The Poems of William Blake

The Poems of William Blake Summary and Analysis of Love and Harmony Combine


Once again, Blake explores the relationship of opposites in “Love and Harmony Combine.” This time, the dialect is marriage, and the speaker is examining the interrelationships between love, freedom, and marriage.

The tree is a symbol taken from the tree of knowledge out of the Garden of Eden (notice the “golden fruit” reference in line 9). It is also intended to represent the synthesis of energy between love and marriage, harmony and freedom, a place where oppositions are unified. The tree is a safety zone for the turtledove’s nest and provides shade for the speaker, yet has the ability to bear dangerous fruit—existence of opposites.

The “turtle” sitting in the tree is a “turtledove,” long the symbol of peace and atonement as well as baptism and communion. The speaker is observing the turtledove’s ability to live in “harmony,” balancing the responsibilities of love (feeding young, nesting) with the freedom to “play.”


“Love and Harmony Combined” explores the transcendent solution to the dualism of opposites. Recall one of Blake’s most famous quotes: “Opposition is true friendship.” Particularly in this poem, it is the opposition between genders and the opposition of freedom out of love and slavery in love. Blake is aiming to emulate transcendence through the fall (the loss of innocence experience) and uses the symbol of the turtledove to do so. In the end, the union in this poem is well chosen because it is a union bound by desire (both physical and spiritual) and is not forced upon the speaker by religion or law (something Blake would not have agreed upon).