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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > William Blake Quotes

William Blake
(28 Nov 1757 - 12 Aug 1827)

English poet and painter.

Science Quotes by William Blake (29 quotes)

A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
— William Blake
In 'Proverbs', The Poems: With Specimens of the Prose Writings of William Blake (1885), 279.
Science quotes on:  |  Fool (70)  |  Same (92)  |  See (197)  |  Tree (143)  |  Wisdom (151)  |  Wise (43)

All frescoes are as high finished as miniatures or enamels, and they are known to be unchangeable; but oil, being a body itself, will drink or absorb very little colour, and changing yellow, and at length brown, destroys every colour it is mixed with, especially every delicate colour. It turns every permanent white to a yellow and brown putty, and has compelled the use of that destroyer of colour, white lead, which, when its protecting oil is evaporated, will become lead again. This is an awful thing to say to oil painters ; they may call it madness, but it is true. All the genuine old little pictures, called cabinet pictures, are in fresco and not in oil. Oil was not used except by blundering ignorance till after Vandyke’s time ; but the art of fresco painting being lost, oil became a fetter to genius and a dungeon to art.
— William Blake
In 'Opinions', The Poems: With Specimens of the Prose Writings of William Blake (1885), 276-277.
Science quotes on:  |  Blunder (13)  |  Brown (4)  |  Change (291)  |  Color (78)  |  Compel (14)  |  Destroy (63)  |  Evaporate (3)  |  Genuine (19)  |  Ignorance (190)  |  Lead (101)  |  Madness (26)  |  Miniature (5)  |  Oil (37)  |  Painter (15)  |  Permanent (18)  |  Picture (55)  |  Unchangeable (7)  |  White (38)  |  Yellow (11)

Art is the Tree of Life. Science is the Tree of Death.
— William Blake
Annotations to the print (c. 1826-27), Laocoφn: Jehovah & His Two Sons, Satan & Adam. An engraving of Laocoφn, the well-known classical sculpture, is surrounded with many short, graffiti-like comments. These two sayings are in the blank space to the right of the picture. This was Blake's last illuminated work. Transcribed in William Blake and Edwin John Ellis (ed.), The Poetical Works of William Blake (1906), Vol. 1, 435.
Science quotes on:  |  Art (205)  |  Death (270)  |  Life (917)  |  Science (1699)  |  Tree (143)

As the air to a bird, or the sea to a fish, so is contempt to the contemptible.
— William Blake
In 'Proverbs', The Poems: With Specimens of the Prose Writings of William Blake (1885), 281.
Science quotes on:  |  Air (151)  |  Bird (96)  |  Contempt (11)  |  Contemptible (7)  |  Fish (85)  |  Sea (143)

Bring out number, weight, and measure in a year of dearth.
— William Blake
In 'Proverbs', The Poems: With Specimens of the Prose Writings of William Blake (1885), 279.
Science quotes on:  |  Bring (53)  |  Measure (70)  |  Number (179)  |  Weight (61)  |  Year (214)

Energy is Eternal Delight.
— William Blake
'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell' (1790). In W. H. Stevenson (ed.), The Poems of William Blake (1971), 106.
Science quotes on:  |  Energy (185)  |  Poetry (96)

Execution is the chariot of genius.
— William Blake
Marginal note he wrote in his copy of the 'Discourses' of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1798). In The Real Blake (1908), 378. On page 371, the editor explains in a footnote that these marginalia of Blake date to either 1820 or perhaps 1810. In William Blake, David V. Erdman (ed.), The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake (2008), 643, Blake's note is identified as being written on page 15 and is a comment to Reynold's text, “...frivolous ambition of being thought masters of execution,...”
Science quotes on:  |  Chariot (3)  |  Execution (9)  |  Genius (186)

He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars: General Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, and flatterer, For Art and Science cannot exist but in minutely organized particulars.
— William Blake
Science quotes on:  |  Hypocrite (4)  |  Particular (54)  |  Science And Art (157)  |  Scoundrel (6)

He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars: General Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, and flatterer, For Art and Science cannot exist but in minutely organized particulars.
— William Blake

I turn my eyes to the schools & universities of Europe
And there behold the loom of Locke whose woof rages dire,
Washed by the water-wheels of Newton. Black the cloth
In heavy wreaths folds over every nation; cruel works
Of many wheels I view, wheel without wheel, with cogs tyrannic
Moving by compulsion each other: not as those in Eden, which
Wheel within wheel in freedom revolve, in harmony & peace.
— William Blake
'Jerusalem, The Emanation of the Giant Albion' (1804-20), First Chapter, Pl.15, lines 14-20. In W. H. Stevenson (ed.), The Poems of William Blake (1971), 654-55.
Science quotes on:  |  Education (280)  |  John Locke (48)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (258)  |  Poetry (96)

I was in a Printing-house in Hell, and saw the method in which knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation.
— William Blake
Science quotes on:  |  Generation (111)  |  Hell (29)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Printing (12)  |  Transmit (7)

Improvement makes straight road, but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.
— William Blake
In 'Proverbs', The Poems: With Specimens of the Prose Writings of William Blake (1885), 281.
Science quotes on:  |  Crooked (3)  |  Genius (186)  |  Improvement (67)  |  Road (47)  |  Straight (15)

In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.
— William Blake
In 'Proverbs', The Poems: With Specimens of the Prose Writings of William Blake (1885), 279.
Science quotes on:  |  Enjoy (23)  |  Harvest (14)  |  Learn (160)  |  Seed (52)  |  Teach (102)  |  Time (439)  |  Winter (22)

It is the greatest of crimes to depress true art and science.
— William Blake
Letter to William Hayley (11 Dec 1805). Collected in William Blake and ‎Archibald George Blomefield Russell (ed.), The Letters of William Blake (1906), Vol. 1, 189.
Science quotes on:  |  Crime (20)  |  Science And Art (157)

May God us keep
From Single vision & Newton’s sleep!
— William Blake
Letter to Thomas Butt (22 Nov 1802). Collected in William Blake and Archibald George Blomefield Russell (ed.), The Letters of William Blake (1906), Vol. 1, 112.
Science quotes on:  |  Sir Isaac Newton (258)  |  Poetry (96)

Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau!
Mock on, mock on: 'Tis all in vain!
You throw the sand against the wind,
And the wind blows it back again.
And every sand becomes a gem
Reflected in the beams divine;
Blown back they blind the mocking eye,
But still in Israel's paths they shine.
The atoms of Democritus
And Newton's particles of light
Are sands upon the Red Sea shore,
Where Israel's tents do shine so bright.
— William Blake
Notebook Drafts (c. 1804). In W. H. Stevenson (ed.), The Poems of William Blake (1971), 481.
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (251)  |  Democritus of Abdera (16)  |  Light (246)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (258)  |  Poetry (96)  |  Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire (19)

The Arts & Sciences are the Destruction of Tyrannies or Bad Governments. ... The Foundation of Empire is Art & Science Remove them or Degrade them & the Empire is No More—Empire follows Art & Not Vice Versa as Englishmen suppose.
— William Blake
Two marginal notes he wrote on the contents page of his copy of the 'Discourses' of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1798). In The Real Blake (1908), 371. On page 371, the editor explains in a footnote that these marginalia of Blake date to either 1820 or perhaps 1810. Also in William Blake, David V. Erdman (ed.), The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake (2008), 636.
Science quotes on:  |  Bad (78)  |  Degrade (4)  |  Destruction (80)  |  Empire (10)  |  Follow (66)  |  Foundation (75)  |  Government (85)  |  Remove (18)  |  Science And Art (157)  |  Suppose (29)  |  Tyranny (7)  |  Vice Versa (5)

The best wine is the oldest, the best water the newest.
— William Blake
In 'Proverbs', The Poems: With Specimens of the Prose Writings of William Blake (1885), 281.
Science quotes on:  |  Best (129)  |  Oldest (6)  |  Water (244)  |  Wine (23)

The cistern contains, the fountain overflows.
— William Blake
In 'Proverbs', The Poems: With Specimens of the Prose Writings of William Blake (1885), 280.
Science quotes on:  |  Cistern (3)  |  Contain (37)  |  Fountain (14)  |  Overflow (4)

The Foundation of Empire is Art & Science. Remove them, or Degrade them, & the Empire is No More. Empire follows Art, & not Vice Versa as Englishmen suppose.
— William Blake
Annotations to Sir Joshua Reynolds, Works, Vol. 1, cxxv. In The Poetical Works of William Blake, editted by John Sampson (1905), 236.
Science quotes on:  |  Degrade (4)  |  Empire (10)  |  England (31)  |  Foundation (75)  |  Remove (18)  |  Science And Art (157)

The hours of Folly are measured by the clock, but of Wisdom no clock can measure.
— William Blake
In 'Proverbs', The Poems: With Specimens of the Prose Writings of William Blake (1885), 279.
Science quotes on:  |  Clock (26)  |  Folly (27)  |  Hour (42)  |  Measure (70)  |  Wisdom (151)

The rat, the mouse, the fox, the rabbit, watch the roots; the lion, the tiger, the horse, the elephant the fruits.
— William Blake
In 'Proverbs', The Poems: With Specimens of the Prose Writings of William Blake (1885), 279.
Science quotes on:  |  Elephant (16)  |  Fox (8)  |  Fruit (63)  |  Horse (40)  |  Lion (15)  |  Mouse (24)  |  Rabbit (6)  |  Rat (19)  |  Root (48)  |  Tiger (4)  |  Watch (39)

To create a little flower is the labour of ages.
— William Blake
In 'Proverbs', The Poems: With Specimens of the Prose Writings of William Blake (1885), 281.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (137)  |  Create (98)  |  Flower (65)  |  Labour (36)  |  Little (126)

To see a World in a grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.
— William Blake
William Blake and Alexander Gilchrist (ed.), Life of William Blake: with selections from his poems and other writings (1880), Vol. 2, 107.
Science quotes on:  |  Eternity (44)  |  Flower (65)  |  Grain (24)  |  Hand (103)  |  Hold (56)  |  Hour (42)  |  Infinity (59)  |  Sand (25)  |  World (667)

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
— William Blake
'The Pickering Manuscript' - Auguries of Innocence (c.1805). In W. H. Stevenson (ed.), The Poems of William Blake (1971), 585.
Science quotes on:  |  Infinity (59)  |  Poetry (96)

To teach doubt and Experiment Certainly was not what Christ meant.
— William Blake
Science quotes on:  |  Doubt (121)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Science And Religion (267)

To the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself.
— William Blake
Letter to Rev. Dr. Trusler (23 Aug 1799). Collected in William Blake and ‎Archibald George Blomefield Russell (ed.), The Letters of William Blake (1906), Vol. 1, 62.
Science quotes on:  |  Eye (159)  |  Imagination (209)  |  Nature (1029)

What is now proved was once only imagin’d.
— William Blake
In 'Proverbs', The Poems: With Specimens of the Prose Writings of William Blake (1885), 280.
Science quotes on:  |  Imagine (40)  |  Prove (60)

Where man is not, Nature is barren.
— William Blake
In 'Proverbs', The Poems: With Specimens of the Prose Writings of William Blake (1885), 281.
Science quotes on:  |  Barren (9)  |  Nature (1029)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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