Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Songs of Experience

On this day in 1757, British poet, printmaker, and painter William Blake was born. Blake was considered great for many things, but I am fond particularly of his poetry; in Songs of Innocence and Experience: Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul, Blake did as his title promised. The first book celebrates moments of innocence, happiness, and joy in the world. The second examines the loss of innocence from a variety of causes, including the material world. One of my favorites from the latter is a companion piece to a poem from Book One called "The Lamb." This one, naturally, examines the lamb's natural predator.


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 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 forged thy 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?


In Blake's poem is the examination of another kind of mystery--the one at the heart of creation, and the question of how "evil" can exist next to goodness, and what sort of world, what sort of Creator, would put them together.


Unknown said...

Does anybody know where I can buy this exact photo ! I saw it in a London India restaurant with William Blakes inscribed below.

zylon said...

It's so very magic,it's a religius,