William Blake



William Blake is buried in Bunhill Fields Burial Ground, City Road, Finsbury, London, England. (This cemetery was originally the 'Dissenters' graveyard. There is no church attached to the cemetery and the ground is unconsecrated.)

Gravestone of William Blake
Photograph by Mike Reed

The cemetery was damaged during the Second World War and was restored in 1960. The new headstone does not mark the exact position of Blake's remains, but indicates that he lies nearby.

Blake was born in Broad Street in London. He received no formal  education but was apprenticed to James Basire - an engraver. In 1782 he married Catherine Boucher, an illiterate woman who he taught to read and write. Catherine assisted Blake with his engravings. The couple had no children.

With the help of the sculptor John Flaxman, Blake published his first collection of poems Poetical Sketches  in 1793. In 1789 he published and engraved Songs of Innocence and in 1794 Songs of Experience.

William Blake  

During his lifetime Blake received virtually no money or praise for his poetry. However, his work is now highly regarded due to his unique insight into the human condition. 

From early childhood Blake experienced visions of angels and as a result many considered him to be insane. 

Blake died in poverty in 1827 in a room in Fountains Court (off The Strand). It is reported that on the afternoon of his death Blake burst out singing due to the joy of the things he saw in heaven.

Blake's mysticism and non-conformist stance made him an icon for the 1960's  'hippy generation'.

See also romanticism and 'Poets on Poetry'.

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the wingèd life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sunrise.


Read more of Blake's Poetry






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