The Chimney Sweeper: When my mother died I was very young BY WILLIAM BLAKE

William Blake

Artist, Poet(1757–1827)
William Blake was a 19th century writer and artist who is regarded as a seminal figure of the Romantic Age. His writings have influenced countless writers and artists through the ages, and he has been deemed both a major poet and an original thinker.


Born in 1757 in London, England, William Blake began writing at an early age and claimed to have had his first vision, of a tree full of angels, at age 10. He studied engraving and grew to love Gothic art, which he incorporated into his own unique works. A misunderstood poet, artist and visionary throughout much of his life, Blake found admirers late in life and has been vastly influential since his death in 1827.

Early Years

William Blake was born on November 28, 1757, in the Soho district of London, England. He only briefly attended school, being chiefly educated at home by his mother. The Bible had an early, profound influence on Blake, and it would remain a lifetime source of inspiration, coloring his life and works with intense spirituality.

At an early age, Blake began experiencing visions, and his friend and journalist Henry Crabb Robinson wrote that Blake saw God’s head appear in a window when Blake was 4 years old. He also allegedly saw the prophet Ezekiel under a tree and had a vision of “a tree filled with angels.” Blake’s visions would have a lasting effect on the art and writings that he produced.

The Young Artist

Blake’s artistic ability became evident in his youth, and by age 10, he was enrolled at Henry Pars’s drawing school, where he sketched the human figure by copying from plaster casts of ancient statues. At age 14, he apprenticed with an engraver. Blake’s master was the engraver to the London Society of Antiquaries, and Blake was sent to Westminster Abbey to make drawings of tombs and monuments, where his lifelong love of gothic art was seeded.

Also around this time, Blake began collecting prints of artists who had fallen out of vogue at the time, including Durer, Raphael and Michelangelo. In the catalog for an exhibition of his own work in 1809, nearly 40 years later, in fact, Blake would lambast artists “who endeavour to raise up a style against Rafael, Mich. Angelo, and the Antique.” He also rejected 18th century literary trends, preferring the Elizabethans (Shakespeare, Jonson and Spenser) and ancient ballads instead.

The Maturing Artist

In 1779, at age 21, Blake completed his seven-year apprenticeship and became a journeyman copy engraver, working on projects for book and print publishers. Also preparing himself for a career as a painter, that same year, he was admitted to the Royal Academy of Art’s Schools of Design, where he began exhibiting his own works in 1780. Blake’s artistic energies branched out at this point, and he privately published his Poetical Sketches (1783), a collection of poems that he had written over the previous 14 years.

In August 1782, Blake married Catherine Sophia Boucher, who was illiterate. Blake taught her how to read, write, draw and color (his designs and prints). He also helped her to experience visions, as he did. Catherine believed explicitly in her husband’s visions and his genius, and supported him in everything he did, right up to his death 45 years later.

One of the most traumatic events of William Blake’s life occurred in 1787, when his beloved brother, Robert, died from tuberculosis at age 24. At the moment of Robert’s death, Blake allegedly saw his spirit ascend through the ceiling, joyously; the moment, which entered into Blake’s psyche, greatly influenced his later poetry. The following year, Robert appeared to Blake in a vision and presented him with a new method of printing his works, which Blake called “illuminated printing.” Once incorporated, this method allowed Blake to control every aspect of the production of his art.

While Blake was an established engraver, soon he began receiving commissions to paint watercolors, and he painted scenes from the works of Milton, Dante, Shakespeare and the Bible.

The Move to Felpham and Charges of Sedition

In 1800, Blake accepted an invitation from poet William Hayley to move to the little seaside village of Felpham and work as his protégé. While the relationship between Hayley and Blake began to sour, Blake ran into trouble of a different stripe: In August 1803, Blake found a soldier, John Schofield, on the property and demanded that he leave. After Schofield refused and an argument ensued, Blake removed him by force. Schofield accused Blake of assault and, worse, of sedition, claiming that he had damned the king.

The punishments for sedition in England at the time (during the Napoleonic Wars) were severe. Blake anguished, uncertain of his fate. Hayley hired a lawyer on Blake’s behalf, and he was acquitted in January 1804, by which time Blake and Catherine had moved back to London.

Later Years

In 1804, Blake began to write and illustrate Jerusalem (1804-20), his most ambitious work to date. He also began showing more work at exhibitions (including Chaucer’s Canterbury Pilgrims and Satan Calling Up His Legions), but these works were met with silence, and the one published review was absurdly negative; the reviewer called the exhibit a display of “nonsense, unintelligibleness and egregious vanity,” and referred to Blake as “an unfortunate lunatic.”

Blake was devastated by the review and lack of attention to his works, and, subsequently, he withdrew more and more from any attempt at success. From 1809 to 1818, he engraved few plates (there is no record of Blake producing any commercial engravings from 1806 to 1813). He also sank deeper into poverty, obscurity and paranoia.

In 1819, however, Blake began sketching a series of “visionary heads,” claiming that the historical and imaginary figures that he depicted actually appeared and sat for him. By 1825, Blake had sketched more than 100 of them, including those of Solomon and Merlin the magician and those included in “The Man Who Built the Pyramids” and “Harold Killed at the Battle of Hastings”; along with the most famous visionary head, that included in Blake’s “The Ghost of a Flea.”

Remaining artistically busy, between 1823 and 1825, Blake engraved 21 designs for an illustrated Book of Job (from the Bible) and Dante’s Inferno. In 1824, he began a series of 102 watercolor illustrations of Dante—a project that would be cut short by Blake’s death in 1827.

In the final years of his life, William Blake suffered from recurring bouts of an undiagnosed disease that he called “that sickness to which there is no name.” He died on August 12, 1827, leaving unfinished watercolor illustrations to Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and an illuminated manuscript of the Bible’s Book of Genesis. In death, as in life, Blake received short shrift from observers, and obituaries tended to underscore his personal idiosyncrasies at the expense of his artistic accomplishments. The Literary Chronicle, for example, described him as “one of those ingenious persons … whose eccentricities were still more remarkable than their professional abilities.”

Unappreciated in life, William Blake has since become a giant in literary and artistic circles, and his visionary approach to art and writing have not only spawned countless, spellbound speculations about Blake, they have inspired a vast array of artists and writers.

When my mother died I was very young, 
And my father sold me while yet my tongue 
Could scarcely cry ” ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep!” 
So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep. 
There’s little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head 
That curled like a lamb’s back, was shaved, so I said, 
“Hush, Tom! never mind it, for when your head’s bare, 
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.” 
And so he was quiet, & that very night, 
As Tom was a-sleeping he had such a sight! 
That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, & Jack, 
Were all of them locked up in coffins of black; 
And by came an Angel who had a bright key, 
And he opened the coffins & set them all free; 
Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing they run, 
And wash in a river and shine in the Sun. 
Then naked & white, all their bags left behind, 
They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind. 
And the Angel told Tom, if he’d be a good boy, 
He’d have God for his father & never want joy. 
And so Tom awoke; and we rose in the dark 
And got with our bags & our brushes to work. 
Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy & warm; 
So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm. 

What is pragmatics?

A Definition of Pragmatics

  • the study of the practical aspects of human action and thought.
  • the study of the use of linguistic signs, words and sentences, in actual situations.[1]
  • Pragmatics outlines the study of meaning in the interactional context

  • It looks beyond the literal meaning of an utterance and considers how meaning is constructed as well as focusing on implied meanings. It considers language as an instrument of interaction, what people mean when they use language and how we communicate and understand each other.
  • Jenny Thomas[2] says that pragmatics considers:
  • the negotiation of meaning between speaker and listener.
  • the context of the utterance.
  • the meaning potential of an utterance.
  • What would happen to language if Pragmatics did not exist?

  • Pragmatics acts as the basis for all language interactions and contact. It is a key feature to the understanding of language and the responses that follow this. Therefore, without the fucntion of Pragmatics, there would be very little understanding of intention and meaning.
  • We would like to demonstrate this by showing you how life would be WITHOUT Pragmatics:
  • ‘Can you pass the salt?’Literal Meaning: Are you physically able to do this task?
    Literal Response: ‘Yes’

    (Pragmatic Meaning: Will you pass me the salt?
    Pragmtic Response: pass the salt to the speaker.)

    ‘What time do you call this?’

    Literal Meaning: What time is it?
    Literal Response: A time (e.g. ‘twenty to one.’)

    (Pragmatic Meaning: a different question entirely, e.g. Why are you so late?
    Pragmatic Response: Explain the reason for being so late.)

Is your missus up the duff mate 


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The meaning and origin of the expression: Up the duff

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Up the duff


Euphemism for pregnant. Used most commonly, although not exclusively, to describe unplanned pregnancy.


The phrase doesn’t appear in print until 1941, in Sydney John Baker’s Dictionary of Australian Slang:

“Duff, up the (of a woman), pregnant.”

Duff isn’t a common word and seems an odd choice for a colloquial phrase. It took a rather roundabout route…

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‘Up the duff’ is one of the many euphemisms for pregnant.
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As the phrase means pregnant it shouldn’t come as a major surprise that for the origin we need look no further than the penis. As with many English phrases that refer to sexual activity we dive straight into a world of euphemism and there are several obscuring layers here between penis and pregnancy.

One of the numerous slang terms for the sexual organs, or more commonly specifically the penis, is pudding. This has a long history, going back to at least the 18th century, as here from Thomas D’Urfey’s, Wit and mirth: or pills to purge melancholy, being a collection of ballads and songs, 1719:

“I made a request to prepare again, That I might continue in Love with the strain Of his Pudding”.

A slang term for male masturbation, which leaves little to the imagination – ‘pull one’s pudding‘, has been known since at least the 19th century.

There is a related phrase for pregnancy – ‘in the pudding club‘, and it turns out that this and ‘up the duff‘ are essentially the same phrase. By 1890, Barrère & Leland, in their Dictionary of Slang, defined the term pudding club:

“A woman in the family way is said to be in the pudding club.”

Note that in those Victorian times the definition of a euphemistic term for pregnancy relied on another euphemism.

Dough is another word for pudding and duff is an alternative form and pronunciation of dough. That was in use by 1840, as here from R. H. Dana in Before the Mast:

“To enhance the value of the Sabbath to the crew, they are allowed on that day a pudding, or, as it is called, a ‘duff’.”

So, we travel this route – (up the) duff -> dough -> pudding -> penis -> pregnant.

The more recent ‘bun in the oven‘, another slang phrase for pregnant, may originate this way too.




Order of Operations

Problem: Evaluate the following arithmetic expression:

3 + 4 x 2


It seems that each student interpreted the problem differently, resulting in two different answers. Student 1 performed the operation of addition first, then multiplication; whereas student 2 performed multiplication first, then addition. When performing arithmetic operations there can be only one correct answer. We need a set of rules in order to avoid this kind of confusion. Mathematicians have devised a standard order of operations for calculations involving more than one arithmetic operation.

Rule 1: First perform any calculations inside parentheses.

Rule 2: Next perform all multiplications and divisions, working from left to right.

Rule 3: Lastly, perform all additions and subtractions, working from left to right.

The above problem was solved correctly by Student 2 since she followed Rules 2 and 3. Let’s look at some examples of solving arithmetic expressions using these rules.

Irma strengthens when it closes on Florida

Wind gusts close to hurricane force are battering islands in Florida’s south as Hurricane Irma is due to hit the mainland in the coming hours.

Water levels are already rising on the coast of the US state where a huge storm surge isexpected.Some 6.3 million people had been told to evacuate, but the state governor said on Saturday it was now too late to leave for anyone remaining. At least 24 people have died after Irma earlier hit several Caribbean islands. With maximum sustained winds of 120mph (193km/h), Irma hurricane has now weakened to a category three hurricane after making landfall in Cuba’s north-east late on Friday, the National Hurricane Center(NHC) says in its latest advisory at 03:00 GMT on Sunday. But Irma is expected to strengthen and will remain a powerful hurricane as it approaches Florida, the NHC says. It warns that a “life-threatening storm surge” is expected in the Florida Keys – a chain of small islands in Florida’s south – and also thewest coast of Florida. Staying behind is ‘almost like suicide’

‘I have never been so scared in my life’

The deadly danger from Miami’s cranes

Hurricane Irma: A visual guide

Irma strengthens when it closes on Florida

Live Updates: Hurricane Irma forces millions to evacuate

Irma’s battering of Florida started Saturday morning as bands of tropical storm-force winds reached South Florida and the spindly Keys braced for a potentially catastrophic direct hit Sunday.


Here’s what we know:


We all want great abs! Abdominals have come to be the center piece of the physique, a real show piece. Both men and women have ‘great abs’ or ‘6-pack’ on their goal lists. Nothing is more appealing than a healthy and fit body with a nicely trimmed waist. The important key for anybody to realize is that everyone has abdominals, they are simply covered in fat and need toning. Now, I must point out that you cannot spot reduce fat from your abdominal region; when you lose fat, it is lost equally throughout your entire body. However, you can encourage this fat loss process by exercising the abdominals regularly. It is essential to take into consideration that to have a complete abdominal development, you must train all the four areas of the abdominal region equally. The hardest area to see progress in are the lower abdominals, but this is only due to the fact that more fat is stored there than in the other areas.

Anatomy and Benefits

The abdomen, or abdominal region is actually composed of 6 muscle groups that are located and attached from the ribs to the pelvis region. These are referred to as the core region and are responsible for moving, flexing and supporting the trunk areas. Amongst the benefit of having a slim torso, having strong abdominal and core muscles reduces lower back pain an aches and increases stability to your torso.

Exercise Basics

The abdominals are a stubborn muscle to train; moreover, due to the quick build up of lactic acid (burning feeling) during the exercises, most people avoid training them. It will be noted that all areas of the abdominal area must be trained to achieve fully developed the abs. The upper abs, lower abs, and middle abs along with the obliques must all be trained with various exercises. You do not need to train all four areas every single abdominal training session; however do not favor one area to another unless it is and area which is under developed. The proper way to train abdominals is with slow repetitions along with a controlled, strict range of motion. A true set of abdominals should only be between 12 to 15 repetitions, unless you are advanced and perform up to 20. If you are past this repetition range of 20, you are not training your abdominals effectively.You will notice this with individuals performing abdominal exercises of repetitions ranging from 50 and above; secondary muscles are applied. Abdominals recover quickly, so they may be trained every other day, perhaps every day by advanced individuals. Breathing air in and blowing it out is very important to the contraction and stretching of the abdominals during the exercises. As you contract your abdominal muscles, you need to blow out your air and contract, then when you release and stretch out, you need to breath air in. Performing this correctly will lead to results!

Game of Thrones, episode 7 review -The Dragon and the Wolf: betrayal, nudity, and game-changing twists

A fully operational Ice Dragon, Littlefinger bloodily hoisted on the sharp end of his own machinations, a hastily-undressed Jon and Daenerys rocking the boat… The longest Game Of Thrones episode yet was also among the most breathtaking and incident-packed.

At the end of a spectacular yet uneven season, The Dragon and the Wolf was also a stirring return to Westeros’ first principles as the Hollywood bombast of recent weeks was replaced by a solid 80 minutes of betrayal, nudity and skulduggery in dimly-lit rooms. Not that it had ever truly been away but it was good to welcome the old, happy-stabby Game of Thrones back with a vengeful gleam in its eyes.

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