Michael Caines at the TLS:
When William Blake was four years old, he saw God press his head up against the window; the poor boy was set “a-screaming”. “Sauntering along” a few years later, Blake saw – and not for the last time – “a tree filled with angels, bright angelic wings bespangling every bough like stars”. Just before he died, in 1827, “his countenance became fair, his eyes brightened, and he burst out into singing of the things he saw in heaven”. Such was the visionary life of the writer and artist, as recorded by the fond few who had paid him any attention.
Blake’s obscurity in his own lifetime has become one of the well-known facts about him. As has his mystic eccentricity. When stories such as those above began to emerge, they helped to foster the myth of an odd kind of sage.