'Blake showed powerfully that what we see in the world is a reflection of ourselves. In a letter to Dr Trusler, 23 August 1799 Blake wrote:
“To the eyes of a miser a Guinea is more beautiful than the sun.
“The tree which moves some things to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a Green thing that stands in the way.”
“As a man is, so he sees” '
The above is an extract from a short online essay on the poetry of William Blake and how he saw the world – I assume that the three quotes are all from the letter mentioned, but they may be from different sources – had seen lower 2 combined in a piece of calligraphy in an exhibition with just the attribution 'Blake' and was trying to find ‘the complete poem’ – looks as though there isn’t one!
If anyone knows anything more about the quote or can confirm/refute/amplify the source, I'd be grateful.
Haven't been on this site for ages, largely due to problems with access and then we've just moved across the country from Yorks to Warwickshire in pursuit of salary and pension, and had a run of minor misfortunes to keep me busy - glad that it seems to have livened up a bit in my absence. Will try to help with a few of the new unsolved quote queries when I've a bit more time. Best regards to the regulars
Blake was, I think, talking about his painting. Before the bit of the letter you have quoted, he says: 'I know that this world is a world of imagination and vision ... I see everything I paint in this world,but everybody does not see alike. To the eyes of a miser .........'
So, I imagine his point is that, in the paintings of Blake you will find the unique vision of Blake.
The context is that Trusler had commissioned a drawing from Blake,but rejected the final piece, because Blake had been too “fanciful.” Blake is defending his artistic vision and mocking Trusler’s insistence that he follow a more traditional style.
Oh, that Blake ...
As a Yorkshireman permanently exiled to Kent, I hope that you like Warwickshire - because they never let you back in you know!
Nice to see you back here.
Thank you Stephen, it puts it beautifully in context - but would have made a lovely poem!
As to Yorkshire not letting us back in, at the moment we're having more trouble escaping it as we still have the house there and have to rent till someone buys it - the market is flatter where we lived than in most places as the main employer is a certain Halifax Building Society (as was) so more folk are leaving than moving in. Still we have a lovely rented house and the poetry is with me (less important stuff is still further north - clothes and such!). We will have to go back and do intensive gardening in the spring etc until we sell. I've loved my sojurn in Yorkshire and am loath to leave it completely but Warwickshire has a few advantages - the lack of hills make dogwalking less of a muddy sliding experience and we hardly had any snow. November's a rotten time to move though and a second move at some point in the future (if not 2 more if we have to empty the house we own to rent it out) are not pleasant prospects. I swore never to move again when we went to Yorkshire, and we'd spent 20 years getting the house as we liked it (but probably no one else does! ) Ah me - hopefully 2010 will be an improvement on this year. I've also lost my poetry group, but apparently a neighbour here (not met yet) is keen on poetry so I might start another one.