THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience) By William Blake “The Tyger” is a poem by the English poet William Blake. It was published as part of his collection Songs of Experience in 1794 (see 1794 in poetry). It is one of Blake’s best-known and most analyzed poems. The Cambridge Companion to William Blake (2003) calls it “the most anthologized poem in English.”[1] Most modern anthologies have kept Blake’s choice of the archaic spelling “tyger”. It was a common spelling of the word at the time but was already “slightly archaic”[2] when he wrote the poem; he spelled it as “tiger” elsewhere,[1] and many of his poetic effects “depended on subtle differences of punctuation and of spelling.”[3] Thus, his choice of “tyger” has usually been interpreted as being for effect, perhaps to render an “exotic or alien quality of the beast”,[4] or because it’s not really about a “tiger” at all, but a metaphor.[1] “The Tyger” is the sister poem to “The Lamb” (from “Songs of Innocence”), a reflection of similar ideas from a different perspective, but it focuses more on goodness than evil. The poem also presents a duality between aesthetic beauty and primal ferocity. The speaker wonders whether the hand that created “The Lamb” also created “The Tyger”.

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