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  • Writer's pictureA.Y. Greyson

An afternoon with William Blake.

This time of year always brings me back to William Blake's work. Not sure if it's because of the shorter cooler days or the firefly swarmed nights. But the ending of summer

always leads me back to the stanza of "Tyger Tyger burning bright".

It's been almost fifteen years since I first read William Blake's renowned poem that is an extension to his more recognized work "The Lamb", which questions innocence and purity, while "Tyger Tyger" takes his wonderment a step further to question creation and the duality of man vs. beast.

"What dread hand and what dread feet?"

Such wonderment spark questions mankind has been asking itself since the beginning of time. Though William Blake seem to take it a step further. To me, what stands out most about this poem is the very first stanza compared to the very last . Though almost identical in repetition save for a single word were Blake no longer asks who "could" create the Tyger, but rather, "who dares".

Photo credit: Nieno

William Blake. 1757–1827

489. The 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 and 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 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?

Tyer, tyger, burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


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