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William Butler Yeats - Essay Example

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Author : eglover

Summary

Some time back, I attended a wedding ceremony where the groom read W.B.Yeat's well-known poem "When You Are Old" to the bride, and these lines stayed with me: How many loved your moments of glad grace, /And loved your beauty with love false or true;/ But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, /And loved the sorrows of your changing face…

Extract of sample
William Butler Yeats


Yeats can get away with absolutely cliched poetical language like "loveliness" and still create lines of matchless significance about a woman's beauty: "How many centuries spent/The sedentary soul/In toils of measurement/Beyond eagle or mole,/Beyond hearing or seeing, Or Archimedes' guess,/To raise into being/That loveliness" (Opening song from the play Fighting the Waves). Of language he was a past master.
The themes and subjects of Yeats' poetry could be varied, because he was a man of varied interests and pursuits. Yeats could combine simplicity, a concise style, and innate wisdom for commentary on war from a soldier's point of view: "I know that I shall meet my fate/Somewhere among the clouds above;/ Those that I fight I do not hate, Those that I guard I do not love;"An Irish Airman Forsees His Death, The Wild Swans at Coole. 1919).
He could make a commentary on the Easter Rising in Ireland like he did with his poem Easter(1916): "Too long a sacrifice/ Can make a stone of the heart./O when may it suffice/ That is Heaven's part, our part /To murmur name upon name,/As a mother names her child /When sleep at last has come /On limbs that had run wild". ...
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