the Lamb

Sung this today in Evensong. Mesmerising

   Little Lamb, who make 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, wolly, 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!

— William Blake

The Lamb was written twenty-two years ago for my then 3-year old nephew, Simon. It was composed from seven notes in an afternoon. Blake’s child-like vision perhaps explains The Lamb’s great popularity in a world that is starved of this precious and sacred dimension in almost every aspect of life.

John Tavener

Blake affirms that the God of the world and everything in it, who “Gave thee life & bid thee feed . . . Gave thee clothing of delight; Softest clothing wooly bright;” is indeed the Lamb. Christ was called the Lamb many times in the New Testament, most notably in Revelation 5:8-13: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain . . . Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” This small poem gives us, in childish simplicity, knowledge of how the Old and New Testaments fit together. I personally find great comfort in The Lamb because it points all of us to the Creator, who has given us everything, “life. . . feed . . . [and] clothing.” All of us should be just as thankful as Blake; we exist because of the Lamb. The next question that follows is “How does this Lamb want us to live?”

Albrecht Dürer - The Adoration of the Lamb

Albrecht Dürer - The Adoration of the Lamb

Leave a Reply