Analysis of Poems “To a Louse” by Robert Burns and “The Tyger” by William Blake

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Did the Romantic period bring love to everyone’s view? Or did it simply bring other ideas to the light? From around 1770 to 1850 (during the eighteenth century) an intellectual musical, literary, and artistic movement started known as the Romantic era. The poem written by Robert Burns named “To a Louse” and the poem “The Tyger” by William Blake share may differences throughout each writing. Although these poems were written near the same time period, the messages behind them differ greatly.

In the first poem “To a Louse”, The author is speaking to a lice bug that is crawling on a rich woman’s bonnet. As he describes the woman sitting in a room full of people, she has no idea that the louse is on her. She sits there oblivious to everyone else laughing and pointing at her, with her head held high confident as ever. The author even questions the louse why out of all people is it crawling on her? Talking to the Louse the author states “ Ye ugly, creepan, blastet wonner, Dested, shunned by sunt an’sinner, How dare you set your fit upon her, sae fine a Lady! “He then goes to talk about how the bug should be on cattle, or a broke man’s jacket, but not on such a beautiful woman. However, by the end of the poem Robert comes to a conclusion. If only we could see ourselves as other people see us, we would not be so stuck up and vein. If the lady with the Louse on her had only knew it was there, her head would not be held so high, she wouldn’t think she was the best person in the room anymore. This poem shows an insight that we really aren’t as perfect as we think, and that we shouldn’t let it go to our heads.

In the poem written by William Blake “The Tyger” shows the beauty in power and fire, but also the dangers behind it. The author starts by describing the tiger as “burning bright” And that he can see “The fire” in this majestic animal’s eyes. He is dumbfounded by how God/The creator could make such a beautiful but strong and intense being. He thinks the creator molded the tiger straight out of flames, making sense to the fire like stripes across the tiger’s body. He compares god to a blacksmith, connecting multiple features to create a wild, strong, and unstoppable creature that is living. However, the author is confused how the creator could make such different beings, from a soft, sweet lamb to a ferocious attacking tiger. He asks himself in the poem “Did he who make the lamb make thee?” Although the tiger can be scary and intimidating, it is also a representation of strength and beauty.

These poems although they are written about different things, both share a certain insight. The first poem (To a Louse) represents vanity and filling your head with the thought of yourself as perfect. The second poem (The Tyger) represents finding the beauty within frightening things. Both of these poems involve seeing the beautiful, and the ugly side of things weather that’s physical or emotional. Both of these poems also refer back to an animal to show/prove the insight of what the author is trying to tell us, through them. These two poems represent the beauty and the ugly, while also using animals the show the point.

These poems may have some similarities, but they differ the most. In “The Tyger” The poet talks about the beauty of the animal and how breathtaking he is to look at. In “To a Louse” the author states how disgusting the bug is, how it is gross, and shouldn’t even be in the church. While the tiger is created by hand through god, it is a beautiful creation. Meanhile (the louse) is a disgust to everyone who sees it. The Tyger poem is about not getting too close to what can seem so luring, while the Louse poem is about staying away from things that are disgusting. The messages also differ throughout these poems. One message being that you should not always be so vein, while the other one states you should not always trust everything that looks intriguing to you.

“The Tyger” by William Blake best represents the Romantic period because it shows the beauty in danger. It proves you can still find love and fascination with the most dangerous and intimidating things in life. It shows that everything was made perfectly by the creator, and that you can find love and beauty in anything.


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Analysis of Poems “To a Louse” by Robert Burns and “The Tyger” by William Blake. (2021, Sep 20). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/analysis-of-poems-to-a-louse-by-robert-burns-and-the-tyger-by-william-blake/

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