Tyger Tyger Burning Bright

THE TYGER

by William Blake (1794)

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?

“To understand ‘The Tyger’ fully, you need to know Blake’s symbols. One of the central themes in his major works is that of the Creator as a blacksmith. This is both God the Creator (personified in Blake’s myth as Los) and Blake himself (again with Los as his alter-ego.) Blake identified God’s creative process with the work of an artist. And it is art that brings creation to its fulfillment — by showing the world as it is, by sharpening perception, by giving form to ideas. […]  A casual reader or student does not have to understand Blake’s mystical-visionary beliefs to appreciate ‘The Tyger’. For the casual reader, the poem is about the question that most of us asked when we first heard about God as the benevolent creator of nature. ‘Why is there bloodshed and pain and horror?’ If you’re like me, you’ve heard various answers that are obviously not true. ‘The Tyger,’ which actually finishes without an answer, is (on this level) about your own experience of not getting a completely satisfactory answer to this essential question of faith. […] There is more. ‘The Tyger’ is about having your reason overwhelmed at once by the beauty and the horror of the natural world.” [Source]

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s