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Selected Poems

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4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  2,211 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Writer and religious rebel, William Blake ((1757-1827) sowed the seeds for Romanticism in his innovative poems concerning faith and the visions that inspired him throughout his life. Whether describing his own spirituality, the innocence of youth or the corruption caused by mankind, his writings depict a world in which spirits dominate and the mind is the gateway to Heaven ...more
Paperback, 362 pages
Published March 30th 2006 by Penguin Classics (first published 1827)
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Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienWuthering Heights by Emily Brontë1984 by George Orwell
Best British and Irish Literature
125th out of 862 books — 972 voters
Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëFrankenstein by Mary ShelleyThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Penguin Classics
411th out of 489 books — 118 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Douglas Wilson
Okay, so I read this, and am afraid that it brought me to the conclusion that Blake is overrated. But glad to have read him, and there were some striking lines. Okay, so it was worth it.
Matt Holmes
Jul 03, 2016 Matt Holmes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this kid.

I memorized Pretty Rose Tree when I was younger because it's important to know exactly one poem by heart, and that seemed like a good one. That was before I read the Auguries of Innocence sober.

It is right and should be so;
Man was made for Joy & Woe,
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the World we safely go.


I'm not a big poetry guy, but I'm an enormous existentialism guy and that's a damn succinct encapsulation of being human. I plan to use this therapeutically and philoso
...more
Annie
Dec 31, 2014 Annie rated it really liked it
It's hard to really find a good introductory book to Blake I think, because his body of work is fairly difficult to get into. To be frank, I often felt like I needed a map and compass to find my way through his epic poems. But what imagery! And what a world he had created! I much preferred his shorter poems, as they were more accessible to me. Among my favorites were: On Another's Sorrow, Grown Old in Love, How to know Love from Deceit, The Garden of Love, A Poison Tree, and A Divine Image. One ...more
Lachlan
Moments of brilliance amongst confusion. Definitely recommended.
Nora
Feb 06, 2013 Nora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Absolutely beautiful.
Facundo Martin
In sober style you hail the coming of the seasons
And decry foul crimes that twist man’s reason
With dewy locks and flames, shade and silent decay
With cages and jails to trap our mortal clay

At times through long stanzas you make us plod
Through epics of tyrants and the lands they trod
Others your sprightly lines leap and bound
Longing for the past and its mellow sound

You sing the praises of gratified desire
And bodies burning with everlasting fire
You scorn and mock the holy writ
Each time you
...more
Zari

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.

And I waterd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears:
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night.
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.

And into my garden stole,
When the night had veild the pole;
In the morning glad I see;
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.
Kevin Albrecht
Mar 16, 2009 Kevin Albrecht rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes poetry
Shelves: poetry
Well, William Blake week has come to an end. Although I had already been a fan of Blake for a long time, I had never read a large body of his work, so my impression of his work was definitely changed by the experience. I discovered how his body of work is quite philosophical and political, which brought me to respect his work in a whole new way. Among the philosophical poems that I found particularly moving are "The Fly" and the particularly simple but poignant "Epiphany":

He who binds to himsel
...more
Linda
Dec 04, 2013 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
William Blake - name, which I first read in Red Dragon.Red Dragon
Unfortunately it was a reference full with violence and madness, so I thought this author must be completely out of my liking, but then again reading biographic introduction about Kahlil Gibran, it was mentioned that Blake has been great influence. My curiosity was raised. So I decided to try things out.
Right now I'm pleased I did. Although it was a challenge to read poetry in 19th century's English, it was worth it. There were pie
...more
M.I. Lastman
Jan 27, 2015 M.I. Lastman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With Blake it's still the short poems that I like best. Is there anything in the English language more sublime than the Songs of Innocence and of Experience? Vaughan Williams made an exquisite setting of them.
Abrar Alnaseri
Jul 11, 2014 Abrar Alnaseri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blake, the dark angel of poetry!
With his amazing dark thoughts mixed with the beauty of nature and fancies from heaven and hell.
I cant favor a poem over the other
I cant believe he wrote them back in the 1790s !
It feels like he is a spirit from past with this scarlet and sophisticated language who came to write about now days!

Nadine
Jul 31, 2015 Nadine rated it did not like it
This is the first time that I have read a book of poems and I have to say so far this is not my cup of tea. Maybe I can blame this solely on Blake, I’ll have to hold back judgement on that until I have read other poems; I plan on reading Tennyson next, and I also have a book with German poetry sitting on my shelves so maybe it’s just Blake that I don’t get and not poetry itself. In the entire book there was only one poem that I liked. I didn’t care for most and some I abandoned half way through ...more
Stephen
Dec 05, 2013 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blake is a singularity. He speaks of lions lying down with lambs and the immolation of a little boy in almost the same breath. The poems from 'Songs of Innocence' are his most memorable because they capture the spirit of joy better than any poetry I know. His later work is reddened with the glint of ferocious zeal, and there is something truly terrifying about the 'Tyger tyger burning bright / in the forests of the night' and the old woman who nails a boy to a rock and grows young as he grows ol ...more
Mnemosynne
Jan 22, 2016 Mnemosynne rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
"If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite."
Micah
Jul 06, 2016 Micah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Not terrible, but very into dichotomies and the fair sex.
Hélène Lurçat
whenever suffering
English poets are the best
Dawn
Oct 12, 2013 Dawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
"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"
-Auguries of Innocence

"Thine loves the same world that mine hates
Thy Heaven doors are my Hell Gates
Socrates taught what Melitus
Loathd as a Nations bitterest Curse
And Caiphas was in his own Mind
A benefactor of Mankind
Both read the Bible day & night
But thou readst black where I read white"
-The Everlasting Gospel
Lulu
Oct 12, 2013 Lulu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
"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"
-Auguries of Innocence

"Thine loves the same world that mine hates
Thy Heaven doors are my Hell Gates
Socrates taught what Melitus
Loathd as a Nations bitterest Curse
And Caiphas was in his own Mind
A benefactor of Mankind
Both read the Bible day & night
But thou readst black where I read white"
-The Everlasting Gospel
Laemeur
An easy introductory text to the work of Blake. Vaughn's short essay/bio is concise without being cursory, and the captions for the plates are informative, insightful, and accessible. The selection of plates is good, as is their reproduction quality, although with a selection of only 40 plates with which to represent Blake's oeuvre, I would have left-out a few of the unfinished pieces for Dante's Commedia and included other work.
Dawn Shanks
Kayla (the 2-year-old I nanny for) and I are reading this together. We try to do a poem or two before naptime, always ending with "The Tyger," which I absentmindedly recited to her one day when we were taking a walk, and she was completely transfixed. We checked this out at the library and I think she's pleased to have an "adult book" and likes to keep it in her bed with her picture books during naps.
Janelle
Feb 16, 2016 Janelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Blake for me is a good poet with some thought provoking words. Some poetry of his is a bit too religious for me, but this is a good selection overall.
Oneflwover
Oct 11, 2011 Oneflwover rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
He who binds to himself a joy
Doth the winged life destroy
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternitys sun rise

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

Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained…
Jean Baptiste de Goncourt
Personally, my most cherished British poet... :) The perpetually up-to-date, inspirational, introspective, buoyant, non-conformist, mentally revolutional Blake with dark,wry humour and meaningful allusions, as well as with a distinct and singular wit! Joyous exaltation!
Cristina Contilli
Qualche anno fa l'avevo abbandonato, ma ora ritrovandolo mentre sistemavo i libri per il trasloco ho scoperto che invece non è così "male"... certo è una poesia visionaria ed ironica, però, ha un suo fascino...
Jessica Woodruff
Nov 27, 2013 Jessica Woodruff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From his allusions of angels to his hand-crafted painted plates, Blake is first generation Romantic poet sure to entertain. His most famous poem is: Tiger, Tiger.
Thomas
Feb 14, 2008 Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Poetry Fans, Religious Nuts
Recommended to Thomas by: Blake (in a dream)
The master. He could speak to all the (dead) greats and put it back into his own art. Read this and expand your brain.
Adam
Jul 26, 2013 Adam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise."
Anne
Sep 28, 2007 Anne rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those uninterested in totalizing systems
Shelves: 18th-century
Don't get this edition! Not having the pictures is *so* frustrating.

But, boy, Blake is crazy--it's all very exciting.
Stacy
Feb 09, 2010 Stacy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, poetry
William Blake's work is incredible. This book includes one of my favorite poems of all time, "The Tyger."
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William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake's work is today considered seminal and significant in the history of both poetry and the visual arts.

Blake's prophetic poetry has been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the language". His visual artistry has led one modern critic to proclaim h
...more
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