Thursday, August 04, 2011


William Blake died on August 12, 1827 at the age of 70. A few months earlier he had written to his friend George Cumberland.

Letters, Number 91, (E 783)

[To] George Cumberland Esqre, Culver Street, Bristol

N 3 Fountain Court Strand 12 April 1827
Dear Cumberland
I have been very near the Gates of Death & have returned
very weak & an Old Man feeble & tottering, but not in Spirit &
Life not in The Real Man The Imagination which Liveth for Ever.
In that I am stronger & stronger as this Foolish Body decays. I
thank you for the Pains you have taken with Poor Job. I know too
well that a great majority of Englishmen are fond of The
Indefinite which they Measure by Newtons Doctrine of the Fluxions
of an Atom. A Thing that does not Exist. These are Politicians
& think that Republican Art is Inimical to their Atom. For a
Line or Lineament is not formed by Chance a Line is a Line in its
Minutest Subdivision[s] Strait or Crooked It is Itself & Not
Intermeasurable with or by any Thing Else Such is Job but since
the French Revolution Englishmen are all Intermeasurable One by
Another Certainly a happy state of Agreement to which I for One
do not Agree. God keep me from the Divinity of Yes & No too The
Yea Nay Creeping Jesus from supposing Up & Down to be the same
Thing as all Experimentalists must suppose
You are desirous I know to dispose of some of my Works & to
make Pleasin[g], I am obliged to you & to all who do so
But having none remaining of all that I had Printed I cannot
Print more Except at a great loss for at the time I printed those
things I had a whole House to range in now I am shut up in a
Corner therefore am forced to ask a Price for them that I
scarce expect to get from a Stranger. I am now Printing a Set of
the Songs of Innocence & Experience for a Friend at Ten Guineas
which I cannot do under Six Months consistent with my other Work,
so that I have little hope of doing any more of such things. the
Last Work I produced is a Poem Entitled Jerusalem the Emanation
of the Giant Albion, but find that to Print it will Cost my Time
the amount of Twenty Guineas One I have Finishd It contains 100
Plates but it is not likely that I shall get a Customer for it
As you wish me to send you a list with the Prices of these
things they are as follows

...............L s d
America 6. 6. 0
Europe 6. 6. 0
Visions &c 5. 5. 0
Thel 3. 3. 0
Songs of Inn. & Exp. 10. 10. 0
Urizen 6. 6. 0

The Little Card I will do as soon as Possible but when you
Consider that I have been reduced to a Skeleton from which I am
slowly recovering you will I hope have Patience with me.
Flaxman is Gone & we must All soon follow every one to his
Own Eternal House Leaving the Delusive Goddess Nature & her Laws
to get into Freedom from all Law of the Members into The Mind in
which every one is King & Priest in his own House God Send it so
on Earth as it is in Heaven
I am Dear Sir Yours Affectionately

Blake captures numerous motifs from his art and poetry in this summation of life's cycle in the little calling card for Cumberland which became his final engraving.

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