"The Tyger" is a poem by the English poet William Blake. It was published as part of his collection Songs of Experience in 1794. It is one of Blake's best-known and most analyzed poems. The Cambridge Companion to William Blake (2003) calls it "the most anthologized poem in English." Much of the poem follows the metrical pattern of its first line and can be scanned as trochaic tetrameter catalectic. A number of lines, however—such as line four in the first stanza—fall into iambic tetrameter.
Most modern anthologies have kept Blake's choice of the archaic spelling "tyger". It was a common spelling of the word at the time but was already "slightly archaic" when he wrote the poem; he spelled it as "tiger" elsewhere, and many of his poetic effects "depended on subtle differences of punctuation and of spelling." Thus, his choice of "tyger" has usually been interpreted as being for effect, perhaps to render an "exotic or alien quality of the beast", or because it's not really about a tiger at all, but a metaphor.
"The Tyger" is the sister poem to "The Lamb" (from "Songs of Innocence"), a reflection of similar ideas from a different perspective (Blake's concept of "contraries"), with "The Lamb" focusing more goodness. "The Tyger" presents a duality between aesthetic beauty and primal ferocity. The speaker wonders whether the hand that created "The Lamb" also created "The Tyger”.
- Morris Eaves. The Cambridge Companion to William Blake, 2003. ISBN 978-0-521-78677-5 – pg. 207
- The popular anthology The Top 500 Poems (1992) edited by William Harmon makes the same claim of ultimate popularity, as measured by anthology appearances.
- Duncan Wu, David Miall. Romanticism. 2000. ISBN 978-0-631-22269-9 pg. 77 – "Tyger: this spelling was already slightly archaic by Blake's time."
- Edward Jenks (editor). The Independent Review. pg. 217 – "many of his effects depended on subtle differences of punctuation and of spelling.."
- Poems by William Blake – study guide
See also 
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- Full text of the poem
- The Tyger Bibliography at the Wayback Machine (archived May 9, 2008)
- The Taoing of a Sound – Phonetic Drama in William Blake’s The Tyger Detailed stylistic analysis of the poem by linguist Haj Ross