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Short poem

William Blake (1757-1827)

The Tyger

              1Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
              2In the forests of the night,
              3What immortal hand or eye
              4Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

              5In what distant deeps or skies
              6Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
              7On what wings dare he aspire?
              8What the hand dare seize the fire?

              9And what shoulder, and what art,
            10Could twist the sinews of thy heart,
            11And when thy heart began to beat,
            12What dread hand? and what dread feet?

            13What the hammer? what the chain?
            14In what furnace was thy brain?
            15What the anvil? what dread grasp
            16Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

            17When the stars threw down their spears,
            18And water'd heaven with their tears,
            19Did he smile his work to see?
            20Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

            21Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
            22In the forests of the night,
            23What immortal hand or eye,
            24Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


8] seize the fire: a reference to the myth of Prometheus.

17] stars: i.e., angels, fighting in the original war in heaven.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: William Blake, Songs of Experience (1794). Cf. Blake's Illuminated Books, ed. David Bindman (Princeton, NJ: William Blake Trust; London: Tate Gallery, 1991-). See Vol. 2. PR 4142 B46 1991 ROBA.
First publication date: 1794
RPO poem editor: Northrop Frye
RP edition: 3RP 2.283.
Recent editing: 4:2002/3/15

Form: Long Hymnal Measure
Rhyme: aabb

Other poems by William Blake