W.BLAKE 2 Lamb & Tyger

SESSION 2:  Here’s the poem The Lamb from Songs of Innocence

Here’s Tyger Tyger from The Songs of Experience

Very impressive is also the musical version by The BARDS

In the next video by the British Library Michael Phillips demonstrates William Blake’s printing process, explaining how it relates to his work as a poet and artist. Filmed at Morley College, London.

TRIVIA & EXPANSION: You now Know – after Dylan’s Nobel Prize ceremony when she sang his A hard Rain’s Gonna Fall, who Patty Smith is. I went to her concert in Bologna when I was your age and she was in Italy performing last year. Here she reads ‘The Tyger’ during a benefit concert for the museum Wadsworth Atheneum on October 20, 2011.

If you’re a fan of the crime series The Mentalist Blake was even quoted in one of its episodes 🙂

TASK: COMMENT ( as ORAL TESTING) Which of the two poems The Lamb & The Tyger did you like best and why? 

NB: do not repeat what  already said by your schoolmates. READ the previous comments. Rather than repeating, COMMENT by agreeing or disagreeing and ADDING something new. Thanks!

21 thoughts on “W.BLAKE 2 Lamb & Tyger

  1. Personally I was very impressed by the text on the tiger (one of the most elegant animals, in my opinion). I found it very powerful despite the language is not so complex. The words touched me more than the text on the lamb: I think it communicates more emotions and that the themes are more engaging (darkness, feelings, body, trasgression, fire, irregular beauty, …).

  2. I prefer poetry entitled “The lamb” by William Blake. I particularly liked this poem because of the simple language that affects the reader’s sensibility. It also transmits harmony and peace and seems like a lullaby when the poet repeats the question “Little Lamb who made you?”. The image of the lamb has often been taken up by poets to represent the sacred image of Jesus which is compared to a docile animal for the good of humanity.

  3. I personally prefer the poem “The Lamb” and, in general, the Songs of Innocence: as far as I am concerned, they’re more delightful since they concern themes like childhood, freedom, happiness and naturalness.
    In this poem, the imagery is pleasant and likeable and adjectives like “softest”, “tender”, “meek” and “mild” give a sense of lightheartedness and zest for life.
    When I read this poem, I feel calm since the language is colloquial and the tone is dreamy and gleeful. In addition, this poem reminds me of my cheerful childhood: the questions that the narrator poses (for example, “Little lamb who made thee?”) are the same questions that an inquiring child, longing to discover the world, poses.
    In comparison, “The Tyger” deals with corruption, transgression, irregular beauty: all these themes are linked with maturity, represented as the suppression of pleasure and delight. The tone is glum and pessimistic.
    In conclusion, I prefer “The Lamb” for the themes, the tone and the emotions that this poem makes me feel.

  4. To me the best poem is ‘The Tyger’ for its agressivity and energy. It transmits me power and anxiety, I love it! In addition, the tiger is majestic and it has a particular beauty which I like so much. It is amazing, powerful, smart, one of the best animals in the world.
    The sound is strong, because of the alliteration of the letter ‘R’.
    I think the ‘Little Lamb’ has too much liquid sound.

  5. To be honest I liked the poem “The Tyger” the best. First of all, I found It more captivating in terms of meaning and sound. In fact, it speaks about the energy, the transgression and the braveness of the tiger, that represents us as teenagers. The result is a powerful poem that caught my attention more than the one entitled “The Lamb”. Also, even though the sound is harsh, I think that it’n not flat or boring at all.
    An interesting thing is the dilemma of the author, that is in incredulous since he can’t understand how God made the lamb, such a sweet and innocence animal, but also the tiger, mature, smart and strong. To conclude, I enjoyed the poem “The Tyger” for these reasons.

    • I agree with you Paola! I think the poem “The Tyger” is more powerful than the other and represents better which are the characteristics of the animal. The tiger is also one of my favourite animal because it is elegant and energical, but also aggressive and determinated. A factor that surely influence our lecture is the sound that the words, with rhymes and alliterations, convey us. I really enjoyed reading this poem and for me William Blake is a great author with a particular and very interesting personality.

  6. I liked a lot “The Tyger” because it transmitted more feelings to me. I liked how the poet used harsh words in order to make us feel the power and energy of the tiger, I was really surprised. I also like it because it was the first poem that I read from non contemporary poetry, that gave me a sense of transgression and rebellion.

    • I feel what you are saying Beatrice, and that is why I personally love The Age of Enlightenment or The Pre-Romantic Age. The man frees himself from the barriers of the past and starts to think with his own head fighting against injustice. Blake does this in a very powerful way, the man is fighting not only with the society but even with himself, which is a very contemporary theme. It is the first time that rebellion is not only political but even literal, that’s why I just love this period!!

  7. In my opinion, the most significant poem is “Tyger”, because it gives me so much energy and even a small part of anxiety, both for the subject treated and for the force aroused by the words used by the poet. Furthermore, the main character is the tiger, one of the most majestic animals that can be there, but it is also one of the most ferocious and feared.
    I also believe that this animal embodies the dark side of man and that the described scenery represents today’s society.

  8. I personally prefer “The Tyger”, because it conveyed so many feelings and deals with several themes in my opinion. I find it incredible how Blake reflects on so many topics in a small number of lines. Themes, such as irregular beauty, transgression and corrupted civilization are so present and discussed nowadays.
    When we first read this poem, I was impressed by its musicality and rhythm. Moreover, I think it’s very powerful and transmits a lot of energy, although it talks about serious and deep subjects.
    I found the other poem, “The Lamb”, a little boring. This one, instead, immediately draws my attention to it.
    Moreover, I enjoyed very much how Patti Smith sang and interpreted it.

  9. I personally prefer the poem “The Lamb” because it conveys a sense of peacefulness and calmness through the soft and liquid sounds that make the poem seem like a lullaby.
    I also prefer the themes of childhood, happiness, freedom and nature the author spoke about because I find them more appealing and pleasant to read.
    Another thing I really liked about this poem was the language accurately chose by Blake, which helps transmitting that sense of delight and peace.

  10. I personally prefer the poem “the Tyger” because, as my classmates said before, it transmits a lot of strong feelings and sensations, plus, it has a capturing rhythm. I think that Blake was able to describe perfectly the majesty of the tiger, but also its danger. The mix of amazement and anxiety leave me impressed. I really enjoyed this poem!

  11. In my opinion the best between the two poems is “The Tyger” because it conveys a lot of strong feelings, such as repulsion pain, violence, irregular beauty and maturity, which give it energy and a sense of rebellion. In addition, Blake made a great and repetitive use of harsh sounds that reflect the image of the tyger that we have. He created also a dark atmosphere, not only setting the scene in the night, but also integrating elements like hammer and furnace.
    We listened to two different versions of the interpretation of it and the one I loved the most was Patti Smith’s: I think she sang it with a strong but mild energy, infusing her simpathy for the animal.

  12. Honestly, I feel more reflected in the figure of the tiger. Like Paola DF said, the poems transmit a lot of power and energy to me and the video of the poem with the music is wonderful (it gives me so much adrenaline to excite me).

  13. I personally disliked both “The Lamb” and “The Tyger”. In particular, I found these poems too serious and boring especially if compared to “The Ecchoing Green” and “The Garden of Love”, which were far more interesting and amusing than the first two.
    Nevertheless, I appreciated the references to Icarus and Prometheus that Blake made in “The Tyger”because they suited the poem perfectly. However, the sounds were very harsh, and therefore they triggered me badly. Instead, in “The Lamb” the sound was definitely sweeter and enjoyable. Overall, the poems aren’t awful but I think I would like them better if poems with hidden messages and meanings were my thing.

  14. I really enjoyed the first poem “The Lamb”, for several reasons. This poem si written in the form of question and answer and I think that this gives a lot of fluidity and doesn’t annoy the readers.
    First of all I liked how the poem begins, or with the question, “Little Lamb, who made thee?”, which in a way calls the reader’s attention.
    The fact I appreciated most of all is the identification of the lamb and the child. Christ has another name, that is Lamb, because Christ is meek and mild like the lamb. The child shows his deep joy in the company of the lamb who is just like him. The poem conveys the spirit of childhood – the purity, the innocence and the affection that a child feels for little creatures.
    Last but not least, I liked the language of the poem that is colloquial and the tone is pleasent.

  15. i think that “the tyger” is better than “the lamb”, because I found “the lamb” a little bit boring, instead “the tyger” transmits more strong and decisive emotions, like the character of the tiger. I really enjoyed this poem because reflects William’s personality.

  16. “The Tyger” is one of my favorite poems ever, because of its rhythm, which sounds like a cavalcade, and especially because of its powerful verse “Did he who made the Lamb make thee?”, which epitomize the theory of opposites but also make the reader think about the figure of God and, in my opinion, it is a brilliant aphorism too, in order to express restlessness towards this world and life.

  17. I really loved the poem “the lamb” because everything is a symbolic picture alluding to innocence. Because of his simplicity and fluency, it sounds like a nursery rhyme, but there are lots of hidden meanings. There’s an idea of harmony, perfection, peace, in all the poem.
    In addition, while listening to this poem, I experienced several pleasant sensations, such as remembering my childhood and the innocent moments I spent. It reminded me of the simplicity with which I looked at the things I had around me.
    Despite these memories, I also liked the poem “the tyger” in some of its parts. Some verses made me feel special sensations like the determination I have to make when I have to make a decision or the anger I have on other occasions.
    The thing that I didn’t like is the musicality because it’s pretty hard and not sweet and smooth compared to the first poem.

  18. I can hardly tell which poem i like better, because it is up to the mood i am going through.
    For example, i would tell ”The Tyger”, because this poem reflects in an appropriate way the emotions i am feeling in this period of time, like rage and aggression, but also anxiety and fear. I like this poem also for the tough and sour sounds the author used to express better these kind of feelings.
    If i was cheerful instead, i would choose ”The Lamb”, which transmits sweet and peaceful emotions through the serene atmosphere, described with words that give the poem a charming and attractive sound.

  19. I prefer the poem “the tyger”. First of all because I liked how Blake decided to transform the word with the y instead of the i. I enjoyed reading it also because of the imagine of the tiger which I find a controversial animal. With its anger it is fearful but when it’s quiet you can see it with all its majesty. The poem has also a fast rhythm that captures the reader until the end.

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