Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
On Art and Artists
Florentine Ingratitude
SIR JOSHUA sent his own portrait to
The birthplace of Michael Angelo,
And in the hand of the simpering fool
He put a dirty paper scroll,
And on the paper, to be polite,        5
Did ‘Sketches by Michael Angelo’ write.
The Florentines said ‘’Tis a Dutch-English bore,
Michael Angelo’s name writ on Rembrandt’s door.’
The Florentines call it an English fetch,
For Michael Angelo never did sketch;        10
Every line of his has meaning,
And needs neither suckling nor weaning.
’Tis the trading English-Venetian cant
To speak Michael Angelo, and act Rembrandt:
It will set his Dutch friends all in a roar        15
To write ‘Mich. Ang.’ on Rembrandt’s door;
But you must not bring in your hand a lie
If you mean that the Florentines should buy. 1
Giotto’s circle or Apelles’ line
Were not the work of sketchers drunk with wine;        20
Nor of the city clock’s running … fashion;
Nor of Sir Isaac Newton’s calculation.
Note 1. XIX 18 Following this in the MS. Book are the lines:
These verses were written by a very envious man,
Who whatever likeness he may have to Michael Angelo
Never can have any to Sir Jehoshuan.
19–22 These lines written later at foot of page. Another rdg. was:
Nor of the city clock’s idle facilities
Which sprang from Sir Isaac Newton’s great abilities.
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