Fearful symmetry

Engraving by William Blake, 1794
Songs of Innocence and of Experience, pl. 42
London, British Museum, 1856,0209.378
© The Trustees of the British Museum / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

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 sieze 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?

 ………………..William Blake: The Tyger


Featured image: mosaic depicting a female tiger attacking a cow.
The mosaic was assembled from marble pieces of different sizes and colours. The irregularly shaped stones were carefully cut and polished. This manufacturing technique, the so-called opus sectile, was especially popular in Late Antiquity. Such mosaic panels (emblemata) were separately designed, and fitted into larger compositions. This emblema decorated the basilica of the consul Iunius Bassus in Rome.
For the mosaic, see the website of the Musei Capitolini, image source: wikimedia, Jean-Pol Grandmont.

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