And the salt ocean rolled englob'd. (Blake Pl. 28.23) The previous line comes from one of Blake's prophetic works, The First Book of Urizen, and is very typical of a Blake ending. More than a century before Stanley Kunitz was born, Blake had mastered the technique typified by Kunitz's oft-repeated maxim: end on an image and don't explain it. This technique does two very important things for the poem and the reader. First, by giving the image the space and importance of an ending, it allows the intended impact of the image to flow straight off the page and into the reader's imagination, whereas a follow-up explanation, however cursory and concise, would capture the energy of the image and spread it thinly, weakly along expository avenues. Second, the undercutting of the conventional resolution that automatically results from such an ending causes the reader to stop and spend more time and thought on the overall idea of the poem than he would otherwise have doneto come up with his own conclusion, his own reading.
[...] The second stanza introduces a kind of pleasant nostalgia in which John with white hair/ does laugh away care.” (11-12) And soon all the old people are joining John's laughter and talking about when they “were seen/ on the Echoing Green.” (19-20) In the last stanza of the poem, the tone changes as the day comes to an end. The finality of the language in this last stanza is important as it makes us realize that Blake is no longer talking about the span of a day. [...]
[...] This reforming of Urizen's body on a planet of his own making cements his break with eternity. (P7-10) During Los' reconstruction of Urizen's body, special attention is paid to the forming of his senses. Not surprising, almost every one of them has a circular image to go along with it. For the first sense, that of touch, the nerves, or “branches” (P11 spurt (P11 the more solid, real bones. Next, his eyes are describes as little orbs fixed in two little caves.” (P11 13-14) The formation of his ears describes the inner part's spiraling out into the bigger and bigger circles of the outside. [...]
[...] In the second picture and last of the poem, two of the daughters are looking up while the third remains hunched in on herself. This movement from one to two daughters gazing up at Oothoon represent hope for all the daughters of Albion—women everywhere. On the title page of First Book of Urizen,” the title of the poem itself is encircled by vines and Urizen sits at the beneath these vines and the title with his knees to his chest—another figure hunched in on itself. [...]
[...] However, she does point out how Blake's work diverges from these earlier artists when she notes that his work does not contain the unambiguity of the emblem books: detail has an independent meaning and no single statement of its meaning is fully satisfactory; everything in the poem enriches the meaning of the central symbol.” (152) In his essay, “Poetry and Design in William Blake,” Northrop Frye makes the distinction even clearer: The Songs of Innocence and of Experience are in the direct tradition of the emblem-books in English literature. [...]
[...] Blake then goes on to describe the tiger fire of thine eyes” and the process through which tools like a hammer anvil and chain must have been utilized. Then in the last line of the penultimate stanza, the speaker asks he who made the Lamb make This question not only sets up the dichotomy of innocence and experience by comparing the tiger to such a meek animal, it also does so by drawing our attention back to a Song of Innocence entitled Lamb.” Everything we read in Tyger” seems to set it up as a champion of experience directly opposite the innocent lamb. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee