While it is generally all too facile to draw parallels between earlier thinkers and Freud, the case of William Blake is an exceptionally intriguing one. For one thing, there is just too much explicit 'metapsychology' in the lines from Blake to be passed by. These are not pre-Freudian intuitions...but almost exact enunciations of what Freud held to be most essential about the psyche.
It is not enough to say that Freud created a fundamentally radical doctrine that was somehow captured by bourgeois interests – it is necessary to recognize and spell out the points within Freud's psychoanalysis which already represented those interests and sought their embrace. Freud was ambivalent, but ultimately believed in reason, knowing it be but the 'bound or outward circumference of desire – yet he had no faith in the desire which gave reason life.
[history] has served up a version of reality, and created a science whose pretensions have been to establish this version of reality as 'nature'. Blake was not against science, but one of the first, and deepest, critics of established science...the science that he cudgelled, and which still persists, is one with the dark religion that is to be overcome: each forces a forgetting of the truth that our knowledge is not 'out there' but a sensuous and social product.
Blake represents the spirit of the Enlightenment unbridled, whereas Freud pursues it in bound form, as the still, small voice of reason.
The problem of the conceptual centre of psychoanalysis may be regarded as contained in a series of linked antinomies. The most general form taken by these antinomies is...that between force and meaning...within this schema the force term would then be something objective, or at least objectifiable, and thus comprehensible within the terms of natural science, whearas the meaning term would remain outside the net of natural sciences, being determinable only by symbolic means of one kind or another. (p81)