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The Tyger
by
William Blake
(1757-1827)


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? and what 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?




Notes:


This is a very powerful poem by Blake and filled with striking images. Like other poems it can be taken on more than one level. Blake, being the person he was surely intended it on the Spiritual.

Thus.....he spoke of a type of man. A Spiritual type of man (ie animal man). A creature that dwelt in the shadowy world of the (Spiritual) forests on the edges of where (Spiritual) men dwell. Not in the physical sense, but in the Spiritual World. Crouching in the darkness. Ready to devour without mercy any who were not alert to the dangers of them.


In the opening paragraph Blake says....

"Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night"

Burning bright indeed....A swift and terrible death. Noah took into the Ark all the creatures of The Earth. Were they not symbolic of types people? Even Tygers?

Remember the demoniac that Jesus cast out the Legion from? Would he have qualified as A Tyger? Didn't Jesus have to frame his terrible symmetry to be able to cast them out?

"What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry?"

In The Bible Apostle Peter was on a rooftop praying and God gave him a vision.


Book Of Acts

11:5 I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me:
11:6 Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
11:7 And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.
11:8 But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.
11:9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, [that] call not thou common.
11:10 And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven.
11:11 And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me.
11:12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house:
11:13 And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;
11:14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.
11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
11:17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as [he did] unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.


And the sheet was lifted up into Heaven. So God likens men unto types of animals.....and thus The Tyger also.

In the poem Blake asks,

"What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Who among the Sons Of God is great enough to frame the symmetry of The Tyger and live?

Blake then proceeds to describe the fearsome Spiritual equivalencies of The Tyger.


"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 hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?"


Who is strong enough in Faith (in prayer)-(in Spiritual makeup) to frame The Tyger? To "Dare its deadly terrors clasp?"
What Man Of God could forge a chain strong enough to hold The Tyger?
Who among men can pray the great prayers to twist The Tyger's heart from it's deadly intent?
Who's Spiritual hands strong enough?
Who's Spiritual feet swift enough to counter The Tyger's readiness to kill and eat?


God told Peter to "Arise slay and eat". To frame and grasp the terrors of even The Tyger, but to slay means to overcome....to master. To eat means to understand. Not the physical creatures of this world, but the Spiritual.

And then.....


"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?"


When The Sons Of God (for they also are Angels)

"threw down their spears And water'd heaven with their tears"

They cried out to God in tears for the fearsomeness of The Tyger. The terror of facing, of framing, of slaying and eating such a creation of God's Creation. Just as Jesus asked (and prayed) for The Cup to pass from him. The sweat as great drops of blood. The mighty exertion in prayer to overcome. They could see the brightness of The Tyger burning in the forests. How swift....how deadly.....how great a thing to face and master.
(to paraphrase) "what great things you must suffer for my name sake"


And Blake questions....


"Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?"

Did the same God who created Christ create The Tyger?

"Did he smile his work to see?"

He asked did it please God to require his Son's to overcome such a Spiritual creature?


The final passage is the same as the first, but with a small tho significant change.


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


All in all a beautiful poem.....full of meaning and Spiritual significance. The numerous symbolic meanings in the poem? The anvil, the chain, the deeps, the skies, and the others are too numerous to mention here. Every object described in the poem is symbolic of something Spiritual. All have meaning. Some may object to this last thought, but knowing somewhat of his private life it sometimes amazes me that Blake could ideate such pure thought.