Hired to Depress: A Digital Scholarly Edition of William Blake's Annotations to Sir Joshua Reynolds' Discourses

The First Discourse 13

The Directors ought more particularly to
watch over the genius of those Students,
who, being more advanced, are arrived at
that critical period of study, on the nice
management of which their future turn of
taste depends . At that age it is natural for
them to be more captivated with what is
brilliant, than with what is solid, and to
prefer splendid negligence to painful and
humiliating exactness.
A facility in composing, — a lively,
and what is called a masterly, handling of
the chalk or pencil, are, it must be confessed,
captivating qualities to young minds, and
become of course the objects of their ambi-
They endeavour to imitate those
dazzling excellencies, which they will find
no great labour in attaining. After much
time spent in these frivolous pursuits, the
difficulty will be to retreat ; but it will be
then too late ; and there is scarce an instance
of return to scrupulous labour, after the mind
has been debauched and deceived by this
fallacious mastery. 

This page has paths: