Discuss the Biblical background of “The Lamb”.
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One of Blake’s most strongly religious poems, “The Lamb” takes the pastoral life of the lamb and fuses it with the Biblical symbolism of Jesus Christ as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” By using poetic rhetorical questions, the speaker, who is probably childlike rather than actually a child, creates a sort of lyric catechism in which the existence of both a young boy and a tender lamb stand as proof of a loving, compassionate Creator.
The lamb stands in relation to the boy as the boy stands in relation to his elders; each must learn the truth of his existence by questioning the origin of his life and inferring a Creator who possesses the same characteristics of gentleness, innocence, and loving kindness as both the lamb and the child. Then the direct revelation of the Scripture comes into play. The Creator, here identified specifically as Jesus Christ by his title of “Lamb of God,” displays these characteristics in his design of the natural and human world, and in His offer of salvation to all (hence the child is also “called by his name”) through his incarnation (“he became a little child”) and presumably his death and resurrection.