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The Stolen Child Analysis



Author: poem of William Butler Yeats Type: poem Views: 80

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Where dips the rocky highland

Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,

There lies a leafy island

Where flapping herons wake

The drowsy water-rats;

There we've hid our faery vats,

Full of berries

And of reddest stolen cherries.

Come away, O human child!

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

For the world's more full of weeping than you

can understand.




Where the wave of moonlight glosses

The dim grey sands with light,

Far off by furthest Rosses

We foot it all the night,

Weaving olden dances,

Mingling hands and mingling glances

Till the moon has taken flight;

To and fro we leap

And chase the frothy bubbles,

While the world is full of troubles

And is anxious in its sleep.

Come away, O human child!

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

For the world's more full of weeping than you

can understand.




Where the wandering water gushes

From the hills above Glen-Car,.

In pools among the rushes

That scarce could bathe a star,

We seek for slumbering trout

And whispering in their ears

Give them unquiet dreams;

Leaning softly out

From ferns that drop their tears

Over the young streams.

Come away, O human child!

To to waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

For to world's more full of weeping than you

can understand.




Away with us he's going,

The solemn-eyed:

He'll hear no more the lowing

Of the calves on the warm hillside

Or the kettle on the hob

Sing peace into his breast,

Or see the brown mice bob

Round and round the oatmeal-chest.

For be comes, the human child,

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand,

from a world more full of weeping than you.







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

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"tbqh i fink itz all about a wee fary hu wantz a kid to play wif becuz der bored, and da cherryz r 4 da kid 2 eat." dubya bee yeetz

| Posted on 2015-02-06 | by a guest


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This is about the fairies that are fallen, like the devil, an angel fallen from Heaven. Where the fairies take the child because they are the evil fairies and like to disobey the likes of God to the fairy world.

| Posted on 2013-02-26 | by Poetry123456787


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This is about the fairies that are fallen, like the devil, an angel fallen from Heaven. Where the fairies take the child because they are the evil fairies and like to disobey the likes of God to the fairy world.

| Posted on 2013-02-26 | by Poetry123456787


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seriously this poem is beyond mind boggling, I\'m studying it for AS Lit, as much as I admire Yeats woek especially this poem its so hard to get your head around!
My Theory- Yeats is reminiscing on his childhood and life living in County Sligo, he realises that as he grew up into the real worls \'its more full of weeping than he can understand\' and feels he is no longer innocent. Unlike his brother who died young and was whisked away with the Faerys \'to the waters and the wild\'. Yeats emphasises their danger. But also recognises their world is much better than reality.

| Posted on 2013-02-23 | by a guest


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I think that the boys innocence is the proverbial blood of Christ the reddest stolen cherries in the faery vat. As innocence is lost he is depicted as a trout with unquiet dreams. The tears of each tortured soul not just of the individual in poem collect to make up the body of water ...there\'s more weeping then you could ever understand...the faerys are malevolent from the very start.

| Posted on 2013-01-26 | by a guest


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Perhaps a solemn eyed child because of what the child has seen in his world. Perhaps the writer was that child and perhaps that child grieved the loss of his sibling. Perhaps that child grieved the loss of the world he had known: parents that lose a child can slip into a melancholy so deep that the surviving child can be robbed of the love he once knew and be left uncomforted. Surviving children often wish it had been them, and not the other, as the one lost seems to be the one most loved. Many feel guilty for being the child that lived. Many feel guilty for craving the love and attention of their grieving parents. Perhaps the writer is speaking to a child who observed HIS \"world to be more full of weeping than HE could possibly understand.\" Over 100 hundred years ago, as people struggled to survive and cope, perhaps, that human child was over looked at a time of tragedy. We can surmise but will never know. This reader does not sense the faery to be sinister. It would seem that the writer notes the familiar (the lowing calf) that will be left behind, but would not be bound to this world by the familiar. If based on a child\'s sorrows, perhaps the writer\'s human child longed for relief, maybe to even be reunited with the wrtier\'s lost sibling. Perhaps the child looked to the faery for healing.

| Posted on 2013-01-24 | by a guest


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Viewed in the context of the history of the writers native land i.e social stations of no opportunity, even less hope, famine, disease and death. Perhaps the writer suggests that beauty and innocence DO exist in this sphere but one\'s ability to experience at any level may be determined by circumstances of birth. When first purchased Waterboys version, experienced primal, gut wrenching pain/emotion slicing through the core of one\'s being. Accent so heavy on recording, HAD to find words; haunting. Perhaps some were never meant for this world, or by the time they arrived here; too fragile, too delicate, too, too, too. Oh, if only to have had been led away gently by the faery hand rather than be left behind. Some opine the writer perceives the faery to be danger. Cleary left unsaid, it is left to interpretation of the reader. Demon or angel? Harm or heaven? Those that grieve for their own, truly, stolen child would most likely say, safe embrace.

| Posted on 2013-01-24 | by a guest


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I believe this poem is about the \"stolen youth\" as in a child and the fairies could be represented as age and growing up, how it steals away your innocence and there is no stopping it because in the end \"the worlds more full of weeping than you can understand\".

| Posted on 2013-01-17 | by a guest


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I believe this poem is about the \"stolen youth\" as in a child and the fairies could be represented as age and growing up, how it steals away your innocence and there is no stopping it because in the end \"the worlds more full of weeping than you can understand\".

| Posted on 2013-01-17 | by a guest


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When I first heard the poem, I did not realize it was from early in Yeats\' career and so I immediately linked its sentiments to later fare thus interpreted it as meaning something to the effect of \"Come away with us because the world is unravelling in a widening gyre and the beast is slouching toward Bethelehem.\" From this stadpoint I found it daring in its tone...the faeries ARE sinister and yet they are taking the child from a world that is terrible anyway...

| Posted on 2012-09-27 | by a guest


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The Stolen Child seems more to do with the death of Yeats brother and Yeats consoling himself that he his brother will now be in a better place than a world full of suffering where he once was. He the brother has found an escape to the land of faeries and childhood and innocence.

| Posted on 2012-03-21 | by a guest


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People see with filtered eyes- they only see what they want to see. We all live in our own \"realities\", which isn\'t really reality at a lll. Seeing with filtered eyes allows us to mask our lives enough to live in comfort. The fairies are trying to pull the child into a completely filtered dream world so that the child has no chance of suffering. They are trying to keep the child a child - ignorant. As we grow up, we learn more and more about the world and suffer daily- yet still stay filtered. The dream world that the fairies are trying to pull the child into lacks the suffering. Maybe its a paradise? We seek for things that we can\'t find and lust for things that we can\'t have. We fall asleep shaken by the world- anxious and restless. The fairies don\'t want the child to have to suffer that way- he gets lured by the fairies into a dream world, or \"heaven\". Possibly a suicide? The fairies are attractive to him, so he goes...but only because the real world is so unattractive. This could make the fairies both bad and good. Or maybe the fairies simply symbolize the want to be happy, and the feeling of happiness is said to be in a paradise.

| Posted on 2012-03-18 | by a guest


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To explain the death of a child as spiriting away by fairies - from a world more full of weeping, than you (the child) can understand. Heart wrenching. The waterboys did a great job on it.

| Posted on 2011-09-16 | by a guest


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“ The Stolen Child” in my opinion is about Lost Childhood and a romantic look at lost youth and memory of place, in this case County Sligo on the NW coast of Ireland.
It describes a first scene from childhood where memory is awakened and he sees his rural roots and describes them rather accurately with the activity of his youth. (Hiding berries in jampots/bottles was a common activity at the time. It may be mirroring the adult activity of making poteen an illicit brew ! ‘ vats’!)
Second verse looks at another scene from his youth, growing up, a great description of nightime at Rosses (perhaps Rosses point) ”where waves of moonlight glosses the dim grey sands ….” that beautiful descriptive line that sets the scene of ocean and beach in moonlight. Dancing all night “footed all the night” and the courting activity of youth , “lost in an uneasy world”.
The next verse takes another rural scene from youth, describes again the location accuarately, “the hills above Glencar (Lake)” The art of catching trout in young pools is described, streams new from the hills, “leaning softly out” on the riverbank to stroke trout into sleeping , so close to the water you can “whisper in their ear”.
The final verse “the solemn-eyed” the thief of time, serious face,age, has arrived and the “no more” list, will you do these childhood things is the lament for lost youth.
It is interesting that each of the first three verses begin with “where” which to me indicates place and the last verse begins with “away” which is away from place.
Finally I do believe repeating the last four lines in each stanza is the lament reinforced and it’s asking the reader to join with him in that faeryland of memory and leave the troubles of the world behind. I have also found in most text these last four lines are in italics which suggest a chorus .
I have been reading this poem for over fifty years and its meaning to me has changed over this time to what I now suggest. Previously I would have suggested Irish methology where babies “may” have been stolen or changed by fairies and indeed this same area of County Sligo has a rich tradition in fairy methology with many placenames associated with fairies or fairy names.
Maybe it will mean something different to you, and perhaps it should ! A wonderful poem in every way .
I am not a scolar of poetry but would like to hear your views on this.

| Posted on 2011-05-21 | by a guest


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It also makes me think that art comes from living in the real world, from joy and suffering, and shouldn\'t be traded for the promise of some empty dream.

| Posted on 2011-03-15 | by a guest


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First off we should all just enjoy the sheer beauty of this poem, the english language doesn\'t get much better than this.
It\'s about the abduction of a child, lured and lulled away by faeries, as we are lulled by the soft sibilants of the poetry.
Initially the faeries are beautiful and playful, dancing and carousing, oblivious to the woes of mortal men.
But as the poem unfolds they slowly darken, seeding \"unquiet dreams\" until their masks slip and \"the solemn eyed\" lead the child away from the comforts of home and hearth to some tearless alien world.
The poem is beautiful, ambivalent and gently sinister.

| Posted on 2011-03-15 | by a guest


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when read correctly this poem is amazing and I also am doing an English paper on this poem, and thanks to some of these answers it really helped me think!!!

| Posted on 2011-01-14 | by a guest


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My take is is what the message and theme of Mr. Yeats poem represents: The value of our individual childlike imaginations. ... which exist in this world too full of weeping we cannot and probably will not ever understand.
Real value lies within our childlike imaginations and as we grow older our tendency is to self sensor and smother and bury that childlike voice and inner vision until we can no longer know where to look....The poem argues that the innocence we lose should be searched for and found and born again if we simply make the effort.

| Posted on 2010-07-11 | by a guest


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I am currently analyzing this poem for an english class and I have some differeing views on it. While I understand that it is talking about "stealing" a child away into the fairy world there are many other things to look at as well. I think some very big themes/ideas in this poem are about innocence, freedom and the constant striving to make a better world. If you notice, the poem mentions water quite frequently throughout. Water is a symbol of freedom because it is free flowing. And the animals mentioned at the beginning (herons and water rats) are free and wild animals where the animals mentioned at the end (calves, mice) have been more domesticated. I also think that the poem is referring to childhood and growing up. Although they use the word child throughout the entire poem, that doesn't necessarily designate this person as a child. Adults have been called children too for various reasons. I think that part of the poem is just about how humans are always looking for happiness, wanting to have a perfect life, but this will never happen because "the world is more full of weeping than you can understand." Humanities strive for happiness will never end, it is an endless road that people will travel down. It doesn't matter where you go in the world there will always be something that keeps you from being 100% happy. You just have to make the most out of your life and stop wishing for things to change; make them change.

| Posted on 2010-05-11 | by a guest


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Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
This is key, the person that could once "foot it all the night" is now described as solemn... a change has taken place alright, age is the culprit, not a faery.

| Posted on 2010-03-29 | by a guest


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why do the fairies want the child? I think its because they want the parents to suffer

| Posted on 2010-02-18 | by a guest


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why do the fairies want the child? I think its because they want the parents to suffer

| Posted on 2010-02-18 | by a guest


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the poem is about how the fairies lure the child to this magical place by making it sound like it 10 times better than real worl by say how they have so much fun and dance all night. the fairies are mischivous and not good. they make it seem like the world is a sad place and is full of sorrow. yeats is writing about the loss of a child and how it fells cause in the end the child goes with the fairies and leaves his parents and home behind

| Posted on 2010-02-15 | by a guest


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It's about the luring of a human child to the faeries, the stories of the Changelings. Lure the human child and replace it with the changeling child, which was deformed, disabled sometimes even dead, but the faeries would get the healthy beautiful human child.

| Posted on 2010-02-02 | by a guest


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I would like to say that the note that is left in the comment box is a lie. There's no way that the administrators read the comments before submitting them to this site if they approved the last one.

| Posted on 2010-01-31 | by a guest


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This poem is a bunch a bull crapnel (a mixture of crap and shrapnel). I was forced to read and analyze it for an english class, and was left puzzled trying to decipher the semantics of it. As a result, I sought out help from the internet where I stumbled upon this website; I couldn't believe people would waste time (like I am now)to share their opinions on a poem like this.

| Posted on 2010-01-31 | by a guest


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The stolen child represents a romantic poet's wish to escape the world and live in a fairy land. The poem belongs to the early period of Yeats's career. The poet finds the world "more full of weeping than you can understand". Although the line is addressed to a child, yet it holds good for every romantically inclined person who finds the world too dull and dreary place to live in and wishes in his hearts of hearts to escape to the "waters and wild with a fairy hand in hand." However, this is only a futile wish and we can bid farewell to the fairies in the words of Keats, "Adieu, adieu, the fancy can cheat so well/ as she is famed to do."
M.R.Sethi

| Posted on 2010-01-12 | by a guest


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The stolen child represents a romantic poet's wish to escape the world and live in a fairy land. The poem belongs to the early period of Yeats's career. The poet finds the world "more full of weeping than you can understand". Although the line is addressed to a child, yet it holds good for every romantically inclined person who finds the world too dull and dreary place to live in and wishes in his hearts of hearts to escape to the "waters and wild with a fairy hand in hand." However, this is only a futile wish and we can bid farewell to the fairies in the words of Keats, "Adieu, adieu, the fancy can cheat so well/ as she is famed to do."
M.R.Sethi

| Posted on 2010-01-12 | by a guest


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I should add to my above statement regarding Yeats' "The Stolen Child". In addition to what I said, it should also be kept in mind that parents in Ireland would often claim that their child was now a "changeling" when the child acted differently than usual. This could be a rationalization for disorders such as Asperger's Syndrome (which most people believe Yeats to have been a victim of). Thus, pretending that your child was actually not your child and was, rather, a fae of some sort would serve as a good remedy for parents who were not clear as to why their childs behavior was "abnormal".
Stefany DeVincentis, LMT

| Posted on 2009-10-31 | by a guest


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I think this piece represents his childhood. He is describing the places of Ireland in which he grew up in. These places represent innocence and freedom to him. I think the stolen child represents his brother who died as a child. I also think the descriptions of the farm life is a representation of the control mankind need, where as the fae represent freedom.

| Posted on 2009-10-14 | by a guest


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I disagree slightly with the analysis above posted on 3/9/2009. I think that this poem is actually about a faery "stealing" a human child. In Celtic lore, Fae would steal human children and replace them with Faery look-alikes. This was a rationalization usually believed when a crisis like Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or some other disease took a child's life unexpectedly. Thus, the belief that fae would steal children from the human world and take them to the "Smmerlands" (the land of the magical and the dead) would be enlisted in an effort to rationalize such pains experienced in Celtic culture. This may be incorrect,of course, but this is my interpretation of the W.B. Yeats "The Stolen Child". Posted by Stefany DeVincentis, LMT from Newark, DE.

| Posted on 2009-09-03 | by a guest


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the poem talk about a fairy (or faery) who tries to convince a child to go with the fairy to a magical world filled with all these wonderful things, ex. the frothy bubbles, the red stolen cherries, the dim grey sands with light, the pools among the rushes.. etc.
as the fairy continues to convince the child to go with them, it also explains why as "the world is more full of weeping than you could possibly understand"
within the last stanza of the poem we learn that the child travels with the faery, and as the child looked away with solemn eyes he will hear no more of the lowering and sing peace into his breast.

| Posted on 2009-03-09 | by a guest




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