Long John Brown & Little Mary Bell
published in the The Pickering Manuscript. (1801-1803)
Little Mary Bell had a Fairy in a Nut,
La petite Marie Bell avait un lutin dans une noix
Long John Brown had the Devil in his Gut,
Et le grand John Brown avait le Diable au ventre,
Long John Brown lov’d Little Mary Bell,
le grand John Brown aimait La petite Marie Bell
And the Fairy drew the Devil into the Nut-shell.
et le lutin attira le Diable dans la coquille de noix.
Her Fairy skip’d out & her Fairy skip’d in;
Son lutin bondissait dehors et son lutin bondissait dedans
He laugh’d at the Devil saying “Love is a Sin”
Il riait du Diable disant “l’amour est un péché”
The devil he raged & the Devil he was wroth,
et le Diable était enragé et le Diable était en fureur,
And the devil enter’d into the Young Mans broth.
et le Diable entra dans la soupe du jeune homme.
He was soon in the Gut of the loving Young Swain,
Il se trouva bientôt dans les tripes du jeune gars
For John eat & drank to drive away Love’s pain;
John mangeant et buvant pour chasser ses peines d’amour;
But all he could do he grew thinner & thinner,
mais il avait beau faire il maigrissait de jour en jour,
Tho’ he eat & drank as much as ten Men for his dinner.
Some said he had a Wolf in his stomach day & night,
certains disaient qu’il avait un loup dans le ventre jour et nuit
Some said he had the Devil & they guess’d right;
certains qu’il avait le diable et ils pensaient juste;
The fairy skip’d about in his glory Joy & Pride,
le lutin sautillait fièrement avec joie et fierté
And he laugh’d at the Devil till poor John Brown died.
et se moquait du diable jusqu’à ce que le pauvre John brown meurt.
Then the Fairy skip’d out of the old Nut shell,
alors le lutin sauta hors de la vieille coquille de noix,
And woe & alack for Pretty Mary Bell !
ce fut une grande peine pour la jolie Marie Bell,
For the Devil crept in when The Fairy skip’d out,
le diable se glissa dedans quand le lutin en sorti,
And there goes Miss Bell with her fusty old Nut.
et ainsi alla Miss Belle avec sa vieille noix moisie.
Christian Reading in His Book (Plate 2, 1824–27)
Spiritual Transfers: William Blake's Iconographic Treatment of John Bunyan's the Pilgrim's Progress
In his Literary Life of William Blake, John Beer writes: 'Although he made his living through visual art and practised it all his life Blake is remembered today first and foremost for his poems'.1 Those who do recall Blake as an artist often remember him better as an engraver and illuminator of his own poetic works than as an illustrator of the works of other writers. It is acknowledged that he illustrated works by Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Young and Gray, but perhaps the most often cited and studied of his illustrations are those of The Book of Job (c. 1805-25) and of Dante's Divine Comedy (c. 1824-27). Less well known is the fact that in 1824, as he was finishing his work on Job and before addressing Dante, Blake prepared a series of twentynine drawings illustrating John Bunyan's The Pilgrim 's Progress. That series of drawings, which is now in the Frick Collection in New York, was unfinished, and the way Blake intended to use it has never been established.2 The illustrations did not appear in any edition of The Pilgrim 's Progress during Blake's lifetime (although there were scores of these, with a wide variety of pictures by numerous artists and engravers). It was not until 1941, over a hundred years after their creation, that Blake's watercolours and sketches were exhibited at the Knoedler Galleries, New York, and simultaneously used to illustrate an edition of Bunyan's allegory published by the Limited Editions Club (LEC) in their twelfth series ( 1 940-4 1).3 In 1942, The Heritage Press reproduced twelve of the twenty-nine plates in a smaller version of the LEC publication.4
In his introduction to the 1942 Heritage Press edition, John T. Winterich wrote that Blake's pictures are 'things of Heaven, both in conception and in execution'.5 The spiritual dimension of any Blakean creation, verbal or pictorial, is a given. What needs to be established, however, in an assessment of Blake's treatment of another writer's text, is the nature and extent of the spirituality ofthat text. In 'The Author's Apology for his Book', Bunyan explains that, 'writing of the Way /And Race of Saints in this our Gospel-Day', he 'Fell suddenly into an Allegory / About their Journey, and the way to Glory'.6 The subject matter of the allegory that grew out of his original writing enterprise is thus the Pauline metaphor of the Christian life as a race toward salvation (1 Corinthians 9:24). The Christian metaphor which Bunyan turned into a fiction is one mat makes not only his pilgrims travel towards 'the Holy Land', but also his reader, on condition that (s)he understands and accepts the 'Directions'' provided in it. The whole point is to 'see a Truth within a Fable'1. In this, the reader should be no passive receptor but, on the contrary, an active interpreter. In his 'Conclusion' to the first part of the allegory, Bunyan invites his reader to 'Put by the Curtains, look within my Vail', 'Turn up my Metaphors', look beyond the 'out side' of his dream vision narrative and 'the substance of my matter see' }
What is at stake in Bunyan, as in Blake, is a spiritual vision, and a didactic one at that - in other words, a lesson in things of the spirit. In The Pilgrim 's Progress, spirituality relates to the form and content of the dream and to its interpretation. It is indeed through a willing and active process of decoding and elucidating the allegory of the Christian life on earth that the reader will extract the 'gold' enclosed in the fiction and benefit from the vision offered in and through it. Any reader getting both the text by Bunyan and the illustrations by Blake will be made to embark on a double journey through text and image, one that will take him or her even deeper into the matter of the original text.
'How This Book Came To Be':9 Combining Bunyan's Words with Blake's Images
A comparison of the Limited Editions Club and Heritage Press editions of The Pilgrim's Progress with their illustrations by Blake, and in particular a comparison of the paratextual elements available in each, proves extremely enlightening not only as to the origin of these publications but also as to the history of the drawings by Blake. …
On retrouve plusieurs fois "John" dans les poèmes de Blake/ Long John Brown, Old John ... fait-il allusion à John Bunyan ?
John Bunyan (28 novembre 1628 - 31 août 1688), prêcheur et allégoriste anglais, mondialement connu pour son conte religieux « Le Voyage du pèlerin » (1678).
Blake a fait les illustrations de The "Pilgrim's Progress" de John Bunyan
The Fairies in Tradition and Literature.
Par Katharine Mary Briggs
Here we see substantially the same erotic tradition about the fairies as we find in Pope, and earlier in Herrick ans Steward , treated with the same graceful lightness.
At the first dawn of the Romantic Revival the treatment of the fairies deepened, yet it is at this time that Thomas Stothard set the fashion for the butterfly-winged fairies wich illustrators followed so long. John Adlard has written a short but important paper on William Blake’s Fairies which appeared in the Bulletin of Modern Language Studies in 1964. He traces the various strands of belief and allegorical treatment in Blake’s work, from the first fairy caught like a butterfly under a hat in 1784 to the return to folklore and simplicity in the illustrations to Milton in 1816. Blake generally treated his fairies as elementals, but his symbolic use of them nearly always seems to have erotic significance, connected as a rule with the awakening of male desire by feminine vanity and caprice. The fairies seem at once to arouse desire and deny it, as Pope’s sylphs do in the Rape oh the lock. One passage seems, as John Adlard points out, to be directly inspired by the toilrt-haunting sylphs.
A Fairy leapt (skeep’d) upon my Knee
Singing and dancing merrily………..
he fairy is conquered by this harsh treatment, weeps, confesses that the Poet is the lord of the fairies, and defends himself, though rather incomprehensibly. Here perhaps Blake continues in the tradition set by the magicians and followed by Prosper, that which advises harsh, peremptory treatment of spirits to keep them under subjection. Blake’s constant advice is to catch and cage the fairies, by which he seems to signify female domination.
So sang a Fairy, mocking, as he sat on a streak’d Tulip,
Thinking none saw him; he ceas’d I started from the trees
and caught him in my hat, as boys knock down a butterfly.
”How know you this,said I, “small Sir ?
Where did you learn this song ?”
Seeing himself in my possession, thus he answer’d me:
”my master, I am yours Command me, for I must obey”
In Blake’s private letters and conversation he treated fairies more simply, as a contryman might do, and seemed to believe that he actually saw them. John Adlard quotes 2 examples.
”Did you ever see a fairy’s funeral, madam?” said Blake to a lady who happened to sit next to him. “Never Sir ! “ said the Lady, “I have”, said Blake, “but note before last night”. And he went on to tell how, in his garden, he had seen “ a prcession of creatures of the size and color of green and grey grasshoppers, bearing a body laid out on a rose-leaf, wich they buried with songs, and then disappeared”. Here we have the insect fairies of his period, smaller than those seen in the Fairy Funeral in hunt, where the body on the hearse wax size of a small doll.
There are, too, the fairies seen by Bruno, his pony, and in a letter to Thomas Butts, also cited by Jhon Adlard, is a verse which suggests fairies more naturalistic and less erotic or symbolical than most of Blake’s fairies.
With happiness stretch'd across the hills
In a cloud that dewy sweetness distills,
With a blue sky spread over with wings
And a mild sun that mounts & sings,
With trees & fields full of Fairy elves
And little devils who fight for themselves
In the bawdy poem of Long Jhon Brown & Little Mary Bell, the Fairy is clearly taken to mean the cold flirtatiousness wich stimulates and repels love, and the devil is lust. The poem is full of erotic folk-symbols.
In the more serious poem of William Bond the fairies seem to symbolize natural erotic impulses while the angels represent the restraints of morality or of consideration for others. In the poem the gentler, more unselfish love is victorious, and the fairies come over to the side of the angels. It can be seen that Blake’s conception of the fairies is a complex one, but the darker side has plainly revived with him, and the same tendency is to be traced in the paintings of Füsseli, more strongly even than in Blake’s. In Füsseli’s work there is a Surrealist play of imagination which would almost be at home among strange nightmares of Bosch.