Selected Poems of William Blake (Penguin Classics)

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9780140424461: Selected Poems of William Blake (Penguin Classics)

Writer and religious rebel, William Blake sowed the seeds of Romanticism in his innovative poems concerning faith and the vision that inspired him throughout his remarkable life. Whether describing his own spirituality, the innocence of youth, or the corruption caused by mankind, his writings depict a world in which spirits dominate and the mind is the gateway to Heaven. Presenting many of Blake’s major works in their complete texts, alongside extensive passages from such poems as "Jerusalem" and "The Gates of Paradise," this collection spans his entire poetic life, from the exquisite lyrics of Poetic Sketches to Songs of Innocence and Experience—a compelling exploration of good and evil. Together, they illuminate a self-made realm that has fascinated artists and poets as diverse as Wordsworth, Coleridge, Yeats, and Ginsberg. This is the perfect introduction to Blake’s unforgettable poetry.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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About the Author:

William Blake (1757-1827) was the son of a London hosier. Having attended Henry Parr's drawing school, he was apprenticed as an engraver to the Society of Antiquaries in 1772 and later was admitted to teh Royal Academy. He married in 1782 and published his first work, Poetical Sketches, in 1783. The first of his "illuminated books" was Songs of Innocence in 1789. Blake's work over the next twenty years chart the refining of his ideas and beliefs, from a recognition of repression in Songs of Experience to his epic works Milton and Jerusalem whihc present a renewed vision of reconciliation between humanity.

G. E. Bentley, Jr., has taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Toronto and is an authority on Blake and his world.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The Clod and the Pebble

"Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a heaven in hell's despair."

So sung a little Clod of Clay,
Trodden with the cattle's feet,
But a Pebble of the brook
Warbled out these metres meet:

"Love seeketh only Self to please,
To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another's loss of ease,
And builds a hell in heaven's despite."

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