The Lamb

BY WILLIAM BLAKE


Little Lamb who made thee
         Dost thou know who made thee
Gave thee life & bid thee feed.
By the stream & o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing woolly bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice!
         Little Lamb who made thee
         Dost thou know who made thee

         Little Lamb I'll tell thee,
         Little Lamb I'll tell thee!
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb:
He is meek & he is mild,
He became a little child:
I a child & thou a lamb,
We are called by his name.
         Little Lamb God bless thee.
         Little Lamb God bless thee.

First of all, the speaker is a child - so the child and the lamb both are songs of innocence. And of course the lamb is also Jesus. And yet it's the child who blesses the lamb in the end. The child is the lamb is Jesus is the child is the lamb. Blake wanted his songs to be songs - sung! And each time I set one of the poems to music, with all the repetition and exploration enabled in that process, I discover elements that I would otherwise have missed. With The Lamb, I find myself moved by singing about Jesus as lamb as child as lamb as me as lamb as all of us, and being able to see beyond the dogma of religious forms into Blake's own vision of the beautiful, soft, gentle lamb as representative of all that is good and kind and beautiful in nature, in Jesus, in us humans, formed and unformed. But, this song is paired with The Tyger, so although Blake brings fully into being the beautiful, gentle, trusting lamb, innocence and openness, he also stands at the same time distanced from the lamb. Grrr.  Baaa. Peace.


Comments