Is the speaker addressing anyone in particular in William Blake's poem, "The Lamb?"

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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There is no doubt in my mind that William Blake is addressing an actual lamb, but that he is drawing attention to God and his son Jesus, the Lamb of God.

It is no surprise that William Blake's poem, "The Lamb" is religious in nature. When Blake was young, he claimed to have seen God and angels. When his younger brother Robert died, Blake declared that he had spoken with Robert after his passing. Blake was also very religious.

The first part of the poem addresses the lamb, asking it if it knows who made it, clothed it in soft wool or gave it "such a tender voice." In the first stanza, he asks the lamb twice:

Little Lamb, who made thee?

Dost thou know who made thee?

This use of the literary device of repetition shows how important the question is to Blake, and therefore, to the poem. In the second stanza, "He is called by thy name" alludes to John's scripture, Chapter 1 (NIV):

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!' (verse 29)


The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, 'Look, the Lamb of God!' (verses 35-36)

"He became like a little child" is an allusion to Jesus being born as a child, and also to scripture in Matthew 18:3 (NIV):

And [Jesus] said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'

When Blake says "We are called by his name," he is referring to "lamb" once again...the name of "lamb," as noted above. Blake then repeats the last two lines, showing once again through repetition, the importance of the closing sentiment of his poem:

Little Lamb, God bless thee!

Little Lamb, God bless thee!

In this way, I don't think that Blake is only calling on God to bless simply the lamb he is referring to literally in the poem, but for all people who are seen as Jesus' sheep or part of his "flock."



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