Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Still Burning Bright

I am partial to stories of people who triumph over long odds, writers who succeed after decades of rejection, no matter how small the triumph, how secret the success. Then, of course, there are the grand tales of genius unrecognized.

According to one authoritative website, the poet and engraver William Blake worked so hard that, for one two-year interval, he left his home only to "fetch his beer."

Whirlwind of Lovers (Illustration to Dante's Inferno) 
Birmingham Art Gallery

Blake’s work will repay your consideration many times over. Few clear memories remain of my visit to London in 1982, but I do remember reading these words on a page in the British Museum:

“Some say that happiness is not good for mortals, & they ought to be answered that sorrow is not fit for immortals & is utterly useless to any one; a blight never does good to a tree, & if a blight kill not a tree but it still bear fruit, let none say that the fruit was in consequence of the blight.”

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