On S—— (You say reserve & modesty he has)


Blake manuscript - Notebook 1808 - 37 On S (you say)

Edited text:[1]Edit

On S[stothard]

YOU say reserve and modesty he has,
Whose heart is iron, his head wood, and his face brass.
The fox, the owl, the beetle, and the bat 1
By sweet reserve and modesty get fat.[2]

The original text:[3]Edit

On S——

You say reserve & modesty he has
Whose heart is iron his head wood & his face brass
The Fox the Owl the Beetle & the Bat
By sweet reserve & modesty get Fat



  1. The Poetical Works of William Blake, including the unpublished French Revolution together with the Minor Prophetic Books and Selections from The Four Zoas, Milton & Jerusalem; edited with an introduction and textual notes by John Sampson, Hon. D.Litt. Oxon., 1862–1931. London, New York: Oxford University Press, 1908.
  2. Blake uses this couplet in his Descriptive Catalogue, with the change of ‘owl’ to ‘mole’ in l. 3.
  3. "The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake", ed. by David V. Erdman, Anchor Books, 1988, p. 509.

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.