Tyger, tyger burning bright
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
In the forests of the night
This last verse is a blend of a classic childrens bedtime prayer from the 18th century and William Blake`s “The Tyger” from 1794. The former was possibly written by Joseph Addison, who also wrote the play “Cato, a Tragedy”. A major theme in this play is the freedom of the individual in opposition of tyranny. Arguably, the text was a literary inspiration for the American Revolution. William Blake, of course, is one of the last truly significant visionary and mystic poets in Britain before The Beatles went to India.
Allen Ginsberg commented that when he first met John Lennon and the Beatles in England at the hotel room of Bob Dylan he sat on John’s lap and asked him if he was familiar with the writings of William Blake. John said “no” but Cynthia Lennon quickly commented that he was lying, of course. The repeating and final refrain about John burning bright like Blake’s Tyger is Dylan’s first explicit acknowledgement of Blake in a song. It is also a tribute to the great impact that John had on the world, like Blake’s Tyger.
Also, modern Cudi: “If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take”
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