If a thing loves, it is infinite.
What is it about cemeteries that makes them so interesting? My father loved to visit the cemetery in his hometown, looking at the graves to see who had died since his last visit. “How morbid!” we always teased him. Well, Michael and I were a little morbid last weekend, visiting one of the London cemeteries.
The weather has been so mild lately. Michael needed to work on Saturday, so we walked to his office, passing through Bunhill Fields on the way. This cemetery was created about 1685 and accepted burials until around 1850. It was known as a place where “Nonconformists”, generally non-Catholic Christians who did not follow the Church of England, were buried. Most cemeteries in central London have been converted into parks and have little evidence that they are burial grounds. Not Bunhill Fields. Although it was redesigned in the 1960’s, it still retains its character as a burial ground.
A few famous people are buried here, including Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe, John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, and William Blake, a noted English poet and visual artist.
I think I first really heard about William Blake (1757-1827) when Anna and I read Skellig by David Almond in our mother-daughter book group. One of the book’s characters is a fan of Blake’s poetry and quotes lines from his poems. But Blake was also an illustrator and engraver. I like his illustration of Titania, Oberon, Puck, and the dancing fairies from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
And this Blake print of Isaac Newton was the inspiration for a sculpture just outside the British Library:
Blake’s grave at Bunhill Fields is unmarked, but there is a memorial stone, which is located next to an obelisk memorial to Daniel Defoe.