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  • I don't spend a whole lot of time on Facebook. Maybe five, ten minutes a day, just taking a quick look to see if anyone I know has posted anything of interest. While we have a couple of our own private groups on there, Cowbirders and Cowbirders Poetry and Flash Fiction Group #7, neither group has been very active of late - (or if they have, I didn't notice, as I'm not there much!)

    There's a move afoot now to occupy Facebook with art, to break up the monotony of selfies and bitstrips (I'm not even sure I know what a bitstrip is, but I think I get the idea, sort of.) Whoever likes the post is given an artist to post, themselves. I like the concept!

    So, I liked Diane Jardel's posting of Johnny Meah, the Czar of Bizarre, which she had gotten from Sean Poole, a good Cowbird friend of mine (one whom I have actually met live and in the flesh!)

    So, Diane gave me William Blake - this is for my post about ol' Bill. I figured, why not occupy Facebook with art AND Cowbird, since, in my book, they are synonymous.

    First, a quote from William:

    "To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower
    Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour".


    The Ancient of Days is the title of a design by William Blake, originally published as the frontispiece to a 1794 work, Europe a Prophecy. As noted in Gilchrist's Life of William Blake, the design was "a singular favourite with Blake and as one it was always a happiness to him to copy." As such there are many versions of the work extant, including one completed for Frederick Tatham only weeks before Blake's death.

    Early critics of Blake noted the work as amongst his best, and a favourite of the artist himself. A description by Richard Thompson in John Thomas Smith's Nollekens and His Times, was of "... an uncommonly fine specimen of art, and approaches almost to the sublimity of Raffaelle or Michel Angelo." and as representing the event given in the Book of Proverbs viii. 27 (KJV), "when he set a compass upon the face of the earth."

    The subject is said to have been one of the 'visions' experienced by Blake and that he took an especial pleasure in producing the prints. The copy commissioned by Tatham in the last days of Blake's life, for a sum of money exceeding any previous payment for his work, was tinted by the artist while propped up in his bed. After his revisions, Blake is said to have "threw it from him, and with an air of exulting triumph exclaimed, 'There, that will do! I cannot mend it!'"

    Here, also, is a poem by Mr. Blake:

    Ah Sunflower

    Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
    Who countest the steps of the sun;
    Seeking after that sweet golden clime
    Where the traveller's journey is done;

    Where the Youth pined away with desire,
    And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
    Arise from their graves, and aspire
    Where my Sunflower wishes to go!

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