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William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
 
On Friends and Foes
I am no Homer’s hero you all know
 
I
I AM 1 no Homer’s hero you all know;
I profess not generosity to a foe.
My generosity is to my friends,
That for their friendship I may make amends.
The generous to enemies promotes their ends,        5
And becomes the enemy and betrayer of his friends. 2
 
Note 1. The Epigrams arranged in this section, all taken from the Rossetti MS. and written circa 1807–10, refer to the unhappy period in Blake’s history, when, embittered by the treatment of Cromek, and the ungenerous attitude of contemporaries towards his art, culminating in Hunt’s attack in the Examiner, he conceived himself to be the victim of a conspiracy, and became wholly alienated from most of his old friends. Cp. Gilchrist’s Life, 1 (chap. 26 and passim), Blake’s Letters, ed. Russell, and his own references in the ‘Advertisement’ and the Descriptive Catalogue. [back]
Note 2. I 6 Cp. ‘Everlasting Gospel’, γ 25:
He who loves his enemies betrays his friends.
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