William Blake

(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827 / London)

The Tyger - Poem by 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 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?

Topic(s) of this poem: night


Comments about The Tyger by William Blake

  • (11/17/2017 10:01:00 AM)


    Great Christian poem... love it... (Report) Reply

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  • (11/12/2017 6:00:00 PM)


    Best poem ever😃 (Report) Reply

  • (4/4/2017 5:31:00 PM)


    Then some other ferocious and primal power? And what do you make of the lines beginning When the stars...? Is this poem capable of rational analysis given Blake's alterations and omissions? If not, why not attempt to analyse the source of its power and significance instead of making fatuous remarks? (Report) Reply

    Isaac Halberstadt Isaac Halberstadt (8/12/2017 11:02:00 AM)

    I once read a copy of 'Songs of Innocence', where there was a footnote explaining that, in William Blake's personal mythology, the stars are symbols of rationalism and logic, presumably because of their fixed and unerring path through the night sky. The thing you have to keep in mind about Blake is that he was very much a Mystic and a Romantic, he believe that Imagination was both the body of God, and the very essence of human existence. As such, he believed that Rationalism and an over-reliance on logic was very bad, that it killed imagination, thus severing Man's connection with God. So when the stars are throwing down their weapons and weeping at the sight of the Tyger, this glorious testament to the imaginative powers of Gods creation, it is symbolic of Rationalism giving way to the powers of imagination; Science giving way to Art, as it were.

  • (4/4/2017 5:27:00 PM)


    Notice Lamb is spelt with a capital L. This is not a lamb, it is the Lamb of God, Christ. So then attempt to answer the question: What immortal hand or eye could/dare frame thy fearful symmetry (Symmetry simply means likeness.) Is the implicit answer that perhaps God did not make the tiger? (Report) Reply

  • Sylva-onyema Uba (1/18/2017 7:40:00 PM)


    Blake, a romantic poet, celebrates nature and the beauty of nature through the eye of the Tyger.
    Great nature poem!

    Sylva-Onyema Uba
    (Report) Reply

  • Robert Murray Smith (1/14/2017 10:31:00 PM)


    A memorable poem. I first came across it sixty years ago. (Report) Reply

    Jacqueline H (11/20/2017 8:30:00 AM)

    I love this poem, it has power and magic, fear and awe. I have never tried to analize it as I feel it would take away the magic. When he talks of the heart beginning to beat, and come to llife, thats awsome.

  • Tom Allport (12/13/2016 10:08:00 AM)

    tom allport
    to me this poem is full of metaphors and is way ahead of its time (Report) Reply

  • R Soos (11/21/2016 9:26:00 AM)

    Classic
    Good to read the old school poems again. I have always loved this line: In what furnace was thy brain? (Report) Reply

  • Indira Renganathan (10/28/2016 4:09:00 AM)


    Even I still wonder How God can make lamb as well as tiger...on whom does He have mercy...a big question..
    this is a famous Blake-poem...I like it- 10
    (Report) Reply

  • (10/12/2016 10:51:00 PM)


    An awesome poem portraying the tiger, the king of forests and it's dreadful eyes and shape. Thanks for sharing it here. (Report) Reply

  • Dipankar Sadhukhan (10/7/2016 3:53:00 AM)

    Q. Show how The Lamb and The Tyger present the contrary states of human soul. [Or] How does Blake blend childlike innocence with adult wisdom in The Tyger and The Lamb?
    Among the precursors of English romanticism William Blake presented his poetical genius in a mystical pattern with symbolic overtones. His mysticism is rooted in the doctrine of Swendenberg and Bhome. Such mystical insights blended with romantic imagination found full display in the two contrasting poetical collections - Songs of Experience and Songs of Innocence. The Tyger represents the former and 'The Lamb' represents the latter poetical collection.

    These two poems celebrate two contrary states of human mind and soul - one of innocence and the other of experience. The Lamb essentially celebrates divine identity of a little child as well as the lamb. The child puts several questions before the lamb regarding its origin and creation. Jesus Christ declares Himself to be a lamb in the New Testament of the English Bible. Blake wonderfully works out his mystical pattern of poetical thought while answering the divine identity of the lamb. And this is done through the chain of symbols. Like the other romantics, Blake often uses the objects of nature as symbols to signify the spiritual identity. His poem is spoken by a mere child. The 'obstinate questionings' of the little child are answered in essentially paradoxical and ambiguous manner. The child is very much conscious of its origins and its spiritual affinity with Christ.

    The Tyger illustrates absolute autocracy and tyrannical character of powerful monarch. It is indeed the king of the nocturnal forest. Its ferocity is represented by its variegated colours, wonderful symmetry and the terrorizing capacity. Its main food is the little lamb. Thus in the ecological chain, the tyger is the eater of the innocent animal just as in human society an autocratic king dominates over his subjects.

    Blake puts several strange questions regarding the creation of such a 'fearful symmetry'. The immortal hand of God is all behind the design of its creation. The fire in the eyes of the tyger indicates the ire or anger. Again here is a distant allusion to the stealing of fire by the epic hero Prometheus found as in Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound. Shelley being a poet of independent spirit wrote Prometheus Unbound only to give freedom to Prometheus. Blake describes the physical structure of the tyger in a form of series of questions. The heart of the tyger is made of twisted sinews. The hands and feet are dreadful. Thus to bring out the inward and outward ferocity and symmetry, Blake describes the process of its creation as if in the manner of a blacksmith's workshop. Here God, the creator is the Blacksmith and Blake is the omniscient narrator. During the process of its creation the heavenly bodies in the form of 'stars' throw down their spears in agony and fear. Then Blake puts a sado-masochistic expression regarding the creation. God Himself was puzzled and threatened by appearance of such a fearful creature. It is a matter of irony that the same compassionate God created both the tyger and the lamb in His own hands though they are contrasting ones.

    In both the poems Blake employs swedish mysticism to convey his symbolical ideas. He ransacks the Bible, the scriptures and several mythologies to clarify the Identities of the tyger and the lamb. After Blake the tyger- image of Jesus Christ was once again applied in the twentieth century by T.S. Eliot in his Gerontion. Even W.B. Yeats, the mystical leader of the Symbolism Movement in literature, also represented a vision of strange looking beast in The Second Coming. Christ's second coming is signified by the sudden arrival of such a beast. Blake's tyger represents the tyrannical variety of monarchy as well as the spiritual boldness. And its counterpart the lamb represents the innocent brightness, childlike simplicity and divine purity of a little child. In that sense two poems as well as the two poetical collections are contrasting to each other as well as complimentary to each other.
    (Report) Reply

  • Enoch John (4/25/2016 4:17:00 PM)


    i was first introduced to this ''Tyger'' in my first year at college when the Irish monk Br Leonard entered the classroom reciting verses of this great poem.It had a most profound effect on me. (Report) Reply

  • (2/2/2016 12:47:00 AM)


    The best depiction of evil ever. (Report) Reply

    Glenn Frederick Baker (5/6/2016 9:18:00 AM)

    I see no evil.

    Glenn Frederick Baker (5/6/2016 9:17:00 AM)

    I. see no evil at all in this poem. Tigers cannot be evil only people have morals.

  • (6/20/2015 9:46:00 PM)


    Burning bright (Report) Reply

  • Boutheina Natasha (5/12/2015 7:35:00 AM)


    Great poem I love it...the meaning also so amazing (Report) Reply

  • Ravi A (4/11/2015 1:37:00 PM)


    A wonderful poem. The ferocity of the animal is clearly and cleverly portrayed. Did he who made the Lamb make thee? . Can god create both the lamb and tiger with the same hand? That is the question of the poet. (Report) Reply

  • Patricia Grantham (3/5/2015 6:53:00 AM)


    A very unique and distinguished write. The tiger in this poem gives one
    the image of power and of creation. Only Blake can create this kind of
    poetry. Great write.
    (Report) Reply

  • Rajesh Thankappan (1/12/2015 10:06:00 AM)


    I fully agree with Sunprincess view. I am very sure that we cannot ever comprehend God in its totality since He willed it to be so. (Report) Reply

  • (12/21/2014 5:06:00 PM)


    Just a great poem. I have often wondered about Blake's faith....how firm was his faith? Here God emerges as a blacksmith, a creator, a craftsman. Are we in some sense divine when we create? The extended metaphor seems to be between the artist and the creator. (Report) Reply

  • (9/30/2014 5:22:00 AM)


    just testing how to send comments (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, May 10, 2001

Poem Edited: Monday, March 9, 2015


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