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An Image From A Past Life Analysis

Author: poem of William Butler Yeats Type: poem Views: 23

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He. Never until this night have I been stirred.

The elaborate starlight throws a reflection

On the dark stream,

Till all the eddies gleam;

And thereupon there comes that scream

From terrified, invisible beast or bird:

Image of poignant recollection.

She. An image of my heart that is smitten through

Out of all likelihood, or reason,

And when at last,

Youth's bitterness being past,

I had thought that all my days were cast

Amid most lovely places; smitten as though

It had not learned its lesson.

He. Why have you laid your hands upon my eyes?

What can have suddenly alarmed you

Whereon 'twere best

My eyes should never rest?

What is there but the slowly fading west,

The river imaging the flashing skies,

All that to this moment charmed you?

She. A Sweetheart from another life floats there

As though she had been forced to linger

From vague distress

Or arrogant loveliness,

Merely to loosen out a tress

Among the starry eddies of her hair

Upon the paleness of a finger.

He. But why should you grow suddenly afraid

And start - I at your shoulder -


That any night could bring

An image up, or anything

Even to eyes that beauty had driven mad,

But images to make me fonder?

She. Now She has thrown her arms above her head;

Whether she threw them up to flout me,

Or but to find,

Now that no fingers bind,

That her hair streams upon the wind,

I do not know, that know I am afraid

Of the hovering thing night brought me.


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