William Blake (1757-1827) was an English poet and painter. One of six children to a merchant, he grew up in London where he lived most of his life. As a young imaginative home-schooled boy, he always wanted to become a painter, but due to poor finances, his parents couldn’t afford sending him to art school, instead at the age of 14 they sent him of to become an apprentice of the engraver James Basire. However later in life Blake briefly enrolled at the Royal Academy of Arts.



The themes and style of Blake’s paintings and poetry was poorly received in his time, as they weren’t compatible with the predominant ideals and paradigm of the time. In other words, William Blake became yet another great artist who remained quite unnoticed and to some extent deeply criticized during his time but who has ever since in his great posterity been “discovered” and greatly appreciated.

There is an unmistakable mystical and spiritual aspect to the works by Blake, accompanied with biblical and mythological elements, his paintings and poems often portrayed motives and ideas beyond this ordinary world we live in. This has resulted in him being referred to as an visionary artist. Moreover one of the remarkable things about Blake’s work was how they were produced and presented as most of his poems were engraved on plates together with illustrations, which he made together with his wife Catherine.

In this article we’ve compiled some of his most insightful quotes, excerpts and poems:

If a thing loves, it is infinite.
William Blake (Annotations to Swedenborg, 1788)

To generalize is to be an idiot.
William Blake (Annotations to Reynolds)

The busy bee has no time for sorrow.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

A dead body revenges not injuries.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

The most sublime act is to set another before you.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

Expect poison from the standing water.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

What is now proved was once only imagined.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

To create a little flower is the labour of ages.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

The true method of knowledge is experiment.
William Blake (All Religions are One, 1788)

Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

The soul of sweet delight, can never be defiled.
William Blake (The Visions of the Daughter of Albion, 1793)

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

For everything that lives is holy, life delights in life.
William Blake

Art can never exist without Naked beauty displayed.
William Blake

William Blake Quote: If the doors of perception were cleansed everything..

If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

Great things are done when men and mountains meet.
William Blake

He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

I see the Past, Present & Future existing all at once Before me.
William Blake (Jerusalem, 1803 – 1820)

The Imagination is not a State: it is the Human Existence itself.
William Blake

Prisons are built with stones of Law, brothels with bricks of Religion.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

Do what you will, this world’s a fiction and is made up of contradiction.
William Blake

For when our souls have learned the heat to bear.. The clouds will vanish.
William Blake (The Little Black Boy)

How sweet I roamed from field to field, and tasted all the summer’s pride.
William Blake

The man who never in his mind and thoughts travel’d to heaven is no artist.
William Blake (Annotations to Reynolds)

You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

Energy is an eternal delight, and he who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

The hours of folly are measured by the clock, but of wisdom no clock can measure.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.
William Blake (Jerusalem, 1803 – 1820)

The difference between a bad artist and a good one is: the bad artist seems to copy a great deal; the good one really does.
William Blake (Annotations to Reynolds)

Fun I love, but too much fun is of all things the most loathsome. Mirth is better than fun, and happiness is better than mirth.
William Blake

When I tell the truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do.
William Blake

Every tear from every eye
Becomes a babe in eternity.
William Blake (Auguries of Innocence, 1805)

A truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.
William Blake (Auguries of Innocence, 1805)

Without contraries there is no progression. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate are necessary to human existence.
William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-1793)

To the eyes of a miser a guinea is more beautiful than the sun, and a bag worn with the use of money has more beautiful proportions than a vine filled with grapes.
William Blake (Letter to Revd. Dr. Trusier, 1799)

What is the price of experience? Do men buy it for a song? Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No, it is bought with the price of all the man hath, his house, his wife, his children.
William Blake (Vala, or the Four Zoas)

Imagination, the real and eternal world, of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow, and in which we shall live in our eternal or imaginative bodies when these vegetable, mortal bodies are no more.
William Blake (Jerusalem, 1803 – 1820)

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.
William Blake (Letter to Revd. Dr. Trusier, 1799)

For I dance
And drink, and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.
William Blake (The Fly)

Can I see another’s woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief,
And not seek for kind relief?
William Blake (On Another’s Sorrow)

Oh He gives to us his joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled an gone
He doth sit by us and moan.
William Blake (On Another’s Sorrow)

He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne’er believe, do what you please.
If the sun and moon should doubt
They’d immediately go out.
William Blake (Auguries of Innocence, 1805)

The sun descending in the west,
The evening star does shine;
The birds are silent in their nest.
And I must seek for mine.
William Blake (Songs of Innocence – Night, 1790)

The moon like a flower
In heaven’s high bower,
With silent delight,
Sits and smiles on the night.
William Blake (Songs of Innocence – Night, 1790)

What is it men in women to require?
The lineaments of gratified desire.
What is it women do in men require?
The lineaments of gratified desire.
William Blake (Gnomic Verses)

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe;
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
William Blake (Songs of Experience – A Poison Tree, 1794)

Abstinence sows sand all over
The ruddy limbs and flaming hair,
But Desire gratified
Plants fruits of life and beauty there.
William Blake (Gnomic Verses)

Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair.
William Blake (Songs of Experience, 1794)

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the wingèd life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.
William Blake (He Who Binds)

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
William Blake (Auguries of Innocence, 1805)

We are led to believe a lie
When we see not thro’ the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.
William Blake (Auguries of Innocence, 1805)

Children of the future Age
Reading this indignant page,
Know that in a former time
Love! sweet Love! was thought a crime.
William Blake (A Little Girl Lost)

Hear the voice of the Bard,
Who present, past, and future, sees;
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word
That walk’d among the ancient trees;
William Blake (Hear the Voice)

In the age of gold,
Free from winter’s cold,
Youth and maiden bright,
To the holy light,
Naked in the sunny beams delight.
William Blake (A Little Girl Lost)

Once a youthful pair,
Filled with softest care,
Met in garden bright
Where the holy light
Had just removed the curtains of the night.
William Blake (A Little Girl Lost)

Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.
William Blake (Auguries of Innocence, 1805)

O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy;
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
William Blake (The Sick Rose)

Cruelty has a human heart,
And Jealousy a human face;
Terror the human form divine,
And secrecy the human dress.
The human dress is forged iron,
The human form a fiery forge,
The human face a furnace sealed,
The human heart its hungry gorge.
William Blake (A Divine Image)

My mother groaned, my father wept,
Into the dangerous world I leapt;
Helpless, naked, piping loud,
Like a fiend hid in a cloud.
Struggling in my father’s hands,
Striving against my swaddling bands,
Bound and weary, I thought best
To sulk upon my mother’s breast.
William Blake (Songs of Experience – Infant Sorrow, 1794)

A flower was offered to me,
Such a flower as May never bore;
But I said “I’ve a pretty rose tree,”
And I passed the sweet flower o’er.
Then I went to my pretty rose tree,
To tend her by day and by night;
But my rose turned away with jealousy,
And her thorns were my only delight.
William Blake (My Pretty Rose Tree)

Merry, merry sparrow!
Under leaves so green
A happy blossom
Sees you, swift as arrow,
Seek your cradle narrow,
Near my bosom.
Pretty, pretty robin!
Under leaves so green
A happy blossom
Hears you sobbing, sobbing,
Pretty, pretty robin,
Near my bosom.
William Blake (The Blossom)

As I wandered the forest,
The green leaves among,
I heard a Wild Flower
Singing a song.
I slept in the earth
In the silent night,
I murmured my fears
And I felt delight.
In the morning I went
As rosy as morn,
To seek for new joy;
But oh! met with scorn.
William Blake (The Wild Flower’s Song)

Never seek to tell thy love,
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind doth move
Silently, invisibly.
I told my love, I told my love,
I told her all my heart,
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears.
Ah! she did depart!
Soon after she was gone from me,
A traveller came by,
Silently, invisibly:
He took her with a sigh.
William Blake (Love’s Secret)

I laid me down upon a bank,
Where Love lay sleeping;
I heard among the rushes dank
Weeping, weeping.
Then I went to the heath and the wild,
To the thistles and thorns of the waste;
And they told me how they were beguiled,
Driven out, and compelled to the chaste.
I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.
And the gates of this Chapel were shut
And “Thou shalt not,” writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.
And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.
William Blake (The Garden of Love)

Whether on Ida’s shady brow
Or in the chambers of the East,
The chambers of the Sun, that now
From ancient melody have ceased;
Whether in heaven ye wander fair,
Or the green corners of the earth,
Or the blue regions of the air
Where the melodious winds have birth;
Whether on crystal rocks ye rove,
Beneath the bosom of the sea,
Wandering in many a coral grove;
Fair Nine, forsaking Poetry;
How have you left the ancient love
That bards of old enjoy’d in you!
The languid strings do scarcely move,
The sound is forced, the notes are few.
William Blake (Poetical Sketches – To the Muses)

Notable Works by William Blake

  • Poetical Sketches (1783)
  • An Island in the Moon (1784)
  • Tiriel (1789)
  • All Religions are One (1788)
  • There is No Natural Religion (1788)
  • Songs of Innocence (1789)
  • The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1793)
  • Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793)

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