Poem of the Month

The Tyger | William Blake

the tyger william blake

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? & 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?

William Blake, Songs of Experience, 1794
world of books poem of the month

Contrary States of the Human Soul

Willliam Blake might be best known as a hugely influential painter in the Romantic movement, but along with his visual artwork, Blake also wrote prolifically. He was not considered a success in his own time and self-published the vast majority of his work. It was not until the 20th century that Blake’s work began to be acknowledged for its true uniqueness and imagination.

Most of Blake’s art and writing explores political issues and religious discussions, as well as wide philosophical concepts. The Tyger, a poem from the series Songs of Experience, is Blake’s most famous poem. As with most of his poetry, he created a printed etching of the illustrated poem, which can currently be found in the British Museum. The poem explores the duality of humankind, using the tiger to symbolise aesthetic beauty and innocence alongside primal instinct.

Get philosophical with some classic poetry from our wide selection of second-hand poetry books. You can also explore more of William Blake’s writing from anthologies of poems to his collected essays.

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What do you think of The Tyger? Do you have a favourite Blake poem? Let us know in the comments below.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Manja-Freyja Gustafsson November 11, 2019 at 10:26 am

    One of my favourites. Thank you.

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