Although William Blake was one of the most extraordinary English poets, Blake was known in his own time as a failed Artisan. This paper will outline his works in order that we can better understand him. This paper will sight some of Blakes works but will focus on 1The Marriage Between Heaven and Hell. Blake, being self-taught artisan, was thoroughly intrigued by the Bible and the Works of Milton. Blakes major works attempt to create a modern myth of the World, as we know it. The purpose of this paper is to attempt to help us, the readers, to view that myth through Blakes eyes.
William Blake was born in London, England on November 28, 1757, and then baptized in St. James Church. His parents were James Blake and Catherine Harmitage Blake (Britannica). Some say that the Blakes were Swedenborgianism (Ward, Walter, 181). The second born out of six children, was Blake, his older brothers name was James. In 1760 his brother John was born. In 1761 at the age of four he envisioned Our Lords Head in a window (Britannica). In 1762 his brother Richard was born, but passed away as a baby. Then in 1764 his sister and only girl were born. William was ten in 1767 when his brother, Robert was born.
He began sketching lessons at Henry Pars Academy. Blake began his Poetical Sketches that same year. When Blake was fourteen years old he went to work with James Basire, the local engraver. Basire taught Blake the mastery of engraving. Blake began his apprenticeship under Basire. Basire sent Blake to do sketches of minister abbeys and ancient churches all over the areas in and around London (Britannica). Blakes his first engraving was, Joseph of Arimathea Among the Rocks of Albion, was completed in 1773.
He left the employment of Basire to study at the Royal Academy (Cambridge History of English Literature, p. 1). In 1778, he finished his apprenticeship at the age of twenty-one. He went to work for a bookshop as a professional engraver. In 1780 he meet his wife, Catherine Boucher. They married on August 18, 1782. Blake met Mrs. Mathew, a famous Blue Stoking, through Flaxman. With him meeting her it became very profitable for him because they paid for the publication of Poetical Sketches there were twenty-six of them (Ward, Walter, 181). In 1784, Flaxman helped Blake to open his own print shop on the 27th Broad Street London. Later the business went under.
A few years later his brother, Robert, passed a way in February 1787, he was only twenty years old. Then appeared in Blakes dreams and revealed another form of engraving (Britannica). Blake began his Songs of Experience in 1789 (Keynes, 210-219). Two years later in 1790 he started his 1Marriage Between Heaven and Hell. The 1Marriage Between Heaven and Hell had 27 plates (Keynes, 148-158). September 1792, Catherine Harmitage Blake, passed away, Blakes mother (Smith, 57). It took him 5 years completed Songs of Experience from 1794 to 1799. 1 Marriage Between Heaven and Hell took him three years to complete.
His longest piece was Jerusalem. It has ninety-nine plates and it took him sixteen years to complete (Britannica). William and Catherine Blake went to Felpham from London between the years 1800 and 1803. Blake escorted a drunken soldier from his yard, because the soldier urinated in his garden. It was said that the truth of the matter was that the soldier was yelling rude comments to Blake; this resulted in Blakes masterpiece Jerusalem that he wrote from 1804 to 1820. William Shakespeares Venus and Adonis, Lucerne and Sonnets and Johnsons Under Woods and Miscellanies were said to be Blakes favorite literature.
But Milton, Chatter-ton and the Bible must be recognized too. In order to study everything he learned French, Greek, Hebrew, Italian and Latin. From when he was sixty-one years old until he died he did not write any more poetry, however he did continue his engravings. This included twenty-one plates of The Book of Job. In 1824, symptom of gallstones started to bother him. As time went by Blake suffered because of the gallstone. This condition eventually took his life on August 12, 1827, approximately six p. m. He was seventy years old.
His wife Catherine Harmitage Blake died on the eighteenth of October 1831 four years later. William and Catherine Blake never were able to bare children. I think what surprised me the most was how long poems could be. They can be pages and not only a paragraph or two. Poems are not just a bunch of words that rhythms, but words that tell a story. After writing this paper I was left wanting to know more about different kinds of poetry. I am glad I chose this topic because it was not only poetry, but also history of some of the greatest combinations of artwork and poetry.