The Lamb, William Blake: Summary, Analysis & Themes

"The Lamb" by William Blake is a contemplative poem that explores the nature of innocence and divinity through the symbolism of a lamb. The poem delves into the relationship between the Creator, the lamb, and the speaker, highlighting themes of simplicity, purity, and spiritual connection. Through rhythmic structure, repetition, and vivid imagery, Blake presents a profound exploration of the interplay between the divine and the earthly.

The Lamb

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life and bid thee feed
By the stream and 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 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.


"The Lamb" contemplates the origin and nature of a lamb. The speaker inquires about who created the lamb, highlighting its attributes and provision. The speaker then tells the lamb that it is named after the Creator, who is meek and became a child. This connection between the Creator, the lamb, and the speaker is celebrated, and the poem concludes with a blessing upon the lamb.


The major themes in "The Lamb" include:

  • Innocence and Purity: The lamb symbolizes innocence, purity, and meekness, emphasizing qualities associated with both the lamb and the divine.
  • Divine Creator: The poem explores the idea of a divine Creator who shapes and provides for the lamb, underscoring themes of divine love and care.
  • Childlike Spirituality: The concept of the divine becoming a child reflects a childlike and innocent spirituality, suggesting a connection between the divine and human nature.
  • Identity and Naming: The naming of the lamb after the Creator establishes an intimate and personal relationship between the divine, the lamb, and the speaker.

Stanza-wise Explanation

  • Stanza 1: The speaker addresses the lamb, asking who created it and provided for it with life and sustenance by the stream and meadow.
  • Stanza 2: The speaker responds to their own question, telling the lamb that it is named after the Creator, who is meek and became a child. The repetition emphasizes the connection.

Critical Analysis

"The Lamb" beautifully encapsulates the themes of innocence, divinity, and spiritual connection. The lamb symbolizes both the meekness of Christ and the purity of creation. The speaker's inquiry into the lamb's creator reflects a contemplation of the divine source of all existence. The repetition and parallelism in the poem create a rhythmic and melodic quality, enhancing its meditative and devotional aspects. The naming of the lamb after the Creator suggests an intimate relationship, emphasizing the unity between the earthly and the divine. The poem's childlike tone and language evoke a sense of wonder and simplicity, inviting readers to explore the profound relationship between God, creation, and humanity.

Attitudes and Feelings

The speaker's attitudes and feelings in the poem include:

  • Curiosity: The speaker is curious about the origin and identity of the lamb's creator.
  • Awe and Reverence: The speaker's tone reflects a sense of awe and reverence for both the lamb and its Creator.
  • Intimacy: The connection between the Creator and the lamb, and the identification of the speaker as a child, conveys a sense of intimacy and closeness.
  • Blessing: The poem ends with a blessing upon the lamb, conveying the speaker's goodwill and positive feelings.

Style and Language

  • Symbolism: The lamb serves as a symbol of innocence, purity, and the divine. Naming the lamb after the Creator symbolizes their intimate connection.
  • Rhythmic Repetition: The rhythmic repetition of phrases, such as "Little Lamb" and "Dost thou know who made thee," creates a melodic and chant-like quality.
  • Childlike Tone: The simple language and childlike tone reflect the spiritual and innocent perspective of the speaker.
  • Parallelism: The parallel structure of the stanzas emphasizes the symmetry between the questions and answers, reinforcing the theme of connection.


"The Lamb" by William Blake is a poignant exploration of innocence, spirituality, and the interconnectedness of all existence. Through the symbolism of the lamb and the identification of the speaker as a child, the poem invites readers to reflect on the divine presence in the world and the intimate relationship between the Creator and creation. The rhythmic repetition and simple language contribute to the poem's devotional and contemplative atmosphere, allowing readers to engage with its themes on a deeply spiritual level.

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