Extract from his
Autobiography and Journal (1847)
I had now to part from my ladye-love, and I shall say nothing
on the subject beyond confessing that on the road to London I
cried for the first twenty miles as if my heart was quite broken.
However, about the thirtieth mile, I caught myself laughing at
a charming little creature at an inn where we changed horses.
I dozed and dreamed of her pretty dimpled face until I scented
the London smoke, when all these rustic whims and fancies gave
way to deep reflection on High Art and a fearless confidence in
my own ambition.
So far from the smoke of London being offensive
to me, it has always been to my imagination the sublime canopy
that shrouds the City of the World. Drifted by the wind or hanging
in gloomy grandeur over the vastness of our Babylon, the sight
of it always filled my mind with feelings of energy such as no
other spectacle could inspire.
Be Gode, said Fuseli to me one day,
its like de smoke of de Israelites making bricks.
It is grander, said I, for it is the smoke of
a people who have made the Egyptians make bricks for them.
Well done, John Bull, replied Fuseli.
have I studied its peculiarities from the hills near London, whence
in the midst of its drifted clouds you catch a glimpse of the
great dome of St Pauls, announcing at once civilisation