William Blake was a romanticist poet, who wrote poems during the Industrial Revolution. He was born on 28th November 1757 in Westminster but spent most of his life in London. William became an engraver at the age of fifteen and on each of his poem’s original prints, there is an engraved picture. He eventually owned a business in engraving. When he was nearly 25 he married a lady called Catherine Bouchier, whom he was happily married to for 45 years. In 1784 he published his first volume of poems.
His poems are all very different because he wrote them at different stages in his life and when he was experiencing different emotions. His most well-known collections of poems were “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience”. “Songs of Innocence” were written in 1789 (and later added to in 1794) and “Songs of Experience” were not published on their own. In 1794 a collection called “Songs of Innocence and Experience Shewing Contrary States of the Human Soul” was published featuring The Lamb and The Tyger, two completely opposite poems.
The Lamb is one of William Blake’s poems from “Songs of Innocence”. It was written during one of the happier periods of Blake’s life, whereas The Tyger, (from “Songs of Experience) was said to have been written at a depressing time for him and his family. The Lamb is a gentle poem, which is believed to have been written as if it was narrated by a child who is talking to a lamb, whereas the narrator in The Tyger is (in my opinion) quite an old man/woman who has experienced most of their life.
I believe this because The Lamb has a naive, simple sound to it, almost as simple as a children’s nursery rhyme but The Tyger sounds like they have learnt a lot from life and the vocabulary has a broader range than a child. It is said to be themed around God and creation but also Jesus Christ because Jesus Christ is symbolized as a lamb and as a child in the Bible. It also is themed around whom or what created the lamb and praising whoever did.
The Tyger is also said to be about God and creation but in a negative light, questioning why God would create such a horrible creature as a Tyger and a fear of God. The words used in The Lamb such as wooly, tender and delight suggest a calm, loving creature, whereas The Tyger uses words such as burning, bright and night which suggest a darker sense of passion and anger. Also, as the poem is so strong, one of the many possible themes is the “power” of the Tyger.
When William Blake wrote “Songs of Experience” it was suspected that this more mature, pessimistic view of the world was parked by the war between England and France, whereas when Blake wrote The Lamb it is thought that it was a happy moment in his life, it is not known if it was a particular event which made him write this poem or if it was just happy childhood memories which made The Lamb so child-like. The language in The Lamb is filled with joy and harmony, reminding people of how blissful childhood was, whereas the anger and bitterness are expressed in The Tyger as if someone had died. Both of the poems question, (maybe The Tyger more), who created the creature, but The Tyger asks why. The Tyger also refers to and questions the Old and New Testaments.
The language in The Tyger is slightly more modern than in The Lamb and it also uses Industrial language and violence. The language in the Tyger is more complex than in the Lamb, but the Lamb sounds more archaic and biblical. There are many examples of imagery in both poems. In The Tyger most of the imagery represents passion and hell such as “Fire in thine eyes” and “The stars threw down their spears” which are both examples of how creation is personified and also both metaphors. In my opinion, the most effective example of imagery is “Burning Bright”, because it symbolizes a firing passion.
The poem symbolizes the Tyger as an anvil, a furnace and a hammer, which are all feared and violent objects in my opinion, whereas The Lamb uses natural imagery and symbolizes the Lamb as Jesus Christ and a child. The subject of both poems is the creator, but both poems do not know who this might be. Also, the subject of both poems is the creature it is about, for example, the main subject of The Tyger is simply the Tyger itself. The structure of The Tyger poem has 6 stanzas each with 4 lines and uses repetition of the first stanza at the end.
It uses “harsh” sounds, for example, “Tyger, Tyger” (unlike the soft words used in The Lamb), with regular line length and matching syllable counts. The structure of The Lamb is that it has 2 stanzas each with 10 lines, (five rhyming couplets) and uses a trochaic tetrameter (four strong beats with the starting beat strong) and also uses repetition but throughout the whole poem, it repeats each line twice at some places. Also, The Tyger features an “AA/BB” rhyme scheme, meaning that in each stanza the first two lines rhyme with each other and the last two lines rhyme with each other.
The Tyger also has a drum beat and uses a trochaic tetrameter like The Lamb. In my opinion, the mood of The Tyger poem is curious and thoughtful, but angry and passionate at the same time and also quite confused. I think this because; throughout the poem, questions are asked to show curiosity and anger to show how he felt about Tyger’s creation and why someone would create that. In The Lamb, the mood is calmer and has the same effect as a lullaby. In conclusion, although both poems are complete opposites they both have many similarities such as the structure and in some ways the subject and theme, but it depends on your own opinion.