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Sketch for Eagle
When he had gained some distance from Hayley, Blake recognised that Hayley too needed support and encouragement; that he was a victim of the same system whose oppression Blake felt. In their close association Blake had not felt that Hayley could be a spiritual friend to him, but on reflection he sought of draw Hayley to him by sharing his spiritual labours.
Letters, Dec 11 1805, (E 766)
"To William Hayley Esqre, Felpham ...
I speak of Spiritual Things. Not of Natural. of Things known only to Myself & to Spirits Good & Evil. but Not Known to Men on Earth. It is the passage thro these Three Years that has brought me into my Present State. & I know that if I had not been with You I must have Perish'd--Those Dangers are now Passed & I can see them beneath my feet It will not be long before I shall be able to present the full history of my Spiritual Sufferings to the Dwellers upon Earth. & of the Spiritual Victories obtaind for me by my Friends--Excuse this Effusion of the Spirit from One who cares little for this World which passes away. whose Happiness is Secure in Jesus our Lord. & who looks for Suffering till the time of complete Deliverance. In the mean While. I am kept Happy as I used to be. because I throw Myself & all that I have on our Saviours Divine Providence. O What Wonders are the Children of Men! Would to God that they would Consider it That they would Consider their Spiritual Life Regardless of that faint Shadow Calld Natural Life. & that they would Promote Each others Spiritual Labours. Each according to its Rank & that they would know that. Recieving a Prophet As a Prophet is a Duty which If omitted is more Severely Avenged than Every Sin & Wickedness beside It is the Greatest of Crimes to Depress True Art & Science I know that those who are dead from the Earth & who mockd & Despised the Meekness of True Art (and such, I find, have been the situations of our Beautiful Affectionate Ballads). I know that such Mockers are Most Severely Punishd in Eternity I know it for I see it & dare not help.--The Mocker of Art is the Mocker of Jesus. Let us go on Dear Sir following his Cross let us take it up daily Persisting in Spiritual Labours & the Use of that Talent which it is Death to Bury. & of that Spirit to which we are called--"
Hazard Adams, in William Blake on His Poetry and Painting: A Study of a Descriptive Catalogue Other Prose Writings and Jerusalem, sees that we, like Blake, need to forgive Hayley:"He complimented Hayley on his ballads, which had little popular success and indeed, had been mocked, but he knew that mockers of art are 'Most Severely punished in Eternity', for the mockers of art are the mockers of Jesus. Hayley has mainly been a figure of fun for scholars and critics, but he may be forgiven his bad poetry for his help and friendship to Blake when Blake badly needed it." Page 89