William Blake

William Blake

About William Blake

William Blake was born in London, England on November 28, 1757. He was the third of seven children, but two of his siblings died in infancy.

While he did not have formal education, his mother taught him at home. Both parents encouraged the artistic gifts they saw in their son, so they enrolled him in drawing classes at the age of ten. He began writing poetry two years later. The drawing school became too expensive for the family, so at the age of fourteen, he apprenticed with James Basire as an engraver. His apprenticeship ended seven years later, at the age of 21.

In 1778, Blake studied at the Royal Academy in Old Somerset House. He did not need to pay to attend, but he did have to purchase his own materials.

Blake married Catherine Boucher on August 18, 1782. She was illiterate, and signed their marriage certificate with an "X". Blake taught her how to read and write. He also taught her how to engrave, which became extremely helpful to him.

His first collection of poems, Poetical Sketches, was published in 1783. The following year he and a friend opened a printing shop, but it did not bring about the success he hoped. His most popular collection of poetry is considered Songs of Innocence, which was published in 1789.

The end of Blake's life was spent in poverty. William Blake passed away August 12, 1827. Earlier that day, he drew a portrait of his wife.

Interesting Facts about William Blake

  1. He taught himself Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Italian because he wanted to read classical pieces in their original languages.
  2. Blake opposed the English monarch. The French and American Revolutions influenced his writing.
  3. In June 1780, William Blake was walking when he got swept up by a mob that attacked a prison. This incident helped to create the first police force.
  4. Blake had to go to trial because of a false testimony a soldier made against him, but he was eventually acquitted of the charges. He used the poem "Jerusalem" to get back at that soldier.
  5. Blake's grave is not marked.


    Poems by William Blake

  • The Tyger

    The Tyger By William Blake

    in Famous Nature Poems

    Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
    In the forests of the night,
    What immortal hand or eye
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

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    • Votes 503
    • Rating 4.01
  • The Sick Rose

    The Sick Rose By William Blake

    in Famous Sad Poems

    O Rose, thou art sick!
    The invisible worm
    That flies in the night,
    In the howling storm,...

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    • Votes 112
    • Rating 4.06
  • A Poison Tree

    A Poison Tree By William Blake

    in Famous Friendship Poems

    Analysis of Form and Technique

    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....

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    • Votes 351
    • Rating 4.10
  • A Cradle Song

    A Cradle Song By William Blake

    in Famous Family Poems

    Sweet dreams form a shade
    O'er my lovely infant's head;
    Sweet dreams of pleasant streams
    By happy, silent, moony beams....

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    • Stories 1
    • Shares 57
    • Favorited 2
    • Votes 62
    • Rating 4.05
    Latest Shared Story

    Family where life begins and love never ends.

  • On Another's Sorrow

    On Another's Sorrow By William Blake

    in Famous Death Poems

    Can I see another's woe,
    And not be in sorrow too?
    Can I see another's grief,
    And not seek for kind relief?...

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    • Stories 1
    • Shares 117
    • Favorited 4
    • Votes 246
    • Rating 4.05
    Latest Shared Story

    My family went through some tough times and I first read this poem after we got help from our friends. This poem always reminds me that there is always hope for people.

  • View All Poems by William Blake

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