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Her Anxiety Analysis

Author: poem of William Butler Yeats Type: poem Views: 31

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Earth in beauty dressed

Awaits returning spring.

All true love must die,

Alter at the best

Into some lesser thing.

Prove that I lie.

Such body lovers have,

Such exacting breath,

That they touch or sigh.

Every touch they give,

Love is nearer death.

Prove that I lie.


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I think this poem says that just like the seasons changing, all true love either dies or fades into some lesser thing over time. Lovers have such a kind of physical body that that they demand to touch (ie have sex) or else they sigh (feel bad). But with every touch the love gets weaker, gets nearer death, because love is romantic and seeks after the unattainable and once confronted with reality it just atrophies, wastes away.
This contrasts with the more optimistic view of love in Cao Xueqin's (?-c.1763) ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’
Enduring as heaven and earth –
No love however ancient can ever die;
Timeless as light and shadow –
No debt of breeze and moonlight can ever be repaid.
Somehow I think both poems are true. In the Chinese poem I feel it means true love will never die because for example, true love can make children and they can have descendants and families can go on for ever, or true love can make art and art can last for ever. But at the same time there is a sadness in life, a debt of something we cannot capture like breeze and moonlight which can never be cured, never redeemed. x

| Posted on 2009-10-19 | by a guest

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