The Tiger - and other poems

by William Blake

TIGER, tiger, 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?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

The Lamb

         Little Lamb, who made thee?
         Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
         Little Lamb, who made thee?
         Dost thou know who made thee?

         Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
         Little Lamb, I'll tell thee:
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and he is mild;
He became a little child.

I a child, and thou a lamb.
We are called by his name.
         Little Lamb, God bless thee!
         Little Lamb, God bless thee!

Love's Secret

NEVER seek to tell thy love,
         Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind doth move
         Silently, invisibly.

I told my love, I told my love,
         I told her all my heart,
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears.
         Ah! she did depart!

Soon after she was gone from me,
         A traveller came by,
Silently, invisibly:
         He took her with a sigh.

Reeds of Innocence

PIPING down the valleys wild,
         Piping songs of pleasant glee,
On a cloud I saw a child,
         And he laughing said to me:

'Pipe a song about a Lamb!'
         So I piped with merry cheer.
'Piper, pipe that song again;'
         So I piped: he wept to hear.

'Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe;
         Sing thy songs of happy cheer!'
So I sung the same again,
         While he wept with joy to hear.

'Piper, sit thee down and write
         In a book that all may read.'
So he vanish'd from my sight;
         And I pluck'd a hollow reed,

And I made a rural pen,
         And I stain'd the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
         Every child may joy to hear.

The Little Black Boy

MY mother bore me in the southern wild,
         And I am black, but O, my soul is white!
White as an angel is the English child,
         But I am black, as if bereaved of light.

My mother taught me underneath a tree,
         And, sitting down before the heat of day,
She took me on her lap and kissed me,
         And, pointing to the East, began to say:

'Look at the rising sun: there God does live,
         And gives His light, and gives His heat away,
And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive
         Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday.

'And we are put on earth a little space,
         That we may learn to bear the beams of love;
And these black bodies and this sunburnt face
         Are but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

'For when our souls have learn'd the heat to bear,
         The cloud will vanish; we shall hear His voice,
Saying, "Come out from the grove, my love and care,
         And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice."'

Thus did my mother say, and kissed me,
         And thus I say to little English boy.
When I from black and he from white cloud free,
         And round the tent of God like lambs we joy,

I'll shade him from the heat till he can bear
         To lean in joy upon our Father's knee;
And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair,
         And be like him, and he will then love me.