William Blake as a Mystic Poet

William Blake Profile: An English poet, painter, and visionary artist from the late 18th to early 19th century. He is known for his unique blend of poetry and visual art, often exploring spiritual and mystical themes.

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is widely regarded as a mystic poet due to the mystical elements found in his works. Blake's mysticism can be traced back to his spiritual beliefs and his profound connection with the divine. His poetry reflects his mystical perspective and his ability to see beyond the physical realm to the spiritual world. In this essay, we will explore the mystical elements in Blake's poetry that justify his reputation as a mystic poet.

Embarking on the Mystic Path

Mysticism, a spiritual odyssey aimed at attaining union with the Divine or God through the veiled practices of prayer and meditation, serves as the bedrock of Blake's Profile: An English poet, painter, and visionary artist from the late 18th to early 19th century. He is known for his unique blend of poetry and visual art, often exploring spiritual and mystical themes.

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poetic ambitions. This pursuit of otherworldly comprehension resonates within his poetic voyage, where he delves into profound truths that transcend the boundaries of ordinary human understanding.

Blake's Mystic Identity Unveiled

Upon delving into the depths of William Blake's Profile: An English poet, painter, and visionary artist from the late 18th to early 19th century. He is known for his unique blend of poetry and visual art, often exploring spiritual and mystical themes.

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mystic persona, a harmonious fusion of mysticism and poetic opulence emerges as a hallmark of his literary legacy. Let us embark on an illuminating exploration of his magnum opus (Masterpiece), "Songs of Innocence and Experience," where mysticism intertwines seamlessly with his poetic mastery, painting a mosaic of evocative imagery and profound sentiments that resonate deeply within the hearts of seekers and dreamers alike.


The opening poem of “Songs of Innocence,” published in 1789, is titled “Introduction.” Within its verses, an enigmatic concept unfolds as the poet introduces a child amidst the mystic narrative.

“On a cloud I saw a child,
And he laughing said to me,
Pipe a song about a lamb”

Read Full Poem Here

These lines serve as a prelude to Blake’s mysticism, capturing the attention of critics who concur that the child signifies more than innocence; it symbolizes the divine presence of Jesus Christ. This same poem resonates mysticism in “Songs of Experience,” published in 1794, mirroring its predecessor in visual poignancy.

“The Lamb and The Tyger”

Two contrasting poems, “The Lamb” and “The Tyger,” stand as emblematic testaments to Blake’s mysticism. “The Lamb” tenderly unveils God's gentle nature, while “The Tyger” boldly portrays the Almighty's fierce aspect. The juxtaposition of these seemingly disparate qualities unfolds with mystic fervor, compelling critics to recognize Blake's profound connection with mystic themes.

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?

A heart united with the Divine can discern and embrace these qualities intrinsically.

The Lamb, William Blake: Study Guide
The Tyger, William Blake: Study Guide

Blake’s Religion: A Mystic Odyssey

Blake's religious odyssey is a tapestry woven with unconventional threads, challenging orthodox conventions. Though christened, married, and buried by the rites of the Church of England, his beliefs often diverged from the norm. In “A Vision of the Last Judgment,” he proclaimed the Creator as a paradoxical and even cruel entity, assigning names such as Nobodaddy and Urizen. He provocatively addressed Satan as “The Accuser who is The God of This World” in his emblem book For the Sexes: The Gates of Paradise. To Robinson, Blake's confidante, he declared his knowledge to be rooted in the Bible, but understood in its spiritual essence.

Blake's religious singularity finds expression in the poem “The Everlasting Gospel” (c. 1818), where he challenges conventional visions of Christ:

The Vision of Christ that thou dost See
Is my Visions Greatest Enemy
… Both read the Bible day & night
But thou readst black where I read White.

This profound dichotomy underscores Blake's Profile: An English poet, painter, and visionary artist from the late 18th to early 19th century. He is known for his unique blend of poetry and visual art, often exploring spiritual and mystical themes.

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defiance of traditional interpretations, revealing his mystic defiance of dogma.

Blake's mystic essence courses through every fiber of his literary legacy. Within the verses of "Songs of Innocence and of Experience," his mysticism continues to unfold.

The Everlasting Gospel: Complete Poem
The Everlasting Gospel: Summary & Analysis

Education as Artist and Engraver

Blake's aspiration for artistic mastery manifested from an early age, a remarkable feat for a family rooted in small business and Nonconformist values. As a child, he nurtured dreams of apprenticing under a renowned artist from the burgeoning English school of painting. However, financial constraints steered him towards a different path.

In 1772, Blake, accompanied by his father, visited the accomplished engraver William Wynne Ryland. Despite being captivated by the prospect, Blake's intuition led him to decline due to an uncanny feeling about Ryland's future. This decision unveiled a transformative journey, steering Blake toward an apprenticeship with James Basire (1730–1802), an esteemed line engraver.

For seven transformative years (1772–79), Blake resided with Basire's family, immersing himself in the art and craft of engraving. The meticulous process became second nature, as he mastered the intricacies of copperplate preparation, ink application, and etching techniques. The apprenticeship culminated in a project of monumental significance – copying medieval monuments in Westminster Abbey for Richard Gough's Sepulchral Monuments in Great Britain (1786).


In summation, William Blake's mysticism threads seamlessly through his poetic tapestry. His profound capacity to convey spiritual truths through symbolic imagery, themes, and intricate storytelling positions him as an embodiment of mystic poetry. Blake's legacy shines as an illuminating beacon, guiding readers on a transformative journey through the mystic realms of existence.

What was Blake's early aspiration?

From an early age, William Blake aspired to be an artist. His parents recognized his talent and enrolled him in Henry Pars’s Drawing School in London.

Where did Blake receive his education?

After leaving school at the age of ten, Blake was educated at home by his mother, Catherine Blake. He was gifted prints and books by his parents, and the Bible played a significant role in his education.

What was Blake's relationship with art education?

Blake attended Henry Pars’s Drawing School and later joined the Royal Academy Schools. Although he disliked life drawing, he preferred studying classical sculptures and Greek vase paintings.

How did Blake start his artistic career?

William Blake started his artistic career by engraving copies of drawings of Greek antiquities. He was exposed to classical forms through the works of artists like Raphael, Michelangelo, and Albrecht Dürer.

What was Blake's view on artists?

Blake considered himself a craftsman rather than just a poet or painter. He believed that artists should view themselves as craftsmen. He earned his living primarily through engraving.

How did Blake's visionary experiences impact his work?

William Blake had visions throughout his life, which started at a young age. These experiences deeply influenced his art and writings, leading to the creation of unique and mystic representations.

What was Blake's relationship with religion?

Blake was a committed Christian who opposed the Church of England. He was influenced by the Bible and the ideals of revolutions. He had extreme beliefs and associated with like-minded individuals.

What is relief etching, and how did Blake use it?

William Blake invented relief etching for combined text and image printing. He used this technique extensively for his famous works, including Songs of Innocence and Experience and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

What was Blake's relationship with his wife?

William Blake was married to Catherine Sophia Boucher. They remained married until his death. Catherine supported his work and even helped color his printed poems.

Which of Blake's poems are particularly famous?

Among William Blake's famous poems are "The Tyger," "Milton: A Poem in Two Books," and "Jerusalem." His works continue to be celebrated for their poetic and philosophical depth.

How has Blake's legacy influenced modern culture?

William Blake's legacy has left a significant impact on modern culture. His art, poetry, and ideas have inspired various mediums, including literature, film, music, and even comic literature.

What is the Blake Poetry Prize?

The Blake Poetry Prize is an open poetry prize in Australia that challenges artists to explore themes of religion and spirituality in their work.

What were some recent exhibitions featuring Blake's work?

Recent exhibitions that focused on William Blake's work include "William Blake: Apprentice and Master" at the Ashmolean Museum, an exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, and a major exhibition at Tate Britain.

What is Blake's significance in art history?

William Blake's engravings are regarded as some of the greatest achievements in line engravings in England. His unique approach to art, his visionary experiences, and his influence on later artists have solidified his place in art history.

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