Quintessential Quotations

William Blake


A Prophecy of Enlightenment

The ancient tradition that the world will be consumed in fire at the end of six thousand years is true, as I have heard from Hell.

For the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to leave his guard at the tree of life; and when he does, the whole creation will be consumed and appear infinite and holy, whereas it now appears finite & corrupt.

This will come to pass by an improvement of sensual enjoyment.

But first the notion that man has a body distinct from his soul is to be expunged; this I shall do by printing in the infernal method, by corrosives, which in Hell are salutary and medicinal, melting apparent surfaces away, and displaying the infinite which was hid.

William Blake

If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man is it is, infinite.

For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.

William Blake

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Against Pacifism

I am no Homer's Hero, you all know;

I profess not Generosity to a Foe.

My Generosity is to my Friends,

That for their Friendship I may make amends.

The Generous to Enemies promotes their Ends

And becomes the Enemy & Betrayer of his Friends.

William Blake
From Epigrams, Verses, and Fragments

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Against Repression

It indeed appear'd to Reason as if Desire was cast out; but the Devil's account is, that the Messiah fell, & formed a heaven of what he stole from the Abyss.

William Blake

Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion.

William Blake

The pride of the peacock is the glory of God.

The lust of the goat is the bounty of God.

The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God.

The nakedness of woman is the work of God.

William Blake

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Body and Soul

All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following Errors:

1. That Man has two real existing principles: Viz: a Body & a Soul.

2.That Energy, call'd Evil, is alone from the Body; & that Reason, call'd Good, is alone from the Soul.

3.That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.

But the following Contraries to these are True:

1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; for that call'd Body is a portion of the Soul discern'd by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age.

2. Energy is the only life, and is from the Body; and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy.

3.Energy is Eternal Delight.

William Blake

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Cowardice and Cunning

The weak in courage is strong in cunning.

William Blake

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Not Blaming Yourself

The fox condemns the trap, not himself.

William Blake

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Prayers

As the plow follows words, so God rewards prayers.

God only Acts & Is, in existing beings or Men.

William Blake

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The Wisdom of Excess

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.

William Blake

The soul of sweet delight can never be defil'd.

William Blake

You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.

William Blake

No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.

William Blake

Exuberance is Beauty.

William Blake

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The Wisdom of Folly

What is now proved was once only imagin'd.

William Blake

Improvement makes strait roads; but the crooked roads without Improvement are roads of Genius.

William Blake

If others had not been foolish, we should be so.

William Blake

If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.

William Blake

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The Wisdom of Wrath

The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

William Blake

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Time and Eternity

The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock; but of wisdom, no clock can measure.

William Blake

Eternity is in love with the productions of time.

William Blake

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Truth and Belief

Every thing possible to be believ'd is an image of truth.

William Blake

How can the false become true just by believing it? Yet to the mystic it makes excellent sense, for he recognises that any picture of what lies beyond the range of conceptual thought is bound to be too poor an approximation to have intrinsic worth; therefore all ways of picturing the path and goal are of value only as convenient stand-ins for use until direct intuitive perception is attained.

John Blofeld
Bodhisattva of Compassion: The Mystical Tradition of Kuan Yin. Boston: Shambhala, 1978.

Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believ'd.

William Blake

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