Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

from William Blake – The Tyger on Rap Genius

Meaning

Blake’s spelling of tiger with a y was already “slightly archaic” at the time of publication

Like much of Blake’s style, the choice seems inspired by nostalgia (Blake’s poems — as well as his artwork — hearken back to the style of the Middle Ages, found in works such as The Song of Roland or The Canterbury Tales)

The trochaic tetrameter of the first three lines sets a rhythm to the piece, switching to iambs with the fourth. The change of meter accents the ultimate line of the stanza, “Could frame thy fearful symmetry?”

This poem, and especially the beginning ‘Tyger! Tyger!’ received more public attention than usual lately, as it was a theme in the TV show ‘The Mentalist’. ‘Tyger! Tyger!’ was used as a code phrase by the Blake Association, a secret organization of dirty cops, one of whom was the show’s main villain, Red John.

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