The speaker, identifying himself as a child, asks a series of questions of a little lamb, and then answers the questions for the lamb. He asks if the lamb knows who made it, who provides it food to eat, or who gives it warm wool and a pleasant voice. The speaker then tells the lamb that the one who made it is also called “the Lamb” and is the creator of both the lamb and the speaker. He goes on to explain that this Creator s meek and mild, and Himself became a little child.
The speaker finishes by blessing the lamb in God’s name. Analysis William Flake’s “The Lamb” is an intricately complex poem written in 1789. The poem takes its central focus the grand question of creation, but it does so in an understated way, opening as a simple question to a sweet, delicate creature: “Little Lamb, who made thee? ” The first half of the two-stanza poem has the speaker ask the lamb who is responsible for life and creation of this sweet creature with the “softest looting” of delight” and “Gave thee such a tender voice. The lamb functions as a symbol for the connection between humanity and the natural world.
Associated with the rural English countryside, the lamb is also a symbol of pastoral innocence, bridging the gap between the urban world of humanity and the natural world of God’s creation. Pastoral life also takes a central position in the poem. The collection of work in which this poem appears, “Songs of Innocence,” includes many Astoria scenes.
These idyllic images of life outside of bustling cities firmly establishes a sense of peace and tranquility within these poems, including the “The Lamb. ” This connects the figures of the poem to the natural world, where the figures of the poem can contemplate their existence without the interference of completely human elements. Flake’s gentle phrasing lends a reflective, spiritual mood to the piece, which answers the question in first-person narrative in the second stanza that higher power is responsible.
In answering as Jesus Christ, Blake displays his own reverence for God in the phrases:
“He is called by thy name, For He calls Himself a Lamb. He is meek, and He is mild; He became a little child. I a child, and thou a lamb, We are called by His name. Little Lamb, God bless thee! Little Lamb, God bless thee! “
By stating the lamb’s creator as Jesus Christ, Blake is establishing that everyone is in some sense a little lamb, created by God.