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Against Unworthy Praise Analysis

Author: poem of William Butler Yeats Type: poem Views: 20

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O heart, be at peace, because

Nor knave nor dolt can break

What's not for their applause,

Being for a woman's sake.

Enough if the work has seemed,

So did she your strength renew,

A dream that a lion had dreamed

Till the wilderness cried aloud,

A secret between you two,

Between the proud and the proud.

What, still you would have their praise!

But here's a haughtier text,

The labyrinth of her days

That her own strangeness perplexed;

And how what her dreaming gave

Earned slander, ingratitude,

From self-same dolt and knave;

Aye, and worse wrong than these.

Yet she, singing upon her road,

Half lion, half child, is at peace.


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

.: :.

.This poem is written in 1910. Again we should refer to biography in order to grasp the meaning of the poem. Critics note that this “knave and dolt” may refer to the the behaviour of the Abbey theatre audience, when Maud Gonne appeared in the theatre in 1905. This was the time when Maud Gonne was about to seperate from her husband. After that incident she virtually withdrew from politics and public life. The audiences of the Abbey theatre showed reaction to the actors and actresses of the time, tried to prevent the staging of plays. Since they thought that the image of Ireland was not presented favourable within the plays.

| Posted on 2009-01-01 | by a guest

.: Against Unworthy Praise :.

This poem is about loving someone for who they are, in spite of what others think of them; a harder task than it seems. Whom among us can claim they have not reversed an opinion held based on the critique of another, no matter how "dolt"-ish their opinion may have been? This poem is in admiration of a woman who had no difficulty ignoring the slander of others, in a combination of both innocence and strength. The poem seeks to assuage the narrators own tendency to bow to public opinion by convincing himself that the harsh words of others mean nothing in the face of her complex and wonderful character. This is a poem about falling in love, the beginning of devotion that may or may not stick. One feels that if the narrator does capitulate to the capricious whims of others, it will have been his loss.

| Posted on 2007-01-12 | by a guest

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