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Minute Particulars

Vol. 47 no. 4: Spring 2014

Francis Quarles’s Influence on Europe 11

  • Paul Miner
26 March 2014
26 Mar. 2014


William Blake frequently turned to Francis Quarles’s Emblemes, 1635, for graphic and textual inspiration. Scholars have particularly called attention to Blake’s evocative revision of Quarles’s multiplex emblem XV (book 1, pp. 60-63), a depiction—erroneously identified as part of book 2—that portrays Fraud as a malevolent female (“double fraud” with “her divided face”). Fraud therefore “does scourge and teare / Astræas wounded sides, [which are] plough’d up [like furrows], and rent / With knotted cords.” On the right side of the emblem, “Faiths pineons [are] clipt” with scissors by Sense (also personified as a female). Blake, however, alters Quarles’s theme in his emblem 11 for both versions of The Gates of Paradise, issued respectively as For Children (1793) and For the Sexes (c. 1825-26).

The above particulars lead to the observation that Blake made additional use of Quarles’s emblem, namely the dominating vignette of an airborne, hoofed devil engulfed in flames.