1757 – 1827
The Tyger and The Lamb were both poems by William Blake. Blake as a child was an outcast, and did not have many friends. He was educated from home by his parents and fond sociability difficult. His family believed very strongly in God but did not agree with the teaching of the church. During his lonely hours Blake often read read the Bible. He had a lot of free time to think about ideas reflect on life. You could find a lot of biblical discourse in his poems. Blake published very famous books of poems: Songs of Experience and Songs of Innocence. Poems from the Songs of Experience are all about the God who brought all the evil and suffering ino the world. The poems from the Songs of Innocence are about the redemptive God of the New Testament, like Jesus. The Lamb is from the Songs of Innocence and The Tyger is from the Songs of Experience. The Lamb is the contrasting poem to the The Tyger.
Little Lamb, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee? Gave thee life, and bid thee feed, By the stream and o´er the mead Gave thee clothing of delight, Softest clothing, wooly, bright, Gave thee such a tender voice, Making all the vales rejoice? Little Lamb, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee?
Little Lamb, I ´ll tell thee, Little Lamb, I´ll tell thee. He is called by thy name, For He calls Himself a Lamb. He is meek, and He is mild, He became a little child. I a child, and thou a lamb, We are called by His name. Little Lamb, God bless thee! Little Lamb God bless thee!
The Lamb has two stanzas, each containing five rhymed couplets. Repetition in the first and last couplet of each stanza makes these lines into refrain.
The poem begins with the question: „Little Lamb, who made thee?“ The speaker asks the lamb about its origins. In the next stanza, the speaker attempts a ridding answer to his question: the lamb was made by one who „calls himself a Lamb“, who is both – the child and the lamb. The poem ends with with the child bestowing a blessing on the lamb. This poem is a child´s song, in the form of a questions and answers. The first stanza is descriptive and the second focueses on abstract spirituals matters and contains explanation and analogy. The child´s question is naive and profound and answer reveals his confidence in his simple Christian faith and his innocent. The lamb symbolizes Jesus. The traditional image of Jesus as a lamb underscores the Chrisitan values of gentless and peace. The image of the child is associted with Jesus. The child – speaker approaches the ideas of nature and of God. This poem accepts what Blake saw as the more positive aspects of conventional Christian belief. But it does not provide a completely adequate doctrine, because it fails to account for the presence of evil in the world. The pendant poem to this one is The Tyger, taken together, the two poems give a perspective on religion that includes the good and clear as well as the terrible and instructable.
Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
What the hammer? What the chain? In what furnance was thy brain? What the anvil? What dread grasp Dare its dealy terrors clasp?
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?
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?
And what shoulder, and what art, Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright In the forest of the night,
And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand? And what dread feet?
What immortal hand or eye, Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
The poem is comprised of six rhymed couplets. It begins with the speaker asking a tiger what kind of divine being could have created it. „What immortal hand or eye could frame they fearful symmetry“. Each stanza contains further question. From what part of the cosmos could the tiger´s eyes have come, and who would have dared to handle that fire? The speaker wonders how, once that horible „heart began to beat“ its creator would have had the courage to continue the job. And when the job was done, the speaker wonders, how would the creator have felt? „Did he smile his work to see?“ Could this possibly be the same being who made the lamb? The opening question enacts what will be the single dramatic gesture of the poem. Blake is buliding on the conventional idea that nature, must in some way contain a reflection of its creator. The tiger is beautiful yet also horrific in its capacity for violence. What kind of God could or would design such a terrifying beats as the tiger? What does the underiable existence of evil and violence in the world tell us about nature of God, and what does it mean to live in a world where a being can at once contain both beauty and horor? The poem takes a symbolic character. It comes to embody the spirituel and moral problem the poem explores: perfectly beautiful and yet perfectly destructive, Blake´s tiger becomes the symbolic center for an investigation into the presence of evil in the world. The poem´s series of questions ask what sort of physical creative capacity the „featful symmetry“ of the tiger bespeaks, assumedly only a very strong and powerful being could be capable of such a creation. For the poem speaker addresses not only the question of who could make such a creature as the tiger, but who would perform it. In the third stanza, the parelelism of „shoulder“ and „art“ as well as the fact that is not just the body but also the „heart“ of the tiger that is being forget. The reference to the lamb reminds the reader that a figer and a lamb have been created by the same God, and raises questions about the implication of this. It also invites a contrast between the perspectives of experience and innocence represented in the poem „The Tyger“ and in the poem „The Lamb“. Another contrast si contrast of the easy confidence, in „The Lamb“ with the open awe of „The Tyger“. The is the predator and the lamb the prey of the tiger. The Tyger brings the mood of power, dark and dangerous and The Lamb brings the light, clear and goodnes. The tiger symbolized adult and the lamb symbolized a childhood. The two creations, the Lamb and the Tiger are not only oposites, but they create a paradox in the mind of speaker. After all, how could a God who created something as soft, innocent and pure as the lamb aslo create the tiger, who is characterized as being
such ruthless predator? The Tyger is fifteen questions and no answer. While The Lamb has seven questions, and answers to all of the questions. The message of his poems were fairly obvious. In a way, he asking the same questions many of us find ourselves asking as regards the creation of this universe. How did we get here? What purpose do we serve? Blake is attempting to prove by the complexity of the creatures of this world that there is indeed a creator God and that we are not simply a product of circumstance.
Prešovská univerzita v Prešove, Fakulta humanitných a prírodných vied Katedra anglického jazyka
Lewis Carroll – Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass
Mgr. Petra Kiššková Anglický jazyk – rozširujúce štúdium