To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The poem I quoted below is, of course, William Blake's "The Tyger". It's the "Songs of Experience" counterpart to "The Lamb" in "Songs of Innocence".

"The Lamb" starts like this:

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?

Here's the full text.

It's a child's view of creation, written in a child's simple language.

In contrast, here's "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 watered 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?


Here is an excellent discussion of the poem. The point it appears Blake was making is that as adults we have to confront the fact that creation isn't benign all the time. Some things we have trouble reconciling with the idea of a loving, omnipotent God. Blake's grown-up poem doesn't end with any answers, only unanswered questions. Some questions will never be answered... at least, in this lifetime.

1 comment:

change destiny said...

Hey , i studied that poem when i was a kid . Felt good to remember . Thanks .