Life of William Blake (1880), Volume 2/Prose writings
The Vision is almost as much a manifesto of opinion as either the Catalogue or Address. But its work is in a wider field, and one which, where it stretches beyond our own clear view, may not necessarily therefore have been a lost road to Blake himself. Certainly its grandeur and the sudden great things greatly said in it, as in all Blake's prose, constitute it an addition to our opportunities of communing with him, and one which we may prize highly.
The constant decisive words in which Blake alludes, throughout these writings, to the plagiarisms of his contemporaries, are painful to read, and will be wished away; but, still, it will be worth thinking whether their being said, or the need of their being said, is the greater cause for complaint. Justice, looking through surface accomplishments, greater nicety and even greater occasional judiciousness of execution, in the men whom Blake compares with himself, still perceives these words of his to be true. In each style of the art of a period, and more especially in the poetic style, there is often some one central initiatory man, to whom personally, if not to the care of the world, it is important that his creative power should be held to be his own, and that his ideas and slowly perfected materials should not be caught up before he has them ready for his own use. Yet, consciously or unconsciously, such an one's treasures and possessions are, time after time, while he still lives and needs them, sent forth to the world by others in forms from which he cannot perhaps again clearly claim what is his own, but which render the material useless to him henceforward. Hardly wonderful, after all, if for once an impetuous man of this kind is found raising the hue and cry, careless whether people heed him or no. It is no small provocation, be sure, when the gazers hoot you as outstripped in your race, and you know all the time that the man ahead, whom they shout for, is only a flying thief.