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Quotations from William Blake

1757-1827

Swedenborg is the Angel sitting at the tomb: his writings are the linen clothes folded up.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

As a man is, so he sees. As the eye is formed, such are its powers.

Letter (August 23, 1799)

As the caterpillar chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

Drive your cart and your plough over the bones of the dead.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

Eternity is in love with the productions of time.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

Every harlot was a virgin once.

For the Sexes: The Gates of Paradise

Excess of sorrow laughs. Excess of joy weeps.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

For man has closed himself up till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

I must Create a System or be enslav'd by another Man's;
I will not Reason and Compare: my business is to Create.

The Words of Los, from Jerusalem (1820)

If others had not been foolish, we should be so.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

Man has no body distinct from his soul; for that called body is a portion of the soul discern'd by the five senses, the chief inlets of the soul in this age.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

One thought fills immensity.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

Opposition is true friendship.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

Poetry, Painting and Music, the three Powers in Man of conversing with Paradise.

A Vision of the Last Judgement

Some say that happiness is not good for mortals, & they ought to be answered that sorrow is not fit for immortals & is utterly useless to any one; a blight never does good to a tree, & if a blight kill not a tree but it still bear fruit, let none say that the fruit was in consequence of the blight.

Letter (October 7, 1803)

Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

The best wine is the oldest, the best water the newest.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

The crow wished everything was black, the owl that everything was white.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the crow.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

The eyes of fire, the nostrils of air, the mouth of water, the beard of earth.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

The hours of folly are measured by the clock, but of wisdom no clock can measure.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

The pride of the peacock is the glory of God.
The lust of the goat is the bounty of God.
The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God.
The nakedness of woman is the work of God.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

The rat, the mouse, the fox, the rabbit watch the roots; the lion, the tiger, the horse, the elephant watch the fruits.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

The soul of sweet delight can never be defiled.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.

Letter (August 23, 1799)

The true method of knowledge is experiment.

All Religions are One (1788)

The Vision of Christ that thou dost see
Is my vision's greatest enemy. ...
Thine loves the same world that mine hates;
Thy heaven doors are my hell gates.

The Everlasting Gospel (c.1810)

The weak in courage is strong in cunning.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

Those who restrain Desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

To create a little flower is the labour of ages.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

To generalize is to be an idiot.

-

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.

Auguries of Innocence (c.1808)

What is grand is necessarily obscure to weak men. That which can be made explicit to the idiot is not worth my care.

Letter (August 23, 1799)

When I tell any truth it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those who do.

Public Address (c.1810)

Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)



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