There is a hint of criticism here in Tom Dacre's dream and in the boys' subsequent actions, however. Blake decries the use of promised future happiness as a way of subduing the oppressed. The boys carry on with their terrible, probably fatal work because of their hope in a future where their circumstances will be set right. This same promise was often used by those in power to maintain the status quo so that workers and the weak would not unite to stand against the inhuman conditions forced upon them. As becomes more clear in Blake's Songs of Experience, the poet had little patience with palliative measures that did nothing to alter the present suffering of impoverished families.
The Huntington Library and Art Gallery in San Marino, California, published a small facsimile edition in 1975 that included sixteen plates reproduced from two copies of Songs of Innocence and of Experience in their collection, with an introduction by James Thorpe. The songs reproduced were Introduction , Infant Joy , The Lamb , Laughing Song and Nurse's Song from Songs of Innocence , and Introduction , The Clod & the Pebble , The Tyger , The Sick Rose , Nurses Song and Infant Sorrow from Songs of Experience . Tate Publishing, in collaboration with The William Blake Trust, produced a folio edition containing all of the songs of Innocence and Experience in 2006. A colour plate of each poem is accompanied by a literal transcription, and the volume is introduced by critic and historian Richard Holmes . [ citation needed ]
The Songs of Innocence and of Experience were intended by Blake to show ‘the two contrary states of the human soul’. The Tyger is the contrary poem to The Lamb in the Songs of Innocence . The Lamb is about a kindly God who ‘calls himself a Lamb’ and is himself meek and mild. The tiger, by contrast, is a terrifying animal ‘burning’ with fire in its eyes. The poet therefore finds it hard to believe that the same God who created the gentle lamb would also make the ‘dread’ tiger. If the lamb represents Divine love, what might the tiger represent? Some commentators think it represents the anger of God, some think it represents the aggressive, war-mongering spirit of mankind, others think it represents man’s imagination and creative urges. The poem consists of a series of questions that are never fully answered, circling round us in just the same way as a tiger stalks its prey. Even at the end no answer is given: the last verse just sends us back to the same question with which we started.