William Blake Poetry

William Blake Poetry

William Blake (1757-1827) was a British Romantic poet and painter. He is most well known for his Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience; his own engravings illustrated these and many other of his poems. Blake’s writing and art are distinguished by their originality, imagination, and mysticism.

William Blake by Thomas Phillips
oil on canvas, 1807 (NPG 212)
© National Portrait Gallery, London
Creative Commons License

William Blake poetry we have posted on the EIL site:

“Introduction to Songs of Innocence”

“Introduction to Songs of Experience”

“Earth’s Answer”

“A Divine Image”

“The Ecchoing Green”

“The Fly”

“To Winter”

And one of Blake’s most famous poems, The Tyger:

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 seize 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?

If you are ever in London, Southbank Mosaics has created a series of mosaics, based on Blake’s works, that are displayed near the artist’s former home. (Some unclad human figures are included.)

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The biographical sketch on this page was adapted from A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature, by John Cousin. You may read a longer biography and see a few more examples of Blake’s work in the William Blake Biography post.

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