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September 1913 Analysis



Author: poem of William Butler Yeats Type: poem Views: 28


What need you, being come to sense,
But fumble in a greasy till
And add the halfpence to the pence
And prayer to shivering prayer, until
You have dried the marrow from the bone?
For men were born to pray and save:
Romantic Ireland's dead and gone,
It's with O'Leary in the grave.

Yet they were of a different kind,
The names that stilled your childish play,
They have gone about the world like wind,
But little time had they to pray
For whom the hangman's rope was spun,
And what, God help us, could they save?
Romantic Ireland's dead and gone,
It's with O'Leary in the grave.

Was it for this the wild geese spread
The grey wing upon every tide;
For this that all that blood was shed,
For this Edward Fitzgerald died,
And Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone,
All that delirium of the brave?
Romantic Ireland's dead and gone,
It's with O'Leary in the grave.

Yet could we turn the years again,
And call those exiles as they were
In all their loneliness and pain,
You'd cry, 'Some woman's yellow hair
Has maddened every mother's son':
They weighed so lightly what they gave.
But let them be, they're dead and gone,
They're with O'Leary in the grave.

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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||




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In this poem yeats is reflecting on the key events of sorrow that occured in the country he loves so much. The first stanza relates to the greedyness of the ols irish merchents that took away the courage of ireland by only caring about the smallest of money, \'add the haldpence to the pence\'. The refrain at the end of each stanza signifies the importance of what he is saying; that ireland has changes and its heroes died away with it.
The second stanza highlights how well known the heroic irish names were, even the children knew of them; \'the names that stilled your childish play \'.
There is a switch of subject from stanza threee to four. Yeats talks about the heros here, and the loss of their lives, for those of the merchants. The merchents left ireland at every oppertunity, whereas the tru heros stayed \'was it for this the wild geese spread?\'

| Posted on 2012-04-22 | by a guest


.: :.

\"No requests for explanation or general short comments allowed\"? WTF?
Well in that case, here is my analysis: GET DOWN OF YOUR HIGH HORSE! That kind of self important, scholarly attitude is exactly the kind of thing Yeats would dissaprove of. It will only turn people off poetry.
Poetry should not be to be some kind of systematic critical analysis of regimental pedantic obsession. No, it should be open to all to comment on, no matter how stupid or innane the comment, it\'s called free speech.
Remember, it\'s poetry not particle physics.

| Posted on 2011-01-06 | by a guest


.: :.

In three stanzas Yeats asks questions of the readers, provoking them to critise the way Ireland was. " Dried the marrow from the bone?" He is confrontiaional. I think by posing questions he is trying to get thr reader to think about these issues, and hopefully see his point. "And what, God help us, could they save?" he is trying to ask was it worth trying to save éire if this is what it became. Also his use of asking God gives it a sarcastic, ironic scornful tone. It refers to the people he addresses in stanza one and their pathetic form of religion. "All that delirium of the Brave?" , he's asking was were the brave martyrs delirious, was it worth their lives for these. He is not attacking the patriots but suggestion that because of how the "men born to pray and save" weren't worthy of their sacrifices.
Overall the poem has a very arrogant, acuusatory tone. Although we later see in Easter 1916 that Yeats comes to eat his word!
PeAcE

| Posted on 2010-05-17 | by a guest


.: :.

Yeats reflects on the materialism and cynicism of the Irish middle classes. Since we currently live in a very materialist age, the relevance of this poem is very apparent.

| Posted on 2010-04-12 | by a guest


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"They weighed so lightly what they gave" is redolent of the statement released by Lord Edward Fitzgerald's sister shortly after his death. Lady Lucy FitzGerald, authored the following regarding her brother's fidelity to Ireland: Irishmen, Countrymen, it is Edward FitzGerald's sister who addresses you: it is a woman but that woman is his sister: she would therefore die for you as he did. I don't mean to remind you of what he did for you. 'Twas no more than his duty. Without ambition he resigned every blessing this world could afford to be of use to you, to his Countrymen whom he loved better than himself, but in this he did no more than his duty; he was a Paddy and no more; he desired no other title than this

| Posted on 2010-04-04 | by a guest


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"
Yeats is attacking the collusion between banks, politicians and developers that exists in contemporary Ireland. He also reflects on the Catholic Church and how paedophilia is deemed acceptable in organised religion. The fury is evoked through challenging imagery, careful use of the personal pronoun and a sustained contrast throughout the work.
The poem is vitriolic in tone and accusatory in mood"
LOL - he's been dead for 70 years

| Posted on 2010-03-31 | by a guest


.: :.

Yeats is attacking the collusion between banks, politicians and developers that exists in contemporary Ireland. He also reflects on the Catholic Church and how paedophilia is deemed acceptable in organised religion. The fury is evoked through challenging imagery, careful use of the personal pronoun and a sustained contrast throughout the work.
The poem is vitriolic in tone and accusatory in mood.

| Posted on 2010-01-08 | by a guest


.: :.

It's a sad sad indictment of Irish history and the lockout. It also applies just as much to life in Ireland today as it did 100 odd years ago.

| Posted on 2009-11-30 | by a guest


.: :.

Yeats is portraying the new merchant class as greedy and mercenary when he says "fumble in a greasy till". This shows they are concerned and hold onto money until it is greasy. He carries on this and says "add the halfpence to pence" "prayer to shivering prayer" showing that they are concerned with even the smallest of change ad that they are so insincere about religion that they will buy prayers (around this time the church was selling places in heaven.
It's almost as though they use religion as a currency.
He then uses a complex metaphor "dried the marrow from the bone”. This is symbolism for the merchant class sucking the courage out of Ireland because all they care about is money and buying a place in heaven "born to pray and save".
Most of the verbs and adjectives in stanza one have negative connotations with accusatory and sarcastic overtones. An example of such words is “fumble” which indicates they don’t know what they’re doing
Yeats then says "romantic Ireland's dead and gone, It’s with O’Leary in the grave". This means the old patriotic Ireland died with the old Irish heroes.
In those two lines, the tone changes and he evokes feelings of regret and admitting.
In the change between stanza one and stanza two, there is a shift in focus. In stanza one he was directly addressing the merchants whereas in stanza two he's referring to the Irish heroes, “Yet they were of a different kind”. He makes them seem so famous and so respected that even children stop still at the mention of their names, “the names that stilled your childish play”. As in stanza one, he uses a comparison and symbolism, but instead of a metaphor he uses a simile “They have gone about the world like wind”. This means that they are so famous that they are talked about all over the globe and the fame spread as quickly as wind.
Now Yeats contrasts the two sets of nationalists when he says “little time had they to pray”. In stanza one he talks about how insincerely the merchants pray but the heroes have no time to even pray because they are to busy fighting for Irish freedom.
Yeats expresses the futility when he says “what ,God help us, could they save”. This has two possible meanings. One is that they weren’t able to save Ireland despite their best efforts and another is that they weren’t able to save themselves.
He ends stanza two with the repetition of the last two lines of stanza one ,however this time it evokes the sense of finality that reflects the futility in line 6.
Stanza three has a lighter feel. The overtones are of admiration towards the heroes instead of hatred of the merchants. Yeats opens the stanza with a reference to the Irish groups who went to Europe to spread the ideas of peace and nationalism. They were called “wild geese”. He carries on with the image of freedom and uses another metaphor when he says “spread the grey wing”. This suggests the heroes were spreading their freedom and gives an image of geese spreading freedom.
Now he mentions the names of all the heroes, but only uses names and gives no detail. He now repeats the sense of futility when he says “for this Edwards Fitzgerald died”. This suggests he died for nothing. Yeats says “delirium of the brave” which has connotations of excess and means they have gone mad with the desire to fight for Ireland.
Now there is a refrain in between stanza three and four. Yeats talks about how the merchants would say the Irish heroes have gone mad with love for Ireland. The quote “some woman’s yellow hair has maddened every mother’s son” could suggest two things. One is that the merchant class do not understand patriotism and they think the heroes were fighting for less noble reason and that they are only fighting to impress “some woman”. The other is that they were fighting for a Ireland who is sometimes portrayed as a women I.E Cathleen Ni Houlihan( the imagery of a women or damsel in distress gives the heroes a reason to fight).The 5th line of stanza 4 says that the heroes gave their lives without thinking or weighing it up ,in contrast to the merchant’s who way up even the smallest of pennies. “They weighed so lightly what they gave” suggests this.
The last two lines is again the repetition only with a slight alteration. This time Yeats writes “but let them be, they’re dead and gone”. This suggests that they are better off dead because Yeats doesn’t want them to see the Ireland of 1913.
By Kayleigh Coutts, age 15. Wales.

| Posted on 2007-03-28 | by a guest




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