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Preger, J.W. (1920). A Note on William Blake's Lyrics. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 1:196-199.

(1920). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 1:196-199

A Note on William Blake's Lyrics

J. W. Preger

Much of Blake's poetry labours under an obscureness that deprives it of any lasting human interest. The literary world, it is true, greeted his disinternment with unmistakable enthusiasm, but this, to a great extent, was due to the originality and unconventional nature of his illustrative etchings, whilst the very obscurity of his poetical work will have stirred the interest and whetted the curiosity of many. But though many attempts have been made to illuminate these obscurities, the interest once felt in Blake as a poet has died a natural death.

His early and strictly lyrical work, however, gained and has maintained a well deserved popularity among lovers of poetry. This (his "Poetical Sketches", "The Songs of Innocence and Experience", and "Ideas of Good and Evil") is as remarkable for its human interest and simplicity as the rest of his poetry — the "Prophetic Books", for example — is remarkable for its obscure mysticism and, general diffuseness. Yet, among the many gems of the former there are a few which, though they sometimes charm the ear, rarely convey anything to the understanding.

Two of these, however, ought to interest students of Psycho-Analysis for the Cameo-clearness with which they reflect certain typical fancies and which, though of an incestuous kind, show no traces of "secondary-manipulation".

Here it may be of interest to mention that in both his life and work Blake betrayed unmistakable evidence of having suffered from some form of insanity, at least in his later years.

The first of the lyrics in question, "The Garden of Love", for any but the psycho-analytically informed can have but little meaning.

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