The Tyger, William Blake

I was thinking about poems I had read as a child and came upon this one, which must be a bit of a “classic” children’s poem. Although I’m not a huge fan of Romantic poets, I did study them for my Masters degree and Blake was my favourite. I love his crazy, evocative poems and the beautiful illustrations. To me, he is bolder than the others and less introspective, which is what I like about him. Some of his poems can be hard and challenging, but then others like this are instantly accessible as the rhythm pulls you in. I think this might be one of the only poems that I know by heart.

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 seize the fire?

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

1794, Songs of Experience.

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