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?
Screen by Ganku Kishi
William Blake (1757 - 1827) was something between a visionary and a madman (which is to say he was a human being and an artist).
Many many words have been written about the meaning of The Tyger. I'll just say three things: that Blake spent a lot of time revising it, and so we can assume that nothing is accidental; that someone who writes a poem is himself a creator; and that great artists have the courage to stare unflinchingly even at problems which give them answers they do not wish to know.
In fact, come to think about it, that last may be as good a definition of great Art as any.
Word To Use Today: tyger. (Usually spelled tiger nowadays.) This word comes from the Old French tigre, from Latin tigris and back through Greek, perhaps to the Iranian tigra meaning pointed or sharp, and perhaps to the Avestan tigrhi, meaning arrow.
But then again, perhaps not.