Satiric verses and epigrams from Blake's Notebook

Satiric verses and epigrams from Blake's Notebook
by William Blake

Selections from Blake's Notebook in David Erdman's "The Complete Poetry & Prose". Source: "Blake Archive".

Motto to the Songs of Innocence & of ExperienceEdit

The Good are attracted by Mens perceptions
And Think not for themselves
Till Experience teaches them to catch
And to cage the Fairies & Elves

And then the Knave begins to snarl 5
And the Hypocrite to howl
And all his good Friends shew their private ends
And the Eagle is known from the Owl

"Let the Brothels of Paris be opened..."Edit

Let the Brothels of Paris be opened
With many an alluring dance
To awake the Physicians thro the city
Said the beautiful Queen of France

Then old Nobodaddy aloft 5
Farted & belchd & coughd
And said I love hanging & drawing & quartering
Every bit as well as war & slaughtering

Then he swore a great & solemn Oath
To kill the people I am loth 10
But If they rebel they must go to hell
They shall have a Priest & a passing bell

The King awoke on his couch of gold
As soon as he heard these tidings told
Arise & come both fife & drum 15
And the [Famine] shall eat both crust & crumb

The Queen of France just touchd this Globe
And the Pestilence darted from her robe
But our good Queen quite grows to the ground
And a great many suckers grow all around 20

"Who will exchange his own fire side..."Edit

Who will exchange his own fire side
For the stone of anothers door
Who will exchange his wheaten loaf
For the links of a dungeon floor

Fayette beheld the King & Queen 5
In curses & iron boundt
But mute Fayette wept tear for tear
And guarded them around

O who would smile on the wintry seas
& Pity the stormy roar 10
Or who will exchange his new born child
For the dog at the wintry door

"When Klopstock England defied..."Edit

When Klopstock England defied
Uprose terrible Blake in his pride
For old Nobodaddy aloft
Farted & Belchd & coughd
Then swore a great oath that made heavn quake
And calld aloud to English Blake
Blake was giving his body ease
At Lambeth beneath the poplar trees
From his seat then started he

And turnd himself round three times threet 10

The Moon at that sight blushd scarlet red
The stars threw down their cups & fled
And all the devils that were in hell
Answered with a ninefold yell
Klopstock felt the intripled turn
And all his bowels began to churn
And his bowels turned round three times three
And lockd in his soul with a ninefold key
That from his body it neer could be parted

Till to the last trumpet it was farted 20

Then again old nobodaddy swore
He neer had seen such a thing before
Since Noah was shut in the ark
Since Eve first chose her hell fire spark
Since twas the fashion to go naked
Since the old anything was created
And in pity he begd him to turn again
And ease poor Klopstocks nine fold pain
From pity then he redend round

And the ninefold Spell unwound 30

If Blake could do this when he rose up from shite
What might he not do if he sat down to write[1]

On the Virginity of the Virgin Mary & Johanna SouthcottEdit

Whateer is done to her she cannot know
And if youll ask her she will swear it so
Whether tis good or evil none's to blame
No one can take the pride no one the shame

"You dont believe I wont attempt to make ye"Edit

You dont believe I wont attempt to make ye
You are asleep I wont attempt to wake ye
Sleep on Sleep on while in your pleasant dreams
Of Reason you may drink of Lifes clear streams
Reason and Newton they are quite two things 5
For so the Swallow & the Sparrow sings
Reason says Miracle. Newton says Doubt
Aye thats the way to make all Nature out
Doubt Doubt & dont believe without experiment
That is the very thing that Jesus meant 10
When he said Only Believe Believe & try
Try Try & never mind the Reason why

"If it is True What the Prophets write..."Edit

If it is True What the Prophets write
That the heathen Gods are all stocks & stones
Shall we for the sake of being Polite
Feed them with the juice of our marrow bones
5And if Bezaleel & Aholiab drew 5

What the Finger of God pointed to their View
Shall we suffer the Roman & Grecian Rods
To compell us to worship them as Gods
They stole them from the Temple of the Lord
10And Worshippd them that they might make[2] Inspired Art Abhorrd

The Wood & Stone were calld The Holy Things—
And their Sublime Intent given to their Kings
All the Atonements of Jehovah spurnd
And Criminals to Sacrifices Turnd

"I am no Homers Hero you all know..."Edit

I am no Homers Hero you all know
I profess not Generosity to a Foe
My Generosity is to my Friends
That for their Friendship I may make amends
The Generous to Enemies promotes their Ends 5
And becomes the Enemy & Betrayer of his Friends

"The Angel that presided oer my birth..."Edit

The Angel that presided oer my birth
Said Little creature formd of Joy & Mirth
Go love without the help of any King on Earth

"Some Men created for destruction come..."Edit

Some Men created for destruction come
Into the World & make the World their home
Be they as Vile & Base as Eer they can
Theyll still be called 'The Worlds' honest man

"If I eer Grow to Mans Estate..."Edit

If I eer Grow to Mans Estate
O Give to me a Womans fate
May I govern all both great & small
Have the last word & take the wall

From CratetosEdit

Me Time has Crook'd. no good Workman
Is he. Infirm is all that he does

"If Men will act like a maid smiling over a Churn..."Edit

If Men will act like a maid smiling over a Churn
They ought not when it comes to anothers turn

To grow sower at what a friend may utter
Knowing & feeling that we all have need of Butter

5 False Friends fie fie our Friendship you shant sever[3]
6 In spite we will be greater friends than ever[4]

"Anger & Wrath my bosom rends..."Edit

Anger & Wrath my bosom rends
I thought them the Errors of friends
But all my limbs with warmth glow
I find them the Errors of the foe

An Epitaph (Come knock your heads against this stone)Edit

Come knock your heads against this stone
For sorrow that poor John Thompsons gone

Another Epitaph (I was buried near this Dike)Edit

I was buried near this Dike
That my Friends may weep as much as they like

Another Epitaph (Here lies John Trot the Friend of all mankind)Edit

Here lies John Trot the Friend of all mankind
He has not left one Enemy behind
Friends were quite hard to find old authors say
But now they stand in every bodies way

"He is a Cock would..."Edit

He is a Cock would
And would be a Cock if he could

"And his legs carried it like a long fork..."Edit

And his legs carried it like a long fork
Reachd all the way from Chichester to York
From York all across Scotland to the Sea
This was a Man of Men as seems to me
Not only in his Mouth his own Soul lay 5
But my Soul also would he bear away
Like as a Pedlar bears his weary Pack
So Stewhards Soul he buckld to his Back
But once alas committing a Mistake
He bore the wr[et]ched Soul of William Blake 10
That he might turn it into Eggs of Gold
But neither Back nor mouth those Eggs could hold
His underjaw dropd as those Eggs he laid
And Stewhards Eggs are addled & decayd
The Examiner whose very name is Huntt 15
Calld Death a Madman trembling for the affront
Like trembling Hare sits on his weakly paper
On which he usd to dance & sport & caper
Yorkshire Jack Hemp & gentle blushing Daw
Clapd Death into the corner of their jaw 20
And Felpham Billy rode out every morn
Horseback with Death over the fields of corn
Who with iron hand cuffd in the afternoon
The Ears of Billys Lawyer & Dragoon
And Cur my Lawyer & Dady Jack Hemps Parson 25
Both went to Law with Death to keep our Ears on
For how to starve Death we had laid a plot
Against his Price but Death was in the Pot
He made them pay his Price alack a day
He knew both Law & Gospel better than they 30
O that I neer ha[d] seen that William Blake
Or could from death Assassinetti wake
We thought Alas that such a thought should be
That Blake would Etch for him & draw for me
For twas a kind of Bargain Screwmuch made 35
That Blakes Designs should be by us displayed
Because he makes designs so very cheap
Then Screwmuch at Blakes soul took a long leap
Twas not a Mouse twas Death in a disguise
And I alas live to weep out mine Eyes 40
And Death sits laughing on their Monuments
On which hes written Recievd the Contents
But I have writ so sorrowful my thought is
His Epitaph for my tears are aqua fortis
Come Artists knock your heads against This stone 45
For Sorrow that our friend Bob Screwmuchs gone
And now the Men upon me smile & Laugh
Ill also write my own dear Epitaph
And Ill be buried near a Dike
That my friends may weep as much as they like 50
Here lies Stewhard the Friend of All &c

"Was I angry with Hayley who usd me so ill"Edit

Was I angry with Hayley who usd me so ill
Or can I be angry with Felphams old Mill
Or angry with Flaxman or Cromek or Stothard
Or poor Schiavonetti whom they to death botherd
Or angry with Macklin or Boydel or Bowyer 5
Because they did not say O what a Beau ye are
At a Friends Errors Anger shew
Mirth at the Errors of a Foe

Blakes apology for his CatalogueEdit

Having given great offence by writing in Prose
Ill write in Verse as Soft as Bartolloze
Some blush at what others can see no crime in
But nobody sees any harm in Rhyming
Dryden in Rhyme cries Milton only plannd 5
Every Fool shook his bells throughout the land
Tom Cooke cut Hogarth down with his clean graving
Thousands of Connoisseurs with joy ran raving
Thus Hayley on his Toilette seeing the Sope
Cries Homer is very much improvd by Pope 10
Some say Ive given great Provision to my foes
And that now I lead my false friends by the nose
Flaxman & Stothard smelling a sweet savour
Cry Blakified drawing spoils painter & Engraver
While I looking up to my Umbrella 15
Resolvd to be a very contrary fellow
Cry looking quite from Skumference to Center
No one can finish so high as the original Inventor
Thus Poor Schiavonetti died of the Cromek
A thing thats tied around the Examiners neck 20
This is my sweet apology to my friends
That I may put them in mind of their latter Ends[5]

"Cosway Frazer & Baldwin of Egypts Lake..."Edit

Cosway Frazer & Baldwin of Egypts Lake
Fear to Associate with Blake
This Life is a Warfare against Evils
They heal the sick he casts out Devils
5 Hayley Flaxman & Stothard are also in doubt
Lest their Virtue should be put to the rout
One grins tother spits & in corners hides
And all the Virtuous have shewn their backsides[6]

"My title as a Genius thus is provd..."Edit

My title as [a] Genius[7] thus is provd
Not Praisd by Hayley nor by Flaxman lovd

To H (You think Fuseli is not a Great Painter)Edit

You think Fuseli is not a Great Painter Im Glad
This is one of the best compliments he ever had

"P—— loved me, not as he lovd his Friends..."Edit

P——loved me, not as he lovd his Friends
For he lovd them for gain to serve his Ends
He loved me and for no Gain at all
But to rejoice & triumph in my fall
To forgive Enemies H . does pretend 5
Who never in his Life forgave a friend

"The Sussex Men are Noted Fools..."Edit

The Sussex Men are Noted Fools
And weak is their brain pan
I wonder if H——the painter
Is not a Sussex Man

"Of H s birth this was the happy lot..."Edit

Of H s birth this was the happy lot
His Mother on his Father him begot

On H——ys FriendshipEdit

When H——y finds out what you cannot do
That is the Very thing hell set you to
If you break not your Neck tis not his fault
But pecks of poison are not pecks of salt[8]
5And when he could not act upon my wife
Hired a Villain to bereave my Life

To H—— (Thy Friendship oft has made my heart to ake)Edit

Thy Friendship oft has made my heart to ake
Do be my Enemy for Friendships sake

On H—— the Pick thankEdit

I write the Rascal Thanks till he & I
With Thanks & Compliments are quite drawn dry

Imitation of Pope A Compliment to the LadiesEdit

Wondrous the Gods more wondrous are the Men
More Wondrous Wondrous still the Cock & Hen
More wondrous still the Table Stool & Chair
But Ah More wondrous still the Charming Fair

William Cowper EsqreEdit

For this is being a Friend just in the nick
Not when hes well but waiting till hes sick
He calls you to his help be you not movd
Untill by being Sick his wants are provd
5You see him spend his Soul in Prophecy
Do you believe it a Confounded lie
Till some Bookseller & the Public Fame
Proves there is truth in his extravagant claim
For tis atrocious in a Friend you love
10 To tell you any thing that he cant prove
And tis most wicked in a Christian Nation
For any Man to pretend to Inspiration

"The only Man that eer I knew..."Edit

The only Man that eer I knew
Who did not make me almost spew
Was Fuseli he was both Turk & Jew
And so dear Christian Friends how do you do

"Madman I have been calld Fool they Call thee..."Edit

Madman I have been calld Fool they Call thee
I wonder which they Envy Thee or Me

To F—— (I mock thee not)Edit

I mock thee not tho I by thee am Mocked
Thou callst me Madman but I call thee Blockhead

"Hes a Blockhead who wants a proof of what he Can't Percieve..."Edit

Hes a Blockhead who wants a proof of what he Can't Percieve
And he's a Fool who tries to make such a Blockhead believe

To Nancy F——Edit

How can I help thy Husbands copying Me
Should that make difference twixt me & Thee

To F—— (You call me Mad tis Folly to do so)Edit

You call me Mad tis Folly to do so
To seek to turn a Madman to a Foe
If you think as you speak you are an Ass
If you do not you are but what you was

"S—— in Childhood on the Nursery floor..."Edit

S—— in Childhood on the Nursery floor
Was extreme Old & most extremely poor
He is grown old & rich & what he will
He is extreme old & extreme poor still

"He has observd the Golden Rule..."Edit

He has observd the Golden Rule
Till hes become the Golden Fool[9]

To S——d (You all your youth observed the Golden Rule)Edit

You all your Youth observed the Golden Rule
Till youre at last become the golden Fool
I sport with Fortune Merry Blithe & Gay
Like to the Lion Sporting with his Prey
Take you the hide & horns which you may wear 5
Mine is the flesh the bones may be your Share

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

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

"Old acquaintance well renew..."Edit

old acquaintance well renewt
Prospero had One Caliban & I have Two

On F—— & S——Edit

I found them blind I taught them how to seet
And now they know neither themselves nor met
Tis Excellent to turn a thorn to a pin
A Fool to a bolt a knave to a glass of gin

Mr Stothard to Mr CromekEdit

For Fortunes favours you your riches bring
But Fortune says she gave you no such thing
Why should you be ungrateful to your friends
Sneaking & Backbiting & Odds & Ends

Mr Cromek to Mr StothardEdit

Fortune favours the Brave old Proverbs say
But not with Money. that is not the way
Turn back turn back you travel all in vain
Turn thro the iron gate down Sneaking Lane

"Cr—— loves artists as he loves his Meat..."Edit

Cr—— loves artists as he loves his Meat
He loves the Art but tis the Art to Cheat

"A Petty sneaking Knave I knew..."Edit

A Petty sneaking Knave I knew
O Mr Cr—— how do ye do

Cromek SpeaksEdit

I always take my judgment from a Fool
Because his judgment is so very Cool
Not prejudicd by feelings great or small
Amiable state he cannot feel at all

English Encouragement of ArtEdit

[First reading]

If you mean to Please Every body you will
Set to work both Ignorance & skill
For a great multitude are Ignorantt
And skill to them seems raving & rant
Like putting oil & water into a lamp 5
Twill make a great splutter with smoke & damp
For there is no use as it seems to me
Of lighting a Lamp when you dont wish to see

English Encouragement of Art

[Final reading]

English Encouragement of Art

Cromeks opinions put into Rhyme

If you mean to Please Every body you will
Menny wouver both Bunglishness & skill
For a great Conquest are Bunglery
And Jenous looks to ham like mad Rantery
Like displaying oil & water into a lamp 5
Twill hold forth a huge splutter with smoke & damp
For its all sheer loss as it seems to me
Of displaying up a light when we want not to see

"When you look at a picture you always can see..."Edit

When you look at a picture you always can see
If a Man of Sense has Painted he
Then never flinch but keep up a Jaw
About freedom & jenny suck awa'[10]
5 And when it smells of the Lamp we can[11]
Say all was owing to the Skilful Man
For the smell of water is but small
So een let Ignorance do it all

"The Cunning sures & the Aim at yours..."Edit

The Cunning sures & the Aim at yours

"All Pictures thats Panted with Sense & with Thought..."Edit

All Pictures thats Panted with Sense & with Thought
Are Painted by Madmen as sure as a Groat
For the Greater the Fool in the Pencil more blest
And when they are drunk they always pant best
Thy never can Rafael it Fuseli it nor Blake it 5
If they cant see an outline pray how can they make it
When Men will draw outlines begin you to jaw them
Madmen see outlines & therefore they draw them

"You say their Pictures well Painted be..."Edit

You say their Pictures well Painted be
And yet they are Blockheads you all agree
Thank God I never was sent to school
To be Flogd into following the Style of a Fool

"The Errors of a Wise Man make your Rule..."Edit

The Errors of a Wise Man make your Rule
Rather than the Perfections of a Fool

"Great things are done when Men & Mountains meet..."Edit

Great things are done when Men & Mountains meet
This is not Done by jostling in the Street

"If you play a Game of Chance know before you begin..."Edit

If you play a Game of Chance know before you begin
If you are benevolent you will never win

"No real Style of Colouring ever appears"Edit

No real Style of Colouring ever appears
But advertising in the News Papers
Look there youll see Sr Joshuas Colouring
Look at his Pictures All has taken Wing

"Can there be any thing more mean..."Edit

Can there be any thing more mean
More Malice in disguise
Than Praise a Man for doing whatt
That Man does most despise
Reynolds Lectures Exactly sot 5
When he praises Michael Angelo

"Sir Joshua Praises Michael Angelo..."Edit

Sir Joshua Praises Michael Angelot
Tis Christian Mildness when Knaves Praise a Foe
But Twould be Madness all the World would say
Should Michael Angelo praise Sir Joshuat
Christ usd the Pharisees in a rougher way 5

"Sir Joshua praised Rubens with a Smile..."Edit

Sir Jo[s]hua praised Rubens with a Smile
By Calling his the ornamental Style
And yet his praise of Flaxman was the smartest
When he calld him the Ornamental Artist
But sure such ornaments we well may spare 5
As Crooked limbs & louzy heads of hair

Florentine IngratitudeEdit

Sir Joshua sent his own Portrait to
The birth Place of Michael Angelo
And in the hand of the simpering fool
He put a Dirty paper scroll
5 And on the paper to be polite
Did Sketches by Michel Angelo write
The Florentines said Tis a Dutch English bore
Michael Angelos Name writ on Rembrandts door
The Florentines call it an English Fetch
10 For Michael Angelo did never Sketch
Every line of his has Meaning
And needs neither Suckling nor Weaning
Tis the trading English Venetian Cant
To speak Michael Angelo & Act Rembrandt
15 It will set his Dutch friends all in a roar
To write Mch Ang on Rembrandts Door
But You must not bring in your hand a Lie
If you mean that the Florentines should buy
Ghiottos Circle or Apelles Line
20 Were not the Work of Sketchers drunk with Wine
Nor of the City Clarks merry hearted Fashion
Nor of Sir Isaac Newtons Calculation
Nor of the City Clarks Idle Facilities
Which sprang from Sir Isaac Newtons great Abilities
25 These Verses were written by a very Envious Man
Who whatever likeness he may have to Michael Angelo
Never can have any to Sir Jehoshuan

A Pitiful CaseEdit

The Villain at the Gallows tree
When he is doomd to die
To assuage his misery
In Virtues praise does cry
So Reynolds when he came to die 5
To assuage his bitter woe:
Thus aloud did howl & cry
Michael Angelo Michael Angelo

To the Royal AcademyEdit

A strange Erratum in all the Editions
Of Sir Joshua Reynoldss Lectures
Shou[l]d be corrected by the Young Gentlemen
And the Royal Academys Directors
Instead of Michael Angelo 5
Read Rembrandt for it is fit
To make meer common honesty
In all that he has writ

"The Cripple every Step Drudges & labours..."Edit

The Cripple every Step Drudges & labours
And says come learn to walk of me Good Neighbours
Sir Joshua in astonishment cries out
See what Great Labour Pain him & Modest Doubt
5 Newton & Bacon cry being badly Nurst.
He is all Experiments from last to first
He walks & stumbles as if he crep
And how high labourd is every step

"I Rubens am a Statesman & a Saint..."Edit

I Rubens am a Statesman & a Saint
Deceptions? O no—so I'll learn to Paint[12]

To English ConnoisseursEdit

You must agree that Rubens was a Fool
And yet you make him master of Your School
And give more money for his Slobberings
Than you will give for Rafaels finest Things
I understood Christ was a Carpenter 5
And not a Brewers Servant my good Sir

"Swelld limbs with no outline that you can descry..."Edit

Swelld limbs with no outline that you can descry
That Stink in the Nose of a Stander by
But all the Pulp washd painted finishd with labour
Of an hundred journeymens how dye do Neighbour

A Pretty EpigramEdit

A Pretty Epigram for the Entertainment of
those who have Paid Great Sums in the
Venetian & Flemish Ooze

Nature & Art in this together Suit
What is Most Grand is always most Minute
Rubens thinks Tables Chairs & Stools are Grand
But Rafael thinks A Head a foot a hand

"These are the Idiots chiefest arts..."Edit

These are the Idiots chiefest artst
To blend & not define the Parts
The Swallow sings in Courts of Kings
That Fools have their high finishings
And this the Princes golden rule 5
The Laborious stumble of a Fool
To make out the parts is the wise mans aim
But to lose them the Fool makes his foolish Game

"Rafael Sublime Majestic Graceful Wise..."Edit

Rafael Sublime Majestic Graceful Wise
His Executive Power must I despise
Rubens Low Vulgar Stupid Ignorant
His power of Execution I must grant
Learn the Laborious stumble of a Fool 5
And from an Idiots Actions form my rule
Go send your Children to the Slobbering School

On the Great EncouragementEdit

On the Great Encouragement
Given by English Nobility & Gentry to Correggio Rubens
Rembrandt Reynolds Gainsborough Catalani
DuCrowe & Dilberry Doodle

As the Ignorant Savage will sell his own Wife
For a Sword or a Cutlass a dagger or Knife
So the Taught Savage Englishman spends his whole Fortune
On a smear or a squall to destroy Picture or Tune
And I call upon Colonel Wardle 5
To give these Rascals a dose of Cawdle

"Give pensions to the Learned Pig..."Edit

Give pensions to the Learned Pig
Or the Hare playing on a Tabor
Anglus can never see Perfection
But in the Journeymans Labour

"When I see a Rubens Rembrant Correggio..."Edit

When I see a Rubens Rembrant Correggio
I think of the Crippled Harry & Slobbering Joe
And then I question thus are artists rules
To be drawn from the works of two manifest fools
5 Then God defend us from the Arts I say
Send Battle Murder Sudden Death O pray
Rather than be such a blind Human Fool
Id be an Ass a Hog a Worm a Chair a Stool

"Delicate Hands & Heads will never appear..."Edit

Delicate Hands & Heads will never appear
While Titians &c as in the Book of Moonlight p 5

"I askd my Dear Friend Orator Prigg..."Edit

I askd my Dear Friend Orator Prigg[13]
Whats the first part of Oratory he said a great wig
And what is the second then dancing a jig
And bowing profoundly he said a great wig
5And what is the third then he snord like a pig
And puffing his cheeks he replied a Great wig[14]
So if a Great Panter with Questions you push
Whats the first Part of Panting hell say a Pant Brush
And what is the second with most modest blush
10Hell smile like a Cherub & say[15] a pant Brush
And what is the third hell bow like a rush
With a lear in his Eye hell reply a Pant Brush
Perhaps this is all a Painter can want
But look yonder that house is the house of Rembrant[16]

"O dear Mother outline of knowledge most sage"Edit

O dear Mother outline of knowledge most sage[17]
Whats the First Part of Painting she said Patronage[18]
And what is the second to Please & Engage[19]
She frownd like a Fury & said Patronage
5 And what is the Third she put off Old Age
And smild like a Syren & said Patronage

To Venetian ArtistsEdit

That God is Colouring Newton does shew[20]
And the devil is a Black outline all of us know
Perhaps this little Fable may make us merry
A dog went over the water without a wherry
5A bone which he had stolen he had in his mouth
He cared not whether the wind was north or south
As he swam he saw the reflection of the bone
This is quite Perfection, one Generalizing Tone
Outline Theres no outline Theres no such thing
10All is Chiaro Scuro Poco Piu its all Colouring
Snap. Snap! he has lost shadow & substance too
He had them both before now how do ye do
A great deal better than I was before
Those who taste colouring love it more & more

"Great Men & Fools do often me Inspire..."Edit

Great Men & Fools do often me Inspire
But the Greater Fool the Greater Liar

"Some people admire the work of a Fool..."Edit

Some people admire the work of a Fool
For its sure to keep your judgment cool
It does not reproach you with want of wit
It is not like a lawyer serving a writ

"Her whole Life is an Epigram smack smooth & nobly pend..."Edit

Her whole Life is an Epigram smack smooth & nobly pend
Platted quite neat to catch applause with a sliding noose at the end[21]

"When a Man has Married a Wife..."Edit

When a Man has Married a Wife
he finds out whether
Her knees & elbows are only
glued together

"Grown old in Love from Seven till Seven times Seven..."Edit

Grown old in Love from Seven till Seven times Seven
I oft have wishd for Hell for Ease from Heaven

"[The Hebrew Nation did not write it]]..."Edit

The Hebrew Nation did not write it
Avarice & Chastity did shite it

To God (Blake)Edit

If you have formd a Circle to go into
Go into it yourself & see how you would do

"Since all the Riches of this World..."Edit

Since all the Riches of this World
May be gifts from the Devil & Earthly Kings
I should suspect that I worshipd the Devil
If I thankd my God for Worldly things

"To Chloes breast young Cupid slily stole..."Edit

To Chloes breast young Cupid slily stole
But he crept in at Myras pocket hole

"Nail his neck to the Cross nail it with a nail..."Edit

Nail his neck to the Cross nail it with a nail
Nail his neck to the Cross ye all have power over his tail

"A Woman Scaly & a Man all Hairy..."Edit

A Woman Scaly & a Man all Hairy
Is such a Match as he who dares
Will find the Womans Scales Scrape off the Mans Hairs

The Washer Womans SongEdit

I washd them out & washd them in
And they told me it was a great Sin

The Phoenix to Mrs ButtsEdit

I saw a Bird rise from the East
As a Bird rises from its Nest
With sweetest Songs I ever heard
It sang I am Mrs Butts's Bird
And then I saw a Fairy gay 5
That with this beauteous Bird would play
From a golden cloud she came
She calld the sweet Bird by its name
She call'd it Phoenix! Heavens Dove!
She call'd it all the names of Love 10
But the Bird flew fast away
Where little Children sport & play
And they strok'd it with their hands
All their cooe's it understands
The Fairy to my bosom flew 15
Weeping tears of morning dew
I said: Thou foolish whimpring thing
Is not that thy Fairy Ring
Where those Children sport & play
In Fairy fancies light & gay 20
Seem a Child & be a Child
And the Phoenix is beguild
But if thou seem'st a Fairy thing
Then it flies on glancing Wing



  1. Satiric verses and epigrams from Blake's Notebook#"When Klopstock England defied...|"“When Klopstock England defied”]] N 1 (pencil)
    G. Keynes in his edition omitted 4 lines after line 28 as illegible. D. Erdman printed them in full. He dated the poem as ca 1797-99, and mentioned the well known fact that "Klopstock had been declaring to English visitors that their language was incapable of the epic grandeur of hexameters, and be had spoken with scorn of English writers' coarseness of tone traceable to Swift. Blake defiantly glories in his English tone in the present satire. When he “sat down to write” it was evidently the “strong heroic verse” of Vala: compare “terrible Blake” and the “oath that made heavn quake” (lines 2 and 5) with the “terrible Sentence” and heaven quaking of the opening lines of Vala."
    10 himself] self is an insertion above the line
    13-14 added in margin
    15 intripled] ninefold 1st rdg del
    16 churn] burn 1st rdg del
    17 And his bowels] They 1st rdg del; And 2d rdg del round] mended from around
    29 From pity then] Then after 1st rdg del
    30 ninefold inserted above the line
    31 rose up from] sat down to 1st rdg del 31-32 written in margin to replace the following two lines, canceled with two slanting strokes:
    If thus Blake could Shite
    What Klopstock did write
  2. that they might make] to make 1st rdg
  3. 5 fie fie] O no 1st rdg del you shant] neer shall 1st rdg del
  4. 6 In spite] For now 1st rdg del
  5. Blakes apology for his Catalogue N 62-63, 65
    First and much revised draft on pp 62 and 63; title on p 62; fair copy, without title, on p 65; Keynes, pp 595-596, separates out the first draft (with one mistake, the including of “with joy” in line 4), gives a composite of first and revised drafts on pp 554-555, and the fair copy on pp 555-556, but without all Blake's renumbering of lines for rearrangement.
    Here we give the fair copy, with only a selection of earlier readings in the notes:
    2 Bartolloze] feather Pillows 1st rdg del
    8] How many Thousand Connoisseurs ran raving 1 st rdg
    10 Cries] Says 1st rdg
    11-12 added first on p 63 (as direct statement) 11 Some say] added in fair copy
    12 that] added in fair copy nose] toes 1st rdg del
    17 looking quite] Tom Cooke proves 1st rdg del; Looking up 2nd rdg Skumference] Circumference 1st rdg del
    20 The following del lines in the revised 1st draft were evidently meant as a paraphrase of the Examiner's attack:
    who cries all art is a fraud & Genius a trick
    And Blake is an unfortunate Lunatic
    The title was then crowded in above this addition, “Blakes apology” being his defense against the Examiner.
  6. "Cosway Frazer & Baldwin of Egypts Lake..." N 37
    7 tother] one 1st rdg del
    8 Virtuous] Righteous 1st rdg del
  7. 1 as a genius] as an[Artist] <Genius>ms rdg
  8. A peck of poisons not a peck of salt 1st rdg
  9. He has observd the Golden Rule...” This epigram is written above of the title The Golden Rule and four erased lines that could be read as:
    The Golden Rule.
    ?Sporting with ?golden ?Fortune
    ?Blithe & gay Like to the Lion sporting with his prey
    With Fortune sporting Merry Blithe & gay
    Like to the Lion sporting with his prey a Sparrow
  10. 4 Jenny suck awa'] for Je ne sais quois
  11. 5 can] will 1st rdg del
  12. 1 I Rubens am . . . &] Rubens had been . . . or 1st rdg
    2 1st rdg del;
    He mixd them both & so he Learnd to Paint
  13. Satiric verses and epigrams from Blake's Notebook#“I askd my Dear Friend Orator Prigg...”|"I askd my Dear Friend Orator Prigg..."]] N 60
  14. 6 puffing his cheeks he replied] smild like a Cherub & said 1st rdg
  15. 10 smile like a Cherub & say] nod wink & smile & reply 1st rdg
  16. At the end the ms reads “&c / to come in Barry a Poem”, an indication that these verses are but a patch made for a poem (now lost, or never finished) on the rebellious Academician James Barry.
  17. A variant of the preceding stanzas, perhaps meant to replace them, perhaps to follow them, in “Barry a Poem”.
  18. 1-2 Then Reynolds said O woman most sage O dear Mother outline be not in a Rage 1st rdg
  19. 3 mispunctuated in Keynes; the sense would require: “And what is the second—to Please & Engage?”
  20. To Venetian Artists N 61
    Lines 1-2 are an insertion written on p 60 and followed by the link “Perhaps this little Fable &c”.
    8 one Generalizing Tone] heres two for one 1st rdg; what a brilliant tone 2nd rdg del
    9-10 a marginal insertion (On "poco piu" see note below on Public Address, p 60.)
    11 Snap. Snap! he has] He snapd & 1 st rdg del; Then he snapd & 2nd rdg del
    14 Those who taste colouring] Ive tasted shadow & 1st rdg del
  21. "Her whole Life is an Epigram smack smooth & nobly pend..." N 100 rev
    Date uncertain.
    1 smack smooth] colloq for “perfectly smooth, level, or even with the surface”—here applying to “Epigram” and, secondarily, to “pend”
    nobly] begun as nea but then mended (avoiding anticipation of “neat” in the next line)