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William Blake - Man Obsessed with the Divine

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William Blake was a man desperately obsessed with the divine. In “the Sick Rose,” “the Lamb,” and “the Tyger” he clearly demonstrates this dedication to examining that fascination through the use of three very tangible metaphors. One doesn’t have to look very far to observe this fascination for it is readily evident in every stanza of these poems; the deeper meaning behind his words can sometimes get lost in the details.

“The Lamb” is, at heart, a tale of simple innocence. One may wonder, however, why a lamb was chosen for this particular piece. Overall “the Lamb” speaks of the wonder of childhood, a lack of knowledge concerning the things of this earth, and a lack of knowledge regarding spiritual matters. Most of all children desire knowledge of that which they do not yet know. In “the Lamb” Blake is trying to teach children about their maker. This is evident from the very start of the poem. In saying “Little lamb …dost thy know who made thee?” Blake frames the setting for the rest of the discussion from the very first line. It becomes obvious as well that Blake is a believer in the evident truth that all humanity was at one time created by something greater. Powerful as humans may be in all their might, there will always be something bigger.

Tigers are incredibly powerful creatures. In naming “the Tyger” Blake had to know that the use of a word so close to the name of such a wondrous animal would invoke this same feeling of power. Once again he sets the stage for what’s to come right from the opening line: “Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright in the forests of the night.” Light amidst the darkness is an obvious reference to the struggle of good against evil. Rather than focus on this theme Blake instead focuses on the animal’s creation, and more specifically, on his creator. This shift of focus shows the depth of feeling Blake had toward the divine. It’s surprising to see this depth as the piece progresses. God as a blacksmith: Simply conceived, yet so eloquent. “What the hammer?, what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain…” Blacksmiths are powerful, they yield the power to forge what was raw useless rock into instruments of impressive construction and war. To further bring the point to view Blake uses the illustration of a hand. “what immortal hand or eye…” “what dread grasp dare its deadly terrors clasp.” In wording this phrase he pays a great deal of homage to his creator. He is essentially saying that no man would have the voracity to attempt to forge some of the things in this world, and that, all by itself, is a powerful message we could all learn from. Man is not immortal; rather, even in the finest of circumstances, humanity is but a little lamb compared to the greatness of God.

To further illustrate this point we finally come to his poem “the Sick Rose.” Right from the onset of the prose we know that this rose is not to be a beauty admired. “O Rose, thou art sick!,” utters forth his pen destroying any of the peace and love that his audience would typically associate with a rose. It’s important that the rose be ill though, and it soon becomes clear of what condition this rose has suffered. Evil yearns to be good, at least that’s the message that’s

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