The Tyger (Poem by William Blake)

Important Facts:
  • "The Tyger" is a poem written by the English poet William Blake.
  • Published in 1794 as part of his collection Songs of Experience (see plate from book at right).
  • The choice of the spelling "tyger" has been interpreted as being for dramatic effect because the use of tyger (rather than tiger) was already dwindling at the time of publication.
  • In the late 18th century it was also quite unusual for writers to show an interest in wild animals as they were not part of the common collective public consciousness (no wildlife documentaries in those days!).
  • Blake may have been trying to display something about the majesty & power of God's creation in the natural world with this poem.
  • He also makes a contrast between the meek lamb and the terrifying tyger, perhaps to highlight the prevailing contradictory ideas about the natural world.

The Tyger

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

by William Blake

Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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