Image from page 449 of “The digressions of V. : written for his own fun and that of his friends / by Elihu Vedder ; containing the quaint legends of his infancy, an account of his stay in Florence, the garden of lost opportunities, return home on the trac
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Title: The digressions of V. : written for his own fun and that of his friends / by Elihu Vedder ; containing the quaint legends of his infancy, an account of his stay in Florence, the garden of lost opportunities, return home on the track of Columbus, his struggle in New York in war-time coinciding with that of the nation, his prolonged stay in Rome, and likewise his prattlings upon art, tamperings with literature, struggles with verse, and many other things, being a portrait of himself from youth to age ; with many illustrations by the author.
Year: 1910 (1910s)
Authors: Vedder, Elihu
Subjects: American Art
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Contributing Library: Whitney Museum of American Art, Frances Mulhall Achilles Library
Digitizing Sponsor: Metropolitan New York Library Council – METRO
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s the eye. This tendency, which unduly cultivatedmight lead me into the extravagant, is held in check by my senseof humour, and has enabled me at times to tread with safety thatnarrow path lying between the Sublime and the Ridiculous, —the path of common sense, which in its turn is dangerously nearto the broad highway of the Commonplace. There is anotherthing — the ease with which I can conjure up visions. This fac-ulty if cultivated would soon enable me to see as realities mostdelightful things, but the reaction would be beyond my controland would inevitably follow and be sure to create images of hor-ror indescribable. A few experiences have shown me that thatway madness lies; and so, while I have rendered my Heaven WILLIAM BLAKE 409 somewhat tame, at least my Hell remains quite endurable. Thusit comes that Blake can wander with delight and retain his men-tal health in an atmosphere which would prove fatal to me; andthus I am not fitted to pass a judgement on him — but I can at
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THE HARDON-GIVING AND IMPLORING HANDS least give a little account which may help do away with that ideathat he was insane. My friend Ellis was a man saturated with Blake. The twolarge volumes, William Blake, by Ellis and Yates, testifyto this. He told me long ago in Perugia that he then thought hehad found the key to Blakes wonderful and interminable mysticpoems. I confess, with the greatest love and veneration for theman and artist, these long poems are to me a veritable Slough of 4io THE DIGRESSIONS OF V. Despond; that in wading through them, when I think I havegained a firm foothold, it sinks from under me, while Ellis goesskipping from hummock to hummock and seems to come out dry-shod at the farther side. And yet, if Blake is ever to be inter-preted, these two men are the only ones who give a promise ofsuccess. It would take a lifetime to really understand Blake; andwhat if after all it should turn out to be — not so. Since I havemade a book that sells, I have frequently been as
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