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Sailing To Byzantium Analysis

Author: Poetry of William Butler Yeats Type: Poetry Views: 6482

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That is no country for old men. The young

In one another's arms, birds in the trees

---Those dying generations---at their song,

The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,

Fish, flesh, or fowl commend all summer long

Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.

Caught in that sensual music all neglect

Monuments of unaging intellect.


An aged man is but a paltry thing,

A tattered coat upon a stick, unless

Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing

For every tatter in its mortal dress,

Nor is there singing school but studying

Monuments of its own magnificence;

And therefore I have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium.


O sages standing in God's holy fire

As in the gold mosaic of a wall,

Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,

And be the singing-masters of my soul.

Consume my heart away; sick with desire

And fastened to a dying animal

It knows not what it is; and gather me

Into the artifice of eternity.


Once out of nature I shall never take

My bodily form from any natural thing,

But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make

Of hammered gold and gold enamelling

To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;

Or set upon a golden bough to sing

To lords and ladies of Byzantium

Of what is past, or passing, or to come.


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

.: :.

in your opinion, how well does yeats develop the relationship betweem art and immortality?

| Posted on 2009-11-25 | by a guest

.: :.

" that is no country for old men" could also refer to Ireland, which he has left.

| Posted on 2009-05-16 | by a guest

.: Eternity :.

Byzantium is symbolic of the world of art and poetry.
"That is no country for old men" refers to the natural
world. Those that are caught in the sensual music
of the natural world neglect "monuments of unaging
intellect." "Those dying generations" can't understand the eternal, or nearly eternal.
Yeats encourages soul to clap its hands and sing, but
warns that there is no school to teach singing other
than to study monuments of soul's own magnificence.
The "perne in a gyre" can be illuminated by Yeats's other work, "The Second Coming," which shows that
the falcon in a gyre represents the breakdown of
the natural world over time. In this poem it is
a request for the sages of eternity to enter
time for a space and teach the speaker what he is (or what his heart is) and to gather the speaker
back to eternity. The last line is a call to all
poets, with a hint of hope at the end...

| Posted on 2005-10-02 | by Approved Guest

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