Poems of William Blake

Poems of William Blake

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Poems of William Blake

Poems of William Blake

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Excerpt

Early in the eighteenth century a certain John O'Neil got into debt and difficulties, these latter apparently political to some extent; and escaped both by marrying a woman named Ellen Blake, who kept a shebeen at Rathmines, Dublin, and taking her name. He had a son James, I am told, by a previous wife or mistress, and this son took also the name of Blake, and in due course married, settled in London as a hosier, and became the father of five children, one of whom was the subject of this memoir. John O'Neil had also a son by his wife Ellen; and this son, settling in Malaga, in Spain, entered the wine trade, and became the founder of a family, and from one of this family, Dr. Carter Blake, I have the story. James Blake was living over his shop at 28, Broad Street, Golden Square, when, in the year 1757, his son William Blake was born. He had already a son John, the best beloved of father and mother, who grew up to be the black sheep of the family, and he begot afterwards James, who was to pester William with what Tatham calls "bread and cheese advice", and Robert, whom William came to love like his own soul, and a daughter, of whom we hear little, and among that little not even her name. This family grew up among ideas less conventional than might be looked for in the house of a small shopkeeper. Swedenborgianism was then creeping into England, and the hosier's shop was one . . .

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