The Smile

There is a smile of love,
And there is a smile of deceit;
And there is a smile of smiles,
In which these two smiles meet.

(And there is a frown of hate,
And there is a frown of disdain;
And there is a frown of frowns
Which you strive to forget in vain,

For it sticks in the heart’s deep core,
And it sticks in the deep backbone.)
And no smile that ever was smiled,
But only one smile alone.

That betwixt the cradle and grave
It only once smiled can be.
But when it once is smiled
There’s an end to all misery.

– William Blake

 

From Wikipedia:

Considered mad by contemporaries for his idiosyncratic views, Blake is held in high regard by later critics for his expressiveness and creativity, and for the philosophical and mystical undercurrents within his work. His paintings and poetry have been characterised as part of both the Romantic movement and “Pre-Romantic”,[6] for its large appearance in the 18th century. Reverent of the Bible but hostile to the Church of England – indeed, to all forms of organised religion – Blake was influenced by the ideals and ambitions of the French and American revolutions,[7] as well as by such thinkers as Jakob Böhme and Emanuel Swedenborg.[8]

Despite these known influences, the singularity of Blake’s work makes him difficult to classify. The 19th century scholar William Rossetti characterised Blake as a “glorious luminary,”[9] and as “a man not forestalled by predecessors, nor to be classed with contemporaries, nor to be replaced by known or readily surmisable successors.”[10]


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