The Notebook of William Blake - Folio N115 and N114
Copyright © The British Library Board
N115 & N114
N115 was the last page of
the notebook. In the early 1790s, Blake turned the book over, and began to transcribe
fair copies of poems originally drafted elsewhere, many of which appeared in Songs
of Experience. For ease of reading we have inverted the pages between folios
N115 and N98.
Of over 50 poems in the back of the notebook, 18 were eventually selected for
Songs of Experience. On these two folios we see versions of 'The Clod
& the Pebble', 'The Garden of Love', 'My Pretty Rose Tree', 'The Human Abstract'
and 'A Poison Tree', all of which are included in Experience. It is assumed
that Blake had already been working on some of these verses and intended to make
fair copies in the notebook. But, ever the revisionist, it is clear that he could
not resist further reworking, as we see from the number of times he strikes through
lines and rewrites them.
We have used the published version for the reading of this poem 'My Pretty Rose Tree' from Songs of
Experience for the audio.
The faint sketch -barely visible- underneath the verses on folio N114 is thought to stem from an earlier project (later aborted) to illustrate an edition of 'Paradise Lost'. It appears to show the swarming Satanic host, and bears similarities to a 1793 painting by Henry Fuseli.