Wisdom of Life

William Blake: Imagination & Eternity — The Meaning of Life

“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.”

“The naked woman’s body is a portion of eternity
too great for the eye of man.”

Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow. The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself. What is now proved was once only imagined. Great things are done when men and mountains meet. Everything to be imagined is an image of truth. We become what we behold.

If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern. 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. In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors. Knowledge is Life with wings.

The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind. He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence. I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man’s. I will not reason and compare: my business is to create. Each man is haunted until his humanity awakens.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough. A man can’t soar too high, when he flies with his own wings. Improvement makes strait roads, but the crooked roads without improvement, are roads of Genius. Men are admitted into heaven not because they have curbed and governed their passions or have no passions, but because they have cultivated their understandings. The treasures of heaven are not negations of passion, but realities of intellect, from which all the passions emanate uncurbed in their eternal glory.

A good local pub has much in common with a church, except that a pub is warmer, and there’s more conversation. Vision is the end of religion. Mercy is the golden chain by which society is bound together. Enlightenment means taking full responsibility for your life.

Eternity is in love with the productions of time. The busy bee has no time for sorrow. Energy is eternal delight. I myself do nothing. The Holy Spirit accomplishes all through me.

Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night. He who kisses joy as it flies by will live in eternity’s sunrise. He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star. He who sees the Infinite in all things sees God. He who sees the Ratio only sees himself only. Therefore God becomes as we are, that we may be as he is.

And we are put on this earth a little space that we might learn to bear the beams of love. He who will not bend to Love must be subdued by Fear. He who loves feels love descend into him and if he has wisdom may perceive it from the Poetic Genius which is the Lord.

“If a thing loves, it is infinite.”

“The nakedness of woman is the work of God.”


~William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his life, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual art of the Romantic Age.

Excepts from William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: In Full Color

©Excellence Reporter 2022

Categories: Wisdom of Life

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