Blake's poem "Tyger tyger..."

(9 Posts)
CanadianJohn Fri 13-May-16 19:17:47

I realise that Blake isn't easily appreciated by mere mortals, but why did he spell the word "tyger" rather than "tiger"? The poem was published 50 years after Johnson's dictionary.

I'm probably missing something, as usual.

Johnson:
Ti'ger. n.s. [tigre, Fr. tigris, Latin.] A fierce beast of the leonine kind.

Shakespeare:
When the blast of war blows in your ear,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood.

MrsHathaway Fri 13-May-16 19:54:19

Because he was messing with language probably.

Your Shakespeare is modernised spelling as well so it doesn't prove much.

CanadianJohn Fri 13-May-16 20:34:47

Actually no, I took the quote directly from Johnson johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?page_id=7070&i=2060

As regards messing with language: that's the most sensible explanation, though "sensible" and "Blake" don't seem to go together.

MrsHathaway Fri 13-May-16 21:01:46

Oh I see. Bear in mind that Johnson had significantly less stringent methods to his dictionarying than, say, the Modern OED.

"sensible" and "Blake" don't seem to go together.

Truer words never spoken. I guess it's like asking why e e cummings hated capitals. Once you're that good you can break whatever "rules" you like.

kickassangel Fri 13-May-16 21:25:10

Yep, because he is Blake, and if you can sit nekkid on the front lawn while the drugs muse tells you how to write and illustrate your poetry, then a random 'ym' really isn't a big deal.

BestIsWest Fri 13-May-16 21:51:08

I like this explanation.

CanadianJohn Fri 13-May-16 23:12:01

That's very interesting, BestIs, it reminds me of Leonard Cohen's "there is a crack in everything; that is how the light gets in".

BestIsWest Sat 14-May-16 08:43:33

Ah thanks, have seen that quoted recently and not realised it was Leonard Cohen.

BestIsWest Sun 15-May-16 11:54:10

I came across a quote, 'The wound is the place where the light enters you' from Rumi today which is a very similar sentiment.

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