The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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96                    THE SUSSEX COAST
flower move, and underneath I saw a procession of creatures, of the size and colour of green and grey grasshoppers, bearing a body laid out on a rose-leaf, which they buried with songs, and then disappeared."
On another occasion, walking in the same place, he saw with far less pleasure a soldier working there; the gardener had requested his services but without Blake's knowledge, and he turned him out with little ceremony. It is never a good plan to make enemies, particularly not for people whose political opinions are not those of the majority, and the incident resulted in Blake's being tried for sedition (p. 38). Though acquitted he was dis­gusted with Sussex and returned to London.
Blake's poetry Wordsworth thought "un­doubtedly the production of insane genius, but there is something in the madness of this man that interests me more than the sanity of Lord Byron and Walter Scott." Others, particularly Swinburne, have spoken even more eulogistically of his work. One understands why Hayley has no enthusiastic admirers to-day. He is common­place, he did practically nothing that others have not done better. One does not exactly understand the extraordinary cult of Blake or just what is the foundation of his vast reputation, but it is a cult that one respects and admires. That haze of mysticism that wraps and rather obscures his writings like a drifting cirrus cloud which pre­vents one seeing precisely what meaning the poet intended to convey has an intense fascination for many. There is more than appears on the surface both of poems and engravings. As John Sampson puts it, the close study of his works " should not be undertaken with slight equipment, or in a spirit
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