Drawings for Pastorals of Virgil
Thenot and Colinet Converse Seated Beneath Two Trees
An example of Greek philosophy which played an essential place in Blake's thought is the doctrine of contraries. Like Heraclitus, Blake believed in the unity of all things. From this unity both derived the conviction that contraries are not opposites but alternatives which can be resolved by recognizing the contribution which each makes to the whole. Dividing a pair of contraries such as Reason and Energy into desirable and undesirable, cuts man off from understanding the totality of his own being.
It is the denial of the possibility of unifying the contraries - body and soul, female and male, repose and activity - that creates the Negation: that false reasoning power which can be called the Selfhood.
Jerusalem, Plate 5, (E 147) "O Saviour pour upon me thy Spirit of meekness & love: Annihilate the Selfhood in me, be thou all my life!"
Marriage of heaven & Hell, Plate 3, (E 34) "Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence. From these contraries spring what the religious call Good & Evil. Good is the passive that obeys Reason[.] Evil is the active springing from Energy. Good is Heaven. Evil is Hell. ... All Bibles or sacred codes. have been the causes of the following Errors. 1. That Man has two real existing principles Viz: a Body & a Soul. 2. That Energy. calld Evil. is alone from the Body. & that Reason. calld Good. is alone from the Soul. 3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies. But the following Contraries to these are True 1 Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that calld Body is a portion of Soul discernd by the five Senses. the chief inlets of Soul in this age 2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy. 3 Energy is Eternal Delight Jerusalem, Plate 43 , (E 191) "And thus the Voice Divine went forth upon the rocks of Albion I elected Albion for my glory; I gave to him the Nations, Of the whole Earth. he was the Angel of my Presence: and all The Sons of God were Albions Sons: and Jerusalem was my joy. The Reactor hath hid himself thro envy. I behold him. But you cannot behold him till he be reveald in his System Albions Reactor must have a Place prepard: Albion must Sleep The Sleep of Death, till the Man of Sin & Repentance be reveald. Hidden in Albions Forests he lurks: he admits of no Reply From Albion: but hath founded his Reaction into a Law Of Action, for Obedience to destroy the Contraries of Man[.] He hath compelld Albion to become a Punisher & hath possessd Himself of Albions Forests & Wilds! and Jerusalem is taken! The City of the Woods in the Forest of Ephratah is taken! London is a stone of her ruins; Oxford is the dust of her walls! Sussex & Kent are her scatterd garments: Ireland her holy place! And the murderd bodies of her little ones are Scotland and Wales The Cities of the Nations are the smoke of her consummation The Nations are her dust! ground by the chariot wheels Of her lordly conquerors, her palaces levelld with the dust I come that I may find a way for my banished ones to return Fear not O little Flock I come! Albion shall rise again. So saying, the mild Sun inclosd the Human Family."