Term Paper: Poetry of William Butler Yeats

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[. . .] However, as his poetry matured, so did his images of Ireland, such as in a later work, "No Second Troy," which celebrates the noble beauty of Ireland, but laments the troubles the Irish people are facing under English rule. "That nobleness made simple as a fire, / With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind / That is not natural in an age like this" (Yeats). As Yeats grew older, he became more concerned with the political problems facing Ireland, but if anything, they simply added to his love for his home, and added to the imagery he used in his poetry to introduce his readers to the Emerald Isle.

Another later poem, "At Galway Races," illustrates how Yeats work was evolving, but the theme of Ireland was still the most lasting message in his works. "Sing on: somewhere at some new moon, / We'll learn that sleeping is not death, / Hearing the whole earth change its tune, / Its flesh being wild, and it again / Crying aloud as the racecourse is, / And we find hearteners among men / That ride upon horses" (Yeats). Yeats is not only celebrating horse racing, which is the national sport of Ireland, it is celebrating the endurance of Ireland during its troubles with Great Britain, and celebrating the strong backbone of the Irish, who are men "that ride upon horses." Yeats work literally breathes Ireland in every line, and there is no doubt that Yeats loved this unique land, and wanted to share that love with people the world over.

Another early poem, "The Two Trees" illustrates how even the most simple of Yeats poems has Ireland in their heart and soul. "the surety of its hidden root / has planted quiet in the night; / The shaking of its leafy head / Has given the waves their melody" (Yeats). Clearly, the strength of the "hidden root" is the strength of Ireland and its people, who have survived hardship after hardship to become stronger and more enduring.

Yeats used imagery of the natural world to help flesh out the themes of Ireland in his works, but he also used images of love, symbolism, and diction to show his feelings. In "When You Are Old," he seems to be talking to a lover, but he could just as well be talking to Ireland. "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" (Yeats). Yeats was never afraid to show his soul in his poetry, as this poem clearly illustrates. These are words of deep love, and they acknowledge the pivotal point Ireland played in his work, which is why it is the theme of so much of his poetry. His poetry could have become sappy and sentimental if he had let it, but instead, it is strong and beautiful, just like the country he admired so much.

Themes and their understanding play an important role in understanding and analyzing poetry of any sort, and Yeats poetry is no exception. Knowing Yeats had a deep, abiding love for his mother country only adds to the rich meaning of his poetry. This love is woven through almost every poem he ever wrote, and certainly is exemplified in the poems of his early years all the way through to his later works. Yeats wrote of many things, but most of all, he wrote about things he knew and understood in Ireland, and this makes his poems long lasting and beautiful in any century.

In conclusion, William Butler Yeats wrote of his beloved Ireland with his heart as well as his head. His love of his homeland is quite apparent in his poetry, and his own words sum up his feelings best. He wrote in "To Ireland in the Coming Times," "While still I may, I write for you /

The love I lived, the dream I knew" (Yeats). He loved Ireland with all his heart, and his poetry shared his love with his readers and the world.

References

Gallagher, Patrick, et al., eds. The Yeats Country: A Guide to Places in the West of Ireland Associated with the Life and Writings of William Butler Yeats.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Poetry of William Butler Yeats.  (2004, February 27).  Retrieved December 6, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/poetry-william-butler-yeats/3731940

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"Poetry of William Butler Yeats."  Essaytown.com.  February 27, 2004.  Accessed December 6, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/poetry-william-butler-yeats/3731940.