Wordsworth's poem Tyger Tyger

A six two couplet line stanza rhymed AABB is William Blake's poem from the song of experience. The creator and the creation (Tyger) who are being praised by Blake are the main characters in this poem.

The poem goes as follows:

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 sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand? & 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?

The poet starts his poem by repeating the word Tyger twice in a stressed manner; we call this a spondee meter which is rarely used; that indicates the idea of anti-establishment where using spondee was not that common at the time of mainstream poetic institution, and this reminds me of John Donne who was anti-establishment as well.It also reflects that we are dealing with a powerful animal, the Tyger.

Another thing in the first line is that the poet is describing the tiger as a bright animal; form a national geographical point of view, the tiger has eyes that lighten the night in the forest which is, to some, very frightening making the tiger the king of the forest, at least, in the night regardless to the fact that the lion is the king.

Therefore, the poet is trying to convince us that the tiger is more perfect than the lion. Then, the poet goes on describing the creativity of the creator by saying “what immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?”. This line shows how creative and extremely powerful the creator is. Ironically, the imperfect rhyme comes with perfect word ‘symmetry’, and there must be something about this which, in my opinion, is that the poet is hiding something about the perfection of the tiger; later, we will know.

In the second stanza, the poet starts asking questions and, most importantly, without giving answers to these questions opening the door to the audience to fly in their imagination giving different ideas. “in what distant deeps or skies burnt the fire of thine eyes’ regardless the literal meaning here, the poet admires the lighting eyes the tiger is having. In the third stanza, after the poet praises god in line 3 and 4 in the first stanza, he comes back in this stanza praising god about this masterpiece by saying” what shoulder…. what art’.

That reflects how the poet is fond of nature particularly the tiger which is, for the poet, the best and most perfect animal in the forest. Most importantly, how the god did this impossible work when he twisted the sinews of the heart indicating that even the tiniest thing in the tiger’s small organ which is the heart is easy to the creator but quite impossible for creatures.

Moreover, the poet completes his question manner in the fourth stanza wondering what tools could the creator uses to have this masterpiece. In this stanza, when the poet says “what the hammer, chain, furnace, anvil,”, I think that the poet may use the tiger as a symbol for something , and it could be the city life where all people are amazed by the civilization, but they don’t know that it is going to destroy nature and then their lives. This is, I think, why the poet changes the word could into dare in the last stanza.

The fifth stanza, the first two lines, in my humble opinion, have two possible interpretations, one of which is that all-natural elements are happy with this new work that the creator has just finished, and in terms of being the creator, he asked all-natural elements to be happy as he controls them. The other possible interpretation is that “stars threw down their spears………. With their tears” the spears, I think, that they stand for the stripes on the fur of the tiger indicating that this is the last step and then the tiger will be well done created; in other words, the stripes or the fur as a cover for the tiger is that last step; then, the creator will look at his work and be proud of what he has done so far.

One final opinion on this poem, I think that tiger stands either for civilization as we said above which is reflected in the tools where used in stanza 4 , and the substitution of the word “dare” and “could” in the first and the last stanza that the civilization is good, but it is killing us in the long run or tiger is just literally described and praised by the poet as a romantic poet who considers nature as source of everything, and as some knows that Blake has his own symbol where the tiger stands for energy, and this may support our claim that it stands for nature.

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