings. The caption on the fourth state of Blake’s Chaucer engraving (C mistakenly says “third”) reads:

The Use of Money & its Wars [title inscription] An Allegory of Idolatry or Politics

It seems to get lost easily. Not in K, it was put into a Supplement entry for the Concordance but did not get into E or B. It is now in C687—but failed to get into the Index under “Use”!

For Blake’s inscriptions on his Illustrations of the Book of Job, we give a list of the verbal variants from his source, the King James Bible.

On C688 is a tracing of Blake’s hieroglyphic signature on the drawing for Job design XIV; the explanation (C891) with aid from John Beer makes out that the hand and thumb are respectively “W” and “B,” followed by an eye, the “I” of Imagination; the first and last symbols being a line and a sun, text and illumination.

[On Blake’s Illustrations to Dante]

No. 3 & his ?Porch in Purgatory (EC) / and his throne(?) . . . (B) / (not in K). (Butlin, The Paintings and Drawings, 812:3, makes some bad guesses at words in this design, getting the sequence scrambled. Where we read “Porch” or “throne” he tries “Paradise”; he divides “The Thunder of Egypt” (EBC) into “The Turks God of Egypt”. These guesses don’t check out.

No. 7 & the Goddess Nature Memory [Nature] is his Inspirer (K) / & the Goddess Nature < Memory > < is his Inspirer > (EC) / the Goddess Nature Mystery is his Inspirer (B, surely wrong) / ?Memory (Butlin)

No. 38 (new entry in C689 but printed out of order) Virgin Casella Dante Venus (not in EKB) (Butlin notes only “Venus?”)

No. 68 (not in KEBC) Butlin notes “M . . . y” and conjectures “Mercury” or “Memory” (The letters are spaced about that far apart, with all between erased.)

No. 86 (B prints “and” for “&”)

No. 99 Butlin reads “Laws Dominion” where I see “Thrones Dominion[s]”; B spells “Scepter” Sceptre.

No. 101 B gives “Gulphs” as “Gulfs”.

Miscellaneous Prose

Blake’s paragraph in Benjamin Heath Malkin’s book (E671/C693) is at last properly described as “On the drawings of Thomas Williams Malkin” not “Thomas Heath Malkin.” Also in this section now are the inscriptions in the ms of The Four Zoas, on pp. 56, 88, and 93; also the fragment of riddle answers in Blake’s hand (though not invented by him).

The Letters

A large addition to C consists of all the letters not selected for E. (Here “K” stands for Keynes’ 1980 edition of the Letters.)

To Dr Trusler, August 23, 1799: 6th line: regret (E) / reject (BKC); 2nd paragraph: Thievery (EC) / Thieving (KB)

To Flaxman, Sept. 12, 1800, with poem. Collated afresh: the time is arriv’d (EB)/ the time is now arrivd (KC)

To Hayley, March 21, 1804; 2nd parag. I have been to look (KC) / I have been able to look (B)

To Hayley, March 31, 1804: If . . . before I deliver then pray (KC) / deliver them (B) (K inserts comma after “deliver” to fit the sense).

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To Hayley, May 4, 1804 (source Gilchrist Life) younger than I have known him (BC) / younger than I knew him (K, silently revising)

Letter 20, previously thought to be ca. 1800 to Hayley, is now dated Sept.-Oct. 1801, To Thomas Butts? (noted by Mary Lynn Johnson). E. B. Murray has corrected the date of letter 24 to Butts from “Jany 10, 1802” to 1803 (a slip of Blake’s thought).

Recent Conjectural Attributions

C785: tucked in at the last minute is a note telling of Sir Geoffrey’s conjectural but confident attribution to Blake of a 24-line poem “To the Nightingale” (about which the note reflects the skepticism of the proofreading team) and another unknown poem reported by Keynes as “a remarkable piece of Blakean doggerel written in pale blue watercolour with a brush” and “addressed to Mrs Butts.” C does not give the texts of these poems; the latter has not been seen by any of us.

Errata emendata

Misprints (and omissions) already noted in the first printing of The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake 1982 (C).

p. 3 NNR [b] The spacing of the “Therefore” sec tion should almost exactly follow Blake thus:

God becomes as we are,
that we may be as he
(I.e., to isolate “Therefore” and “is” as one-liners. Alternative, to follow exactly:

God becomes as
we are, that we
may be as he
p. 121 M 24[26]: 63 flutes shd read flutes [’].
pl. 2, facing p. 273 is printed inside out in the paperback volume but correctly in the hardbound.
p. 148 J 5:60 A misspelling: “Jersualem.”
p. 167 J 22; 25 This time “Jersualsm.”
p. 271 Running head “THE GHOST OF ADEL”!
p. 273 The first Hebrew letter in the transcript should be heh, not thay; Blake engraved it correctly. (Pointed out by Stephen Mitchell.)
p. 501 “Klopstock” 30: Spell removed shd read ninefold spell . . . .
p. 687 Incriptions shd read Inscriptions.
p. 689 On design No 38 should follow On verso of No 36 . . . .
p. 727 the word “Hebrew” should not be followed by a colon.
p. 729 Letter 27 After the 11th line this line was omitted: “Maries at the Sepulcher. 4 The Death of the Virgin”
p. 789 Add to note the statement: John Grant has pointed out that the “Conclusion” should precede the “Application” (one cannot apply a conclusion until it has been reached).
p. 808 M 32:15 In “Kerabim” Blake wrote Kaph for the first Hebrew letter instead of Khaph; our printer tried several times but missed.
p. 814 Tiriel 1: 28 serpents] serpents [?all] 1st rdg
p. 863 “You dont believe . . . ” 11: note shd read: After “said” Blake first wrote “Beli,” a start for “Believe”; my previous rdg (“Rich”) has been corrected by G. E. Bentley, Jr.
p. 881 [The Catalogue] Insert new note:
p. 1 The Spiritual form of Nelson . . . ] The Spirit of Nelson . . . folds are entangled . . . variant inscription on sketch (Butlin 650)
p. 895 Seventh line from bottom “nothern” shd be “northern.”
Index corrections:
p. 978 Index entry “Her whole Life . . . ” shd read “nobly pend.”
p. 980 Joseph of Arimathea, incriptions shd read inscriptions
p. 981 “Leave O leave . . . 6850 shd read t850
p. 982 Insert: Nightingale, To the 785
p. 983 Poetical Sketches . . . t864 shd read t846
p. 985 “The Angel . . . borth” shd read “ . . . birth”
p. 986 “The grand style of Cert . . . ” shd read “ . . . of Art . . . ”
p. 986 insert: “The Use of Money & its Wars” 687
p. 988 insert: To the Nightingale 785

Postscript on Blake’s Hebrew lettering:

Stephen Mitchell points out that in Blake’s 2d Job design he misspells the Hebrew word for “angel” in “Angel of the Divine Presence” (though he has it right in the Laocoön plate) and leaves out an aleph; so the word appears to melekh (king) instead of mal’akh (angel), leading Foster Damon to the mistaken conclusion that “The Hebrew letters beneath his name . . . identify [Satan] as ‘King Jehovah,’ Job’s false God.”

Print Edition

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