Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

William Blake

English Poet, Engraver, Painter, Visionary Mystic

"When a man has married a wife he finds out whether her knees and elbows are only glued together."

"When a sinister person means to be your enemy, they always start by trying to become your friend."

"When I from black and he from white cloud free, and round the tent of Godlike lambs we joy, I’ll shade him from the heat till he can bear to lean in joy upon our father's knee; and then I’ll stand and stroke his silver hair, and be like him, and he will then love me."

"When I saw that rage was vain and to sulk would nothing gain, turning many a trick and wile I began to soothe and smile."

"When I tell any truth it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it but for the sake of defending those who do. It is not because angels are holier than men or devils that makes them angels but because they do not expect holiness from one another but from God only thinking as I do that the creator of this world is a very cruel being, I cannot help saying: "the son, o how unlike the father!" first God almighty comes with a thump on the head."

"When my mother died, I was very young, and my father sold me while yet my tongue could scarcely cry `'weep! 'Weep! 'Weep! 'Weep!' so your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep."

"When nations grow old the arts grow cold and commerce settles on every tree."

"When Sir Joshua Reynolds died all nature was degraded; the king dropped a tear in the queen's ear, and all his pictures faded."

"When the doors of perception are cleansed, man will see things as they truly are, infinite."

"When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy, and the dimpling stream runs laughing by; when the air does laugh with our merry wit, and the green hill laughs with the noise of it."

"When the painted birds laugh in the shade, when our table with cherries and nuts is spread: come live, and be merry, and join with me to sing the sweet chorus of 'ha, ha, he!"

"When the stars threw down their spears, and water'd heaven with their tears, did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the lamb make thee?"

"When the sun rises, do you not see a round disc of fire somewhat like a guinea? O no, no, I see an innumerable company of the heavenly host crying Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty."

"When the voices of children are heard on the green and laughing is heard on the hill, my heart is at rest within my breast and everything else is still."

"When thou seest an eagle, thou seest a portion of genius; lift up thy head!"

"Where any view of money exists, art cannot be carried on."

"Where lambs have nibbled, silent moves the feet of angels bright; unseen they pour blessing, and joy without ceasing, on each bud and blossom, and each sleeping bosom."

"Where man is not, nature is barren."

"Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell There God is dwelling too. For Mercy has a human heart, Pity a human face, And Love, the human form divine, And Peace, the human dress."

"Where the youth pined away with desire, and the pale virgin shrouded in snow, arise from their graves and aspire, where my sun-flower wishes to go."

"Where there is money there is no art."

"Why a tender curb upon the youthful burning boy? Why a little curtain of flesh on the bed of our desire?"

"Why art thou silent and invisible, father of jealousy?"

"Why cannot the ear be closed to its own destruction? Or the glistening eye to the poison of a smile?"

"Why wilt thou examine every little fibre of my soul, spreading them out before the sun like stalks of flax to dry? ... naught shalt thou find in it but Death, Despair and Everlasting brooding Melancholy. thou wilt go mad with horror if thou dost examine thus every moment of my secret hours."

"With sweet may dews my wings were wet, and phoebus fir'd my vocal rage; he caught me in his silken net, and shut me in his golden cage. He loves to sit and hear me sing, then, laughing, sports and plays with me; then stretches out my golden wing, and mocks my loss of liberty."

"Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence."

"Without Unceasing Practice nothing can be done. Practice is Art. If you leave off you are lost."

"Works of Art can only be produc'd in Perfection where the Man is either in Affluence or is Above the Care of it."

"You are forgiven for your happiness and your successes only if you generously consent to share them."

"You cannot have Liberty in this world without what you call Moral Virtue, and you cannot have Moral Virtue without the slavery of that half of the human race who hate what you call Moral Virtue."

"You smile with pomp and rigor, you talk of benevolence and virtue; I act with benevolence and virtue and get murdered time after time."

"You throw the sand against the wind And the wind blows it back again."

"You'll quite remove the ancient curse."

"Your chimneys I sweep and in soot I sleep."

"Your friendship oft has made my heart to ache: do be my enemy for friendship's sake."