British Museum Jerusalem, Plate 6, Copy A
This dichotomy is a central theme in Blake's thought because the Imagination must be fully developed and reach maximum expression for man to enter the fullness of his Human Form.
Notice in this passage that the Spectre intends to restrict Los in his relating to Enitharmon. Further the Spectre would deny the worth of Los's children. For Blake man's emanation and his children are the outer forms which result from the internal activity of man's spirit. Los will do everything he can to prevent the Spectre from achieving his goal but his options are limited. Los engages the Spectre in the work he has undertaken himself - building Golgonooza. The Spectre will serve the negative function of tearing down and clearing away the discarded material which needs to be left behind as the Imagination constantly expands.
The Spectre defines himself in negative terms - grief, dispair, distress, dead. His concept of God is negative also - requiring sacrifice, without pity or compassion.
Jerusalem, Plate 10, (E 153) "Los cries, Obey my voice & never deviate from my will And I will be merciful to thee: be thou invisible to all To whom I make thee invisible, but chief to my own Children O Spectre of Urthona: Reason not against their dear approach Nor them obstruct with thy temptations of doubt & despair O Shame O strong & mighty Shame I break thy brazen fetters If thou refuse, thy present torments will seem southern breezes To what thou shalt endure if thou obey not my great will. The Spectre answer'd. Art thou not ashamd of those thy Sins That thou callest thy Children? lo the Law of God commands That they be offered upon his Altar: O cruelty & torment For thine are also mine! I have kept silent hitherto, Concerning my chief delight: but thou hast broken silence Now I will speak my mind! Where is my lovely Enitharmon O thou my enemy, where is my Great Sin? She is also thine I said: Now is my grief at worst: incapable of being Surpassed: but every moment it accumulates more & more It continues accumulating to eternity! the joys of God advance For he is Righteous: he is not a Being of Pity & Compassion He cannot feel Distress: he feeds on Sacrifice & Offering: Delighting in cries & tears & clothed in Holiness & solitude But my griefs advance also, for ever & ever without end O that I could cease to be! Despair! I am Despair Created to be the great example of horror & agony: also my Prayer is vain I called for compassion: compassion mockd Mercy & pity threw the grave stone over me & with lead And iron, bound it over me for ever: Life lives on my Consuming: & the Almighty hath made me his Contrary To be all evil, all reversed & for ever dead: knowing And seeing life, yet living not; how can I then behold And not tremble; how can I be beheld & not abhorrd So spoke the Spectre shuddring, & dark tears ran down his shadowy face Which Los wiped off, but comfort none could give! or beam of hope Yet ceasd he not from labouring at the roarings of his Forge With iron & brass Building Golgonooza in great contendings Till his Sons & Daughters came forth from the Furnaces At the sublime Labours for Los. compelld the invisible Spectre Plate 11 To labours mighty, with vast strength, with his mighty chains, In pulsations of time, & extensions of space, like Urns of Beulah With great labour upon his anvils, & in his ladles the Ore He lifted, pouring it into the clay ground prepar'd with art; Striving with Systems to deliver Individuals from those Systems; That whenever any Spectre began to devour the Dead, He might feel the pain as if a man gnawd his own tender nerves."