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The Sorrow of Love Analysis



Author: Poetry of William Butler Yeats Type: Poetry Views: 1537

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The brawling of a sparrow in the eaves

The brilliant moon and all the milky sky,

And all that famous harmony of leaves,

Had blotted out man's image and his cry.



A girl arose that had red mournful lips

And seemed the greatness of the world in tears,

Doomed like Odysseus and the laboring ships

And proud as Priam murdered with his peers,



Arose, and on the instant clamorous eaves,

A climbing moon upon an empty sky,

And all that lamentation leaves,

Could but compose man's image and his cry.





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

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The speaker of this poem is the poet, Yeats. You can tell by the way he directs his words to specific things. He says things like “A girl arose that had red mournful lips” and “Seemed the greatness of the world in tears”. Yeats has a very emotional feel to this poem; he goes into depth and gets personal about his view toward his love and nature.
The Occasion of this poem is that love stinks. Yeats is talking about how he see’s beauty in the world but he is referring to his lover Maud Gonne. He uses metaphors to indirectly tell her how he feels. Yeats says “Has blotted out man’s image and his cry” to tell Maud that he is overwhelmed.
The Audience of this poem is his girlfriend Maud Gonne

| Posted on 2012-12-19 | by a guest


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first verse is spectation, observation. All is fine and well. Darkness has come and--to quote Kerouac--\"blessed the earth\" and--back to Yeats in the same breath and feeling--has \"blotted out mans image and his cry.\"
She comes beautifully, with the mourning on her lips.
The Girl is a martyr. And she means \"the greatness of the world\" to Yeats, he loves her for this the \"Sorrow,\" and \"tears\" included. I say martyr for her pride. The similies are interesting because they are such drastic comparisons: Priam, was King Priam, who certainly did not have to die an anonymous death among his men at Troy, but chose to go down among them; ironic and heroic for a King to wish such a thing upon himself a \"random hero\" in a sense, because of it--though he is exalted for it. More so than the men he died beside.
She also needs what she wants and gets. Just like anybody else. She takes on her sorrow, and needs her fate, her doom.
Come what may. The last verse is sympathetic, and still only whatching the scene unravel at this symbolic fringe. There is relization here as such: --first two lines--Darkness is Empty, just like sympathy--last two x that is lament) is as empty as night, and \"COULD BUT COMPOSE MAN\'S IMAGE AND HIS CRY.\"
moderated before posted.

| Posted on 2011-05-13 | by a guest


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When the beauty of the world is all you perceive, man\'s perception is glorious... things are wonderfully systematic, and human-centric issues are a thing that is quite small by comparison.
When a woman intrudes, the focus moves to her; things become uncertain... and men become maudlin.
This effect spirals, and men find themselves exploring the pain in all things around them... nature becomes imprisoned by its own beauty, and man\'s tortured experience comes to the forefront... and he goes emo.

| Posted on 2010-10-18 | by a guest


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This poem was written in 1891, only two years after Yeats met and fell in love with Maud Gonne. Yeats uses two classical allusions in the highly structured poem, one comparing the woman's doom to Odysseus, who helped in the expedition to recover Helen when Paris took her from Sparta. He only returned after ten years. "Proud as Priam" refers to Paris's father, who was killed by Achilles's son, Neoptolemus, after the fall of Troy.
Before the woman's presence in this poem, the world exists apart from humankind. It's natural beauty and struggle "blot out" the more complicated struggles of humankind. The influence of the mournful woman, though, invites human meaning into the poem. First, the woman inspires the poet with epic comparisons; then, when she moves out into nature, she recasts the moon, sparrow and leaves in terms of human sorrow.
Yeats thus suggests the inspiring, albeit sorrowful, nature of love - both in terms of a particular beloved and in terms of the feminine in general. The beautiful woman does not "compose" the natural elements around her, but her influence renders them incapable of expressing any meaning other than that of humankind. Whether the woman stands for Ireland, for Maud Gonne, or for the spirit of the feminine, she redefines the force of the world, focusing it into an expression of human sorrow.
(this was taken off of a website)

| Posted on 2010-04-27 | by a guest


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Yeats is the narrator, and the "girl" is Maud Gonne. The theme is that love stinks.

| Posted on 2010-04-27 | by a guest


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This poem is about a sparrow that makes a shitload of noise and pisses off some woman who has red lipstick on. The line "man's image" clearly references that woman was likely creeping on facebook for pictures of that guy that sits in front of her in calculus.

| Posted on 2009-06-22 | by a guest


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The whole poem moves from a joyous moment into a dark moment. It is filled with religious overtones as it is mentioning Priam and Odysseus and the woman, also the movement arose.... The woman is Mary Magdalena and it is the sorrow of the death of Christ and sorrow at the life that must be lived on earth... Joy at the love Christ had for all that he gave himself up like Priam and Joy at the life to be had after death for all believers.

| Posted on 2008-11-21 | by a guest


.: Analysis :.

The first verse is spectation, observation. All is fine and well. Darkness has come and--to quote Kerouac--"blessed the earth" and--back to Yeats in the same breath and feeling--has "blotted out mans image and his cry."

She comes beautifully, with the mourning on her lips.
The Girl is a martyr. And she means "the greatness of the world" to Yeats, he loves her for this the "Sorrow," and "tears" included. I say martyr for her pride. The similies are interesting because they are such drastic comparisons: Priam, was King Priam, who certainly did not have to die an anonymous death among his men at Troy, but chose to go down among them; ironic and heroic for a King to wish such a thing upon himself a "random hero" in a sense, because of it--though he is exalted for it. More so than the men he died beside.
She also needs what she wants and gets. Just like anybody else. She takes on her sorrow, and needs her fate, her doom.

Come what may. The last verse is sympathetic, and still only whatching the scene unravel at this symbolic fringe. There is relization here as such: --first two lines--Darkness is Empty, just like sympathy--last two lines--"Lamentation"-(sympathy/regreat that is lament) is as empty as night, and "COULD BUT COMPOSE MAN'S IMAGE AND HIS CRY."

| Posted on 2007-06-09 | by a guest


.: KB :.

The poem has a progression of emotions from stanza to stanza reflecting a change in how the speaker feels about the subject. The first stanza describes and lively and happy scene with a “brawling” sparrow, a “brilliant moon” in a “milky sky”, and the “famous harmony of leaves” that had overshadowed all of the male speaker’s sadness and cries. The second stanza shows who the love of the speaker is, a “girl” with “red mournful lips”. She was always “doomed” yet “proud”, and with her death, the mood of the poem changes again. There is no sparrow in the “clamorous eaves”, the moon is “upon an empty sky”, and the leaves are no longer in harmony, but in “lamentation”. This change in events leaves the man uncomposed and left to “cry”.


| Posted on 2006-02-05 | by Approved Guest


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In the first stanza he is saying that other things are muffling the sorrow of a man who has lost a love... or something like that. I'm not quite sure where the girl comes in place with all this, though. Odysseus and Priam are all characters of Greek Myths, and the similes are really interesting... Priam was the King of Troy and was murdered ruthlessly, yet died proudly, I think. Odysseus's tale had something do do with a terribly long voyage at sea..

The last stanza portrays all the things that support and are the in league with the sorrowful man... hmmm...

| Posted on 2005-01-02 | by Amilio


.: :.

In the first stanza he is saying that other things are muffling the sorrow of a man who has lost a love... or something like that. I'm not quite sure where the girl comes in place with all this, though. Odysseus and Priam are all characters of Greek Myths, and the similes are really interesting... Priam was the King of Troy and was murdered ruthlessly, yet died proudly, I think. Odysseus's tale had something do do with a terribly long voyage at sea..

The last stanza portrays all the things that support and are the in league with the sorrowful man... hmmm...

| Posted on 2005-01-02 | by Amilio


.: :.

In the first stanza he is saying that other things are muffling the sorrow of a man who has lost a love... or something like that. I'm not quite sure where the girl comes in place with all this, though. Odysseus and Priam are all characters of Greek Myths, and the similes are really interesting... Priam was the King of Troy and was murdered ruthlessly, yet died proudly, I think. Odysseus's tale had something do do with a terribly long voyage at sea..

The last stanza portrays all the things that support and are the in league with the sorrowful man... hmmm...

| Posted on 2005-01-02 | by Amilio




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