Blake’s notes go on display

tyger.jpgTyger, 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 watered 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 Tyger by William Blake (1794).

A notebook which belonged to William Blake is now on display at the British Museum to commemorate the 25oth anniversary of the poet’s birth. Blake is my favourite poet, but he was far more than just a poet – he was also an artist, mystic and visionary.

As part of its exhibition, the British Museum has made a digital version of the notebook available online. The exhibition, called William Blake: Under the Influence, runs until March, and features the work of modern artists and writers, such as Philip Pullman, who have been inspired by the great poet.


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